The Decatur Commodores were a professional minor league baseball team based in Decatur, Illinois. They played, with sporadic interruptions, from 1900 to 1974 in a variety of minor leagues, but spent the majority of their existence in the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League (the "Three-I" League), later joining the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League (1952 to 1955) and the Midwest League (1956 to 1974). While they spent most of their years as an independent without formal major league baseball team affiliation, their primary affiliations were with the St. Louis Cardinals and later the San Francisco Giants, with isolated affiliations with the Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies. They played home games at Fans Field, the 5,200-seat grandstand of which was demolished when the team moved to Wausau, Wisconsin in 1974 and became the Wausau Timbers. The field is still in use as a softball field.
The nickname Commodores refers to Stephen Decatur, for whom the city is named. The team was often called the "Commies" for short, from a time before that became a slang term for "Communist". In their final years, they wore hand-me-down Giants uniforms, although still called the "Commodores", leading some fans to call them the "Commodore Giants".
The club is the primary ancestor of today's Kane County Cougars.
- 1928 - Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League Champions
- 1952 - Mississippi-Ohio Valley League Champions
- 1953 - Mississippi-Ohio Valley League Champions
- 1957 - Midwest League Champions
Notable former players & managers
- Ray Benge - 1926
- Don Bryant - 1961 Catcher
- John Edward Clay - 1941 Pitcher
- Bob Clear - 1947
- Rube Dessau - 1928-1931 Manager
- Murry Dickson - 1936-1938 Pitcher
- James Freeman, Negro League ballplayer - 1952-1953
- Johnny Groth - 1961 Manager
- Bob Hartsfield - 1974 Manager
- Carl Hubbell - 1927
- Bob Knepper
- Thomas Langan - 1956 Starting Pitcher
- Johnny Lucadello - 1954
- Gary Matthews- 1969
- Jim Northrup - 1961 Outfielder
- Stubby Overmire - 1959 Manager
- Jimmie Schaffer - 1955-1956
- Johnny Schaive - 1954 Pitcher
- Roe Skidmore - 1967 - in 1970 played in one MLB game for the Chicago Cubs, went 1-1
- Al Unser - 1955-1957 Manager
- May 30, 1909 - The Commodores win a 26-inning, 5-hour marathon over the Bloomington Bloomers 2-1. The 26 innings stays the record for the most innings in a completed professional game in the United States for 57 years.
- August 18, 1960 - 18 year old, left-handed pitcher Bob Sprout of the Commodores pitched a no hitter against the Waterloo Hawks. In that game, Sprout struck out 22 hitters, which stands as the MWL single-game strikeout record. The Commies won by a 3-0 score.
The Commodores appear in Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series, an alternate history in which aliens invade Earth in 1942 and the Second World War turns into an interplanetary war. Members of the team are on a train which is attacked by the aliens at the beginning of the invasion. One ball player is kidnapped by the invaders and is eventually taken by them to China, while another player and the team's manager escape and join the forces fighting the invasion. A considerable part of the series is described from these three characters' points of view, in which their baseball background plays a significant role in a number of ways.
- "The Marathon Game: Endless Baseball, its Prelude, and its Aftermath in the 1909 Three-I League". baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved 7 July 2012..