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Midwest League History

The 1990s

An overview of Midwest League history between 1990 and 1999.


Spare a thought for the towns who've lost their teams.

After 21 years, Wisconsin Rapids lost its team to Kenosha, and nine years later Kenosha lost the same team to Fort Wayne. Wausau's team moved to Geneva after sixteen seasons, where it is now called Kane County. Madison lost its twelve-year-old franchise to Grand Rapids (West Michigan). Springfield's team temporarily filled the void in Madison, but was on its way to Battle Creek ([Southwest] Michigan)--then on to Midland (Great Lakes) after a dozen BC summers. The Midwest League spent 36 years in Waterloo before their team occupied the vacated Springfield ballyard--on its way to Lansing.


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New
19feb07
(21jan97)
Changed
31aug10
Major Change
19feb07

MWL Fan's Guide

The very nature of minor league baseball changed on December 13, 1990, and those changes show on this page. On that date the National Association and the major leagues ratified a new Professional Baseball Agreement, the contract defining the relationship between the majors and the "organized" minors. The 1990 PBA substantially increased the operational cost of owning a minor league team. It also made many ballparks obsolete. These are the main causes of the franchise changes shown on this page. The new PBA, which was implemented over the course of several years, has changed the look--and perhaps the nature--of this league.

Most of the changes shown on these tables are direct or indirect responses to the new PBA. Several teams moved. Others upgraded their ballparks. Communities sold local institutions to well-to-do businessmen who lived in big cities. The overall effect was to move the league into larger towns, and to move the league's center much farther east--primarily this showed in Michigan and Wisconsin, as the decade saw Michigan become home to three teams, while three of the five Badger State franchises migrated to other states.

There were more subtle reactions, too. Before the PBA changes, most MWL teams identified with their big-league affiliate; the more business-like relation defined by the 1990 PBA encouraged the owners to define their teams separately from those affiliations. This distance hastened the creation of locally-identified teams--the Burlington team, for instance, returned to the Bees name from an earlier era. Similarly, business and marketing considerations obviously drove such name and logo changes as the Kernels in Cedar Rapids and the changes from and back to the River Bandits in the Quad Cities.

On the whole, the changes have to be called a success. This was a time of explosive growth in the league (and in the minors). That some of the changes were mixed blessings is, of course, plain to nearly everyone.


The Midwest League was a Class A member of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues during this period.



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

Seasons

Year Games Champion Teams Div Affil Split? Teams by State President
IL IN IA KY MI MO OH WI
1999 140 Burlington 14 3 14 yes 3 2 4   3     2 George Spelius
1998 140 West Michigan 14 3 14 yes 3 2 4   3     2
1997 140 Lansing 14 3 14 yes 3 2 4   3     2
1996 140 West Michigan 14 3 14 yes 3 2 4   3     2
1995 140 Beloit 14 3 14 yes 4 2 4   2     2
1994 140 Cedar Rapids 14 2 14 yes 4 2 4   1     3
1993 140 South Bend 14 2 14 yes 4 2 5         3
1992 140 Cedar Rapids 14 2 14 yes 4 1 5         4
1991 140 Clinton 14 2 14 yes 4 1 5         4
1990 140 Quad City 14 2 14 yes 3 1 5         5
Notes:
Div = number of divisions
Affil = number of affiliated teams (cooperative affiliation count in parentheses)
Split? = was this played as a split season?

Franchises, 1990-1999

YR BEL BUR CDR CLN DAY FTW GLL KNE LAN PEO QC SB WM WIS
 
99
 
Beloit
Snappers
(MIL)
Burlington
Bees
(CHI-A)
Cedar Rapids
Kernels
(ANA)
Clinton
Lumber Kings
(CIN)
Rockford
Reds
(CIN)
Fort Wayne
Wizards
(SD)
Michigan
Battle Cats
(HOU)
Kane County
Cougars
(FLA)
Lansing
Lugnuts
(CHI-N)
Peoria
Chiefs
(STL)
Quad City
River Bandits
(MIN)
South Bend
Silver Hawks
(AZ)
West Michigan
Whitecaps
(DET)
Wisconsin
Timber Rattlers
(SEA)
 
98
 
Burlington
Bees
(CIN)
Clinton
Lumber Kings
(SD)
Rockford
Cubbies
(CHI-N)
Fort Wayne
Wizards
(MIN)
Michigan
Battle Cats
(BOS)
Lansing
Lugnuts
(KC)
Quad City
River Bandits
(HOU)
 
97
 
 
96
 
Burlington
Bees
(SF)
Cedar Rapids
Kernels
(CAL)
South Bend
Silver Hawks
(CHI-A)
West Michigan
Whitecaps
(OAK)
 
95
 
Springfield
Sultans
(KC)
 
94
 
Beloit
Brewers
(MIL)
Burlington
Bees
(MON)
Clinton
Lumber Kings
(SF)
Rockford
Royals
(KC)
Madison
Hatters
(STL)
Springfield
Sultans
(SD)
Peoria
Chiefs
(CHI-N)
Appleton
Foxes
(SEA)
 
93
 
Clinton
Giants
(SF)
Springfield
Cardinals
(STL)
Waterloo
Diamonds
(SD)
South Bend
White Sox
(CHI-A)
Madison
Muskies
(OAK)
 
92
 
Burlington
Astros
(HOU)
Cedar Rapids
Reds
(CIN)
Rockford
Expos
(MON)
Kenosha
Twins
(MIN)
Kane County
Cougars
(BAL)
Quad City
River Bandits
(CAL)
Appleton
Foxes
(KC)
 
91
 
Quad City
Angels
(CAL)
 
90
 
Burlington
Braves
(ATL)
Wausau
Timbers
(BAL)

This table was originally the work of Jon Mielke.

Sources


Although I've attempted to proofread these tables, typing and transcription errors are basically inevitable. Formatting problems are quite possible. There may also be errors of interpretation. Please tell me if you locate any of these problems. Thanks.



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.