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.

Southern League
SouthernLeague
Southern League logo
SportBaseball
Founded1964
PresidentLori Webb[1]
No. of teams10
CountryUSA
Most recent
champion(s)
Jackson Generals (2018)
Most titlesBirmingham Barons (7)
ClassificationDouble-A
Official websitewww.southernleague.com

Origins

The original Southern League existed from 1885 to 1899. A new league, the Southern Association, was formed in 1901, consisting of twelve teams. The Southern Association shut down after the 1961 season.

In 1964, the original South Atlantic League (nicknamed the Sally League and not related to the current league of the same name, formerly the Western Carolinas League) changed its name to the Southern League. The original South Atlantic League was a mid- to higher-classification circuit that played from 1904 to 1917, 1919 to 1930 (when it was known as the South Atlantic Association), 1936 to 1942, and 1946 to 1963. The old South Atlantic League grew from Class C status to Class B (through 1942) and then Class A (until 1962). In its final season, it was elevated to Double-A.

Makeup

The Southern League is divided into two divisions, North and South. Before 2005, the divisions were East and West; however, the move of the Greenville Braves to the Jackson, Mississippi, area after the 2004 season led to a realignment.

The current league president is Lori Webb; the position was held by Steve DeSalvo as interim President for a few months due to the March 2012 death of former major league first baseman Don Mincher, who had held the position from 2000 to 2011 (the first year as an interim President).[2][3]

In 2012, the Carolina Mudcats relocated to Pensacola, Florida to become the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.[4] In 2015, the Huntsville Stars relocated to Biloxi, Mississippi to become the Biloxi Shuckers.

Current teams

Southernleagueteams
Current team locations:
  North Division
  South Division
Division Team MLB Affiliation City Stadium Capacity
North Birmingham Barons Chicago White Sox Birmingham, Alabama Regions Field 8,500[5]
Chattanooga Lookouts Cincinnati Reds Chattanooga, Tennessee AT&T Field 6,362[6]
Jackson Generals Arizona Diamondbacks Jackson, Tennessee The Ballpark at Jackson 6,000[7]
Montgomery Biscuits Tampa Bay Rays Montgomery, Alabama Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium 7,000[8]
Tennessee Smokies Chicago Cubs Kodak, Tennessee Smokies Stadium 6,412[9]
South Biloxi Shuckers Milwaukee Brewers Biloxi, Mississippi MGM Park 6,076[10]
Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp Miami Marlins Jacksonville, Florida Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville 11,000[11]
Mississippi Braves Atlanta Braves Pearl, Mississippi Trustmark Park 8,480[12]
Mobile BayBears Los Angeles Angels Mobile, Alabama Hank Aaron Stadium 6,000[13]
Pensacola Blue Wahoos Minnesota Twins Pensacola, Florida Admiral Fetterman Field at Community Maritime Park 5,038[14]

Current team rosters

League timeline

League members Dixie Association Other Current League Other Defunct League

  • In 1971, the Southern League and Texas League were both down to seven teams so they formed the Dixie Association for one season. They played interlocking schedules but held their own separate playoffs.

Complete list of teams (1964–present)

South Atlantic League teams (prior to 1964)

Past champions

League champions have been determined by different means since the Southern League's formation in 1964. Through 1970, champions were simply the regular season pennant winners. A postseason playoff series to crown a champion was established in 1979.[15]

The Birmingham A's/Barons have won 7 Southern League championships, the most among all teams in the league, followed by the Jacksonville Suns (6) and the Montgomery Rebels (5). Among active franchises, Birmingham has won 7 championships, the most in the league, followed Jacksonville (6) and the Mobile BayBears (4).[15]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Personnel and Staff". Southern League. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  2. ^ "Southern League Names First Woman President". www.chattanoogan.com. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Don Mincher Bio". southern.league.milb.com. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Blue Wahoos Get Approval from MLB". www.milb.com. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  5. ^ "Regions Field Birmingham Barons". Minor League Baseball. January 27, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  6. ^ Knight, Graham (July 27, 2010). "AT&T Field". Baseball Pilgrimages. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  7. ^ Knight, Graham. "The Ballpark at Jackson". Baseball Pilgrimages. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  8. ^ "Riverwalk Stadium Information". Minor League Baseball. February 25, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  9. ^ Reichard, Kevin (May 1, 2015). "Smokies Park / Tennessee Smokies". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  10. ^ Harris, Chris (February 12, 2015). "A Walking Tour of MGM Park". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  11. ^ Knight, Graham (August 16, 2003). "Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville – Jacksonville Suns". Baseball Pilgrimages. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
  12. ^ "Mississippi Braves Stadium Information". Minor League Baseball. November 13, 2008. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "Hank Aaron Stadium Info". Minor League Baseball. March 10, 2009. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  14. ^ Pillon, Dennis (April 20, 2012). "Pensacola's Class AA Baseball Fever Still Going Strong". Press-Register. Mobile. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  15. ^ a b "Southern League Past Champions". Southern League. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved August 10, 2017.

