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]

League First Season Geographical Area
American Association of Independent Professional Baseball 2006 Midwestern, Southern United States, Manitoba
Atlantic League of Professional Baseball 1998 Northeast megalopolis, Greater Houston
Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball 2005 Northeastern United States, Quebec
Frontier League 1993 Midwestern United States, Western Pennsylvania
Freedom Pro Baseball League 2012 Arizona
Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs 2013 California
Pecos League 2011 Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona
United League Baseball 2013 Texas

Winter[edit]

League First Season Geographical Area
California Winter League 2010 California

Defunct independent baseball leagues[edit]

League First Season Last Season Geographical Area
All-American Association 2001 2001 Southern United States
Arizona-Mexico League 2003 2003 Arizona, Mexico
Atlantic Coast League 1995 1995 Southeastern United States
Big South League 1996 1997 Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee
Canadian Baseball League 2003 2003 Canada
Central Baseball League 2002 2005 Southern United States
Continental Baseball League 2007 2010 Southwestern United States
Empire State League 1987 1987 New York
Golden Baseball League 2004 2010 Hawaii, Western United States, Western Canada, Mexico
Golden State League 1995 1995 California
Great Central League 1994 1994 Upper Midwest
Heartland League 1996 1998 Midwestern United States, Northeastern United States, Southeastern United States
Mid-America League 1995 1995 Midwestern United States
North Atlantic League 1995 1996 Northeastern United States, Canada
North American League 2011 2012 Western United States, Texas, Illinois, Canada
North Central League 1994 1995 Upper Midwest, Canada
Northeast League 1995 2004 Northeastern United States, Canada
Northern League 1993 2010 Upper Midwest, Kansas, Canada
Prairie League 1995 1997 Upper Midwest, Canada
South Coast League 2007 2007 Southeastern United States
Southeastern League 2002 2003 Southeastern United States
Southwest Baseball League 1995 1997 Southwestern United States
United League Baseball 2006 2010 Shreveport, Louisiana, Texas
Western Baseball League 1995 2002 Pacific States
Carolina League 1936 1938 North Carolina's Piedmont region

See also[edit]

External links[edit]