Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League

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Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League
Sport Baseball
Founded 1901
Ceased 1961
No. of teams 31 Cities
Country USA
Most titles 8 Evansville Braves/ Bees/ Hubs (1957, 1956, 1954, 1952, 1949, 1941, 1938, 1930)
Classification D (1901) B (1902–1961)
Official website Most cities today: Midwest League Official Website

The Illinois-Indiana–Iowa League was a minor league baseball organization that operated for the better part of 60 years, mostly in those three states. The league began play in 1901 and disbanded after the 1961 season. It was popularly known as the Three–I League and also sometimes jokingly as the Three-Eye League.

History[edit]

The Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League was founded in 1901 with Rock Island, IL native Michael H. Sexton serving as President. Eight charter members began play in 1901: the Bloomington Blues, Cedar Rapids Rabbitts, Davenport River Rats, Decatur Commodores, Evansville River Rats and Rock Island Islanders, Rockford Red Sox and Terre Haute Hottentots.[1] Bloomington, Illinois, Decatur, Illinois and Terre Haute, Indiana had left the Central League to join expansion teams in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Davenport, Iowa, Evansville, Indiana, Rockford, Illinois, and Rock Island, Illinois and form the Class D league. Interestingly, two expansion teams, Davenport and Evansville, chose "River Rats" as their team name.[2] For the second season, 1902, the league became Class B, a classification it retained for the next 59 seasons of league operation.[3]

The Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League was inactive during some years of World War I (1918), the Great Depression (1933-1934, 1936) and World War II (1943-1945), similar to many minor leagues that were forced to suspend operations or disband during those severe times.[4][5]

As with many minor leagues, especially at the lower classifications, league membership fluctuated a great deal over its six decades. Overall, the league hosted teams in 31 cities during its existence.[6] At various times it had teams in such medium-sized cities as Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Bloomington, Decatur, Danville, Peoria, Springfield, Evansville and Terre Haute. It was a Class B league in the old classification system that ran from Class D up to Class Triple-A.

The 1955 Keokuk Kernels are ranked #30 in the Top-100 All Time teams by MiLB.com.[7] The Kernels finished with a 92-34 record and were led by Russ Nixon and Mudcat Grant. [8]

Since 1956 its territory had largely been supplanted by the Midwest League, which began in 1947 as the Class D Illinois State League. After 1956 there were no Illinois or Indiana teams in the league. The final 1961 Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League franchises were the Fox Cities Foxes, Burlington Bees, Topeka Reds, Lincoln Chiefs, Cedar Rapids Braves and Des Moines Demons.[9] In 1962, Appleton (Fox Cities), Burlington, and Cedar Rapids joined the Midwest League and the Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League folded operations when those franchises switched leagues.[10]

The league's unique name made it a convenient reference point for any mention of the minor leagues. Casey Stengel made the following comment in later life, evidently still feeling stung from having been traded by the New York Giants to the Boston Braves in the 1923–1924 off-season, despite having hit 2 game-winning home runs in the World Series: "It's lucky I didn't hit 3 home runs in three games, or McGraw would have traded me to the 3-I League!"

Three-I Most Valuable Player(s)[edit]

Ball parks[edit]

Year By Year 1901-1932[edit]

1901Terre Haute won the title behind the impressive pitching of Mordecai Brown, future Chicago Cubs mound star.

Team Name Record
Terre Haute Hottentots 72-39
Bloomington Blues 68-44
Cedar Rapids Rabbits 67-45
Rockford Red Sox 57-55
Davenport River Rats 51-61
Evansville River Rats 47-65
Rock Island Islanders 45-66
Decatur Commodores 40-72

1902

Rockford Red Sox 74-52
Terre Haute Hottentots 70-53
Cedar Rapids Rabbits 64-55
Rock Island Islanders 58-61
Davenport River Rats 59-63
Evansville River Rats 57-67
Decatur Commodores 55-69
Bloomington Blues 54-71

1903 Evansville and Terre Haute joined the Central League. New teams in Dubuque, Iowa and Joliet, Illinois formed. Joliet, with a record of 14-19, moved to Springfield, Illinois on June 12, where they had a record of 28-61.

