Northeast League

Last updated
Northeast League
Sport Baseball
Founded 1995 (original)
2003 (after de-merger with Northern League)
Ceased 1999 (merged with Northern League)
No. of teams 8
Countries United States
New Jersey Jackals
Most titles New Jersey Jackals (4, 2 if strictly Northeast League titles are counted)

The Northeast League was an independent minor baseball league that operated in the Northeastern United States from 1995 until 1998 and from 2003 until 2004. Between 1999 and 2002, the league was part of the Northern League after the two leagues agreed to merge. The league was superseded by the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, which its members joined for the 2005 season.

Northern League (baseball, 1993–2010) independent minor professional baseball league from 1993 to 2010

The Northern League was an independent minor professional baseball league. It was not affiliated with Major League Baseball or the organized minor leagues. The league was founded in 1993 and folded after its 2010 season when financial stability became a problem. The three teams remaining in the league when it folded joined with the remaining teams in United League Baseball and the Golden Baseball League to form a new independent organization called the North American League.

The Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, commonly known as the Can-Am League, is a professional, independent baseball league with teams in the Northeast United States and Eastern Canada, founded in 2005 as a reorganization of its predecessor, the Northeast League. The Can-Am League operates in cities not directly served by Major or Minor League teams and is not affiliated with either. The league office is in Durham, North Carolina. Though a separate entity, the league shares a commissioner, president, and director of umpires with the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.


Early history

For the first season, six teams played and were all based in southern and central New York. Albany (Albany Diamond Dogs), Glens Falls (Adirondack Lumberjacks), Yonkers (Yonkers Hoot Owls), Newburgh (Newburgh Night Hawks), Little Falls (Mohawk Valley Landsharks) and Mountaindale (Sullivan Mountain Lions) were all given teams and Albany won the first league championship in a 68-game season. [1]

New York (state) State of the United States of America

New York is a state in the Northeastern United States. New York was one of the original thirteen colonies that formed the United States. With an estimated 19.54 million residents in 2018, it is the fourth most populous state. In order to distinguish the state from the city with the same name, it is sometimes referred to as New York State.

Albany, New York Capital of New York

Albany is the capital of the U.S. state of New York and the seat of Albany County. Albany is located on the west bank of the Hudson River approximately 10 miles (16 km) south of its confluence with the Mohawk River and approximately 135 miles (220 km) north of New York City.

The Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs were an independent baseball league team based in Albany, New York from 1995 to 2002. The team played at Heritage Park in Colonie. The Diamond Dogs competed in the Northeast League from 1995–98 and then in the Northern League when the two leagues merged prior to the 1999 season. The Diamond Dogs won the Northern League Championship in 1999. Their mascot was "Homer the Heritage Hound", a dog named for Heritage Park. Due to financial woes and competition from the new Tri-City ValleyCats, the Diamond Dogs folded after the 2002 season.

For 1996, things changed slightly. The Mountain Lions were sold to a new ownership group who renamed them the Catskill Cougars and moved them to the North Atlantic League while the Landsharks moved to West Warwick, Rhode Island, expanding the league into New England as the team became the Rhode Island Tiger Sharks. The Hoot Owls also folded and the league added a second New England team, the Bangor Blue Ox, and added Maine to its footprint in place of Yonkers. To replace the Mountain Lions/Cougars, an expansion team was granted to Elmira, New York, which had lost its New York–Penn League team when the Boston Red Sox chose to move the team to Massachusetts and rename them the Lowell Spinners. Like every other professional baseball team to play in Elmira since 1923, the expansion team was named the Pioneers. [2] Albany won the league title again. [3]

The Catskill Cougars were a minor-league baseball team based in Mountaindale, New York in the state's Catskill Mountains region. The Cougars played in the North Atlantic League in 1996 and the Northeast League, from 1997-1998 and 2000. The North Atlantic and Northeast leagues were independent leagues that were not affiliated with Major League Baseball or Minor League Baseball. The Cougars played their home games at Baxter Stadium, and were part-owned by comedian Bill Murray.

The North Atlantic League was the name of two minor baseball leagues. The first was a Class D affiliated system that operated from 1946 until 1950, and the second was an independent minor league that played from 1995 until 1996. Three of that league's franchises joined the Northeast League after the folding of the North Atlantic League.

West Warwick, Rhode Island Town in Rhode Island, United States

West Warwick is a town in Kent County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 29,191 at the 2010 census.

In 1997 the league expanded to eight teams and switched to a two-division format. Newburgh and Rhode Island folded after the 1996 season. As the result of the disbanding of the North Atlantic League Catskill rejoined the Northeast League and the Lynn, Massachusetts-based Massachusetts Mad Dogs followed them. Meanwhile, the league expanded into Waterbury, Connecticut and Allentown, Pennsylvania with the Waterbury Spirit and Allentown Ambassadors. The league was won by the Elmira Pioneers. [4]

Lynn, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts, United States

Lynn is the 9th largest municipality in Massachusetts and the largest city in Essex County. Situated on the Atlantic Ocean, 3.7 miles (6.0 km) north of the Boston city line at Suffolk Downs, Lynn is part of Greater Boston's urban inner core. Settled by Europeans in 1629, Lynn is the 5th oldest colonial settlement in the Commonwealth. An early industrial center, Lynn was long colloquially referred to as the "City of Sin", owing to its historical reputation for crime and vice. Today, however, the city is known for its contemporary public art, international population, historic architecture, downtown cultural district, loft-style apartments, and public parks and open spaces, which include the oceanfront Lynn Shore Reservation; the 2,200-acre, Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Lynn Woods Reservation; and the High Rock Tower Reservation. Lynn also is home to Lynn Heritage State Park, the southernmost portion of the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway, and the seaside, National Register-listed Diamond Historic District.

