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Erie Sailors

First season: 1994

Years in league: 1994

Ballpark: Ainsworth Field

The Erie Sailors only spent one season in the Frontier League, but what a season it was! Erie's affiliated New York-Pennsylvania League franchise moved to Fishkill, NY following the 1993 season, and the Frontier League wisely moved in. Ainsworth Field, though built in 1938 and showing its age, was a better facility than some of the existing Frontier League franchises, and Erie immediately became the largest market in the league. The expansion Sailors "borrowed" the name of the previous occupants of Ainsworth Field.

The Sailors rode the pitching of Jim Knight (9-1, 2.54) and John McAlester (8-5, 2.55) to make the playoffs by finishing second in both halves of the season. Bullpen ace Richard Graham's 13 saves tied for the league lead. The offense was led by first baseman Allen Thompson (.347-9-61) and outfielder Robbie Robertson (.304-11-52).

Erie first swept Ohio Valley and then Lancaster to claim the Frontier League title in their only season. It was the first of three consecutive titles for manager Mal Fichman. Fans supported the Sailors as they drew over 64,000 fans. On the last game of the season, which was the final professional game at venerable Ainsworth Field, a record crowd of 4,985 showed up. This was the highest attendance ever for a baseball game in Erie.

Brand-new Jerry Uht Park was completed in 1995, and the Eastern League's Erie SeaWolves arrived. Erie made the jump from the Frontier League all the way to Double-A. The Sailors moved downstate to another historic ballpark, Point Stadium in Johnstown.

The single season of the Erie Sailors was a significant milestone for the Frontier League, as it marked the beginning of a move toward better ballparks in larger markets.

Ainsworth Field in Erie, PA, home of the Erie Sailors.

Year   Won   Lost   GB   Finish   Attendance   Manager   Playoffs First Round   Playoffs Second Round
                                 
1994   20   14   6   2N   64,355   Mal Fichman   Beat Ohio Valley 2-0   Beat Lancaster 2-0
    22   11   2   2N                

Major Award Winners: 1994 Jim Knight, Most Valuable Pitcher

Sailors Post-Season All-Stars: 1994 DH Robbie Robertson; P Jim Knight

Players on FL Tenth Anniversary All-Star Team: none

Franchise Player: P Jim Knight went 9-1, 2.54 to lead the Sailors' rotation.

Sailors in the majors: No players, but pitching coach Wayne Rosenthal had the same position for the 2003 World Champion Florida Marlins.