|No. of teams||14|
|River City Rascals|
The Frontier League is a professional independent baseball league with teams in the Northeast and Midwestern United States and Eastern Canada. The league and its teams are not affiliated with Major League Baseball or Minor League Baseball. The league was formed in 1993, and is the oldest currently running independent league in the United States. It is headquartered in Sauget, Illinois.
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 four "veterans" (Players older than 29 as of October 1), while a minimum of ten of the 24-man roster are required to be rookies.
Pay in the Frontier League is minimal. For the 2020 season, each team has a salary cap of $85,000 and the player salaries range from a minimum of $600 up to $1,600 a month. Veterans can earn up to $2,500 per month, and each team’s highest-paid player can make as much as $4,000 a month with only one-third of the salary counting against the cap. Leagues previous salary cap info-
Due to the low pay, players typically live with host families and receive meal money during the season.
The first league champions were the Zanesville Greys. Only seven 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, the Joliet Slammers in 2011 and 2018, and the Evansville Otters in 2006 and 2016. The Florence Y'alls (including years as Erie and Johnstown), the Rockford RiverHawks (including years as Portsmouth and Springfield), Schaumburg Boomers, and the River City Rascals (including years as Zanesville) 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. The Chicago area had three teams (Joliet Slammers, Schaumburg Boomers and Windy City ThunderBolts) and St. Louis (Gateway Grizzlies), Cleveland (Lake Erie Crushers), Cincinnati (Florence Y'alls) 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.
On October 16, 2019, it was announced that the Frontier League would be merging with the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, absorbing five of its teams to form the largest independent professional baseball league. The divisions were realigned and renamed to reflect the change. The Can-Am Division features the seven easternmost teams in the league (Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, New York, New Jersey, Sussex County, Washington, Lake Erie), while the remaining seven teams (Florence, Evansville, Schaumburg, Joliet, Windy City, Southern Illinois, and Gateway) compete in the Midwestern Division.
- Canton Coyotes (2002, became the Mid-Missouri Mavericks)
- Canton Crocodiles (1997–2002, became the Washington Wild Things)
- Chillicothe Paints (1993–2008, joined the Prospect League)
- Dubois County Dragons (2000–2002, became the Kenosha Mammoths)
- Erie Sailors (1994, became the Johnstown Steal)
- Florence Freedom (2003–2019, became the Florence Y'alls)
- Frontier Greys (2013–2015, travel team)
- Johnstown Johnnies (1998–2002, became the Florence Freedom)
- Johnstown Steal (1995–1998, became the Johnstown Johnnies)
- Kalamazoo Kings (2001–2010, folded)
- Kalamazoo Kodiaks (1996–1998, became the London Werewolves)
- Kenosha Mammoths (2003, became the Springfield-Ozark Ducks)
- Kentucky Rifles (1993–1994, folded)
- Lancaster Scouts (1993–1994, became the Evansville Otters)
- London Rippers (2012, folded)
- London Werewolves (1999–2001, became the Canton Coyotes)
- Mid-Missouri Mavericks (2003–2005, folded)
- Midwest Sliders (2008–2009, became the Oakland County Cruisers)
- Normal CornBelters (2010–2018, joined the Prospect League)
- Newark Bison (1994–1995, became the Kalamazoo Kodiaks)
- Ohio Valley Redcoats (1993–1998, became the Dubois County Dragons; returned 2005, folded)
- Portsmouth Explorers (1993–1995, became the Springfield Capitals)
- Richmond Roosters (1995–2005, became the Traverse City Beach Bums)
- River City Rascals (1999–2019, folded)
- Rockford Aviators (2013–2015, folded)
- Rockford RiverHawks (2002–2009, moved to Northern League; returned 2011–2012, replaced by Rockford Aviators)
- Slippery Rock Sliders (2007, became the Midwest Sliders)
- Springfield Capitals (1996–2001, became the Rockford Riverhawks)
- Springfield-Ozark Ducks (2004, became the Ohio Valley Redcoats)
- Traverse City Beach Bums (2006–2018, folded)
- Tri-State Tomahawks (1993, folded)
- West Virginia Coal Sox (1993, folded)
- Zanesville Greys (1993–1996, became the River City Rascals)
- 1993 Zanesville Greys
- 1994 Erie Sailors
- 1995 Johnstown Steal
- 1996 Springfield Capitals
- 1997 Canton Crocodiles
- 1998 Springfield Capitals
- 1999 London Werewolves
- 2000 Johnstown Johnnies
- 2001 Richmond Roosters
- 2002 Richmond Roosters
- 2003 Gateway Grizzlies
- 2004 Rockford Riverhawks
- 2005 Kalamazoo Kings
- 2006 Evansville Otters
- 2007 Windy City ThunderBolts
- 2008 Windy City ThunderBolts
- 2009 Lake Erie Crushers
- 2010 River City Rascals
- 2011 Joliet Slammers
- 2012 Southern Illinois Miners
- 2013 Schaumburg Boomers
- 2014 Schaumburg Boomers
- 2015 Traverse City Beach Bums
- 2016 Evansville Otters
- 2017 Schaumburg Boomers
- 2018 Joliet Slammers
- 2019 River City Rascals
- 2020 Season cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
- "Player Eligibility". FrontierLeague.com. March 1, 2020. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
- Chris, Dugan (February 4, 2020). "Frontier League hoping more experience means better baseball". Observer-Reporter. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
- Rovell, Darren (July 25, 2013). "Outcry Spurs Rascals to Ax Ball Policy". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
- "Team History". Washington Wild Things. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
- "Frontier League, Can-Am League to Join Forces". FrontierLeague.com. October 16, 2019.
- Chris Dugan Sports editor [email protected] "Frontier League season canceled". Observer-Reporter. Retrieved June 25, 2020.