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Northern League (baseball, 1902–71)

This article is about the original incarnations of the Northern League, which operated between 1902 and 1971. For the more recent league, see Northern League (baseball, 1993–2010).

Northern League
Sport Baseball
Founded 1902
Countries 23x15px United States
23x15px Canada
Continent North America

The Northern League was a name used by several minor league baseball organizations that operated off and on between 1902 and 1971 in the upper midwestern United States and Manitoba, Canada. In total, there have been six incarnations of the Northern League, with the most recent beginning play in 1993 and ending after the 2010 season.


The Northern League name represented five leagues in this time frame:

Historical overview

The first Northern League operated between 1902 and 1905. In 1906, the league merged with the Copper Country Soo League to become the Northern-Copper Country League (1906-1907). A second Northern League was attempted in 1908, but did not finish its first season. The third Northern League appeared when the Central International League of 1912 expanded and changed its name in 1913. This third Northern League would last until 1917, when it was forced to disband due to a lack of players as a result of World War I. The league did not re-emerge until 1933. It did not operate between 1943 and 1945 because of a lack of manpower during World War II, and finally folded again in 1971.

While the Northern League in its various incarnations began as an independent loop in 1902, it was Class D (1903–1905, 1908, 1917, 1933-1940) and Class C (1913-1916, 1941-1942, 1946-1962) under the antiquated classification system for Minor League Baseball. The league operated as Class A (1963-1965) and Class A- (1966-1971) under the modern system.[1]

League champions

Famous players

Many future Major Leaguers, including some of baseballs most famous names played in the Northern League, including: