The International League (IL) is a Minor League Baseball league that operates in the eastern United States and is headquartered in Dublin, Ohio. Like the Pacific Coast League and the Mexican League, it plays at the Triple-A level, which is one step below Major League Baseball.
It was so named because throughout its history the International League has had teams in Canada and Cuba as well as those in the United States. However, since the relocation of the Ottawa Lynx to Allentown, Pennsylvania, to become the Lehigh Valley IronPigs for the 2008 season, all of the league's teams are now based in the U.S. Today, the league is composed of 14 teams across 9 states stretching from Indianapolis, Indiana, to Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and from Rochester, New York, to Lawrenceville, Georgia.
A league champion is determined at the end of every season. The Rochester Red Wings have won 19 International League titles, the most in the league's history, followed by the Buffalo Bisons (12) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (11). Since the introduction of the Governors' Cup in 1933, the most cup titles have been won by Rochester and the Columbus Clippers (10), followed by the Syracuse Mets (8) and the Montreal Royals (7). After the season, the IL champion plays in the Triple-A National Championship Game against the Pacific Coast League champion to determine an overall champion of Triple-A baseball. The Columbus Clippers and Durham Bulls have each won two national championships, more than any other IL team.
International League logo
|No. of teams||14|
|Durham Bulls (2018)|
|Most titles||Rochester Red Wings (19)|
|TV partner(s)||MiLB.TV, MLB Network, and local sports networks|
The International League was created from the mergers of member teams from three precursor leagues: the Eastern League, which was itself a re-organization of the Interstate Association of 1883; the New York State League, formed in 1885; and the Ontario League, also organized in 1885. The New York State and Ontario leagues merged in 1886 to form the International League, and in 1887 the Eastern League was absorbed to create a ten-club league. Also in 1887, the International League passed a resolution barring African Americans from playing in the league.
The league collapsed soon afterwards, when the northern teams claimed that it was too onerous to travel to the south and formed the International Association. Teams and league names came and went over the years. The league was also affected by the effort to establish the Federal League as a new third major league from 1914 to 1915, with franchises being added and dropped and new ballparks built. In 1954, a franchise was awarded to Havana, Cuba, but due to political upheaval in that country it had to be moved — to Jersey City, New Jersey — in the middle of the 1960 season. Another foray into the Caribbean failed when the newly created team in San Juan, Puerto Rico, added in 1961, had to be moved to Charleston, West Virginia, in mid-season.
In 1971, an International League all-star team beat the New York Yankees in an exhibition game in Rochester, New York, before 11,000 people. In 1984, the all-stars lost to the Cleveland Indians in 11 innings before 11,032 fans in Columbus, Ohio, to commemorate the league's 100th anniversary.
The International League and the American Association, another Triple-A league that operated in the Midwest, voted in 1988 to play interleague games as part of the Triple-A Alliance. The league also split into two divisions that year. The interleague concept ended in 1992, but the two league divisions remained.
In 1998, with the addition of three new teams from the disbanded American Association and the Durham Bulls who previously played in the Carolina League, the International League reorganized into three divisions.
The International League is divided into three divisions: the North Division, South Division, and West Division. The North Division consists of six teams, while the South and West Divisions each have four teams. The teams are slated to play 140 games in 2018, reduced from 142 in 2017 and 144 during the years 1998-2016. The season typically begins during the first week of April and concludes on Labor Day. The league plays by the same rules listed in the Official Baseball Rules published by Major League Baseball.
At the end of each season, the three divisional leaders and a wild card team square off in best-of-five series playoffs to determine a league champion, with the winner awarded the Governors' Cup, the league's championship trophy. Under this format, the North Division champion plays the wild card team, while the champions of the South and West Divisions play one another in best-of-five series. The winners then play each other in a best-of-five series to determine the champion.
Since 2006, the IL champion has played against the Pacific Coast League's champion in the Triple-A National Championship Game, a single game to determine an overall champion of Triple-A baseball. Previously, the IL champion also competed in the Triple-A World Series (1983, 1998–2000), Junior World Series (1919), and other sporadic postseason competitions throughout the league's history.
