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Midwest League Reference Pages

Championship Playoff Series

More information than anyone needs to know about the history of the Midwest League Championship Playoff Series.


1947

In 1947, the Illinois State League had a single division and played a split season. Since Belleville won both halves, they were awarded the league championship without a playoff.

      Playoff
Year  Champion         Best Record
1947  ---              Belleville       no playoff


[Search]
New
25feb00
(6sep99)
Changed
31aug10
Major Change
24sep09


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1948 through 1950

For 1948 through 1950, the Illinois State and Mississippi-Ohio Valley Leagues contested a single division and played a full season schedule. Four teams qualified for a Shaughnessy playoff, with the first-place club meeting the third-place club and the second meeting the fourth.

      Playoff                                 Playoff Format
Year  Champion         Best Record      Teams Rd 1    Champ
1948  West Frankfort   West Frankfort   4     3 of 5  3 of 5
1949  Paducah          Centralia        4     3 of 5  4 of 7
1950  ---              Centralia        4     3 of 5   ---  
       playoff cancelled due to weather and military callups

1951 to 1955

From 1951 to 1955, the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League contested a single division and experimented with scheduling and playoff scenarios. Four teams qualified for a Shaughnessy playoff each season, with selection based on full-season results regardless of whether the season was split.

      Playoff                                 Playoff Format
Year  Champion         Best Record      Teams Rd 1    Champ
1951  Danville         Paris            4     2 of 3  2 of 3
       Split season
1952  Decatur          Danville         4     3 of 5  3 of 5
       Split season
1953  Decatur          Decatur          4     3 of 5  3 of 5
       Full season
1954  Danville         Decatur          4     2 of 3  3 of 5
       Full season
1955  Dubuque          Dubuque          4     2 of 3  3 of 5
       Full season; 
       A pre-playoff game between Mattoon and Clinton determined 2nd place qualifier

Reporting note:
Up to 1955, the ISL & the M-OV called the team with the most wins the Pennant Winner, regardless of split seasons or playoff results. Beginning with the first MWL season (1956), the league evidently stopped this practice.


1956 to 1970

From 1956 to 1970, the Midwest League played a split season with a single division. At most, two teams qualified for the playoff. During this period, the playoff was between the teams who won each half; if one team won both halves, no playoff was held as the champion was clear. The league continued to experiment with the playoff format.

      Playoff                                 Playoff
Year  Champion         Best Record      Teams Format
1956  Paris            Paris            4     2 of 3  3 of 5
       Split season (voted late June)
1957  Decatur          Kokomo           4     2 of 3  2 of 3
       Split season (voted June 23)
1958  Waterloo         Kokomo           2     3 of 5
       Kokomo didn't win either half-season race
1959  ---              Waterloo         1     
       Waterloo won both halves
1960  ---              Waterloo         1     
       Waterloo won both halves
1961  Quincy           Waterloo         2     3 of 5
1962  Dubuque          Waterloo         2     3 of 5
1963  ---              Clinton          1     
       Clinton won both halves
1964  Fox Cities       Fox Cities       2     1 of 1
1965  ---              Burlington       1     
       Burlington won both halves
1966  Fox Cities       Cedar Rapids     2     2 of 3
1967  Appleton         Appleton         2     2 of 3
1968  Quad City        Decatur          2     2 of 3
1969  ---              Appleton         2     
       Appleton won both halves
1970  Quincy           Quincy           2     2 of 3
       Quad City and Decatur tied for second half champion;
       QC won a 1-game playoff

1971 to 1981

The Midwest League split into two divisions from 1971 to 1981; they continued to play a split season. There were divisional playoffs between the half-season winners; then the divisional champs played for the league championship. Four qualifying spots were available, but teams who won both half-seasons were awarded byes in the first playoff round.

      Playoff                           Playoff Format
Year  Champion         Best Record      Teams Rd 1    Champ
1971  Quad Cities      Appleton         3     1 of 1  2 of 3
       Appleton had a first-round bye
1972  Danville         Appleton         3     1 of 1  2 of 3
       Danville had a first-round bye
1973  Wisconsin Rapids Clinton          4     2 of 3  2 of 3
1974  Danville         Wisconsin Rapids 4     2 of 3  2 of 3
1975  Waterloo         Waterloo         2             2 of 3
       Waterloo and Quad Cities had first-round byes
       first round was skipped
1976  Waterloo         Waterloo         3     1 of 1  2 of 3
       Waterloo had a first-round bye
1977  Burlington       Waterloo         3     1 of 1  2 of 3
       Waterloo had a first-round bye
1978  Appleton         Appleton         4     2 of 3  2 of 3
1979  Quad City        Waterloo         4     2 of 3  2 of 3
1980  Waterloo         Waterloo         4     2 of 3  2 of 3
1981  Wausau           Wausau           4     2 of 3  3 of 5

1982 to 1987

Beginning with the 1982 season, the Midwest League had three divisions. The split season was dropped, and a wild card qualifier was added to fill the fourth playoff slot. After the first two-division season, the league finally settled on a playoff format.

