Tag Archives: Bill Lee

Frontier League, Can-Am League Join Forces

Official Press Release (FrontierLeague.com)

FRONTIER LEAGUE, CAN-AM LEAGUE TO JOIN FORCES

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(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.

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Can-Am and Frontier All-Star Rosters Announced

This year, the Can-Am and Frontier Leagues are coming together for one All-Star game, hosted by the Rockland Boulders on July 10th.

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Both leagues have officially announced their All-Star rosters for next week’s game.

CAN-AM LEAGUE ALL-STAR ROSTER ANNOUNCED

Release courtesy Rockland Boulders

Rockland County, N.Y. – The Can-Am League announced its selections for the 2019 All-Star Game, which will be hosted by the Rockland Boulders at Palisades Credit Union Park in Rockland County, N.Y. All-Star Week events, presented by Good Samaritan Hospital, start on Tuesday July 9 with an 11:00 a.m. luncheon, with the Home Run Derby to follow at 7:30 that evening. On Wednesday, July 10, the Can-Am and Frontier Leagues square off for the first time ever with game time at 7:00 pm.

A total of 26 players comprise the roster for the Can-Am League, with the defending league champion Sussex County Miners placing eight, followed by Rockland and the New Jersey Jackals (5 each), the Trois-Rivieres Aigles and Ottawa Champions (3), and the Quebec Capitales (2). Sussex County Manager Bobby Jones will lead the squad on the heels of his crew’s first ever Can-Am League championship in 2018.

For the first time, one player from each of the Can-Am’s six teams was selected from a pool of nominees by fan balloting and input from managers. That group includes: Conrad Gregor (New Jersey), Jiandido Tromp (Ottawa), Ryne Birk (Rockland), Ryan Newell (Sussex County), and Garrett Mundell (Trois-Rivieres). Quebec’s Karl Gelinas was also selected but is unable to participate due to injury. The veteran hurler will be in attendance, however, as he was named Honorary Team Captain and Pitching Coach for the contest.

“The Can-Am League couldn’t be prouder that we are hosting the Frontier League in the 2019 All-Star Game,” noted Can-Am Executive Director Kevin Winn.” They bring 27 years of tradition with them as the oldest continuously operating independent league. I want to thank Commissioner Bill Lee, all the owners, executives, coaching staff and players. Two premier leagues are facing off in a premier ballpark.” 

Lee is in his 26th season as Frontier League commissioner. Lee will oversee a cross-league All-Star Game between the two circuits for the first time in history.

“We are extremely pleased and excited to be playing the Can-Am League All-Stars,” Lee said. “Everyone is looking forward to coming to the New York area. This is an unprecedented game for our League. We want to thank all of the owners, teams and Kevin Winn for making this possible. Above all, we want to thank Shawn Reilly and the entire Rockland Boulders staff for their hard work.” 

Reilly, president of the Rockland Boulders, will be the host of this year’s event. “It is exciting that the best young talent in professional baseball is coming to New York City, the baseball and media capital of the world, to showcase our leagues,” Reilly said. “We are proud to host this historical matchup in our beautiful Palisades Credit Union Park and give our fans an event they will never forget.” Tickets for all All-Star Week events are available at rocklandboulders.com, or call 845-364-0009 for more information.

2019 Can-Am League All-Stars

Pitchers (11):

Catchers (2):

Infielders (7):

Outfielders (4):

Utility (1):

All- Star Week Events Schedule

Tuesday, July 9 – 11:00 am, at New York Country Club – Guest Speaker, New York Yankees broadcaster John Sterling.

Tuesday, July 9 – 7:30 pm at Palisades Credit Union Park – Home Run Derby, featuring Legends Team, including Mookie Wilson, Jesse Barfield, and John Flaherty.

Wednesday, July 10 – 7:00 pm at Palisades Credit Union Park – All-Star Game featuring Can-Am League vs. Frontier League.

OFF TO THE BIG APPLE: 2019 FRONTIER LEAGUE ALL-STAR ROSTER

Release courtesy Frontier League

*NOTE: all statistics provided are as of June 26, 2019.

SAUGET, IL — The Frontier League of Professional Baseball is pleased to announce its roster for the 2019 All-Star Game, which will take place in Rockland County, New York. The game will be played at Palisades Credit Union Park, home of the Rockland Boulders of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball (Can-Am League), on Wednesday, July 10.

