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Western League (defunct minor league)

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The Western League is a name given to several circuits in American minor league baseball. Its earliest progenitor, which existed from 1885 to 1899, was the predecessor of the American League. During the 20th century, there were four incarnations of the Western League, including a Class D loop that played from 1939-41 and an independent loop (outside of "organized baseball") that began play in 1995. This article, however, concentrates on the two Class A leagues that played from 1900-37 and from 1947-58.

The minor leagues went unclassified through 1901. From 1902 until 1911, Class A was the highest level in the minor leagues. In 1912, a new top tier, Class AA, was created; in 1936, a second tier, Class A1, came into being. In 1946, the Class AA leagues were renamed AAA, and the A1 loops were renamed AA. Thus the Western League - whose clubs were actually located in the Great Plains, Rocky Mountain States, the Upper Midwest and the Upper Southwest - was a top-level minor league until 1911, then two levels below Major League Baseball through 1935, and three steps removed in 1936-37 and when it was revived in 1947 during the post-war minor league baseball boom.

Its longest-serving franchise was located in Des Moines, Iowa, which joined the WL in 1900 and played continuously through 1937, when the league shut down during the Great Depression. Des Moines then rejoined the reborn Western circuit when Colorado Senator Edwin C. Johnson founded it in 1947; this team, a Chicago Cubs affiliate called the Des Moines Bruins, then played for the final 12 years of the league's existence.


Statistics for the Western League have been difficult to come by. Ryan Armbrust is attempting to retrieve and compile the league's individual statistics for players.[1] They will likely be published by SABR sometime in 2007.

1900 LeagueEdit

Teams in Denver, Colorado; Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Nebraska; Pueblo, Colorado; St. Joseph, Missouri; Sioux City, Iowa; all formed and created the new Western League.


Team NameRecord
Denver Grizzlies61-44
Des Moines Hawkeyes54-45
Sioux City Cornhuskers49-48
Omaha Omahogs51-53
St. Joseph Saints51-58
Pueblo Indians41-64


The teams in Pueblo and Sioux City folded. New teams in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and St. Paul, Minnesota, formed and joined the League. Teams from Kansas City, Missouri, and Minneapolis, Minnesota moved from the American League.

Team NameRecord
Kansas City Blues79-44
St. Paul Saints69-54
St. Joseph Saints69-58
Denver Grizzlies60-59
Omaha Omahogs61-62
Minneaplis Millers 56-62
Des Moines Hawkeyes48-75
Colorado Springs Millionaires45-73


The Minneapolis and St. Paul teams joined the American Association. New teams in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Peoria, Illinois, formed and joined the League.

Team NameRecord
Kansas City Blue Stockings82-54
Omaha Indians84-56
Milwaukee Creams80-54
Denver Grizzlies81-57
St. Joseph Saints71-68
Colorado Springs Millionaires63-75
Des Moines Midgets54-83
Peoria Distillers35-103


Team NameRecord
Milwaukee Creams83-43
Colorado Springs Millionaires76-52
Kansas City Blue Stockings65-61
St. Joseph Saints62-59
Denver Grizzlies61-70
Peoria Distillers57-69
Des Moines Undertakers55-76
Omaha Indians49-78


The teams in Milwaukee, Kansas City, and Peoria folded. the Sioux City, Iowa team from the Iowa-South Dakota League joined the League.

Team NameRecord
Omaha Packers90-60
Colorado Springs Millionaires85-58
Denver Grizzlies87-61
Des Moines Prohibitionists76-69
St. Joseph Saints53-93
Sioux City Soos45-98


The Colorado Springs team, with a record of 22-48, moved to Pueblo, Colorado on July 15, where they had a record of 30-44.

Team NameRecord
Des Moines Underwriters95-54
Denver Grizzlies92-58
Omaha Rourkes87-62
Sioux City Packers80-68
Colorado Springs Millionaires/Pueblo Indians52-92
St. Joseph Saints37-109


The St. Joseph team moved to the Western Association. A new team in Lincoln, Nebraska, formed and joined the League.