      Playoff                           Playoff Format
Year  Champion         Best Record      Teams Rd 1    Champ
1982  Appleton         Madison          4     2 of 3  2 of 3
1983  Appleton         Appleton         4     2 of 3  3 of 5
1984  Appleton         Appleton         4     2 of 3  3 of 5
1985  Kenosha          Appleton         4     2 of 3  3 of 5
1986  Waterloo         Springfield      4     2 of 3  3 of 5
1987  Kenosha          Springfield      4     2 of 3  3 of 5

1988 to 1994

From 1988 to 1994, the MWL returned to a two-division, split-season format. Four teams qualified for the playoffs; second-half runners up were qualified if a team won both half-season championships.

      Playoff                           Playoff Format
Year  Champion         Best Record      Teams Rd 1    Champ
1988  Cedar Rapids     Cedar Rapids     4     2 of 3  3 of 5
1989  South Bend       South Bend       4     2 of 3  3 of 5
1990  Quad City        Cedar Rapids     4     2 of 3  3 of 5
1991  Clinton          Clinton          4     2 of 3  3 of 5
1992  Cedar Rapids     Quad City        4     2 of 3  3 of 5
1993  South Bend       Clinton          4     2 of 3  3 of 5
1994  Cedar Rapids     Rockford         4     2 of 3  3 of 5

1995 to 1999

The League split into 3 divisions prior to the 1995 season, and continued with a split season. This created 8 playoff slots, all of which were filled; second-half runners up qualified if a team won both halves. Half-season champions played each other for a divisional championship, and a fictional "wild card" division champion was contested. A third round was added to the playoff format.

      Playoff                           Playoff Format
Year  Champion         Best Record      Teams Rd 1    Rd 2    Champ
1995  Beloit           Beloit           8     2 of 3  2 of 3  3 of 5
1996  West Michigan    Peoria           8     2 of 3  2 of 3  3 of 5
1997  Lansing          West Michigan    8     2 of 3  2 of 3  3 of 5
1998  West Michigan    West Michigan    8     2 of 3  2 of 3  3 of 5
1999  Burlington       Kane County      8     2 of 3  2 of 3  3 of 5

2000 to 2009

The MWL returned to two divisions for the 2000 season, and continued the split season. Two half-champions and two wild cards (divisional runners up) qualified from the first half season, with four additional teams (two from each division) qualifying based on second half standings. The first two playoff rounds are played to determine the Divisional Champions (both rounds are best-of-three). The Divisional Champions meet for a best-of-five Championship Series.

      Playoff                           Playoff Format
Year  Champion         Best Record      Teams Rd 1    Rd 2    Champ
2000  Michigan         West Michigan    8     2 of 3  2 of 3  3 of 5
2001  Kane County      Kane County      8     2 of 3  2 of 3  1 of 1
       championship series ended after 1 game due to terrorist
       activity of September 11, 2001
2002  Peoria           Peoria           8    2 of 3  2 of 3   3 of 5
2003  Lansing          Kane County      8    2 of 3  2 of 3   3 of 5
2004  Kane County      West Michigan    8    2 of 3  2 of 3   3 of 5
2005  South Bend       South Bend       8    2 of 3  2 of 3   3 of 5
2006  West Michigan    West Michigan    8    2 of 3  2 of 3   3 of 5
2007  West Michigan    West Michigan    8    2 of 3  2 of 3   3 of 5
2008  Clinton          Burlington       8    2 of 3  2 of 3   2 of 2
       championship series ended after 2 games due to inclement weather
2009  Fort Wayne       Fort Wayne       8    2 of 3  2 of 3   3 of 5

Much of this information is also presented on MWLguide.com's League Championship Page. The pages have somewhat different emphases, and each contains information which doesn't fit well on the other.

This page originated as the September 6, 1999, Midwest League Tidbit on the Midwest League Mailing List. It was revised considerably to reflect further research in September, 2009.


Sources

Miles Wolff & Lloyd Johnson; Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (Durham: Baseball America, 1997)
Midwest League: 1999 [& 2000] Media Guide & Record Book

Neither source, alone, contains everything you need to know about this series. In fact, I still have questions about some of these things, though I'm certain the facts on this listing are correct.



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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.


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