In a collaborative effort, members of the Frontier and Can-Am Leagues worked together this offseason to make the event possible. Can-Am Executive Director Kevin Winn acted as a critical part in the process.

“The Can-Am League couldn’t be prouder that we are hosting the Frontier League in the 2019 All Star Game,” Winn said. “They bring 27 years of tradition with them as the oldest continuously operating independent league. I want to thank Commissioner Bill Lee, President Rich Sauget, all the Owners, Executives, Coaching Staff and Players. Two Premier Leagues facing off in a Premier Ballpark.”

Bill Lee is in his 26thseason as Frontier League Commissioner. Lee will oversee a cross-league All-Star Game for the first time in independent history.

“We are extremely pleased and excited to be playing the Can-Am League All-Stars,” Lee said. “Everyone is looking forward to coming to the New York area. This is an unprecedented game for our League. We want to thank all of the owners, teams and Executive Director Kevin Winn for making this possible. Above all, we want to thank Shawn Reilly and the entire Rockland Boulders staff for their hard work.”

Shawn Reilly, President of the Rockland Boulders, will be the host of this year’s event.

“It is exciting that the best young talent in professional baseball is coming to New York City, the baseball and media capital of the world, to showcase our Leagues,” Reilly said. “We are proud to host this historical matchup in our beautiful Palisades Credit Union Park and give our fans an event they will never forget.”

Managing the Frontier League All-Star team will be Dennis Pelfrey of the Florence Freedom. Pelfrey also managed the 2017 Frontier League All-Star Game. His staff will feature Freedom hitting coach Drew Martinez and Freedom bench coach Mike Morris.

“It’s truly an honor to represent the Frontier League in the All-Star Game and even more so with our All-Stars playing against another league’s All-Star team,” Pelfrey said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to showcase our best players so we can elevate the already positive reputation of our league.”

The game will be played between representatives of the Frontier and Can-Am Leagues for the first time in history. Its unique dynamic offers a new and unique perspective across the independent professional scene.

“I believe this dynamic of an All-Star Game between two leagues can really provide opportunities and information for future players when choosing to play independent baseball,” Pelfrey said. “This All-Star game will show the competition level of both leagues and exactly what independent baseball is about. The electricity in the ballpark that night is going to be something you shouldn’t miss!”

Pelfrey will work with a number of familiar faces, as a League-leading six Freedom are recognized as Frontier League All-Stars. The Evansville Otters and Southern Illinois Miners are second with four, the River City Rascals have three, while the Schaumburg Boomers, Washington Wild Things, Joliet Slammers and Gateway Grizzlies have two. The Windy City ThunderBolts and Lake Erie Crushers have one representative, respectively.

The Freedom’s Austin Wobrock, who made this sensational playearlier in the year, earned his second All-Star nod. The shortstop is hitting .275 on the season with seven doubles and nine stolen bases.

Joining Wobrock is outfielder Ricky Ramirez Jr., as well as pitchers Tyler Gibson, Mike Castellani, Jonathan Tripp and Brian McKenna. Ramirez Jr. is hitting .282 with three home runs, seven doubles and an .844 OPS.

Gibson is an All-Star for the first time with his 2.76 ERA across seven starts and two complete games. Left-hander Castellani will attend his first All-Star Game as well following an impressive 2.25 ERA across 52 innings.

Both Tripp and McKenna are tied for a team-lead in appearances with 15. McKenna leads his team among relievers in strikeouts with 26 over 16.2 innings, while Tripp has yet to allow an earned run in 19 innings. It will be McKenna’s first All-Star appearance. It will be Tripp’s second consecutive All-Star season.

The Otters will send first baseman Carlos Castro, third baseman Ryan Long, catcher Rob Calabrese and relief pitcher Taylor Wright to New York. It will be the first All-Star game for Castro, Calabrese and Wright. Long will attend for the second consecutive season.

Long leads the League in RBI’s with 34 and is tied for the lead in home runs with seven, while also ranking in the top-10 in doubles (11), hits (41), walks (23), on-base percentage (.402) and slugging percentage (.524).

