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Minor league baseball

Minor leagues are professional baseball leagues which are at a lower pay level and play in smaller cities and towns than do the major leagues. In the North American leagues, the minor leagues are typically under the control of the major leagues and are used for development of younger players. There are, however, "independent" leagues, whose teams are not affiliated with any major league team; these are also known as sandlot leagues..

The existence of the minor league system is partly due to major league baseball's ability to include a reserve clause in the contracts with minor league baseball players which gives a major league team exclusive rights to a player even after the contract has expired. This is possible in baseball because of a 1922 Supreme Court decision which grants baseball a special immunity from antitrust laws.

The first league recognized as minor was the Northwestern League, which in 1883 entered into an agreement with the two major leagues at the time (the National League and the American Association), under which it would have a lower salary limit than the other two leagues. The National Agreement of 1903, which made peace between the National League and the new American League, also further codified the notion of "minor league" and establshed classifications for different levels.

Even so, until about 1925, many minor league teams operated largely independent of any major league influence. Some teams in the higher minor leagues actually outdrew some major leagues teams and had players who made more money than some major leaguers. Many baseball writers of that time regarded the greatest of the minor league stars, such as Buzz Arlett[?], Jigger Statz, Ike Boone and Frank Shellenback[?], as equal to some major league stars.

It wasn't until after the 1925 season that the minor leagues began to be fully suboordinated to the majors. Following that season, the majors and minors signed an agreement allowing any player on a minor league roster to be purchased for $5,000 from his minor league team. This was leveled primarily at the Baltimore Orioles, then a Triple-A team who had dominated the minors for years with stars such as Babe Ruth and Lefty Grove because owner Jack Dunn refused to sell them to the majors for years.

Branch Rickey[?] is credited with developing the first modern "farm system" in the 1920s. Under a farm system, major league teams own or have working relationships with minor league teams, and then stock those teams with prospects and reserve players, who can then be reassigned (to the major league team, or to another club in the farm system) at the discretion of the major league club. Today, every major league franchise has a farm system and only a few minor leagues operate independently of major-league influence.

Leagues and classifications (for the 2002 season)

AAA (triple-A) leagues are the highest level of minor league, just below the major leagues.

International League (IL)
Buffalo Bisons[?]
Charlotte Knights[?]
Columbus Clippers
Durham Bulls[?]
Indianapolis Indians[?]
Louisville Bats
Norfolk Tides
Ottawa Lynx
Pawtucket Red Sox[?]
Richmond Braves
Rochester Red Wings[?]
Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons[?]
Syracuse SkyChiefs[?]
Toledo Mud Hens

Mexican League
Campeche Piratas[?]
Cancun Langosteros[?]
Cordoba Cafeteros[?]
Mexico Tigres[?]
Mexico City Diablos Rojos[?]
Monclova Acereros[?]
Monterrey Sultanes[?]
Oaxaca Guerreros[?]
Puebla Pericos[?]
Reynosa Broncos
Saltillo Saraperos[?]
Tabasco Olmecas[?]
Two Laredos Tecolotes[?]
Union Laguna Algodoneros[?]
Veracruz Rojos del Aguila[?]
Yucatan Leones[?]

Pacific Coast League (PCL)
Albuquerque Isotopes
Colorado Springs Sky Sox[?]
Edmonton Trappers
Fresno Grizzlies[?]
Iowa Cubs[?]
Las Vegas 51s
Memphis Redbirds[?]
Nashville Sounds
New Orleans Zephyrs[?]
Oklahoma RedHawks[?]
Omaha Royals[?]
Portland Beavers
Sacramento River Cats[?]
Salt Lake Stingers
Tacoma Rainiers
Tucson Sidewinders[?]

AA (double-A) leagues

Eastern League
Southern League
Texas League

High-A leagues

California League
Carolina League
Florida State League

Low-A Leagues

Midwest League
South Atlantic League

Short-Season A Leagues

New York - Penn League (NYPL)
Northwest League

Rookie/Instructional Leagues

Appalachian League
Arizona League
Gulf Coast League
Pioneer League

Fall Leagues

Arizona Fall League

Independent minor leagues (not affiliated with Major League Baseball)

Atlantic League
Canadian Baseball League
Central Baseball League
Frontier League
Northern League
Southeastern League
Western Baseball League


