December 11, 2006 - The St. Louis Cardinals have purchased the contract of Kalamazoo center fielder Ian Church, Baseball America's Independent League Player of the Year.
Church made a bid for both the Triple Crown and the Frontier League home-run record last season and was also named league Player of the Year by managers, coaches and media. Church hit 31 homers, five shy of Morgan Burkharts eight-year-old league record and the second-highest total in league history. In addition, Church hit .317 with 78 RBI, good for second in the league in both categories.
Church was the first FL player named to Baseball America's top indy award since the RiverHawks' Jason Shelley in 2002.