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The Midwest League is a Class A minor league baseball league which operates in the Midwestern United States.


Six teams – the Bellevillemarker Stags, the Centraliamarker Cubs, the Marionmarker Indians, the Mattoonmarker Indians, the Mount Vernonmarker Braves, and the West Frankfortmarker Cardinals – began operating as the Class D Illinois State League in 1947. The league changed its name to the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League in 1949 after the Marion team moved to Paducah, Kentuckymarker. The league added teams in Clintonmarker and Dubuquemarker, Iowamarker, in 1954 and was renamed the Midwest League two years later. After the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League folded in 1961, teams from Appletonmarker, Burlingtonmarker, and Cedar Rapidsmarker joined the Midwest League for the 1962 season and remain in the league today. In 1963 the Midwest League became a Class A league after the minor league classification structure was reorganized.

In 1976 the Midwest League contracted from ten teams to eight when teams in Danvillemarker and Dubuque were eliminated. In 1982 the league expanded to 12 teams by adding the Beloit Brewers, the Danville Suns, the Madisonmarker Muskies, and the Springfieldmarker Cardinals. The Peoria Suns replaced the Danville Suns in 1983, and acquired their current name, Peoria Chiefs, the following year. The league began splitting its season into two halves and expanded to the present 14 teams in 1988 with the addition of franchises in South Bend, Indianamarker, and Rockford, Illinoismarker. 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. Kenoshamarker, Madison, Rockford, Springfield, Waterloomarker, and Wausaumarker lost teams during this decade while Battle Creekmarker, Daytonmarker, Fort Waynemarker, Grand Rapidsmarker (West Michigan), Kane Countymarker, and Lansingmarker gained teams.

The Fort Wayne TinCaps are the oldest franchise in the league, having begun as the Mattoon Indians in 1947 and playing in Keokuk, Iowamarker; Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsinmarker; and Kenosha, Wisconsinmarker, before moving to Fort Wayne, Indianamarker, in 1993. The Clinton LumberKings have been in one city longer than any Midwest League team, having called Clinton, Iowamarker, 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 be transferring from the fellow Class A South Atlantic League to the Midwest League. These two teams are the Lake County Captains (an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians playing in Eastlake, Ohiomarker) and the Bowling Green Hot Rods (an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays playing in Bowling Green, Kentuckymarker). [10882]

Season structure

The league plays a 140-game schedule that begins on the first Thursday in April and ends in early September, usually on Labor Day. Since 2000 it has been divided into an Eastern Division and a Western Division, with four teams from each division (the winners of each half of the season and one or two runners-up) qualifying for the first round of playoffs. The first two rounds of playoffs are best-of-three series; the league championship series is a best-of-five.

Midwest League presidents

Current teams

Division Team MLB Affiliation City Stadium Capacity
Eastern Bowling Green Hot Rods Tampa Bay Rays Bowling Greenmarker, Kentuckymarker Bowling Green Ballpark 5,700
Dayton Dragons Cincinnati Reds Daytonmarker, Ohiomarker Fifth Third Fieldmarker 8,200
Fort Wayne TinCaps San Diego Padres Fort Waynemarker, Indianamarker Parkview Fieldmarker2 8,200
Great Lakes Loons Los Angeles Dodgers Midlandmarker, Michiganmarker Dow Diamondmarker 5,500
Lansing Lugnuts Toronto Blue Jays Lansingmarker, Michiganmarker Oldsmobile Parkmarker 11,000
Lake County Captains Cleveland Indians Eastlakemarker, Ohiomarker Classic Parkmarker 7,273
South Bend Silver Hawks Arizona Diamondbacks South Bendmarker, Indianamarker Stanley Coveleski Regional Stadiummarker 5,000
West Michigan Whitecaps Detroit Tigers Comstock Parkmarker, Michiganmarker Fifth Third Ballparkmarker 11,123
Western Beloit Snappers Minnesota Twins Beloitmarker, Wisconsinmarker Harry C.marker Pohlman Fieldmarker 3,500
Burlington Bees Kansas City Royals Burlingtonmarker, Iowamarker Community Fieldmarker 3,500
Cedar Rapids Kernels Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Cedar Rapidsmarker, Iowamarker Veterans Memorial Stadiummarker 5,300
Clinton LumberKings Seattle Mariners Clintonmarker, Iowamarker Alliant Energy Fieldmarker1 4,000
Kane County Cougars Oakland Athletics Geneva, Illinoismarker Philip B. Elfstrom Stadium 7,400
Peoria Chiefs Chicago Cubs Peoriamarker, Illinoismarker O'Brien Fieldmarker 7,377
Quad Cities River Bandits St. Louis Cardinals Davenportmarker, Iowamarker Modern Woodmen Parkmarker 4,024
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Milwaukee Brewers Appletonmarker, Wisconsinmarker Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadiummarker 5,500

1 Hosting 2009 Midwest League All-Star Game
2 Hosting 2010 Midwest League All-Star Game

Current team rosters

Midwest League teams since 1956

See also


External links

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