The Chico Heat were a professional independent baseball team operating in Chico, California in the Western Baseball League. They had no operating agreement with any Major League Baseball team. They were created by Chico Heat Professional Baseball LLC, with former supermarket entrepreneur Steve Nettleton and his wife Kathy serving as principal owners. General managers included Bob Linscheid (who would go to become president of the WBL) and Jeff Kragel (now at Chico State University) and their mascot was the beloved "Heater The Dragon" (not to be confused with the Bakersfield Blaze mascot of the same name).
The team began operations in 1997. The team immediately won the league championship in their inaugural season and, although they did not win a championship in the four subsequent years, they won the most regular season games in each of the following seasons. They appeared in the championship series in five out of their six seasons in the league. In 2002, Chico won its second league championship in the league's and the team's final season.
The team played at Nettleton Stadium, which is located on the campus of California State University, Chico. They were preceded by the Oroville/Chico Red Sox of the minor league's Class-C Far West League from 1948-1951 and were succeeded by the Chico Outlaws of the independent Golden Baseball League, taking their place in 2005. The Heat has been the most successful professional baseball franchise in the city's history.
Remember The Heat Night
On August 11, 2007, former Heat majority owner Steve Nettleton and former Heat players were honored as part of a celebration called "Remember The Heat Night" hosted by the Chico Outlaws as they faced the St. George RoadRunners. The original Heat mascot "Heater" even made an appearance. The Outlaws won the ball game in front of over 3,500 fans at Nettleton Stadium.
Notable Heat alumni who would return to Chico to join the Outlaws organization as either a player, coach or executive include Greg Bicknell, Scott Navarro, Jon Macalutas and Lance Franks.
- Chico Heat official website archives (archive.org)
- Chico Heat at Chico Wiki
- Chico Heat at Baseball-Reference.com
- Chico Heat baseball cards at Family History Sites
- Heat Proceeds Benefit Wildcat Baseball (Chico State University website, March 3, 2000)
- Baseball: The Heat Is On (Chico News & Review, April 25, 2002)
- The Heat is off (Chico News & Review, October 17, 2002)
- Chico Heat calls it quits (Chico News & Review, November 7, 2002)
- Remembering the Chico Heat... and its "mojo" (GBL Medford, August 8, 2008)
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