Looking Back: Sale of the First Northwoods League Franchise
The Northwoods League founders took a chance in 1994 that the model they knew for promoting and operating professional baseball teams would translate to the summer collegiate world. They jumped into the inaugural season without a safety net, owning and operating all five teams themselves in the hopes it would take off and someone would buy into their idea. And the experiment might have ended during its first off-season if not for Waterloo, Iowa.
The sale of the first Northwoods League franchise in Waterloo, Iowa, to an independent owner, confirmed the founders’ belief in their model, and ensured the League would continue for the 1995 season. It also rounded the League out to six teams, removing the need to play town ball teams to fill the League’s schedule.
Waterloo had lost their affiliated baseball team, the Diamonds, following the 1993 baseball season leaving an empty ballpark and a hole in the summer entertainment market. With the start of the Northwoods League in nearby Dubuque and Rochester in 1994, baseball fans in the Cedar Valley would not have to wait long for America’s pastime to return.
Highlights from the Waterloo Bucks Inaugural Season:
- Waterloo’s 1995 squad finished with a 31-27 record.
- During Waterloo’s inaugural 58-game season, Luis Rivera (Florida Southern) established two Northwoods League single-season records that still haven’t been matched (.437 batting average and 32-game consecutive hit streak). Rivera’s 107 hits in 1995 are still a franchise record).
Visit our 25th Season Celebration page to read about other memorable moments previously released.