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.[1] 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.

Triple-A Baseball logo
Triple-A Baseball logo

Purpose

Triple-A teams' main purpose is to prepare players for the Major Leagues. ESPN wrote in 2010:[2]

Winning is nice, but secondary. It's much more important for a young prospect like outfielder Xavier Paul to get regular at-bats against lefties, or work on dropping down sacrifice bunts with a runner on first, than it is to take three of four from the Portland Beavers.[2]

Both young players and veterans play for Triple-A teams:

There are the young prospects speeding through the organization on the fastest treadmill, the guys who used to be young prospects who are in danger of topping out in Triple-A, the 30-somethings trying to get back to the majors after an injury or a rough patch, and the guys just playing a few more seasons because someone still wants them and they still want to.[2]

Players on the 40-man roster of a major league team are eligible for promotion to the major league club once the major league roster expands on September 1 (though teams will usually wait until their affiliates' playoff runs are over, should they qualify). For teams in contention for the postseason, these players create the flexibility needed to rest regular starters in late regular-season games. For those not in contention, using such players lets the teams evaluate them under game conditions.

Leagues

Teams at this level are divided into three leagues: the International League, the Pacific Coast League, and the MLB-independent Mexican League. The Mexican League fields teams throughout Mexico. The International League traditionally fielded teams in the Northeastern United States, and now fields teams in the Midwest and South as well. The Pacific Coast League originally fielded teams on the West Coast, but now fields teams throughout the western part of the United States, as far east as Nashville, Tennessee. For much of the 20th century, the American Association, which consisted of teams in the Midwestern United States, was also at this level, but it disbanded in 1997 and its teams were divided among the IL and PCL. Each of the 30 Major League Baseball teams has an affiliation with one Triple-A team in the United States. However, Mexican Triple-A teams are not included in the organized farm team system.

Current teams

International League

Division Team Founded[a] MLB Affiliation Affiliated City Stadium Capacity[b]
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
  • a Indicates current IL franchise's first year in current city. Some franchises have prior history in other cities, or had local predecessor franchises at other levels that shared their current name.
  • b Many stadiums have lawn seating; thus, capacity is approximate.

Pacific Coast League

Division Team Founded MLB Affiliation Affiliated City Stadium Capacity
American
Northern
Iowa Cubs 1969 Chicago Cubs 1981 Des Moines, Iowa Principal Park 11,500
Memphis Redbirds 1998 St. Louis Cardinals 1998 Memphis, Tennessee AutoZone Park 10,000
Nashville Sounds 1978 Texas Rangers 2019 Nashville, Tennessee First Tennessee Park 10,000
Omaha Storm Chasers 1969 Kansas City Royals 1969 Papillion, Nebraska Werner Park 9,023
American
Southern
New Orleans Baby Cakes 1993 Miami Marlins 2009 Metairie, Louisiana Shrine on Airline 10,000
Oklahoma City Dodgers 1962 Los Angeles Dodgers 2015 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark 9,000
Round Rock Express 2000 Houston Astros 2019 Round Rock, Texas Dell Diamond 11,631
San Antonio Missions 1888 Milwaukee Brewers 2019 San Antonio, Texas Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium 9,200
Pacific
Northern
Fresno Grizzlies 1998 Washington Nationals 2019 Fresno, California Chukchansi Park 10,500
Reno Aces 2009 Arizona Diamondbacks 2009 Reno, Nevada Greater Nevada Field 9,013
Sacramento River Cats 2000 San Francisco Giants 2015 West Sacramento, California Raley Field 14,014
Tacoma Rainiers 1960 Seattle Mariners 1995 Tacoma, Washington Cheney Stadium 6,500
Pacific
Southern
Albuquerque Isotopes 2003 Colorado Rockies 2015 Albuquerque, New Mexico Isotopes Park 13,500
El Paso Chihuahuas 2014 San Diego Padres 2014 El Paso, Texas Southwest University Park 9,500
Las Vegas Aviators 1983 Oakland Athletics 2019 Summerlin, Nevada Las Vegas Ballpark 10,000
Salt Lake Bees 1994 Los Angeles Angels 2001 Salt Lake City, Utah Smith's Ballpark 14,511

