MEET SANTA, BOOMER, & NEW MANAGER BRIAN SMITH ON DEC. 15

The Windy City ThunderBolts will host a Holiday Open House at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood on Saturday, December 15th from 11 am to 2 pm.  Stop by to see Santa Claus, enjoy Holiday refreshments and browse through an assortment of ThunderBolts’ merchandise items with many items up to 50% off!  This year we will hold our open house inside the ThunderBolts’ home clubhouse!  See a “behind-the-scenes” part of our ballpark and take a look around at where your Bolts prepare for their games.

  • Santa and Boomer will be visiting all of their fans in the ThunderBolts clubhouse at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.  There is no cost to see Santa and Boomer but BYOC!  (Bring your own camera)  This event will be on Saturday, December 15th from 11 am – 2 pm at Standard Bank Stadium.
  • Holiday treats, refreshments, and hot drinks will be complimentary.
  • Special blowout sale on select items from our ThunderStore.  Game worn jerseys for $25 each with other items up to 50% off including t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, and sweatshirts.  Additional items will be available for sale as well.
  • Our special gift Holiday Packs will also be on-sale.  Our Family Pack includes four ticket vouchers, four hats, four hot dogs, four chips, and four sodas for $39.  Our Comfort Pack includes four ticket vouchers, one sweatshirt, and one winter hat for $49.
  • Meet new ThunderBolts’ Field Manager Brian Smith and ask him about the upcoming season.
  • The playing field will be open to play catch (baseball, football, frisbee, etc.)  Christmas tunes will be playing through the sound system as well.
  • Finally, the ThunderBolts will be accepting holiday donations for the South Suburban Humane Society in Chicago Heights!  Those who bring a donation item will be entered into a drawing for an Executive Suite for 15 people during the 2019 season (Tuesday or Wednesday home game)!  A complete list of accepted donations for pets can be found HERE.  The ThunderBolts will be accepting donations through Friday, December 21st.

The ThunderBolts’ 20th anniversary season home opener with Brian Smith at the helm is Tuesday, May 14th, when the Bolts host the Evansville Otters.  It will be a special $2 Ticket Tuesday as we kick off our 2019 home season.  All group tickets including Executive Suites, Picnics, and our popular Glenmark #WinCity Party Patio are on-sale now!  Call us at 708-489-2255 or visit our box office for more information.

RECORD SETTING CATCHER RETURNING TO WASHINGTON

The Washington Wild Things announced today the re-signing of C Kyle Pollock for his fourth season in Washington.

Pollock returns to the Frontier league after being named a East Division All-Star in 2017, and the Experienced Team starting catcher in the 2018 All-Star Game. Like RHP Zach Strecker, he is striving to become the organization’s first three time All-Star this season.

Last year Kyle made a league leading 82 starts behind the dish, appearing in 95 of the 96 scheduled games. His consistency in the lineup translated to a career year offensively; 22 doubles, 11 HR, 56 RBI and 56 walks drawn. In 2018 Pollock also broke the record for catching the most career games as a Washington Wild Thing.

The Clinton, OH native joined the Wild Things in 2016 after two seasons with the Kansas City Royals. He was selected in the 20th round of the MLB draft out of the University of Evansville. Playing close to home, Kyle’s family and his fiancé are regulars at Wild Things Park.

“We have always emphasized the value of a great catcher and the demeanor necessary to shoulder the position. Kyle has developed into the player, leader and critic that helps keep us on track.” said Assistant GM Tony Buccilli. “Beyond being recognized as among the best catchers in the league, Kyle is one of the best catchers in Wild Things’ history. He is one of our biggest competitors and naturally holds others accountable. It may be overlooked from afar but Pollock’s presence is a big part of our continued success in Washington”, Buccilli stated.

Success is on the mind for the East Division Champions as they open the season Thursday, May 9 at River City, with the home opener slated for Friday, May 17 at Wild Things Park.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS

The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League that plays in Washington, PA. In 2018, the team won its first East Division Championship since 2007 and came within two runs of winning the first Frontier League title in franchise history. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media and website, washingtonwildthings.com. Season ticket packages, with new-and-improved benefits are now available by calling the box office at 724-250-9555.

