Class A Short Season

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A 2007 game with the Class A Short Season Vancouver Canadians at Nat Bailey Stadium

Class A Short Season (officially Short-Season A)[1][a] was a level of play in Minor League Baseball in the United States[b] from 1965 through 2020. In the hierarchy of minor league classifications, it was below Triple-A, Double-A, Class A-Advanced (created in 1990), and Class A. Teams in Class A Short Season played about 75 to 80 games per season, compared to the 130- to 140-game seasons of most professional baseball minor leagues.

As part of the 2021 reorganization of the minor leagues, Class A Short Season was eliminated along with its two leagues, the New York–Penn League and Northwest League.[2][3] Nine of the 22 active short-season teams were organized into new leagues at the High-A classification level.


In 1965, the Northern League of Class A started a 66-game season in late June,[4][5] a departure from the league's previous "full season" schedules of about 120 games.[6] In December 1965, the Northwest League announced that it would play an 85-game schedule starting in late June 1966, limiting teams to no more than two veteran players on their 25-man rosters.[7]

After playing the 1966 season with two short-season leagues,[8][c] the New York–Penn League also moved to a short-season format, playing an 80-game schedule beginning in late June 1967.[9][10] The three leagues continued to play short seasons through 1971.[11] In February 1972, the Northern League folded, due to reduced support from both fans and Major League Baseball (MLB) teams,[12] leaving the New York–Penn League and Northwest League as the only two short-season leagues.[13] Both leagues operated annually through 2019.[14][d]

Outfielder Mike Meyers with the Class A Short Season Lowell Spinners in 2014[e]

Class A Short Season was originally the fourth-highest level in the minor leagues; with the addition of Class A-Advanced in 1990, Class A Short Season became fifth in the overall hierarchy:

  1. Triple-A
  2. Double-A
  3. Class A-Advanced
  4. Class A ("Full-Season A")
  5. Class A Short Season ("Short-Season A")
  6. Rookie league

Before the 2021 season, MLB restructured the minor leagues, temporarily discontinuing the use of historical league names within Minor League Baseball and permanently eliminating Class A Short Season.[17] This effectively contracted Class A from having three levels to two, with Class A-Advanced and full-season Class A continuing on as "High-A" and "Low-A", respectively.

Dispersal of Class A Short Season teams[edit]

When the classification was ended before the 2021 season, there were two leagues with a total of 22 active teams.

Of the 14 active teams in the New York–Penn League:

Of the eight active teams in the Northwest League:


Teams in short-season leagues played schedules of about 75 to 80 games, starting in mid-June and ending in early September, with only a few off-days during the season. The late start of the season was designed to allow college baseball players to complete their college seasons in the spring, be selected in the MLB draft in June, signed, and then be immediately placed in a competitive league. Players in short-season leagues were a mixture of newly signed draftees who were considered more advanced than other draftees, and second-year pros who were not yet ready, or for whom there was not space, to move up the minor league hierarchy. Second-year pros were often assigned to "extended spring training" in Florida or Arizona during April and May, before reporting to their short-season leagues.


  1. ^ The classification is sometimes abbreviated "A (Short)" or "Class A-", with the latter used only as a written abbreviation (it is not called "Class A-minus").
  2. ^ Some teams in Canada also played at this level, the last of which was the Vancouver Canadians.
  3. ^ 1966 is the first season for which differentiates full-season and short-season Class A leagues.
  4. ^ The 2020 minor league season was cancelled due to impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sports.[15]
  5. ^ Meyers played in Boston's farm system from 2012 to 2017.[16]


  1. ^ The Official Professional Baseball Rules Book (PDF). New York City: Office of the Commissioner of Baseball. 2019. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 31, 2019 – via Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Lacques, Gabe (December 9, 2020). "Major League Baseball issues invites for minor-league affiliates; here are teams that didn't make cut". USA Today. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  3. ^ Mayo, Jonathan (February 12, 2021). "MLB announces new Minors teams, leagues". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved February 14, 2021.
  4. ^ "1965 Northern League". Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  5. ^ "Season Shortened". La Crosse Tribune. La Crosse, Wisconsin. AP. June 14, 1965. p. 14. Retrieved April 30, 2021 – via
  6. ^ "1964 Northern League". Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  7. ^ "NWL Will Work With Four Clubs". Statesman Journal. Salem, Oregon. AP. December 22, 1965. p. 14. Retrieved April 30, 2021 – via
  8. ^ "1966 Register League Encyclopedia". Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  9. ^ "New York-Penn League To Open Play June 23". The Mercury. Pottstown, Pennsylvania. AP. May 8, 1967. p. 26. Retrieved April 30, 2021 – via
  10. ^ "1967 Register League Encyclopedia". Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  11. ^ "1971 Register League Encyclopedia". Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  12. ^ "Big League Help Gone; Loop Folds". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. AP. February 5, 1972. p. 7. Retrieved April 30, 2021 – via
  13. ^ "1972 Register League Encyclopedia". Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  14. ^ "2019 Register League Encyclopedia". Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  15. ^ Adler, David (30 June 2020). "2020 Minor League Baseball season canceled". Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  16. ^ "Mike Meyers Minor Leagues Statistics & History". Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  17. ^ Creamer, Chris (February 15, 2021). "A Breakdown of Minor League Baseball's Total Realignment for 2021". Retrieved April 16, 2021.