New Haven County Cutters

The New Haven County Cutters were an independent baseball team based in New Haven, Connecticut. From 2004 through 2007, it played in the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball, an independent league that is not affiliated with Major League Baseball or with the Minor League Baseball organization.

Waterbury, Connecticut City in Connecticut, United States

Waterbury is a city in the U.S. state of Connecticut on the Naugatuck River, 33 miles southwest of Hartford and 77 miles northeast of New York City. Waterbury is the second-largest city in New Haven County, Connecticut. As of the 2010 census, Waterbury had a population of 110,366, making it the 10th largest city in the New York Metropolitan Area, 9th largest city in New England and the 5th largest city in Connecticut.

For 1998, the Diamond Dogs added the name of their actual home town, Colonie, to their name and became known as the Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs. Bangor's team folded and the team's place was taken by the expansion New Jersey Jackals, who played in a then-unfinished Yogi Berra Stadium in Little Falls, New Jersey on the campus of Montclair State University. The new franchise won the Northeast League championship in their first season.

New Jersey Jackals Minor league baseball team based in Little Falls, NJ, US

The New Jersey Jackals are an American professional baseball team based in Little Falls in Passaic County, New Jersey, United States. The Jackals are a member of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, which is an independent baseball league unaffiliated with Major League Baseball. From their inception, the Jackals have played their home games at Yogi Berra Stadium, on the campus of Montclair State University. Their mascot is Jack the Jackal.

Yogi Berra Stadium Baseball stadium at Montclair State University, NJ, US

Yogi Berra Stadium is a baseball stadium in Little Falls, New Jersey, on the campus of Montclair State University. The stadium is home to the New Jersey Jackals of the independent Can-Am League; the Montclair State Red Hawks baseball team, which competes in NCAA Division III; and the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, which adjoins the stadium on its first base side.

Little Falls, New Jersey Township in New Jersey, United States

Little Falls is a township in Passaic County, New Jersey, United States. The township was named for a waterfall on the Passaic River at a dam near Beattie Mill.

After the season, prior to the merger with the Northern League, the Catskill franchise again folded. The Cougars would return as a member of the Northern League East in 2000 but would not last beyond that season.

After the merger

After the four-year merger, the Northeast League returned to its status as a separate entity following the 2002 season. In that time, Northeast League teams won all four league titles as the Diamond Dogs, Lumberjacks, and Jackals defeated their Northern League opponents. The league returned to play in 2003 with eight teams. Elmira, Allentown, and New Jersey rejoined the league as they had left it. The Adirondack Lumberjacks relocated to Bangor, returning a team to Maine for the first time since the Blue Ox folded. Joining them were two Northern League expansion teams and two revived franchises. In 1999 and 2002, the Northern League expanded into Quebec City, Quebec and Brockton, Massachusetts and these two teams, Québec Capitales and the Brockton Rox, became part of the revived Northeast League.

Brockton, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts

Brockton is a city in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States; the population was 95,314 in the 2015 Census. Brockton, along with Plymouth, are the county seats of Plymouth County. Brockton is the seventh largest city in Massachusetts and is sometimes referred to as the "City of Champions", due to the success of native boxers Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler, as well as its successful Brockton High School sports programs. Two of the villages within the city are Montello and Campello, both have the distinction of having their own MBTA Commuter Rail Stations and post offices. Campello is the smallest neighborhood in the city, but also the most populous. Brockton hosts a baseball team, the Brockton Rox. Brockton is one of the windiest cities in the United States, with an average wind speed of 14.3 mph.

Québec Capitales

The Québec Capitales are a professional baseball team based in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The Capitales are a member of the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball. Since the 1999 season to the present, the Capitales have played their home games at Stade Canac.

Brockton Rox

The Brockton Rox are a collegiate summer baseball team based in Brockton, Massachusetts, United States. Formerly a professional baseball franchise, the Rox were a member of the independent Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball, from the 2003 through 2011 seasons. The Rox play their home games at Campanelli Stadium. The team's name is a derivative of the nearby Boston Red Sox of the American League and a tribute to the boxers Rocky Marciano and Marvelous Marvin Hagler, both from Brockton.

Meanwhile, in 1999 and 2000, the Massachusetts Mad Dogs and the Waterbury Spirit franchises went dormant. The Mad Dogs were bought by Jonathan Fleisig, who moved the team to Pittsfield, Massachusetts where they played in Wahconah Park as the Berkshire Black Bears. Nicholas Lopardo, meanwhile, bought the remnants of the Spirit and relaunched the team as the North Shore Spirit in the Mad Dogs' old home of Lynn, Massachusetts at Fraser Field. [5]

After the Rox won the 2003 league title, Berkshire moved to New Haven, Connecticut as the New Haven County Cutters while Allentown folded and were replaced by a traveling team, the Northeast League Aces. The 2004 season, proving to be the final Northeast League season, New Jersey defeated North Shore in the league championship series. New Jersey, Brockton, North Shore, New Haven, Quebec, and Elmira became part of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball (or Can-Am League) along with an expansion franchise in Worcester, Massachusetts and a traveling team formed when Bangor's charter for the new league was rescinded.

As of 2017, four Northeast League teams still exist. New Jersey and Quebec continue to be members of the Can-Am League. Elmira and Brockton both left the league to become collegiate summer league teams.

League champions

Champions of the Northeast League, 1995–98

Champions of the Northern League [6]

Champions of the Northeast League, 2003–2004

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