Independent baseball league
An independent baseball league is a professional baseball organization in the United States and/or Canada that is not operated in conjunction with either a Major League Baseball team or an affiliated minor league team. Being independent allows teams to be based near a major-league team without the latter's consent. Such leagues have been around for many years and were once known as "outlaw leagues" due to their position outside the rules of affiliated minor league baseball.
The Northern League and Frontier League both started play in 1993; the Northern League's success paved the way for other independent leagues, such as the Texas-Louisiana League and Northeast League. The Atlantic League has had more marquee players than any other independent league, including Jose Canseco, Ozzie Canseco, Rickey Henderson, Rubén Sierra, Carlos Baerga, and John Rocker. The Northern League alumni include Leon "Bull" Durham, J. D. Drew, and Darryl Strawberry.
Independent leagues have flourished in northeastern states, where the dense population oftens support multiple franchises. Because they are not subject to the territorial limitations imposed on affiliated minor-league teams, independent clubs can be based near MLB and/or minor league teams (and one another). For example, the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania cannot have an affiliated team because of its proximity to the Harrisburg Senators and Reading Fightin Phils, leaving the Atlantic League to place a team (the Lancaster Barnstormers) to fill the void. Another example is the New York City metropolitan area, where there are many independent teams: the Bridgeport Bluefish, Long Island Ducks, New Jersey Jackals, Rockland Boulders, Somerset Patriots, and Sussex County Miners. Not only is the Kansas City area home to the Major League Kansas City Royals, but also the independent Kansas City T-Bones. The St. Paul Saints share a market with the American League's Minnesota Twins; both teams have frequently worked together to promote baseball in the upper Midwest.
|League||First season||Geographical area|
|California Winter League||2010||California|
Defunct independent baseball leagues