Mexican League

Division Team City Stadium Capacity Founded
North Acereros de Monclova Monclova, Coahuila Monclova 8,500 1974
Algodoneros de Unión Laguna Torreón, Coahuila Revolución 9,500 1940
Generales de Durango Durango, Durango Francisco Villa 4,983 2016
Rieleros de Aguascalientes Aguascalientes City, Aguascalientes Alberto Romo Chávez 6,494 1975
Saraperos de Saltillo Saltillo, Coahuila Francisco I. Madero 16,000 1970
Sultanes de Monterrey Monterrey, Nuevo León Mobil Super 22,061 1939
Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas
Laredo, Texas
Parque la Junta
Uni-Trade
6,000
6,000
1940
Toros de Tijuana Tijuana, Baja California Chevron 17,000 2004
South Bravos de León León, Guanajuato Domingo Santana 6,500 1978
Diablos Rojos del México Iztacalco, Mexico City Alfredo Harp Helú 20,576 1940
Guerreros de Oaxaca Oaxaca City, Oaxaca Eduardo Vasconselos 7,200 1996
Leones de Yucatán Mérida, Yucatán Kukulcán Alamo 14,917 1954
Olmecas de Tabasco Villahermosa, Tabasco Centenario 27 de Febrero 8,500 1975
Pericos de Puebla Puebla City, Puebla Hermanos Serdán 12,112 1938
Piratas de Campeche Campeche City, Campeche Nelson Barrera 6,000 1980
Tigres de Quintana Roo Cancún, Quintana Roo Beto Ávila 9,500 1955

Triple-A All-Star Game

2015 AAA All-Star Game mound
2015 PCL All-Stars meeting on the pitcher's mound

The Triple-A All-Star Game is a single game held between the two affiliated Triple-A leagues—the International League and the Pacific Coast League. Each league fields a team composed of the top players in their respective leagues as voted on by fans, the media, and each club's field manager and general manager.[3] The event has taken place every year since 1988 when the first Triple-A All-Star Game was played in Buffalo, New York. Prior to 1998, a team of American League-affiliated Triple-A All-Stars faced off against a team of National League-affiliated Triple-A All-Stars.

Traditionally, the game has taken place on the day after the mid-summer Major League Baseball All-Star Game.[4] 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). Both Triple-A leagues share a common All-Star break, with no regular-season games scheduled for two days before the All-Star Game itself. Some additional events, such as the All-Star Fan Fest and Triple-A Home Run Derby, take place each year during this break in the regular season.[5]

Triple-A Championship

Since 2006, the annual Triple-A National Championship Game has been held to serve as a single championship game between the champions of the International League and Pacific Coast League to determine an overall champion of Triple-A baseball. It was originally held annually at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, and known as the Bricktown Showdown.[6] Since 2011, the game has been held in a different Triple-A city each year.[7]

Previous postseason interleague championships include the Junior World Series (1932–34, 1936–62, 1970–71, 1973–74), Triple-A World Series (1983, 1998–2000), and Triple-A Classic (1988–91).

Pace-of-play initiatives

As a part of professional baseball's pace of play initiatives implemented in 2015, 20-second pitch clocks entered use at Triple-A stadiums in 2015.[8] In 2018, the time was shortened to 15 seconds when no runners are on base. Other significant changes implemented in 2018 included beginning extra innings with a runner on second base and limiting teams to six mound visits during a nine-inning game.[9] Beginning in 2019, the number of mound visits is reduced to five, and pitchers are required to face a minimum of three consecutive batters until the side is retired or the pitcher becomes injured and is unable to continue playing.[10]

