Northern League (baseball)

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The Northern League, based in Chicago, is an independent baseball league which operates in the Northern United States, affiliated with neither Major League Baseball nor the organized minor leagues.

The Northern League exists so that professional baseball players who are not signed by a Major or Minor League organization could have another chance at playing at a higher level. Although the level of Northern League play can be categorized as between A and AA[citation needed], players in independent baseball are usually not scouted heavily by Major League teams. Many Major League alumni have called Northern League teams home in an effort get back to the Majors.

In response to recent league stability issues, there have been reports that the Northern League may combine with the Golden Baseball League and United League Baseball into a new North American League for the 2011 season. [1]



The current incarnation was created in 1993 through the efforts of the first commissioner Miles Wolff. Wolff started the league after many midwestern cities contacted him (through his affiliation with Baseball America) asking how they could get a minor league team. After visiting some of them, most notably Wade Stadium in Duluth, he started contacting potential owners to start the league.

The league started in 1993 with 6 teams: Duluth-Superior Dukes (Duluth, Superior WI), Rochester Aces (Rochester, Minnesota), St. Paul Saints (St. Paul, Minnesota), Sioux Falls Canaries (Sioux Falls, South Dakota), Sioux City Explorers (Sioux City, Iowa) and Thunder Bay Whiskey Jacks (Thunder Bay, Ontario). The prospects for the league were originally "cloudy." Many forecast an early demise especially in St. Paul where competition with the Minnesota Twins led many local sportswriters to consider it a "beer league."

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