Indy News & Notes, Lexington Joins Atlantic League, Frontier League Schedule, & Mavericks Announce Managers

Former MLB affiliate the Lexington Legends have officially announced that they will be joining the Atlantic League for the 2021 season.

ATLANTIC LEAGUE WELCOMES LEXINGTON LEGENDS

MLB’s First Professional Partner League Adds Defending South Atlantic League Champions for 2021

(February 18, 2021, New York) – The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) announced today it has welcomed the Lexington Legends to the Atlantic League. The Kentucky team will begin play in the upcoming ALPB 2021 Championship Season.

The former Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, the Lexington Legends were three-time champions of the South Atlantic League, including back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019. They averaged more than 425,000 attendees each year at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, located near downtown Lexington, Kentucky. The team is led by Owner/CEO Andy Shea and Chief Operating Officer Jesse Scaglion. 

“We are excited and honored to join the Atlantic League,” Shea said. “During the 2020 season we created, I had multiple players and fans tell me ‘you pretty much have an Atlantic League roster on the field.’ From that point forward we realized very clearly that the Atlantic League is the premier MLB Partner League and that our community, ballpark, and fanbase are a perfect match. We are also very thankful for the support and partnership with Major League Baseball during this process. Together, we will all be able to continue growing the game of baseball in our local communities and across the globe.”

“We are very excited to add such a high-caliber ballclub to our league,” said Atlantic League President Rick White. “We congratulate Andy Shea and the entire Legends organization. The Legends bring a tradition of outstanding baseball, operating excellence, and dedication to their community that make them a perfect fit for the ALPB.”

“We are thrilled to continue our relationship with the Lexington Legends as they join the Atlantic League in 2021,” said Morgan Sword, MLB’s Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations. “We have developed an excellent working relationship with the Legends and congratulate them on this next step for the franchise.”

White added that the Atlantic League will soon announce additional news regarding the 2021 Championship Season.

About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)

The Atlantic League is the first Professional Partner League of Major League Baseball, a player gateway to the major leagues, and a leader in baseball innovation. ALPB has sent over 950 players to MLB organizations while drawing 42 million fans to its family friendly ballparks over its 24-year history. Please visit www.AtlanticLeague.com

The Frontier League has released their schedule for the 2021 season. The schedule features the new Can-Am division and reduced travel due to the pandemic.

FRONTIER LEAGUE ANNOUNCES 2021 SCHEDULE

The Frontier League has released its schedule for its 28th season, which will feature sixteen clubs playing a 96-game, full-season format.  Opening day for the 2021 season will be on Thursday, May 27, with the regular season concluding on Sunday, September 12.

CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTABLE VERSION OF THE 2021 SCHEDULE

For the 2021 season, the Frontier League will be split into two conferences of two divisions each.  The Can-Am Conference features the New York Boulders, Quebec Capitales, Tri-City ValleyCats, and Trois-Rivieres Aigles in the Atlantic Division plus the New Jersey Jackals, Ottawa Titans, Sussex County Miners, and Washington Wild Things in the Northeast Division.  The Midwestern Conference includes a Central Division of the Lake Erie Crushers, Joliet Slammers, Schaumburg Boomers, and Windy City ThunderBolts and a West Division of the Evansville Otters, Florence Y’alls, Gateway Grizzlies, and Southern Illinois Miners.

In order to minimize travel and to enhance regional rivalries the 2021 schedule will be played largely in-conference.  Washington will have cross-over games with Florence and Lake Erie, both of whom will make a 6-game trip to the Can-Am Conference.  Quebec City and Trois-Rivieres will each make a 6-game trip to the Midwest, with Gateway and Southern Illinois hosting the Capitales while the Aigles visit Schaumburg and Windy City.

