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Carolina League

Carolina League Sport BaseballFounded 1945No. of teams 8 Country(ies)  United StatesMost recent
champion(s) Frederick KeysOfficial website Official Website

The Carolina League is a minor league baseball affiliation which operates in the South Atlantic region of the United States. Before 2002, it was classified as a "High A" league, indicating its status as a Class A league with the highest level of competition within that classification, and the fifth step between Rookie ball and the major leagues. Although Minor League Baseball, the umbrella organization for minor leagues that are affiliated with Major League Baseball, has eliminated the distinction between High-A and other full-season A leagues, most major-league teams still use such leagues as a standard promotion step. A few draftees, generally those taken in the early rounds of the draft and those with significant college experience, will be assigned to a High-A team upon signing a professional contract, but most players do not reach the High-A level until their third or fourth year of professional play.

The organization that later became the Carolina League formed in 1945, just as World War II was ending, and consisted of only two teams based in southern Virginia. Historically, however, as many as 12 teams in a given year have competed for the Carolina League pennant, and most of the league's teams have represented towns and cities in North Carolina. Today, the league consists of eight teams in a region stretching from Delaware to South Carolina, and is divided into a Northern Division and a Southern Division. The division champions from the first half and second half of each season compete in a best-of-three divisional playoff, with the winners advancing to the best-of-five league championship, the winner of which receives the Mills Cup.

A few of the many Carolina League players who have gone on to star in the Major Leagues are: Johnny Bench (Peninsula, 1966), Wade Boggs (Winston-Salem, 1977), Barry Bonds (Prince William, 1985), Rod Carew (Wilson, 1966), Dock Ellis (Kinston, 1965), Dwight Evans (Winston-Salem, 1971), Dwight Gooden (Lynchburg, 1983), Andruw Jones (Durham, 1996), Chipper Jones (Durham, 1992), Willie McCovey (Danville, 1956), Joe Morgan (Durham, 1963), Dave Parker (Salem, 1972), Tony Pérez (Rocky Mount, 1962), Jorge Posada (Prince William, 1993), Darryl Strawberry (Lynchburg, 1981), Bernie Williams (Prince William, 1988), and Carl Yastrzemski (Raleigh, 1959).

Director and screenwriter Ron Shelton's 1988 film “Bull Durham,” starring Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins, and Susan Sarandon, depicted a fictionalized account of the Durham Bulls, at that time a Carolina League team (they have since become a Class AAA team in the International League). Before he began making films, Shelton had a five-year minor league career in the Baltimore Orioles' organization, which included a stint in the Carolina League.


Current teams

Division Team MLB Affiliation City Stadium Capacity Northern Frederick KeysBaltimore OriolesFrederick, MarylandHarry Grove Stadium5,400 Lynchburg HillcatsPittsburgh PiratesLynchburg, VirginiaCalvin Falwell Field2,000 Potomac NationalsWashington NationalsWoodbridge, VirginiaG. Richard Pfitzner Stadium6,000 Wilmington Blue RocksKansas City RoyalsWilmington, DelawareDaniel S. Frawley Stadium6,532 Southern Kinston IndiansCleveland IndiansKinston, North CarolinaGrainger Stadium4,100 Myrtle Beach PelicansAtlanta BravesMyrtle Beach, South CarolinaBB&T Coastal Field1 4,875 Salem AvalancheHouston AstrosSalem, VirginiaSalem Memorial Baseball Stadium6,300 Winston-Salem WarthogsChicago White SoxWinston-Salem, North CarolinaErnie Shore Field2 6,000
1 Hosting 2008 California/Carolina League All-Star Game.
2 To be replaced in 2009 by a new stadium currently unnamed

Current team rosters

Main article: Carolina League rosters

Carolina League Champions

(1) Series tied 2-2 when canceled because of Hurricane Floyd. Teams declared co-champions.

Complete team list (1945-present)

Composite Standings

(through 62 years)

Composite Standings

Team Years W L Pct. Titles Wilmington Blue Rocks14 1070 879 .549 4 Myrtle Beach Pelicans8 590 524 .530 2 Kinston Indians43 3137 2809 .528 6 Winston-Salem Warthogs62 4373 4265 .506 11 Lynchburg Hillcats41 2861 2812 .504 5 Frederick Keys26 1780 1818 .495 3 Salem Avalanche39 2599 2810 .480 4 Potomac Nationals29 1899 2118 .473 2

See also

External links

v • d • eCarolina League Northern Division Frederick KeysLynchburg HillcatsPotomac NationalsWilmington Blue RocksSouthern Division Kinston IndiansMyrtle Beach PelicansSalem AvalancheWinston-Salem Warthogs v • d • eProfessional baseballleagues Major leagues Current US & Canada: Major League Baseball: American League · National League
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