Prospect League logo
|Founded||1963 (2009 expanded)|
|No. of teams||12|
|Most recent champion(s)||West Virginia Miners|
|Official website||Prospect League|
The Prospect League is a collegiate summer baseball league comprising teams of college players from North America and beyond. All players in the league must have NCAA eligibility remaining in order to participate. So as to maintain their college eligibility, players are not paid. Beginning in 2012, the league will add four games to the season, making a total of 60 games per team.
In 1963, the Central Illinois Collegiate League (CICL), the precursor league to the Prospect league, was formed as a charter member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) summer collegiate baseball program. The league existed under NCAA rules and guidance for 41 years. In 2005, the NCAA ended its official association with summer collegiate baseball; however, the CICL continued to preserve the amateur status of its member athletes by abiding by the rules and regulations of the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball (NACSB). In 2009, the CICL planned to expand to six teams by adding the Hannibal Cavemen, but in winter 2008, the league ownership voted for further expansion.
Dr. Chris Hanners, owner of the Chillicothe franchise and one of the founders of the Frontier League wanted to keep a Paints baseball team in Chillicothe. Dr. Hanners, Leo Trich, former Frontier league director of development; General Manager and majority owner of the Butler BlueSox, and Duke Ward, former owner of the Frontier League's Richmond Roosters worked with the ownership of the CICL to form the Prospect League.
The Prospect League began its inaugural season in summer 2009 with the original CICL teams forming the Western Division. Five expansion teams formed the Eastern Division. Three of the Eastern Division teams began play in markets previously served by Frontier League teams. Besides the Chillicothe Paints, the Richmond RiverRats (Richmond, Indiana), played in the previous home of the Frontier League's Richmond Roosters, which are now the Traverse City Beach Bums. The Slippery Rock Sliders (Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania) played in the previous home of the Frontier League team of the same name.
In 2010, the Prospect League expanded adding four new franchises: the Terre Haute Rex (Terre Haute, Indiana), the West Virginia Miners (Beckley, West Virginia), the DeKalb County Liners (Sycamore, Illinois), and the Nashville Outlaws (Nashville, Tennessee).
Due to a change in team ownership in 2010, the North Coast Knights became the Lorain County Ironmen.
In 2011 the Dupage Dragons franchise folded after 5 years with the CICL (2006–08) and Prospect League (2009–10). As a result the league returned to a 2-division format after having 3 divisions in 2010. Richmond was moved to the six-team Eastern Division, while Danville, Nashville, Terre Haute, and Dubois County were moved to the eight-team Western Division.
In 2012, the Nashville Outlaws folded, and the DeKalb County Liners left the league to join the Midwestern Collegiate League, leaving the Prospect League with twelve teams in two, six-team divisions. The 2012 schedule will consist of 60 games and have no "cross-over" games; all games will be played among teams from the same division only. The only time teams from opposite divisions will meet is in the Championship Series.
For the 2015 season, the league added its easternmost team yet, an as of yet unnamed team in Jamestown, New York.
Division and League Champions
|Year||Eastern Division Champion or playoff winner||Central Division Champion or playoff winner||Western Division Champion or playoff winner||League Champion|
|2009||Chillicothe Paints (31-25)||N/A||Quincy Gems (36-20)||Quincy over Chillicothe, 2 games to 0|
|2010||Chillicothe Paints 5, West Virginia Miners 3||Danville Dans 4, Nashville Outlaws 2||Quincy Gems 2, Springfield Sliders 0||Chillicothe 7, Danville 6 (11)
[after Danville def. Quincy, 7-3, in play-in game]
|2011||West Virginia Miners 2, Slippery Rock Sliders 1||N/A||Quincy Gems 15, Terre Haute Rex 5||Quincy 5, West Virginia 0|
|2012||West Virginia Miners 6, Chillicothe Paints 2||N/A||Dubois County Bombers 3, Terre Haute Rex 2||West Virginia over Dubois County, 2 games to 0|
Teams in italics qualified for that season's playoffs as a wild card entry under that particular season's playoff format.
2009 playoff format: After 56-game schedule, teams with best record in each division faced each other in a best-of-three series for the Championship.
2010 playoff format: 56-game schedule divided in two halves. Winners from each half in each division faced each other in a one-game playoff (home field to team with best overall record). Where the same team won both halves in a division, the team with the next-best overall record from that division was declared the wild card. Championship Series was a two-game affair with the divisional playoff winner with the best overall record receiving a bye into the Championship Game. The remaining two divisional playoff winners met in a one-game play-in for the right to go to the Championship Game. Championship Series held at Chillicothe, Ohio.
2011 playoff format: 56-game schedule divided in two halves. Winners from each half in each division faced each other in a one-game playoff (home field to team winning the first half). Where the same team won both halves in a division, the team with the next-best overall record from that division was declared the wild card. Divisional playoff winners met in one-game playoff with home field awarded to the team with the best overall record from the regular season.
2012 playoff format: 60-game schedule divided in two halves. Winners from each half in each division to face each other in a one-game playoff to be hosted by the first-half champions in each division. If the same team wins both halves, the team with the best overall record from that division will be declared the wild card. Winners of each divisional playoff game will meet in a best-of-three Championship Series, with home advantage given to the division that wins the annual All-Star Game (to be held in Butler, PA). Game One of the Championship Series will be played at the home field of the team from the losing division at the All-Star Game, with Game Two and Game Three (if necessary) held at the home field of the team from the winning division at the All-Star Game.
Mike Schmidt Award winners (Player of the Year)
|2009||Tyler Bullock||Catcher||Richmond River Rats|
|2010||Jeff Holm||Outfielder||Chillicothe Paints|
|2011||Chris Serritella||First Baseman||Quincy Gems|
Pitcher of the Year Award winners
|2009||Rusty Shellhorn||Left||Northcoast Knights|
|2010||Dean Wolosianski||Right||West Virginia Miners|
|2011||Clayton Schulz||Left||Chillicothe Paints|
- "CICL:About Us". Retrieved 2009-06-08.
- "Blue Sox Staff". Retrieved 2009-06-08.
- "Franchise gives Richmond hope for baseball". Retrieved 2009-06-08.
- "Sliders in Ypsi for '09 season". Retrieved 2009-06-08.
- "Prospect League Announces Expansion Team in Nashville". Retrieved 2010-01-23.
- "North Coast Knights become the Lorain County Ironmen". Retrieved 2010-02-20.