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The Midwest League is a Minor League Baseball league established in 1947 and based in the Midwestern United States. A Class A league for most of its history, the league was promoted to High-A as part of Major League Baseball's 2021 reorganization of the minor leagues


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 the present 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.

The Southwest Michigan Devil Rays moved to Midland, Michigan, and became the Great Lakes Loons prior to the 2007 season.

On September 2, 2008, Minor League Baseball announced that two teams would be transferring 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 start of the 2020 season was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic before ultimately being cancelled on June 30.

As part of Major League Baseball's 2021 reorganization of the minor leagues, the Midwest League was promoted to High-A, reduced to 12 teams, and temporarily renamed the "High-A Central" for the 2021 season. Following MLB's acquisition of the rights to the names of the historical minor leagues, the High-A Central was renamed the Midwest League effective with the 2022 season.[1]

Season structure[]

The league plays a 140-game schedule that begins on the first Thursday in April and ends in early September, usually on Labor Day. Since 2000 it has been divided into an Eastern Division and a Western Division, with four teams from each division (the winners of each half of the season and one or two runners-up) qualifying for the first round of playoffs. The first two rounds of playoffs are best-of-three series; the league championship series is a best-of-five.

Midwest League presidents[]

  • 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

Current teams[]

Current teams[edit][]

Division Team MLB Affiliation City Stadium Capacity
East Dayton Dragons Cincinnati Reds Dayton, Ohio Day Air Ballpark 7,230
Fort Wayne TinCaps San Diego Padres Fort Wayne, Indiana Parkview Field 8,100
Great Lakes Loons Los Angeles Dodgers Midland, Michigan Dow Diamond 5,200
Lake County Captains Cleveland Guardians Eastlake, Ohio Classic Park 7,273
Lansing Lugnuts Oakland Athletics Lansing, Michigan Jackson Field 9,500
West Michigan Whitecaps Detroit Tigers Comstock Park, Michigan LMCU Ballpark 9,281
West Beloit Sky Carp Miami Marlins Beloit, Wisconsin ABC Supply Stadium 3,850
Cedar Rapids Kernels Minnesota Twins Cedar Rapids, Iowa Veterans Memorial Stadium 5,300
Peoria Chiefs St. Louis Cardinals Peoria, Illinois Dozer Park 7,377
Quad Cities River Bandits Kansas City Royals Davenport, Iowa Modern Woodmen Park 7,140
South Bend Cubs Chicago Cubs South Bend, Indiana Four Winds Field at Coveleski Stadium 5,000
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Milwaukee Brewers Appleton, Wisconsin Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium 5,900

Current team rosters[]

Main article: Midwest League rosters

Midwest League teams since 1956[]

  • Burlington Bees (1962-1981, 1993-present)
    • Burlington Rangers (1982-1985)
    • Burlington Expos (1986-1987)
    • Burlington Braves (1988-1990)
    • Burlington Astros (1991-1992)
  • Cedar Rapids Kernels (1993-present)
    • Cedar Rapids Red Raiders (1962-1964)
    • Cedar Rapids Cardinals (1965-1972)
    • Cedar Rapids Astros (1973-1974)
    • Cedar Rapids Giants (1975-1979)
    • Cedar Rapids Reds (1980-1992)
  • Clinton LumberKings (1994-present)
    • Clinton Pirates (1956-1959)
    • Clinton C-Sox (1960-1965)
    • Clinton Pilots (1966-1976)
    • Clinton Dodgers (1977-1979)
    • Clinton Giants (1980-1993)
  • Danville Warriors (1970-1976)
  • Dayton Dragons (2000-present)
    • Rockford Expos (1988-1992)
    • Rockford Royals (1993-1994)
    • Rockford Cubbies (1995-1998)
    • Rockford Reds (1999)
  • Dubuque Packers (1956-1967, 1974-1976; second franchise relocated from Quincy, Illinois)
    • Dubuque Royals (1968)
  • Fort Wayne TinCaps (2009-present)
    • Mattoon Phillies (1956)
    • Mattoon Athletics (1957)
    • Keokuk Cardinals (1958-1961)
    • Keokuk Dodgers (April-August 1962)
    • Midwest Dodgers (August 1962), based in Dubuque, Iowa
    • Wisconsin Rapids Senators (1963)
    • Wisconsin Rapids Twins (1964-1983)
    • Kenosha Twins (1984-1992)
    • Fort Wayne Wizards (1993-2008)
  • Great Lakes Loons (2007-),based in Midland, Michigan
    • Springfield (IL) Cardinals (1982-1993)
    • Madison Hatters (1994)
    • Michigan Battle Cats (1995-2002)
    • Battle Creek Yankees (2003-2004)
    • Southwest Michigan Devil Rays (2005-2006), based in Battle Creek, Michigan
  • Kane County Cougars (1991-present), based in Geneva, Illinois
    • Decatur Commodores (1956-1974)
    • Wausau Mets (1975-1978)
    • Wausau Timbers (1979-1990)
  • Kokomo Dodgers (1956-1961)
  • Lansing Lugnuts (1996-present)
    • Lafayette Red Sox (1956-1957)
    • Waterloo Hawks (1958-1969)
    • Waterloo Royals (1970-1976)
    • Waterloo Indians (1977-1988)
    • Waterloo Diamonds (1989-1993)
    • Springfield Sultans (1994-1995)
  • Michigan City White Caps (1956-1959)
  • Paris Lakers (1956-1959)
  • Peoria Chiefs (1984-present)
    • Danville Suns (1982)
    • Peoria Suns (1983)
  • Quad Cities River Bandits (2008-present), based in Davenport, Iowa
    • Davenport Braves (1960)
    • Quad Cities Braves (1961)
    • Quad Cities Angels (1962-1976)
    • Quad City Angels (1976-1978, 1985-1991)
    • Quad City Cubs (1979-1984)
    • Quad City River Bandits (1992-2003)
    • Swing of the Quad Cities (2004-2007)
  • Quincy Cubs (1965-1973); franchise moved to Dubuque, Iowa, after the 1973 season
    • Quincy Giants (1960-1961)
    • Quincy Jets (1962-1963)
    • Quincy Gems (1964)
  • Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (1995-present), based in Grand Chute, Wisconsin
    • Appleton Foxes (1962, 1967-1994)
    • Fox Cities Foxes (1963-1966)

See also[]

  • List of Midwest League champions
  • Sports league attendances


External links[]