RASCALS ANNOUNCE 2019 COACHING STAFF

The River City Rascals have announced that Braxton Martinez and Jason Zgardowski will return to the club in 2019 as player-coaches. Martinez, an infielder who has been with the team since 2015, as well as a stint in the AAA Mexican League, will serve as the Hitting Coach. Zgardowski, a right-handed pitcher who has also spent parts of the last three seasons with the Rascals, as well as time in the St. Louis Cardinals organization, will act as the Pitching Coach.

Rascals Manager Steve Brook said of the announcement:

“I’m excited to announce the return of Braxton Martinez and Jason Zgardowski in this new expanded role. I’m confident that both young men will thrive in these dual positions during the 2019 season and beyond in their careers. It’s been an exciting off season thus far, and I can’t wait to get back onto the field in April.”

When asked about the opportunity, Martinez, a St. Peters, MO native, said:

“I’m really grateful for the opportunity to not only be in uniform as a player but also as a hitting coach this season. I want to thank Steve Brook for trusting me to take on this role. I’m excited to work with the group of players who are hungrier than ever. I think we are going to accomplish some special things and I am ready for the challenge that awaits.”

Zgardowski is also excited about the increased role:

“I would like to thank the River City Rascals and Steve Brook for giving me the opportunity to play for a first-class organization, but also to have the privilege to be a player coach as well. Knowing that this is going to be my first year doing both, I know its going to be tough but I’m up for the task. I believe I bring a lot to the table as a player for one, but being a part of two MLB organizations (Phillies and Cardinals) making it as far as Double-A with one, I bring experience as well. Just as an example when I came back at the end of last year, I could tell some of the younger guys that haven’t played affiliated, were asking questions and just getting advice, but I don’t want it to be one-way street either. I’m only 25 and I still have a lot to learn as well so I hope to get some feed back from them if they see me doing something wrong on the diamond. I can’t wait to get back to CarShield Field and bring back a championship to the best fans in the Frontier League!”

This is not the first time Brook has given players an expanded role. During his tenure with the Rascals, players like Scott Robinson (2010), Caleb Curry (2012), Eric Williams (2014) and Josh Ludy (2016-17) have all served as player-coaches. In addition to Martinez and Zgardowski, Bench Coach Alex Ferguson will return in 2019 to round out Brook’s coaching staff.

The defending West Division champion Rascals open the 2019 season Thursday, May 9th against the Washington Wild Things at CarShield Field. To make the Rascals part of your plans next summer, visit rivercityrascals.com or call the team’s box office at 636-240-2287.

WILD THINGS CLOSER RETURNS FOR THIRD SEASON

The Washington Wild Things announced today the re-signing of RHP Zach Strecker for his third season.

As the ninth inning guy for Washington, Strecker has posted back-to-back All-Star campaigns and has been a key part of the Wild Things’ back-to-back playoff appearances.

Last season he made 51 appearances; totaling over 60 innings, 6 wins, 47 strikeouts, securing 21 saves and posting an absurd 1.48 ERA. His season ERA was second best all-time among qualifiers. Pair that success with a 2017 season where he made 44 appearances and 20 saves, Strecker is on pace for some impressive career records.

With his next save Zach Strecker will become the all-time saves record holder for Washington, breaking the tie of 41 with two year Wild Thing Jonathan Kountis. To break the league record he would have to earn 30 saves, but matching his ’18 total (21 saves) would tie Strecker for second place all-time. After his 7th appearance of the 2019 season Zach Strecker will be become the all-time appearance record holder as a Wild Things, surpassing Jim Popp’s 102 mark which has stood since 2006.

Strecker joined Washington prior to the 2017 season after an impressive showing with the Minnesota Twins organization. He played his college ball at the University of Kentucky and was among the Wildcat’s record holders in career appearances as well. He still bleeds blue on college football Saturdays and he is an avid fan of Skyline Chili.