Team NameRecord
Des Moines Champions97-50
Lincoln Ducklings75-74
Omaha Rourkes73-74
Sioux City Packers69-81
Denver Grizzlies68-81
Pueblo Indians63-85


Team NameRecord
Omaha Rourkes84-63
Lincoln Treeplanters79-63
Des Moines Champs76-63
Denver Grizzlies67-75
Pueblo Indians65-73
Sioux City Packers56-90


Team NameRecord
Sioux City Soos88-57
Omaha Rourkes86-59
Lincoln Greenbackers74-73
Denver Grizzlies71-75
Pueblo Indians63-78
Des Moines Boosters54-94


Teams from Topeka, Kansas, and Wichita, Kansas, joined from the Western Association.

Team NameRecord
Des Moines Boosters93-59
Sioux City Soos94-60
Omaha Rourkes84-68
Topeka Jayhawks76-73
Wichita Jobbers71082
Denver Grizzlies69-82
Lincoln Greenbackers61-89
Pueblo Indians58-93


The Pueblo team folded. A new team in St. Joseph, Missouri, formed and joined the League.

Team NameRecord
Sioux City Packers108-60
Denver Grizzlies102-65
Lincoln Railsplitters95-71
Wichita Jobbers89-78
Omaha Rourkes84-82
St. Joseph Drummers76-91
Des Moines Boosters72-96
Topeka Jayhawks42-125


The Wichita team, with a record of 15-9, moved to Pueblo, Colorado on May 22, Their record there was 77-66.

Team NameRecord
Denver Grizzlies111-54
St. Joseph Drummers93-72
Wichita Jobbers/Pueblo Indians92-75
Omaha Rourkes85-80
Sioux City Packers85-80
Lincoln Railsplitters84-81
Topeka Kaws60-104
Des Moines Boosters49-113


The Pueblo team moved back to Wichita, Kansas.

Team NameRecord
Denver Grizzlies99-63
St. Joseph Drummers94-72
Omaha Rourkes92-71
Des Moines Boosters82-80
Lincoln Railsplitters83-81
Sioux City Packers74-85
Wichita Jobbers75-89
Topeka Jayhawks51-109

Denver defeated the Minneapolis team of the American Association 4 games to 1.


Team NameRecord
Denver Bears104-62
Des Moines Boosters93-72
St. Joseph Drummers89-78
Lincoln Greenbackers87-80
Omaha Rourkes79-86
Sioux City Packers73-92
Topeka Jayhawks73-92
Wichita Jobbers65-101

Milwaukee of the American Association defeated Denver 4 games to 2.


Wichita Jobbers renamed Wichita Wolves.

Team NameRecord
Sioux City Indians 105-60
Denver Bears96-72
St. Joseph Drummers89-75
Des Moines Boosters82-81
Lincoln Tigers81-87
Omaha Rourkes77-87
Topeka Jayhawks68-97
Wichita Wolves63-102

Indianapolis of the American Association defeated Denver 4 games to 2.


Team NameRecord
Des Moines Boosters87-53
Denver Bears82-55
Topeka Jayhawks75-63
Omaha Rourkes71-69
Lincoln Tigers70-69
Sioux City Packers66-68
Wichita Wolves57-80
St. Joseph Drummers43-94


The Wichita team, with a record of 58-84, moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado on September 10. Their record there was 2-10.

Team NameRecord
Omaha Rourkes92-57
Lincoln Tigers87-63
Sioux City Indians79-71
Denver Bears78-75
Des Moines Boosters75-75
Topeka Savages67-86
Wichita Wolves/Colorado Springs Millionaires57-94

Louisville of the American Association defeated Omaha 4 games to 1.


