Continental League

The Continental League of Professional Baseball Clubs (known as the Continental League or CL) was a proposed third major league for baseball in the United States and Canada, announced in 1959 and scheduled to begin play in the 1961 season. Unlike predecessor competitors such as the Players' League and the Federal League, it sought membership within organized baseball's existing organization and acceptance within Major League Baseball. The league disbanded in August 1960 without playing a single game as a concession by William A. Shea as part of his negotiations with Major League Baseball to expand to incorporate at least eight new teams.



The New York Giants (to San Francisco) and the Brooklyn Dodgers (to Los Angeles) moved to California following the 1957 season; New York City mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr. appointed a four-man committee to bring the National League back to the city in 1958. Early overtures to entice one of the other six existing NL teams—the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, and Pittsburgh Pirates were reportedly approached—were abandoned.

New league announced

The Continental League was the idea of attorney William Shea, proposed in November 1958. On July 27, 1959, the new league was formally announced, with teams in Denver, Houston, Minneapolis–St. Paul, New York City, and Toronto.[1] The name of the league was said to have been the suggestion of Colorado senator Edwin C. Johnson.

Representing the team owners at the announcement were Bob Howsam (Denver), Craig F. Cullinan, Jr. (Houston), Wheelock Whitney Jr. (Minneapolis–St. Paul), Dwight F. Davis, Jr., who was representing the group headed by Joan Whitney Payson (New York), and Jack Kent Cooke (Toronto). Owners in each city had agreed to pay US$50,000 to the league and committed to a capital investment of $2.5 million, not including stadium costs. A minimum seating capacity of 35,000 was established by the league for the venues in which its teams would play.

At least three other teams were expected to be in place before play began in 1961, and the league said it had received applications from 10 cities. The three that were later selected were Atlanta (announced December 8, 1959),[2] Dallas-Ft. Worth (announced December 22, 1959),[3] and Buffalo (backed by Robert O. Swados and announced January 29, 1960).[4] Former Dodgers president Branch Rickey was named league president on August 18, 1959.[5] Appearing in that capacity as a guest on the live CBS broadcast of What's My Line on Sunday, September 13, 1959, he pronounced the new league as "Inevitable as tomorrow morning."

On February 18, 1960, Rickey and Cooke announced an opening date of April 18, 1961.[6]

Established leagues respond

The Major League Baseball commissioner's office was noncommittal on the issue. At that time, however, the American League and the National League enjoyed far more autonomy than they do today, answering more to their constituent owners (who were universally hostile to the new league) than to the Commissioner's Office. They reacted to the formation of the new league by announcing plans to expand by adding two teams in each of the existing leagues. Priority would be given, it was stated, to cities that did not have Major League Baseball. Accordingly, the NL placed one of its expansion teams in Houston (the then Houston Colt .45s), a Continental League city without an existing Major League Baseball team.

Though the AL placed one of its expansion teams (the Washington Senators) in a previously existing Major League Baseball city (Washington, D.C.), this was done to replace the original Senators team, which had relocated to Minneapolis–St. Paul and became the Minnesota Twins. Like Houston, the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul were a Continental League city without an existing Major League Baseball team.

The NL then placed another expansion team in New York, offering its tenth franchise to the owners of the Continental League New York team, who immediately accepted, effectively killing any attempt to revive the proposed league. This franchise would become the New York Mets. The AL then followed by placing a second expansion team in Los Angeles, the Angels, giving the American League its first presence on the West Coast.

The league disbands

With Shea's mission to bring a second Major League Baseball team to New York successful, he stopped championing the Continental League's formation. The promise of expansion achieved the owners' desired effect; on August 2, 1960, the Continental League formally disbanded.


Although baseball historians concur that Major League Baseball expansion would inevitably have happened due to such factors as pressure from Congress and the rapid growth of professional football, the Continental League undoubtedly forced MLB to hasten expansion by several years. Although Major League Baseball had succeeded in preventing the launch of an eight-team CL, it only did so by committing to eventually adding eight franchises of its own. MLB finished honoring this commitment in 1969 when the AL and NL would each add two more teams for a total of eight over the course of the decade, thereby matching the total number of new teams envisioned by the Continental League.

Although William Shea's efforts to create a third major league are not well known today, Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets from 1964 to 2008, was named in his honor for his efforts in bringing National League baseball back to New York.

Of the eight proposed Continental League cities, all but one would eventually receive relocated or expansion Major League Baseball franchises – Minneapolis–St. Paul in 1961, Houston and New York in 1962, Atlanta in 1966, Dallas/Ft. Worth in 1972, Toronto in 1977, and Denver in 1993. Buffalo, although it made efforts to lure an MLB team to then-new Pilot Field in the early 1990s, has not succeeded in bringing Major League Baseball back. (There had been a major league team in Buffalo in the nineteenth century.) Buffalo remains home to the Buffalo Bisons, a team in the Triple-A International League.


