Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Last updated
Northwest Arkansas Naturals
Founded in 2008
Springdale, Arkansas
NWARnaturals.PNG Naturals cap.PNG
Team logoCap insignia
CurrentDouble-A (2008–present)
Minor league affiliations
League Texas League (2008–present)
DivisionNorth Division
Major league affiliations
Current Kansas City Royals (2008–present)
Minor league titles
League titles (1)
  • 2010
Division titles (4)
  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2015
  • 2016
Team data
NicknameNorthwest Arkansas Naturals (2008–present)
Ballpark Arvest Ballpark (2008–present)
Rich Products Corporation
ManagerDarryl Kennedy
General ManagerJustin Cole

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are a Minor League Baseball team based in Springdale, Arkansas. The team is member of the Texas League, and serves as the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The Naturals play at Arvest Ballpark, which opened in 2008 and is located at the intersection of Gene George Boulevard and Watkins Avenue. The team relocated from Wichita, Kansas, in 2008, where they were known as the Wichita Wranglers.

Minor League Baseball hierarchy of professional baseball leagues affiliated with Major League Baseball

Minor League Baseball is a hierarchy of professional baseball leagues in the Americas that compete at levels below Major League Baseball (MLB) and provide opportunities for player development and a way to prepare for the major leagues. All of the minor leagues are operated as independent businesses. Most are members of the umbrella organization known as Minor League Baseball (MiLB), which operates under the Commissioner of Baseball within the scope of organized baseball. Several leagues, known as independent baseball leagues, do not have any official links to Major League Baseball.

Springdale, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Springdale is the fourth-largest city in Arkansas, United States. It is located in both Washington and Benton counties in Northwest Arkansas. Located on the Springfield Plateau deep in the Ozark Mountains, Springdale has long been an important industrial city for the region. In addition to several trucking companies, the city is home to the world headquarters of Tyson Foods, the world's largest meat producing company. Originally named Shiloh, the city changed its name to Springdale when applying for a post office in 1872. The four-county Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area is ranked 109th in terms of population in the United States with 463,204 in 2010 according to the United States Census Bureau. The city had a population of 69,797 at the 2010 Census.

Arkansas State of the United States of America

Arkansas is a state in the southern region of the United States, home to over 3 million people as of 2018. Its name is of Siouan derivation from the language of the Osage denoting their related kin, the Quapaw Indians. The state's diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta.



The Wichita Wranglers had struggled with low attendance numbers and an aging Lawrence–Dumont Stadium throughout Bob Rich Jr.'s 18-year ownership of the team. In 2006, he sought a move to Springdale, contingent on a citizen vote to approve financing for a new stadium.

Lawrence–Dumont Stadium baseball stadium in Wichita, Kansas

Lawrence–Dumont Stadium was a baseball stadium in Wichita, Kansas, United States. It was located on the northwest corner of McLean Boulevard and Maple Street, along the west bank of the Arkansas River, in the Delano neighborhood of downtown Wichita. The stadium held 6,400 fans and was primarily used for baseball. The stadium most recently was the home field of the Wichita Wingnuts independent baseball team from 2008 until 2018, and was home to the annual National Baseball Congress World Series from 1935 until 2018.

The pro-baseball movement in Springdale had counted on the support of Ronnie Floyd, influential pastor of local megachurch First Baptist Church of Springdale. In June 2006, Floyd abruptly pulled his support after he discovered that the team would serve alcohol at games, [1] making professional baseball a contentious and evenly split issue in Northwest Arkansas. The July vote on a measure to extend a one-cent sales tax to raise $50 million for the stadium passed by only 15 votes. [2]

Ronald Wayne Floyd was for more than thirty years Senior Pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas, otherwise widely known as the First Baptist Church of Springdale, and author of over 20 books on Christian prayer and discipleship. He is a prominent member of the Southern Baptist Convention, serving as president from 2014 to 2016. In addition to his sermons, Floyd produces a podcast and television ministry. In Dr. Floyd’s 30+ years of ministry in Northwest Arkansas, the church has baptized over 18,000 people.

Megachurch very big church within some Protestant Christianity; specifically, one having 2000 or more people in average weekend attendance

A megachurch is defined by the Hartford Institute as any Protestant Christian church having 2,000 or more people in average weekend attendance. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term, first documented in 1984, as a church with an unusually large membership, especially one preaching a conservative or evangelical form of Christianity and also offering a variety of educational and social activities.

