The Appalachian League of Professional Baseball is a Rookie-class minor league baseball league that began play in 1937 with one year of inactivity in 1956. From 1937 to 1962, it was a Class D League. Teams are located in the Appalachian regions of Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia and Tennessee. The league's season starts in June, after major league teams have signed players that they selected in the annual amateur draft, and ends in September.
Along with the Pioneer League, it forms the second-lowest rung on the minor league ladder. Although classified as a Rookie league, the level of play is slightly higher than that of the two "complex" Rookie leagues, the Gulf Coast League and Arizona League. Unlike these two leagues, Appalachian League games charge admission and sell concessions.
Earlier incarnations of the league operated, more centrally around Tennessee, from 1911 to 1914 and 1921 to 1925 at the Class D level.
The original Appalachian League only existed for four seasons from 1911-1914 and all teams were independent with no MLB affiliation. The teams that were a part of this were: Asheville Moonshiners, Bristol Boosters, Cleveland Counts, Johnson City Soldiers, Knoxville Appalachians, and Morristown Jobbers.
The second Appalachian League existed for five seasons from 1921-1925, and again only had independent teams. These teams were the Bristol State-Liners, the Cleveland Manufacturers, the Greeneville Burley Cats, the second iteration of the Johnson City Soldiers, the Kingsport Indians, and the Knoxville Pioneers. 1921 was the first appearance of 2 locations which have present-day teams in the Appalachian League – Kingsport, Tennessee, with the present-day Kingsport Mets; and Greeneville, Tennessee, with the present-day Greeneville Astros.
The third Appalachian league was shifted to D-level minor league, the lowest level in the pre - 1963 MLB. It started in 1937 and had four teams - the Elizabethton Betsy Red Sox, the third iteration of the Johnson City Soldiers, the Newport Canners, and the Pennington Gap Lee Bears.