The Pacific Northwest League was founded in 1890. In January 1890, investors met in Portland, Oregon to discuss a four-to-six team league in the Pacific Northwest. The league folded during the second half of the 1892 season because of a nationwide economic depression known as the "Panic of 1893." During its time, the league was known for its former Major League players such as Kid Baldwin and Ollie Beard. In 1892 the league President was W. E. Rockwell and the Secretary was M. J. Roche. The league was revived briefly in 1896, but only lasted until mid-June. The 1896 version was also known as the New Pacific League. Early rules for the league included salary caps of $1,000 per month but was later raised to $1,300 per month. The league agreed to add a team from Walla Walla, Washington and either Wardner, Idaho or Wallace, Idaho in the beginning of 1892 and the league was also close to adding a team from Salem, Oregon but folded before anything was announced. The league denied Olympia, Washington a baseball team in 1892.
The second Pacific Northwest League began play in 1901 as a four-team league, and was a six-team Class B circuit in 1902 when the minors were first classified. The next season it expanded with teams in Los Angeles, California and San Francisco, California and was renamed the Pacific National League, later known as the Pacific Coast League. The President of the league for the two years was William Henry Lucas.