Abbotsford SaintsACanadian Baseball LeagueIndependent
Aberdeen Ironbirds[?]ANYPLBaltimore Orioles
Adirondack Lumberjacks[?]ANorthern LeagueIndependent
Akron Aeros[?]AAEastern LeagueCleveland Indians
Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs[?]ANorthern LeagueIndependent
Albuquerque IsotopesAAAPCLFlorida Marlins
Alexandria AcesACentral Baseball LeagueIndependent
Allentown Ambassadors[?]ANorthern LeagueIndependent
Altoona Curve[?]AAEastern LeaguePittsburgh Pirates
Amarillo DillasACentral Baseball LeagueIndependent
Americus Arrows[?]ASoutheastern LeagueIndependent
Arizona Brewers[?]RArizona LeagueMilwaukee Brewers
Arkansas Travelers[?]AATexas LeagueAnaheim Angels
Asheville Tourists[?]ASouth Atlantic LeagueColorado Rockies
Auburn Doubledays[?]ANYPLToronto Blue Jays
Augusta GreenJackets[?]ASouth Atlantic LeagueBoston Red Sox
Bakersfield Blaze[?]ACalifornia LeagueTampa Bay Devil Rays
Baseball City Royals[?]RGulf Coast LeagueKansas City Royals
Batavia Muckdogs[?]ANYPLPhiladelphia Phillies
Baton Rouge River Bats[?]ASoutheastern LeagueIndependent
Beloit Snappers[?]AMidwest LeagueMilwaukee Brewers
Berkshire Black Bears[?]ANorthern LeagueIndependent
Billings Mustangs[?]RPioneer LeagueCincinnati Reds
Binghamton Mets[?]AAEastern LeagueNew York Mets
Birmingham Barons[?]AASouthern LeagueChicago White Sox
Bluefield Orioles[?]RAppalachian LeagueBaltimore Orioles
Boise Hawks[?]ANorthwest LeagueChicago Cubs
Bowie Baysox[?]AAEastern LeagueBaltimore Orioles
Bradenton Pirates[?]RGulf Coast LeaguePittsburgh Pirates
Brevard County Manatees[?]AFlorida State LeagueMontreal Expos
Bristol White Sox[?]RAppalachian LeagueChicago White Sox
Brockton Rox[?]ANorthern LeagueIndependent
Brooklyn Cyclones[?]ANYPLNew York Mets
Buffalo Bisons[?]AAAILCleveland Indians
Burlington Bees[?]AMidwest LeagueKansas City Royals
Burlington Indians[?]RAppalachian LeagueCleveland Indians
Campeche Piratas[?]AAAMLIndependent
Cancun Langosteros[?]AAAMLIndependent
Canton CoyotesAFrontier LeagueIndependent
Capital City Bombers[?] ASouth Atlantic LeagueNew York Mets
Carolina Mudcats[?]AASouthern LeagueColorado Rockies
Casper Rockies[?]RAppalachian LeagueColorado Rockies
Cedar Rapids Kernels[?]AMidwest LeagueAnaheim Angels
Charleston Alley Cats[?]ASouth Atlantic LeagueToronto Blue Jays
Charleston RiverDogs[?]ASouth Atlantic LeagueTampa Bay Devil Rays
Charlotte Knights[?]AAAILChicago White Sox
Charlotte Rangers[?]AFlorida State LeagueTexas Rangers
Chattanooga Lookouts[?]AASouthern LeagueCincinnati Reds
Chico HeatAWestern Baseball LeagueIndependent
Chillicothe PaintsAFrontier LeagueIndependent
Clearwater Phillies[?]AFlorida State LeaguePhiladelphia Phillies
Clearwater Phillies[?]RGulf Coast LeaguePhiladelphia Phillis[?]
Clinton LumberKings[?]AMidwest LeagueMontreal Expos
Colorado Springs Sky Sox[?]AAAPCLColorado Rockies
Columbus ClippersAAAILNew York Yankees
Columbus RedStixx[?]ASouth Atlantic LeagueCleveland Indians
Cook County Cheetas[?]AFrontier LeagueIndependent
Cordoba Cafeteros[?]AAAMLIndependent
Danville Braves[?]RAppalachian LeagueAtlanta Braves
Dayton Dragons[?]AMidwest LeagueCincinnati Reds
Daytona Cubs[?]AFlorida State LeagueChicago Cubs
Delmarva Shorebirds[?]ASouth Atlantic LeagueBaltimore Orioles
Dubois County DragonsAFrontier LeagueIndependent
Duluth-Superior Dukes[?]ANorthern LeagueIndependent
Dunedin Blue Jays[?]AFlorida State LeagueToronto Blue Jays
