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The Frontier League is back to having an odd number of franchises.

And they’re down to only one team with the nickname Miners.

The Southern Illinois Miners, who have been in the Frontier League since 2007 and have been one of the league’s most stable franchises, announced Wednesday that they are ceasing operations. In a press release posted on the Miners’ website, team owners Jayne and John Simmons announced they are folding the team following 14 seasons in Marion, Ill., citing their desire to spend more time with their children and grandchildren.

The decision leaves the Frontier League with 15 teams for next season. The expansion Ottawa Titans will debut in 2022. The Equipe Quebec team that won the Atlantic Division title this season was a merger of the Quebec Capitales and Trois-Rivieres Aigles. They will play as two teams next year. Had Southern Illinois returned, the league would have been at 16 teams.

The Miners, who play at 7,000-seat Rent One Park, were named the Frontier League’s Organization of the Year three times. Southern Illinois had a winning record in 13 of its 14 seasons and won its only league championship in 2012. The Miners set a league record with a 20-game winning streak in 2010 and finished with a 54-42 mark this year.

Mike Pinto was manager of the Miners for all 14 seasons. He had a record of 770-571. The 770 wins are the most by a Frontier League manager.

Prior to ceasing operations, the Miners completed two trades with the Wild Things. Washington had dealt to Southern Illinois pitcher Michael Austin and catcher Cody Erickson this year in exchange for players to be named. The Wild Things will receive first baseman Jamey Smart and third baseman Ian Walters.

Southern Illinois was one of two Frontier League teams with the Miners nickname. The other is the Sussex County Miners, located in Augusta, N.J.

Sports Editor

Since 1986, Chris Dugan has been covering local sports for the Observer-Reporter, and named sports editor in 2006. Before joining the O-R, he was sports editor at the Democrat-Messenger, and a former member of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

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