“Call me bias but I consider Strecker not only the best reliever in Wild Things’ history but I put him up there with the best in the Frontier League’s history. He shows that you do not need to throw 95 mph to dominate late in ballgames. He pitches with confidence, composure under complete control” said Assistant GM Tony Buccilli. “I am very fortunate to have great relationship with Streck and he knows that he is loved by the organization and coaching staff. We greatly appreciate the support his family shown us over the years, making trips to both home and road games and allowing him to be a part of our family”, Buccilli continued.

Strecker and company look to repeat as East Division Champions as they open the season Thursday, May 9 at River City, with the home opener slated for Friday, May 17 at Wild Things Park.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS

The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League that plays in Washington, PA. In 2018, the team won its first East Division Championship since 2007 and came within two runs of winning the first Frontier League title in franchise history. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media and website, washingtonwildthings.com. Season ticket packages, with new-and-improved benefits are now available by calling the box office at 724-250-9555.

BOOMERS RE-SIGN DIPASQUALE AND STUTSMAN; ADD MARTINEZ AND SIERRA

The Schaumburg Boomers, presented by Wintrust Community Banks, have returned right-handed pitchers Quinn DiPasquale and Dylan Stutsman, and have added right handed pitcher Erik Martinez and utility player Rayden Sierra to the 2019 roster.

Quinn DiPasquale will return to Schaumburg in 2019 after joining the team in early August last season. DiPasquale appeared in six games for the Boomers in 2018, starting in four of them. The Massachusetts native accumulated a 1-1 overall record for the Boomers with a 4.50 ERA.

Prior to joining the Boomers, DiPasquale had a short stint with the Gary SouthShore RailCats of the American Association in 2018, appearing in only four games and surrendering a 5.68 ERA. In 2017, DiPasquale played summer baseball for the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters of the Northwoods League, where he was selected to 2017 Northwoods League All-Star Game and completed the season with a 6-2 record along with a 3.66 ERA, and 56 strikeouts in 61.1 innings of work. DiPasquale graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology in 2018, where he played baseball all four years while majoring in Biomedical Engineering. In those four years, the right hander appeared in 37 games and started 23 of them with an overall record of 7-7 with a 3.75 ERA.

Dylan Stutsman will return to the Boomers in 2019 after joining the team shortly after the start of the 2018 season. Stutsman appeared in 25 games for the Boomers, making one start and tossing 52 innings. Stutsman finished the season with a 1-2 record and a 5.37 ERA and recorded 44 strikeouts.

In 2017, Stutsman played for the Rockford Rivets of the Northwoods League, and posted a 3-0 record with a 3.13 ERA in 23 innings out of relief. The Bloomington, IN native graduated from the University of Indianapolis where he played four years for the Greyhounds baseball team. The right hander finished his collegiate career with a 13-5 record and a 3.35 ERA in 141 innings pitched. Stutsman is also a two time First Team All-GLVC East Division recipient and is the Greyhounds career leader in saves (31).

Erik Martinez will also be making his professional baseball debut with the Boomers this season. Martinez recently graduated from the University of California, Berkeley where he was a three-time PAC-12 All-Academic Honors in Legal Studies. Martinez also played four years on the Golden Bears baseball team as a reliever where he was a candidate for the Stopper of the Year Award, given to college baseballs top reliever, three consecutive years. Martinez finished his career at Cal ranked top 10 in appearances (88) and saves (15). In those 88 appearances, Martinez held a career record of 12-7 with a 2.89 ERA. The right hander held opposing batters to a .210 average as well as 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

Rayden Sierra will be making his professional baseball debut with the Boomers this season. Sierra attended Cumberland (Tenn.) University where he has played baseball with the Phoenix for two years since transferring from Broward Community College in Florida in 2016. Sierra had a terrific 2018 season with the Phoenix as he earned Mid-South Player of the Year and NAIA First Team All-American. The Dominican Republic native finished the 2018 regular season with a .350 average, along with leading the conference in homeruns (22), slugging percentage (.773), and total bases (157). The season prior in 2017, Sierra hit .360 and 13 homeruns for the Phoenix. Sierra is both a two-time Mid-South Conference First Team and Academic All-American recipient.

