- American Association (20th century)
:"This article refers to the former minor league that existed from 1902 to 1962 and 1969 to 1997. For the major league, which existed from 1882 to 1891, see
American Association (19th century). For the independent league, which started play in 2006, see American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.
The American Association was a
minor league baseballleague at the Triple-A level of baseball in the United Statesfrom by|1902 to by|1962 and by|1969 to by|1997. Together with the International League, it contested the Junior World Serieswhich determined the championship team in minor league baseball, at least for the eastern half of the United States. Later, its teams would also compete in the Triple-A World Series, and its players in the Triple-A All-Star Game.
For most of the American Association's existence, in both incarnations, it was comprised of teams primarily from the central part of the
United States. The league's attendance base began to be eroded significantly in the 1950s and early 1960s due to expansion and westward migration of major league teams into several of the AA's larger member cities: Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Kansas City, Missouri; and Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota. By by|1961, the league was down to six clubs.
After the by|1962 season, the American Association disbanded, and some of its member teams were distributed between the
Pacific Coast Leagueand the International League, while others (the Louisville Colonelsand Omaha Dodgers) folded. The Indianapolis Indianswere first assigned to the IL but then, in a geographic oddity, they were switched to the PCL. The Dallas Rangers, the Denver Bears, and the Oklahoma City 89ers also went to the PCL.
With major league expansion in by|1969, and the need for four new Triple-A farm teams, the time seemed right for reviving the league, which re-acquired its old Indianapolis territory from the PCL, along with several cities that were new to the Association.
In the early 1990s, with significant cities like
Buffalo, Denver, Indianapolis, and others in the league, the American Association published a media guide with a league map on the cover and the question "Can It Be the Third Major League?" The President of the American Association at the time was Branch Rickey III, grandson of Branch Rickey, who integrated major league baseball in 1947 and later headed up the proposed Continental League, which was to be a third major league.
After the by|1997 season, the American Association disbanded for the second time, and its teams were again distributed to the remaining Triple-A leagues. The
Iowa Cubs, Nashville Sounds, New Orleans Zephyrs, Oklahoma City 89ers (renamed the Oklahoma RedHawks), and Omaha Royalsmigrated to the West Coast Pacific Coast Leaguestarting with the by|1998 season. The Buffalo Bisons, Indianapolis Indians, and Louisville Redbirds became part of the International League, also starting in 1998.
Buffalo Bisonswere the last league champions in 1997, and the trophy is still in their possession.
On and off, from by|1905 to by|1975, the American Association champion played against the champion from the
International Leaguein the Junior World Series. The champions from these two leagues and the Pacific Coast Leaguealso met during by|1983 at the Triple-A World Series.
From by|1988 to by|1992, the AA and IL voted in to play interleague games during the season.
From by|1988 until the league's demise in by|1997, players from all three Triple-A leagues were selected to play in the mid-season
Triple-A All-Star Game. One team was made up of All-Stars from American League affiliates and the other of National League affiliates.
Complete team list
League champions and MVPs 1933-1997
* [http://marian.creighton.edu/~besser/baseball/omahaaaroyals.html AA Standings History]
* [http://groups.google.com/group/newsguy.sports.baseball/browse_thread/thread/43e7e9dbac3fe2f3/e6929bde0e40891c?lnk=st&q=american+association+disband+baseball&rnum=6&hl=en#e6929bde0e40891c Article about American Association disbanding]
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