The two newest members of the Frontier League battle each other to open the regular season when Tri-City visits Ottawa.   Quebec, New York, Sussex County, Gateway, Lake Erie, Joliet, and Schaumburg also begin 2021 at home.  Trois-Rivieres and Windy City open their home schedules the following night with New Jersey and Florence having their home openers on Saturday, May 29.  Evansville and Southern Illinois return home for Tuesday, June 1 while Tri-City and Washington have their home openers on Friday, June 4.

Due to a compressed schedule and the many logistics involved in staging the event, the Frontier League will not have an All-Star Game in 2021.

Playoffs begin on Tuesday, September 14 with the four division winners qualifying.

Debuting in 1993, the Frontier League is the largest of the Major League Baseball Partner Leagues and features teams stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River and from the Ohio River to the St. Lawrence Seaway.  More information and the complete 2021 schedule can be found at www.frontierleague.com.

Earlier this week, the Frontier League also announced that commisoner Bill Lee would be moving to a new role.

BILL LEE TO BECOME COMMISSIONER EMERITUS

The Frontier League announced today after 27 years as Commissioner, Bill Lee will be retiring and assuming the role of “Commissioner Emeritus” effective March 1st, 2021. Lee has served as Commissioner of the Frontier League since 1994 and will continue to serve as a consultant for the League and attend numerous League functions.

“It has been my honor to serve the Frontier League for more than a quarter of a century”, Lee stated. “It is very gratifying to see how the League has grown to 16 teams and has a partnership with Major League Baseball. I will always treasure the many relationships that were formed over the years with League staff, owners, front office members, managers, coaches, umpires, media, broadcasters and other members of our industry. I mostly want to thank all of the players and fans that truly built the League”.

“Bill Lee has done an outstanding job managing and growing the Frontier League”, stated League President John Stanley. “The League owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Bill for his 27 years of service, and it’s safe to say the League would not exist in it’s present form without Bill’s leadership and hard work”.

After graduating from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a degree in Mass Communications, Lee played in the Atlanta Braves organization and the independent Lone Star League. He then worked for the Birmingham Barons as their Assistant General Manager and Public Relations Director before moving on to become the General Manager of the Chattanooga Lookouts.

While with the Lookouts, Lee was the Southern League’s Executive of the Year in 1989. Just before joining the Frontier League, he was the Vice-President of Sales and Marketing for the Seattle Thunderbirds Hockey Club in the Western Hockey League. Lee was chosen as Marketing Executive of the Year of that League in 1991.

The Frontier League will begin a search for a replacement immediately.

The Frontier League is the largest and longest tenured MLB Partner League, with 16 teams stretching from St. Louis to Quebec City, Canada. For more information go to www.frontierleague.com

The Mavericks League, a newly formed league that will feature mainly collegiate players (at least for their first full season), announced their managers for the upcoming 2021 season.

3 Former Major Leaguers and Oregon State University Back-to-Back National Championship Coaches to guide teams this year.

The Mavericks Independent Baseball League announced their managers for the upcoming season.  Alan Embree, Daniel Robertson, Tony Torcato and Dave Wong will be at the helm.  Embree will manage the Portland Mavericks, Robertson will guide the Campesinos de Salem-Keizer, Torcato will become 13th Manager of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes and Wong will take over the Salem Senators.

Alan Embree was a three-sport letterman at Prairie High School in Brush Prairie, Washington, where he won All-Conference Honors and a state championship in baseball. On June 5, 1989, Alan was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 5th round of the 1989 amateur draft. The left-handed pitcher relied primarily on two pitches – a 90-95 mph four-seam fastball and a devastating slider. Alan made his Major League debut with the Cleveland Indians on September 15, 1992. He pitched in the big leagues for 16 years where in 882 games, he pitched 774 innings with 691 strikeouts.

Alan pitched for the Cleveland Indians (1992, 1995-1996), Atlanta Braves (1997-1998), Arizona Diamondbacks (1998), San Francisco Giants (1999-2001), Chicago White Sox (2001), San Diego Padres (2002), Boston Red Sox (2002-2005), New York Yankees (2005), San Diego Padres (2006), Oakland Athletics (2007-2008), and Colorado Rockies (2009).

