Surprising former MLB players playing in the Indy Leagues

MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 13: Brandon Phillips #4 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a single during the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on August 13, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 13: Brandon Phillips #4 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a single during the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on August 13, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 30: Gift Ngoepe
PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 30: Gift Ngoepe /

The Frontier League is another MLB Partner League that was founded in 1993. It is currently the longest running Indy League team out there and consists of a total of 16 teams. They became an official MLB Partner League just recently in 2020.

In a typical season, the Frontier League limits its teams to three “veterans”. The term veteran has a different definition in this league than in the AAPB. A veteran in the Frontier League is any player older than 29-years on October 1st. In this league, the rosters consist of 24 players, ten of which are required to be rookies. A season in this league is just 96 games with the season running from May to September.

The Frontier League consists of two divisions, East and West. Each division has a total of eight teams. The league features teams Empire State Greys, New Jersey Jackals, New York Boulders, Ottawa Titans, Quebec Capitales, Sussex County Miners, Tri-City Valley Cats, Trois-Reivieres Aigles, Evansville Otters, Florence Y’alls, Gateway Grizzlies, Joliet Slammers, Lake Erie Crushers, Schaumburg Boomers, Washington Wild Things and Windy City ThunderBolts.

Let’s take a look at former MLB players who spent 2021 in the Frontier League

Infielder Gift Ngoepe (MLB career: 2017-2018 with 2 MLB organizations)

Slick-fielding Gift Ngoepe is perhaps best known as being the only continental African player in MLB history to reach The Show. The 32-year-old has a reputation of being a sound defender and is capable of playing above-average defense at second base, third base, and shortstop. In 2021, he spent the majority of his season as a member of the Quebec Capitales. In 82 games, he hit 6 triples, 9 home runs, drove in 47 and stole 12 bases while posting a .281 batting average.

Outfielder Alfredo Marte (MLB career: 2013-2015 with 2 MLB organizations)

After a three-year tenure in the majors with the Diamondbacks and Angels, Alfredo Marte has spent time in many different professional baseball Indy Leagues teams; including stints in the ALPB, Mexican League (twice), Can-Am League (Canadian-American), and most recently – the New Jersey Jackals of the Frontier League. Marte, 32, played 39 games with the Jackals last season; hitting seven home runs and posting a .279 batting average while making defensive appearances in left field and center field.

Outfielder Denis Phipps (MLB career: 2012 with CIN Reds)

It has now been just under ten years since Denis Phipps played 8 games for the Cincinnati Reds, hitting his first (and only) home run to this point in the bigs. Since 2014, Phipps has played in multiple American Association, ALPB and Frontier League teams. Last season, he had a short stint with the Lexington Legends and spent the vast majority of the year with the Tri-City ValleyCats. In 93 games for Tri-City, Phipps hit 21 home runs and posted a .277 batting average; making defensive appearances at first base and all three outfield spots.

Outfielder Boots Day (MLB career: 1969-1974 with 3 MLB organizations)

Yes, you read that right. 74-year old Boots Day has been a coach for a variety of different teams since 1995, retiring from coaching in September of this past season after 55 years in the sport. On the day of his retirement, the Evansville Otters (the team he was the bench coach for) penciled Day into the starting lineup as the club’s leadoff hitter. 41 years after his last plate appearance in professional baseball in 1980, Day grounded out to shortstop on the first pitch he saw, sending him off to retirement with cheers from the crowd and both dugouts.

Infielder Dan Rohn (MLB career: 1983-1984, 1986 with 2 MLB organizations)

Again, you did indeed read that correctly. 66-year old Dan Rohn began his coaching career in professional baseball back in 2001 when he managed the Seattle Mariners PCL team the Tacoma Rainiers. He spent nearly the next two decades coaching a multitude of teams in different leagues, most recently the Lake Erie Crushers. Hired in 2020 as the club’s manager, Rohn missed out on that season due to the COVID-cancellation of the year, but took the helm in 2021. Rohn announced he would be retiring from the game at the conclusion of the season and on the last day of the year, he took the mound in the bottom of the first inning of the club’s game against the – you guessed it, Evansville Otters.

The lone batter Dan Rohn faced on the mound in September? Fellow old-timer Boots Day. 66-year old Rohn retired 74-year old hitter Boots Day on what would end up being the last regular season game of both coaches’ careers in a moment that was one of the coolest in all of baseball last year.

dark. Next. The best remaining free agent starting pitchers

The Indy Leagues of professional baseball still feature a whole host of former MLB players looking to continue their careers. From longtime starter Bud Norris to David Washington who received just six at-bats in the bigs, there are many recognizable faces still floating around the league.