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Continental League

From Academic Kids

The Continental League was a proposed third major league for baseball. The CL was the idea of New York City attorney William A. Shea, proposed in November of 1958, a year after the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers had moved to California. The league was formally announced in July 1959. Former Dodgers president Branch Rickey was named president of the Continental League. The CL would consist of eight teams: one in New York (the New York Mets) and seven others to be placed in cities that did not have Major League Baseball. The CL dissolved without playing a game, in August of 1960, after both the American League and the National League announced plans to expand by adding two teams each in new cities (i.e., ones without Major League Baseball).

Announced plans notwithstanding, the two established leagues reneged somewhat when push came to shove. The NL placed one of its expansion teams in Houston (the Houston Colt .45s), a CL city without an existing MLB team. Although the AL placed one of its expansion teams in an existing MLB city (Washington, DC), technically violating the promise to place teams in "new cities," the expansion Washington Senators replaced the original Senator team which relocated to Minneapolis-St. Paul (like Houston, a CL city without an existing MLB team) and became the Minnesota Twins.

With that, the NL then placed its other expansion team in New York, offering its tenth franchise to the owners of the CL Mets, who immediately accepted, effectively killing any attempt to revive the proposed league. The AL followed suit by placing its second expansion team in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Angels.

After all was said and done, the only "new" cities to get MLB teams in the wake of the Continental League's demise were Houston and Minneapolis-St. Paul. However, by 1993 Atlanta, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Denver, and Toronto would all be home to Major League Baseball teams, with Buffalo the only CL city that still lacks major league baseball.

William Shea, though his efforts to create a third major league are largely forgotten, is best known as the man for whom Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets since 1964, is named.

Cities of the Continental League

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