  1. ^ "Third Major Baseball League Formed". Chicago Tribune. July 28, 1959. p. 39. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  2. ^ "Rickey Hints Plea to Congress". Chicago Tribune. December 9, 1959. p. 53. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  3. ^ "Texas Cities get berth in new league". Chicago Tribune. December 23, 1959. p. 35. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  4. ^ "Buffalo's Addition Completes Continental". The Daily Gazette. Associated Press. January 30, 1960. p. 17. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  5. ^ "Continental names Rickey as President". Chicago Tribune. August 19, 1959. p. 55. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  6. ^ "Houston Holding Up New League". Oakland Tribune. Associated Press. February 19, 1960. p. 48. Retrieved August 7, 2019.


  • Koppett, Leonard (1998). Koppett's Concise History of Major League Baseball. Temple University Press. ISBN 1-56639-638-7.
  • Pietrusza, David (1991). Major Leagues: The Formation, Sometimes Absorption and Mostly Inevitable Demise of 18 Professional Baseball Organizations, 1871 to Present. Jefferson (NC): McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-89950-590-2.
1960 Major League Baseball expansion draft

The 1960 MLB Expansion Draft was held by Major League Baseball on December 14, 1960, to fill the rosters of the Los Angeles Angels and the Washington Senators. The Angels and the Senators (who later became the Texas Rangers) were the new franchises that would enter the league in the 1961 season.

Each existing American League club had to make available for the draft seven players on their active roster on August 31, 1960, and eight others from their 40-man roster. The expansion clubs paid $75,000 for each of 28 players they drafted with a maximum of seven players drafted from each existing club, not including minor league selections. They were required to take at least ten pitchers, two catchers, six infielders, and four outfielders. The clubs also had the option of drafting one non-roster player for $25,000 from each established franchise.

1961 Major League Baseball expansion

The 1961 Major League Baseball expansion resulted in the formation of two new Major League Baseball (MLB) franchises in the American League (AL). A new club was started in Washington, D.C. and took the existing name of the Senators, as the previous team of the same name moved to Minneapolis–St. Paul for the start of the 1961 season and became the Minnesota Twins. The second new franchise was granted to an ownership group led by Gene Autry for a team in Los Angeles who named themselves the Angels. The two new teams each paid a fee of $2.1 million and became the 17th and 18th franchises in MLB.

The expansion was part of an initiative in response to the perceived threat of a proposed third major league, the Continental League. In 1962, the National League (NL) also added two new teams, the Houston Colt .45s (later named the Astros) and the New York Mets.

1961 Major League Baseball expansion draft

The 1961 MLB Expansion Draft was held by Major League Baseball on October 10, 1961, to fill the rosters of the New York Mets and the Houston Colt .45s. The Mets and the Colt .45s (later renamed the Astros) were the new franchises which would enter the league in the 1962 season. The pool of players out of which they could select was limited to the existing National League ballclubs.Due to the poor performance of the Mets and Colt .45s after two seasons, another draft was held for the teams. The other existing National League clubs made four players from their 40-man roster available at $30,000 apiece. Only eight players could be selected between the two clubs.

Bob Howsam

Robert Lee Howsam (February 28, 1918 – February 19, 2008) was an executive in American professional sport who, in 1959, played a key role in establishing two leagues—the American Football League, which succeeded and merged with the National Football League, and baseball's Continental League, which never played a game but forced expansion of Major League Baseball from 16 to 20 teams in 1961–62. Howsam later became further well known in baseball as the highly successful general manager and club president of the Cincinnati Reds during the "Big Red Machine" dynasty of the 1970s.

Born in Denver, Howsam attended the University of Colorado and served as a U.S. Navy pilot during World War II. He was the son-in-law of Edwin C. Johnson, a three-term United States Senator and two-term governor of Colorado. Johnson also was involved with professional baseball as founder and first president of the postwar Class A Western League, an upper-level minor league that played from 1947 to 1958.

Branch Rickey

Wesley Branch Rickey (December 20, 1881 – December 9, 1965) was an American baseball player and sports executive. He was perhaps best known for breaking Major League Baseball's color barriers by signing black player Jackie Robinson, as well as for creating the framework for the modern minor league farm system, for encouraging the Major Leagues to add new teams through his involvement in the proposed Continental League, and for introducing the batting helmet. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967, two years after his death.

Rickey played in MLB for the St. Louis Browns and New York Highlanders from 1905 through 1907. After struggling as a player, Rickey returned to college, where he learned about administration from Philip Bartelme. Returning to MLB in 1913, Rickey embarked on a successful managing and executive career with the St. Louis Browns, the St. Louis Cardinals, Brooklyn Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cardinals elected him to their team Hall of Fame in 2014.

