The Texas League is a Minor League Baseball league which operates in the South Central United States. It is classified as a Double-A league. Despite the league's name, only its four South Division teams are actually based in Texas; the four North Division teams are located in surrounding states of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri. The league maintains its headquarters in San Antonio.
The league was founded in 1888 and ran through 1892. It was called the Texas Association in 1895, the Texas-Southern League in 1896 and again as the Texas League from 1897–1899. It was revived as a Class D league in 1902, moved to Class C in 1904 where it played through 1910 (except for 1906 as Class D again), played at Class B until 1920, and finally moved up to Class A in 1921. The Texas League, like many others, shut down during World War II. From 1959 to 1961, the Texas League and the Mexican League formed the Pan American Association. The two leagues played a limited interlocking schedule and post-season championship. By 1971, the Texas League and the Southern League had both decreased to seven teams. They played an interlocking schedule with the Southern League known as the Dixie Association. The two leagues played separate playoffs.
The League's name is well known due to its association with a particular aspect of the game. A bloop single that drops between the infielders and outfielders has been called a Texas Leaguer since the 1890s, despite no evidence that it originated in the Texas League, or was any more common there than elsewhere. There is a common thread throughout Civil War anecdotes that refer to a game played 30 years earlier in the Sabine Pass area. As the story goes, a Union soldier hit a ball over the outfielder's head, leading him into a long chase for the ball which resulted in a bullet wound from a nearby sniper. After the incident, hits were only awarded for balls that landed between the infielders and outfielders.
Texas League logo
|No. of teams||8|
|Tulsa Drillers (2018)|
|Most titles||Houston Buffaloes (16)|
|Official website||Official website|
In recent years, the Texas League has witnessed a great deal of change. Teams once known as the Jackson Mets, El Paso Diablos, Shreveport Captains, and Wichita Wranglers have all relocated to new cities and bigger stadiums.
In 2019, the San Antonio Missions relocated to Amarillo, Texas, becoming the Amarillo Sod Poodles. At the same time, the Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox of the Pacific Coast League moved to San Antonio to continue on as the Missions at the Triple-A level.
|North||Arkansas Travelers||Seattle Mariners||North Little Rock, Arkansas||Dickey–Stephens Park||7,200|
|Northwest Arkansas Naturals||Kansas City Royals||Springdale, Arkansas||Arvest Ballpark||7,305|
|Springfield Cardinals||St. Louis Cardinals||Springfield, Missouri||Hammons Field||10,486|
|Tulsa Drillers||Los Angeles Dodgers||Tulsa, Oklahoma||ONEOK Field||7,833|
|South||Amarillo Sod Poodles||San Diego Padres||Amarillo, Texas||Hodgetown||6,631|
|Corpus Christi Hooks||Houston Astros||Corpus Christi, Texas||Whataburger Field||7,050|
|Frisco RoughRiders||Texas Rangers||Frisco, Texas||Dr Pepper Ballpark||10,316|
|Midland RockHounds||Oakland Athletics||Midland, Texas||Security Bank Ballpark||6,669|
League members Dixie Association Other Current League Other Defunct League
Current team names are in bold.