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.

Billy Hitchcock

William Clyde Hitchcock (July 31, 1916 – April 9, 2006) was an American professional baseball infielder, coach, manager, and scout in Major League Baseball (MLB). In Minor League Baseball, he served as president of the Double-A Southern League in 1971–80. His older brother, Jimmy Hitchcock, played briefly for the 1938 Boston Braves.

Biloxi Shuckers

The Biloxi Shuckers are a Minor League Baseball team based in Biloxi, Mississippi. The team is the Double-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers and is a member of the Southern League. The team replaced the Huntsville Stars in the Southern League.

Birmingham Barons

The Birmingham Barons are a Minor League Baseball team based in Birmingham, Alabama. The team, which plays in the Southern League, is the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox and plays at Regions Field in downtown Birmingham. The current edition of the Barons was previously located in Montgomery, Alabama, and known as the Montgomery Rebels.

Carolina Mudcats (1991–2011)

The Carolina Mudcats were a minor league baseball team based in Zebulon, North Carolina. They were a Double-A Southern League team from 1991 to 2011. The team played their home games at Five County Stadium.

In 2010 the franchise moved to Pensacola, Florida, in a series of purchases and relocations, becoming the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Concurrently, a Carolina League franchise from Kinston, North Carolina, was moved to Zebulon, taking on the Carolina Mudcats name.

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.

Chattanooga Lookouts

The Chattanooga Lookouts are a Minor League Baseball team of the Southern League and the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. They are located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and are named for nearby Lookout Mountain. The team plays its home games at AT&T Field which opened in 2000 and seats 6,340 fans. They previously played at Engel Stadium from 1930 through 1999, with a one-year break in Montgomery, Alabama's Cramton Bowl in 1943.

Double-A (baseball)

Double-A (or Class AA) is the second highest level of play in Minor League Baseball (MiLB) in the United States after Triple-A. There are thirty Double-A teams in three leagues at this classification: Eastern League, Southern League, and the Texas League. The modern Double-A classification was created in 1946 with the renaming of Class A1, which then contained the Texas League and the Southern Association. After the Southern Association disbanded in 1961, the Eastern League and the original South Atlantic "Sally" League were bumped up to Double-A in the 1963 minor league reorganization. The SAL changed its name to the Southern League in 1964.

Jackson Generals

The Jackson Generals are a Minor League Baseball team of the Southern League and the Double-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The team is located in Jackson, Tennessee, and plays their home games at The Ballpark at Jackson. Opened in 1998, the park currently holds 6,000 fans.

From their inaugural season until 2010, the Generals were known as the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx. The new name is reflective of the Jackson Generals minor league team based in Jackson during the first half of the 20th century.

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.

List of Southern League champions

The Southern League of Minor League Baseball is one of three Double-A baseball leagues in the United States. The circuit has been previously known as the South Atlantic ("Sally") League (1904–17; 1936–42; 1946–63) and the South Atlantic Association (1919–30). A league champion is determined at the end of each season. Champions have been determined by postseason playoffs, winning the regular season pennant, or being declared champion by the league office. Currently, the first- and second-half winners within each division (North and South) meet in a best-of-five series to determine division champions. Then, the North and South division winners play a best-of-five series to determine a league champion.

Mississippi Braves

The Mississippi Braves, or M-Braves as they are referred to locally, are a minor league baseball team based in Pearl, Mississippi, a suburb of Jackson. The team is the Class AA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, and plays in the Southern League. The team is owned and operated by Liberty Media, which also owns the Atlanta Braves. Liberty purchased the Braves from Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting unit in 2007.

