Prospect League

The Prospect League is a collegiate summer baseball league comprising teams of college players from North America and beyond. All players in the league must have NCAA eligibility remaining in order to participate. So as to maintain their college eligibility, players are not paid. Beginning in 2012, the league added four games to the season, making a total of 60 games per team (30 home and 30 road).

Prospect League
Prospect League logo
FormerlyCICL
SportBaseball
Founded1963
Inaugural season2009
CommissionerDennis Bastien
No. of teams12
Country United States
HeadquartersElkville, Illinois
Most recent
champion(s)
Chillicothe Paints
Most titles3 Quincy Gems, West Virginia Miners
TV partner(s)Prospect League TV
Official websiteProspect League

League history

Origin

In 1963, the Central Illinois Collegiate League (CICL), the precursor league to the Prospect league, was formed as a charter member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) summer collegiate baseball program. The league existed under NCAA rules and guidance for 41 years. In 2005, the NCAA ended its official association with summer collegiate baseball; however, the CICL continued to preserve the amateur status of its member athletes by abiding by the rules and regulations of the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball (NACSB).[1] In 2009, the CICL planned to expand to six teams by adding the Hannibal Cavemen, but in winter 2008, the league ownership voted for further expansion.

Dr. Chris Hanners, owner of the Chillicothe franchise and one of the founders of the independent professional Frontier League, wanted to keep a Paints baseball team in Chillicothe. Dr. Hanners, Leo Trich, former Frontier league director of development; General Manager and majority owner of the Butler BlueSox,[2] and Duke Ward, former owner of the Frontier League's Richmond Roosters[3] worked with the ownership of the CICL to form the Prospect League.

The Prospect League began its inaugural season in summer 2009 with the original CICL teams forming the Western Division. Five expansion teams formed the Eastern Division. Three of the Eastern Division teams began play in markets previously served by Frontier League teams. Besides the Chillicothe Paints, the Richmond RiverRats (Richmond, Indiana) played in the previous home of the Frontier League's Richmond Roosters, which are now the Traverse City Beach Bums. The Slippery Rock Sliders (Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania) played in the previous home of the Frontier League team of the same name.[4]

2010 expansion

In 2010, the Prospect League expanded adding four new franchises: the Terre Haute Rex (Terre Haute, Indiana), the West Virginia Miners (Beckley, West Virginia), the DeKalb County Liners (Sycamore, Illinois), and the Nashville Outlaws (Nashville, Tennessee).[5]

Due to a change in team ownership in 2010, the North Coast Knights became the Lorain County Ironmen.[6]

2011 and 2012 team departures

In 2011 the DuPage Dragons franchise folded after five years with the CICL (2006–08) and Prospect League (2009–10). As a result the league returned to a 2-division format after having 3 divisions in 2010. Richmond was moved to the six-team Eastern Division, while Danville, Nashville, Terre Haute, and Dubois County were moved to the eight-team Western Division.

Before the 2012 season, the Nashville Outlaws folded, and the DeKalb County Liners left the league to join the Midwest Collegiate League, leaving the Prospect League with twelve teams in two, six-team divisions. The 2012 schedule consisted of 60 games with no "cross-over" games; with all games played among teams from the same division only. The only time teams from opposite divisions meet is in the Championship Series.

Expansion into New York

For the 2015 season, the league added its easternmost team yet, the Jamestown Jammers (Jamestown, New York).[7] The Kokomo Jackrabbits (Kokomo, Indiana) were also added to the league to play in the new Kokomo Municipal Stadium, set to open for the 2015 season.[8] After the 2015 season, the Richmond RiverRats folded,[9] and the Jamestown Jammers moved to the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League after just one season in the Prospect League.[10]

Lafayette and DuPage join the league

The league stayed at 12 total teams for the 2016 season by adding the new Lafayette Aviators (Lafayette, Indiana) and DuPage Drones (Lisle, Illinois).[11][12][13]

2017 contraction

For the 2017 season, the league contracted to 10 teams, as the Hannibal Cavemen and DuPage Drones both ceased operation. [14] Hannibal reentered the league for the 2018 season as the Hannibal Hoots.[15]

2019 expansion and reorganization

The league returned to a twelve team league for the 2019 season with the addition of the Cape Catfish in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, the departure of the Kokomo Jackrabbits to the Northwoods League, the addition of the Normal CornBelters from the Frontier League and the addition of the DuPage Pistol Shrimp in Lisle, Illinois.[16][17][18]

The 2019 league featured two divisions, each with six teams. The West Division consisted of the Cape Catfish, DuPage Pistol Shrimp, Hannibal Hoots, Normal CornBelters, Quincy Gems and the Springfield Sliders. The East Division consisted of the Champion City Kings, Chillicothe Paints, Danville Dans, Lafayette Aviators, Terre Haute REX and the West Virginia Miners.[19]

