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Pacific Coast League

From Academic Kids

For the high school sports league of this name, see Pacific Coast League (California).

The Pacific Coast League (PCL) is a minor league baseball league operating in the West and Midwest of the United States. It is one of two leagues, along with the International League, playing at the AAA level, which is the highest level below the American major leagues.

The PCL has a long tradition on the West Coast, with teams with evocative names such as the Hollywood Stars, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Oaks, Portland Beavers, Sacramento Solons, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Seals, and Seattle Rainiers.

Contents

History

A Near-Major League

In the early 20th century, the Pacific Coast League developed into one of the premier regional baseball leagues. With no Major League Baseball team existing west of St. Louis, the PCL was unrivalled as the vehicle for West Coast baseball. Although never recognized as a true major league, the quality of play was considered very high. Drawing from a strong pool of talent in the area, the PCL produced a number of star players, including Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Tony Lazzeri and Rube Waddell.

While many PCL stars went on to play in the major leagues, teams in the league were often successful enough that they could offer competitive salaries to avoid being outbid for their stars' services. In addition, the mild climate of the West Coast, especially in California, allowed the league to play longer seasons, sometimes starting in late February and ending as late as the beginning of December. This let players earn an extra month or two worth of pay and reduced the need to find offseason work.

The longer playing season also provided room for additional games on the schedule, giving team owners a chance at generating more revenue. Teams sometimes played over 200 games in a single season. One consequence is that a number of the all-time minor league records for season statistical totals are held by players from the PCL.

Sudden Decline

The league's success was disrupted in 1958 by the moves of the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles and the New York Giants to San Francisco. As a result, three of the PCL's flagship teams, the Los Angeles Angels, the Hollywood Stars, and the San Francisco Seals, were immediately forced to relocate to smaller markets. Additionally, the PCL did not benefit from the comparison with the major leagues, which now occupied the same territory and drew away much of the attention of its former fans. The league never recovered from this blow, and soon diminished in the public eye to nothing more than another minor league.

Recent Expansion

In 1997, the Pacific Coast League agreed to take teams from the disbanding American Association, which had operated in the Midwest. The league now stretches from western Washington to Middle Tennessee. The league is divided into two conferences, the American Conference and Pacific Conference; after a realignment for 2005 necessitated by the move of the Edmonton Trappers to Round Rock, Texas, each is divided into a Northern Division and the Southern Division. The Trappers' move also ended the league's presence in Canada; as recently as 1999 the league had teams north of the border in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, but they left for Sacramento in 2000, Albuquerque in 2003 and Round Rock in 2005 respectively.

Current member teams

American Conference

Northern Division

Southern Division

Pacific Conference

Northern Division

Southern Division

Pacific Coast League champions

Presidents of the PCL

  • 1903-1906 Eugene F. Bert
  • 1907-1909 J. Cal Ewing
  • 1910-1911 Judge Thomas F. Graham
  • 1912-1919 Allan T. Baum
  • 1920-1923 William H. McCarthy
  • 1924-1931 Harry A. Williams
  • 1932-1935 Hyland H. Baggerly
  • 1936-1943 William C. Tuttle
  • 1944-1954 Clarence H. Rowland
  • 1955-1955 Claire V. Goodwin
  • 1956-1959 Leslie M. O Connor
  • 1960-1968 Dewey Soriano
  • 1968-1973 William B. McKechnie, Jr.
  • 1974-1978 Roy Jackson
  • 1979-1997 William S. Cutler
  • 1998-Present Branch B. Rickey

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