Mobile BayBears

The Mobile BayBears are a Minor League Baseball team based in Mobile, Alabama, United States. The team, which plays in the Southern League, is the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels. The BayBears play in Hank Aaron Stadium, named after baseball's former all-time home run king and Mobile native Hank Aaron. Opened in 1997, the park seats 6,000 spectators. The BayBears will relocate to Madison, Alabama, in 2020, where they will be called the Rocket City Trash Pandas.

Montgomery Biscuits

The Montgomery Biscuits are a Minor League Baseball team based in Montgomery, Alabama. The team is the Double-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays and plays in the Southern League. The team was founded in Orlando, Florida, in 1973 as the Orlando Twins, an affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. After remaining in the Minnesota minor league organization for 20 seasons, the team became an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs for four seasons and then the Seattle Mariners for one. In 1999, the team became an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, and they have remained in the organization ever since.

Over the years, the club changed names several times. They were the Orlando Twins for 17 seasons, then were known as the SunRays, Cubs, and Rays. The club became known as the Biscuits when it moved from the Orlando area to Montgomery in 2004.

The club played at Tinker Field near downtown Orlando from 1973 until 2000, when they moved to Champion Stadium in nearby Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Since moving to Montgomery in 2004, the Biscuits have played at Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium, a 7,000-seat facility which was built for the club in the downtown area.

Montgomery Rebels

The Montgomery Rebels was the name of several American minor league baseball franchises representing Montgomery, Alabama, playing in various leagues between 1912 and 1980. Rebels was the predominant nickname of the Montgomery teams, but it was not the original moniker, and it was one of several used by the city's 20th century professional baseball teams, which began play in organized baseball in 1903. Others included the Billikens, Bombers, Capitals, Climbers, Grays, Lambs, Lions and Senators.

Before the last Rebels team moved to Birmingham, Alabama as the current Birmingham Barons in 1981, the Rebels spent 16 consecutive seasons, 1965 through 1980, as the Double-A Southern League affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. Earlier, Montgomery had been a member of the Southern Association (1903–1914, and parts of 1943 and 1956), Sally League (1916, 1951 to early 1956), Southeastern League (1926–1930; 1932; 1937–1942; 1946–1950), and the Alabama–Florida League (1957–1962).

From 1950 through 1980, Montgomery played at Paterson Field (originally Municipal Stadium). It won 12 championships between 1928 and 1977, including five Southern League titles in six years (1972–1973; 1975–1977). The Tigers served as the Rebels' primary Major League Baseball parent, sponsoring the team in the Southeastern, Sally and Alabama-Florida leagues, as well as in the SL.

The Montgomery Biscuits have represented Alabama's capital in the Southern League since the 2004 season.

Pensacola Blue Wahoos

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are a Minor League Baseball team of the Southern League and the Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. They are based in Pensacola, Florida, and play their home games at Admiral Fetterman Field. The team, formerly the Southern League version of the Carolina Mudcats, began play in Pensacola in the 2012 season.

Southern League rosters

Below are the full rosters and coaching staff of the 10 teams of Minor League Baseball's Southern League.

Tennessee Smokies

The Tennessee Smokies are a Minor League Baseball team based in the Knoxville, Tennessee, metropolitan area. The team, which plays in the Southern League, are the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. Smokies Stadium, the team's ballpark, is located in the suburb of Kodak, and seats up to 8,000 fans. The team was based in Knoxville and called the Knoxville Smokies for many years before moving to Kodak and changing its name prior to the 2000 season. The team's nickname refers to the Great Smoky Mountains mountain range which permeates the region; mountains in the chain are often clouded in a hazy mist that may appear as smoke rising from the forest.

WNML-FM

WNML-FM (branded, along with simulcast partner WNML AM 990, as Sports Radio WNML) is a sports radio station licensed to Friendsville, Tennessee and serving the Knoxville, Tennessee area. The station is owned by Cumulus Media and currently affiliated with CBS Sports Radio, switching from affiliations with Yahoo! Sports Radio on January 2, 2013, and serves as the flagship for both the Tennessee Smokies Southern League Baseball radio network, as well as the Tennessee Volunteers' statewide radio network ("The Vol Network").

Southern League
North Division
South Division

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