The Topeka team folded. A new team in Joplin, Missouri formed and joined the League. Colorado Springs moved back to Wichita. St. Joseph, with a record of 34-56, moved to Hutchinson, where their record was 32-24, on July 24. Sioux City moved to St. Joseph on August 5.

Team NameRecord
Des Moines Boosters84-62 (1st half winner)
Lincoln Links83-64
Sioux City Indians/St. Joseph Drummers80-66
Joplin Miners79-68
Omaha Rourkes73-75
St. Joseph Drummers/Hutchinson Wheatshockers66-80
Denver Bears 62-86
Wichita Wolves 61-87

Hutchinson defeated Joplin 3 games to none for the second half title. Des Moines defeated Hutchinson 4 games to 2 for the championship.


The Denver and Lincoln teams folded. New teams in Sioux City, Iowa, and Topeka, Kansas, formed and joined the League. Hutchinson, with a record of 14-19, moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on June 2, where they compiled a record of 19-18. Topeka, with a record of 19-13, moved to Hutchinson, Kansas, where they compiled a record of 18-18, on June 2. The League suspended operations on July 7 due to World War I.

Team NameRecord
Wichita Jobbers41-24
Topeka Kaw-nees/Hutchinson Salt Packers37-31
Des Moines Boosters36-31
Joplin Miners34-31
Omaha Rourkes33-32
Hutchinson Salt Packers/Oklahoma City Oklahomans
St. Joseph Saints30-38
Sioux City Indians22-42


The Hutchinson team folded. A new team was formed in Topeka, Kansas, and joined the League.

Team NameRecord
St. Joseph Saints78-57
Tulsa Oilers77-63
Wichita Jobbers75-65
Des Moines Boosters71-67
Oklahoma City Indians69-69
Sioux City Indians68-72
Joplin Miners57-78
Omaha Rourkes56-80

Tulsa lead St. Joseph 3 games to 1 in the championship series when the series was cancelled due to bad weather.


Team NameRecord
Tulsa Oilers92-61
Wichita Jobbers92-62
Oklahoma City Indians82-68
Omaha Rourkes76-77
St. Joseph Saints74-80
Joplin Miners73-81
Sioux City Packers63-88
Des Moines Boosters58-93


Team NameRecord
Wichita Witches106-61
Omaha Buffaloes95-73
Oklahoma City Indians93-75
Sioux City Packers81-83
St. Joseph Saints79-88
Joplin Miners76-91
Des Moines Boosters71-92
Tulsa Oilers65-103


Joplin moved to the Western Association. A new team formed in Denver, Colorado, and joined the League.

Team NameRecord
Tulsa Oilers103-64
St. Joseph Saints98-70
Wichita Wolves94-73
Omaha Buffaloes91-77
Sioux City Packers86-79
Oklahoma City Indians73-94
Denver Bears63-105
Des Moines Boosters61-107

Tulsa beat Mobile of the Southern Association 4 games to 1, with 1 tie


Team NameRecord
Oklahoma City Indians102-64
Tulsa Oilers101-67
Wichita Izzies100-68
Omaha Buffaloes92-74
Des Moines Boosters87-79
St. Joseph Saints65-101
Sioux City Packers59-105
Denver Bears59-107


Sioux City moved to the Tri-State League. Lincoln joined from the Nebraska State League.

Team NameRecord
Omaha Buffaloes103-61
Denver Bears100-67
Tulsa Oilers98-69
St. Joseph Saints86-79
Oklahoma City Indians82-86
Wichita Izzies79-88
Des Moines Boosters59-106
Lincoln Links57-108


Team NameRecord
Des Moines Demons98-70
Denver Bears97-71
Oklahoma City Indians88-76
Wichita Izzies80-84
St. Joseph Saints77-87
Omaha Buffaloes74-89
Tulsa Oilers75-91
Lincoln Links70-91


Team NameRecord
Des Moines Demons99-64
Oklahoma City Indians100-66
St. Joseph Saints89-75
Tulsa Oilers86-78
Denver Bears88-80
Omaha Buffaloes77-89
Lincoln Links64-101
Wichita Izzies58-108

Springfield of the Three-I League led Des Moines 3 games to 1 when the series was cancelled due to bad weather.


