South Atlantic League

The South Atlantic League, often informally called the Sally League, is a Minor League Baseball league with teams along the Atlantic coastline of the United States from New Jersey to Georgia. It is a Class A league that plays a full season, and its teams are composed of players in their second or third year of professional play.

A number of different leagues known as the South Atlantic League have existed since 1904. The current league of that name adopted the moniker in 1980, having previously been the Western Carolinas League, founded in 1963. All of these have been nicknamed "Sally League".

South Atlantic League
SouthAtlanticLeague
South Atlantic League logo
SportBaseball
Founded1980
PresidentEric Krupa[1]
No. of teams14
CountryUnited States
Most recent
champion(s)
Lexington Legends (2018)
Most titlesAsheville Tourists (4)
Augusta GreenJackets (4)
Greensboro Grasshoppers (4)
Savannah Sand Gnats (4)
ClassificationClass A
Official websitewww.southatlanticleague.com

History

John Henry Moss
Portion of plaque displaying likeness of John Henry Moss at Municipal Stadium, Hagerstown, Maryland

There have been several South Atlantic Leagues in the history of minor league baseball, spanning from 1904 to the present with a few breaks. The league ran from 1904 to 1917 as a class C league, then started up again in 1919, also class C. This time it ran from 1919 to 1930, moving up to class B beginning in 1921. William G. Bramham became league president in mid-1924 and served until 1930. The league was restarted again as a class B from 1936 to 1942, shut down as a result of World War II, and returned in 1946 as a class A league. The AA Southern Association (which never integrated) died after the 1961 season and so the SAL was promoted to AA in 1963 to take its place; a year later the name was changed to the Southern League. Out of the 51 seasons of operation, Augusta, Georgia competed in 46, Macon, Georgia was around for 46, and Columbia, South Carolina was in 45. Charleston, South Carolina; Jacksonville, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; and Columbus, Georgia; each competed for at least 29 years also, making for a relatively stable lineup.

The South Atlantic League name went unused for 16 years, but in 1980 the Western Carolinas League brought back the name when it sought to change its identity. For nearly 60 years, 1948 through 2007, the dominant figure in the WCL/SAL 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 retired at the close of the 2007[2] South Atlantic League season. He died at age 90 on July 1, 2009, at Kings Mountain, North Carolina—a town where he had also been mayor for 23 years.[3]

In 2005, the SAL had the highest attendance in 101 years with over 3,541,992 fans (while minor league baseball set a second straight record with 41,333,279 attendees). Currently, the league has 14 teams, divided into two divisions of seven clubs.

In 2015, the Savannah Sand Gnats relocated to Columbia, South Carolina, becoming the Columbia Fireflies.

Current teams

MiLB South Atlantic League team locations
Current team locations

The league is divided into a Northern Division and a Southern Division.

Division Team MLB Affiliation City Stadium Capacity
Northern Delmarva Shorebirds Baltimore Orioles Salisbury, Maryland Arthur W. Perdue Stadium 5,200
Greensboro Grasshoppers Pittsburgh Pirates Greensboro, North Carolina First National Bank Field 7,499
Hagerstown Suns Washington Nationals Hagerstown, Maryland Municipal Stadium 4,600
Hickory Crawdads Texas Rangers Hickory, North Carolina L. P. Frans Stadium 5,092
Kannapolis Intimidators Chicago White Sox Kannapolis, North Carolina Intimidators Stadium 4,700
Lakewood BlueClaws Philadelphia Phillies Lakewood, New Jersey FirstEnergy Park 6,588
West Virginia Power Seattle Mariners Charleston, West Virginia Appalachian Power Park 6,200
Southern Asheville Tourists Colorado Rockies Asheville, North Carolina McCormick Field 4,000
Augusta GreenJackets San Francisco Giants North Augusta, South Carolina SRP Park 5,000
Charleston RiverDogs New York Yankees Charleston, South Carolina Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park 6,000
Columbia Fireflies New York Mets Columbia, South Carolina Segra Park 8,500
Greenville Drive Boston Red Sox Greenville, South Carolina Fluor Field at the West End 6,000
Lexington Legends Kansas City Royals Lexington, Kentucky Whitaker Bank Ballpark 6,994
Rome Braves Atlanta Braves Rome, Georgia State Mutual Stadium 5,105

Current team rosters

South Atlantic League teams (1980–present)

Notes: Bold font indicates that team is an active South Atlantic League team • An "^" indicates that team's article redirects to an article of an active team in the South Atlantic League or in a different league

League timeline (1980-present)

Current team Former team

South Atlantic League Hall of Fame

The South Atlantic League Hall of Fame was started in 1994.

References

  1. ^ "Contact Us". South Atlantic League. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  2. ^ Baseball America, December 15, 2007
  3. ^ Weber, Bruce (13 July 2009). "John Henry Moss, 90, Head of South Atlantic League for 50 Years, , Dies". Retrieved 20 March 2018 – via NYTimes.com.