Bloomington Bloomers 72-47
Decatur Commodores 67-51
Davenport River Rats 65-53
Rock Island Islanders 64-54
Cedar Rapids Rabbits 60-60
Rockford Red Sox 58-60
Dubuque Shamrocks 49-72
Joliet Standards/Springfield Foot Trackers 42-80

1904

Springfield Hustlers 72-48
Cedar Rapids Rabbits 70-52
Dubuque Shamrocks 69-54
Bloomington Bloomers 60-61
Decatur Commodores 59-62
Rock Island Islanders 57-65
Davenport River Rats 52-69
Rockford Red Sox 48-76

1905 The Rockford team folded, and a new team in Peoria, Illinois formed.

Dubuque Shamrocks 70-53
Rock Island Islanders 68-55
Springfield Senators 64-58
Decatur Commodores 63-58
Cedar Rapids Rabbits 63-61
Bloomington Bloomers 60-65
Davenport Riversides 56-67
Peoria Distillers 48-75

After the season ended, Cedar Rapids lost to the Burlington, Iowa team from the Iowa State League 4 games to 3.

1906

Cedar Rapids Rabbits 79-43
Peoria Distillers 74-48
Dubuque Dubs 64-55
Springfield Senators 64-56
Rock Island Islanders 58-66
Decatur Commodores 48-67
Bloomington Bloomers 51-74
Davenport Knickerbockers 45-74

1907

The Davenport team folded. The team from Clinton, Iowa joined after leaving the Iowa State League.

Rock Island Islanders 86-46
Decatur Commodores 80-47
Springfield Senators 81-50
Peoria Distillers 77-52
Cedar Rapids Rabbits 72-61
Clinton Infants 53-78
Bloomington Bloomers 51-79
Dubuque Dubs 22-109

1908

Springfield Senators 82-54
Decatur Commodores 77-59
Cedar Rapids Rabbits 69-63
Peoria Distillers 77-52
Dubuque Dubs 67-69
Bloomington Bloomers 64-73
Rock Island Islanders 59-76
Clinton Adults 55-78

1909 The Clinton team folded. A new team in Davenport, Iowa formed.

Rock Island Islanders 90-48
Springfield Senators 81-53
Davenport Prodigals 77-59
Burlington Bloomers 70-67
Peoria Distillers 69-67
Dubuque Dubs 64-71
Decatur Commodores 63-73
Cedar Rapids Rabbits 31-107

1910 After the previous disappointing season, Cedar Rapids folded. The Decatur team moved to the Northern Association. The team from Waterloo, Iowa left the Central Association to join here. A new team from Danville, Illinois formed and joined the league as well.

Springfield Senators 88-48
Rock Island Islanders 81-56
Peoria Distillers 75-64
Waterloo Boosters 72-67
Bloomington Bloomers 60-76
Dubuque Dubs 60-79
Davenport Prodigals 59-80
Danville Speakers 57-82

1911 The team from Bloomington folded. The Quincy, Illinois team from the Central Association joined the league. The Springfield team, with a 12-4 record, moved to Decatur, Illinois on May 31, where their record was 57-56.

Peoria Distillers 76-59
Springfield Senators/Decatur Nomads 69-60
Quincy Infants 71-63
Danville Speakers 69-62
Davenport Prodigals 69-69
Dubuque Hustlers 67-70
Waterloo Boosters 59-76
Rock Island Islanders 58-79

1912 The teams from Rock Island and Waterloo folded. New teams from Springfield, Illinois and Bloomington, Indiana joined the league.