Members

Current Members

Western Division
Team FoundedStadiumCity Capacity Joined
Cape Catfish 2018Capaha FieldCape Girardeau, Missouri 2,000 2019
DuPage Pistol Shrimp 2019Benedictine University Baseball StadiumLisle, Illinois 1,000 2019
Normal CornBelters 2009The Corn CribNormal, Illinois 7,000 2019
O'Fallon TBA 2020CarShield FieldO'Fallon, Missouri 5,150 2020
Quincy Gems 1996QU StadiumQuincy, Illinois 2,500 2009
Springfield Sliders 2007Robin Roberts Stadium at Lanphier ParkSpringfield, Illinois 5,200 2009
Eastern Division
Team StadiumCity
Champion City Kings 2009Carleton Davidson StadiumSpringfield, Ohio 1,077 2009
Chillicothe Paints 1993V.A. Memorial StadiumChillicothe, Ohio 3,000+ 2009
Danville Dans 1989Danville StadiumDanville, Illinois 4,000 2009
Lafayette Aviators 2015Alexander FieldLafayette, Indiana 1,500 2015
Terre Haute Rex 2010Bob Warn Field at Sycamore StadiumTerre Haute, Indiana 2,500 2010
West Virginia Miners 2010Linda K. Epling StadiumBeckley, West Virginia 2,500 2010

Charter members: Butler BlueSox, Champion City Kings (as the Slippery Rock Sliders), Chillicothe Paints, Danville Dans, DuPage Dragons, Hannibal Cavemen, Richmond RiverRats, Springfield Sliders, Quincy Gems

On September 26, 2019, The Prospect League announced that the Hannibal Hoots will relocate to O’Fallon, Missouri, for the 2020 season.

Former Members

Team City Joined Left Current League
Butler BlueSox Butler, Pennsylvania 2009 2018 none (defunct)
DuPage Dragons Lisle, Illinois 2009 2011 none (defunct)
DuPage Drones Lisle, Illinois 2016 2016 none (defunct)
Hannibal Cavemen Hannibal, Missouri 2009 2016 none (defunct)
Hannibal Hoots Hannibal, Missouri 2018 2019 O'Fallon, Missouri Franchise 2020
Jamestown Jammers Jamestown, New York 2015 2015 none (defunct)
Kokomo Jackrabbits Kokomo, Indiana 2015 2018 Northwoods League
Nashville Outlaws Nashville, Tennessee 2010 2012 none (defunct)
Richmond RiverRats Richmond, Indiana 2009 2015 none (defunct)

The Cape Catfish, DuPage Pistol Shrimp and Normal CornBelters joined the league in the 2019, replacing the Kokomo Jackrabbits, who left for the Northwoods League,[20] and the Butler BlueSox, who suspended operations.[21]

Division and League Champions

Playoff Format

2009: After 56-game schedule, teams with best record in each division faced each other in a best-of-three series for the Championship.

2010: 56-game schedule divided in two halves. Winners from each half in each division faced each other in a one-game playoff (home field to team with best overall record). Where the same team won both halves in a division, the team with the next-best overall record from that division was declared the wild card. Championship Series was a two-game affair with the divisional playoff winner with the best overall record receiving a bye into the Championship Game. The remaining two divisional playoff winners met in a one-game play-in for the right to go to the Championship Game. Championship Series held at Chillicothe, Ohio.

Teams in italics qualified for that season's playoffs as a wild card entry under that particular season's playoff format.

2011: 56-game schedule divided in two halves. Winners from each half in each division faced each other in a one-game playoff (home field to team winning the first half). Where the same team won both halves in a division, the team with the next-best overall record from that division was declared the wild card. Divisional playoff winners met in one-game playoff with home field awarded to the team with the best overall record from the regular season.

2012: 60-game schedule divided in two halves. Winners from each half in each division to face each other in a one-game playoff to be hosted by the first-half champions in each division. If the same team wins both halves, the team with the best overall record from that division will be declared the wild card. Winners of each divisional playoff game will meet in a best-of-three Championship Series, with home advantage given to the division that wins the annual All-Star Game (to be held in Butler, PA). Game One of the Championship Series will be played at the home field of the team from the losing division at the All-Star Game, with Game Two and Game Three (if necessary) held at the home field of the team from the winning division at the All-Star Game.

2013–2016: 60-game schedule divided into two halves. Winners from each half in each division to face each other in a best-of-three with game one being held at second-half winner and games two and three (if necessary) at home of first-half winner. There are no travel days in the Division Series. Each division champion plays in the best-of-three Prospect League Championship Series. Game one is held at the home of the team representing the division that lost that year's All-Star Game. Games two and three (if necessary) are held at the home of the team representing the division that won that year's All-Star Game.

2017–present: After a 60-game schedule, the top two teams in the East Division and the West Division play each other in the first round in a best of 3 series with the first place teams getting home field advantage. The winner of the East Division and West Division series face off in a best-of-three Prospect League Championship series with the team with the best record getting home field advantage.

