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. It began operations in 2014.
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Western Baseball League (1997-2002)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles||1997, 2002|
|Division titles||1997, 1999, 2001, 2002|
|Nettleton Stadium (1997-2002)|
The team was 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.
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.
|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|
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 owner along with former Major League Baseball executive and Chico native Pat Gillick. They began play on the road in a loss to the rival Marysville Gold Sox.