Springfield Senators 90-44
Davenport Prodigals 75-60
Decatur Commodores 69-67
Quincy Old Soldiers 67-70
Dubuque Dubs 65-73
Danville Speakers 63-71
Bloomington Bloomers 58-78
Peoria Distillers 56-80

1913

Quincy Gems 79-60
Dubuque Dubs 74-62
Davenport Blue Sox 68-66
Danville Speakers 69-68
Decatur Commodores 67-68
Springfield Watchmakers 66-70
Bloomington Bloomers 64-71
Peoria Distillers 57-79

1914 The Danville team, with a record of 26-53, moved to Moline, Illinois on July 14, where their record was 20-33.

Davenport Blue Sox 83-52
Peoria Distillers 81-56
Springfield Watchmakers 72-60
Decatur Commodores 72-64
Dubuque Dubs 64-69
Quincy Gems 61-71
Bloomington Bloomers 56-77
Danville Speakers/Moline Plowboys 46-86

1915 The Springfield team folded. A new team in Rockford, Illinois formed. Dubuque moved to Freeport, Illinois during the season. The Decatur team folded on August 10. The league adopted a playoff system in which the team with the best record in the first half of the season would play the team with the best record in the second half of the season.

Moline Plowboys 75-51 (2nd half winner)
Davenport Blue Sox 76-52 (1st half winner)
Rockford Wakes 72-58
Quincy Gems 62-56
Peoria Distillers 68-63
Dubuque Dubs/Freeport Comeons 48-76
Bloomington Bloomers 48-76
Decatur Commodores 37-57

Moline beat Davenport 4 games to 2 for the title.

1916 The Freeport team folded. New teams in Hannibal, Missouri and Rock Island, Illinois formed and joined the league. The playoff system was apparently dropped.

Peoria Distillers 84-50
Hannibal Mules 79-57
Bloomington Bloomers 76-56
Rockford Wakes 67-66
Moline Plowboys 59-76
Rock Island Islanders 57-76
Quincy Gems 57-77
Davenport Blue Sox 56-77

1917 The Davenport team folded. A new team in Alton, Illinois formed and joined the league.

Peoria Distillers 43-23
Rockford Rox 39-21
Hannibal Mules 39-27
Rock Island Islanders 36-26
Quincy Gems 27-38
Moline Plowboys 27-38
Bloomington Bloomers 25-37
Alton Blues 18-44

1918 The league suspended operations because of World War I.

1919 The teams in Alton, Hannibal, Quincy, and Rock Island folded. New teams in Evansville, Indiana and Terre Haute, Indiana formed and joined the league.

Bloomington Bloomers 80-41
Peoria Tractors 68-54
Evansville Black Sox 63-58
Rockford Rox 63-60
Terre Haute Browns 50-70
Moline Plowboys 40-81

1920 New teams in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Rock Island, Illinois formed and joined the league. Evansville changed their names to the "Evas".

Bloomington Bloomers 82-57
Evansville Evas 80-56
Rockford Rox 70-70
Moline Plowboys 69-70
Cedar Rapids Rabbits 68-69
Peoria Tractors 67-71
Terre Haute Browns 58-77
Rock Island Islanders 57-81

1921

Moline Plowboys 78-55
Rockford Rox 72-64
Terre Haute Tots 70-65
Peoria Tractors 70-69
Evansville Evas 67-69
Bloomington Bloomers 65-69
Cedar Rapids Rabbits 62-72
Rock Island Islanders 57-78

1922 The teams in Cedar Rapids and Rock Island moved to the Mississippi Valley League. New teams in Danville and Decatur formed and joines the league.

Terre Haute Tots 85-51
Decatur Commodores 78-58
Peoria Tractors 76-60
Evansville Evas 76-64
Rockford Rox 74-65
Bloomington Bloomers 63-75
Danville Veterans 50-87
Moline Plowboys 49-89

1923

Decatur Commodores 81-54
Rockford Rox 76-63
Terre Haute Tots 71-60
Bloomington Bloomers 72-64
Evansville Evas 72-65
Peoria Tractors 71-65
Danville Veterans 55-81
Moline Plowboys 45-91

1924 The Rockford team folded. The Moline team moved to the Mississippi Valley League.

Terre Haute Tots 75-62
Evansville Little Evas 75-64
Bloomington Bloomers 71-64
Peoria Tractors 71-66
Danville Veterans 59-75
Decatur Commodores 58-78

1925 New teams in Quincy and Springfield formed and joined the league.

Peoria Tractors 89-48
Terre Haute Tots 81-54
Evansville Pocketeers 72-63
Danville Veterans 69-66
Decatur Commodores 62-73
Bloomington Bloomers 56-74
Springfield Senators 56-79
Quincy Red Birds 54-82

1926

Springfield Senators 77-59
Peoria Tractors 75-62
Terre Haute Tots 73-61
Danville Veterans 72-65
Evansville Hubs 72-66
Decatur Commodores 69-67
Quincy Red Birds 62-75
Bloomington Bloomers 43-88

Springfield played Bay City of the Michigan State League and won 4 games to none. They were leading against Des Moines of the Western League 3 games to 1 when the series was canceled due to cold weather.