The Boomers 2019 season, presented by Wintrust Community Banks, begins May 10. The Home Opener is Tuesday, May 14 vs. the Washington Wild Things.

Season ticket packages and group and hospitality offerings for the 2019 season can be reserved by calling (847) 461-3695 or emailing info@boomersbaseball.com. Fall Ticket Specials remain available until December 14. Single game tickets will go on sale Monday, April 1 at 10:00 AM.

EAST DIVISION CHAMPS WILD THINGS RE-SIGN SEVEN

The Washington Wild Things announced today the re-signing of seven players from their 2018 East Division Champion roster.

The group of returners include; LHP Kellen Croce, LHP BJ Sabol, RHP Dillon Sunnafrank, RHP Michael Austin, RHP James Meeker, INF Ryan Cox and INF Brett Marr.

LHP Kellen Croce transitioned from Fargo in the American Association, pitching 10 innings and striking out 11 batters in Washington. “This is a big year for Kellen. We saw glimpses of dominance but we are aiming for more of a consistent effort so we can put more on his plate” said Assistant General Manager Tony Buccilli.

Sabol joined the Wild Things following a successful season in the Big 10 and made 12 relief appearances professionally. “BJ has the ability to carve out a matchup role for us. Fatigue derailed some of his outings but he showed that he could be effective and cause problems for hitters” continued Buccilli.

Wheeling Jesuit’s Sunnafrank was a quality find in 2018 as he shined with a 1.15 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 15 innings. “Sunny is a focused worker and he was such a meaningful addition for us down the stretch. His outing Game 4 of the Championship Series showed serious guts. We anticipate him to take a step forward in the rotation and believe having a consistent home for the first time in his career should benefit him” Buccilli added.

Mid-season signing Michael Austin shouldered 12 starts, 70 innings for the Things and now looks to take on more in year two. Buccilli discussed, “I have had some long talks with Austin and we are both on the same page. This needs to be his year. The kid is a plus athlete on the mound and brings so much to the table. Consistency, focus and leadership are the points of emphasis in ’19. He has All-Star, affiliated ability and it’s in his hands to stack in-control outings.”

Pittsburgh native James Meeker returns for a second season where he saw 29 innings of work and 26 strikeouts out of the pen. “Meeker made the most out of the opportunity he earned out of a tryout. He showed flashes of dominance, which was encouraging. When he attacks and is aggressive, he is an option we can lean on” noted Buccilli.

Another Pittsburgh tryout gem, Ryan Cox, hit .265 in his first year professionally after success in the PSAC at Kutztown. “Ryan added instant energy to us on the field. He is a smart kid who plays hard and knows his game. We were pleasantly surprised by what he showed us and the balance he brings to our infield” Buccilli stated.

INF Brett Marr returns after career highs in RBI (30) and a .268 batting average for Washington. “Marr was clutch for us in so many spots late in games. Walk offs, starting rallies, getting hit by a pitch or simply just a quality at-bat. He was instrumental to our offensive depth” Buccilli outlined.

The returning Wild Things look to repeat as East Division Champions as they open the season Thursday, May 9 at River City, with the home opener slated for Friday, May 17 at Wild Things Park.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS

The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League that plays in Washington, PA. In 2018, the team won its first East Division Championship since 2007 and came within two runs of winning the first Frontier League title in franchise history. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media and website, washingtonwildthings.com. Season ticket packages, with new-and-improved benefits are now available by calling the box office at 724-250-9555.

GRIZZLIES NAME JAMES FRISBIE PITCHING COACH

The Gateway Grizzlies have hired James Frisbie to serve as the pitching coach.

Frisbie brings a litany of baseball experience to Gateway. Spending time on staff with the Rio Grande Valley White Wings, the Jackson Senators of the Central Baseball League and with the Chillicothe Paints in the Frontier League. In 2013, Frisbie was named the team manager for the Rockford Aviators and was the manager for the 2015 Frontier League All-Star game

Grizzlies Manager Phil Warren is looking forward to the many tools that Frisbie can bring to the staff.

