Professional baseball

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Sapporo Dome in Japan serves as home ballpark for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, a professional baseball team playing in Nippon Professional Baseball. Sapporo dome view from seats.jpg
Sapporo Dome in Japan serves as home ballpark for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, a professional baseball team playing in Nippon Professional Baseball.

Professional baseball is organized baseball in which players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system. It is played in leagues and associated farm teams throughout the world.


Modern professional leagues


United States and Canada

Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada (founded in 1869) consists of the National League (founded in 1876) and the American League (founded in 1901). Historically, teams in one league never played teams in the other until the World Series, in which the champions of the two leagues played against each other. This changed in 1997 with the advent of interleague play. [1] As of 2022, the Philadelphia Phillies, founded in 1883, are the oldest continuous same-name, same-city franchise in both Major League Baseball and all of American professional sports. [2]

In addition to the major leagues, many North American cities and towns feature minor league teams. An organization officially styled Minor League Baseball, formerly the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, [3] oversees nearly all minor league baseball in the United States and Canada. The minor leagues are divided into classes AAA, AA, High A, Low A, Short-Season A, Advanced Rookie, and Rookie. These minor-league divisions are affiliated with major league teams, and serve to develop young players and rehabilitate injured major-leaguers. The Mexican League is an independent league that is a member of Minor League Baseball and has no affiliations to any Major League Baseball teams. Organized Baseball is often applied as an umbrella term for all leagues — Major and minor — under the authority of the Commissioner of Baseball. [4]

Operating outside the Minor League Baseball organization are many independent minor leagues such as the Atlantic League, American Association, Frontier League, [5] and the feeder league to these the Empire Professional Baseball League.

Caribbean countries


Central America

South America



Japan has had professional baseball since the 1930s. Nippon Professional Baseball consists of two leagues, the Central League and the Pacific League, each with six teams.


South Korea has had professional baseball since 1982. There are 10 teams in KBO League.


Taiwan has had professional baseball since the 1990s. The Chinese Professional Baseball League absorbed Taiwan Major League in 2003.

Other Asian leagues

Other Asian leagues include three now defunct leagues, the China National Baseball League, Israel Baseball League, and Baseball Philippines.



Historic leagues

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, African-American players were barred from playing the major leagues, though several did manage to play by claiming to be Cubans or Indians. As a result, a number of parallel Negro leagues were formed. However, after Jackie Robinson began playing with the major-league Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, the Negro leagues gradually faded. The process of integration did not go entirely smoothly; there were some ugly incidents, including pitchers who would try to throw directly at an African-American player's head. Now, however, baseball is fully integrated, and there is little to no racial tension between teammates.

Between 1943 and 1954, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League fielded teams in several Midwestern towns.

See also

Related Research Articles

The Negro leagues were United States professional baseball leagues comprising teams of African Americans and, to a lesser extent, Latin Americans. The term may be used broadly to include professional black teams outside the leagues and it may be used narrowly for the seven relatively successful leagues beginning in 1920 that are sometimes termed "Negro Major Leagues".

Today, baseball is a popular sport around the world with numerous countries practicing it at amateur and professional levels.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dolf Luque</span> Cuban baseball player (1890-1957)

Adolfo Domingo De Guzmán "Dolf" Luque was a Cuban starting pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1914 to 1935. Luque was enshrined in the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1957 and the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1967, as well as in the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985. Luque was not only the first Latino pitcher in MLB, but also the first to win a World Series victory, and the first to lead the Leagues in wins and shutouts.

The color line, also known as the color barrier, in American baseball excluded players of black African descent from Major League Baseball and its affiliated Minor Leagues until 1947. Racial segregation in professional baseball was sometimes called a gentlemen's agreement, meaning a tacit understanding, as there was no written policy at the highest level of organized baseball, the major leagues. A high minor league's vote in 1887 against allowing new contracts with black players within its league sent a powerful signal that eventually led to the disappearance of blacks from the sport's other minor leagues later that century, including the low minors.

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The Cuban League was one of the earliest and longest lasting professional baseball leagues outside the United States, operating in Cuba from 1878 to 1961. The schedule usually operated during the winter months, so the league was sometimes known as the "Cuban Winter League." It was always a small league, generally 3 to 5 teams, and was centered in Havana, though it sometimes included teams from outlying cities such as Matanzas or Santa Clara. The league became racially integrated in 1900, and during the first half of the 20th century the Cuban League was a premier venue for black and white players to meet. Many great black Northern American players competed in Cuba alongside native black and white Cuban stars such as José Méndez, Cristóbal Torriente, Adolfo Luque, and Martín Dihigo. After 1947, the Cuban League entered into an agreement with Major League Baseball and was used for player development. Following the 1959 Cuban Revolution, however, tensions rose with the new Communist government, and in March 1961 the government decreed the abolition of professional baseball.

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William Walker Cash, nicknamed "Ready", was an American baseball player who became an all-star catcher in the Negro leagues. He batted and threw right-handed. Cash earned his nickname when he was benched and protested to a team manager, “When I put on the uniform, I’m ready to play”.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to baseball:


  1. "Interleague". Major League Baseball. Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  2. "Philadelphia Phillies", Baseball Almanac, retrieved October 1, 2022
  3. "The Official Site of The International League | Homepage". International League. Archived from the original on January 6, 2006. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  4. Light, Jonathan (1957). The Cultural Encyclopedia of Baseball (Second ed.). McFarland & Company. p. 670. ISBN   0-7864-2087-1.
  5. "Home". Frontier League. Archived from the original on October 1, 2017. Retrieved November 1, 2017.