In 2004, Alan recorded the final out against the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, and the Boston Red Sox went on to win the World Series, and Alan received his World Series ring on Opening Day, 2005. On July 7, 2000, Alan became only the second major league pitcher to win a game without throwing a pitch. This was because he was able to pick Austin Kearns of the Washington Nationals off at first base. His last major league appearance was July 10, 2009, for the Colorado Rockies.

Former Big Leaguer, Daniel Robertson, was born and raised in Fontana, California, and attended and played baseball for Oregon State University. The Beaver outfielder was drafted by the San Diego Padres in 2008, and on April 23, 2014, he was traded to the Texas Rangers, and called up to the major league the same day, making his major league debut on April 29, 2014. Daniel ended up spending eleven years in professional baseball with the San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners, and Cleveland Indians. He played four seasons at the major league level which included 148 games, he hit 18 doubles, two triples and a home run, accumulating 36 RBI’s, and 6 stolen bases, and finished with a major league career batting average of .262.  His last major league appearance was on June 25, 2017, with the Cleveland Indians. He then signed a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Including his major and minor-league play, Daniel played in nearly 1,200 games, hitting 230 doubles, 44 triples, 44 home runs, and 479 RBI’s.  

While playing for the San Diego Padres, Daniel spent the 2008 summer with the Eugene Emeralds, and was honored at the end of the season by being selected as the 2008 Northwest League Most Valuable Player.

Daniel is not a stranger to Independent League Baseball having played for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball in 2018, the Kansas City T-Bones of the American Association League of Independent Baseball in 2019, and the Cleburne Railroaders of the American Association in 2019.  Daniel also coached at his Alma Mater, Oregon State University.

Tony Torcato was born in Woodland, California, and was drafted in the 1st round, out of Woodland High School, in the 1998 Major League Baseball Draft by the San Francisco Giants. The left-handed hitting outfielder was assigned to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes for the 1998 season appearing in 59 games, batting .291 with 3 homeruns, 2 triples and 15 doubles. 

In 1999, he was promoted to Bakersfield of the High-A California League where he again batted .291 with 4 homeruns and 25 doubles.    2000 saw Tony playing at San Jose of the California League batting .324 with 7 homeruns, and 37 doubles before being promoted to AA Shreveport of the Texas League. In 2001, Tony was promoted to AAA Fresno of the Pacific Coast League where he batted .320.   

In 2002, after 130 games in Fresno where he batted .290 with 13 homeruns and 23 doubles, Tony made his major-league debut on July 26th with the San Francisco Giants as a starting right fielder against the Los Angeles Dodgers and hit a single in his very first at-bat off the Dodgers Hideo Nomo.  Tony played four seasons with the Giants with a career batting average of .298. His last Major League game was April 21, 2005.

After becoming a free agent after the 2005 season, Tony started the 2006 season in the Italian Baseball League with Grosseto, then signed with the Chicago White Sox, and was assigned to AAA Charlotte Knights. In 2007, he signed with the Seattle Mariners, and after being released, played for the Independent League Long Beach Armada and Chico Outlaws.

Dave Wong was All-Conference as a college pitcher and was NAIA All-American as a football defensive end at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. The Kansas City Royals drafted him in the 19th round of the 1980 amateur draft. He was 2-2 with 5 saves and a 1.90 ERA in 24 games for the 1980 GCL Royals Blue, allowing only 30 hits in 52 innings pitched.  He was third in the Gulf Coast League in games pitched, 9th in ERA, and tied for third in saves.