“I’m extremely excited that James Frisbie (Friz) will be the Gateway Grizzlies new pitching coach.  He has a tremendous track record in terms of winning and developing players.  Friz was highly sought after this off-season by other organizations for his pitching coach and recruiting expertise.”

Frisbie spent the 2018 season as Manager of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.  He is looking forward to returning to the Frontier League and working with the Grizzlies staff.

“I would like to first thank the Gateway Grizzlies organization for the opportunity to be the 2019 pitching coach. I know Phil and Rich had many strong candidates to fill this position.  I never take for granted an opportunity in our game.  I chose Gateway because of the overall philosophy that I know Phil is going to implement in Gateway this season. The Grizzlies truly care for the players and our an extremely loyal franchise which is extremely hard to find in baseball.”

The 2019 season will begin on May 10 at GCS Credit Union Ballpark when Gateway will take on the Schaumburg Boomers at 7:05PM. For tickets and information, Call the Grizzlies box office at 618.337.3000.

WILD THINGS ACQUIRE BREAKOUT HITTER MAGGIO

The Washington Wild Things announced today the acquisition of INF Nathaniel Maggio from the Sioux Fall Canaries in return for INF Jordan Ebert and a PTBNL.

Washington received Ebert last month, as part of the James Harris trade to the Winnipeg Goldeyes. The INF returns to the American Association for his third season and first with the Canaries.

“Quite honestly, there was some disconnect between Winnipeg, Jordan’s agent and Jordan. His agenda for 2019 might have been misrepresented during the process and we learned about personal factors that were driving him to return to the American Association. We wish him nothing but a healthy, productive season in Sioux Falls and we were happy to accommodate to his needs.” said Assistant General Manager Tony Buccilli

After being traded three times in a calendar year, INF Nathaniel Maggio finally has found a home in Washington. The 6’5 235lb INF began his college career at the University of Tennessee before landing at Division II North Greeneville College. The move to the Conference Carolinas jump-started his career to the point of smashing 26 HRs, 33 doubles and plating 94 runs. Maggio was previously drafted out of high-school by the Mariners but began his pro career in 2017 with the Lincoln Saltdogs. His rookie campaign resulted in a .288 batting average and an additional 7 long-balls, while also being a key piece to their Central Division Championship. In 2018, Maggio repeated his success hitting 22 doubles while splitting time with the Lincoln and the St. Paul Saints before being traded to Sioux Falls this off-season.

“Being traded so many times as a young professional can be challenging. There is value in stability and growing within an organization.” said Assistant General Manager Tony Buccilli. “We are not looking to build with Maggio, but around him. Acquiring a proven offensive contributor to this degree is substantial and he should be an easy plug and play for the middle of our lineup. We discussed putting more on his plate for 2019 and he should be poised for a career year with the lineup we will have. Moving Ebert was not easy but we received an All-Star caliber player and worker in Maggio.”

The Wild Things look to make it a 3-peat of playoff appearances as they open the season Thursday, May 9 at River City, with the home opener slated for Friday, May 17 at Wild Things Park.

The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League that plays in Washington, PA. In 2018, the team won its first East Division Championship since 2007 and came within two runs of winning the first Frontier League title in franchise history. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media and website, washingtonwildthings.com. Season ticket packages, with new-and-improved benefits are now available by calling the box office at 724-250-9555.

FREEDOM ANNOUNCE THE START OF OWN YOUTH BASEBALL LEAGUE

The Florence Freedom are excited to announce the club’s first ever youth baseball league coming to UC Health Stadium in the spring of 2019.

Junior Freedom: The League will play all of its games at the home of the Freedom on brand new field turf set to be installed this winter. The league’s coaches will be none other than Freedom players themselves as they bring their professional expertise to developing the skills of the league’s participants.

The league is set for launch in late April and will feature two different age groups. T-Ball for ages 3 -5 year old beginners, and Freedom Pitch (coach pitch) for 5 year old advanced players – 7 year olds.

