The International League (IL) is a minor league baseball league which operates in the eastern United States. Like the Pacific Coast League and the Mexican League, it plays at the Triple-A level, which is one step below Major League Baseball. It was so-named because it had teams in both the United States and Canada (and for several years in the 1950s in Cuba as well). However, since the relocation of the Ottawa Lynx to Allentown, Pennsylvania in 2007, all of the league's teams are now based in the U.S.
The International League was created from the mergers of member teams from three precursor leagues: the Eastern League, founded in Template:By; the New York State League, formed in Template:By; and the Ontario League, also organized in 1885. The New York State and Ontario leagues merged in Template:By to form the International League, and in Template:By the Eastern League was absorbed to create a 10-club league.
The league collapsed soon afterwards, when the Northern teams claimed that it was too onerous to travel to the South and formed the International Association. Teams and league names came and went over the years. In Template:By, a franchise was awarded to Havana, Cuba, but due to political upheaval in that country it had to be moved — to Jersey City, New Jersey — in the middle of the Template:By season. Another foray into the Caribbean failed when the newly-created team in San Juan, Puerto Rico, added in Template:By, had to be moved to Charleston, West Virginia in mid-season.
In Template:By, an International League all-star team beat the New York Yankees in an exhibition game in Rochester, New York, before 11,000 people. In Template:By, the all-stars lost to the Cleveland Indians in 11 innings before 11,032 fans in Columbus, Ohio, to commemorate the league's 100th anniversary.
The International League and the American Association, another Triple-A league that operated in the Midwest, voted in Template:By to play interleague games. The league also split into two divisions that year. The interleague concept ended in Template:By, but the two league divisions remained.
In further interleague play, in 1988, the three Triple-A leagues, the other being the Pacific Coast League, met to play the first Triple-A All-Star Game. One team was made up of All-Stars from American League affiliates and the other of National League affiliates. Beginning in Template:By, a team of IL All-Stars faced off against a team of PCL All-Stars. This game was the first of its kind. The game was played in the first year stadium of the Buffalo Bison's (Coca-Cola Field, operating as Pilot Field)
Also in 1998, with the addition of three new teams from the disbanded American Association and the new Durham Bulls expansion team, the league reorganized into three divisions: the North Division, South Division, and West Division.
At the end of each season, the three divisional leaders and a wild card team square off in best-of-5 playoffs, with the winning team of the finals awarded the Governors' Cup, the league's championship trophy.
Since Template:By the league champion has met to play the PCL champion in the Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game, a single Triple-A Championship game. Previous class championship series included the Junior World Series and the Triple-A World Series.
- 1 Hosting the 2012 Triple-A All-Star Game
Current team rostersEdit
- Main article: International League rosters
Final 2009 season standingsEdit
x-wild card champions