Definitions

Midwest League

Midwest League

The Midwest League is a Class A minor league baseball league which operates in the Midwestern United States.

History

Six teams – the Belleville Stags, the Centralia Cubs, the Marion Indians, the Mattoon Indians, the Mount Vernon Braves, and the West Frankfort Cardinals – began operating as the Class D Illinois State League in 1947. The league changed its name to the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League in 1949 after the Marion team moved to Paducah, Kentucky. The league added teams in Clinton and Dubuque, Iowa, in 1954 and was renamed the Midwest League two years later. After the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League folded in 1961, teams from Appleton, Burlington, and Cedar Rapids joined the Midwest League for the 1962 season and remain in the league today. In 1963 the Midwest League became a Class A league after the minor league classification structure was reorganized.

In 1976 the Midwest League contracted from ten teams to eight when teams in Danville and Dubuque were eliminated. In 1982 the league expanded to 12 teams by adding the Beloit Brewers, the Danville Suns, the Madison Muskies, and the Springfield Cardinals. The Peoria Suns replaced the Danville Suns in 1983, and acquired their current name, Peoria Chiefs, the following year. The league began splitting its season into two halves and expanded to the present 14 teams in 1988 with the addition of franchises in South Bend, Indiana, and Rockford, Illinois. During the 1990s several teams changed cities as Major League Baseball placed higher standards on minor league baseball facilities; franchises in smaller cities were sold to new owners who moved those teams to new ballparks in larger cities. Kenosha, Madison, Rockford, Springfield, Waterloo, and Wausau lost teams during this decade while Battle Creek, Dayton, Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids (West Michigan), Kane County, and Lansing gained teams.

The Fort Wayne Wizards are the oldest franchise in the league, having begun as the Mattoon Indians in 1947 and playing in Keokuk, Iowa, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, and Kenosha, Wisconsin before moving to Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1993. The Clinton LumberKings have been in one city longer than any Midwest League team, having called Clinton, Iowa, home since 1954.

On September 2, 2008, Minor League Baseball announced that two teams would be transferring from the fellow Class A South Atlantic League to the Midwest League. These two teams are the Lake County Captains (an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians playing in Eastlake, Ohio) and a future team in Bowling Green, Kentucky (the former Columbus Catfish in Columbus, Georgia).

Season structure

The league plays a 140-game schedule that begins on the first Thursday in April and ends in early September, usually on Labor Day. Since 2000 it has been divided into an Eastern Division and a Western Division, with four teams from each division (the winners of each half of the season and one or two runners-up) qualifying for the first round of playoffs. The first two rounds of playoffs are best-of-three series; the league championship series is a best-of-five.

Midwest League presidents

Current teams

Division Team MLB Affiliation City Stadium Capacity
Eastern Dayton Dragons Cincinnati Reds Dayton, Ohio Fifth Third Field 8,200
Fort Wayne TinCaps San Diego Padres Fort Wayne, Indiana Parkview Field 6,500-9,000
Great Lakes Loons Los Angeles Dodgers Midland, Michigan Dow Diamond 5,500
Lansing Lugnuts Toronto Blue Jays Lansing, Michigan Oldsmobile Park 11,000
South Bend Silver Hawks Arizona Diamondbacks South Bend, Indiana Stanley Coveleski Regional Stadium 5,000
West Michigan Whitecaps Detroit Tigers Comstock Park, Michigan Fifth Third Ballpark 11,123
Western Beloit Snappers Minnesota Twins Beloit, Wisconsin Harry C. Pohlman Field 3,501
Burlington Bees Kansas City Royals Burlington, Iowa Community Field 3,500
Cedar Rapids Kernels Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Cedar Rapids, Iowa Veterans Memorial Stadium 5,300
Clinton LumberKings Seattle Mariners Clinton, Iowa Alliant Energy Field1 4,000
Kane County Cougars Oakland Athletics Geneva, Illinois Philip B. Elfstrom Stadium 7,400
Peoria Chiefs Chicago Cubs Peoria, Illinois O'Brien Field 7,377
Quad Cities River Bandits St. Louis Cardinals Davenport, Iowa Modern Woodmen Park 4,024
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Milwaukee Brewers Grand Chute, Wisconsin Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium 5,500

1 Hosting 2009 Midwest League All-Star Game

Transferring from South Atlantic League to MWL in 2010

Team MLB Affiliation City Stadium Capacity
Bowling Green Tampa Bay Rays Bowling Green, Kentucky Bowling Green Ballpark 4,000
Lake County Captains Cleveland Indians Eastlake, Ohio Classic Park 7,273

Current team rosters

Midwest League teams since 1956

See also

External links

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