Durham Bulls[?]AAAILTampa Bay Devil Rays
Edinburg Road Runners[?]ACentral Baseball LeagueIndependent
Edmonton TrappersAAAPCLMinnesota Twins
El Paso Diablos[?]AATexas LeagueArizona Diamondbacks
Elizabethton Twins[?]RAppalachian LeagueMinnesota Twins
Elmira Pioneers[?]ANorthern LeagueIndependent
Erie SeaWolves[?]AAEastern LeagueDetroit Tigers
Eugene Emeralds[?]ANorthwest LeagueSan Diego Padres
Evansville OttersAFrontier LeagueIndependent
Everett Aquasox[?]ANorthwest LeagueSeattle Mariners
Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks[?]ANorthern LeagueIndependent
Fort Myers Miracle[?]AFlorida State LeagueMinnesota Twins
Fort Myers Red Sox[?]RGulf Coast LeagueBoston Red Sox
Fort Wayne Wizards[?]AMidwest LeagueSan Diego Padres
Fort Worth Cats[?]ACentral Baseball LeagueIndependent
Frederick Keys[?]ACarolina LeagueBaltimore Orioles
Fresno Grizzlies[?]AAAPCLSan Francisco Giants
Ft. Myers Twins[?]RGulf Coast LeagueMinnesota Twins
Gary Southshore Railcats[?]ANorthern LeagueIndependent
Gateway GrizzliesAFrontier LeagueIndependent
Grand Canyon Rafters[?]AArizona Fall LeagueIndependent
Great Falls DodgersRPioneer LeagueLos Angeles Dodgers
Greensboro Bats[?]ASouth Atlantic LeagueNew York Yankees
Greenville Braves[?]AASouthern LeagueAtlanta Braves
Hagerstown Suns[?]ASouth Atlantic LeagueSan Francisco Giants
Harrisburg Senators[?]AAEastern LeagueMontreal Expos
Hickory Crawdads[?]ASouth Atlantic LeaguePittsburgh Pirates
High Desert Mavericks[?]ACalifornia LeagueMilwaukee Brewers
Hudson Valley Renegades[?]ANYPLTampa Bay Devil Rays
Huntsville Stars[?]AASouthern LeagueMilwaukee Brewers
Idaho Falls Padres[?]RPioneer LeagueSan Diego Padres
Indianapolis Indians[?]AAAILMilwaukee Brewers
Iowa Cubs[?]AAAPCLChicago Cubs
Jackson SenatorsACentral Baseball LeagueIndependent
Jacksonville Suns[?]AASouthern LeagueLos Angeles Dodgers
Jamestown Jammers[?]ANYPLFlorida Marlins
Johnson City Cardinals[?]RAppalachian LeagueSt Louis Cardinals
Johnstown JohnniesAFrontier LeagueIndependent
Joliet Jackhammers[?]ANorthern LeagueIndependent
Jupiter Hammerheads[?]AFlorida State LeagueFlorida Marlins
Jupiter Marlins[?]RGulf Coast LeagueFlorida Marlins
Kamloops CrittersACanadian Baseball LeagueIndependent
Kalamazoo KingsAFrontier LeagueIndependent
Kane County Cougars[?]AMidwest LeagueFlorida Marlins
Kannapolis Intimidators[?]ASouth Atlantic LeagueChicago White Sox
Kelowna HeatACanadian Baseball LeagueIndependent
Kingsport Mets[?]RAppalachian LeagueNew York Mets
Kinston Indians[?]ACarolina LeagueCleveland Indians
Lake Elsinore Storm[?]ACalifornia LeagueSan Diego Padres
Lakeland Tigers[?]AFlorida State LeagueDetroit Tigers
Lakeland Tigers[?]RGulf Coast LeagueDetroit Tigers
Lakewood BlueClaws[?]ASouth Atlantic LeaguePhiladelphia Phillies
Lancaster JetHawks[?]ACalifornia LeagueArizona Diamondbacks
Lansing Lugnuts[?]AMidwest LeagueChicago Cubs
Las Vegas 51sAAAPCLLos Angeles Dodgers
Lethbridge Dust DevilsACanadian Baseball LeagueIndependent
Lexington Legends[?]ASouth Atlantic LeagueHouston Astros
Lincoln Saltdogs[?]ANorthern LeagueIndependent
Long Beach BreakersAWestern Baseball LeagueIndependent
Louisville BatsAAAILCincinnati Reds
Lowell Spinners[?]ANYPLBoston Red Sox
Lynchburg Hillcats[?]ACarolina LeaguePittsburgh Pirates
Mahoning Valley Scrappers[?]ANYPLCleveland Indians
Martinsville Astros[?]RAppalachian LeagueHouston Astros
Maryvale Saguaros[?]AArizona Fall LeagueIndependent
