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Prospect League Baseball


In the summer of 2007, discussion began about establishing a top collegiate summer baseball league to better fit communities with independent professional baseball.  The concept evolved into the Prospect League, which officially formed in the summer of 2008. The new league’s core included current and former Frontier League teams in Chillicothe, Ohio, Richmond, Ind., and Slippery Rock, Pa. During development, the group began conversations with team owners and the Commissioner of the Central Illinois Collegiate League, which brought four-plus decades of summer collegiate league history and six teams within the footprint sought by the Prospect League.  A solid alliance quickly formed and after continuous talks and negotiations through the fall of 2008, the eleven-team Prospect League formed.

The initial eleven-team Prospect League featured six teams from the former CICL (Dubois County Bombers, Danville Dans, Springfield Sliders, Dupage Dragons, Quincy Gems, and Hannibal Cavemen) plus five new expansion clubs (Chillicothe Paints, North Coast Knights, Butler BlueSox, Slippery Rock Sliders, and the Richmond RiverRats) that took the field in 2009.

One year later, Dave Chase, former General Manager of the AAA Memphis Redbirds, was hired as the first Prospect League Commissioner. The League added four new teams across four separate states to reach 15, including initial forays into Tennessee and West Virginia. The number of teams returned to 14 in 2011 before realigning to a solidified group of 12 the following season.

The electronic age sparked a new era in 2013. All Prospect League player information, from contracts to reports, became part of a new electronic documentation system developed through a partnership with

In 2015, Bryan Wickline, who served as League president since its debut, was named Commissioner. The League played the season with a new 12-team alignment by adding a franchise in Jamestown, N.Y., which replaced the Minor League Jamestown Jammers, and Kokomo, Ind., which moved into a brand-new downtown ballpark. The Lafayette (Ind.) Aviators replaced the Jamestown franchise in 2016 and tightened the League footprint. As a result, the season schedule featured minimal crossover games between the East and West Divisions and nearly all Mondays were designated as League-wide off days.

Following the season, Wickline decided to step away from the Commissioner role rather than seek a new contract and became managing partner of the Chillicothe Paints. Long-time baseball executive Dennis Bastien was named Commissioner prior to the 2017 season and Lisa Bastien became the League’s first Deputy Commissioner.

Rule changes designed to limit overuse became part of the League rulebook in 2018. That season also marked the debut of Prospect League TV (PLTV), a subscription-based streaming platform broadcasting every game across the Internet and on Apple TV, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV.

The 2019 season saw significant changes to the League structure. Reshuffling the 12-team lineup shifted the footprint West, forcing realignment of the two six-team divisions. The change allowed for more off days during the season and the return of an All-Star Game, complete with a Home Run Derby contest held in Normal, Ill. Schedule changes also included a new playoff format, which shifted to single Division Championship Games between the two top teams and hosted by the division champion. The two divisional playoff winners met in a best-of-three championship series with the better record hosting game two, and if necessary, game three. After dropping game one, Chillicothe rallied to win the first League Championship played under the new format with a pair of road victories at Cape.

After mandated shutdowns for COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the 2020 season, the League bounced back with 16 teams in 2021. The additions included a pair of longstanding MiLB Class A Midwest League teams from Iowa – the Burlington Bees and Clinton LumberKings, each bringing over six decades of tradition. Realignment accompanied the changes and reduced travel by splitting the League into Eastern and Western Conferences, each with two divisions.

At the end of 2022, the Bastiens stepped down from their League executive positions to run the new team in Jackson, Tenn. West Virginia’s franchise announced it would go dark for 2023 and the League enters the season with 17 teams including new locations in Jackson and Marion, Ill. The Prospect League's 14th season coincided with an all-time attendance record of 575,294 fans marking a 23% jump over the previous season, the highest increase in all of summer collegiate baseball. Following the season, the League announced the return of the Dubois County (Huntingburg, Ind.) Bombers, a member of the CICL from 2005-08 and Prospect League from 2009-12, and addition of Full Count (Hendersonville, Tenn.) Rhythym, the 2022 and 2023 Ohio Valley League Champions. The two newest members returned the Prospect League to 18 teams. 

During the Prospect era, Chillicothe owns the most championships with four and has a record six Championship Series appearances, while Quincy and West Virginia each won three titles, accounting for nearly three-quarters of League titles. The Prospect League tradition of attracting and developing future Major League talent continues with recognizable names including Sean Manaea, Mike Brosseau, Nick Maton, Austin Nola, and Kevin Plawecki.