Other interleague play occurs during the Triple-A All-Star Game. Traditionally, the game has taken place on the day after the mid-summer Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The game is meant to mark a symbolic halfway-point in the season (though not the mathematical halfway-point which, for most seasons, is usually one month prior). During the All-Star break, no regular-season games are scheduled for two days before the All-Star Game itself.
|North||Buffalo Bisons||1985||Toronto Blue Jays||2013||Buffalo, New York||Sahlen Field||16,907|
|Lehigh Valley IronPigs||2008||Philadelphia Phillies||2007||Allentown, Pennsylvania||Coca-Cola Park||10,100|
|Pawtucket Red Sox||1973||Boston Red Sox||1970||Pawtucket, Rhode Island||McCoy Stadium||10,031|
|Rochester Red Wings||1899||Minnesota Twins||2003||Rochester, New York||Frontier Field||10,840|
|Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders||1989||New York Yankees||2007||Moosic, Pennsylvania||PNC Field||10,000|
|Syracuse Mets||1961||New York Mets||2019||Syracuse, New York||NBT Bank Stadium||11,731|
|South||Charlotte Knights||1993||Chicago White Sox||1999||Charlotte, North Carolina||BB&T Ballpark||10,200|
|Durham Bulls||1998||Tampa Bay Rays||1998||Durham, North Carolina||Durham Bulls Athletic Park||10,000|
|Gwinnett Stripers||2009||Atlanta Braves||1965||Lawrenceville, Georgia||Coolray Field||10,427|
|Norfolk Tides||1969||Baltimore Orioles||2007||Norfolk, Virginia||Harbor Park||11,856|
|West||Columbus Clippers||1977||Cleveland Indians||2009||Columbus, Ohio||Huntington Park||10,100|
|Indianapolis Indians||1902||Pittsburgh Pirates||2005||Indianapolis, Indiana||Victory Field||14,230|
|Louisville Bats||1982||Cincinnati Reds||2000||Louisville, Kentucky||Louisville Slugger Field||13,131|
|Toledo Mud Hens||1965||Detroit Tigers||1987||Toledo, Ohio||Fifth Third Field||10,300|
Current team Former team
The International League has crowned a league champion each season since 1884. Through 1932, the championship was awarded to the regular season pennant winner. In 1933, the league introduced a postseason playoff system to determine a champion. The winner is awarded the Governors' Cup.
Active International League teams appear in bold.
|19||Rochester Bronchos/Red Wings||1899, 1901, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1939, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1964, 1971, 1974, 1988, 1990, 1997|
|12||Buffalo Bisons||1891, 1904, 1906, 1915, 1916, 1927, 1933, 1936, 1957, 1961, 1998, 2004|
|11||Toronto Maple Leafs||1897, 1902, 1907, 1912, 1917, 1918, 1926, 1934, 1960, 1965, 1966|
|10||Baltimore Orioles||1908, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1944, 1950|
|10||Columbus Clippers||1979, 1980, 1981, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1996, 2010, 2011, 2015|
|8||Montreal Royals||1898, 1941, 1946, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1953, 1958|
|8||Syracuse Chiefs (Syracuse Mets)||1935, 1942, 1943, 1947, 1954, 1969, 1970, 1976|
|6||Durham Bulls||2002, 2003, 2009, 2013, 2017, 2018|
|5||Newark Bears||1932, 1937, 1938, 1940, 1945|
|5||Providence Grays/Clamdiggers||1894, 1905, 1896, 1900, 1914|
|5||Richmond Braves (Gwinnett Stripers)||1978, 1986, 1989, 1994, 2007|
|5||Tidewater Tides (Norfolk Tides)||1972, 1975, 1982, 1983, 1985|
|4||Pawtucket Red Sox||1973, 1984, 2012, 2014|
|3||Toledo Mud Hens||1967, 2005, 2006|
|2||Charlotte Knights||1993, 1999|
|2||Detroit Wolverines||1889, 1890|
|2||Indianapolis Indians||1963, 2000|
|2||Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees/RailRiders||2008, 2016|
|2||Syracuse Stars||1885, 1888|
|1||Havana Sugar Kings||1959|
|1||Jersey City Skeeters||1903|
|1||Louisville RiverBats (Louisville Bats)||2001|
|1||Newark Little Giants||1886|
The IL recognizes outstanding players and team personnel annually near the end of each season.
The Most Valuable Pitcher Award, first awarded in 1953, serves to recognize the league's best pitcher. Pitchers were eligible to win the MVP award from 1932 to 1952 as no award was designated solely for pitchers.
The Executive of the Year Award, first awarded in 1964, honors team executives who have contributed to the success of the league.
