South Atlantic League

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South Atlantic League
SouthAtlanticLeague.png
South Atlantic League logo
Sport Baseball
Founded 1980
No. of teams 14
Country USA
Most recent champion(s) Savannah Sand Gnats
Official website Official Website

The South Atlantic League is a minor league baseball league based chiefly in the Southeastern United States, with the exception of three teams in the Mid-Atlantic States. It is a Class A league that plays a full season; its players are typically a mixture of newly signed draftees (especially late in the season) and players promoted from rookie leagues.

A number of different leagues known as the South Atlantic League have existed since 1904. The current league of that name adopted the moniker in 1980, having previously been the Western Carolinas League, founded in 1963.

History[edit]

There have been different South Atlantic Leagues in the history of minor league baseball, spanning from 1904 to the present with a few breaks. The league ran from 1904 to 1917 as a class C league, then started up again in 1919, also class C. This time it ran from 1919 to 1930, moving up to class B beginning in 1921. William G. Bramham became league president in mid-1924, and served until 1930. The league was restarted again as a class B from 1936 to 1942, shut down for the war and returned in 1946 as a class A league. The AA Southern Association (which never integrated) died after the 1961 season and so the SAL was promoted to AA in 1963 to take its place; a year later the name was changed to the Southern League. Out of the 51 seasons of operation, Augusta, Georgia competed in 46, Macon, Georgia was around for 46, and Columbia, South Carolina was in 45. Charleston, South Carolina; Jacksonville, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; and Columbus, Georgia; each competed for at least 29 years also, making for a relatively stable lineup.

The South Atlantic League name went unused for 16 years, but in 1980 the Western Carolinas League brought back the name when it sought to change its identity. For nearly 60 years, 1948 through 2007, the dominant figure in the WCL/SAL was league founder and president John Henry Moss, who started the WCL as a young man in 1948, refounded it in 1960 and then led it into the new century. Moss retired at the close of the 2007[1] South Atlantic League season. He died at age 90 on July 1, 2009, at Kings Mountain, North Carolina — a town where he had also been mayor for 23 years.[2]

In 2005, the SAL had the highest attendance in 101 years with over 3,541,992 fans (while minor league baseball set a second straight record with 41,333,279 attendees). Currently, the league has 14 teams, divided into two divisions of seven clubs.

Current teams[edit]

The league is divided into a Northern Division and a Southern Division.

Division Team MLB Affiliation City Stadium Capacity
Northern Delmarva Shorebirds Baltimore Orioles Salisbury, Maryland Arthur W. Perdue Stadium 5,200
Greensboro Grasshoppers Miami Marlins Greensboro, North Carolina NewBridge Bank Park 7,499
Hagerstown Suns Washington Nationals Hagerstown, Maryland Municipal Stadium 4,600
Hickory Crawdads Texas Rangers Hickory, North Carolina L. P. Frans Stadium 5,092
Kannapolis Intimidators Chicago White Sox Kannapolis, North Carolina CMC-NorthEast Stadium 4,700
Lakewood BlueClaws Philadelphia Phillies Lakewood, New Jersey FirstEnergy Park 6,588
West Virginia Power Pittsburgh Pirates Charleston, West Virginia Appalachian Power Park 6,200
Southern Asheville Tourists Colorado Rockies Asheville, North Carolina McCormick Field 4,000
Augusta GreenJackets San Francisco Giants Augusta, Georgia Lake Olmstead Stadium 4,400
Charleston RiverDogs New York Yankees Charleston, South Carolina Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park 6,000
Greenville Drive Boston Red Sox Greenville, South Carolina Fluor Field at the West End 6,000
Lexington Legends Kansas City Royals Lexington, Kentucky Whitaker Bank Ballpark 6,994
Rome Braves Atlanta Braves Rome, Georgia State Mutual Stadium 5,105
Savannah Sand Gnats New York Mets Savannah, Georgia Grayson Stadium 5,000


Heritage: The former 'Sally League'[edit]

The current Class A South Atlantic League came into being in 1980 as the successor to the former Western Carolinas League.