A sales tax is a tax paid to a governing body for the sales of certain goods and services. Usually laws allow the seller to collect funds for the tax from the consumer at the point of purchase. When a tax on goods or services is paid to a governing body directly by a consumer, it is usually called a use tax. Often laws provide for the exemption of certain goods or services from sales and use tax.

Team name

The team's nickname plays off the state's nickname as the "Natural State," as well as the Robert Redford film, The Natural. The Rich Family owes much of its baseball success to the film. In 1983, Bob Rich Jr. bought the Double-A Buffalo Bisons, who had suffered low attendance the previous season, for $100,000. That year, Hollywood producers approached Rich about filming scenes for The Natural at Buffalo's War Memorial Stadium. Following the release of the film, local interest in the team rose and attendance at the Bisons' games nearly tripled. Rich was then able to finance the Bisons' move to the Triple-A American Association. In something of a coincidence, the Triple-A Bisons were formerly the Wichita Aeros, meaning Rich has purchased two teams that had played previously in Wichita, Kansas.

Robert Redford retired American actor and film director

Charles Robert Redford Jr. is a retired American actor, director, producer, and businessman. He is the founder of the Sundance Film Festival.

<i>The Natural</i> (film) 1984 American film directed by Barry Levinson

The Natural is a 1984 American sports film based on Bernard Malamud's 1952 novel of the same name, directed by Barry Levinson and starring Robert Redford, Glenn Close, and Robert Duvall. Like the book, the film recounts the experiences of Roy Hobbs, an individual with great "natural" baseball talent, spanning the decades of Roy's career. It was the first film produced by TriStar Pictures.

The Buffalo Bisons are a professional Minor League Baseball team based in Buffalo, New York. They play in the International League (IL) and are the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. The Bisons play at Sahlen Field in downtown Buffalo.

The "Naturals" name was chosen after receiving 33 percent of the votes in an online fan poll, beating the second-place choice, "Thunder Chickens," by six percent. [3] The "Thunder Chickens" moniker was a nod to Springdale-based Tyson Foods, which is the nation's largest supplier of poultry products, and to the region's poultry industry. Every season, the team embraces the Thunder Chickens brand for a single game with matching uniforms and merchandise. [4]

Tyson Foods company

Tyson Foods, Inc. is an American multinational corporation based in Springdale, Arkansas, that operates in the food industry. The company is the world's second largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork after JBS S.A. and annually exports the largest percentage of beef out of the United States. Together with its subsidiaries, it operates major food brands, including Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Sara Lee, Ball Park, Wright Brand, Aidells, and State Fair. Tyson Foods ranked No. 80 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.

Play as the Naturals

Northwest Arkansas playing against the Frisco RoughRiders in May 2017 Frisco RoughRiders vs. Northwest Arkansas Naturals May 2017 12.jpg
Northwest Arkansas playing against the Frisco RoughRiders in May 2017

The Naturals had early success, advancing to the playoffs in 2009 and 2010. In 2009, the Naturals won the North Division title, but lost in the Texas League championship series to the Midland RockHounds. In 2010, the Naturals swept the first and second-half titles, won the North Division title for a second straight year, and avenged their loss to Midland in 2009, winning the Texas League title in a 3–1 series victory over the RockHounds.

The Midland RockHounds are a minor league baseball team based in Midland, Texas. The team, which plays in the Texas League, is the Double-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics major league club. The RockHounds play in Security Bank Ballpark, which opened in 2002 and seats 6,669 fans. The RockHounds have won seven Texas League championships: in 1975, 2005, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

On June 8, 2008, pitcher Jeff Fulchino became the first former Natural to play in Major League Baseball, throwing a scoreless inning in relief during a 6–3 Royals loss to the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.


Arvest Ballpark was designed by Populous out of its Kansas City, Missouri, office. It cost $33 million to build, while the rest of the $50 million approved by Springdale voters went toward road and infrastructure improvements. [5] The stadium seats 6,500, but additional berm areas allow a maximum capacity of about 7,800.


Northwest Arkansas Naturals roster



  • 11 Nick Dini
  • 12 Luis Villegas




  • -- Darryl Kennedy


Injury icon 2.svg 7-day injured list
* On Kansas City Royals 40-man roster
# Rehab assignment
∞ Reserve list
‡ Restricted list
§ Suspended list
† Temporary inactive list
Roster updated January 17, 2019
→ More rosters: MiLB    Texas League
Kansas City Royals minor league players

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Northwest Arkansas Place in the United States

Northwest Arkansas includes Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville, the third, fourth, eighth and tenth largest cities in Arkansas. These cities are located within Benton and Washington counties; NWA also includes Madison County, Arkansas.

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