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Independent baseball leagues are professional baseball organizations located in the United States and Canada. They are not operated in conjunction with either a major league or an affiliated minor league. Independent leagues currently operating in the U.S. are the Frontier League, the Northern League, the Can-Am League, the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, the Golden Baseball League, the American Association, and United League Baseball. Arguably, the most famous and popular independent baseball team in North America is the St. Paul Saints of the American Association (formerly of the Northern League).

The Northern League and Frontier League both started play in 1993, and the Northern League's success paved the way for other independent leagues like the Texas-Louisiana League and Northeast League. The Atlantic League has had more marquee players than any other independent league, including José Canseco, Rickey Henderson, Ozzie Canseco, Rubén Sierra, Carlos Baerga, and John Rocker. The Northern League alumni include Leon "Bull" Durham, J. D. Drew, and Darryl Strawberry.

Independent leagues have flourished in Northeastern states, where dense populations can often support multiple franchises. Because they are not subject to the territorial limitations imposed on affiliated minor league teams, independent clubs can relocate as close to affiliated teams (and one another) as they choose to. For example, the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania cannot have an affiliated team because of its proximity to the Harrisburg Senators and the Reading Phillies. So the Atlantic League placed a team, called the Lancaster Barnstormers, to fill the void. Another example is the greater metropolitan area of New York City, where there are many independent teams: the New Jersey Jackals, Sussex Skyhawks, Bridgeport Bluefish, Newark Bears, Long Island Ducks, and the Somerset Patriots; and two affiliated teams: Brooklyn Cyclones and the Staten Island Yankees. Not only is the Kansas City area home to the major-league Kansas City Royals, but also, the independent-league Kansas City T-Bones. The Saints share a marketith the American League's Minnesota Twins; both teams have frequently worked together to promote baseball in the Upper Midwest. Even a major-league city can also have an independent team: The San Diego Surf Dawgs play in the same city as the San Diego Padres; in addition, the Surf Dawgs' home stadium is also named after former Padre Tony Gwynn.

In September and October of 2005, four teams of the Northern League, including the league's most potent drawing card, the St. Paul Saints, jumped to the new American Association, along with five teams of the southern Central League.

Current Independent Baseball Leagues[]

League Formed Logo Geographical Area
American Association of Independent Professional Baseball 2006 AmerAssoc Midwestern, Southeastern United States
Atlantic League of Professional Baseball 1998 AtlanticLeague Northeastern, Mid-Atlantic United States
Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball 2004 CanAmLeague Northeastern United States, Quebec
Frontier League 1993 FrontierLeague Midwestern United States, Western Pennsylvania
Golden Baseball League 2004 GoldenBaseball Western United States
Northern League 1993 NorthernLeague Northern United States, Western Canada
South Coast League 2006 SouthCoastLeague Southeastern United States
United League Baseball 2006 ULB Texas, Louisiana
Professional Baseball
Major League Baseball American LeagueNational League
Minor League Baseball *Triple A : International LeagueMexican LeaguePacific Coast League
Mexican League Affilates *Double A : Nothern Mexico League
  • Class A Advanced : Northwestern Mexico Baseball League
Winter *Affilliated: Arizona Fall LeagueDominican Winter Baseball LeagueMexican Pacific LeagueParallel LeagueeVenezuelan Professional Baseball League
  • Independent : Colombian Professional Baseball LeagueNicaraguan Professional Baseball LeaguePuerto Rico Baseball LeagueVeracruz Winter League
Defunct *Major :National AssociationAmerican AssociationUnion AssociationPlayer's League

Federal LeagueNegro League baseballAll-American Girls Professional Baseball LeagueContinental LeagueCuban LeagueNational Association of Base Ball Players

Japan Nippon Professional Baseball : Central LeaguePacific League
South Korea Korea Professional Baseball
Taiwan Chinese Professional Baseball League
China China Baseball League
Defunct Japanese Baseball LeagueTaiwan Major LeagueIsrael Baseball League
Italy Italian Baseball League
Netherlands Honkbal Hoofdklasse
Australia Australian Baseball
Defunct Australian Baseball (1989-1999)International Baseball League of AustraliaHawaii Winter Baseball