The original SAL - often colloquially called the "Sally League" - was a higher-classification circuit that played from 1904 to 1917, 1919–30, 1936–42 and 1946-63. The old South Atlantic League grew from Class C status to class B (through 1942), then Class A (until 1962). In its final season, it was elevated to AA. The league then morphed into the current AA Southern League in 1964 and the South Atlantic League name disappeared from the minor league baseball rolls through the end of the 1979 season.

South Atlantic League teams (1980–Present)[edit]

Notes: Bold font indicates that team is an active South Atlantic League team • An "^" indicates that team's article redirects to an article of an active team in the South Atlantic League or in a different league

League champions[edit]

Season SAL champion SAL runner-up Other postseason participants
1980 Greensboro Hornets Charleston Royals Gastonia Cardinals; Spartanburg Phillies
1981 Greensboro Hornets Greenwood Pirates
1982 Greensboro Hornets Florence Blue Jays Charleston Royals
1983 Gastonia Expos Columbia Mets
1984 Asheville Tourists Charleston Royals Greensboro Hornets; Savannah Cardinals
1985 Florence Blue Jays Greensboro Hornets Columbia Mets; Sumter Braves
1986 Columbia Mets Asheville Tourists
1987 Myrtle Beach Blue Jays Asheville Tourists
1988 Spartanburg Phillies Charleston Rainbows Greensboro Hornets; Myrtle Beach Blue Jays
1989 Augusta Pirates Gastonia Rangers Charleston Rainbows
1990 Charleston Wheelers Savannah Cardinals
1991 Columbia Mets Charleston Wheelers Macon Braves
1992 Myrtle Beach Hurricanes Charleston Wheelers Columbus RedStixx; Spartanburg Phillies
1993 Savannah Cardinals Greensboro Hornets Fayetteville Generals
1994 Savannah Cardinals Hagerstown Suns Columbus RedStixx; Hickory Crawdads
1995 Augusta GreenJackets Piedmont Phillies Asheville Tourists; Columbus RedStixx
1996 Savannah Sand Gnats Delmarva Shorebirds Asheville Tourists; Columbus RedStixx
1997 Delmarva Shorebirds Greensboro Bats Augusta GreenJackets; Cape Fear Crocs; Charleston Alley Cats;
Columbia Bombers; Hickory Crawdads; Macon Braves
1998 Columbia Bombers Greensboro Bats Augusta GreenJackets; Cape Fear Crocs; Delmarva Shorebirds;
Hagerstown Suns; Macon Braves; Piedmont Boll Weevils
1999 Augusta GreenJackets Cape Fear Crocs Columbia Bombers; Columbus RedStixx; Greensboro Bats;
Hagerstown Suns; Hickory Crawdads; Macon Braves
2000 Delmarva Shorebirds Columbus RedStixx Augusta GreenJackets; Piedmont Boll Weevils
2001 Asheville Tourists;
Lexington Legends
Note: SAL Championship Series cancelled;
Asheville and Lexington declared Co-Champions
Augusta GreenJackets; Hagerstown Suns
2002 Hickory Crawdads Columbus RedStixx Columbia Bombers; Delmarva Shorebirds
2003 Rome Braves Lake County Captains Hickory Crawdads; Lexington Legends
2004 Hickory Crawdads Capital City Bombers Charleston Alley Cats
2005 Kannapolis Intimidators Hagerstown Suns Charleston RiverDogs; Delmarva Shorebirds
2006 Lakewood BlueClaws Augusta GreenJackets Lexington Legends; Rome Braves
2007 Columbus Catfish West Virginia Power Augusta GreenJackets; Hickory Crawdads
2008 Augusta GreenJackets West Virginia Power Asheville Tourists; Lake County Captains
2009 Lakewood BlueClaws Greenville Drive Asheville Tourists; Kannapolis Intimidators
2010 Lakewood BlueClaws Greenville Drive Hickory Crawdads; Savannah Sand Gnats
2011 Greensboro Grasshoppers Savannah Sand Gnats Augusta GreenJackets; Hickory Crawdads
2012 Asheville Tourists Greensboro Grasshoppers Hagerstown Suns; Rome Braves
2013 Savannah Sand Gnats Hagerstown Suns Augusta GreenJackets; West Virginia Power

Hall of Fame[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Baseball America, December 15, 2007
  2. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/14/sports/baseball/14moss.html?hpw

External links[edit]