The Prospect League Era
The Chillicothe Paints are a member of the top
collegiate wood bat league in the country, The Prospect League. The Prospect League fields teams in
cities throughout Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Tennessee, West
Virginia and Missouri. The
Chillicothe Paints, the charter member of The Prospect League since 2009, make their home
at V.A. Memorial Stadium.
In the summer of 2007, the idea of
forming a baseball league that would be a better fit for the communities who
had found Independent Professional baseball growing out of their markets
began to be discussed. This idea became the Prospect League, which was
officially formed in mid-summer 2008. The core of the new league was
formulated to include current and former Frontier League teams in
Chillicothe, Ohio, Richmond, Indiana and Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania.
During the development process, we found ourselves in conversation with the
team owners and the Commissioner of the Central Illinois Collegiate League,
which brought a rich 45-year summer collegiate league history to the table,
as well as six teams within the footprint the Prospect League were looking
to develop. A quick and solid alliance was formed and through continuous
talks and negotiations during the fall of 2008, the eleven-team Prospect
League was formed.
The league entered its inaugural season under the Prospect League moniker,
but it brings with it plenty of tradition and a long list of former players
and coaches who have made it to clubs at the MLB level. The Prospect League
is the merger of the startup effort described above, along with the former
Central Illinois Collegiate League (CICL), one of the original and most
recognized summer baseball leagues in the country. The CICL was formed in
1963 as a charter member of NCAA certified summer baseball. The league
maintained certification for the entire 41 years of oversight by the NCAA,
which ended its certification program in 2005.
In the winter of 2008 the six teams of the CICL voted to join the five
expansion teams to form the new 11-team Prospect League. Coming from the
CICL in the Prospect League's inaugural season were the Dubois County
Bombers, Danville Dans, Springfield Sliders, Dupage Dragons, Quincy Gems,
and Hannibal Cavemen. Joining them for the 2009 season were the Chillicothe
Paints, North Coast Knights, Butler BlueSox, Slippery Rock Sliders, and the
The winter of 2009 saw growth for the 2010 Prospect League season, with the
addition of the DeKalb County Liners in northern Illinois, the West Virginia
Miners in their brand new facility in Beckley, WV, the Terre Haute Rex
playing at Indiana State University and the Nashville Outlaws who will host
their home games at Vanderbilt University. "Our goal was to make the
Prospect League the best summer collegiate baseball league in the country
and the success of the 2009 season along with the quality growth for the
2010 season takes us a long way towards that goal" said Bryan Wickline,
President of The Prospect League. The 2010 season saw the league's new
Commissioner come on board. Dave Chase brings a rich history of his own to
the table, including several years as General Manager of the AAA Memphis
Redbirds. Commissioner Chase joins us in our goal to make this the best
summer collegiate program in the nation.
During 2011, the league saw some realignment and operated with 14 teams. Dupage
closed its operation and the league took over operation of the Nashville
team, playing at Lipsomb University for the 2011 season, which saw DeKalb
County announce they were not playing in 2012. The league went into 2012
with a much stronger lineup of twelve teams. The new ownership in
Springfield, Illinois brought new life into one of the premier markets in
the league. A move that was in the works for over a year did not
materialize and the Dubois County Bombers left the league in late 2012.
The 2013 season brings a complete revamp of the
Prospect League documents. For the first time, all player information
submissions, player contracts, dispositions and reports will be
electronic. The new electronic documentation system, as well as the
renewal of our stratigic partnership with Pointstreak.com, positions the
Prospect League for growth.
Prior to the 2014 season, the Slippery Rock Sliders
relocated to Springfield, Ohio and became the Champion City Kings. The
Prospect League continued through the season with 11 teams and an eye on
expansion to bring the League to an even number of teams for future
seasons, helping with scheduling and travel.
Bryan Wickline, who has served as President since the
first season in 2009, was named the League's second Commissioner heading
into the 2015 season with the continuing goal of making the Prospect
League the best summer college baseball league in the country and adding
teams within the already established league footprint. The Lorain County
Ironmen relocated to Jamestown, NY and will play as the Jamestown
Jammers (replacing the departed Jammers of MiLB at Russell Diethrick
Park). Also, an expansion franchise in Kokomo, Ind., will begin play at
a brand-new downtown ballpark as the Kokomo Jackrabbits in the League's
West Division, bringing the League to 12 teams. The schedule will
feature minimum crossover games between East and West Division teams and
nearly all Mondays will be league-wide off days.
