|No. of teams||8|
|Current champions||Potomac Nationals|
|Official 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-five 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), Andy Pettitte (Prince William, 1993), 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.
The California League's Bakersfield Blaze have announced that the franchise will be moved to the Carolina League for 2010 . Another California League franchise would have to move to the Carolina League, although the second team's identity has not been determined, in order to keep both leagues at an even number of teams for scheduling purposes.
Current teams Current team locations Division Team MLB Affiliation City Stadium Capacity Northern Frederick Keys Baltimore Orioles (since 1982) Frederick, Maryland Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium 5,400 Lynchburg Hillcats Cleveland Indians (since 2015) Lynchburg, Virginia Calvin Falwell Field 4,281 Potomac Nationals Washington Nationals (since 2005) Woodbridge, Virginia G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium 6,000 Salem Red Sox Boston Red Sox (since 2009) Salem, Virginia Haley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark 6,300 Wilmington Blue Rocks Kansas City Royals (since 2007) Wilmington, Delaware Daniel S. Frawley Stadium 6,404 Southern Buies Creek Astros Houston Astros (since 2017) Buies Creek, North Carolina Jim Perry Stadium 1,000 Carolina Mudcats Milwaukee Brewers (since 2017) Zebulon, North Carolina Five County Stadium 6,500 Down East Wood Ducks Texas Rangers (since 2017) Kinston, North Carolina Grainger Stadium 4,100 Myrtle Beach Pelicans Chicago Cubs (since 2015) Myrtle Beach, South Carolina TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark 6,599 Winston-Salem Dash Chicago White Sox (since 1997) Winston-Salem, North Carolina BB&T Ballpark 5,500
Current team rostersEdit
- Main article: Carolina League rosters
Carolina League Champions Edit
(1) Series tied 2-2 when canceled because of Hurricane Floyd. Teams declared co-champions.
Complete team list (1945-present)Edit
Composite Standings Edit
(through 62 years)
|Wilmington Blue Rocks||14||1070||879||.549||4|
|Myrtle Beach Pelicans||8||590||524||.530||2|
|Salem Red Sox||39||2599||2810||.480||4|