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Frontier League

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

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

Teams in the Frontier League must recruit and sign their own players, who usually are 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 five 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, Windy City in 2007 and 2008, and the Schaumburg Boomers in 2013 and 2014. 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]


Frontier League
Division Team First Season City Stadium Capacity
East Evansville Otters 1995 Evansville, Indiana Bosse Field 5,181
Florence Freedom 2003 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 2006 Blair Township, Michigan Wuerfel Park 4,660
Washington Wild Things 2002 North Franklin Township, Pennsylvania Consol Energy Park 5,000
Division Team First Season 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 1999 O'Fallon, Missouri T.R. Hughes Ballpark 5,150
Rockford Aviators 2002 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

Franchise timeline

<timeline> DateFormat = mm/dd/yyyy ImageSize = width:1100 height:auto barincrement:20 Period = from:1993 till:2015 TimeAxis = orientation:horizontal PlotArea = right:40 left:0 bottom:50 top:5

Colors = id:barcolor value:rgb(0.99,0.7,0.7)

        id:line     value:black
        id:bg       value:white


 width:15 textcolor:black shift:(5,-5) anchor:from fontsize:s
 bar:1  color:orange from:05/15/1993 till:09/20/2008 text:Chillicothe Paints (1993-2008)
 bar:2  color:orange from:05/15/1993 till:09/20/1994 text:Kentucky Rifles (1993-1994)
 bar:3  color:orange from:05/15/1993 till:end text:Lancaster Scouts (1993-1994), Evansville Otters (1995-present)
 bar:4  color:orange from:05/15/1993 till:09/20/2005 text:Ohio Valley Redcoats (1993-1998, 2005), Dubois County Dragons (1999-2002), Kenosha Mammoths (2003), Springfield-Ozark Ducks (2004)
 bar:5  color:orange from:05/15/1993 till:end text:Portsmouth Explorers (1993-1995), Springfield Capitals (1996-2001), Rockford RiverHawks (2002-2009), (2011-present)
 bar:5  color:orange from:05/15/2011 till:end
 bar:6  color:orange from:05/15/1993 till:07/10/1993 text:Tri-State Tomahawks (1993)
 bar:7  color:orange from:05/15/1993 till:06/30/1993 text:West Virginia Coal Sox (1993)
 bar:8  color:orange from:05/15/1993 till:09/20/1996 text:Zanesville Greys (1993-1996)
 bar:8  color:orange from:05/15/1999 till:end text:River City Rascals (1999-present)
 bar:9  color:orange from:05/15/1994 till:end text:Erie Sailors (1994), Johnstown Steal (1995-1998), Johnstown Johnnies (1999-2002), Florence Freedom (2003-present)
 bar:10 color:orange from:05/15/1994 till:09/20/2005 text:Newark Buffaloes/Bison (1994-1995), Kalamazoo Kodiaks (1996-1998), London Werewolves (1999-2001), Canton Coyotes (2002), Mid-Missouri Mavericks (2003-2005)
 bar:11 color:orange from:05/15/1995 till:end text:Richmond Roosters (1995-2005), Traverse City Beach Bums (2006-present)
 bar:12 color:orange from:05/15/1997 till:end text:Canton Crocodiles (1997–2001), Washington Wild Things (2002-present)
 bar:13 color:orange from:05/15/1999 till:end text:Cook County Cheetahs (1999-2003), Windy City ThunderBolts (2004-present)
 bar:14 color:orange from:05/15/2001 till:end text:Gateway Grizzlies (2001-present)
 bar:15 color:orange from:05/15/2001 till:09/20/2008 text:Kalamazoo Kings (2001-2010)
 bar:16 color:orange from:05/15/2007 till:07/25/2012 text:Slippery Rock Sliders (2007), Midwest Sliders (2008), Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti (2009), Oakland County Cruisers (2010), London Rippers (2012)
 bar:17 color:orange from:05/15/2007 till:end text:Southern Illinois Miners (2007-present)
 bar:18 color:orange from:05/15/2009 till:end text:Lake Erie Crushers (2009-present)
 bar:19 color:orange from:05/15/2010 till:end text:Normal CornBelters (2010-present)
 bar:20 color:orange from:05/15/2011 till:end text:Joliet Slammers (2011-present)
 bar:21 color:orange from:05/15/2012 till:end text:Schaumburg Boomers (2012-present)
 bar:22 color:orange from:07/25/2012 till:10/31/2012 text:Road Warriors (2012)
 bar:23 color:orange from:05/25/2013 till:end text:Frontier Greys (2013-Present)

ScaleMajor = gridcolor:line unit:year increment:2 start:1993

TextData =

  pos:(175,30) # tabs:(0-center)
  text:"Frontier League Franchise History"



See also


  1. ^ Tropp, Emily (2009-07-27), "RiverHawks headed to Northern League", Rockford Register Star (Rockford, IL), retrieved 2010-03-31 
  2. ^
  3. ^

External links