Chillicothe Paints





Quincy Gems


West Virginia Miners



Terre Haute REX




Cape Catfish


Lafayette Aviators




 Alton River Dragons


 Burlington Bees


 Butler Blue Sox


 Cape Catfish


 Champion City Kings


 Chillicothe Pants


 Clinton LumberKings


 Danville Dans


 DeKalb County Liners


 Dubois County Bombers


 DuPage Dragons


 DuPage Drones


 DuPage Pistol Shrimp


 Full Count Rhythm


 Hannibal Cavemen


 Hannibal Hoots


 Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp


 Jackson Rockabillys


 Jamestown Jammers


 Johnstown Mill Rats


 Kokomo Jackrabbits


 Lafayette Aviators


 Lorain County Ironmen


 Nashville Outlaws


 Normal CornBelters


 North Coast Knights


 O’Fallon Hoots


 Quincy Gems


 Richmond RiverRats


 Slippery Rock Sliders


 Southern Illinois


 Springfield Sliders


 Springfield Lucky  Horseshoes


Terre Haute Rex


West Virginia Miners




Formed in 1963 as a charter member of the National Association of Summer Collegiate Baseball (NASCB), the CICL began as one of multiple leagues with NCAA oversight. CICL team rosters, and those in other NACSB leagues, were solely comprised of players who completed one year of college and had remaining college eligibility. Many considered the NACSB summer leagues to represent the highest level of pre-professional amateur baseball in the United States.

Major League Baseball (MLB) provided the CICL and three other similar leagues with limited financial support through the years. The CICL and its clubs operated mostly on revenue from sponsorships, ticket sales, donations and concession sales from fans, supporters, and sponsors.  Expenses for uniforms, bats, baseballs, umpires, rental vans, meals on the road, field preparation and park personnel cost several thousands of dollars per team.

After 41 years, the CICL’s certification ended when the NCAA disbanded its oversight program prior to the 2005 season. The CICL continued as one of 10 NACSB leagues that followed the original rules and regulations set by the NCAA to ensure amateur status for its student-athletes. Following the 2008 campaign, CICL teams were absorbed into the new Prospect League.

The inaugural 1963 CICL season featured six teams – Bloomington Bobcats, Champaign-Urbana Colts, Galesburg Pioneers, Lincoln Railsplitters, Peoria Pacers, and Springfield Capitals. Champaign-Urbana won the first CICL Championship based on overall standings.

Playoff competition began in 1965 with Bloomington winning the title. Postseason play was held annually from 1967-1974 and resumed in 1990 through 1998. In absence of playoffs, the CICL crowned a first-half winner, second-half winner, and overall champion. The CICL’s final season in 2008 featured five teams, including the champion Springfield Sliders.

Two former CICL standouts, Mike Schmidt and Kirby Puckett, are enshrined in National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Danny Goodwin, the only player taken with the first overall pick in two different MLB Drafts, is the League’s lone College Baseball Hall of Fame inductee. The League’s alumni list includes MLB All-Stars, World Series Champions, Olympians, and NCAA College World Series Champions.


 Bloomington Bobcats


 Bluff City Bombers


 Champaign County Colts


 Champaign-Urbana Colts




 Danville Dans

 1980-81, 1989-2008

 Decatur Blues


 Dubois County Bombers


 DuPage Dragons


 East Peoria Scrappers


 Fairview Heights Mets


 Galesburg Pioneers

 1963-82, 2004-06

 Jacksonville Bullets


 Lincoln Railsplitters

 1963-68, 1988-90

 Macomb Macs


 Metro Miners


 Peoria Pacers


 Quincy Gems


 Quincy Rivermen


 Springfield Capitals


 Springfield Rifles


 Springfield Sliders


 Twin City Stars



  • Three Baseball Hall of Famers - Kirby Puckett (Quincy Gems, 1981) and Mike Schmidt (Peoria 1969 and Springfield 1970) in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and Danny Goodwin (Galesburg, 1972) in the College Baseball Hall of Fame - played in the League while it was known as the Central Illinois Colllegiate League (CICL).
  • Two former CICL stars have earned World Series Most Valuable Player honors - Schmidt in 1980 and Ben Zobrist (Twin City, 2002) in 2016.
  • Warren Morris, who hit the most famous home run in College World Series history, a walkoff in LSU's 1996 Championship Game victory, played for the Danville Dans just two summers prior (1994), when it was known as the CICL.
  • Six former CICL players also competed in the Olympics - Mickey Morandini (Twin City, 1986), Joe Slusarski (Springfield, 1986-88) and Ted Wood (Springfield, 1986) in the 1988 Seoul Games, Morris in the 1996 Atlanta Games and Kurt Ainsworth (Danville, 1997) and Ernie Young (Springfield, 1988-89) in the 2000 Sydney Games.
  • Tim Stoddard, the only athlete to play for both a World Series Champion (1983 Baltimore Orioles) and NCAA Men's Basketball Champion (1974 N.C. State), played in the CICL for Bloomington in 1973 and 1974. 
  • Five CICL alumni went on to both play and manage in Major League Baseball: Bob Brenly (Bloomington, 1974-75), Joe Girardi (Peoria, 1983), Art Howe (Lincoln, 1967-68), Don Kessinger (Peoria, 1963) and Doug Rader (Bloomington, 1963-64).

Gavin Dugas played for the Danville Dans before earning All-College World Series Team honors while helping lead LSU to the 2023 National Championship.