References

Notes
  1. ^ "Lynx are outta here: Team sold, will move to U.S." www.canada.com. Ottawa Citizen. April 13, 2016. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Shelburne, Ramona (September 1, 2010). "John Lindsey waits for his chance". ESPN. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  3. ^ Wild, Danny (May 30, 2014). "Voting begins for Triple-A All-Star Game". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  4. ^ "Omaha Storm Chasers and Werner Park to Host 2015 Triple-A Baseball All-Star Game". Omaha Storm Chasers. Minor League Baseball. March 5, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  5. ^ "Durham Lands 2014 Triple-A ASG". Minor League Baseball. February 20, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  6. ^ "Bricktown Showdown To Determine Triple-A Baseball Champion" (PDF). Triple-A Baseball. July 12, 2006. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  7. ^ Hill, Benjamin (February 8, 2011). "Isotopes to Host Triple-A Championship". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  8. ^ Jackson, Josh (January 15, 2015). "Triple-A, Double-A to Implement Pitch Clock". MILB.com. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  9. ^ "MiLB announces pace-of-play rules for 2018". MILB.com. March 14, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  10. ^ "MiLB announces pace-of-play rules for 2019". MILB.com. March 29, 2019. Retrieved March 29, 2019.

External links

Bo McLaughlin

Michael Duane "Bo" McLaughlin (born October 23, 1953) was a Major League Baseball relief pitcher from 1976 to 1982 for the Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves, and Oakland Athletics. McLaughlin is best known for being hit by a pitch that almost ended his career, and his alias "Grim Bimbledon."

On May 26, 1981, McLaughlin was pitching in the eighth inning of a game against the Chicago White Sox. He threw a sinker to Harold Baines, who hit a line drive into McLaughlin's face. The pitch broke McLaughlin's left cheekbone and his eye socket in five different places. McLaughlin vomited blood and went into shock. It took two surgeries to wire his cheekbone and left eye socket, and doctors at Oakland's Merritt Hospital feared that he would not last the night. McLaughlin recovered to play a few games in September that year, then spent 1982 with the A's. He was demoted to the Minors in 1983 and played three seasons of Triple-A baseball. He later went into the real estate business and coached in the minor leagues for the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles systems before moving on to his current job with the Rockies.

Cap Peterson

Charles Andrew "Cap" Peterson (August 15, 1942 – May 16, 1980) was an American Major League Baseball player. An outfielder who appeared in eight MLB seasons, he played with the San Francisco Giants from 1962 to 1966, the Washington Senators from 1967 to 1968, and the Cleveland Indians in 1969. He split time between left field and right field over the course of his career. He was known as "Cap" from the initials of his name. Born in Tacoma, Washington, Peterson batted and threw right-handed, stood 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) and weighed 195 pounds (88 kg).

Peterson first came to the Giants in September 1962 after a stalwart season with the El Paso Sun Kings of the Double-A Texas League, batting .335 with 29 home runs, 130 runs batted in and an OPS of 1.013. But he never won a regular job with San Francisco and was traded to the Senators in December 1966 in a multi-player transaction that sent future 1967 National League Cy Young Award winner Mike McCormick back to the Giants. Peterson appeared in a career-high 122 games for the 1967 Senators, but he batted only .240 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 405 at bats. During the 1969 season with the Indians, Peterson was reunited with Alvin Dark, the former Giants manager, and he served as a reserve outfielder and pinch-hitter.

Overall, he appeared in 536 MLB games, and batted .230, with 269 hits in 1,170 at bats.Peterson played three years of Triple-A baseball after his MLB career ended, retiring after the 1972 season to join his family's construction business. He died in Tacoma at age 37 after suffering from kidney disease.

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.

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.

Denver Zephyrs

The Denver Zephyrs (formerly the Denver Bears) were a Minor League Baseball team based in Denver, Colorado. They were a Triple-A team that played in the American Association from 1955 to 1962, the Pacific Coast League from 1963 to 1968, and the American Association again from 1969 to 1992. They played their home games at Mile High Stadium.