2014, over 125,000 fans walked
through the gates at VA Memorial Stadium for various events!
2014, VA Memorial Stadium hosted over 300
events February thru November!
Entering our 23rd season, the Paints average over 1,800
fans per game
Recipient of the 2005 Chillicothe Gazette / Rotary Foundation
Business Ethics Award
“Top 10” Independent Minor League franchise by Baseball America
Paints were twice awarded Organization of the Year in the Frontier League
and staff are involved in the community through youth programs, clinics,
charitable fundraisers and public appearances
Other Events at V.A. Memorial Stadium:
Coast Athletic Conference Tournament
Numerous High School Baseball and Soccer Games throughout the Spring, Summer
High School Tournaments and American Legion Tournaments
Bluegrass With The Paints Concert featuring Ricky Skaggs and Rhonda
Vincent (June 2006)
Veterans Celebration ’04 Country Concert with Blake Shelton (June 2004)
Boston Pops (as part of the Bicentennial Celebration (August 2003)
Hospital Functions and POW - MIA Recognition Day
Chillicothe Paints Baseball Club Summer Youth Clinics
Elementary school field trips and tours during the school year
The Frontier League Era
In February of 1993, Dr. Chris Hanners along with the
Chillicothe/Ross Chamber of Commerce and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center brought
professional baseball to Southern Ohio. On a rainy Wednesday night in June of 1993, fans
totaling 2,154 saw the first-ever Frontier League game in Chillicothe. The Paints were
victorious on that night over the Portsmouth Explorers, and Paints' Baseball began to
thrive and prosper throughout Southern Ohio.
On Opening Day of 1995, the Paints brought
in Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench to catch the first pitch. In 1996, another member of
the Big Red Machine, Pete Rose, Major League Baseball's all-time hit king, thrilled fans
at V.A. Memorial Stadium. In 1999, Hall of Famer and voice of the Cincinnati Reds, Marty Brennaman spoke to a group of over 200 Paints' fans at the first annual Winterfest and the
2000 Winterfest brought 250 baseball fans to see Ken Griffey, Sr. speak. Former
Paints pitcher, Brian Tollberg, was the 2001 Winterfest guest speaker. Tollberg
became the first Frontier League player in history to make it to Major League
Baseball. And this past February, Winterfest 2002 showcased the baseball
movie, A Little Inside. The motion picture premiered in front of a
packed house at the historic Majestic Theatre. The film had many scenes shot at V.A.
Memorial Stadium at a local downtown restaurant named, The Dock at Water. In
attendance that night was two of the film's stars, Benjamin King and Hallie Eisenberg.
Throughout the history of the Paints, appearances by
syndicated talk show host Gary Burbank and 700 WLW personality Andy Furman have enhanced
The Paints drew 20,253 fans in the inaugural season of
1993. In their second year, attendance grew to 32,808. Winning Organization of the Year
honors in 1996, the Paints increased attendance by 65% to 51,419 fans. In winning
Organization of the Year for the second time in three years, 1998's attendance improved
once again, reaching 71,782 fans; an average of over 1,800 per game. For
straight years, the Paints have drawn more than 70,000 fans each season.
In the Spring of 2006, The Ross County
Board of Commissioners and the Chillicothe Paints installed a
state-of-the-art playing surface called Field Turf. The
synthetic playing surface allows VA Memorial Stadium to become a true
multi-purpose facility! A venue that will host football, soccer, festivals,
concerts and numerous other events without the worry of damaging the playing
In 2008, the Paints played their last
season in the Frontier League of Professional Baseball.
Chillicothe Professional Baseball is proud of their
team logo and trade name, the Chillicothe Paints featuring the Paint Horse. The logo was
chosen to stay within the original theme set by the Frontier League. The Paint horse is
documented as being the preferred horse by the American Indians, considered by many
authorities to be the greatest horsemen who ever lived. The Paint horse is known for it's
combination of versatility, strength and aggressiveness which we display within our logo;
a horse with markings and war feathers flowing from the horse's mane. The Paint horse is
to symbolize the team spirit and is known as the Sports Model of the Horse World. The
official team colors are navy blue and white with accents of scarlet and gold.
If you want to see baseball as it was meant to be played,
Chillicothe, Ohio is the place!