Space in the league is limited and available on a first come, first serve basis.

“This is going to be a truly special league,” Freedom Vice President and General Manager Josh Anderson said. “The kids will receive hands on instruction and get to rub elbows each week with professional baseball players while playing all games where the pros play.”

The T-Ball league will feature a weekly practice and game on Saturday mornings. Each week, the participants will receive 40 minutes of instruction, followed by a 50 minute game.

The Freedom Pitch league will include the Freedom players serving as pitchers to the kids, and will take place on Monday evenings with 45 minutes of instruction followed by a 1:15 minute game.

“Rainouts and field quality becomes an issue with kids of this age,” Anderson said. “But with the Freedom’s league, all games are played on the very best field turf technology where rainouts should be at a minimum, and there will be no safer place for the kids to play.”

Registration for the Junior Freedom: The League will open on Monday, November 26 at 10am.

Parents can take advantage of an early bird discount when registering their child before January 1. Teams will be capped at no more than 12 players and limited to only 8 teams per age group. When teams fill up, a waiting list sign-up sheet will be provided online.

Parents are encouraged to register as volunteer assistant coaches to aid alongside the Freedom players. For full league benefits, cost and information, visit FlorenceFreedom.com/junior-freedom-the-league.

WINDY CITY TABS BRIAN SMITH AS NEW FIELD MANAGER

The Windy City ThunderBolts have named Brian Smith the 18th Field Manager in franchise history. Smith replaces Ron Biga, who departed after six seasons to accept an opportunity outside of baseball.

For Smith, this is the first professional managerial position after spending the last three summers managing the Rockford Rivets of the summer collegiate Northwoods League. He amassed 100 wins in three years with Rockford, which included a trip to the postseason in 2017.

Smith is no stranger to the Frontier League or the ThunderBolts. The Northern Illinois graduate and Chicago Ridge native spent his two-year playing career in the league with the Joliet Slammers. In 2011, he posted a 1.24 ERA with 31 strikeouts and four walks as he helped the Slammers bring home the Frontier League championship in their first year of existence.

After retiring as a player following the 2012 season, Smith began his professional coaching career in Crestwood, spending three years as the pitching coach for the ThunderBolts.  He oversaw two pitching all-stars, two no-hitters and nine pitchers who were signed by Major League affiliates.

“First, I want to thank the Windy City owner, Al Oremus, and front office for all of their support throughout this process.  When I was hired back in 2013, I had always envisioned myself being in the drivers seat of a Frontier League organization.  I was able to see how Ron (Biga) handled certain game situations and how Pete (former Hitting Coach Pete Pirman) and Tom (former Hitting Coach Tom Carcione) would work with the hitters to mold myself into an all around baseball guy.  Secondly, I need to thank Chad Bauer and Dick Radatz for giving me the opportunity to get my feet wet as the first manager in Rockford Rivets history.  They allowed me to take full control of all things baseball.  I was able to work with a budget, full roster control and other particulars needed to help a start up Northwoods League organization.  An experience I’m glad I had and will always hold close to my heart” said Smith.

Smith replaces Biga, who signed him as a player in Joliet and first hired him as a coach with Windy City. Biga won a franchise-record 260 games over his six years as ThunderBolts skipper. That number is more than 100 wins ahead of second place on the list. He also sent 17 players to affiliated ball, 19 to the Frontier League All-Star Game and oversaw three postseason all-stars.

“We are excited to have Brian lead the ThunderBolts in 2019.  His experience as a manager in the Northwoods League and success as a player and coach in the Frontier League will translate well to developing ballplayers and finding the right guys to build a championship caliber team in Crestwood” said ThunderBolts General Manager Mike Lucas.  “The ThunderBolts organization would like to thank Ron Biga for the last six seasons in Crestwood and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

The ThunderBolts will open their 20th anniversary season with Brian Smith at the helm on May 9th in Joliet, where they take on the defending league champion Slammers. Smith will manage his first home game on Tuesday, May 14, when the Bolts host the Evansville Otters.