The Spirit of the International League Award, first awarded in 2010, honors team executives who have exhibited dedication to creating and maintaining positive fan experiences when visiting IL games.
The International League Hall of Fame was established in 1947 to honor league players, managers, and executives who have made significant contributions to the league. The Hall of Fame inducted its first class of 9 men in 1947. A plaque was unveiled at the IL's New York City offices located in the Ruppert Building at 535 Fifth Avenue. Today, the plaque has no permanent home, but exists as a traveling display which visits a number of the league's ballparks each season. The Hall became dormant after 1963, but was revived in 2007. New members are elected before the start of each season.
The Buffalo Bisons are a professional Minor League Baseball team based in Buffalo, New York. They play in the International League (IL) and are the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. The Bisons play at Sahlen Field in downtown Buffalo.
The Bisons have existed in some form since 1877, most of that time playing in professional baseball's second tier; exceptions have included the 1879–85 Bisons, who played in the major leagues as a member of the National League, and the 1979–84 Bisons, who played at the third-tier Double-A level. The Bisons did not play from June 1970 through the 1978 season.
The 1927 Bisons were recognized as one of the 100 greatest minor league teams of all time. In 2016, Forbes listed the Bisons as the 15th-most valuable Minor League Baseball team with a value of $34 million.Charlotte Knights
The Charlotte Knights are a professional Minor League Baseball team in Charlotte, North Carolina. The team, which plays in the International League, is the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox of the American League. The Knights play at BB&T Ballpark located in Uptown Charlotte.Columbus Clippers
The Columbus Clippers are a professional Minor League Baseball team based in Columbus, Ohio. The team plays in the International League and is the Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The team is owned by the government of Franklin County, Ohio.
From 1977 to 2008, the Clippers played in Cooper Stadium, which was known as Franklin County Stadium until 1984. The final game at "The Coop" was played on September 1, 2008, in front of a sellout crowd of 16,777. It was the third largest audience in stadium history. In 2009, the Clippers began playing in Huntington Park, located at the corner of Neil Ave. and Nationwide Blvd. in the Arena District of Columbus.
The Clippers began play in 1977 as an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, changing its affiliation to the New York Yankees in 1979, beginning a 28-year relationship that ended in 2006. An affiliation with the Washington Nationals lasted from 2007 to 2008. A four-year affiliation with the Cleveland Indians was announced on September 18, 2008. That working agreement with the Indians has since been extended four times, now through the 2020 season.
Coincidentally, the major/minor league sports connection between Cleveland and Columbus is duplicated, but with reverse roles, in ice hockey, as the Cleveland Monsters are the top-level minor league affiliate of the National Hockey League's Columbus Blue Jackets.
In 2011, the team won back-to-back Governors' Cup championships for the first time since 1992 by defeating the Lehigh Valley IronPigs 3 games to 1 in the best-of-five series. They went on to defeat the Omaha Storm Chasers in the Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game to win their second consecutive Triple-A baseball title.The 1992 Clippers were recognized as one of the 100 greatest minor league teams of all time. In 2016, Forbes listed the Clippers as the fifth-most valuable Minor League Baseball team with a value of $41 million.Durham Bulls
The Durham Bulls are a professional minor league baseball team that currently plays in the International League. The Bulls play their home games at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in the downtown area of Durham, North Carolina. Durham Bulls Athletic Park is often called the "DBAP" or "D-Bap". The Bulls are the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. Established in 1902 as the Durham Tobacconists and disbanded many times over the years, the Bulls became internationally famous following the release of the 1988 movie Bull Durham starring Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins, and Susan Sarandon.
Since 1991, the team has been owned by the Raleigh-based Capitol Broadcasting Company. The Durham Bulls are operated by the operating entity Durham Bulls Baseball Club, Inc. which is also owned by the Capitol Broadcasting Company.Gwinnett Stripers
The Gwinnett Stripers, formerly known as the Gwinnett Braves, are a professional minor league baseball team based in unincorporated Gwinnett County, Georgia, within the Atlanta metropolitan area. The team plays in the South Division of the International League, and they are the Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. They are located 35 miles (56 km) northeast of their parent club's stadium, SunTrust Park in unincorporated Cobb County—the second-shortest distance between a Triple-A team and its major league parent (behind only the Pacific Coast League's Tacoma Rainiers, based 26 miles (42 km) south of the Seattle Mariners). The 2018 season was the 54th season of the affiliation between Richmond/Gwinnett and the major league Braves, the longest-running affiliation in Triple-A.Indianapolis Indians
The Indianapolis Indians are a professional Minor League Baseball team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The team plays in the International League. The Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Indians play at Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis. The team's mascot is Rowdie the Bear.
