Chico Heat

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Chico Heat
Chico Heat Main Logo 2016.png Chico Heat Cap Logo 2016.png
Team logo Cap insignia
Information
League Great West League (2016–present)
Location Chico, California
Ballpark Nettleton Stadium
Year founded 1997
League championships 3 (1997, 2002, 2016)
Division championships 2 (1997, 2002)
Former name(s)
  • Chico Heat (1997-2002, 2016–present)
Former league(s)
Colors Navy Blue, Red, White
              
Ownership Steve & Kathy Nettleton, Pat Gillick, Consolidated Sports Holdings, LLC
Manager Fred Ludwig
General Manager Hunter Hampton
Media Chico Enterprise-Record (newspaper)
Website www.chicoheat.com

The Chico Heat is the name of two baseball teams that have operated in Chico, California. The first was a professional independent team operating in the Western Baseball League from 1997-2002, and the second team is an independent team operating as part of the summer collegiate wood bat league known as the Great West League, which began operations in 2014. The team's title sponsor is Golden Valley Bank.

History[edit]

The Original Chico Heat (1997-2002)[edit]

Original Heater cap logo and current secondary logo

The team started as a professional independent baseball team operating in Chico, California in the Western Baseball League. They had no operating agreement with any Major League Baseball team. They were created by Chico Heat Professional Baseball LLC, with former supermarket entrepreneur Steve Nettleton and his wife Kathy serving as principal owners. General managers included Bob Linscheid (who would go to become president of the WBL) and Jeff Kragel (now at Chico State University) and their mascot was the beloved "Heater The Dragon" (not to be confused with the Bakersfield Blaze mascot of the same name). The team began operations in 1997. The team immediately won the league championship in their inaugural season and, although they did not win a championship in the four subsequent years, they won the most regular season games in each of the following seasons. They appeared in the championship series in five out of their six seasons in the league. In 2002, Chico won its second league championship in the league's and the team's final season.

Original Script logo from 1997 to 2002

The team played at Nettleton Stadium, which is located on the campus of California State University, Chico. They were preceded by the Oroville/Chico Red Sox of the minor league's Class-C Far West League from 1948-1951 and were succeeded by the Chico Outlaws of the independent Golden Baseball League, taking their place in 2005. The Heat has been the most successful professional baseball franchise in the city's history.

On August 11, 2007, former Heat majority owner Steve Nettleton and former Heat players were honored as part of a celebration called "Remember The Heat Night" hosted by the Chico Outlaws as they faced the St. George RoadRunners. The original Heat mascot "Heater" even made an appearance. The Outlaws won the ball game in front of over 3,500 fans at Nettleton Stadium.

The Current Chico Heat (2014-present)[edit]

On November 25, 2014, the franchise announced its return to the field in the summer of 2016, but this time as a member of the summer collegiate wood bat league known as the Great West League. Steve Nettleton will return as a principal owner along with former Major League Baseball executive and Chico native Pat Gillick.[1][2] The Heat's beloved mascot "Heater The Dragon" returned to the team after a 20-year absence. They began play on the road in a loss to the rival Marysville Gold Sox. The Heat defeated the Medford Rogues 2 games to 1 to capture the inaugural GWL Championship. It is the second time in franchise history that they won a championship in their first season.

On July 24, the Heat will host the second annual GWL All-Star Game. This year, the entire Heat team will face the best of the Great West League, a departure from the normal format. The home run derby will also take place the same day. [3] The Heat faced the Rogues for the second straight season in the GWL Championship, this time falling to their rivals 2 games to 0.

Year-by-year record[edit]

Western Baseball League[edit]

Year League Affiliation Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1997 Western Baseball League none 45-45 2nd South Division Bill Plummer defeated Reno 3-1 in championship
1998 Western Baseball League none 63-26 1st South Division Bill Plummer lost to Sonoma County 0-3 in semifinals
1999 Western Baseball League none 63-27 1st overall Bill Plummer lost to Tri-City 0-3 in championship
2000 Western Baseball League none 57-33 1st North Division Charlie Kerfeld lost to Zion in championship
2001 Western Baseball League none 56-34 1st North Division Charlie Kerfeld lost to Long Beach in championship
2002 Western Baseball League none 55-35 1st North Division Charlie Kerfeld defeated Long Beach in championship

Great West League[edit]

Year League Affiliation Record Finish Manager Playoffs
2016 Great West League none 34-23 2nd Fred Ludwig defeated Medford 2-1 in championship series
2017 Great West League none 38-22 2nd Fred Ludwig lost to Medford 2-0 in championship series

Broadcasting[edit]

The original Chico Heat were broadcast on KPAY NewsTalk 1290 AM throughout their entire run with longtime area broadcaster Rory Miller on the call. The current Heat welcomed Miller back to the air waves on KEGE 101.7 FM sharing broadcast duties with KPAY's Mike Baca.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Baseball returning to Chico, News Staff, Action News Now website, November 25, 2014
  2. ^ BASEBALL RETURNS TO CHICO WITH GWL FRANCHISE, Great West League website, November 25, 2014
  3. ^ CHICO HEAT TO HOST THE ALL-STAR GAME, Chico Heat website

External links[edit]