Midwest League

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Midwest League
Midwest League Logo.svg
Midwest League logo
Sport Baseball
Founded 1954
No. of teams 16
Country USA
Most recent champion(s) Kane County Cougars
Most titles Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (8 titles)
Official website Official Website

The Midwest League is a Class-A minor league baseball league which operates in the Midwestern United States.[1]

History[edit]

Six teams – the Belleville Stags, the Centralia Cubs, the Marion Indians, the Mattoon Indians, the Mount Vernon Braves, and the West Frankfort Cardinals – began operating as the Class D Illinois State League in 1947. The league changed its name to the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League in 1949 after the Marion team moved to Paducah, Kentucky. The league added teams in Clinton and Dubuque, Iowa, in 1954 and was renamed the Midwest League two years later. After the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League folded in 1961, teams from Appleton, Burlington, and Cedar Rapids joined the Midwest League for the 1962 season and remain in the league today. In 1963 the Midwest League became a Class A league after the minor league classification structure was reorganized.

In 1976 the Midwest League contracted from ten teams to eight when teams in Danville and Dubuque were eliminated. In 1982 the league expanded to 12 teams by adding the Beloit Brewers, the Danville Suns, the Madison Muskies, and the Springfield Cardinals. The Peoria Suns replaced the Danville Suns in 1983, and acquired their current name, Peoria Chiefs, the following year. The league began splitting its season into two halves and expanded to 14 teams in 1988 with the addition of franchises in South Bend, Indiana, and Rockford, Illinois. During the 1990s several teams changed cities as Major League Baseball placed higher standards on minor league baseball facilities; franchises in smaller cities were sold to new owners who moved those teams to new ballparks in larger cities. Kenosha, Madison, Rockford, Springfield, Waterloo, and Wausau lost teams during this decade while Battle Creek, Dayton, Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids (West Michigan), Kane County, and Lansing gained teams.

The Fort Wayne TinCaps are the oldest franchise in the league, having begun as the Mattoon Indians in 1947 and playing in Keokuk, Iowa; Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin; and Kenosha, Wisconsin, before moving to Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1993. The Clinton LumberKings have been in one city longer than any Midwest League team, having called Clinton, Iowa, home since 1954.

The Southwest Michigan Devil Rays moved to Midland, Michigan, and became the Great Lakes Loons prior to the 2007 season.

On September 2, 2008, Minor League Baseball announced that two teams would transfer from the fellow Class A South Atlantic League to the Midwest League. These two teams are the Lake County Captains (an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians playing in Eastlake, Ohio) and the Bowling Green Hot Rods (an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays playing in Bowling Green, Kentucky).[2]

Season structure[edit]

The league plays a 140-game schedule that begins on the first Thursday in April and ends in early September, usually on Labor Day. The season is divided into two halves and accordingly each team's record is reset in the middle of the season. The two halves are separated by the Midwest League All-Star game. Players are selected from teams in each division, allowing the best members of the Eastern and Western divisions to face off against each other.

Since 2000 it has been divided into an Eastern Division and a Western Division, with four teams from each division qualifying for the first round of playoffs. The two teams with the best record from each division in each half of the season are awarded these eight playoff spots. The first two rounds of playoffs are best-of-three series; the league championship series is a best-of-five.

Midwest League presidents[edit]

Current teams[edit]

Division Team MLB Affiliation City Stadium Capacity
Eastern Bowling Green Hot Rods Tampa Bay Rays Bowling Green, Kentucky Bowling Green Ballpark 4,559[3]
Dayton Dragons Cincinnati Reds Dayton, Ohio Fifth Third Field3 7,230
Fort Wayne TinCaps San Diego Padres Fort Wayne, Indiana Parkview Field 8,100
Great Lakes Loons Los Angeles Dodgers Midland, Michigan Dow Diamond 5,500
Lake County Captains Cleveland Indians Eastlake, Ohio Classic Park 7,273
Lansing Lugnuts Toronto Blue Jays Lansing, Michigan Cooley Law School Stadium 11,000
South Bend Silver Hawks Chicago Cubs South Bend, Indiana Stanley Coveleski Regional Stadium 5,000
West Michigan Whitecaps Detroit Tigers Comstock Park, Michigan Fifth Third Ballpark 10,071
Western Beloit Snappers Oakland Athletics Beloit, Wisconsin Harry C. Pohlman Field 3,501
Burlington Bees Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Burlington, Iowa Community Field 3,200
Cedar Rapids Kernels Minnesota Twins Cedar Rapids, Iowa Veterans Memorial Stadium 5,300
Clinton LumberKings Seattle Mariners Clinton, Iowa Ashford University Field 3,000
Kane County Cougars TBA Geneva, Illinois Fifth Third Bank Ballpark2 7,400
Peoria Chiefs St. Louis Cardinals Peoria, Illinois Dozer Park 7,377
Quad Cities River Bandits Houston Astros Davenport, Iowa Modern Woodmen Park1 4,024
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Milwaukee Brewers Appleton, Wisconsin Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium 5,500
1 Hosted 2011 Midwest League All-Star Game
2 Hosted 2012 Midwest League All-Star Game
3 Hosted 2013 Midwest League All-Star Game

Current team rosters[edit]

Midwest League teams since 1956[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]