After imposing terrible Minor League Baseball circuit monikers after taking over the sport in 2020–Low-A Southeast anyone?–MLB has reversed course and brought back the original league names for the 2022 MiLB season.
As a branding exercise, dumping the Pacific Coast League and the Southern League in favor of Triple-A West and Double-A Central did no one any favors: it introduced corporate blandness at a time of uncertainty for the minors. The official word now is that MLB was unable to use the MiLB league names while they were in the process of being acquired by MiLB. Now, with the acquisition complete, the old names are back in place after the branding blip.
“Major League Baseball is pleased to restore the historic names for each of the minor leagues that our fans are familiar with,” said Peter Woodfork, Major League Baseball’s Senior Vice President of Minor League Operations and Development, via press release. “We are excited for what the future holds for each of these leagues and the communities that make up Minor League Baseball.”
All the original logos will return, save the old generic Triple-A Pacific Coast League logo, replaced by something considerably more attractive (shown at the top of this story). Here are the current league lineups as dated and regarded by MLB:
International League (Triple-A)
Originally founded: 1884
Current teams (20): Buffalo Bisons, Charlotte Knights, Columbus Clippers, Durham Bulls, Gwinnett Stripers, Indianapolis Indians, Iowa Cubs, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Louisville Bats, Memphis Redbirds, Nashville Sounds, Norfolk Tides, Omaha Storm Chasers, Rochester Red Wings, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, St. Paul Saints, Syracuse Mets, Toledo Mud Hens, and Worcester Red Sox.
Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
Originally founded: 1903
Current teams (10): Albuquerque Isotopes, El Paso Chihuahuas, Las Vegas Aviators, Oklahoma City Dodgers, Reno Aces, Round Rock Express, Sacramento River Cats, Salt Lake Bees, Sugar Land Space Cowboys, and Tacoma Rainiers.
Eastern League (Double-A)
Current teams (12): Akron RubberDucks, Altoona Curve, Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Bowie Baysox, Erie SeaWolves, Harrisburg Senators, Hartford Yard Goats, New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Portland Sea Dogs, Reading Fightin Phils, Richmond Flying Squirrels, and Somerset Patriots.
Southern League (Double-A)
Originally founded: 1885
Current teams (8): Biloxi Shuckers, Birmingham Barons, Chattanooga Lookouts, Mississippi Braves, Montgomery Biscuits, Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Rocket City Trash Pandas and Tennessee Smokies.
Texas League (Double-A)
Originally founded: 1888
Current teams (10): Amarillo Sod Poodles, Arkansas Travelers, Corpus Christi Hooks, Frisco RoughRiders, Midland RockHounds, Northwest Arkansas Naturals, San Antonio Missions, Springfield Cardinals, Tulsa Drillers and Wichita Wind Surge.
Midwest League (High-A):
Originally founded: 1947
Current teams (12): Beloit Sky Carp, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Dayton Dragons, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Great Lakes Loons, Lake County Captains, Lansing Lugnuts, Peoria Chiefs, Quad Cities River Bandits, South Bend Cubs, West Michigan Whitecaps and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
Northwest League (High-A):
Originally founded: 1955
Current teams (6): Eugene Emeralds, Everett AquaSox, Hillsboro Hops, Spokane Indians, Tri-City Dust Devils and Vancouver Canadians.
South Atlantic League (High-A): (though we prefer the Sally League nickname)
Originally founded: 1903
Current teams (12): Aberdeen IronBirds, Asheville Tourists, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Brooklyn Cyclones, Greensboro Grasshoppers, Greenville Drive, Hickory Crawdads, Hudson Valley Renegades, Jersey Shore BlueClaws, Rome Braves, Wilmington Blue Rocks and Winston-Salem Dash.
California League (Single-A):
Originally founded: 1941
Current teams (8): Fresno Grizzlies, Inland Empire 66ers, Lake Elsinore Storm, Modesto Nuts, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, San Jose Giants, Stockton Ports and Visalia Rawhide.
Carolina League (Single-A):
Originally founded: 1945
Current teams (12): Augusta GreenJackets, Carolina Mudcats, Charleston RiverDogs, Columbia Fireflies, Delmarva Shorebirds, Down East Wood Ducks, Fayetteville Woodpeckers, Fredericksburg Nationals, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers, Lynchburg Hillcats, Myrtle Beach Pelicans and Salem Red Sox.
Florida State League (Single-A):
Originally founded: 1919
Current teams (10): Bradenton Marauders, Clearwater Threshers, Daytona Tortugas, Dunedin Blue Jays, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels, Jupiter Hammerheads, Lakeland Flying Tigers, Palm Beach Cardinals, St. Lucie Mets and Tampa Tarpons.
This is not the same lineup on the field at the end of the 2019 season; remember, MLB shifted league lineups at the same time it revamped league names before the 2021 season. It is gratifying to the historic league names back in play, even if the league lineups aren’t necessarily rooted in history: much of the International League was once in the Pacific Coast League, and the modern Southern League certainly was not founded in 1888.