Will County Cheetahs
The Will County Cheetahs of Romeoville, Illinois began play in 1996 as one of the original members of the independent Heartland League. In their first season they posted a 28-31 record under manager Gregg Slutsky and finished third out of four clubs. Shortstop Kevin Jason hit .305 and made the league's All-Star team. Todd Staehle (.286) led the league with 18 doubles while Mark Olson (4-0, Sv, 1.11) had the lowest ERA.
In 1997, Gerry Clarke took over as the team's manager. The Cheetahs went 31-39, finishing second in the North Division in the season's first half (18-17) and fourth in the second half (13-22). Angel Santiago hit .374 to capture the league batting crown and also had the most hits (95). Jeff Jackson led the league with 26 steals. After the season, the club relocated twenty miles to the east to Midlothian and became known as the Cook County Cheetahs.