Medicine Hat Blue Jays[?]RPioneer LeagueToronto Blue Jays
Melbourne Expos[?]RGulf Coast LeagueMontreal Expos
Memphis Redbirds[?]AAAPCLSt Louis Cardinals
M'sa Cubs[?]RArizona LeagueChicago Cubs
Mesa Angels[?]RArizona LeagueAnaheim Angels
Mesa Solar Sox[?]AArizona Fall LeagueIndependent
Mexico Tigres[?]AAAMLIndependent
Mexico City Diablos Rojos[?]AAAMLIndependent
Michigan Battle Cats[?]AMidwest LeagueHouston Astros
Midland RockHounds[?]AATexas LeagueOakland As
Missoula Osprey[?]RPioneer LeagueArizona Diamondbacks
Mobile BayBears[?]AASouthern LeagueSan Diego Padres
Modesto As[?]ACalifornia LeagueOakland As
Monclova Acereros[?]AAAMLIndependent
Monterrey Sultanes[?]AAAMLIndependent
Montgomery Wings[?]ASoutheastern LeagueIndependent
Mudville Nine[?]ACalifornia LeagueCincinnati Reds
Myrtle Beach Pelicans[?]ACarolina LeagueAtlanta Braves
Nanaimo NavigatorsACanadian Baseball LeagueIndependent
Nashville SoundsAAAPCLPittsburgh Pirates
New Britain Rock Cats[?]AAEastern LeagueMinnesota Twins
New Haven Ravens[?]AAEastern LeagueSt Louis Cardinals
New Jersey Cardinals[?]ANYPLSt Louis Cardinals
New Jersey Jackals[?]ANorthern LeagueIndependent
New Orleans Zephyrs[?]AAAPCLHouston Astros
Norfolk TidesAAAILNew York Mets
Norwich Navigators[?]AAEastern LeagueNew York Yankees
Oaxaca Guerreros[?]AAAMLIndependent
Ogden Raptors[?]RPioneer LeagueMilwaukee Brewers
Oklahoma RedHawks[?]AAAPCLTexas Rangers
Omaha Golden Spikes[?]AAAPCLKansas City Royals
Oneonta Tigers[?]ANYPLDetroit Tigers
Orlando Rays[?]AASouthern LeagueTampa Bay Devil Rays
Orlando Braves[?]RGulf Coast LeagueAtlanta Braves
Ottawa LynxAAAILMontreal Expos
Ozark Patriots[?]ASoutheastern LeagueIndependent
Pawtucket Red Sox[?]AAAILBoston Red Sox
Pensacola Pelicans[?]ASoutheastern LeagueIndependent
Peoria Chiefs[?]AMidwest LeagueSt Louis Cardinals
Peoria Javelinas[?]AArizona Fall LeagueIndependent
Peoria Mariners[?]RArizona LeagueSeattle Mariners
Ph'nix Athletics[?]RArizona LeagueOakland Athletics
Phoenix Desert Dogs[?]AArizona Fall LeagueIndependent
Phoenix White Sox[?]RArizona LeagueChicago White Sox
Pittsfield Astros[?]
Port Charlotte Rangers[?]RGulf Coast LeagueTexas Rangers
Portland BeaversAAAPCLSan Diego Padres
Portland Sea DogsAAEastern LeagueBoston Red Sox
Potomac Cannons[?]ACarolina LeagueSt Louis Cardinals
Princeton Devil Rays[?]RAppalachian LeagueTampa Bay Devil Rays
Provo Angels[?]APioneer LeagueAnaheim Angels
Puebla Pericos[?]AAAMLIndependent
Pulaski Rangers[?]RAppalachian LeagueTexas Rangers
Quad City River Bandits[?]AMidwest LeagueMinnesota Twins
Les Capitales de Québec[?]ANorthern LeagueIndependent
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes[?]ACalifornia LeagueAnaheim Angels
Reading Phillies[?]AAEastern LeaguePhiladelphia Phillies
Red Deer OutlawsACanadian Baseball LeagueIndependent
Regina StormACanadian Baseball LeagueIndependent
Reynosa BroncosAAAMLIndependent
Richmond BravesAAAILAtlanta Braves
Richmond RoostersAFrontier LeagueIndependent
Rio Grande Valley White WingsACentral Baseball LeagueIndependent
River City RascalsAFrontier LeagueIndependent
Rochester Red Wings[?]AAAILBaltimore Orioles
Rockford RiverHawksAFrontier LeagueIndependent
Rome BravesASouth Atlantic LeagueAtlanta Braves
Round Rock Express[?]AATexas LeagueHouston Astros
Sacramento River Cats[?]AAAPCLOakland As
Salem Avalanche[?]ACarolina LeagueColorado Rockies
Salem-Keizer Volcanoes[?]ANorthwest LeagueSan Francisco Giants
