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Pioneer League
Current season, competition or edition:2023 Pioneer League season
Classification Independent
Sport Baseball
Founded 1939 (84 years ago)
President Mike Shapiro
Commissioner Jim McCurdy
No. of teams 10
Country United States
Most recent

champion(s)

Grand Junction Rockies (2022)
Most titles Billings Mustangs (15)
Official website www.pioneerleague.com

The Pioneer League is an independent baseball league that operates in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. Its teams are not directly affiliated with Major League Baseball (MLB). It is designated as an MLB Partner League.

From 1939 to 2020, the Pioneer League was affiliated with Minor League Baseball and its teams were affiliated with MLB teams. It operated as a Class C league from 1939 to 1942 and from 1946 to 1962. It was elevated to Class A for 1963 and was a Rookie-level league from 1964 to 2020.

History[edit][]

The Pioneer League began in 1939 with six teams in Idaho and Utah, operating at the Class C level. The original six teams were the Boise Pilots, Lewiston Indians, Ogden Reds, Pocatello Cardinals, Salt Lake City Bees, and Twin Falls Cowboys. With players in short supply due to World War II, the league suspended operations for the 1943 through 1945 seasons.

In 1948, the league expanded by adding two teams in Montana; the Billings Mustangs and Great Falls Electrics. In these early years, teams in the league either operated independently or were affiliated with Major League Baseball (MLB) or Pacific Coast League (PCL) parent clubs, as the PCL was attempting to grow (but ultimately failed) into a major league. When MLB's Los Angeles Dodgers displaced the PCL's Hollywood Stars in 1958, the Stars relocated and became the "new" Salt Lake City Bees, remaining in the PCL and taking away the Pioneer League's largest market.

By 1959, the Pioneer League was down to six teams; Billings and Great Falls along with the Boise Braves, Idaho Falls Russets, Missoula Timberjacks, and Pocatello Athletics. The league operated at the Class A level for one year (1963), before changing to Rookie league in 1964, when there were only four teams in the league; the Idaho Falls Angels, Magic Valley Cowboys, Pocatello Chiefs, and Treasure Valley Cubs. By 1978, the league had again grown to eight teams — Billings and Idaho Falls along with the Butte Copper Kings, Calgary Cardinals, Great Falls Giants, Helena Phillies, Lethbridge Dodgers, and Medicine Hat Blue Jays. With the exception of 1986 (when there were six teams), there have been eight teams in the league since then.

In 2016, total league attendance was 616,686, down slightly from the 2015 total of 633,622.

In its final years as an MLB-affiliated league, the Pioneer League was one of two "Rookie Advanced" minor leagues along with the Appalachian League. As such, it occupied the second-lowest rung in the minor league ladder. Although classified as a Rookie league, the level of play was slightly higher than that of the two "complex" Rookie leagues, the Gulf Coast League and Arizona League. Unlike the complex leagues, Pioneer League teams charged admission and sold concessions. It was almost exclusively the first fully professional league in which many players competed; most of the players had just been signed out of high school. It was a short-season league that competed from late June (when major league teams signed players whom they selected in the amateur draft) to early September.

After the 2018 season, the Helena Brewers relocated to Colorado Springs, Colorado, where they now play as the Rocky Mountain Vibes.

As the start of the 2020 season was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic before being cancelled on June 30, making the 2019 season the league's last as an MLB-affiliated league of Minor League Baseball.

In conjunction with the reorganization of Minor League Baseball in 2021, the Pioneer League was converted to an independent baseball league and was granted status as an MLB Partner League. The reconfigured league continued with the same franchises using the same identities, with the exception of the Orem Owlz who relocated to Windsor, Colorado, as the Northern Colorado Owlz. The Boise Hawks also joined the Pioneer League in 2021 after moving from the Northwest League.

The Pioneer League announced a five-year naming rights deal between the league and ticket vendor TicketSmarter that would have the league go as The Pioneer Baseball League presented by TicketSmarter starting in time for the 2022 season.

Current teams[edit][]

Current team locations:

Division Team Founded Joined City Stadium Capacity
Northern Billings Mustangs 1948 Billings, Montana Dehler Park 5,000
Glacier Range Riders 2021 2022 Kalispell, Montana Flathead Field 2,500
Great Falls Voyagers 1948 Great Falls, Montana Centene Stadium 2,500
Idaho Falls Chukars 1940 Idaho Falls, Idaho Melaleuca Field 3,400
Missoula PaddleHeads 1999 Missoula, Montana Ogren Park at Allegiance Field 3,500
Southern Boise Hawks 1987 2021 Boise, Idaho Memorial Stadium 3,452
Grand Junction Jackalopes 1978 Grand Junction, Colorado Suplizio Field 7,014
Northern Colorado Owlz 2001 2022 Windsor, Colorado Future Legends Complex 6,000
Ogden Raptors 1994 Ogden, Utah Lindquist Field 8,262
Rocky Mountain Vibes 2019 Colorado Springs, Colorado UCHealth Park 8,500


New Teams

Oakland -2024

Davis, Ca- 2024

Pioneer League[]

Pioner League Teams (1939–present[]

Bold text indicates active teams.

