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Minor League Baseball – Minor League Baseball Teams And Players

Minor League Baseball History

Minor league baseball history is a fascinating subject that one can always learn new and surprising facts about. Baseball began to change from a hobby to a professional sport around the mid 19th century. By 1869, many of the teams and organized rules we know today were in place. Professional teams and even a professional organization, The National Association of 1871 to 1875, were developed. The National Association of 1871 to 1875 eventually failed, because with all teams under one organization, it became difficult to find financial stability for every team and to maintain competitive balance. In 1876, however, the National League, an association that excluded weak teams, made baseball associations almost the same as what they are today.

Those who could not, for whatever reason, gain membership into the National League often became jealous or angry. The response was for many of these teams and clubs to form their own regionally based organizations. Short-lived groups that gathered to play games for a championship pennant included the New England Association of 1877 and the Eastern Championship Association of 1881. The first true minor league team, however, is considered to be the Northwestern League of 1883 to 1884. This is because this organization was meant to be permanent, not temporary like many of the others.

This organization, along with several others, signed the National Agreement of 1883, an agreement that said each team would respect the reserve lists of other teams, and that teams could only reserve those players who were payed at least $750 to $1000. Those who were paid in the upper range were considered the major leagues, while those paid in the lower made minor league history, as the first official minor league team.

Slowly, many more leagues began to sign the National Agreement, and eventually, the minor leagues all decided to join together as one competitive entity. Things changed, again, however, in the 1890s when the Western League challenged the National League’s power. By 1900, the league’s name had been changed to the American League, and the focus shifted from baseball to trying to get dissatisfied players signing contracts for better pay, benefits, and better terms in general. This made things quite heated between many different factions, and by 1901, many minor league owners were concerned about the future of baseball. In an effort to quell some of these fears, the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues was formed. This group is what we now know today as Minor League Baseball. Patrick T. Powers, the president of the Eastern League, became the president of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues. This slow and unintentional development is one of the most fascinating aspects of minor league baseball history.