1927

Danville Veterans 86-50
Peoria Tractors 87-51
Springfield Senators 72-66
Terre Haute Tots 70-66
Decatur Commodores 62-70
Quincy Red Birds 63-75
Bloomington Bloomers 55-83
Evansville Hubs 50-84

1928 The league returned to the playoff format in which the team with the best record in the first half of the season played the team with the best records in the second half of the season for the title.

Decatur Commodores 81-49 (2nd half winner)
Terre Haute Tots 75-59 (1st half winner)
Danville Veterans 69-57
Peoria Tractors 69-66
Evansville Hubs 62-68
Bloomington Bloomers 61-69
Springfield Senators 60-79
Quincy Indians 50-85

Decatur beat Terre Haute for the title 4 games to 1, with 1 tie.

1929 Two teams with the nickname "Tractors" played in the league this season.

Quincy Indians 82-56
Decatur Commodores 81-57
Evansville Hubs 79-57
Terre Haute Tots 72-66
Bloomington Bloomers 70-70
Peoria Tractors 61-76
Springfield Tractors 59-77
Danville Veterans 46-91

Quincy played Canton of the Central League after the season ended and lost 4 games to 2.

1930 The league returned to the best record in the 1st half vs. best record in the 2nd half playoff system.

Evansville Hubs 79-55 (2nd half winner)
Quincy Indians 78-58
Decatur Commodores 77-59
Danville Veterans 71-67 (1st half winner)
Springfield Senators 62-70
Peoria Tractors 57-77
Bloomington Cubs 57-78
Terre Haute Tots 53-76

Danville defeated Evansville 4 games to 2 for the title. Danville went on to play Springfield of the Central League and lead 3 games to 2 when the series was cancelled because of poor attendance.

1931

Springfield Senators 72-45 (1st half winner)
Quincy Indians 67-49 (2nd half winner)
Evansville Hubs 67-58
Decatur Commodores 64-57
Bloomington Cubs 58-61
Terre Haute Tots 55-68
Peoria Tractors 51-68
Danville Veterans 44-72

Quincy beat Springfield 4 games to 2 for the championship.

1932 The teams in Bloomington and Evansville folded before the season, and the Springfield and Decatur teams folded on July 12.

Team Name Affiliation Record
Terre Haute Tots 42-27 (1st half winner)
Peoria Tractors 20-38 (2nd half winner)
Quincy Indians Cleveland Indians 38-31
Danville Veterans St. Louis Cardinals 29-39
Springfield Senators 32-37
Decatur Commodores 24-43

The Terre Haute, Peoria, Quincy, and Danville teams all folded on July 15, as did the league itself. The league was restarted in 1935, 1937–1942, and 1946–1961.

All former teams (1901–1961)[edit]

