20 Seasons Highlights Countdown: Longevity, Attendance
In 2022, the Washington Wild Things are celebrating their 20th Frontier League season. The team will be celebrating in numerous ways Opening Weekend, beyond that and in several other ways. As part of our celebration, we're counting down some of the historical highlights the organization and team has seen occur over the first 19 seasons of Wild Things' baseball in the league.
The countdown isn't in any specific order in terms of importance, but it's time we visit some of the best on-field moments, significant historical accomplishments, records, traditions and more.
Plans for the celebration of the 20th season of Frontier League baseball for the Washington Wild Things are still in the works and whenever they get announced, you can rest assured the party will not stop all season long with the festivities kicking off May 13-15 with Opening Weekend.
This week, we take a broad jump into the longevity of the Wild Things in the Frontier League as well as attendance notes and figures. So far, 46 teams have taken the field in a Frontier League baseball game. In 2022, Ottawa, Trois-Rivières and Québec (as the Capitales) will make their debut, along with the Empire State Greys. But of the 46 teams who have played, only four have reached the 20 seasons milestone within Frontier League play.
The league's oldest franchise as it stands is the Evansville Otters, who will enjoy their 27th season of Frontier League baseball this year. Evansville is the league's all-time wins leader, leading the Windy City ThunderBolts, who have played 22 Frontier League seasons. Some of those years were spent as the Cook County Cheetahs in Crestwood, Illinois, before the rebrand to the ThunderBolts. Before bowing out following the 2019 Frontier League season, the River City Rascals played 20 seasons in the league. In fact, their 20th season was their final in the league and the Rascals won their only championship on their way out. The only other team to reach 20 seasons just enjoyed their 20th campaign: the Gateway Grizzlies.
So this season, Washington will become the fifth Frontier League franchise to reach 20 seasons, and they'll do so within relative earshot of their 1,000th victory as a franchise. Washington has more wins than the Grizzlies and next up on the all-time wins list would be the Rascals, who finished with 1,027 wins.
Other franchises have come close to 20 seasons. Chillicothe played 16 seasons in the league. Florence will play their 18th this year, so the Y'alls are on track to join the club. The Rockford RiverHawks/Aviators played 13 seasons. Lake Erie will play its 13th this year. The Southern Illinois Miners played their 14th in 2021 but will no longer be a part of the league.
The Wild Things have also had great success in fan support, which obviously doesn't happen without incredible support from the people of the tri-state area and elsewhere, the sponsors, season-ticket holders, host families and more. The team welcomed 132,901 through the gates of Falconi Field in 2002, the franchise's inaugural season. The organization welcomed its 500,000th fan early in the 2005 season and more than 132,000 fans in every one of the first eight seasons. The 1,000,000th fan walked through the gates during the 2008 season. The 2 millionth fan walked into Wild Things Park on Opening Night of the 2019 campaign. As it stands, 2,172,231 fans have walked through the gates to see a Frontier League baseball game at the ballpark nestled along Interstate 70 in Washington, Pennsylvania.
As the organization heads into his 20th season of Frontier League baseball, the mission remains the same: provide affordable, family-friendly entertainment on top of high-quality baseball on the field.
Next week on the countdown, we'll revisit a big night in 2018, which saw the beers flow, the people go crazy and a former NFL punter play for the Washington Wild Things.
To keep up with the countdown, see below for trips back in the past to our previous three stops on the countdown. Stay glued to our social media, website and more for more information regarding our big plans for the 20 Seasons Anniversary celebration, because it's sure to be wild. We're giving you the presents, the parties, the fun and more as a thanks for your support over the years and the support we know will continue to be shown to us.
20 Seasons Countdown History:
20: James Harris Makes History with First Wild Things' cycle
19: Barry Bonds a Wild Thing? We revisit the moment that got the Wild Things national attention!
18: Two Triple Plays in Wild Things history
17: Postseason Awards, All Stars
16: MVP's, Pitchers of the Year