Midwest League logo
|President||Richard A. Nussbaum II|
|No. of teams||16|
|South Bend Cubs (2019)|
|Most titles||Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and Lansing Lugnuts (9)|
|TV partner(s)||Fox Sports Midwest|
The Midwest League is a Minor League Baseball league, established in 1947 and based in the Midwestern United States. It is a Class A league that plays a full season; its players are typically players in their second or third year of professional play.
The Midwest League began as the Illinois State League (1947–1948), then became the Mississippi–Ohio Valley League (1949–1955). In 1956, the Mississippi–Ohio Valley League was renamed the Midwest League.Today, the league has 16 teams in two divisions. The Lansing Lugnuts and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers franchises jointly have won the most league championships, with nine each.
The Midwest League directly evolved from two earlier leagues in the region. In 1947, the Class D Illinois State League (ISL) began operation with six Illinois teams – the Belleville Stags, Centralia Cubs, Marion Indians, Mattoon Indians, Mount Vernon Braves and the West Frankfort Cardinals. In 1949, the ISL changed its name to the Mississippi–Ohio Valley League after Marion moved their franchise to Kentucky and became the Paducah Chiefs. In 1954, the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League expanded, adding teams in Clinton and Dubuque, Iowa. The Mississippi-Ohio Valley League was then renamed Midwest League in 1956.
The original teams in 1956, the first year of Midwest League play, were: Clinton Pirates, Decatur Commodores, Dubuque Packers, Kokomo Dodgers, Lafayette Red Sox, Mattoon Phillies, Michigan City White Caps and the Paris Lakers. Mattoon is the oldest franchise in the MWL, evolving into today's Fort Wayne TinCaps, while Clinton is the oldest MWL locale.
In 1960, the Davenport, Iowa based Quad City Braves joined the league as an expansion team. In 1962, Appleton, Burlington, and Cedar Rapids joined the Midwest League from the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League which folded operations when those franchises switched leagues.All those franchised remain in the league today. In 1963, the Midwest League was designated as a Class A league, after the minor league classification structure was reorganized.
The 1975 Waterloo Royals, led by future MLB All-Stars Willie Wilson and Dan Quisenberry, are ranked #60 on MiLB.com's Top 100 Teams. The Royals finished the season 93–35.
In 1976, the Midwest League contracted from ten teams to eight, as franchises in Danville and Dubuque were eliminated. In 1982, the league expanded from 8 to 12 teams, adding the Beloit Brewers, the Danville Suns, the Madison Muskies, and the Springfield Cardinals. The Peoria Suns relocated from Danville in 1983, and acquired their current name, Peoria Chiefs, the following year. In 1988, the league began splitting its season into two halves and expanded from 12 to 14 teams, 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 1978 Appleton Foxes are ranked #93 on the Top-100 All Time teams by MiLB.com.Led by future Cy Young Award winner LaMarr Hoyt, the team finished 97-40. Harry Chappas, Ross Baumgarten and Britt Burns were all called up to the parent Chicago White Sox at the conclusion of the MWL season. The 97 wins by the Foxes remains a Midwest League record.
The Fort Wayne TinCaps 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.
The Southwest Michigan Devil Rays moved to Midland, Michigan, and became the Great Lakes Loons prior to the 2007 season.
On September 2, 2008, Minor League Baseball announced that two teams would transfer from the fellow Class A South Atlantic League to the Midwest League: the Lake County Captains (an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians playing in Eastlake, Ohio) and the Bowling Green Hot Rods (an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays playing in Bowling Green, Kentucky).
|Eastern||Bowling Green Hot Rods||Tampa Bay Rays||Bowling Green, Kentucky||Bowling Green Ballpark||4,559|
|Dayton Dragons||Cincinnati Reds||Dayton, Ohio||Fifth Third Field||7,230|
|Fort Wayne TinCaps||San Diego Padres||Fort Wayne, Indiana||Parkview Field||8,100|
|Great Lakes Loons||Los Angeles Dodgers||Midland, Michigan||Dow Diamond||5,200|
|Lake County Captains||Cleveland Indians||Eastlake, Ohio||Classic Park||7,273|
|Lansing Lugnuts||Toronto Blue Jays||Lansing, Michigan||Cooley Law School Stadium||11,000|
|South Bend Cubs||Chicago Cubs||South Bend, Indiana||Four Winds Field at Coveleski Stadium||5,000|
|West Michigan Whitecaps||Detroit Tigers||Comstock Park, Michigan||Fifth Third Ballpark||9,281|
|Western||Beloit Snappers||Oakland Athletics||Beloit, Wisconsin||Harry C. Pohlman Field||3,501|
|Burlington Bees||Los Angeles Angels||Burlington, Iowa||Community Field||3,200|
|Cedar Rapids Kernels||Minnesota Twins||Cedar Rapids, Iowa||Veterans Memorial Stadium||5,300|
|Clinton LumberKings||Miami Marlins||Clinton, Iowa||NelsonCorp Field||5,000|
|Kane County Cougars||Arizona Diamondbacks||Geneva, Illinois||Northwestern Medicine Field||7,400|
|Peoria Chiefs||St. Louis Cardinals||Peoria, Illinois||Dozer Park||7,377|
|Quad Cities River Bandits||Houston Astros||Davenport, Iowa||Modern Woodmen Park||7,140|
|Wisconsin Timber Rattlers||Milwaukee Brewers||Appleton, Wisconsin||Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium||5,900|
The Cedar Rapids Kernels are a Class A minor league baseball team based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The team is affiliated with the Minnesota Twins and plays in the Midwest League. The Kernels are owned by Cedar Rapids Ball Club, Inc..
