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Gulf Coast League

Gulf Coast League
Gulf Coast League logo
Sport Baseball
Founded 1964
No. of teams 16
Country USA
Most recent champion(s) Gulf Coast League Red Sox
Official website Official website

The Gulf Coast League is a minor league baseball league that operates in Florida. It is a rookie league, and together with the Arizona League forms the lowest rung on the minor-league ladder. The league plays a 60-game season that runs from mid-June to late August. Teams in the league are divided into four divisions, East, Northeast, Northwest, and South. The four division winners play in a one-game semifinal; the team with the best regular-season record plays the division winner with the lowest record, while the division winner with the second-best record plays the division winner with the third-best record. Should the Northeast and Northwest Divisions finish 1st and 4th, the semifinal matchups place 1st vs. 3rd and 2nd vs. 4th. The semifinal winners meet in a best-of-3 game series for the Gulf Coast League championship.

GCL teams generally play at the minor league spring training complexes of their parent major league clubs, and are uniformly owned by those parent clubs. The teams generate little if any revenue, as admission is not charged and no concessions are operated. As almost all of the games are played in the heat and humidity of Florida summer afternoons, very few show up to watch the average contest. This does not, however, affect the quality of play or competition, as most of the players are drafted in that year's entry draft, two to three weeks before the season begins. The emphasis is therefore on skill development, rather than winning games or entertaining fans. For this reason GCL games, like their Arizona League counterparts, are among the least competitive in the minor leagues.

GCL teams are not referred to by their home city, but simply by their parent club's name, the prefix "GCL" or "Gulf Coast" if necessary to differentiate between them and another club sharing the nickname, and a cardinal number if the parent club sponsors more than one team in the league. Some of these teams share stadiums with their club's High-A affiliate in the Florida State League, which can lead to confusion, as FSL teams do use the city name (e.g. the Tampa Yankees, three levels up from the GCL Yankees 1 and GCL Yankees 2, who also play in Tampa).

The New York Yankees are fielding two teams, the first time since 1981 when the Houston Astros (1980—81) and Kansas City Royals (1974, 1979—81) did so.

The league was founded in 1964 as the Sarasota Rookie League with four teams playing in Sarasota. It was originally intended to be the Gulf Coast division of a statewide rookie league, with the eastern division based in Cocoa.[1][2] However, the eastern and western teams never played each other. It added teams in Bradenton in 1965 and changed its name to the Florida Rookie League. It adopted its current name, Gulf Coast League, for the 1966 season. It expanded to Florida's east coast in the 1990s.

Prior to the formation of this league, three separate leagues used the Gulf Coast League name, a 1907-1908 Class D league, a 1926 class D league and a 1950-1953 Class C League. All three leagues operated around the Gulf coasts of Texas and Louisiana.

Current teams

Division Team MLB Affiliation City Stadium Capacity
East GCL Cardinals St. Louis Cardinals Jupiter, Florida Roger Dean Stadium 7,200
GCL Marlins Miami Marlins Jupiter, Florida Roger Dean Stadium 7,200
GCL Mets New York Mets Port St. Lucie, Florida Tradition Field 7,160
GCL Nationals Washington Nationals Viera, Florida Washington Nationals Training Complex,
Space Coast Stadium
Northeast GCL Astros Houston Astros Kissimmee, Florida Osceola County Stadium 5,300
GCL Braves Atlanta Braves Lake Buena Vista, Florida Champion Stadium 9,500
GCL Tigers Detroit Tigers Lakeland, Florida Joker Marchant Stadium 8,500
GCL Yankees 2 New York Yankees Tampa, Florida George M. Steinbrenner Field 11,000
Northwest GCL Blue Jays Toronto Blue Jays Dunedin, Florida Bobby Mattick Training Center
at Englebert Complex
GCL Phillies Philadelphia Phillies Clearwater, Florida Carpenter Complex 500
GCL Pirates Pittsburgh Pirates Bradenton, Florida Pirate City ----
GCL Yankees 1 New York Yankees Tampa, Florida George M. Steinbrenner Field 11,000
South GCL Orioles Baltimore Orioles Sarasota, Florida Ed Smith Stadium 8,340
GCL Rays Tampa Bay Rays Port Charlotte, Florida Charlotte Sports Park 7,000
GCL Red Sox Boston Red Sox Fort Myers, Florida JetBlue Park at Fenway South 8,000
GCL Twins Minnesota Twins Fort Myers, Florida Lee County Sports Complex 7,500

Previous teams

Previous Gulf Coast leagues

Previous minor-league baseball leagues named the Gulf Coast League existed in 1907-08, 1926 and 1950-1953.[4]


External links