The Amarillo Sod Poodles, nicknamed the Soddies, are a Minor League Baseball of the Texas League based in Amarillo, Texas. They are the Double-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. Their home games are played at Hodgetown in downtown Amarillo.Arkansas Travelers
The Arkansas Travelers, also known informally as The Travs, are a Minor League Baseball team based in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The team, which plays in the Texas League, is the Double-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.Corpus Christi Hooks
The Corpus Christi Hooks are a minor league baseball team of the Texas League, and are the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. They are located in Corpus Christi, Texas, and are named for the city's association with fishing. The team's ownership group is headed by Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan; the team's CEO, Reid Ryan, is Nolan's oldest son. The Hooks play their home games at Whataburger Field, which opened in 2005 and is located on Corpus Christi's waterfront.Dallas Rangers
The Dallas Rangers were a high-level minor league baseball team located in Dallas, Texas from 1958 to 1964. The team was known by the Dallas Rangers name in 1958, 1959, and 1964 and as the Dallas-Fort Worth Rangers from 1960 to 1963. It played in the Double-A Texas League in 1958, the Triple-A American Association from 1959 to 1962 and the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 1963 and 1964. Its home stadium was Burnett Field.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.Frisco RoughRiders
The Frisco RoughRiders (often shortened to 'Riders) are a Minor League Baseball team of the Texas League and the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. They are located in Frisco, Texas, and are named for the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment during the Spanish–American War, headed by future American President Theodore Roosevelt, nicknamed "The Rough Riders" by the American press. They play their home games at Dr Pepper Ballpark which opened in 2003 and seats 10,316 people.In 2016, Forbes listed the RoughRiders as the tenth-most valuable Minor League Baseball team with a value of $37 million.Houston Buffaloes
The Houston Buffaloes, Houston Buffalos, or Buffs were an American minor league baseball team, and were the first minor league team to be affiliated with a Major League franchise, which was the St. Louis Cardinals. The club was founded in 1888, and played in the Texas League at various levels throughout the majority of its existence. Most recently, from 1959 through 1961, the team played in the American Association at the Triple-A level of high minor league baseball as an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. The Buffaloes derived their nickname from Buffalo Bayou, the principal waterway through Houston to the Houston Ship Channel, outlet to the Gulf of Mexico. The team's last home was Buffalo Stadium, built in 1928. Before that, they played at West End Park from 1905–1928, and at Herald Park prior to that.
The Houston Buffaloes were purchased by the Houston Sports Association in 1961 to obtain the Houston metropolitan-area territorial rights for the new expansion team in Major League baseball and the National League, Houston Colt .45s (known since 1965 as the Houston Astros named after their futuristic enclosed indoor domed stadium, the Astrodome - the first of its kind in America). Several of those associated with the Buffaloes continued with the Colt .45s major league team including manager Harry Craft. The Buffaloes organization then ended their relationship with the Cubs, and became a Triple-A affiliate of the Colt. 45s. For the following 1962 season, they were reorganized and later moved north to become the Oklahoma City 89ers, which are known today as the Oklahoma City Dodgers. The 1931 and 1941 Buffaloes teams were recognized as being among the 100 greatest minor league teams of all time.Midland RockHounds
The Midland RockHounds are a minor league baseball team based in Midland, Texas. The team, which plays in the Texas League, is the Double-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics major league club. The RockHounds play in Security Bank Ballpark, which opened in 2002 and seats 6,669 fans. The RockHounds have won seven Texas League championships: in 1975 (co-champions with the Lafayette Drillers), 2005, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.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.Northwest Arkansas Naturals
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are a Minor League Baseball team based in Springdale, Arkansas. The team is member of the Texas League, and serves as the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The Naturals play at Arvest Ballpark, which opened in 2008 and is located at the intersection of Gene George Boulevard and Watkins Avenue. The team relocated from Wichita, Kansas, in 2008, where they were known as the Wichita Wranglers.Oneok Field
ONEOK Field ( WUN-ohk) is a baseball park in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Located in the historic Greenwood district adjacent to downtown Tulsa, it is the home of the Tulsa Drillers of the AA Texas League. The stadium is named for ONEOK, a natural gas utility.
ONEOK Field has also been the home of the Tulsa Roughnecks FC of the United Soccer League since 2015.Oscar Taveras
Oscar Francisco Taveras (June 19, 1992 – October 26, 2014) was a Dominican–Canadian professional baseball outfielder who played one season for the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball (MLB). Known as "El Fenómeno" (Spanish for "The Phenomenon") in the Dominican Republic, the Cardinals signed him at age 16 in 2008 as an international amateur free agent and he made his MLB debut in 2014. Over six minor league seasons, he batted .321 with a .519 slugging percentage. He played all three outfield positions while spending most of the time in center field.
With prodigious batting skills, Taveras was a consensus top-five minor league prospect in 2013 and 2014. He elicited comparisons to former MLB outfielder and fellow Dominican Vladimir Guerrero – with a powerful and smooth, balanced stroke, Taveras successfully hit pitches well outside of the strike zone. Also similar to Guerrero, he possessed a strong and accurate throwing arm. The outfielder was the recipient of a litany of awards and won batting titles in two minor leagues, including hitting .386 for the Midwest League title in 2011. The next year, he won the Texas League batting title and was the Texas League Player of the Year and Cardinals organization Player of the Year.
