The team's inaugural year in Peoria was 1983, as the Peoria Suns, a California Angels farm team that replaced the Angels' previous Midwest League farm team, the Danville Suns. The following year, the team was given the more traditional name "Chiefs", in reference to the Peoria Indian tribe for which the city was named.
The Chiefs' first home park was Meinen Field near the Bradley University campus, built in 1968; it was renovated before the 1992 season and renamed Pete Vonachen Stadium in honor of the Chiefs' owner. The team moved to a new park in downtown Peoria, O'Brien Field, on May 24, 2002; they set a franchise attendance record of 254,407 in the new park's first year and also won the midwest league championship. The team then broke the attendance record in 2005 with 256,612 fans in their first season back with the Chicago Cubs since 1994.
Former players include Wally Joyner, Devon White, Mark McLemore, Mark Grace, Greg Maddux, Joe Girardi, Plácido Polanco, Coco Crisp, Sam Fuld, Eric Patterson, Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Pujols, Sean Gallagher, Carmen Cali, Dan Haren, Yadier Molina, and Chris Duncan. Rehab appearances have included J. D. Drew, Rick Sutcliffe, Kerry Wood, Steve Kline, Mark Prior, Nomar Garciaparra, Henry Blanco, Wade Miller, Ángel Guzmán, Reed Johnson, Aramis Ramírez, Ted Lilly, and most recently Randy Wells.
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