Western Carolinas League
The Western Carolinas League was a Class D (1948–1952; 1960–1962) and a low Class A (1963–1979) full-season league in American minor league baseball. The WCL changed its name prior to the 1980 season and has been known since as the South Atlantic League, a highly successful low Class A circuit with teams up the Eastern Seaboard from Georgia to New Jersey.
Originally called the "Western Carolina League," the 1948–1952 WCL was composed exclusively of teams located in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge sections of western North Carolina. It merged with the North Carolina State League to form the short-lived Class D Tar Heel League, which lasted only 1½ seasons (1953–1954) before folding.
In 1960, the WCL was revived as a Class D circuit intended for farm teams of member clubs of a planned third major league, the Continental League. It featured teams in eight North Carolina locales: Gastonia, Hickory, Lexington, Newton-Conover, Rutherford County, Salisbury, Shelby and Statesville, but soon expanded to sites in South Carolina.
When the CL was torpedoed by the Major League Baseball expansion in 1961 and 1962, the members of the Western Carolinas League became affiliates of American and National League clubs. It was upgraded to Class A in the 1963 reorganization of the minor leagues.
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, also the longtime mayor of Kings Mountain, North Carolina, retired at the close of the 2007 Sally League season and died, at age 90, on July 1, 2009.
Western Carolina League (1948–1952)
Western Carolinas League (1960–1979)
- South Atlantic League Hall of Fame (including Western Carolinas League players)
- Baseball America, December 15, 2007