Founded in 1902, the Indianapolis Indians are the second-oldest minor league franchise in American professional baseball (after the Rochester Red Wings). The 1902 and 1948 Indians were recognized as being among the 100 greatest minor league teams of all time.Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp
The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, formerly known as the Jacksonville Suns, are a minor league baseball team based in Jacksonville, Florida. The team is a member of the Southern League and is the class Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. Two teams named the Suns have played in Jacksonville since 1962: a class Triple-A International League team from 1962–1968, and the current Double-A team from 1970 to 2016. From 1985–1990 the team was known as the Jacksonville Expos, when they were affiliated with the Montreal Expos MLB team. The team rebranded itself as the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp on November 2, 2016 and began the 2017 season under the new name.
The modern Jacksonville club has played in the Southern League longer than any other. The Suns won the International League title in 1968 and the Southern League championship in 1996, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2014. They play at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, an 11,000-person capacity, $34 million park that opened in 2003. Since moving to the facility the Suns were a top selling franchise in the Southern League.In 2016, Forbes listed the Jumbo Shrimp as the 28th-most valuable Minor League Baseball team with a value of $27.5 million.Lehigh Valley IronPigs
The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are a professional Minor League Baseball team that plays in the International League. The IronPigs are the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. The team plays their home games at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Coca-Cola Park, which opened for the start of the IronPigs' first season in 2008, seats up to 8,100, with a capacity of 10,000, and cost $50.25 million to complete. In 2016, Forbes listed the IronPigs as the fourth-most valuable Minor League Baseball team with a value of $43 million.The IronPigs name is a reference to pig iron, used in the manufacturing of steel, for which the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania is world-renowned.Louisville Bats
The Louisville Bats are a professional Minor League Baseball team based in Louisville, Kentucky. They play in the International League as the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The Bats play their home games at Louisville Slugger Field which opened in 2000. The team previously played at Old Cardinal Stadium from 1982 to 1999.
The Bats began play as the Louisville Redbirds as members of the Triple-A American Association in 1982. They became the Louisville RiverBats when they joined the International League in 1998. Louisville won the American Association championship in 1984, 1985, and 1995 as the top affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Their lone International League championship was won in 2001 with Cincinnati.Norfolk Tides
The Norfolk Tides are a professional minor league baseball team in the Triple-A International League. They play at Harbor Park in Norfolk, Virginia. Since 2007 they have been a farm team of the Baltimore Orioles; prior to that, they had a 38-year affiliation with the New York Mets.Pawtucket Red Sox
The Pawtucket Red Sox (known colloquially as the PawSox) are a professional minor league baseball team based in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The team is a member of the International League and is the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. It plays its home games at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, and is the only professional baseball team in Rhode Island. Its most recent championship win was in 2014.
The franchise was first established in the Double-A Eastern League in 1970. Three years later, Boston's Triple-A affiliate in the International League replaced the Eastern League PawSox. After enduring three different owners, at least two threats to move the team elsewhere, and bankruptcy, the PawSox were purchased from the International League by local industrialist Ben Mondor in January 1977. Over the next 38 years, Mondor (who died in 2010) and his heirs stabilized the franchise and turned it into a success; it was twice (1990 and 2003) selected the winner of Baseball America's Bob Freitas Award as the top Triple-A operation in minor league baseball, led the league in total attendance three times between 2004 and 2008, and won three Governors' Cups as playoff champions.
On February 23, 2015, the team was sold to a group headed by then-Boston Red Sox president and chief executive officer Larry Lucchino and Rhode Island attorney James J. Skeffington. Thwarted in two attempts to replace McCoy Stadium with a new facility (first in adjacent Providence, then in a downtown site in Pawtucket), the PawSox announced on August 17, 2018, that they will move to Worcester, Massachusetts, 42 miles (68 km) away, in 2021.Rochester Red Wings
The Rochester Red Wings are a professional Minor League Baseball team based in Rochester, New York. The team plays in the International League and is the top minor league affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. The Red Wings play their home games at Frontier Field, located in downtown Rochester. Founded in 1899, it is the oldest continuously operating sports franchise in North America below the major league level.
