The South Atlantic League, or "Sally League," is a minor league baseball league which operates mostly in the southeastern United States, although it now has teams in New Jersey and Ohio. It is a Class A league that plays a full season; its players are typically a mixture of newly-signed draftees (especially late in the season) and players promoted from rookie leagues.
There have been different South Atlantic Leagues in the history of minor league baseball, spanning from 1904 to the present with a few breaks. The Sally ran from 1904-1917 as a class C league, then started up again in 1919, also class C. This time it ran from 1919-1930, moving up to class B beginning in 1921. William G. Bramham became league president in mid-1924, and served until 1930. The Sally league was re-started again as a class B from 1936-1942, shut down for the war and returned in 1946 as a class A league. The AA Southern Association (which never integrated) died after the 1961 season and so the SAL was promoted to AA in 1963 to take its place; a year later the name was changed to the Southern League. Out of the 51 seasons of operation, Augusta, GA competed in 46, Macon, GA was around for 46, and Columbia, SC was in 45. Charleston, SC, Jacksonville, FL, Savannah, GA, and Columbus, GA each competed for at least 29 years also, making for a relatively stable line-up.
The South Atlantic League name went unused for 16 years - in 1980 the Western Carolinas League brought back the name when it sought to change its identity. For nearly 60 years, 1948 through 2007, the dominant figure in the WCL/SAL was league founder and president John Henry Moss, who started the WCL as a young man in 1948, refounded it in 1960 and then led it into the new century. Moss, who keeps his age a private matter, retired at the close of the 2007 Sally League season.
Currently, the league has sixteen teams, divided into two divisions of eight clubs.
The SAL had the highest attendance in 101 years with over 3,541,992 fans. In fact, minor league baseball set a second straight attendance record in 2005 with 41,333,279 fans.
|Northern||Delmarva Shorebirds||Baltimore Orioles||Salisbury, Maryland||Arthur W. Perdue Stadium||5,200|
|Greensboro Grasshoppers||Florida Marlins||Greensboro, North Carolina||NewBridge Bank Park||7,499|
|Hagerstown Suns||Washington Nationals||Hagerstown, Maryland||Municipal Stadium||4,600|
|Hickory Crawdads||Texas Rangers||Hickory, North Carolina||L. P. Frans Stadium||5,092|
|Lake County Captains1||Cleveland Indians||Eastlake, Ohio||Classic Park||7,273|
|Lakewood BlueClaws||Philadelphia Phillies||Lakewood, New Jersey||FirstEnergy Park||6,589|
|Lexington Legends||Houston Astros||Lexington, Kentucky||Applebee's Park||6,994|
|West Virginia Power||Pittsburgh Pirates||Charleston, West Virginia||Appalachian Power Park2||4,500|
|Southern||Asheville Tourists||Colorado Rockies||Asheville, North Carolina||McCormick Field||4,000|
|Augusta GreenJackets||San Francisco Giants||Augusta, Georgia||Lake Olmstead Stadium||4,400|
|Charleston RiverDogs||New York Yankees||Charleston, South Carolina||Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park||6,000|
|Columbus Catfish3||Tampa Bay Rays||Columbus, Georgia2||Golden Park4||5,000|
|Greenville Drive||Boston Red Sox||Greenville, South Carolina||Fluor Field at the West End||6,000|
|Kannapolis Intimidators||Chicago White Sox||Kannapolis, North Carolina||Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium||4,700|
|Rome Braves||Atlanta Braves||Rome, Georgia||State Mutual Stadium||5,105|
|Savannah Sand Gnats||New York Mets||Savannah, Georgia||Grayson Stadium||5,000|
The original SAL - often called the "Sally League" - was a higher-classification circuit that played from 1904-17, 1919-30, 1936-42 and 1946-63. The old Sally League grew from Class C status to class B (through 1942), then Class A (until 1962). In its final season, it was elevated to AA. The Sally League then morphed into the current AA Southern League in 1964 and the South Atlantic League name disappeared from the minor league baseball rolls through the end of the 1979 season.