SLAMMERS TO HOLD OPEN HOUSE, TOY DRIVE DECEMBER 1

The Joliet Slammers presented by ATI Physical Therapy will host their annual holiday open house on Saturday, December 1 from 9 am to noon in the Hall of Fame Room located at Joliet Route 66 Stadium.

The public is invited to join the Slammers for refreshments and snacks as well as to learn more about new 2019 ticket plans. There will be an ornament decorating station, as well as sugar cookie decorating. Santa Spikes and the 2018 Frontier League Championship trophy will be in attendance for photographs.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a toy to be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Joliet as part of the Slammers annual toy drive. Anyone that brings a toy to the open house will be entered to win a luxury suite night for the 2019 season.

A specialty Slammers Championship shirt is available for pre-order through December 3rd, with arrival prior to Christmas.  Slammers gift certificates are also available through December 19th.  For each $100 spent in gift certificates, fans will receive a $25 gift certificate for free.  Merchandise and gift certificates can be purchased during the open house or during the Slammers normal business hours Monday through Friday 9 am- 4 pm. For more information, call the Box Office at (815) 722-2287.

About the Joliet Slammers: The Joliet Slammers presented by ATI Physical Therapy play at the Joliet Route 66 Stadium downtown Joliet, Illinois, and are members of the professional, independent Frontier League.  The Frontier League is entering its 27th season of play in 2019.  Visit the Slammers online at www.jolietslammers.com or call the ticket office at 815-722-2287 for more information! Don’t forget to “Like” the Slammers on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jolietslammers or follow them on Twitter at @jolietslammers!

THE BOOMERS INVITE YOU TO OUR ANNUAL HOT DOGS WITH SANTA EVENT

The Schaumburg Boomers will host the annual “Hot Dogs with Santa” event on Thursday, December 6 from 4pm to 7pm inside the Schaumburg Boomers Stadium.

This free event includes:

  • A photo op with Santa Claus and Coop the Boomer.
  • Free hot dogs, cookies and holiday beverages for all attendees.
  • Write thank you letters to armed forces away from home.
  • Color a picture for Santa! Or better yet, color an ornament to hang on his tree!
  • Stuff your stockings!
    • 25% off the entire team store
    • 6-Pack Voucher Book is $50 and comes with $10 in Boomer Bucks
    • 14- Voucher Flex Pack is $100 and comes with $20 in Boomer Bucks

OTTERS OPEN REGISTRATION FOR 2019 EDUCATION GAMES

The Evansville Otters will host two Education Day games during the 2019 exhibition schedule on May 1 and May 8 at 10 a.m.

Schools wanting to attend must register ahead of game date. Registration is open for both games.

To register, schools can fill out the registration form and submit to the Evansville Otters front office by mailing to 23 Don Mattingly Way, Evansville, IN 47711 with attention to Elspeth Urbina, or email to eurbina@evansvilleotters.com. Forms can also be dropped off at the Bosse Field front office Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Registration per person features a game day ticket, an Education Day workbook, access to giant inflatables, and for an additional fee, a meal that includes a hot dog, chips and water.

Last season, Bosse Field had over 5,500 students and teachers walk through its gates for the Otters’ Education Day games.

For more information or any questions, contact Elspeth Urbina by calling (812)-435-8686 or via email at eurbina@evansvilleotters.com.

The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions.

The Otters play all home games at historic Bosse Field, located at 23 Don Mattingly Way in Evansville, Ind. Stay up-to-date with the Evansville Otters by visiting evansvilleotters.com, or follow the Otters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call 812-435-8686.

WINDY CITY UNVEILS 20th ANNIVERSARY LOGO

The Windy City ThunderBolts will be celebrating their 20th anniversary season in 2019, and to kick off the celebration, the ThunderBolts have unveiled their 20th anniversary logo. The logo commemorates the 20 years that the franchise has spent in the Frontier League and in Crestwood, Illinois.

On June 2, 1999, the team that was known at the time as the Cook County Cheetahs opened their brand new ballpark and defeated the visiting River City Rascals 1-0. The Rascals will return to Crestwood May 31st to June 2nd to celebrate the anniversary weekend and resume the rivalry.