On May 31, 2014, Taveras homered in his major league debut against the San Francisco Giants and went on to hit .239 in 80 regular season games, playing mostly right field. He also hit a game-tying home run in Game 2 of the 2014 National League Championship Series against the Giants. On October 26, 2014, he died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic shortly after the Cardinals were eliminated from the playoffs.Round Rock Express
The Round Rock Express are a Minor League Baseball team of Pacific Coast League (PCL) and the Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros major league club. They are located in Round Rock, Texas, and play their home games at the Dell Diamond. The team is named for Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, who was nicknamed "The Ryan Express." Ryan, along with son Reid Ryan and Don Sanders make up the team's ownership group, Ryan Sanders Baseball.The Express was established as a Double-A team of the Texas League in 2000, the team was replaced by a Triple-A PCL team in 2005. The Triple-A Express carried on the history of the Double-A team that preceded it. The team won the Texas League championship in 2000.San Antonio Missions
The San Antonio Missions are a Minor League Baseball team of the Pacific Coast League and the Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. They are located in San Antonio, Texas, and are named for The Alamo, originally a Spanish mission located in San Antonio. The Missions play their home games at Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium, which opened in 1994 and seats over 6,200 people with a total capacity of over 9,000.Springfield Cardinals
The Springfield Cardinals are a Minor League Baseball team based in Springfield, Missouri. The team, which plays in the Texas League, is the Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals major-league club, and is owned by the Cardinals. The club plays at Hammons Field.
The Springfield Cardinals began play in the 2005 season. Prior to the 2005 season, the St. Louis Cardinals Class AA affiliate was the Tennessee Smokies, located near Sevierville, Tennessee.
Through the 2018 season, a total of 99 former Springfield Cardinals have gone on to make their major league debut with the St. Louis Cardinals.Tulsa Drillers
The Tulsa Drillers are a minor league baseball team based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The team, which plays in the Texas League, is the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers major-league club.Tulsa Oilers (baseball)
The Tulsa Oilers, located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, were a minor league baseball team that existed on-and-off in multiple leagues from 1905 to 1976. For most of their history, they played at Oiler Park, which opened on July 11, 1934, and was located on the Tulsa County Fairgrounds at 15th Street and Sandusky Avenue.West End Park (Houston)
West End Park was a baseball park in Houston from 1905 to the 1940s. It was the primary ballpark for the city when it was constructed, and the city's first venue for Negro Major League games. From 1909 through 1910 and again in 1915, it also served as the spring training facility of the St. Louis Browns (known today as the Baltimore Orioles) as well as the 1914 New York Yankees of the American League and the 1906 through 1908 St. Louis Cardinals of the National League in Major League Baseball. After its use by its primary tenant, the Houston Buffaloes of the Texas League, the ballpark was sold to what is now known as the Houston Independent School District for its use until it was demolished.
Contrary to its name, the ballpark's location was not in West End, Houston, as that area had not yet been specifically designated as "West End", and the current municipal recreational park of the same has no relation to the ballpark. Instead, West End Park was located in the freedmen's town area of the Fourth Ward, with its entrance at Andrews and Heiner Streets. It was bounded by Andrews Street (north, third base line), Heiner Street (west, first base line), and Howe Street (east, left field fence). Behind the right field fence, to the south, was the inverted-V-shaped intersection of Jefferson Street and Bagby Street. The location was less than a mile straight west of the eventual site of Minute Maid Park.
Today, the Interstate 45 "Pierce Elevated" passes over the area where the ballpark was, from Andrews Street to the Bagby Street exit.Wichita Wranglers
The Wichita Wranglers were a minor league baseball team based in Wichita, Kansas. The team, which played in the Texas League, was the Double-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's San Diego Padres from 1987 to 1994 and the Kansas City Royals from 1995 to 2007. The Wranglers played in Wichita's Lawrence–Dumont Stadium. Built in 1934 and renovated for the second time in 2001, the park held 6,400 people as of the Wranglers' last season.
Following the completion of the 2007 season, the team was relocated to Springdale, Arkansas, where it became the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, which continued to play in the Texas League.The Wranglers won the Texas League Championship in 1987, 1992, and 1999. In 1995, Wichita's Johnny Damon won the Texas League Player of the Year Award. Alex Gordon won the award in 2006. Andy Benes was selected as the league's Pitcher of the Year in 1989.