Since the widespread adoption of the minor league farm system in the 1920s, the Red Wings have been affiliated with only three Major League Baseball clubs, an unusually stable, 90-year history. They were a top farm team of the St. Louis Cardinals for 32 years (1929–1960), then spent 42 years (1961–2002) as the top affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. They then became the Triple-A affiliate of the Twins (2003–present).
The franchise played from 1929 through 1996 at Silver Stadium (called Red Wing Stadium from 1929–1968) and moved to Frontier Field in 1997.
The Red Wings, along with the Pawtucket Red Sox, hold the record for the longest professional baseball game, lasting a total of 33 innings and 8 hours, 25 minutes over the course of three different days. The game was held at Pawtucket's McCoy Stadium, beginning on April 18, 1981. It was suspended just after 4 a.m. the next morning, and Rochester lost, 3–2, when the game resumed on June 23.Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders are a professional Minor League Baseball team based in Moosic, Pennsylvania, in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. The team plays in Northern Division of the International League (IL) and is the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball. The team plays at PNC Field (formerly Lackawanna County Stadium), their home since 1989.
The team was known as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons from 1989 to 2006 and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees from 2007 to 2012. They have won two Governors' Cup championships and one Triple-A National Championship.Sparky Anderson
George Lee "Sparky" Anderson (February 22, 1934 – November 4, 2010) was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) player, coach, and manager. He managed the National League's Cincinnati Reds to the 1975 and 1976 championships, then added a third title in 1984 with the Detroit Tigers of the American League. Anderson was the first manager to win the World Series in both leagues. His 2,194 career wins are the sixth most for a manager in Major League history. Anderson was named American League Manager of the Year in 1984 and 1987. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.The International League of Dermatological Societies
The International League of Dermatological Societies (ILDS) is a non-governmental organization that works closely with the World Health Organization. It was founded in 1935, but because of World War II no congresses were held until 1952. It is governed by the International Committee of Dermatology.
The ILDS is the parent organization of the International Foundation for Dermatology, founded in 1987.
After the publication of ICD-10, the ILDS produced a series of compatible extensions for use in dermatology.Toledo Mud Hens
The Toledo Mud Hens are a professional Minor League Baseball team based in Toledo, Ohio. The Mud Hens play in the International League and are affiliated with the Detroit Tigers franchise of Major League Baseball, based about 50 miles (80 km) north of Toledo. They play their home games at Fifth Third Field.Toronto Maple Leafs (International League)
The Toronto Maple Leafs were a high-level minor league baseball club located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, that played from 1896 to 1967. While the Maple Leafs had working agreements with numerous Major League Baseball clubs after the introduction of farm systems in the 1930s, they achieved great success as an unaffiliated club during the 1950s, when they were the strongest team on the field and in attendance in the Triple-A International League. The 1902, 1918, 1920, 1926, and 1960 teams were recognized as being among the 100 greatest minor league teams of all time.Toronto was without professional baseball from 1968 to 1976, when the American League added the Toronto Blue Jays via the 1977 Major League Baseball expansion.Triple-A (baseball)
Triple-A or Class AAA is the highest level of play in Minor League Baseball in the United States and Mexico. Before 2008, Triple-A leagues also fielded teams in Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the Triple-A International League (IL) and Pacific Coast League (PCL), with 14 teams in the IL and 16 in the PCL. The MLB-independent Mexican League fields 16 teams. Triple-A teams are typically located in large metropolitan areas that do not have Major League Baseball teams, such as San Antonio; Austin; Columbus; and Indianapolis.
Interleague play between the International League and Pacific Coast League occurs twice each season. In July, each league's All-Star team competes in the Triple-A All-Star Game. In September each league's regular season champions play each other in the Triple-A National Championship Game to determine an overall champion of Triple-A baseball.
The Triple-A classification was created before the 1946 season. Prior to then, the top level of the minors had been designated as Double-A since 1912. The modern Double-A classification also dates to 1946, when the former Class A1 level was renamed.Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is a non-profit non-governmental organization working "to bring together women of different political views and philosophical and religious backgrounds determined to study and make known the causes of war and work for a permanent peace" and to unite women worldwide who oppose oppression and exploitation. WILPF has national sections in 37 countries.
The WILPF is headquartered in Geneva and maintains a United Nations office in New York City.
International League seasons (1990-2017)