Championship Results

Championship Results
Year East Division/Playoff Champion West Division/Playoff Champion League Champions
2009 Chillicothe Paints 0 Quincy Gems 2 Quincy Gems
2010 Chillicothe Paints 1 Danville Dans 0 Chillicothe Paints
2011 West Virginia Miners 0 Quincy Gems 1 Quincy Gems
2012 West Virginia Miners 2 Dubois County Bombers 0 West Virginia Miners
2013 West Virginia Miners 2 Quincy Gems 0 West Virginia Miners
2014 Chillicothe Paints 1 Quincy Gems 2 Quincy Gems
2015 West Virginia Miners 0 Terre Haute Rex 2 Terre Haute Rex
2016 West Virginia Miners 2 Quincy Gems 0 West Virginia Miners
2017 Butler BlueSox 1 Lafayette Aviators 2 Lafayette Aviators
2018 Kokomo Jackrabbits 0 Terre Haute Rex 2 Terre Haute Rex
2019 Chillicothe Paints 2 Cape Catfish 1 Chillicothe Paints
Championship Appearances by Club
Total Titles Team Last
5 3 West Virginia Miners 2016
5 3 Quincy Gems 2016
4 2 Chillicothe Paints 2019
2 2 Terre Haute Rex 2018
1 1 Lafayette Aviators 2017
1 0 Danville Dans 2010
1 0 Dubois County Bombers 2012
1 0 Butler BlueSox 2017
1 0 Kokomo Jackrabbits 2018
1 0 Cape Catfish 2019

Awards

Mike Schmidt Award winners (Player of the Year)

YearWinnerPositionTeam
2009Tyler BullockCatcherRichmond River Rats
2010Jeff HolmOutfielderChillicothe Paints
2011Chris SerritellaFirst BasemanQuincy Gems
2012Matt TellorInfielderSpringfield Sliders
2013Matt CalhounInfielderSlippery Rock Sliders
2014Ronnie DawsonOutfielderChillicothe Paints
2015David MarcusFirst BasemanButler Bluesox
2016Aaron MeyerSecond BasemanDuPage Drones
2017Dougie ParksThird BasemanLafayette Aviators
2019 Andrew Stone Outfeilder Cape Catfish

Pitcher of the Year Award winners

YearWinnerThrowsTeam
2009Rusty ShellhornLeftNorthcoast Knights
2010Dean WolosianskiRightWest Virginia Miners
2011Clayton SchulzLeftChillicothe Paints
2012Kris Gardner (LH Starter), Sam Lewis (RH Starter), Nick Blount (Reliever)Hannibal Cavemen, West Virginia Miners, Terre Haute Rex
2013Wes JudishRightHannibal Cavemen
2014Adam Bleday (LH Starter), Chase Boster (RH Starter), Kolin Stanley (Reliever)Butler BlueSox, West Virginia Miners, West Virginia Miners
2015Tanner AllisonLeftChillicothe Paints
2016Brian HobbieRightTerre Haute Rex
2017Brad DeppermanRightLafayette Aviators
2019 Bryan McNeely Right Cape Catfish

References

  1. "CICL:About Us". Retrieved 2009-06-08.
  2. "Blue Sox Staff". Archived from the original on 2009-05-19. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
  3. "Franchise gives Richmond hope for baseball". Retrieved 2009-06-08.
  4. "Sliders in Ypsi for '09 season". Retrieved 2009-06-08.
  5. "Prospect League Announces Expansion Team in Nashville". Retrieved 2010-01-23.
  6. "North Coast Knights become the Lorain County Ironmen". Archived from the original on 2012-03-02. Retrieved 2010-02-20.
  7. "Prospect League Team Keeping Jammers Name". The Post-Journal. Jamestown, New York. January 17, 2015. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  8. Jackrabbits name, logo, and manager reveal, archived from the original on 2016-02-12
  9. Jimenez, Jesus (10 October 2015). "'Rats say so long". Palladium-Item. Gannett Company. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  10. Jamestown Jammers Join PGCBL, archived from the original on 2016-02-12
  11. 2016 Schedule Announced, archived from the original on 2016-02-12
  12. Lafayette, Fans Select Logo for New Team, archived from the original on 2016-02-12
  13. DuPage Drones Logo Unveiled, archived from the original on 2016-02-12
  14. "Hannibal Cavement to 'suspend operations' for 2017 season". Hannibal Courier-Post. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  15. Graeler, Kevin. "Final countdown: Hannibal Hoots prep for inaugural season". Hannibal Courier. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  16. "Prospect League Notebook: Gems change color scheme, Cape Girardeau franchise named, Tennessee may get team". Herald-Whig. May 30, 2018. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  17. Spedden, Zach (July 5, 2018). "Jackrabbits Shifting to Northwoods League". Ballpark Digest. August Publications. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  18. randy.reinhardt@lee.net, Randy Reinhardt. "CornBelters to join Prospect League under new ownership". pantagraph.com. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  19. "NEW FOR 2019: DuPage Pistol Shrimp | Prospect Collegiate Baseball LLC". www.prospectleague.com. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  20. Staff, Tribune Sports. "Jackrabbits to join Northwoods League in 2019". Kokomo Tribune. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  21. "Butler BlueSox Won't Play Next Summer - ButlerRadio.com - Butler, PA". ButlerRadio.com - Butler, PA. 2018-08-28. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
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