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Frontier League
Frontier League.png
Frontier League logo
Sport Baseball
Founded 1993
No. of teams 12
Country(ies) United States
Most recent champion(s) Lake Erie Crushers
Official website

The Frontier League, based in Sauget, Illinois, is a professional, independent baseball organization located in the Midwestern United States and Western Pennsylvania. It operates mostly in cities not served by Major or Minor League Baseball teams and is not affiliated with either. Though not part of the official minor league system, its level of play is considered about equal to A-level. The league was formed in 1993 by Charles "Bud" Bickel.


Description and history

The Frontier League exists so that professional baseball players who are not signed by a Major or Minor League organization could have another chance at playing at a higher level. Although the level of Frontier League play can be categorized at the single A standard, players in independent baseball are usually not scouted heavily by Major League teams. The league also caters to players who are not quite talented enough to play at a higher level.

Teams in the Frontier League must recruit and sign their own players, which usually consist of 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 $60,000, 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 four 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, and Windy City in 2007 and 2008. 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. His story was a "feel good" human interest story for part of the summer. A week later Morgan Burkhart made his debut with the Boston Red Sox.


Frontier League
Division Team Founded City Stadium Capacity
East Kalamazoo Kings 2001 Kalamazoo, Michigan Homer Stryker Field 4,000
Lake Erie Crushers 2008 Avon, Ohio All Pro Freight Stadium 5,000+
Oakland County Cruisers 2007 Waterford Township, Michigan Diamond at the Summit 3,000
Traverse City Beach Bums 1995 Blair Township, Michigan Wuerfel Park 4,660
Washington Wild Things 1997 Washington, Pennsylvania CONSOL Energy Park 5,000
Windy City ThunderBolts 1999 Crestwood, Illinois Standard Bank Stadium 3,200
Division Team Founded City Stadium Capacity
West Evansville Otters 1993 Evansville, Indiana Bosse Field 5,181
Florence Freedom 1994 Florence, Kentucky Champion Window Field 4,500
Gateway Grizzlies 2001 Sauget, Illinois GCS Ballpark 6,000
Normal CornBelters 2009 Normal, Illinois The Corn Crib 5,500
River City Rascals 1993 O'Fallon, Missouri T.R. Hughes Ballpark 3,491
Southern Illinois Miners 2007 Marion, Illinois Rent One Park 7,000

Future franchises

Former franchises



External links


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