Calabrese is in his first Frontier League season after spending two years in affiliated ball with the San Francisco Giants. He is hitting .292 with an .897 OPS through 29 games. Castro, meanwhile, has six home runs in his second Frontier League season. Wright, a right-handed pitcher, has struck out 30 compared to six walks in 24.1 innings and sports a 1.11 ERA to go along with his four saves.

Four Miners will make the trip from Marion to Rockland County, as third baseman Gianfranco Wawoe, shortstop Bryant Flete, catcher Andy Cosgrove and right-handed starter Chase Cunningham are All-Stars.

Cunningham earned his second All-Star nod thanks in part to his League-leading 59 innings pitched accompanied by a 2.90 ERA. Flete (.388) and Wawoe (.331) rank first and second in the Frontier League in batting average, while Cosgrove (.319) ranks first among catchers in batting average. The three aforementioned will be making their first All-Star appearances.

Trevor Achenbach, Braxton Martinez and Kameron Esthay will represent River City as All-Stars for the first time in their respective careers. Achenbach is fourth in the Frontier League in batting average at .314. Martinez has walked nearly as much as he has struck out this season (28 BB/32 K) and has powered his way to 12 doubles and six home runs. Esthay, meanwhile, is hitting .284 with 13 doubles and a .794 OPS.

Washington’s J.J. Fernandez and Hector Roa are All-Stars for the first time as well. Fernandez is among the most productive bats in the Frontier League, as the 25-year-old is slashing .291/.382/.473 with five home runs, eight doubles, two triples, 23 RBI and 22 walks. Roa ranks second with 30 RBI and owns a .285 batting average and .494 slugging percentage.

Schaumburg will send catcher Nick Oddo and closer Connor Eller to the All-Star Game. It will be Oddo’s second selection and Eller’s first. Oddo leads his Boomers with a .311 batting average and 10 doubles. Eller leads the League in saves with nine and owns a 1.80 ERA over 20 innings pitched.

The Grizzlies have two first time All-Stars, featuring outfielder Shawon Dunston Jr. and reliever Dakota Smith. Dunston Jr., who is batting .271 through 35 games, is tied for second in the League in steals with 16. Smith, in his fourth season in Gateway, has 33 strikeouts in 21.2 innings pitched.

Joliet’s Chaz Meadows and Daren Osby also earned All-Star bids. Meadows is now a two-time All-Star, while Osby will partake in his first. The right-handed throwing Osby is averaging a strikeout per inning over 40.1 on top of his 2.67 ERA. The shortstop Meadows is tied for the team lead in hits with 40.

Left-handed starter Patrick Ledet will represent Lake Erie as their lone All-Star. Ledet ranks third in the League in ERA at 1.90 and has struck out 48 compared to nine walks in 52 innings pitched. It will be Ledet’s first All-Star appearance.

Rounding out the Frontier League All-Star roster is Windy City right-hander Tyler Thornton. Thornton boasts a 2.81 ERA through 32 innings pitched and is a first time All-Star.

FRONTIER LEAGUE ALL-STAR STARTERS

1B – J.J. Fernandez
2B – Trevor Achenbach
3B – Ryan Long
SS – Bryant Flete
C – Nick Oddo
OF – Hector Roa
OF – Kameron Esthay
OF/DH – Ricky Ramirez Jr.
OF – Shawon Dunston Jr.

ALL-STAR RESERVES

1B – Carlos Castro
2B – Gianfranco Wawoe
3B – Braxton Martinez
SS – Chaz Meadows
SS – Austin Wobrock
C – Rob Calabrese
C – Andy Cosgrove

SP – Tyler Gibson
SP – Patrick Ledet
SP – Chase Cunningham
SP – Mike Castellani
SP – Daren Osby
SP – Tyler Thornton
RP – Jonathan Tripp
RP – Taylor Wright
RP – Dakota Smith
RP – Connor Eller
RP – Brian McKenna

All-Star events begin with the All-Star Charitable Luncheon featuring New York Yankees’ broadcaster John Sterling on Tuesday, July 9. The Home Run Derby takes place that night and features former New York Yankees and Mets players Mookie Wilson, Jesse Barfield, and John Flaherty.

The Can-Am League vs. Frontier League All-Star Game presented by WMC Health/Good Samaritan Hospital is Wednesday, July 10. For tickets and additional information, please visit http://www.rocklandboulders.com/allstarsummer2019