South Atlantic League
South Atlantic League logo
|No. of teams||14|
|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.
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 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.
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.
The league is divided into a Northern Division and a Southern Division.
Heritage: The former 'Sally League'
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)
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
Hall of Fame
- Baseball America, December 15, 2007