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Midwest League logo
|No. of teams||16|
|Most recent champion(s)||Kane County Cougars|
|Most titles||Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (8 titles)|
|Official website||Official Website|
Six teams – the Belleville Stags, the Centralia Cubs, the Marion Indians, the Mattoon Indians, the Mount Vernon Braves, and the West Frankfort Cardinals – began operating as the Class D Illinois State League in 1947. The league changed its name to the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League in 1949 after the Marion team moved to Paducah, Kentucky. The league added teams in Clinton and Dubuque, Iowa, in 1954 and was renamed the Midwest League two years later. After the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League folded in 1961, teams from Appleton, Burlington, and Cedar Rapids joined the Midwest League for the 1962 season and remain in the league today. In 1963 the Midwest League became a Class A league after the minor league classification structure was reorganized.
In 1976 the Midwest League contracted from ten teams to eight when teams in Danville and Dubuque were eliminated. In 1982 the league expanded to 12 teams by adding the Beloit Brewers, the Danville Suns, the Madison Muskies, and the Springfield Cardinals. The Peoria Suns replaced the Danville Suns in 1983, and acquired their current name, Peoria Chiefs, the following year. The league began splitting its season into two halves and expanded to 14 teams in 1988 with the addition of franchises in South Bend, Indiana, and Rockford, Illinois. During the 1990s several teams changed cities as Major League Baseball placed higher standards on minor league baseball facilities; franchises in smaller cities were sold to new owners who moved those teams to new ballparks in larger cities. Kenosha, Madison, Rockford, Springfield, Waterloo, and Wausau lost teams during this decade while Battle Creek, Dayton, Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids (West Michigan), Kane County, and Lansing gained teams.
The Fort Wayne TinCaps are the oldest franchise in the league, having begun as the Mattoon Indians in 1947 and playing in Keokuk, Iowa; Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin; and Kenosha, Wisconsin, before moving to Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1993. The Clinton LumberKings have been in one city longer than any Midwest League team, having called Clinton, Iowa, home since 1954.
On September 2, 2008, Minor League Baseball announced that two teams would transfer from the fellow Class A South Atlantic League to the Midwest League. These two teams are the Lake County Captains (an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians playing in Eastlake, Ohio) and the Bowling Green Hot Rods (an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays playing in Bowling Green, Kentucky).
The league plays a 140-game schedule that begins on the first Thursday in April and ends in early September, usually on Labor Day. The season is divided into two halves and accordingly each team's record is reset in the middle of the season. The two halves are separated by the Midwest League All-Star game. Players are selected from teams in each division, allowing the best members of the Eastern and Western divisions to face off against each other.
Since 2000 it has been divided into an Eastern Division and a Western Division, with four teams from each division qualifying for the first round of playoffs. The two teams with the best record from each division in each half of the season are awarded these eight playoff spots. The first two rounds of playoffs are best-of-three series; the league championship series is a best-of-five.
Midwest League presidentsEdit
- 1947–1948: Howard V. Millard
- 1949–1962: C.C. "Dutch" Hoffman
- 1963–1964: Walter C. Wagner
- 1965: Jim Gruenwald
- 1966–1973: James Doster
- 1974–1985: Bill Walters
- 1986: Ed Larson
- 1987–present: George Spelius
- 1 Hosted 2011 Midwest League All-Star Game
- 2 Hosted 2012 Midwest League All-Star Game
- 3 Hosted 2013 Midwest League All-Star Game
Current team rostersEdit
Midwest League teams since 1956Edit
- Bowling Green Hot Rods (2010-present)
- Burlington Bees (1962-1981, 1993-present)
- Cedar Rapids Kernels (1993-present)
- Clinton LumberKings (1994-present)
- Danville Warriors (1970-1976)
- Dayton Dragons (2000-present)
- Decatur Commodores (1956-1974)
- Dubuque Packers (1956-1967, 1974-1976; second franchise relocated from Quincy, Illinois)
- Dubuque Royals (1968)
- Fort Wayne TinCaps (2009-present)
- Great Lakes Loons (2007-),based in Midland, Michigan
- Kane County Cougars (1991-present), based in Geneva, Illinois
- Kokomo Dodgers (1956-1961)
- Lake County Captains (2010-present)
- Lansing Lugnuts (1996-present)
- Michigan City White Caps (1956-1959)
- Paris Lakers (1956-1959)
- Quad Cities River Bandits (2008-present), based in Davenport, Iowa
- Quincy Cubs (1965-1973); franchise moved to Dubuque, Iowa, after the 1973 season
- List of Midwest League champions
- List of attendance figures at domestic professional sports leagues — the Midwest League's attendance in a worldwide context
- Baseball awards #U.S. minor leagues