Hannibal, MO will field a team in the Prospect League in 2018, as was confirmed during an announcement on Tuesday.
Prior to the 2017, Hannibal featured a club in the Prospect League–a summer collegiate circuit–that was known as the Hannibal Cavemen. The Cavemen suspended operations before the 2017 campaign, leaving Hannibal out of the Prospect League’s most recent slate.
Details for the city’s return to the circuit have been revealed. Rick DeStefane, a previous co-owner of the Cavemen, will serve as the owner, while Matt Stembridge has been named the general manager. As Hannibal prepares for its return to the Prospect League, club officials believe that they can build a sustainable model. More from The Hannibal Courier-Post:
All three officials vowed the new club will be different and move beyond the prolonged losing funk, unpaid debts and broken lease agreement that plagued the former team.
“They’re buried six feet under,” DeStefane said of the issues. “We had our problems, but I want to put those to bed. I have no one to blame now but myself. The buck stops with me and that’s where it is.”
“We aren’t what they were,” Stembridge said of the former club, which was established in 2009 and most recently co-owned by DeStefane and California businessman Bob Hemond. “Let’s just start there. You do it the right way, it’ll take care of itself. Wins and losses, how will that translate? This roster will be a competitive roster. Will I tell you we’ll win a championship? Man, I hope so, that’s the goal.”
The resurrection of the Hannibal team, coupled with the emergence of an expansion team in Canton, Ohio, moves the college wood bat league to a dozen clubs for the 2018 season.
The team will play its games at Clemens Field, the historic ballpark that previously used by the Cavemen. (Ballpark Digest contributing editor Mark Cryan visited the facility in 2015). Details about the team’s branding are expected to be revealed at a later date.