The Zephyrs won the American Association championship on seven occasions: 1957, 1971, 1976, 1977, 1981, 1983, and 1991. They also won the 1991 Triple-A Classic.

Durham Athletic Park

Durham Athletic Park, affectionately known as "The DAP" (pronounced like "cap"), is a former minor league baseball stadium in Durham, North Carolina. The stadium was home to the Durham Bulls from 1926 through 1994, and is currently home to the North Carolina Central Eagles and the Durham School of the Arts Bulldogs. As of 2017, the DAP still stands north of the downtown area of Durham, on the block bounded by Washington, Corporation, Foster and Geer Streets.

Durham Athletic Park became one of the most famous minor league ballparks in history thanks to the 1988 film Bull Durham, featuring the Bulls, Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon. Most of the filming was done at the DAP, following the end of the Carolina League season of 1987. The film's wide acclaim helped fuel the burgeoning public interest in minor league ball in general. In the case of both the city and the film, this explosion of popularity caused the DAP to become a victim of its own success; despite expansion with temporary bleachers, it was just too small to handle the increase in crowd size and the Bulls’ Triple-A ambitions.

The Bulls moved to their new home Durham Bulls Athletic Park (also known as the "DBAP") in downtown Durham, starting with the 1995 season. Durham Bulls Athletic Park was built with a capacity to Carolina League standards, but the land that the DBAP was built on had more room in case the ballpark needed to be expanded for Triple-A baseball. Triple-A baseball came to Durham in 1998 and the Bulls moved up from High-A to Triple-A, with the DBAP then expanded to Triple-A standards.

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.

International League

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.

John Watson (English artist)

John Watson was born in the 1970s in Blackpool, England. He is one of the few remaining comic book artists who specialises in painting in oils, and has done a number of notable cover runs for both Marvel and DC comics, most recently painting all the covers for the Marvel Apes series and for the second year running, the Triple-A Baseball covers. He has also illustrated a number of trading cards.

Junior World Series

The Junior World Series was a postseason championship series between champions of two of the three highest minor league baseball leagues modeled on the World Series of Major League Baseball. It was called the Little World Series (no relation to the Little League World Series) until 1932, and also acquired other official names at different times.

The various iterations of the Junior World Series were played for most of the years of the 20th century, off and on depending on the fortunes of the various leagues involved. Most often it was held between the champions of the International League (IL) and the American Association (AA). This left the third, and sometimes stronger, minor circuit called the Pacific Coast League (PCL) out of this minor league championship series.

From 1998 to 2000, the Triple-A World Series pitted the IL and PCL champs (as the AA had folded in 1997). The Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game was established in 2006.

Lawrence–Dumont Stadium

Lawrence–Dumont Stadium was a baseball stadium in Wichita, Kansas, United States. It was located on the northwest corner of McLean Boulevard and Maple Street, along the west bank of the Arkansas River, in the Delano neighborhood of downtown Wichita. The stadium held 6,400 fans and was primarily used for baseball. The stadium most recently was the home field of the Wichita Wingnuts independent baseball team from 2008 until 2018, and was home to the annual National Baseball Congress World Series from 1935 until 2018.The city of Wichita tore down Lawrence-Dumont Stadium and plans to build a new stadium for the relocating New Orleans Baby Cakes Triple-A baseball team. The Baby Cakes filed a relocation application that is subject to league approval before the club can relocate to Wichita. The official decision is expected before the end of 2018.

List of Pacific Coast League champions

The Pacific Coast League of Minor League Baseball is one of two Triple-A baseball leagues in the United States. 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 Northern and Southern Division champions within each conference (American and Pacific) meet in a best-of-five series to determine conference champions. Then, the American and Pacific Conference champions play a best-of-five series to determine a league champion.

List of Triple-A baseball stadiums

There are 47 stadiums in use by Triple-A Minor League Baseball teams. The International League (IL) uses 14 stadiums, the Pacific Coast League (PCL) uses 16, and the Mexican League (ML) uses 17. Teams in the IL and PCL affiliate with Major League Baseball (MLB) teams. The ML operates independently of MLB.

