Independent baseball league

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Independent baseball leagues are professional baseball organizations located in the United States and Canada that are not operated in conjunction with either a Major League Baseball team or an affiliated minor league team. Being independent allows teams to be located close to major-league teams without their consent. They have been around for many years and were once known as "outlaw leagues" due to their position outside the rules of affiliated minor league baseball.

The Northern League and Frontier League both started play in 1993, and the Northern League's success paved the way for other independent leagues like the Texas-Louisiana League and Northeast League. The Atlantic League has had more marquee players than any other independent league, including José Canseco, Rickey Henderson, Ozzie Canseco, Rubén Sierra, Carlos Baerga, and John Rocker. The Northern League alumni include Leon "Bull" Durham, J. D. Drew, and Darryl Strawberry.

Independent leagues have flourished in northeastern states, where dense populations can often support multiple franchises. Because they are not subject to the territorial limitations imposed on affiliated minor-league teams, independent clubs can relocate as close to affiliated teams (and one another) as they choose to. For example, the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania cannot have an affiliated team because of its proximity to the Harrisburg Senators and Reading Fightin Phils, leaving the Atlantic League to place a team—the Lancaster Barnstormers—to fill the void. Another example is the greater New York City metropolitan area, where there are many independent teams: the Bridgeport Bluefish, Long Island Ducks, New Jersey Jackals, Newark Bears, Somerset Patriots and the Rockland Boulders and six affiliated teams: the Brooklyn Cyclones, Hudson Valley Renegades and Staten Island Yankees in New York, the Lakewood BlueClaws and Trenton Thunder in New Jersey and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in Pennsylvania. Not only is the Kansas City area home to the Major League Kansas City Royals, but also the independent Kansas City T-Bones. The St. Paul Saints share a market with the American League's Minnesota Twins; both teams have frequently worked together to promote baseball in the Upper Midwest.

Current leagues[edit]

Traditional season[edit]

LeagueFirst SeasonGeographical Area
American Association of Independent Professional Baseball2006Midwestern, Southern United States, Manitoba
Atlantic League of Professional Baseball1998Northeast megalopolis, Greater Houston
Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball2005Northeastern United States, Quebec
Frontier League1993Midwestern United States, Western Pennsylvania
Freedom Pro Baseball League2012Arizona
Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs2013California
Pecos League2011Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona
United League Baseball2013Texas

Winter[edit]

LeagueFirst SeasonGeographical Area
California Winter League2010California

Defunct independent baseball leagues[edit]

LeagueFirst SeasonLast SeasonGeographical Area
All-American Association20012001Southern United States
Arizona-Mexico League20032003Arizona, Mexico
Atlantic Coast League19951995Southeastern United States
Big South League19961997Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee
Canadian Baseball League20032003Canada
Central Baseball League20022005Southern United States
Continental Baseball League20072010Southwestern United States
Empire State League19871987New York
Golden Baseball League20042010Hawaii, Western United States, Western Canada, Mexico
Golden State League19951995California
Great Central League19941994Upper Midwest
Heartland League19961998Midwestern United States, Northeastern United States, Southeastern United States
Mid-America League19951995Midwestern United States
North Atlantic League19951996Northeastern United States, Canada
North American League20112012Western United States, Texas, Illinois, Canada
North Central League19941995Upper Midwest, Canada
Northeast League19952004Northeastern United States, Canada
Northern League19932010Upper Midwest, Kansas, Canada
Prairie League19951997Upper Midwest, Canada
South Coast League20072007Southeastern United States
Southeastern League20022003Southeastern United States
Southwest Baseball League19951997Southwestern United States
United League Baseball20062010Shreveport, Louisiana, Texas
Western Baseball League19952002Pacific States
Carolina League19361938North Carolina's Piedmont region

See also[edit]

External links[edit]