DuBois County Dragons
First season: 1999
Years in league: 1999-2002
Ballpark: League Stadium
There was a DuBois County Dragons franchise in the Heartland League from 1996-98, but that franchise folded with the rest of the league following the 1998 season. A group of Huntingburg, Indiana businessmen then purchased the Ohio Valley Redcoats and moved them to DuBois County in 1999, taking the name of the former team. The Dragons set up shop in League Stadium, which was featured as the home of the Rockford Peaches in the film, "A League Of Their Own". Many of the 1940s-style signs used in the movie were left, giving one the feeling of stepping back in time when attending a Dragons' home game.
In their inaugural season the Dragons missed the playoffs by only one game. Reliever John Oestreich had twenty saves, and second baseman Joe Pass had time to hit .328 in addition to managing the team. Although they finished last the next season, they had some of the biggest names in Frontier League history on the roster in Jamal Gaines, Scott Marple, John Tavares, and Fran Riordan, who was the second consecutive Dragons' player-manager to make the all-star team.
The Dragons really hit their stride in 2001 with the arrival of manager Greg Tagert from the rival Evansville Otters. DuBois County won the West Division title in a close race that saw only four games separate the top four finishers. Tagert was named manager of the year for his efforts. Unfortunately, the Dragons lost to in-state rival Richmond in the first round of the playoffs.
Tagert's DuBois County teams were known for their speed, and in 2002 six Dragons reached double figures in stolen bases as the Dragons easily repeated as West Division champs, finishing seven games ahead of second-place Rockford. The Dragons again fell to Richmond in the opening round of the playoffs. Catcher Joe Kalczynski was named Most Valuable Player of the All-Star game in Kalamazoo.
Winning was not enough to overcome playing in the smallest market in the league. Consistently ranking at or near the bottom in attendance, the Dragons never drew more than 35,000 fans in a season when some clubs were surpassing 100,000. The short but exciting history of professional baseball in Huntingburg ended with the transfer of the Dragons to Kenosha, WI following the 2002 season.
League Stadium in Huntingburg, IN, home of the DuBois County Dragons
|Year||Won||Lost||GB||Finish||Attendance||Manager||Playoffs First Round||Playoffs Second Round|
|2000||35||47||11||6W||31,270||Tim Wallace (22-28)/Fran Riordan (13-19)|
|2001||48||36||--||1W||23,302||Greg Tagert||Lost to Richmond 2-1|
|2002||52||32||--||1W||35,592||Greg Tagert||Lost to Richmond 2-1|
Major Award Winners:
1999 John Oestreich, Most Valuable Pitcher
2001 Greg Tagert, Manager Of the Year
Dragons Post-Season All-Stars:
1999 2B Joe Pass; P John Oestreich
2000 1B Fran Riordan; OF Scott Marple
2001 P Brian Partenheimer
2002 OF Adam Olow
Players on FL Tenth Anniversary All-Star Team:
1B Fran Riordan (2000)
2B Joe Pass (1999)
P John Oestreich (1999)
P Jamal Gaines (2000-2003) led the Dragons staff in wins his first two seasons in DuBois County and was second in his third season. He also led the staff in ERA twice and finished his career with 22 victories, four shy of the league record.
Dragons in the majors: none