Mississippi–Ohio Valley League

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Mississippi–Ohio Valley League
Sport Minor League Baseball
Class D
Founded 1949
Ceased 1955 (became Midwest League in 1956)
No. of teams 23
Country USA
Most titles 2 Danville Dans (1951, 1954)
Decatur Commodores (1952-1953)
Official website Midwest League Official Website

The Mississippi–Ohio Valley League was a Class-D American minor league baseball league. Evolving from the renamed Illinois State League (1947-1948), the Mississippi–Ohio Valley League operated for seven seasons, from 1949 through 1955.[1] In 1956 the league was renamed the Midwest League, which still exists today.[2]

History[edit]

In 1947, the Illinois State League (ISL) (1947-1948) was formed. Charter franchises were in the Illinois cities of Belleville, Centralia, Marion, Mattoon, Mount Vernon and West Frankfort.[3] After the 1948 season, the Marion Indians moved out of Illinois to Kentucky. This necessitated a name change for the league .

The new name was the Mississippi–Ohio Valley League. The league incorporated the new Paducah Chiefs and the five former ISL teams, the Belleville Stags, Centralia Cubs, Mattoon Indians, Mount Vernon Kings, and West Frankfort Cardinals as 1949 charter members.[4][5] In 1950, Springfield, Illinois joined, leaving the Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League, while the league expanded, adding expansion teams in the Paris Lakers, Illinois and the Citizens of Vincennes, Indiana, while the Belleville franchise folded.[6] There was more movement in 1951, as the Springfield Giants and West Frankfort Cardinals both folded and the Paducah Chiefs left to join the Kentucky–Illinois–Tennessee League. The league played 1951 with six teams, as Danville, Illinois joined from the Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League.[7][8]

In 1952, the league again expanded to eight teams, adding the Commodores in Decatur, Illinois and Cardinals in Hannibal, Missouri, while Vincennes relocated to Canton, Ohio.[9][10] In 1953, the Canton and Centralia franchises both folded and the league returned to six teams.[11][12] There was expansion again in 1954, as two Iowa teams, the Clinton Pirates and Dubuque Packers returned the league to eight members.[13][14] In the final season of the league, the Danville Dans moved to Kokomo, Indiana and became the Kokomo Giants and Mount Vernon moved to Lafayette, Indiana as the Lafayette Red Sox. Following the 1955 season, Hannibal moved to become the Michigan City White Caps, joining Kokomo, Lafayette, Clinton, Dubuque, Decatur, Mattoon and Paris in the renamed Midwest League.[15][16] The Midwest League still exists today with 16 teams, with Clinton as the only remaining original locale.

Teams[edit]

Belleville Stags (1949)
Canton Citizens (1952)
Centralia Cubs (1949), Sterlings (1950), Zeros (1951-1952)
Clinton Pirates (1954-1955)
Danville Dans (1951-1954)
Decatur Commodores (1952-1955)
Dubuque Packers (1954-1955)
Hannibal Stags (1952), Cardinals (1953-1954), Citizens (1955),
Kokomo Giants (1955)
Lafayette Chiefs (1955)
Mattoon Indians (1949-1952), Phillies (1953-1955)
Mount Vernon Kings (1949-1954)
Paducah Chiefs (1949-1950)
Paris Lakers (1950-1955)
Springfield Giants (1950)
Vincennes Citizens (1950)
Vincennes Velvets (1951-1952)
West Frankfort Cardinals (1949-1950)

Year by Year[edit]

1949

Team Name Affiliation Record
Centralia Cubs 74-44
West Frankfort Cardinals   St. Louis Cardinals 71-49
Mattoon Indians 62-56
Paducah Chiefs 54-65
Mount Vernon Kings 53-67
Belleville Stags 43-76

Mattoon beat Centralia 3 games to none in the playoffs. Paducah beat West Frankfort by 3 games to none as well. Paducah beat Mattoon 4 games to 3 for the championship.

1950

Centralia Sterlings 83-40
West Frankfort Cardinals   St. Louis Cardinals 72-47
Mattoon Indians 71-47
Paducah Chiefs 67-55
Springfield Giants 60-59
Paris Lakers 43-75
Vincennes Citizens 43-76
Mount Vernon Kings 37-77

Centralia beat Mattoon 3 games to 1, and Paducah beat West Frankfort 3 games to none, in the first round of the playoffs. The championship series was cancelled due to bad weather.

1951

Paris Lakers 84-36 (1st half winner) (2nd half winner)
Centralia Zeros 69-51
Mount Vernon Kings   60-59
Danville Dans 51-67
Mattoon Indians 49-69
Vincennes Velvets 43-74

1952

Danville Dans Boston Braves 87-40 (1st half winner)
Paris Lakers 85-42 (2nd half winner)
Decatur Commodores 73-52
Hannibal Stags 70-57
Mount Vernon Kings 55-67
Vincennes Velvets/Canton Citizens   54-70
Centralia Zeros 41-83
Mattoon Indians Cincinnati Reds 35-89

Hannibal beat Danville 3 games to 1, and Decatur beat Paris 3 games to 2 in the first round of the playoffs. Decatur won the championship over Hannibal 3 games to 1.

1953

Decatur Commodores   68-50
Paris Lakers 66-53
Mattoon Phillies Philadelphia Phillies 64-56
Hannibal Cardinals St. Louis Cardinals 55-62
Mount Vernon Kings 55-64
Danville Dans Chicago White Sox 48-71

Decatur beat Hannibal 3 games to none, and Paris beat Mattoon 3 games to none, in the first round of the playoffs. Decatur won the championship over Paris 3 games to 2.

1954

Decatur Commodores   74-52
Danville Dans New York Giants 66-59
Clinton Pirates 63-59
Dubuque Packers Chicago White Sox 62-61
Mattoon Phillies Philadelphia Phillies 62-64
Paris Lakers 58-68
Hannibal Cardinals St. Louis Cardinals 58-68
Mount Vernon Kings 57-69

Clinton beat Decatur 2 games to none, and Danville beat Dubuque 2 games to 1, in the first round of the playoffs. Danville won the championship over Clinton 3 games to none.

1955

Dubuque Packers Chicago White Sox 74-52
Mattoon Phillies Philadelphia Phillies 68-57
Clinton Pirates Pittsburgh Pirates 68-57
Kokomo Giants 64-62
Lafayette Chiefs Cleveland Indians 63-63
Decatur Commodores   St. Louis Cardinals 62-64
Paris Lakers Brooklyn Dodgers 62-64
Hannibal Citizens 42-84

Dubuque beat Clinton 2 games to none, and Mattoon beat Kokomo 2 games to none, in the first round of the playoffs. Dubuque won the championship over Mattoon 3 games to none. The team from Hannibal folded. All other teams from the league became charter members of the new, Class D Midwest League, now a Low Class A circuit, and the Mississippi–Ohio Valley League folded.

References[edit]

  • Sumner, Benjamin Barrett. Minor League Baseball Standings:All North American Leagues, Through 1999. Jefferson, N.C.:McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0781-6