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Midwest League History

Beginnings

An overview of the Midwest League's predecessor leagues, the Illinois State League and the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League, and the first few years under the MWL's permanent name.


This page shows the early era of Midwest League baseball. "Boisterous" is a good description for this period in all of minor league baseball; "expansive" is another, so is "chaotic". During this period teams lived unusually precarious existences. The 1956 change to the Midwest League name reflected a real change in structure, or perhaps attitude, as things began to stabilize and fly-by-night teams became a thing of the past.


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New
19feb07
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Changed
31aug10
Major Change
19feb07

MWL Fan's Guide

The Illinois State League was born in rural Southern Illinois, in Mattoon and Centralia, in Mount Vernon and Marion. Belleville's Stags and West Frankfort's Cardinals filled out the team roster. The ISL was a decidedly local institution, fed much by local rivalries and community pride.

Before the 1949 season, Marion's franchise was moved to Paducah, and the league was no longer a purely Illinois concern. The name adjusted to the new geography; the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League lived where those valleys came together. This league was very unstable; teams would join, hang around for a couple years, then expire. Some years found teams in six towns; others saw eight.

The Hannibal team failed late in of 1955, and played its last two homestands on the road. The subsequent franchise move to Michigan City made the M-OV name inaccurate; thus the change, finally, to the Midwest League name which still prevails.

Our league was finding its identity, but it was also fighting for continued existence. During these years several small leagues formed and failed in the middle west; only the Midwest and Northern Leagues survived past 1962.


The ISL, the M-OV, and the early MWL were Class D members of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues.



History
Overview
Predecessors
1947-59
1960-69
1970-79
1980-89
1990-99
2000-09
Cities
Spring

Seasons

Midwest League
Year Games Champion Teams Div Affil Split? Teams by State President
IL IN IA KY MI MO OH WI
1959 126 Waterloo 8 1 8 yes 2 2 4           C.C. "Dutch" Hoffman
1958 126 Waterloo 8 1 8 yes 2 2 4          
1957 126 Decatur 8 1 8 yes 3 3 2          
1956 126 Paris 8 1 8 yes 3 3 2          
Mississippi-Ohio Valley League
Year Games Champion Teams Div Affil Split? Teams by State President
IL IN IA KY MI MO OH WI
1955 126 Dubuque 8 1 6 no* 3 2 2     1     C.C. "Dutch" Hoffman
1954 126 Danville 8 1 5 no* 5   2     1    
1953 120 Decatur 6 1 3 no* 5         1    
1952 126 Decatur 8 1 2 yes 6.5 .5       1    
1951 120 Danville 6 1 0 yes 5 1            
1950 126 [no champion] 8 1 1 no* 6 1   1        
1949 120 Paducah 6 1 2 no* 5     1        
Illinois State League
Year Games Champion Teams Div Affil Split? Teams by State President
IL IN IA KY MI MO OH WI
1948 120 West Frankfort 6 1 5 no* 6               Howard V. Millard
1947 120 Belleville 6 1 3 yes 6              
Notes:
Div = number of divisions
Affil = number of affiliated teams (cooperative affiliation count in parentheses)
Split? = was this played as a split season?
no* = playoff qualification based on full-season standings

Franchises, 1947-55

Midwest League
  Current Teams Other Franchises: Last Host City
YR CLN FTW KNE LAN CAN CEN DAN KOK MC MTV PAD PAR SPR WFR
 
59
 
Clinton
C-Sox
(CHI-A)
Keokuk
Cardinals
(STL)
Decatur
Commodores
(DET)
Waterloo
Hawks
(BOS)
  Dubuque
Packers
(PIT)
Kokomo
Dodgers
(LA-N)
Michigan City
White Caps
(SF)
  Paris
Lakers
(CHI-N)
 
 
58
 
Clinton
Pirates
(PIT)
Dubuque
Packers
(CHI-A)
 
57
 
Mattoon
Athletics
(KC)
Decatur
Commodores
(STL)
Lafayette
Red Sox
(BOS)
Kokomo
Dodgers
(BRK)
Michigan City
White Caps
(NY-N)
 
56
 
Mattoon
Phillies
(PHI)
Mississippi-Ohio Valley League
  Current Teams Other Franchises: Last Host City
YR CLN FTW KNE LAN CAN CEN DAN KOK MC MTV PAD PAR SPR WFR
 
55
 
Clinton
Pirates
(PIT)
Mattoon
Phillies
(PHI)
Decatur
Commodores
(STL)
Lafayette
Chiefs
(CLE)
  Dubuque
Packers
(CHI-A)
Kokomo
Giants
(IND)
Hannibal
Citizens/
Pepsis

(IND)
    Paris
Lakers
(CHI-N)
 
 
54
 
Decatur
Commodores
(IND)
  Danville
Dans
(NY-N)
Hannibal
Cardinals
(STL)
Mount Vernon
Kings
(IND)
Paris
Lakers
(IND)
 
53
 
    Danville
Dans
(CHI-A)
 
52
 
Mattoon
Indians
(CIN)
Canton/
Vincennes

Citizens/
Velvets

(IND)
Centralia
Zeros
(IND)
Danville
Dans
(BOS-N)
Hannibal
Stags
(IND)
 
51
 
Mattoon
Indians
(IND)
  Vincennes
Velvets
(IND)
Danville
Dans
(IND)
 
 
50
 
Vincennes
Citizens
(IND)
Centralia
Sterlings
(IND)
  Paducah
Chiefs
(IND)
Springfield
Giants
(IND)
West Frankfort
Cardinals
(STL)
 
49
 
Belleville
Stags
(NY-A)
Centralia
Cubs
(IND)
 
Illinois State League
  Current Teams Other Franchises: Last Host City
YR CLN FTW KNE LAN CAN CEN DAN KOK MC MTV PAD PAR SPR WFR
 
48
 
  Mattoon
Indians
(CLE)
  Belleville
Stags
(STL-A)
Centralia
Cubs
(CHI-N)
  Mount Vernon
Braves
(BOS-N)
Marion
Indians
(IND)
  West Frankfort
Cardinals
(STL)
 
47
 
Mattoon
Indians
(IND)
Mount Vernon
Braves
(IND)

This table is largely the work of Jon Mielke.

Sources:




The Midwest League plays Single-A, professional baseball in America's agricultural and industrial heartland. 16 teams play a 140 game schedule which begins in early April and ends Labor Day weekend.

Disclaimers:
This website is a private project and has no official relation with or sanction from the Midwest League or Minor League Baseball.
The opinions expressed on this page are mine, and are worth about that.


Copyright © 1996-2010 Joel Dinda
Some Rights Reserved.