The oldest stadium among MLB-affiliated teams is McCoy Stadium, home of the IL's Pawtucket Red Sox, which opened in 1942. The oldest stadium among all Triple-A teams is Estadio Revolución, home of the ML's Algodoneros de Unión Laguna, which opened in 1932. The newest stadiums are Las Vegas Ballpark, home of the PCL's Las Vegas Aviators, and Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú, home of the ML's Diablos Rojos del México, which will open in 2019. One stadium was built in the 1930s, three in the 1940s, two in the 1950s, two in the 1960s, six in the 1970s, three in the 1980s, eleven in the 1990s, twelve in the 2000s, and seven in the 2010s.

The highest seating capacity of all active MLB-affiliated teams is 16,600 at Sahlen Field where the IL's Buffalo Bisons play. The largest seating capacity among all Triple-A teams is Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey, home of the ML's Sultanes de Monterrey, which holds 27,000. The lowest capacity of an MLB-affiliated team is 6,500 at Cheney Stadium where the PCL's Tacoma Rainiers play. The lowest capacities among all Triple-A teams are the ML's Estadio Nelson Barrera, home of the Piratas de Campeche, and Parque la Junta and Uni-Trade Stadium, the dual homes of the Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos, which all hold 6,000.

Planned future Triple-A stadiums include Wichita PCL Ballpark, a proposed home for the New Orleans Baby Cakes that plan to relocate to Wichita, Kansas, as early as 2020. The IL's Pawtucket Red Sox plan to move into Polar Park, a newly built facility in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 2021.

Memphis Blues (baseball)

The Memphis Blues were a minor league baseball team from Memphis, Tennessee that played from 1968 to 1976. From 1968 to 1973, they were affiliated with the New York Mets and they played in the Texas League. From 1974 to 1975, they were affiliated with the Montreal Expos and they played in the International League. They were affiliated with the Houston Astros in 1976 and they played in the International League then as well. They played their home games at Tim McCarver Stadium.

After the completion of the 1976 season the Blues franchise was forfeited back to the International League due to financial difficulties. The league awarded the franchise to Charleston, West Virginia, whose team had been purchased and moved to Columbus, Ohio. The new Charleston franchise continued to use the Charleston Charlies name.

When they joined the Texas League in 1968, they became the first Memphis, Tennessee-based minor league team in eight years.The Blues won Texas League playoff championships in 1969 and 1973. In their maiden IL season, they won 87 games and a division title, led by catcher Gary Carter, a future member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. After the Blues moved to Charleston for 1977, Memphis was without baseball for a season before the successful revival of the Memphis Chicks, a Double-A team that played through 1997. Triple-A baseball returned to the city in 1998 with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds.

Memphis Redbirds

The Memphis Redbirds are a Minor League Baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and the Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. They are located in Memphis, Tennessee, and play their home games at AutoZone Park which opened in 2000 and seats 10,000. The team previously played at Tim McCarver Stadium in 1998 and 1999.

They were established as a PCL expansion team in 1998. A total of 7 managers have led the club and its more than 500 players. As of the completion of the 2018 season, the Redbirds have played in 3,000 regular season games and compiled a win–loss record of 1,514–1,486 (.505). They won the Pacific Coast League championship in 2000, 2009, 2017, and 2018. The Redbirds won the Triple-A National Championship Game in 2018.

Pacific Coast League

The Pacific Coast League (PCL) is a Minor League Baseball league operating in the Western, Midwestern, and Southeastern United States. Along with the International League and the Mexican League, it is one of three leagues playing at the Triple-A level, which is one grade below Major League Baseball. It is officially named the Pacific Coast League of Professional Baseball Clubs, Inc. Its headquarters are in Round Rock, Texas.Upon its founding in 1903, the Pacific Coast League fielded six teams from the Pacific States of California, Oregon, and Washington. Today, the league is composed of 16 teams across 12 states stretching from Sacramento, California, to Nashville, Tennessee, and from Tacoma, Washington, to New Orleans, Louisiana.

