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Independent leagues

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An independent league is a minor league that is not affiliated with organized baseball. Teams are often stocked with young players who are unsigned by Major League Baseball organizations; however veterans have used the leagues as tools to get them back to the big leagues. While throughout much of the 19th century most leagues were independently operated, they were part of Organized Baseball and are not considered "independent leagues." This system all but died out beginning in the 1930s with the development of the farm system. The few leagues that remained independent after that were known as "outlaw leagues", with the Provincial League, based in Quebec, being the most famous of these until it folded in 1970.

The first successful modern independent league was the Northern League which was founded in 1993 by Miles Wolff. Also of note is the Mexican League, which while part of Minor League Baseball (formerly the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues), operates independent of the Major Leagues and is the highest level of Mexican domestic competition.


The Northern League and Frontier League both started play in 1993. he mid-1990s saw dozens of leagues start up with most failing. Only two leagues founded from in the decade following still survive, the Atlantic League, founded in 1998 and the Canadian-American Association, founded as the Northeast League in 1995. Since 2005, five new leagues have began play.

Current Leagues[edit]

Defunct Leagues[edit]