Springfield Sliders

The Springfield Sliders are a collegiate summer league baseball team in the United States Prospect League. They play at Robin Roberts Stadium at Lanphier Park and are based in the city of Springfield, Illinois. The Sliders formed in November 2007[1] and were an expansion franchise for the 2008 season. The Sliders and other collegiate summer leagues and teams exist to give top college players professional-like experience without affecting NCAA eligibility.

Springfield Sliders

Team Logo
LeagueProspect League (West Division)
LocationSpringfield, Illinois
BallparkRobin Roberts Stadium at Lanphier Park
Year founded2007
League championships1 (2008)
Former league(s)Central Illinois Collegiate League (2008)
OwnershipTodd Miller
ManagementTodd Miller (GM)
ManagerJeremiah Knackstedt
MediaThe State Journal-Register

The Central Illinois Collegiate League (CICL) season was divided into two halves with the first half winner playing the second half winner in a best-of-three series. The Sliders dominated the first half of the 2008 season with a 20-4 record, winning by seven games. Springfield won the CICL Regular Season Championship with a 30-17 record, leaving the 2nd place team 4.5 games behind. In the 2008 playoffs, Springfield defeated the Danville Dans in three games to win the 2008 CICL Championship.[2]

The CICL merged with the Prospect League after the 2008 season, with the Prospect League name carrying forward into the 2009 season and beyond. Today, the Sliders are a member of the West Division of the Prospect League along with the Cape Catfish, DuPage Pistol Shrimp, Hannibal Hoots, Normal CornBelters and Quincy Gems.[3]


The Sliders are the third collegiate wood bat franchise in Springfield. The Springfield Capitals were the first, operating from 1963 to 1977. After the 1977 season, the Capitals ceased operations to make way for a minor league team, the Springfield Redbirds, for the 1978 season. The Springfield Redbirds would serve as the Triple A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals for four seasons, winning an American Association championship in 1980.[4]

After the Redbirds controversially[5] moved to Louisville for the 1982 season and became the Louisville Redbirds, Springfield was without a baseball team for one season.

The Springfield Rifles began play in 1983 and were members of the CICL through 1995. Beginning in 1996 and running through 2006, when the team folded after the season because of financial constraints, the Rifles were a member of the Frontier League.[6] The Rifles played their home games at Lincoln Land Community College for all but one season, and suffered from extremely low attendance.[7][8]

The Sliders won their first game in franchise history against the Quincy Gems, 7-3.[9]

The team won the Western Division championship in 2010 (won both halves of the season) and played in the Western Division championship series after the 2016 as the 2nd Half champions, but lost the series to the Quincy Gems.[10]

The inclusion of the Gems in the 2016 series was controversial due to the Prospect League allowing an extra game played by the Gems to count in the standings for the season's 1st Half. The Gems and the DuPage Drones played a 31st game[11], while the remaining four teams only played thirty games. The Sliders, had the Gems only been able to count thirty games for the season's 1st Half, would have won both halves of the season, as they held a tiebreaker over the Gems. Such a decision would have seen the Sliders and Drones play in the Western Division championship series, as the Drones had the second-best overall season record in the division.[12] Quincy would go on to lose the Prospect League Championship Series to the West Virginia Miners.[13] The Prospect League has since abandoned the first half winner and second half winner playoff format, instead opting to have the two teams with the best overall season records in each division advance to their respective divisional playoffs.

Gun giveaway controversy

During the 2016 season, the Sliders announced that an in-game promotion during their June 22nd game against the DuPage Drones would feature a 50/50 drawing for a choice of several guns.[14] The promotion drew attention and anger from a number of fans in the local community, given the short amount of time between the giveaway and the mass murder of 49 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.[15] The team's owner and General Manager, Todd Miller, told local media outlets that he gave thought to cancelling the giveaway, planned well in advance of the terrorist act,[16] but instead chose to go forward with the promotion.[17] Miller and the owner of the gun store providing the firearms emphasized that the weapons would not be at the stadium during the giveaway and that the winner would still have to comply with all applicable laws for purchasing a gun, in order to claim their prize.[18] The game saw triple the number of fans in attendance than a typical game that season.[19] The team has since given away two more guns at its games.[20]

Former Sliders in professional baseball

Since joining the Prospect League for the 2009 season, the Sliders have seen several players[21][22][23] drafted by MLB teams. Most recently, Chatham, Illinois (just outside of Springfield) native Nick Maton was selected in the 2017 MLB draft by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 7th round.[24] As of August 7, 2019, no former members of the Sliders have appeared in an MLB game, with Maton, and Elliot Soto[25] being the only currently active players in an MLB organization. Maton is currently assigned to the Clearwater Threshers, an Advanced A affiliate of the Phillies. Soto is currently assigned to the Albuquerque Isotopes, the AAA affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.


