Windy City ThunderBolts

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Windy City ThunderBolts
WCthunderbolts.PNG Thunderbolts2.PNG
Team logo Cap insignia
League Frontier League (1999–present) (West)
Location Crestwood, Illinois
Ballpark
Year founded 1995
Nickname(s) The Bolts
League championships 1998, 2007, 2008
Division championships 2007, 2008, 2010
Former name(s)
  • Windy City ThunderBolts (2004–present)
  • Cook County Cheetahs (1997–2003)
  • Will County Cheetahs (1996–97)
  • Will County Claws (1995)
Former league(s)
  • Heartland League (1996–98)
  • North Central League (1995)
Colors Blue, Black, White
              
Manager Ron Biga
General Manager Mike Lucas
Media WXAV, Chicago Southtown Star
Website www.wcthunderbolts.com

The Windy City ThunderBolts are a professional baseball team based in the Chicago suburb of Crestwood, Illinois, in the United States. The ThunderBolts are a member of the Frontier League, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball. From the 1999 season to the present, the ThunderBolts have played their home games at Standard Bank Stadium.

History[edit]

The franchise known as the Windy City ThunderBolts started as the Will County Claws in 1995 and called their home at Lewis University’s Brennan Field in Romeoville. The Claws played in the struggling North Central League which started in 1994 with six teams, but only fielded four in 1995. The North Central League folded 18 games into its second season with the Claws finishing at 8–10. In 1996, the franchise would find a new league and a new name. The Will County Cheetahs joined the new four-team Heartland League.

In the winter of 1997, the Cheetahs and the city of Crestwood, Illinois, made a deal for Crestwood to build and own a brand new, state-of-the-art ballpark for the Cheetahs. Despite the high hopes for baseball in Crestwood for the 1998 season, it was quickly obvious that because of construction delays, the new park would not be ready. The Cheetahs needed a home field and with Romeoville not an option, neighboring Midlothian would be the solution to the Cheetahs’ home field problem as they would play their 1998 season at tiny Howie Minas Field. In Midlothian, the Cheetahs would have one of their best seasons finishing in 2nd place with a 37–29 record in the first half and earn a playoff spot for the first time in franchise history. In the Heartland League Championship, the Cheetahs would sweep the heavily favored Tennessee Tomahawks 2 games to 0 to gain the franchises first title.

However, things for the Heartland League were anything but great. The league started the 1998 season with six teams and finished with only four teams. The Cheetahs would win the last ever Heartland League Championship as the league folded after three seasons.

In 1999, the Cheetahs joined the stable Frontier League and has been a member of the league ever since. The team known as the Cook County Cheetahs prior to the 2004 season changed their name to the current Windy City ThunderBolts. An ownership change instigated the name change.

Over five years after the San Diego Padres bought the rights to Cheetahs' pitcher Chris Oxspring in 2000 he became the first player in franchise history to play in Major League Baseball. He played in five games for the Padres in 2005.

On August 26, 2007, the ThunderBolts won their first Central Division title. On September 17, 2007, they defeated the Washington Wild Things to win the Frontier League championship, three games to two. In 2008, they repeated a Division Title as the West Division Champions and Frontier League champions, defeating the Kalamazoo Kings three games to none in the championship series. (Note: After heavy rains flooded Homer Stryker Field the entire 2008 Championship series was played at the Thunderbolts Standard Bank Stadium.) They thus became only the second Frontier League team to win back-to-back titles, joining the 2001–02 Richmond Roosters.

In 2011, Dylan Axelrod became the first former ThunderBolt and second player in franchise history to play in MLB, having been called up by the Chicago White Sox.

On August 28, 2012, Tyson Corley threw the second no-hitter in ThunderBolts history. Isaac Hess threw the first on August 5, 2008.

Pitcher Andrew Werner became the third player in club history to make it to the majors when he started for the San Diego Padres in 2012.

Seasons[edit]

Year W-L PCT Place Postseason
Will County Claws (North Central League)
1995 8–10 .444 3rd
Will County Cheetahs (Heartland League)
1996 28–31 .475 3rd
1997 31–39 .442 3rd
Cook County Cheetahs (Heartland League)
1998 37–29 .560 2nd Heartland League Championship Series: Defeated the Tennessee Tomahawks 2–0.
Cook County Cheetahs (Frontier League)
1999 41–43 .488 3rd in FL West
2000 38–46 .452 3rd in FL West
2001 28–53 .346 6th in FL West
2002 40–44 .476 3rd in FL West
2003 42–48 .467 5th in FL West
Windy City Thunderbolts (Frontier League)
2004 37–57 .394 5th in FL West
2005 39–57 .406 5th in FL West
2006 41–54 .427 4th in FL West
2007 68–28 .708 1st in FL Central Frontier League Division Series: Defeated the Rockford Riverhawks 3–0.

Frontier League Championship Series: Defeated the Washington Wild Things 3–2.

2008 60–36 .625 1st in FL West Frontier League Division Series: Defeated the Southern Illinois Miners 3–1.

Frontier League Championship Series: Defeated the Kalamazoo Kings 3–0.

2009 56–40 .583 2nd in FL West Frontier League Division Series: Lost vs. River City Rascals 0–3.
2010 56–38 .596 1st in FL East Frontier League Division Series: Lost vs. Traverse City Beach Bums 1–3.
2011 48–48 .500 4th in FL East
2012 54–42 .563 2nd in FL West
2013 50–46 .521 3rd in FL West
Total 802–789 .504
Playoffs 15–8 .652 3 Division Title. 5 Playoff Appearance. 3 Championships.

Current roster[edit]

Windy City ThunderBolts roster
Active (24-man) roster Coaches/Other

Pitchers

  • 34 Daniel Carela
  • 27 Daniel Cropper
  • 16 James Ferguson
  • 24 Jake Fisher
  • 11 Jason Kafka
  • 18 Victor Larez
  • 29 Reese McGraw
  • 21 Jordan Mejia
  • 30 Dyllon Nuernberg Injury icon 2.svg
  • 30 Hayden Shirley
  •  9 Jessie Snodgrass
  • 15 Travis Tingle



 

Catchers

  • 11 Adam Davis Injury icon 2.svg
  •  7 Doug Joyce
  • 25 Mike McGuckin
  • 26 Matt Scioscia

Infielders

  • 12 Evan Button
  • 35 Brandon Hohl
  •  6 Jon Mestas
  • 22 Ryan Soares
  •  3 Mike Torres

Outfielders

  •  4 Andrew Brauer
  •  2 Ryan McIntyre
  • 28 Kyle Robinson
  • 10 Ty Stetson
  • 32 Max White
 

Manager

  • Ron Biga

Coaches

  • Brian Smith (pitching coach)
  • Pete Pirman (hitting coach)

Injury icon 2.svg Disabled list
‡ Inactive list
§ Suspended list

Roster updated June 1, 2014
Transactions

Official websites[edit]