The PCL was one of the premier regional baseball leagues in the first half of the 20th century. Although it was never recognized as a true major league, to which it aspired, its quality of play was considered very high. A number of top stars of the era, including Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams, were products of the league.

In 1958, with the arrival of major league teams on the west coast and the availability of televised major league games, the PCL's modern era began with each team signing Player Development Contracts to become farm teams of major league clubs.

A league champion is determined at the end of every season. The San Francisco Seals won 14 Pacific Coast League titles, the most in the league's history, followed by the Los Angeles Angels (12) and the Albuquerque Dukes and Portland Beavers (8). After the season, the PCL champion plays in the Triple-A National Championship Game against the International League champion to determine an overall champion of Triple-A baseball. The Omaha Storm Chasers and Sacramento River Cats have each won two national championships, more than any other PCL teams.

Triple-A All-Star Game

The Triple-A All-Star Game is an annual baseball game sanctioned by Minor League Baseball between professional players from the two affiliated Triple-A leagues—the International League (IL) and the Pacific Coast League (PCL). Each league fields a team composed of players in their respective leagues as voted on by fans, the media, and each club's field manager, coaches, and general manager. From the inaugural 1988 event through 1997, teams of American League-affiliated Triple-A All-Stars faced off against teams of National League-affiliated Triple-A All-Stars.

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). Both Triple-A leagues share a common All-Star break, with no regular-season games scheduled for two days before the All-Star Game itself. Some additional events, such as the All-Star Fan Fest and Triple-A Home Run Derby, take place each year during this break in the regular season.

Triple-A National Championship Game

The Triple-A National Championship Game, previously known as the Bricktown Showdown, is a single championship game held annually between the league champions of the International League (IL) and Pacific Coast League (PCL) affiliated Triple-A leagues of Minor League Baseball (MiLB) to determine an overall champion of the classification. The championship consists of a single nine-inning game to determine a champion. As the game is usually played at a neutral site, the host league has its team designated as the home team.

From 2006 to 2010, the game was held annually at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Since 2011, the game has been hosted in a different Triple-A city each year.

The Durham Bulls have made four appearances in the Triple-A Championship Game, more than any other team. Durham, the IL's Columbus Clippers, and the PCL's Omaha Storm Chasers and Sacramento River Cats have each won two championships, more than any others. Five other teams have won one championship each. Eight titles have been won by PCL teams, while the IL has won only five titles.

Wichita Aeros

The Wichita Aeros were an American minor league baseball franchise based in Wichita, Kansas, that played in the Triple-A American Association from 1970 through 1984.

The Aeros were an expansion franchise established when the Association grew from six to eight clubs after the 1969 campaign. They were affiliated with the Cleveland Indians (1970–71), Chicago Cubs (1972–80), Texas Rangers (1981), Montreal Expos (1982–83) and Cincinnati Reds (1984). The Aeros led the league in attendance in 1970 and from 1972–74, but a series of last-place teams during their years as a Cubs farm club drove down attendance throughout the rest of the 1970s. The Aeros won only one division title, and no league championships, during their 15-year history.

On September 14, 1984, the Aeros were transferred to Buffalo, New York, and became the Buffalo Bisons, who are now members of the International League. The Bisons had existed in some form since the 1870s and (at the time playing at the Double-A level) used the Aeros' franchise to return to Triple-A baseball. In 1987, the Beaumont Golden Gators of the Double-A Texas League transferred to Wichita and remained there through the 2007 season as the Wranglers. The Wranglers moved to Springdale, Arkansas, in 2008. Wichita's current team is the Wingnuts, in the independent league baseball incarnation of the American Association.

North Division
South Division
West Division
American
Conference
Pacific
Conference
North Zone
South Zone

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