St. Joseph moved to the Western Association. A new team in Amarillo, Texas formed and joined.

Team NameRecord
Tulsa Oilers101-53
Wichita Larks91-63
Des Moines Demons82-72
Denver Bears77-75
Oklahoma City Indians68-86
Amarillo Texans66-87
Omaha Buffaloes66-88
Lincoln Links63-90

Waco of the Texas League beat Tulsa 3 games to 2, with 1 tie.


Lincoln moved to the Nebraska State League. A new team in Pueblo, Colorado, formed and joined the League.

Team NameRecord
Oklahoma City Indians95-67 (1st half winner)
Tulsa Oilers96-69 (2nd half winner)
Wichita Larks94-70
Pueblo Steel Workers85-78
Denver Bears81-84
Omaha Crickets71086
Amarillo Texans60-93
Des Moines Demons63-98

Tulsa beat Oklahoma City 4 games to 1, with 1 tie, for the championship.


Amarillo folded. The Topeka, Kansas team from the Western Association joined.

Team NameRecord
Tulsa Oilers95-66
Oklahoma City Indians85-68
Omaha Crickets81-75
Wichita Aviators77-79
Denver Bears73-81
Topeka Jayhawks75-85
Des Moines Demons72-86
Pueblo Steelworkers69-90


The Tulsa team folded. A new team formed in St. Joseph, Missouri and joined the League.

Team NameRecord
Wichita Aviators89-56
Omaha Packers76-66
Oklahoma City Indians79-71
Des Moines Demons77-71
Pueblo Braves75-75
Denver Bears74-74
Topeka Senators66-84
St. Joseph Saints53-92


Team NameRecord
Des Moines Demons94-51 (2nd half winner)
Wichita Aviators92-58 (1st half winner)
St. Joseph Saints79-64
Pueblo Braves76-69
Oklahoma City Indians70-80
Denver Bears64-77
Topeka Senators58-86
Omaha Packers49-97

Des Moines beat Wichita 4 games to 2 for the championship.


Topeka moved to the Western Association. The Tulsa team folded.

Team NameAffiliationRecord
Tulsa OilersPittsburgh Pirates98-48 (1st half winner)
Denver BearsSt. Louis Cardinals83-64
Oklahoma City Indians 83-67 (2nd half winner)
Des Moines Demons 71-72
St. Joseph Saints 72-75
Wichita AviatorsChicago Cubs63-86
Pueblo Braves 62-90
Omaha Packers 58-88

Oklahoma City beat Tulsa 2 games to 1 for the second half title. Tulsa beat Oklahoma City 4 games to none for the championship.


Denver & Pueblo folded. Oklahoma City and Tulsa moved to the Texas League. The teams from Hutchinson, Kansas and Springfield, Missouri joined from the American Association. New teams in Joplin, Missouri, and Topeka, Kansas, formed and joined the League. Wichita, with a record of 6-13, moved to Muskogee on June 6, keeping the Oilers name, where they had a record of 20-82. Hutchinson, with a record of 25-32, moved on July 7 to Bartlesville, where they had a record of 26-38.

Team NameAffiliationRecord
Des Moines Demons 81-47
St. Joseph Saints 77-47 (1st half winner)
Springfield CardinalsSt. Louis Cardinals73-50
Topeka SenatorsCincinnati Reds68-55 (2nd half winner)
Omaha Packers 63-61
Joplin MinersSt. Louis Browns55-69
Hutchinson Wheatshockers/Bartlesville BroncosDetroit Tigers51-70
Wichita Oilers/Muskogee Oilers 26-95

St. Joseph beat Topeka 4 games to 1. St. Joseph lost to the Davenport team from the Mississippi Valley League 4 games to 2.


