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International League

This article is about the minor league baseball league. For other uses, see International League (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Inter-National League.

International League
150px
International League logo
Sport Baseball
Founded 1884
No. of teams 14
Country United States
Most recent champion(s) Pawtucket Red Sox
Most titles Rochester Red Wings (10)
Official website www.ilbaseball.com

The International League (IL) is a minor league baseball league that operates in the eastern United States. Like the Pacific Coast League and the Mexican League, it plays at the Triple-A level, which is one step below Major League Baseball. It was so named because it had teams in both the United States and Canada (and for several years in the 1950s in Cuba as well). However, since the relocation of the Ottawa Lynx to Allentown, Pennsylvania, to become the Lehigh Valley IronPigs for the 2008 season, all of the league's teams are now based in the U.S.

History

File:International League executives in 1915.jpg
International League baseball executives in 1915

The International League was created from the mergers of member teams from three precursor leagues: the Eastern League, founded in

  1. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year; the New York State League, formed in
  2. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year; and the Ontario League, also organized in 1885. The New York State and Ontario leagues merged in
  3. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year to form the International League, and in
  4. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year the Eastern League was absorbed to create a 10-club league.

The league collapsed soon afterwards, when the Northern teams claimed that it was too onerous to travel to the South and formed the International Association. Teams and league names came and went over the years. In

  1. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year, a franchise was awarded to Havana, Cuba, but due to political upheaval in that country it had to be moved — to Jersey City, New Jersey — in the middle of the
  2. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year season. Another foray into the Caribbean failed when the newly created team in San Juan, Puerto Rico, added in
  3. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year, had to be moved to Charleston, West Virginia, in mid-season.

In

  1. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year, an International League all-star team beat the New York Yankees in an exhibition game in Rochester, New York, before 11,000 people. In
  2. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year, the all-stars lost to the Cleveland Indians in 11 innings before 11,032 fans in Columbus, Ohio, to commemorate the league's 100th anniversary.

The International League and the American Association, another Triple-A league that operated in the Midwest, voted in

  1. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year to play inter-league games. The league also split into two divisions that year. The inter-league concept ended in
  2. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year, but the two league divisions remained.

In further inter-league play, in 1988, the three Triple-A leagues, the other being the Pacific Coast League, met to play the first Triple-A All-Star Game. One team was made up of All-Stars from American League affiliates and the other of National League affiliates. Beginning in

  1. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year, a team of IL All-Stars faced off against a team of PCL All-Stars. This game was the first of its kind. It was played in the Buffalo Bisons' new stadium, Pilot Field (now known as Coca-Cola Field).

Also in 1998, with the addition of three new teams from the disbanded American Association and the Durham Bulls who previously played in the Carolina League, the International League reorganized into three divisions: the North Division, South Division, and West Division.

At the end of each season, the three divisional leaders and a wild card team square off in best-of-5 playoffs, with the winning team of the finals awarded the Governors' Cup, the league's championship trophy.

Since

  1. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year, the league champion has met to play the PCL champion in the Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game, a single Triple-A Championship game. Previous class championship series included the Junior World Series and the Triple-A World Series.

Current teams

Division Team Founded1 MLB Affiliation City Stadium Capacity2
North Buffalo Bisons 18863 Toronto Blue Jays Buffalo, New York Coca-Cola Field 17,600
Lehigh Valley IronPigs 2008 Philadelphia Phillies Allentown, Pennsylvania Coca-Cola Park 10,100
Pawtucket Red Sox 1973 Boston Red Sox Pawtucket, Rhode Island McCoy Stadium 10,031
Rochester Red Wings 1899 Minnesota Twins Rochester, New York Frontier Field 13,500
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders 1989 New York Yankees Moosic, Pennsylvania PNC Field 10,000
Syracuse Chiefs 1961 Washington Nationals Syracuse, New York NBT Bank Stadium 11,071
South Charlotte Knights 1993 Chicago White Sox Charlotte, North Carolina BB&T Ballpark 10,200
Durham Bulls 1998 Tampa Bay Rays Durham, North Carolina Durham Bulls Athletic Park 10,000
Gwinnett Braves 2009 Atlanta Braves Lawrenceville, Georgia Coolray Field 10,427
Norfolk Tides 1969 Baltimore Orioles Norfolk, Virginia Harbor Park 11,856
West Columbus Clippers 1977 Cleveland Indians Columbus, Ohio Huntington Park 10,100
Indianapolis Indians 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates Indianapolis, Indiana Victory Field 14,230
Louisville Bats 1982 Cincinnati Reds Louisville, Kentucky Louisville Slugger Field 13,131
Toledo Mud Hens 1965 Detroit Tigers Toledo, Ohio Fifth Third Field 10,300

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1 Indicates current IL franchise's first year in current city. Some franchises have prior history in other cities, or had local predecessor franchises at other levels that shared their current name.
2 Many stadiums have lawn seating and thus capacity is approximate.
3 Franchise suspended from 1970 to 1985.


Current team rosters

Defunct teams

Champions

List of Governors' Cup champions

In 1933, the International League introduced a new playoff system, awarding the winner the Governors' Cup. This has become the recognized International League champion.

Championships by Team

Rank Team Championships Years
1 Rochester Red Wings 10 1939, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1964, 1971, 1974, 1988, 1990, 1997
2 Columbus Clippers 9 1979, 1980, 1981, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1996, 2010, 2011
3 Syracuse Chiefs 8 1935, 1942, 1943, 1947, 1954, 1969, 1970, 1976
4 Montreal Royals 7 1941, 1946, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1953, 1958
5 Buffalo Bisons 6 1933, 1936, 1957, 1961, 1998, 2004
6 Norfolk Tides 5 1972, 1975, 1982, 1983, 1985
Richmond Braves 5 1978, 1986, 1989, 1994, 2007
8 Newark Bears 4 1937, 1938, 1940, 1945
Toronto Maple Leafs 4 1964, 1960, 1965, 1966
Durham Bulls 4 2002, 2003, 2009, 2013
Pawtucket Red Sox 4 1973, 1984, 2012, 2014
12 Toledo Mud Hens 3 1967, 2005, 2006
13 Baltimore Orioles 2 1944, 1950
Charlotte Knights 2 1993, 1999
Indianapolis Indians 2 1963, 2000
16 Havana Sugar Kings 1 1959
Atlanta Crackers 1 1962
Jacksonville Suns 1 1968
Charleston Charlies 1 1977
Ottawa Lynx 1 1995
Louisville Bats 1 2001
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees 1 2008

Italics indicate team is now defunct.

MVP award

Hall of fame

See also

External links