Rickey also had a career in football, as a player for the professional Shelby Blues and as a coach at Ohio Wesleyan University and Allegheny College. His many achievements and deep Christian faith earned him the nickname "the Mahātmā."

Continental Football League

The Continental Football League (COFL) was a professional American football league that operated in North America from 1965 through 1969. It was established following the collapse of the original United Football League, and hoped to become the major force in professional football outside the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football League (AFL). It owed its name, at least in part, to the Continental League, a proposed third Major League Baseball organization that influenced MLB significantly (but never played a single game).

Four Continental Football League contributors are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the most of any league not considered a major league: coach Bill Walsh, quarterback Ken Stabler, Doak Walker and Steve Van Buren (the last two of whom were inducted as players but were coaches in this league). Sam Wyche, Bob Kuechenberg, Garo Yepremian and Otis Sistrunk were among the other players and coaches who would later gain fame in the NFL, while a few others, such as Don Jonas and Tom Wilkinson, would emerge as stars in the Canadian Football League.

Edwin C. Johnson

Edwin Carl Johnson (January 1, 1884 – May 30, 1970) was a Democrat who served as both governor and U.S. senator from the U.S. state of Colorado.

FA Women's League Cup

The FA Women's League Cup is a league cup competition in English women's association football. The competition was originally open to the eight teams in the FA WSL, but since the WSL's restructuring to two divisions, it has featured 22 teams. Prior to this it was known as the FA WSL Cup.

The sponsor Continental AG was announced on 19 August 2011, meaning the competition is referred to as the FA Women's Continental League Cup for sponsorship reasons.Eight editions have been played with Arsenal winning five finals.

Federal League

The Federal League of Base Ball Clubs, known simply as the Federal League, was an American professional baseball league that played its first season in 1913 and operated as a "third major league", in competition with the established National and American Leagues, from 1914 to 1915.

The Federal League came together in early 1913 through the work of John T. Powers, and immediately challenged the operations of organized baseball. Playing in what detractors called the "outlaw" league allowed players to avoid the restrictions of the organized leagues' reserve clause. The competition of another, better paying league caused players' salaries to skyrocket, demonstrating the bargaining potential of free agency for the first time.

Interference by the National and American Leagues in their operations caused the Federal League to fold after the 1915 season. This resulted in a landmark federal lawsuit, Federal Baseball Club v. National League, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the Sherman Antitrust Act did not apply to Major League Baseball. The Federal League left its mark on baseball history in the field now known as Wrigley Field, which was originally built for the Chicago Whales Federal League team. The league itself and many sports writers considered it a major league during its existence; organized baseball recognized its major league status in 1968. It would be the last independent major league outside the established structure of professional baseball to make it to the playing field, and would be the last serious attempt to create a third major league until the abortive Continental League of 1960.

Gambit Esports

Gambit Esports, also known by its former name Gambit Gaming, is a Russian esports organisation based in the United Kingdom. It was established in January 2013 after the acquisition of the former League of Legends roster of Moscow Five. The organization previously had a team competing in the European League of Legends Championship Series (EU LCS).

Gambit currently has a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team, a Dota 2 team and a League of Legends team competing in the League of Legends Continental League. The organisation also sponsors a FIFA 19 player, Andrei "Timon" Gurev.

Jack Kent Cooke

Jack Kent Cooke (October 25, 1912 – April 6, 1997) was a Canadian-American businessman in broadcasting and professional sports. Starting in sales, Cooke was very successful, eventually becoming a partner in a network of radio stations and newspapers in Canada. After failing at starting a major league baseball team in Toronto and being turned down to own a television station in Toronto, Cooke moved to the United States and built a business empire in broadcasting and professional sports franchises. Cooke was the owner of the Washington Redskins (NFL), the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA), the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), the Los Angeles Wolves (United Soccer) and Toronto Maple Leafs (IL). He also developed The Forum in Inglewood, California, and FedExField near Landover, Maryland.

League of Legends Continental League

League of Legends Continental League (LCL) (Russian: Континентальная лига по League of Legends, Kontinental'naya liga po League of Legends) is the top level of professional League of Legends competition in the Commonwealth of Independent States. There are eight teams in the competition. Each annual season of play is divided into two splits, spring and summer, both consisting of five weeks of double round-robin tournament play, which then conclude with a play-off single elimination tournament between the top four teams. The winners of each split qualifies for the Mid-Season Invitational and the World Championship.

Prize pool of the competition in 2016 and 2017 amounts ₽4,5 million per season.

