After six seasons of professional baseball spent in the organizations of Atlanta and San Francisco, Rich Sauget went on to watch his son have a successful playing career of his own. His son, Rich Sauget, Jr., spent two seasons in the Frontier League—1997 with Johnstown, and 1998 with Springfield. One night at his son’s Frontier League game, Rich Sr. had a conversation with Commissioner Bill Lee about getting involved in the league. A few short years later, Rich joined the league in 1999 and is still owner of the Gateway Grizzlies today.
From 2003 to 2020, Rich, Sr. served as the President of the League Board of Directors. During his tenure, he worked with fellow owners to further the brand and image of the League. The League experienced tremendous growth as a result. Six new stadiums were built, and the League as a whole moved towards bigger, metropolitan areas in both Canada and the East Coast of the United States. Sauget also oversaw the expansion of the league after the 2019 season, when teams from the Can-Am League were admitted.
“We were really able to grow the league, grow our markets, and go from playing in the smaller venues we had back then to some of the major venues that we have today,” said Rich.
Rich emphasized that without a doubt, what stood out most to him in his time with the Frontier League, was the ability to work with young people and watch them reach their full potential both on and off the field. He strived to provide players, coaches, and staff members with the opportunity to advance their careers.
“I’m proud of the progress we’ve made as a league, and part of that is being able to see the number of players signed to Major League organizations increase over the years,” noted Sauget.
Another part of that progress was the naming of the Frontier League as a Partner League of Major League Baseball, a distinction that was achieved largely due to the contributions of Sauget and many others.
One of his favorite memories of his time in the league was when MLB Hall of Famer Stan Musial was the Guest of Honor at the 2003 Frontier League All-Star Game at Gateway. Sauget got to catch the first pitch that Musial threw out that night. He called Musial “a wonderful individual with great character on and off the field,” and noted how much he enjoyed having him around players and coaches.
Outside of baseball, Sauget is the founder and president of East County Enterprises, Inc., a real estate management company that has been in business in the East County Area of the St. Louis Region area development for the past 35 years. He also helped to expand healthcare services to low-income families in Southwestern Illinois due to his involvement on the board of Touchette Regional Hospital and Kenneth Hall Regional Hospital. He is currently the Chairman of the St. Clair County Building Commission and is a member of the Regional Chamber and Growth Association, Regional Business Council, and Lambert Airport Board. He has enjoyed getting to know and work with people who shared the goal of being helpful in their community.
“Being inducted into the Frontier League Hall of Fame is an accumulation of a lot of hard work and working with others to try and become an integral part of professional baseball. There was a lot of cooperation and a lot of great people involved along the way.”
After twenty-two years in the Frontier League, it is clear Rich Sauget has and will continue to impact the league and the people who work in and around it.
You can watch Rich Sauget, Sr.’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony here: https://frontierleague.vhx.tv/gateway-grizzlies/season:3/videos/rich-sauget-hall-of-fame-induction