Frontier League

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Frontier League
Frontier League.png
Frontier League logo
Sport Baseball
Founded 1993
No. of teams 14
Country USA
Most recent champion(s) Schaumburg Boomers
Official website www.frontierleague.com

The Frontier League, based in Sauget, Illinois, is a professional, independent baseball organization located in the Midwestern United States. It operates mostly in cities not served by Major or Minor League Baseball teams and is not affiliated with either. The league was formed in 1993, and is the oldest currently running independent league.

Description and history[edit]

Teams in the Frontier League must recruit and sign their own players, which usually consist of undrafted college players or one-time prospects who have been released by their teams. Frontier League rules limit teams to three "veterans" (those with three or more years of professional experience), two two-year players and seven one-year players (those with at least 150 professional at-bats or 50 innings pitched). The other half of the 24-man roster is confined to rookies. Players cannot be older than 27 as of January 1.

Pay in the Frontier League is minimal, as each team has a salary cap of $72,000,[1] and the league minimum is set at $600 per month. Due to the low pay, players typically live with host families.

The first league champions were the Zanesville Greys. Only four teams have won more than one championship: Springfield in 1996 and 1998, Johnstown in 1995 (as the Steal) and in 2000 (as the Johnnies), Richmond (now Traverse City) in 2001 and 2002, and Windy City in 2007 and 2008. The Florence Freedom (including years as Erie and Johnstown) and the Rockford RiverHawks (including years as Portsmouth and Springfield) are currently tied for the most league championships with each franchise winning three.

On June 20, 2000, Brian Tollberg debuted with the San Diego Padres, becoming the first player from the Frontier League to make it to the Majors. A week later Morgan Burkhart made his debut with the Boston Red Sox.

Although the league does not have any teams located in the same city as Major League teams, it does nonetheless have teams located within the markets of Major League teams. Chicago (Joliet Slammers, Schaumburg Boomers and Windy City ThunderBolts) has 3 teams and St. Louis (Gateway Grizzlies & River City Rascals) has 2 teams while Cleveland (Lake Erie Crushers), Cincinnati (Florence Freedom) and Pittsburgh (Washington Wild Things) each have one. The Wild Things in particular have been able to market themselves as a successful alternative to the Pittsburgh Pirates due to the latter franchise's long stretch of losing seasons, which lasted from the Frontier League's founding in 1993 until 2013 when the Pirates finished with a record of 94-68.[2]

Franchises[edit]

Frontier League
Division Team Founded City Stadium Capacity
East Evansville Otters 1993 Evansville, Indiana Bosse Field 5,181
Florence Freedom 1994 Florence, Kentucky UC Health Stadium 4,500
Frontier Greys 2013 Traveling Team None N/A
Lake Erie Crushers 2009 Avon, Ohio All Pro Freight Stadium 5,000
Southern Illinois Miners 2007 Marion, Illinois Rent One Park 7,000
Traverse City Beach Bums 1995 Blair Township, Michigan Wuerfel Park 4,660
Washington Wild Things 1997 North Franklin Township, Pennsylvania CONSOL Energy Park 5,000
Division Team Founded City Stadium Capacity
West Gateway Grizzlies 2001 Sauget, Illinois GCS Ballpark 6,000
Joliet Slammers 2011 Joliet, Illinois Silver Cross Field 6,016
Normal CornBelters 2009 Normal, Illinois The Corn Crib 7,000
River City Rascals 1993 O'Fallon, Missouri T.R. Hughes Ballpark 5,150
Rockford Aviators 1993 Loves Park, Illinois Aviators Stadium 3,279
Schaumburg Boomers 2011 Schaumburg, Illinois Schaumburg Baseball Stadium 7,365 [3]
Windy City ThunderBolts 1999 Crestwood, Illinois Standard Bank Stadium 3,200

Former teams[edit]

Franchise timeline[edit]

Frontier Greys Pennsylvania Road Warriors Schaumburg Boomers Joliet Slammers Normal CornBelters Lake Erie Crushers Southern Illinois Miners Slippery Rock Sliders Kalamazoo Kings Gateway Grizzlies Cook County Cheetahs Canton Crocodiles Richmond Roosters Newark Buffaloes Erie Sailors River City Rascals Zanesville Greys West Virginia Coal Sox Tri-State Tomahawks Portsmouth Explorers Ohio Valley Redcoats Lancaster Scouts Kentucky Rifles Chillicothe Paints

Champions[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Tropp, Emily (2009-07-27), "RiverHawks headed to Northern League", Rockford Register Star (Rockford, IL), retrieved 2010-03-31 
  2. ^ http://flhistory.gofreeserve.com/WashingtonWildThings.htm
  3. ^ http://www.boomersbaseball.com/stadium/

External links[edit]