Frontier League logo
|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. It operates mostly in cities not served by Major League Baseball 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. It is headquartered in Sauget, Illinois.
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 of the 2013 season, each team has a salary cap of $75,000, and the player salaries range from a minimum of $600 up to $1600 a month. 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 Freedom (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 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.
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 league will continue to feature two divisions, but with different names. The Can-Am Division will feature the five former Can-Am League teams along with the two Frontier League teams that were geographically closest to them (Washington and Lake Erie). The remaining teams will comprise the Midwestern Division.
|Lake Erie Crushers||2009||Avon, Ohio||Sprenger Stadium||5,000|
|New Jersey Jackals||2020||Little Falls, New Jersey||Yogi Berra Stadium||3,784|
|Québec Capitales||2020||Quebec City, Quebec||Stade Canac||4,800|
|Rockland Boulders||2020||Pomona, New York||Palisades Credit Union Park||4,750|
|Sussex County Miners||2020||Augusta, New Jersey||Skylands Stadium||4,200|
|Trois-Rivières Aigles||2020||Trois-Rivières, Quebec||Stade Stereo+||4,500|
|Washington Wild Things||2002||Washington, Pennsylvania||Wild Things Park||5,000|
|Midwestern||Evansville Otters||1995||Evansville, Indiana||Bosse Field||5,181|
|Florence Freedom||2003||Florence, Kentucky||UC Health Stadium||4,500|
|Gateway Grizzlies||2001||Sauget, Illinois||GCS Ballpark||6,000|
|Joliet Slammers||2011||Joliet, Illinois||DuPage Medical Group Field||6,016|
|Schaumburg Boomers||2012||Schaumburg, Illinois||Boomers Stadium||7,365|
|Southern Illinois Miners||2007||Marion, Illinois||Rent One Park||7,000|
|Windy City ThunderBolts||1999||Crestwood, Illinois||Ozinga Field||3,200|