Alton, Illinois

Bloomington, Illinois
* Bloomington Bengals, 1937
* Bloomington Bloomers, 1903–1910, 1912–1917,
1919–1929, 1935, 1938–1939
* Bloomington Cubs, 1930–1931
* Bloomington Blues, 1901–1902
Burlington, Iowa
* Burlington Bees, 1954–1961
* Burlington Flints, 1952–1953
Little Falls, Wisconsin
*Little Falls Braves, 1914–1953
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
*Cedar Rapids Braves, 1958–1961
*Cedar Rapids Indians, 1950–1954
*Cedar Rapids Raiders, 1938–1942, 1957
*Cedar Rapids Rabbits, 1901–1909, 1920–1921
Clinton, Iowa
*Clinton Giants, 1939–1941
*Clinton Infants, 1907–1908
*Clinton Owls, 1937–1938
Danville, Illinois
Danville Dodgers, 1946–1950
Danville Speakers, 1910–1914
Danville Veterans, 1922–1932
Davenport, Iowa
*Davenport Blue Sox, 1913–1916
*Davenport Cubs, 1946–1947
*Davenport DavSox, 1957–1958
*Davenport Knickerbockers, 1906
*Davenport Pirates, 1948–1949
*Davenport Prodigals, 1909–1912
*Davenport Quads, 1950
*Davenport River Rats, 1901–1904
*Davenport Riversides, 1905
*Davenport Tigers, 1951–1952
Decatur, Illinois
*Decatur Commies, 1948
*Decatur Commodores, 1901–1909, 1912–1915, 1922–1932,
1935, 1937–1942, 1946–1947, 1950
*Decatur Cubs, 1949
*Decatur Nomads, 1911


Des Moines, Iowa
*Des Moines Demons, 1959–1961
Dubuque, Iowa
*Dubuque Shamrocks, 1903–1905
*Dubuque Dubs, 1906–1910, 1912–1915
*Dubuque Hustlers, 1911
Evansville, Indiana
*Evansville Bees, 1938–1942
*Evansville Braves, 1946–1957
*Evansville Evas, 1919–1923
*Evansville Little Evas, 1924
*Evansville Hubs, 1926–1931
*Evansville Pocketeers, 1925
*Evansville River Rats, 1901–1902
Fort Wayne, Indiana
*Fort Wayne Chiefs, 1935
Appleton, Wisconsin
*Fox Cities Foxes, 1959–1961
Freeport, Illinois
*Freeport Comeons, 1915
Green Bay, Wisconsin
*Green Bay Bluejays, 1958–1959
*Green Bay Dodgers, 1960
Hannibal, Missouri
*Hannibal Mules, 1916–1917
Joliet, Illinois
*Joliet Standards, 1903
Keokuk, Iowa
*Keokuk Kernels, 1952–1957
Lincoln, Nebraska
*Lincoln Chiefs, 1959–1961
Madison, Wisconsin
*Madison Blues, 1923–1942
Moline, Illinois
*Moline Plowboys, 1914–1917, 1919–1923, 1937–1941
Peoria, Illinois
*Peoria Chiefs, 1953–1957
*Peoria Distillers, 1905–1917
*Peoria Reds, 1937
*Peoria Tractors, 1919–1932, 1935


Quincy, Illinois
*Quincy Gems, 1913–1917, 1946–1956
*Quincy Indians, 1928–1932
*Quincy Infants, 1911
*Quincy Old Soldiers, 1912
*Quincy Red Birds, 1925–1927
Rochester, Minnesota
*Rochester A's, 1958
Rock Island, Illinois
*Rock Island Islanders, 1901–1911, 1916–1917, 1921
Rockford, Illinois
*Rockford Red Sox, 1901–1904
*Rockford Rox, 1917, 1919–1923
*Rockford Wakes, 1915–1916
Sioux City, Iowa
*Sioux City Soos, 1959–1960
Springfield, Illinois
*Springfield Browns, 1938–1942, 1946–1949
*Springfield Foot Trackers, 1903
*Springfield Hustlers, 1904
*Springfield Senators, 1905–1912, 1925–1932, 1935
*Springfield Watchmakers, 1913–1914
Terre Haute, Indiana
*Terre Haute Browns, 1919–1920
*Terre Haute Hottentots, 1901–1902
*Terre Haute Phillies, 1946–1954
*Terre Haute Tigers, 1955–1956
*Terre Haute Tots, 1921–1932, 1935, 1937
Topeka, Kansas
*Topeka Hawks, 1959
*Topeka Reds, 1960–1961
Waterloo, Iowa
*Waterloo Boosters, 1910–1911
*Waterloo Hawks, 1940–1942, 1947
*Waterloo Red Hawks, 1938–1939
*Waterloo White Hawks, 1946, 1948–1956
Winona, Minnesota
*Winona A's, 1958

External Links[edit]

Triple-I ballpark photos: http://www.digitalballparks.com/TripleI.html


References[edit]

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