External links

Asheville Tourists

The Asheville Tourists are a minor league baseball team based in Asheville, North Carolina. They play in the Class A South Atlantic League and have been a farm team of the Colorado Rockies since 1994.

Asheville teams have played under the Tourists moniker in different leagues and classifications for decades, with the earliest dating to 1897. The current team has played continuously in what is now known as the South Atlantic League since 1976. They have won three league championships, first in 1984 and most recently in 2014. Previous Tourists teams won a total of four additional championships.

The Tourists play home games at McCormick Field. The park opened in 1924, renovated in 1959, and renovated again for the 1992 season. McCormick Field seats 4,000 fans, and is notable for the scoreboard which reads "Visitors" in the guest slot and "Tourists" in the home slot.

Augusta GreenJackets

The Augusta GreenJackets are a Minor League Baseball team of the South Atlantic League, and they are the Class A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. They play their home games at SRP Park in North Augusta, South Carolina, which opened in April 2018. They previously played at Lake Olmstead Stadium which had been the home of the GreenJackets from 1995 to 2017. The team is named in honor of The Masters golf tournament held across the river in Augusta, Georgia, where the winner receives a green jacket.

Before the Giants took over the club's affiliation after the 2004 season, the GreenJackets were a part of the Boston Red Sox organization. Prior to that, the Red Sox replaced the Pittsburgh Pirates in Augusta. The GreenJackets boast third baseman Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia as the only prospects to make the Red Sox roster, although knuckle baller Tim Wakefield pitched there in 1989 with the Pirates organization. The Red Sox' relationship with Augusta met with immediate success when the GreenJackets won the South Atlantic League championship in their first year as an affiliate team.

Charleston RiverDogs

The Charleston RiverDogs are a minor league baseball team based in Charleston, South Carolina. The team plays in the Class Single-A South Atlantic League and are an affiliate of the New York Yankees. Their home stadium is at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. The majority owner is Marvin Goldklang who also owns a stake in three other minor league baseball teams throughout the country (Fort Myers Miracle, Hudson Valley Renegades, and St. Paul Saints). The name originates from an urban legend that sailors in Charleston would notice large rats on the banks of the nearby Cooper and Ashley rivers, and would call them "river dogs", and was chosen in a name-the-team contest held at local Piggly Wiggly outlets in 1994.

Columbia Fireflies

The Columbia Fireflies are a Minor League Baseball team based in Columbia, South Carolina. The team plays in the Class A South Atlantic League and is an affiliate of the New York Mets of the National League in Major League Baseball. Its home stadium is Segra Park. The team was formerly known as the Savannah Sand Gnats (1995–2015); it relocated from Savannah, Georgia, after the 2015 season. It is the only professional baseball team in Columbia, and the first since the Capital City Bombers moved to Greenville, South Carolina, after the 2004 season.

Delmarva Shorebirds

The Delmarva Shorebirds are a Minor League Baseball team based in Salisbury, Maryland. They are members of the Single-A South Atlantic League and affiliates of the Baltimore Orioles. The Shorebirds play at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.

The name "Shorebirds" refers to the marine waterfowl of the Delmarva Peninsula. The team name was chosen by 7-year-old Katie Duffy of Newark, Delaware. The team's geographic appellation is a portmanteau of the states that govern counties on the peninsula: Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia (abbreviated VA). The Shorebirds have won two South Atlantic League championships, in 1997 and 2000. Also in 1997, the Shorebirds received Baseball America’s Bob Freitas Award for Class A baseball. In July 2018, Baltimore Orioles extended their contract with the Delmarva Shorebirds.

FirstEnergy Park

FirstEnergy Park is a stadium in Lakewood Township, New Jersey. It is primarily used for baseball and is the home field of the Lakewood BlueClaws single A minor league baseball team, affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies Major League Baseball team. It is also used for outdoor concerts, featuring touring musical artists such as Bob Dylan. It was built in 2001 and has 6,588 seats and seats 8,000 with berm seating.

Greensboro Grasshoppers

The Greensboro Grasshoppers are a Minor League Baseball team based in Greensboro, North Carolina. They are members of the South Atlantic League and the Class A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. They play their home games at First National Bank Field, which opened in 2005 and seats 7,499 fans.

The team's logo was changed to a cartoon Grasshopper prior to the inaugural season at the new ballpark. Fans selected the name "Guilford" (Greensboro's county's name) for the team's mascot, a giant grasshopper. Prior to that, all home games for the Hornets and Bats were held at World War Memorial Stadium, just northeast of downtown Greensboro.

Greenville Drive

The Greenville Drive are a Minor League Baseball team based in Greenville, South Carolina. They are a Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox and a member of the South Atlantic League. Prior to the 2005 SAL season, the team played in Columbia, South Carolina, was affiliated with the New York Mets from 1981 to 2004, and was known as the Capital City Bombers. Their mascot is a frog named Reedy Rip'it. In 2017, the team defeated the Kannapolis Intimidators 3 games to 1 to win the franchise's first championship since becoming the Greenville Drive in 2006.

