Saturday, June 16, 2007

Interesting Information about the Frontier League

The Frontier League, based in Troy, 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.

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. Many Major League alumni have played for Frontier League teams in an effort get back to the Majors. 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 Jan. 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 Zanesville. Only three teams have won more than one championship: Springfield in 1996 and 1998, Johnstown in 1995 (as the Steal) and in 2000 (as the Johnnies) and Richmond (now Traverse City) in 2001 and 2002. 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 three a-piece

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