Official Press Release (FrontierLeague.com)
(Watch the press conference HERE courtesy of KDKA Pittsburgh)
Two of Independent Professional Baseball’s oldest and most established Leagues are pleased to announce that they will join forces. Beginning with the 2020 season, five former members of the Can-Am League will merge into the Frontier League.
Members of the Frontier League and the new teams from the Can-Am League will make up the 14-team circuit. The New Jersey Jackals, Quebec Capitales, Rockland Boulders, Sussex County Miners and Trois-Rivieres Aigles will play in the Can-Am Division. The Washington Wild Things and Lake Erie Crushers will join the Division as well. The seven remaining teams, the Evansville Otters, Florence Freedom, Gateway Grizzlies, Joliet Slammers, Schaumburg Boomers, Southern Illinois Miners and the Windy City ThunderBolts, will compete in the Midwestern Division.
The League will be the largest in all of Independent Professional Baseball. It brings together strong ownership groups, teams and facilities from each League. It also has some of the longest running teams in the industry. The Evansville Otters began play in 1995 and the New Jersey Jackals started in 1998. Major markets such as New York, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Quebec City and St. Louis will be well represented.
The Frontier League is the oldest independent professional baseball league in the country. It began play in 1993. The League just completed its 27th consecutive season. In those 27 seasons, over 1000 players have been signed by MLB teams. 38 of those players have advanced to play in Major League Baseball.
The Can-Am League’s predecessor was the Northeast League that began play in 1995. Prior to the 2005 season, the Can-Am League name was officially adopted. During those years, more than 135 players have signed contracts with MLB clubs and 16 have advanced to play in Major League Baseball.
Frontier League Commissioner, Bill Lee, who has held that position since 1994, will continue in that role. He states, “I am extremely excited and privileged to be able to make this announcement. These discussions have been ongoing for almost 2 years. The 2019 Frontier League/Can-Am League All-Star Game was the first major step in the Leagues working together. We believe this merger strengthens Independent Professional Baseball as a whole. I want to thank everyone from both Leagues that have worked so hard to make this happen.”
Kevin Winn, Executive Director of the Can-Am League says, “It has been my honor to be a part of this groundbreaking deal and I can’t thank all parties involved enough for getting us to this historic moment. I look forward to seeing where our newly formed alliance heads next and all the Independent Professional Baseball history that is yet to be written.”
All members of the League will be working together to help strengthen all aspects of the Frontier League. Expansion is at the top of the list. The League will be looking at all potential expansion opportunities from the east coast to the Mississippi River in the United States and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Marketing, sponsorship and promotional efforts will also be areas of focus.
2020 will be 28th season for the Frontier League. All teams will play a 96-game schedule. Opening Day will be Thursday, May 14th. The regular season will conclude on Sunday, September 6th. The full 2020 Schedule will be released on Monday, October 21st.