Carolina League

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This article is about a baseball league currently in operation. For the independent baseball league that operated between 1936 and 1938, see Carolina League (1936–1938).
Carolina League
Carolina League logo
Sport Baseball
Founded 1945
No. of teams 10
Country USA
Most recent
Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Classification Class A-Advanced
Official website Official Website

The Carolina League is a Minor League Baseball affiliation which operates along the Atlantic Coast of the United States. It is classified as a "Class A-Advanced" league.

The organization that later became the Carolina League formed in 1945, just as World War II was ending, and consisted of only two teams based in southern Virginia. Historically, however, as many as 12 teams in a given year have competed in the Carolina League. Today, the league consists of ten teams in a region stretching from Delaware to South Carolina, and is divided into a Northern Division and a Southern Division.


The league originated in the vicinity of Raleigh, North Carolina, and has since branched out.

A few of the many Carolina League players who have gone on to star in the Major Leagues are: Johnny Bench (Peninsula, 1966), Wade Boggs (Winston-Salem, 1977), Barry Bonds (Prince William, 1985), Rod Carew (Wilson, 1966), Dock Ellis (Kinston, 1965), Dwight Evans (Winston-Salem, 1971), Dwight Gooden (Lynchburg, 1983), Zack Greinke (Wilmington, 2003), Andruw Jones (Durham, 1996), Chipper Jones (Durham, 1992), Willie McCovey (Danville, 1956), Joe Morgan (Durham, 1963), Dave Parker (Salem, 1972), Tony Pérez (Rocky Mount, 1962), Andy Pettitte (Prince William, 1993), Jorge Posada (Prince William, 1993), Darryl Strawberry (Lynchburg, 1981), Bernie Williams (Prince William, 1988), and Carl Yastrzemski (Raleigh, 1959).

Director and screenwriter Ron Shelton's 1988 film Bull Durham, starring Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins, and Susan Sarandon, depicted a fictionalized account of the Durham Bulls, at that time a Carolina League team (they have since become a Class AAA team in the International League). Before he began making films, Shelton had a five-year minor league career in the Baltimore Orioles' organization, which included a stint in the Carolina League.

On August 22, 2016, it was announced that the Carolina League would add two expansion teams for the 2017 season to fill two vacant spots at the High-A level previously occupied by the California League's Bakersfield Blaze and High Desert Mavericks franchises, which ceased operations at the end of the 2016 season. One team has been confirmed for Kinston, North Carolina, temporarily known as Kinston Baseball, as an affiliate of the Texas Rangers. The second team is likely headed to Fayetteville, North Carolina, pending approval.[1]

Current teams[edit]

Division Team MLB Affiliation City Stadium Capacity
Northern Frederick Keys Baltimore Orioles (since 1982) Frederick, Maryland Harry Grove Stadium 5,400
Lynchburg Hillcats Cleveland Indians (since 2015) Lynchburg, Virginia Calvin Falwell Field 4,281
Potomac Nationals Washington Nationals (since 2005) Woodbridge, Virginia G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium 6,000
Wilmington Blue Rocks Kansas City Royals (since 2007) Wilmington, Delaware Daniel S. Frawley Stadium 6,404
Southern Carolina Mudcats Milwaukee Brewers (from 2017) Zebulon, North Carolina Five County Stadium 6,500
Myrtle Beach Pelicans Chicago Cubs (from 2015) Myrtle Beach, South Carolina TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark 6,599
Salem Red Sox Boston Red Sox (since 2009) Salem, Virginia Lewis-Gale Field 6,300
Winston-Salem Dash Chicago White Sox (since 1997) Winston-Salem, North Carolina BB&T Ballpark 5,500

2017 Expansion teams[edit]

Division Team MLB Affiliation City Stadium Capacity
TBD Kinston Baseball Texas Rangers (from 2017) Kinston, North Carolina Grainger Stadium 4,100
TBD Fayetteville (pending) Houston Astros (from 2017) Fayetteville, North Carolina (pending) TBD TBD

Current team rosters[edit]

Carolina League champions[edit]

Wilmington Blue Rocks (1)
  • 2000: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
  • 2001: Salem Avalanche
  • 2002: Lynchburg Hillcats
  • 2003: Winston-Salem Warthogs
  • 2004: Kinston Indians
  • 2005: Frederick Keys
  • 2006: Kinston Indians
  • 2007: Frederick Keys
  • 2008: Potomac Nationals
  • 2009: Lynchburg Hillcats
  • 2010: Potomac Nationals
  • 2011: Frederick Keys
  • 2012: Lynchburg Hillcats
  • 2013: Salem Red Sox
  • 2014: Potomac Nationals
  • 2015: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
  • 2016: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
(1) ^ Myrtle Beach and Wilmington were declared co-champions when the series was tied 2–2 and canceled because of Hurricane Floyd.[2]


For league awards, go to the league website, click on "History" and then click on "Carolina League Award Winners."

See also: Baseball awards#Carolina League.

All-time teams (1945–present)[edit]

All teams that have competed in the Carolina League from its founding in 1945. Teams in bold are currently active.[3]


  1. ^ Glaser, Kyle. "Carolina League To Add Two Franchises In 2017". Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  2. ^ Young, Ryan (April 3, 2013). "Pelicans Through the Years". The Sun News. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ "2013 Carolina League Media Guide and Record Book". p. 4. 

External links[edit]