The Quad Cities River Bandits are a Class A minor league baseball team, affiliated with the Houston Astros, that plays in the Midwest League. Its home games are played at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, Iowa, one of the Quad Cities.
The Burlington Bees are a Class A minor league baseball team, based in Burlington, Iowa, that is an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels. The franchise was founded in 1889. The Bees have played in the Midwest League since 1962. The team was first known as the "Bees" from 1924 to 1932 and again from 1954 to 1981. The Bees nickname was revived for the 1993 season and remains to this day. Their home since 1947 has been Community Field in Burlington, Iowa. Baseball Hall of Fame members Billy Williams and Paul Molitor played for Burlington.
The Clinton LumberKings are a Minor League Baseball team of the Midwest League and the Class A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. They are located in Clinton, Iowa, and play their home games at NelsonCorp Field.
The Fort Wayne TinCaps are a Class A Minor League Baseball team based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, who are affiliated with the San Diego Padres, and play in the Midwest League. They won the franchise's fourth Midwest League Championship, and first in Fort Wayne, in 2009.
The Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League was a Minor League Baseball organization that operated for the better part of 60 years, mostly in those three states. The league began play in 1901 and disbanded after the 1961 season. It was popularly known as the Three–I League and sometimes jokingly as the Three-Eye League.
The state of Iowa has been home to teams in several sports, but none in the big four American sports leagues: the NBA, the NFL, the MLB, or the NHL.
The Decatur Commodores were a professional minor league baseball team based in Decatur, Illinois that played for 64 seasons. The Commodores are the primary ancestor of today's Kane County Cougars. They played, with sporadic interruptions, from 1900 to 1974 in a variety of minor leagues, but spent the majority of their existence in the Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League, later joining the Mississippi–Ohio Valley League and the Midwest League. While they spent most of their years as an independent without formal major league baseball team affiliation, their primary affiliations were with the St. Louis Cardinals and later the San Francisco Giants, with isolated affiliations with the Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies.
The Mississippi Valley Conference is a high-school athletic conference whose members are located in the metropolitan areas of eastern region of the U.S. state of Iowa, including Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Iowa City and Waterloo-Cedar Falls.
The Central Association was an American minor league baseball league. It began operations in 1908, and ran continuously through 1917. It was reorganized thirty years later, operating as a Class-C league from 1947-1949, with major league affiliates for most teams. Hall of Fame Inductees Burleigh Grimes and Jake Beckley are league alumni.
The Mississippi–Ohio Valley League was a Class-D American minor league baseball league. Evolving from the renamed Illinois State League (1947-1948), the Mississippi–Ohio Valley League operated for seven seasons, from 1949 through 1955. In 1956 the league was renamed the Midwest League, which still exists today.
The Kokomo Dodgers were a minor league baseball team based in Kokomo, Indiana that was a charter member of the Midwest League. They were affiliated with the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers and the franchise operated from 1955 through 1961. Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Orlando Cepeda played for Kokomo.
James Carol Napier was a minor league baseball catcher and manager. As a player, he stood 5'11" (180 cm) tall and weighed 200 pounds (91 kg); he batted and threw right-handed.
The Wisconsin Rapids Twins were a Class A minor league baseball team that existed from 1963 to 1983, playing in the Midwest League. Affiliated with the Washington Senators (1963) and the Minnesota Twins (1964-1983), they were located in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, United States. They played their home games at Witter Field. The franchise evolved from the Wisconsin Rapids White Sox of the Wisconsin State League. For the 1984 season, the franchise became the Kenosha Twins, moving to Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The Quincy Gems was the primary name of the minor league baseball team in Quincy, Illinois. Quincy teams played periodically for 57 seasons between 1883 and 1973. Baseball Hall of Fame members Bruce Sutter, Tony Kubek and Whitey Herzog played for the minor league Quincy franchise. The Quincy Gems name returned in 2009 with the current collegiate summerProspect League team.
The Mississippi Valley League (MVL) was a baseball Class-D minor league that operated from 1922 through 1933, playing its last year as a Class–B league. The league contained teams from Iowa and Illinois. Like many leagues at the time, the Great Depression led to its demise. The Mississippi Valley League was founded by Michael H. Sexton, of Rock Island, Illinois, who was then president of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues.
The Illinois–Iowa League was a Minor league baseball league which operated in Illinois, Iowa and Indiana from 1890 to 1892.
The Mattoon Phillies was the primary nickname for a minor league baseball franchise in Mattoon, Illinois. Mattoon was a founding franchise in the Midwest League and played in the leagues directly preceding the MWL: the Mississippi–Ohio Valley League (1949–1955) and the Illinois State League (1947–1948). The franchise is the oldest in the MWL, evolving into today's Fort Wayne TinCaps. Earlier, Mattoon had teams in the Eastern Illinois League (1907–1908), Kentucky–Illinois–Tennessee League (1906) and Indiana–Illinois League (1899). Mattoon was affiliated with the Chicago White Sox (1947), Cleveland Indians (1948), Cincinnati Reds (1952), Philadelphia Phillies (1953–1956) and Kansas City Athletics (1957). The team moved to Iowa and became the Keokuk Indians in 1958.
President / Secretary / Legal Counsel: Richard A. Nussbaum II
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