Salt Lake StingersAAAPCLAnaheim Angels
Saltillo Saraperos[?]AAAMLIndependent
San Angelo ColtsACentral Baseball LeagueIndependent
San Antonio Missions[?]AATexas LeagueSeattle Mariners
San Bernardino Stampede[?]
(renamed Inland Empire 66ers for 2003)
ACalifornia LeagueSeattle Mariners
San Jose Giants[?]ACalifornia LeagueSan Francisco Giants
Sarasota Red Sox[?]AFlorida State LeagueBoston Red Sox
S'sota Reds[?]RGulf Coast LeagueCincinnati Reds
Sarasota Orioles[?]RGulf Coast LeagueBaltimore Orioles
Saskatoon Yellow JacketsACanadian Baseball LeagueIndependent
Savannah Sand Gnats[?]ASouth Atlantic LeagueTexas Rangers
Schaumburg Flyers[?]ANorthern LeagueIndependent
Scottsdale Giants[?]RArizona LeagueSan Francisco Giants
Scottsdale Scorpions[?]AArizona Fall LeagueIndependent
Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons[?]AAAILPhiladelphia Phillies
Selma Cloverleafs[?]ASoutheastern LeagueIndependent
Shreveport Swamp Dragons[?]AATexas LeagueSan Francisco Giants
Sioux City Explorers[?]ANorthern LeagueIndependent
Sioux Falls Canaries[?]ANorthern LeagueIndependent
Solano SteelheadsAWestern Baseball LeagueIndependent
Sonoma County CrushersAWestern Baseball LeagueIndependent
South Bend Silver Hawks[?]AMidwest LeagueArizona Diamondbacks
Spokane Indians[?]ANorthwest LeagueTexas Rangers
Springfield Ozark Mountain DucksACentral Baseball LeagueIndependent
St. Lucie Mets[?]AFlorida State LeagueNew York Mets
St. Paul SaintsANorthern LeagueIndependent
Staten Island Yankees[?]ANYPLNew York Yankees
Stockton Ports[?]ACalifornia LeagueCincinnati Reds
Syracuse SkyChiefs[?]AAAILToronto Blue Jays
Tabasco Olmecas[?]AAAMLIndependent
Tacoma RainiersAAAPCLSeattle Mariners
Tampa Yankees[?]AFlorida State LeagueNew York Yankees
Tampa Yankees[?]RGulf Coast LeagueNew York Yankees
Tennessee Smokies[?]AASouthern LeagueToronto Blue Jays
Toledo Mud HensAAAILDetroit Tigers
Trenton Thunder[?]AAEastern LeagueBoston Red Sox
Tri-City Dust Devils[?]ANorthwest LeagueColorado Rockies
Tri-City Valley Cats[?]ANYPLHouston Astros
Tucson Sidewinders[?]AAAPCLArizona Diamondbacks
Tulsa Drillers[?]AATexas LeagueTexas Rangers
Two Laredos Tecolotes[?]AAAMLIndependent
Union Laguna Algdoneros[?]AAAMLIndependent
Utica Blue Sox[?]ANY-Penn LeagueFlorida Marlins
Vancouver Canadians[?]ANorthwest LeagueOakland As
Veracruz Rojos del Aguila[?]AAAMLIndependent
Vermont Expos[?]ANYPLMontreal Expos
Vero Beach Dodgers[?]AFlorida State LeagueLos Angeles Dodgers
Vero Beach Dodgers[?]RGulf Coast LeagueLos Angeles Dodgers
Visalia Oaks[?]ACalifornia LeagueOakland As
Washington Wild ThingsAFrontier LeagueIndependent
West Michigan Whitecaps[?]AMidwest LeagueDetroit Tigers
West Tenn Diamond Jaxx[?]AASouthern LeagueChicago Cubs
Wichita Wranglers[?]AATexas LeagueKansas City Royals
Williamsport Crosscutters[?]ANYPLPittsburgh Pirates
Wilmington Blue Rocks[?]ACarolina LeagueKansas City Royals
Wilmington Waves[?]ASouth Atlantic LeagueLos Angeles Dodgers
Winnipeg Goldeyes[?]ANorthern LeagueIndependent
Winston-Salem Warthogs[?]ACarolina LeagueChicago White Sox
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers[?]AMidwest LeagueSeattle Mariners
Yakima Bears[?]ANorthwest LeagueArizona Diamondbacks
Yuba-Sutter Gold SoxAWestern Baseball LeagueIndependent
Yucatan Leones[?]AAAMLIndependent
Yuma BullfrogsAWestern Baseball LeagueIndependent

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