In 1981, the right-hander was 9-6 with 8 saves and a 2.52 ERA in 52 games for the Charleston Royals. He tied for second in the South Atlantic League in pitching appearances, and tied for 7th in saves. The next year, Dave went 4-8 with 15 saves and a 1.79 ERA for the Fort Myers Royals. He tied for third in the Florida State League with 49 games pitched and was third in saves. Wong led Royals minor leaguers in saves while placing 4th in games pitched.  Wong was 5-3 with 7 saves and a 3.38 ERA in 50 games for the 1983 Jacksonville Suns. He ended his career by going 2-0 with 2 saves and a 3.52 ERA for Fort Myers in 1984. Wong’s cumulative minor league record was 22-19 with 37 saves a 2.53 ERA in 190 games. He allowed 250 hits and 154 walks in 327 1/3 IP while fanning 244.

Wong was assistant coach at his alma mater in 1985-1986 and at the University of Portland in 1987-1988. He was MVP of the 1988 National Baseball Congress World Series as a member of the Everett Merchants. From 1991-2003, he was back at Willamette University as head coach, going 287-221-3 and setting the school win record.  From 2006-2008, he was pitching coach of Oregon State University; his son Joey was an infielder there in 2007-2008. Oregon State won the 2006 College World Series and 2007 College World Series.  Among Wong’s pitchers were Kevin GundersonJonah Nickerson and Jorge Reyes, two of whom were named the top player in a College World Series.

The Mavericks League season will begin May 13th when the Portland Mavericks play the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes at Volcanoes Stadium. For further information on the Mavericks League go to www.mavericksindependentleague.com or call the Stadium at 503-390-2225.  Ticket packages are currently on sale for all Mavericks League teams.

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New League Announcement – Mavericks League


Former MiLB affiliated team the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, located in Keizer, Oregon have announced the formation of a new independent league.

By Salem-Keizer Volcanoes

KEIZER, Oregon — The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes have announced the creation of a new Independent Baseball League to begin play this spring at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer. The Mavericks Independent Baseball League will feature top level non-drafted and released players who hope to someday reach the Major Leagues.

The four-team league will feature the return of the Portland Mavericks, a notorious and iconic team from the 1970’s. In addition to the Portland Mavericks, the league will be highlighted with the return of the Salem Senators, a historic and legendary team that originally began play in 1940. The Volcanoes and Campesinos de Salem-Keizer, will also become founding members of the new League.

“We have an unique opportunity to bring baseball back the way it used to be,” said Volcanoes CEO Mickey Walker. “Kind of like the old glory barnstorming days of baseball – except rather than traveling around the country, all the games will be played at Volcanoes Stadium. Many fans remember the Portland Mavericks with great fondness – this League will have that type of popularity. We’ll have open tryouts and select the best players from across the country. This will also provide a place for local athletes to aspire to play someday.” said Walker.

The League will begin play on Thursday, May 13th when the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes will be challenged by the Portland Mavericks – game time is set for 6:35pm. Games will be played every Thursday (6:35pm), Friday (6:35pm), Saturday (1:05pm and 6:35pm) and Sunday (1:05pm and 6:35pm) for 16 consecutive weeks concluding Sunday, August 29th, with playoffs to follow. “We’re even bringing back afternoon baseball,” added Walker. “This will allow even more fans to enjoy the fun.” Season tickets and ticket packages are on sale now – please email mavericksleague2021@gmail.com or call 503-390-2225.

“Businesses will have the opportunity to sponsor a team and/or sponsor an individual player(s). Fans will have the real chance to get to know the players as they will be very accessible, sign autographs and will become a part of the community,” noted Walker.

Players who would like to be considered for the League and be added to the ‘player watch list’ should e-mail their information to mavericksleague2021@gmail.com. All other inquiries should be directed to Mickey Walker at m.walker@volcanoesbaseball.com

Additional information about the Mavericks League, the complete Maverick League 2021 Schedule, Managers and Coaches will be announced in the coming weeks. Businesses that would like to have first opportunity to sponsor a team and/or sponsor an individual player(s) should call Mickey Walker at 503-779-3389.