Bartlesville, Joplin, Muskogee, and Springfield moved to the Western Association. The teams from Davenport, Iowa, and Rock Island, Illinois joined from the Mississippi Valley League. New teams in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Sioux City, Iowa formed and joined the League.

Team NameAffiliationRecord
Sioux City Cowboys 74-50 (1st half title tie)
Davenport Blue Sox 70-53 (2nd half winner)
Des Moines Demons 68-56 (1st half title tie)
St. Joseph Saints 65-56 (1st half title tie)
Topeka SenatorsCincinnati Reds59-64
Rock Island Islanders 58-65
Omaha Packers 49-73
Cedar Rapids Raiders 47-73

St. Joseph beat Sioux City 3 games to 1 in the first round of playoffs. Davenport beat Des Moines by the same number. In the championship, St. Joseph beat Davnport 4 games to 3.


Topeka folded. A new team in Keokuk, Iowa formed and joined the League. Omaha, with a record of 22-15, moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa on June 25, where they had a record of 33-31. Rock Island folded July 17. Council Bluffs folded August 27.

Team NameAffiliationRecord
Davenport Blue Sox 70-46
St. Joseph Saints 58-48
Des Moines Demons 58-55
Sioux City Cowboys 54-52
Cedar Rapids Raiders 53-57
Keokuk Indians 49-66
Omaha Packers/Council Bluffs Rails 55-46
Rock Island Islanders 19-46

Sioux City beat Davenport 3 games to none, and St. Joseph beat Des Moines 3 games to none, in the first round of the playoffs. St. Joseph beat Sioux City 4 games to 3 for the championship.


Keokuk and St. Joseph folded. New teams formed in Omaha, Nebraska, and Waterloo, Iowa, and joined the League. Omaha moved to Rock Island on August 18.

Team NameAffiliationRecord
Davenport Blue SoxBrooklyn Dodgers74-52 (1st & 2nd half winner)
Cedar Rapids RaidersSt. Louis Cardinals70-58
Des Moines Raiders 64-64
Omaha Robin Hoods/Rock Island Rocks 62-64
Sioux City Cowboys 61-64
Waterloo Hawks 50-79


Rock Island folded July 7.

Team NameAffiliationRecord
Cedar Rapids RaidersSt. Louis Cardinals78-38 (1st & 2nd half winner)
Waterloo Reds 61-55
Davenport Blue SoxBrooklyn Dodgers57-59
Des Moines DemonsSt. Louis Browns57-62
Sioux City CowboysDetroit Tigers50-63
Rock Island Islanders 20-46

Cedar Rapids and Waterloo moved to the Three-I League. Sioux City moved to the Nebraska State League. Davenport, Des Moines, and the League itself folded.

The Post-World War II League Edit

In addition to Des Moines, the 1947 Western League consisted of teams in Sioux City, Pueblo, Omaha, Denver, and Lincoln. All six clubs were affiliated with major league farm systems. The WL expanded to eight teams in 1950, but the encroachment of televised baseball and major league franchise shifts into former AAA cities hit the league hard. In 1955, the Western League's two strongest franchises, the Denver Bears and the Omaha Cardinals, were admitted to the AAA American Association.

The WL continued for four more seasons before folding in the autumn of 1958. Its last champion, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, attracted only 61,000 fans for the season.

For temas that played in the Western league from 1947 to 1958, see Western League (1947-1958)


  • Lloyd Johnson and Miles Wolff, editors. The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 1997 edition. Durham, N.C.: Baseball America.
  • Sumner, Benjamin Barrett. Minor League Baseball Standings: All North American Leagues, Through 1999. Jefferson, N.C.:McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0781-6


  1. Western League statistics. Western League statistics. The Pastime. Retrieved on 2006-11-01.

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