Norfolk Neptunes

The Norfolk Neptunes were an American football franchise based in Norfolk, Virginia that played in the Continental Football League from 1966 until 1969 and the Atlantic Coast Football League from 1970 to 1971. The team played at Foreman Field at Old Dominion University in Norfolk.

The franchise itself was originally based in Springfield, Massachusetts, where it was known as the Acorns. It was established as an ACFL team in 1963, lasting two years there before joining with several other teams to form the Continental League. Before the first season in the Continental League, the Acorns relocated to Norfolk.

The Neptunes were among the most commercially successful professional football teams of its era outside of the two major leagues (NFL and AFL); the 1969 season featured the team drawing over 13,000 fans per game to their contests, more than double the Continental League average. The team also enjoyed a fair share of on-field success as well; career minor-league quarterback King Corcoran led the team to the 1971 ACFL championship over the Hartford Knights.The Neptunes folded along with most of the rest of the ACFL after the 1971 season. Professional football would not return to the Hampton Roads region until the Virginia Destroyers arrived in 2011. Vivian Seaborne, a Southampton County, Virginia native, and cousin of Pearl Bailey was the first African American cheerleader for the Neptunes. It was during that time that she met her husband Nelson Munsey, who played for the Neptunes from 1969 until his 1972 draft to the Baltimore Colts.

Sonny Gibbs

Sonny Gibbs (born October 25, 1939) is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions. He played college football at Texas Christian University.

South American Beach Soccer League

The CONMEBOL South American Beach Soccer League, named natively in Spanish as the CONMEBOL Liga Sudamericana de Fútbol Playa, is a continental league competition for South American men's national beach soccer teams.

The competition is organised by the governing body for South American football, CONMEBOL, who started the league in 2017 as part of its Development Department's Evolution Program. All ten members of the continental confederation take part in the league, with both senior and under 20s teams representing each nation; therefore, a total of 20 teams participate.The league consists of two phases: the regular season and the finals. The teams are first divided into two geographically based conferences, the North zone and South zone, to compete in a round robin tournament against the other members of their own zone during the regular season. The winners of each zone then proceed to face each other in the finals to contest the league title.Brazil are the current champions.

Vega Squadron

Vega Squadron is a Russian professional esports organization based in Moscow. It was originally formed as a StarCraft II team on 10 July 2012. Currently, the organization has players competing in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, FIFA, and League of Legends.

Vega Squadron's CS:GO team has participated in multiple majors, and its League of Legends team competes in the League of Legends Continental League (LCL), the highest level of professional League of Legends in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Western Carolinas League

The Western Carolinas League was a Class D (1948–52; 1960–62) and a low Class A (1963–79) full-season league in American minor league baseball. The WCL changed its name prior to the 1980 season and has been known since as the South Atlantic League, a highly successful low Class A circuit with teams up the Eastern Seaboard from Georgia to New Jersey.

Originally called the "Western Carolina League", the 1948–52 WCL was composed exclusively of teams located in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge sections of western North Carolina. It merged with the North Carolina State League to form the short-lived Class D Tar Heel League, which lasted only 1½ seasons (1953–54) before folding.

In 1960, the WCL was revived as a Class D circuit intended to house farm teams of the member clubs of a planned third major league, the Continental League. It featured teams in eight North Carolina locales: Gastonia, Hickory, Lexington, Newton–Conover, Rutherford County, Salisbury, Shelby and Statesville, but soon expanded to sites in South Carolina.

When the Continental League was torpedoed by the Major League Baseball expansion in 1961 and 1962, the member teams of the Western Carolinas League became affiliates of American and National League clubs. It was upgraded to Class A in the 1963 reorganization of the minor leagues. The first professional baseball team based in Monroe, North Carolina came into being when the Statesville Indians moved into town on June 20, 1969 and finished the year as the Monroe Indians. The team lasted just one season before being replaced by the Sumter Indians.

For nearly 60 years, 1948 through 2007, the WCL/SAL's dominant figure was league founder and president John Henry Moss, who started the WCL as a young man in 1948, refounded it in 1960 and then led it into the new century. Moss, also the longtime mayor of Kings Mountain, North Carolina, retired at the close of the 2007 Sally League season and died, at age 90, on July 1, 2009.

Wheelock Whitney Jr.

Wheelock "Whee" Whitney Jr. (July 30, 1926 – May 20, 2016) was an American businessman, educator, sports team executive and owner, philanthropist, and politician.

William Shea

William Alfred Shea (June 21, 1907 – October 2, 1991) was an American lawyer and a name partner of the prominent law firm of Shea & Gould. He is probably better known as the founder of the Continental League, which was instrumental in bringing National League baseball back to New York City with the New York Mets, and for being the namesake of the stadium where that team played for 45 years.


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.