Hagerstown Suns

The Hagerstown Suns are a Minor League Baseball team of the South Atlantic League and the Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. They are located in Hagerstown, Maryland, and play their home games at Municipal Stadium which was opened in 1930 and seats 4,600 people. The team mascot is Woolie, a giant Woolly Bear Caterpillar.

Hickory Crawdads

The Hickory Crawdads are a Minor League Baseball team of the South Atlantic League and the Class A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. They are located in Hickory, North Carolina, and play their home games at L. P. Frans Stadium which opened in 1993 and has roughly 4,000 fixed seats.

The team relocated from Gastonia, North Carolina, in 1993 when Don Beaver purchased the Gastonia Rangers and moved them to his hometown of Hickory. Following the 2017 season, the Texas Rangers announced that they had purchased the team from Beaver.

The Crawdads won the South Atlantic League championship in 2002, 2004, and 2015. The team has qualified for the postseason ten times and reached the championship three times.

Kannapolis Intimidators

The Kannapolis Intimidators are a Minor League Baseball team of the South Atlantic League and the Class A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. They are located in Kannapolis, North Carolina, and are named for NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt. They play their home games at Intimidators Stadium, but plan to leave for a new facility in 2020. The team was established in 1995 as the Piedmont Phillies. From 1996 to 2000, they were known as the Piedmont Boll Weevils. They became the Intimidators when Earnhardt, known as "The Intimidator", purchased a share of the team before the 2001 season.

Lake County Captains

The Lake County Captains are a minor league baseball team in Eastlake, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. The team, a Class A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, plays in the Midwest League.

The Captains joined the Midwest League following the 2009 season in a shuffle caused by the Columbus Catfish's move to Bowling Green, Kentucky for the 2009 season. The move alleviated travel costs and time, as it was the South Atlantic League's northernmost team.

The nearest team (the West Virginia Power in Charleston) is a 256-mile drive from Eastlake.

Prior to the 2003 season, the club was based in Columbus, Georgia and known as the Columbus RedStixx. The Captains play their home games in Classic Park, which has a capacity of 6,157 and opened in 2003 as Eastlake Stadium. The current stadium name is the result of a naming rights arrangement; the sponsor is Classic Automotive Group, a major area chain of auto dealerships. Classic Park hosted the South Atlantic League All-Star Game on June 20, 2006.

Lakewood BlueClaws

The Lakewood BlueClaws are a Minor League Baseball team affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies that play in the Class A South Atlantic League. They are based in Lakewood, New Jersey, and their home field is FirstEnergy Park.

Lexington Legends

The Lexington Legends are a Minor League Baseball team in the South Atlantic League (SAL), and the Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The team is located in Lexington, Kentucky, and plays their home games at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, located in a commercial area on the northeast side of the city just inside New Circle Road. The team's mascot is "Big L", a mustachioed baseball player and his best friend is Pee Wee.

Minor League Baseball rosters

As with nearly all North American professional team sports, the size of Minor League Baseball teams is limited by rosters. These size limits vary by each classification. All Major League Baseball-affiliated Triple-A and Double-A teams are limited to 25-man active rosters. Unaffiliated Mexican League teams have 35-man rosters, but are limited to 30 active players per game. Class A-Advanced and Class A teams are limited to 25 active players with a total of 35 players under control with additional limitations in regard to prior minor league experience. Teams at lower levels have 35-man active rosters with limitations on minor league service time. A team's reserve roster consists of players on the injured list, those who are restricted or suspended, or who are otherwise temporarily inactive. Major league players on rehabilitation assignments do not count against active roster limits.

Rome Braves

The Rome Braves are a Class A minor league affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. In 2003, the team, previously known as the Macon Braves, moved from Macon, Georgia, to Rome, Georgia, 60 miles northwest of Atlanta.

Home games are played at State Mutual Stadium, which was built entirely from a SPLOST tax before State Mutual paid for the naming rights, opened April 11, 2003 and seats 5,105. In addition to three levels of regular seating, the stadium also features a lawn seating area known as "Applebee's Home Run Hill." There are also 14 suites for VIP fans.

Savannah Sand Gnats

The Savannah Sand Gnats were a minor league baseball team based in Savannah, Georgia. They were a member of the A-level South Atlantic League. The Sand Gnats were an affiliate of the New York Mets in their final nine seasons. The team relocated to Columbia, South Carolina, in 2016 where they became known as the Columbia Fireflies.

Southern League (baseball)

The Southern League is a Minor League Baseball league that operates in the Southern United States. Classified a Double-A league, it is headquartered in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta. The league acquired its name in 1964, after the South Atlantic League, which had started in 1936, renamed itself to Southern League.

West Virginia Power

The West Virginia Power is a Minor League Baseball team of the South Atlantic League and the Class A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. They are located in Charleston, West Virginia, and play their home games at Appalachian Power Park which opened in 2005 and seats 4,500 fans.

South Atlantic League
Northern Division
Southern Division

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