Mavericks Independent Baseball League | www.mavericksindependentleague.com | 503-390-2225 | mavericksleague2021@gmail.com | Great Fun, Great Friends, Great BaseballVolcanoes' new independent league

Volcanoes’ new independent league

About the Portland Mavericks:

The extremely popular, unique and fun-loving Portland Mavericks were an independent team in the Northwest League of Professional Baseball from 1973 to 1977. They were owned by longtime television actor Bing Russell, best known for his role in the hit television series _“Bonanza”. _Bing was also the father of Hollywood legend, Kurt Russell, who also played for the Mavericks in their inaugural season in 1973.

Bing was an innovator, and his Mavericks bore his trademark. They signed stars – former major league pitcher Jim Bouton – and castoffs from other professional teams. Bing believed everyone deserved a chance to play and realize their dream, and open tryouts were an annual tradition. They hired the first professional female baseball General Manager, and the first Asian-American General Manager. Former Oregon State University standout basketball/baseball player Frank “The Flake” Peters was the player/manager for the team in 1974 and 1975. Frank signed with the Baltimore Orioles, and played ten years of minor league baseball. His motto was “no team rules”. Other notable players were Reggie Thomas, Larry Colton, Terry Jones, Rob Nelson and Dick Rusteck. The batboy was Todd Field who went on to a long career in Hollywood, including being a three-time Academy Award nominee writer and director.

In 1977, the Mavericks last season, they set a record for the highest attendance in short-season play at 125,300 for 33 games. Their success was not limited just to the gate, the Mavericks played for the Northwest League Championship in three consecutive seasons (’75-’77) and posted impressive records of 45-35 (’73), 50-34 (’74), 42-35 (’75), 40-32 (’76) and 44-22 (’77). Their record in 1977 was best in the Northwest League and led them to the Southern Division Championship – winning the division by 22 games!

Welcome back to the fun-loving Portland Mavericks.

About the Salem Senators:

One of the most highly-respected and storied sports team in Oregon history is the Salem Senators. Founded in 1940, and named after Salem, Oregon, the Capital of Oregon, the name has represented many various teams.

Waters Field, previously located at 25th Street, and a block north of Mission, was the home of the Salem Senators. The brand new 5,000 seat stadium was built by George Waters who relocated the Class B Bellingham Chinooks from Bellingham, Washington. A record crowd of 4,865 showed up for the first game; the largest crowd ever to attend a sporting event in Salem at that time. The team went thru many levels of professional baseball – Class A, Class B, Northwest League, Western International League, and in 1961 was renamed the Dodgers after becoming a farm team of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Notable players were future Major League Baseball Hall of Famers Bobby Cox and Mike Piazza, in addition to Jim Lefebrve and Mel Krause who is a member of the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. Waters Field burned down in November, 1966, being set on fire by an arsonist.

However, this tragedy did not derail the Senators as they returned to the Class A Northwest League in 1977. They played their home games at Holland Youth Park prior to moving to Chemeketa Community College. In 1981, team President, Clint Holland, signed a player development agreement with the California Angels changing the name to the Salem Angels participating in the Northwest League. Joe Maddon, who went on to Manage the Anaheim Angels, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Chicago Cubs and California Angels, and win two World Series, was the Manager of the 1982 Salem Angels. Notable players were future major leaguers Mark McLemore, Kirk McCaskill, Bob Kipper, Jack Howell, Ray Chadwick, Dante Bichette, Doug Jennings, Erik Pappas, and Chuck Finley. 1987 was the team’s last season in the Northwest League, and featured OF/3B Ruben Amaro, Jr.

And as they say “what goes around comes around”, and we proudly welcome the Salem Senators back in 2021. The highly-respected and storied team remains after 80 years.

About the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes:

One of the most successful sports franchises in Oregon history is the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. Playing in the Northwest League from 1997 thru 2020, the Volcanoes won 7 Divisional Championships, 5 Northwest League Championships, and have seen 112 players pass thru on their way to the major leagues including super-stars Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Crawford, Joe Nathan, Joe Panik, Sergio Romo and Ryan Vogelsong among many, many more.

