Carolina League logo
|No. of teams||8|
|Most recent champion(s)||Lynchburg Hillcats|
|Official website||Official Website|
The Carolina League is a minor league baseball affiliation which operates along the Atlantic Coast of the United States. Before 2002, it was classified as a "High A" league, indicating its status as a Class A league with the highest level of competition within that classification, and the fifth step between Rookie ball and the major leagues. Although Minor League Baseball, the umbrella organization for minor leagues that are affiliated with Major League Baseball, has eliminated the distinction between High-A and other full-season A leagues, most major-league teams still use such leagues as a standard promotion step.
The organization that later became the Carolina League formed in 1945, just as World War II was ending, and consisted of only two teams based in southern Virginia. Historically, however, as many as 12 teams in a given year have competed in the Carolina League, and most of the league's teams. Today, the league consists of eight teams in a region stretching from Delaware to South Carolina, and is divided into a Northern Division and a Southern Division. The division champions from the first half and second half of each season compete in a best-of-five divisional playoff, with the winners advancing to the best-of-five league championship, the winner of which receives the Mills Cup.
The league originated in the vicinity of Raleigh, North Carolina, and has since branched out.
A few of the many Carolina League players who have gone on to star in the Major Leagues are: Johnny Bench (Peninsula, 1966), Wade Boggs (Winston-Salem, 1977), Barry Bonds (Prince William, 1985), Rod Carew (Wilson, 1966), Dock Ellis (Kinston, 1965), Dwight Evans (Winston-Salem, 1971), Dwight Gooden (Lynchburg, 1983), Andruw Jones (Durham, 1996), Chipper Jones (Durham, 1992), Willie McCovey (Danville, 1956), Joe Morgan (Durham, 1963), Dave Parker (Salem, 1972), Tony Pérez (Rocky Mount, 1962), Andy Pettitte (Prince William, 1993), Jorge Posada (Prince William, 1993), Darryl Strawberry (Lynchburg, 1981), Bernie Williams (Prince William, 1988), and Carl Yastrzemski (Raleigh, 1959).
Director and screenwriter Ron Shelton's 1988 film Bull Durham, starring Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins, and Susan Sarandon, depicted a fictionalized account of the Durham Bulls, at that time a Carolina League team (they have since become a Class AAA team in the International League). Before he began making films, Shelton had a five-year minor league career in the Baltimore Orioles' organization, which included a stint in the Carolina League.
Current teams 
|Northern||Frederick Keys||Baltimore Orioles||Frederick, Maryland||Harry Grove Stadium||5,400|
|Lynchburg Hillcats||Atlanta Braves||Lynchburg, Virginia||Calvin Falwell Field||4,000|
|Potomac Nationals||Washington Nationals||Woodbridge, Virginia||G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium||6,000|
|Wilmington Blue Rocks||Kansas City Royals||Wilmington, Delaware||Daniel S. Frawley Stadium||6,532|
|Southern||Carolina Mudcats||Cleveland Indians||Zebulon, North Carolina||Five County Stadium||6,500|
|Myrtle Beach Pelicans||Texas Rangers||Myrtle Beach, South Carolina||TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark||4,875|
|Salem Red Sox||Boston Red Sox||Salem, Virginia||Lewis-Gale Field||6,300|
|Winston-Salem Dash||Chicago White Sox||Winston-Salem, North Carolina||BB&T Ballpark||5,500|
Current team rosters 
Carolina League champions 
- (1) ^ Myrtle Beach and Wilmington were declared co-champions when the series was tied 2–2 and canceled because of Hurricane Floyd.
All-time teams (1945–present) 
All teams that have competed in the Carolina League from its founding in 1945. Teams in bold are currently active.
Composite standings 
(Through end of 2012 season).
|Wilmington Blue Rocks||20||1498||1283||.539||4|
|Myrtle Beach Pelicans||14||986||961||.506||2|
|Frederick Keys (1)||32||2185||2247||.493||5|
|Salem Red Sox||44||3021||3221||.484||4|
|Potomac Nationals (2)||35||2328||2520||.480||4|
- (1)^ Includes Hagerstown from 1981–88.
- (2)^ Includes Alexandria from 1978–83 and Prince William from 1984–98.
- Young, Ryan (April 3, 2013). "Pelicans Through the Years". The Sun News. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
- "2013 Carolina League Media Guide and Record Book". p. 4.
- "2013 Carolina League Media Guide and Record Book". p. 91.
- Carolina League Official site
- Carolina League Champions
- Carolina League at the Open Directory Project