Much has changed in the intervening 20 years. In 2004, the Cheetahs were renamed the Windy City ThunderBolts. They won their first Frontier League title in 2007 and became the second team in league history to repeat when they captured the 2008 crown. Both teams won the deciding game on their home field.

Now nearing their 20th birthday, the ThunderBolts are tied with River City as the second oldest franchise in the league, behind only the Evansville Otters. The Bolts will be hosting a season-long celebration of the anniversary starting with the home opener on Tuesday, May 14. Other special events will be announced in the coming months.

EVANSVILLE REMEMBERS SAM HARTSFIELD

The Evansville Otters are mourning the passing of former clubhouse manager Sam Hartsfield, who passed away on Oct. 29. He was 82.

Visitation for Sam will take place on Saturday, November 3 at Boone Funeral Home in Evansville from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM followed by a funeral service led by Otters’ team chaplain Tyrone Edwards at 1:00 PM.  Click here for additional details and directions.

Hartsfield was an important member of the Otters organization, serving as the Otters’ home clubhouse attendant for 15 years. He received the Frontier League’s Commissioner’s Award of Excellence in September 2016.

“Sam was much more than a clubbie,” Otters owner Bill Bussing said. “Sam was a quiet leader who interacted with hundreds of players during his time with the Otters. Sam treated all players with respect.”

“Words can’t describe the loss to myself and the Otter organization with the passing of Sammy,” said Otters field manager Andy McCauley. “Sam meant everything to me. He was a mentor, a coach and a friend.”

McCauley recalled many nights early in his career with the Otters were spent talking baseball with Hartsfield long into the night following games. “More recently, he welcomed me to his home on off days to catch up and talk baseball. He helped me pass the off days while my family was at home.”

Hartsfield’s role with the Otters included washing uniforms and towels, setting up equipment for batting practice, preparing pre-and-post game meals and snacks, cleaning and organizing the clubhouse, assisting the coaching staff and players, and more throughout the baseball season. He spent a lot time at Bosse Field with most days lasting until 2 a.m. at the ballpark.

Benjamin Garrett, current clubhouse manager of the Otters, learned under Hartsfield’s mentorship when he started as a batboy in 2010.

“I was nervous when I first applied to be a batboy,” Garrett said. “He made the moment memorable and had a way of talking that made you think you had been friends with him for years.”

Garrett said Hartsfield was the reason he wanted to come back to work every day and never want to leave. “Sam would always joke that he hired me and that he tried to get rid of me because I would never leave.”

“Even though we met and worked at a baseball field, life to us went so much further than that,” Garrett said. “I credit much of the reason on why I am successful in my day to day life is because of him. He taught me how to be a respectful, hardworking, and a humble individual.”

Garrett added that having a close relationship with Hartsfield was the greatest honor of his life. “He was there for my school graduations, my engagement to my fiancé, and he was the first one I always called about anything.”

The Frontier League’s Clubhouse Manager of the Year Award is named after Sam Hartsfield, which Garrett received following the 2018 season.

“Sam was beloved by former employees and interns,” Bussing added. “He embodied the pride we take on teaching people who pass through our organization values that will assist them for the rest of their lives.”

“He helped me improve as a manager, and more importantly, as a person,” added McCauley. “Sam, a true baseball man, will be dearly missed.”

Many Otters employees viewed Hartsfield as a selfless mentor for hundreds of ballplayers, coaches, batboys, and Otters staff that passed through Bosse Field.

Hartsfield’s passion and experience in baseball dated back to time as a professional player for storied Negro League clubs, the Indianapolis Clowns and Kansas City Monarchs, and time with the San Francisco Giants organization.

Hartsfield was a resident of Evansville at the time of his passing and still attended Otters games on a regular basis, sitting near the foul pole down the right field corner. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch this past season on July 20 before the Otters faced the Windy City Thunderbolts.

He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Bettye, and their children.

The Otters family expresses their condolences to Bettye and the entire Hartsfield family.