Similar to the Salem Senators being created, due to a relocation from Bellingham, Washington to Salem, so were the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. In 1997, Volcanoes owners Jerry and Lisa Walker, along with their partner, Bill Tucker, relocated the Bellingham Giants and built a beautiful new stadium in Keizer – architecturally award-winning Volcanoes Stadium. Thru 2020, the Volcanoes participated exclusively in the Class A Short-Season Northwest League of Professional Baseball.

The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes have won many outstanding awards such as the _2001 Best Class A Short Season franchise in America_, the _2007 National Team of the Year_, and _2017 Minor League Baseball’s Best Promotion. _The 2006 Volcanoes set an all-time Northwest League Record in winning percentage posting a 55-21 record (.724) only to be broken the very next year when the 2007 Volcanoes posted a 57-19 mark (.750). For the period 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 – the Volcanoes were not out of first place, not even for a single day at any time during the season, for 4 consecutive years!!!! The Volcanoes set an all-time attendance mark on July 4, 2006, when 5,627 fans attended the teams Patriotic Tribute – the largest crowd ever to attend a sporting event in Salem-Keizer.

The Volcanoes have been home to the award-winning Cancer Awareness Weekend going on its 20th year. Founded by cancer survivor, Volcanoes owner, Lisa Walker, along with oncologist Dr. Bud Pierce, this widely-recognized weekend recognizes and honors hundreds of cancer survivors with on-the-field ceremonies and gifts. In 2005, Lisa was awarded the prestigious Rawlings National Woman Executive of the Year at Baseball Winter Meetings in Dallas, Texas for her extensive efforts in recognizing cancer survivors.

In 2019, Jerry Howard, of the Volcanoes staff, was awarded the illustrious _Charles K. Murphy National Patriot Award, _at BaseballWinter Meetings in San Diego, California,for his many years of recognizing and honoring our service men and women, and all Veterans, during the Volcanoes’ annual 4th of July Patriotic Tribute.

2020 brought another milestone to the Volcanoes organization, as Mickey Walker, son of Jerry and Lisa Walker, was named Chief Executive Officer of the Volcanoes, and a new generation now leads the Volcanoes forward.

Yes, the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are still going very strongly, and good, wholesome family entertainment remains in the greater Willamette Valley. Thanks to the Walker family, and thousands of dedicated and loyal fans, this storied franchise continues to “PLAY BALL”.

About the Campesinos de Salem-Keizer:

The Campesinos originated in 2019 as part of Minor League Baseball’s “Copa de la Diversion” or “Fun Cup” initiative. A tribute to their hard work, Salem-Keizer’s Campesinos moniker pays tribute to the collective contributions of farm workers toward establishing Oregon as one of the leading agricultural regions in the United States. Campesinos is designed to embrace the culture and values that resonate with the Hispanic/Latino Community of Oregon and the greater Willamette Valley. Campesinos means “farm laborer”, and the world-wide leading agricultural community of Oregon is very fortunate to have these very fine workers, very fine individuals, working on our rich agricultural farms.

The 2021 Campesinos team will be the very first team in the Salem-Keizer area to embrace these outstanding farm workers. “The fact the kids are loving the program made it resonate loudly with us”, said Mickey Walker, CEO for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. “We can hardly wait for the Campesinos to take the field this summer”. You will see _“Campesinos de Salem-Keizer_” hats and shirts everywhere. They are currently on sale at the Volcanoes Stadium Team Store. Minor League Baseball reports crowds were 24.4% larger on “Copa de la Diversion” nights in 2019, and the new logos became a national merchandising sensation.

A special thanks to The Latino Business Alliance, and other local Hispanic community members that were involved in development of the name and brand – especially Everando Castro of Solo, Inc. in Woodburn, Bo Lane and Eric Fisk for their contributions in the logo and brand development. It is easy to be excited about this new team that honors our Hispanic and agriculture community.

Writing and sharing stories about Independent Baseball.