Frontier League
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Frontier League

Frontier League
Frontier League.png
No. of teams14
CountryUnited States
Most recent
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. In 2020, the Frontier League, together with the American Association and the Atlantic League, became an official "MLB Partner League."[1]

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.[2]

Pay in the Frontier League is minimal. For the 2020 season, each team had a salary cap of $85,000 and the player salaries ranged 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.[3]

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 has three teams (Joliet Slammers, Schaumburg Boomers and Windy City ThunderBolts), as does the New York area (New Jersey Jackals, Sussex County Miners, and New York Boulders), 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.[4]

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.[5] 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.

In September 2020, the addition of a team in Ottawa was announced, with a lease to play at RCGT Park.[6][7] Ottawa had been fielding a team in the Can-Am League, the Ottawa Champions, but the Frontier League elected not to absorb the team when the leagues agreed to merge.

On September 24, 2020, Major League Baseball announced that it named the Frontier League a "Partner League" of MLB.[8] This enables collaboration with MLB to jointly discuss marketing and promotional initiatives to grow, expand, and enhance the game of baseball.


Current and future team locations:
  Can-Am Division
  Midwestern Division
  Future team (Division to be announced)

Future teams

Future teams
Team City Stadium Capacity Joining League
Ottawa Ottawa, Ontario, Canada RCGT Park 10,332 2021

Former teams

Franchise timeline

Ottawa (independent pro baseball)Trois-Rivières Aigles (independent pro baseball)Sussex County MinersQuébec CapitalesNew York BouldersNew Jersey JackalsFrontier GreysPennsylvania Road WarriorsSchaumburg BoomersJoliet SlammersNormal CornBeltersLake Erie CrushersSouthern Illinois MinersSlippery Rock SlidersKalamazoo KingsGateway GrizzliesCook County CheetahsCanton CrocodilesRichmond RoostersNewark BuffaloesErie SailorsRiver City RascalsZanesville GreysWest Virginia Coal SoxTri-State TomahawksPortsmouth ExplorersOhio Valley RedcoatsLancaster ScoutsKentucky RiflesChillicothe Paints


See also


  1. ^ "American Association, Frontier League now MLB Partner Leagues". Ballpark Digest. August Publishing. September 24, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ "Player Eligibility". March 1, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ Chris, Dugan (February 4, 2020). "Frontier League hoping more experience means better baseball". Observer-Reporter. Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ "Team History". Washington Wild Things. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  5. ^ "Frontier League, Can-Am League to Join Forces". October 16, 2019.
  6. ^ Reichard, Kevin (September 25, 2020). "Frontier League returns to Ottawa in 2021". Ballpark Digest. August Publications. Retrieved 2020.
  7. ^ Baines, Tim (September 23, 2020). "PLAY BALL! Sam Katz confident baseball will be a hit in Ottawa when it returns next year". Ottawa Sun. Retrieved 2020.
  8. ^ "PressRelease". MLB. MLB. September 24, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  9. ^ Chris Dugan Sports editor "Frontier League season canceled". Observer-Reporter. Retrieved 2020.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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