Looking Back: St. Cloud Sets Summer Collegiate Record with 50,000+ Fans for a Single Season

In 1998, the St. Cloud River Bats, in just their second season in the Northwoods League, set a summer collegiate season attendance record of 53,197 fans in 31 openings. This benchmark was not only significant in the broad scope of summer collegiate ball but was also illustrative of the growth happening across the Northwoods League as it completed its fifth season.

To compare, in the League’s first season it collectively drew a total of 69,976 fans.  Since breaking the 50,000 fan threshold in 1998, the Northwoods League has since seen as many as eight teams in a single season surpass the 50,000 fan mark, with Affiliate’s quickly raising the bar to 60,000+ (Waterloo, 2001), 100,000+ (Madison, 2003) and 200,000+ (Madison, 2006).  The attendance growth is a testament to the loyal baseball fans in the region, who continue to support their local teams while embracing new markets.

For the River Bats in 1998, that season wasn’t just about great fan support.  The team produced on the field as well, finishing with a 39-25 record and taking home its first Northwoods League title defeating the Rochester Honkers two games to none in the Championship series.

One of the standouts for the River Bats in 1998 was Minnesota Gopher All-American Robb Quinlan.  Quinlan was drafted in the 10th Round of the 1999 MLB First Year Player Draft by the Anaheim Angels and went on to have more than 1000 at bats in the Major Leagues.  In the Fall of 2017 it was announced that an ownership group, which includes Quinlan, had been awarded a Northwoods League affiliate in Hudson, Wisconsin, set to start play in 2019.


Visit our 25th Season Celebration page to read about other memorable moments previously released.