SeasonManagerRecordWin %LeagueDivisionGBPost-season recordPost-season win %Post-season resultNotes
2008Ryan Sawyers[26]30–17.6381st1st-League Champions
2009Jack Clark[27]22–32.4070-0.000-
2010Jack Clark35–19.6481st1st0–1.000
2011Danny Cox[28]25–30.4556th6th12½0–0.000
2012Pete Romero24-36.4005th5th140–0.000
2013Pete Romero[29]11–47.1905th5th290–0.000
2014Pete Romero[30] / Vic Aure[31]14–46.2335th5th25.50–0.000
2015Casey Dill[32]29-30.4924th4th13.50–0.000
2016Zac Charbonneau[33]39–20.6611st1st-0–2.000
2017Randy Guite[34]26–34.4335th5th100–0.000-
2018Steve Leonetti[35]28–30.4837th4th7.00–0.000
2019Jeremiah Knackstedt[36]12–48.20012th6th31.00–0.000Prospect League record 26 game losing streak[37]; League record 48 overall losses


    The Sliders play at Robin Roberts Stadium. The stadium opened in 1928 and was renovated/expanded over the years to its current 5,200[38] seat capacity. During the 2017 season, 29,532 fans attended Sliders games at Robin Roberts stadium, ranking the facility as the fourth-most visited stadium in the Prospect League.[39] The stadium has been the home to a number of minor league and independent teams since it opened in 1928.[40] During the 2019 season, just under 28,000 fans attended Sliders games at the stadium, ranking the facility as the third-most visited stadium in the Prospect League,[41] despite the team's on-field performance, which saw it set a new league record for most losses in a season at 48.[42]


    1. Springfield Sliders News Archived 28 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
    2. "2008 Tournament". www.ciclbaseball.com.
    3. "NEW FOR 2019: DuPage Pistol Shrimp | Prospect Collegiate Baseball LLC". www.prospectleague.com. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
    4. "Springfield Redbirds - BR Bullpen". www.baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
    5. "Take me out to the ballgame". Retrieved 13 June 2018.
    6. "Frontier League (Independent) Encyclopedia and History | Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
    7. Dettro, Chris (7 June 2008). "Working the count: Sliders add to list of things to do around town". The State Journal-Register. Retrieved 18 August 2008.
    8. Springfield is back in the CICL Accessed 6 June 2008.
    9. "News Radio 1240 WTAX Springfield, IL".
    10. "Gems loose, relaxed in quest for fourth Prospect League title". Herald-Whig. 20160810082643. Retrieved 2018-05-31. Check date values in: |date= (help)
    11. "Prospect Collegiate Baseball LLC | Pointstreak Stats". prospectleague.wttbaseball.pointstreak.com. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
    12. "Prospect League - standings". Pointstreak Sports Technologies. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
    13. "West Virginia Miners Win Prospect League Championship - WISR 680 AM - Butler, PA". WISR 680 AM - Butler, PA. 14 August 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
    14. "Sliders Proceeding With Gun Giveaway". US 92.7. 21 June 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
    15. "Gun Giveaway Upsets Some Springfield Sliders Fans". Retrieved 13 June 2018.
    16. Porter, Matt (23 June 2016). "Springfield baseball club offers gun in raffle". ILLINOISHOMEPAGE. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
    17. Reynolds, John. "Sliders to raffle off gun at Wednesday's baseball game". The State Journal. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
    18. Illinois, Brendan Cullerton / Fox. "Springfield Sliders' Gun Giveaway Causes Controversy". WRSP. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
    19. Kwon, Esther. "Springfield Sliders Hold Controversial Gun Giveaway". WICS. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
    20. Illinois, Joe Cadotte, Fox. "Sliders give fans third gun in a year". WRSP. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
    21. "Josh Parr - 2011 - University of Illinois". Retrieved 13 June 2018.
    22. "Elliot Soto Drafted By Chicago Cubs in 15th Round Of MLB Draft". Creighton University. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
    23. "Reilly Peltier Minor Leagues Statistics & History | Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
    24. "Nick Maton Minor Leagues Statistics & History | Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
    25. "Elliot Soto Minor & Fall Leagues Statistics & History | Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
    26. "Ryan Sawyers Bio :: Purdue University :: Official Athletic Site". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
    27. Report, Staff. "Sliders' manager job goes to former Cardinals slugger Clark". The State Journal. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
    28. PILGER, HAL. "Sliders hire ex-Cards hurler Danny Cox as pitching coach". The State Journal. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
    29. Crawford, Sean. "Play Ball! Sliders Begin 2013 Season". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
    30. Editor, Jim Ruppert Sports. "Springfield Sliders, amid losing season, remove Pete Romero as manager". The State Journal. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
    31. Mahan, Ryan (26 May 2015). "New manager Casey Dill puts his stamp on Springfield Sliders". The State Journal-Register. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
    32. Writer, Ryan Mahan, Staff. "New manager Casey Dill puts his stamp on Springfield Sliders". The State Journal. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
    33. "Sliders Hire Charbonneau as Field Manager | Prospect Collegiate Baseball LLC". www.prospectleague.com. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
    34. Coy, David. "Sliders Manager Randy Guite learning a lot in his 1st season". WICS. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
    35. report, Staff. "Sliders tab Leonetti as field manager". The State Journal. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
    36. "Jeremiah Knackstedt to Manage Springfield Sliders in 2019". Collegiate Summer Baseball Register. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
    37. "IT'S FINALLY OVER, SLIDERS SNAP 26 GAME LOSING STREAK | Prospect Collegiate Baseball LLC". www.prospectleague.com. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
    38. "Springfield Park District - Robin Roberts Stadium". www.springfieldparks.org. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
    39. "Prospect League Attendance Up in 2017 | Prospect Collegiate Baseball LLC". pointstreaksites.com. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
    40. "Robin Roberts Stadium | SangamonLink". sangamoncountyhistory.org. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
    41. Reichard, Kevin (12 August 2019). "2019 Summer Collegiate Attendance by Average". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
    42. "PROSPECT LEAGUE PROSPECT(US) | Prospect Collegiate Baseball LLC". www.prospectleague.com. Retrieved 13 August 2019.

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