  • Billings Mustangs
  • Boise Braves
  • Boise Hawks
  • Boise Pilots
  • Boise Yankees
  • Butte Copper Kings
  • Caldwell Cubs
  • Calgary Cardinals
  • Calgary Expos
  • Casper Ghosts
  • Casper Rockies
  • Gate City Pioneers
  • Glacier Range Riders
  • Great Falls Dodgers
  • Great Falls Electrics
  • Great Falls Giants
  • Great Falls Selectrics
  • Great Falls Voyagers
  • Great Falls White Sox
  • Grand Junction Jackalopes
  • Grand Junction Rockies
  • Helena Brewers
  • Helena Gold Sox
  • Helena Phillies
  • Idaho Falls A's
  • Idaho Falls Angels
  • Idaho Falls Braves
  • Idaho Falls Chukars
  • Idaho Falls Gems
  • Idaho Falls Nuggets
  • Idaho Falls Padres
  • Idaho Falls Russets
  • Idaho Falls Yankees
  • Lethbridge Black Diamonds
  • Lethbridge Dodgers
  • Lethbridge Expos
  • Lethbridge Mounties
  • Lewiston Indians
  • Magic Valley Cowboys
  • Medicine Hat A's
  • Medicine Hat Blue Jays
  • Missoula Osprey
  • Missoula PaddleHeads
  • Missoula Timberjacks
  • Northern Colorado Owlz
  • Ogden Dodgers
  • Ogden Raptors
  • Ogden Reds
  • Ogden Spikers
  • Orem Owlz
  • Pocatello A's
  • Pocatello Bannocks
  • Pocatello Cardinals
  • Pocatello Chiefs
  • Pocatello Gems
  • Pocatello Giants
  • Pocatello Pioneers
  • Pocatello Posse
  • Provo Angels
  • Rocky Mountain Vibes
  • Salt Lake City Bees
  • Salt Lake City Giants
  • Salt Lake City Trappers
  • Treasure Valley Cubs
  • Twin Falls Cowboys

Teams by city[edit][]

Teams by city
City, State or Province Team(s) Years Seasons
Billings, Montana Mustangs 1948–1963, 1969–present 69
Boise, Idaho Braves, Hawks, Pilots, Yankees 1939–1942, 1946–1963, 2021–present 24
Butte, Montana Copper Kings 1978–1985, 1987–2000 22
Caldwell, Idaho Cubs, Treasure Valley Cubs 1964–1971 8
Calgary, Alberta Cardinals, Expos 1977–1984 8
Casper, Wyoming Ghosts 2001–2011 11
Colorado Springs, Colorado Rocky Mountain Vibes 2019–present 3
Great Falls, Montana Dodgers, Electrics, Giants, Selectrics, Voyagers, White Sox 1948–1963, 1969–present 69
Grand Junction, Colorado Rockies, Jackalopes 2012–present 10
Helena, Montana Brewers, Gold Sox, Phillies 1978–2000, 2003–2018 29
Idaho Falls, Idaho A's, Angels, Braves, Chukars, Gems, Nuggets, Padres, Russets, Yankees 1940–1942, 1946–present 79
Kalispell, Montana Range Riders 2022–present 1
Lethbridge, Alberta Black Diamonds, Dodgers, Expos, Mounties 1975–1998 24
Lewiston, Idaho Indians 1939 1
Medicine Hat, Alberta A's, Blue Jays 1977–2002 26
Missoula, Montana Osprey, PaddleHeads, Timberjacks 1956–1960, 1999–2019, 2020–present 28
Ogden, Utah Dodgers, Raptors, Reds, Spikers 1939–1942, 1946–1955, 1966–1974, 1994–present 51
Orem, Utah Owlz 2005–2020 15
Pocatello, Idaho A's, Bannocks, Cardinals, Chiefs, Gems, Giants, Pioneers, Gate City Pioneers, Posse 1939–1942, 1946–1965, 1984–1985, 1987–1991, 1993 32
Provo, Utah Angels 2001–2004 4
Salt Lake City, Utah Bees, Giants, Trappers 1939–1942, 1946–1957, 1967–1969, 1985–1992 27
Twin Falls, Idaho Cowboys, Magic Valley Cowboys 1939–1942, 1946–1957, 1961–1966, 1968–1971 36
Windsor, Colorado Northern Colorado Owlz 2022–present 1
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