After the 2020 season was cancelled for Minor League Baseball and the Midwest League, 2021 has been nothing but great news for the Quad City River Bandits MiLB franchise.

In February, the Kansas City Royals and the Bandits announced a 10 year partnership to become the Advanced A affiliate of the Royals.

In May, the River Bandits began their 2021 season and won 80 games, which propelled them into the High-A Central Championship against the Cedar Rapids Kernals.  The Bandits won the Championship series win five games-- their fourth league title since 2011.

In June, Zach Haake (starter) and Dante Biasi (reliever) combined to throw a no hitter against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

The good news keeps on coming...

On Tuesday, Baseball America announced that Bandits Manager Chris Widger was the 2021 Minor League Manager of the Year.  he award marks the skipper’s second 2021 managerial honor after earning High-A Central Manager of the Year in October and makes him the second Royals’ minor league manager to receive the Baseball America Honor.

In his first year in Quad Cities, his sixth in the Royals’ organization, Widger led the River Bandits to a league-best 77-41 record and their 12th championship in franchise history. During the 2021 season, the River Bandits owned a winning record against all of their divisional opponents, won or split all but one series, and never lost a series at home, going 40-19 at Modern Woodmen Park.

Widger began his managerial career with Rookie-level Burlington in 2019 and led the Royals to the Appalachian League Championship Series after serving as bench coach for the Wilmington Blue Rocks from 2016-18. Before joining the Royals’ organization, Widger managed the independent league Camden Riversharks in 2015 and was their pitching coach from 2012-2014.

Congrats to Widger on adding more great news to a wonderful 2021 season.  The River Bandits begin 2022 play at Modern Woodmen Park on April 12 against Cedar Rapids.