American Association of Independent Professional Baseball
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American Association of Independent Professional Baseball

American Association of Independent Professional Baseball
American Association.png
No. of teams12
CountriesUnited States
Most recent
Milwaukee Milkmen (2020)
Most titlesWinnipeg Goldeyes (3)
Official websiteOfficial website

The American Association of Independent Professional Baseball is an independent professional baseball league founded in 2005. It operates in the central United States and Canada, mostly in cities not served by Major League Baseball teams or their minor league affiliates. Joshua Schaub is the league commissioner. League offices are located in Moorhead, Minnesota. Though a separate entity, the league shared a commissioner and director of umpires with the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball during that league's existence. The American Association of Independent Professional Baseball has 501(c)(6) tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service.[1] In 2020, the American Association, together with the Atlantic League and the Frontier League, became an official "MLB Partner League."[2]


The American Association was founded in October 2005 when the St. Paul Saints, Lincoln Saltdogs, Sioux City Explorers, and Sioux Falls Canaries announced they were leaving the Northern League. Around the same time, the Central Baseball League announced it was disbanding after four seasons. The Fort Worth Cats, Shreveport-Bossier Sports, Pensacola Pelicans, Coastal Bend Aviators, and El Paso Diablos joined the four former Northern League teams and the expansion St. Joe Blacksnakes to form the American Association as a ten-team league. The new league began play in 2006, with a 96-game schedule, which has since expanded to 100 games.

2008 saw the league lose the Blacksnakes and Aviators, with the Grand Prairie AirHogs and Wichita Wingnuts joining in their place. In 2011 and 2012 the league went through a significant shift. Fort Worth left the league to join United League Baseball, while Shreveport and Pensacola both relocated. The Pelicans moved to Amarillo, Texas and became the Amarillo Sox (later the Amarillo Thunderheads) while Shreveport, who had changed their name to the Shreveport-Bossier Captains, moved to Laredo, Texas and became the Laredo Lemurs. In addition, four more Northern League franchises (Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, Gary SouthShore RailCats, Kansas City T-Bones, and Winnipeg Goldeyes) joined the American Association as that league's stability came into question.

For the 2012 season, the American Association began interleague play with the Can-Am League.[3] The two leagues were both headquartered in Durham, North Carolina, and both had Miles Wolff as their commissioner. This was similar to interleague play in Major League Baseball, but American Association and Can-Am League were separate legal entities and had separate playoffs/championships.

At the end of the 2013 season, due to the Tucson Padres relocating to their city, the El Paso Diablos suspended operations. The team was eventually revived and relocated, operating as the Joplin Blasters. The Blasters ceased operations after the conclusion of the 2016 season.

On November 19, 2015, Miles Wolff announced that there would no longer be interleague play. It also was announced that for the Amarillo Thunderheads and Grand Prairie AirHogs would operate as a joint team, the Texas AirHogs, playing 25 games in Amarillo and 25 games in Grand Prairie to make up a 12-team league.[4][5] The team remained in Grand Prairie full-time in 2017, with the Cleburne Railroaders joining the league the same season. Shortly before the 2017 season, the Laredo Lemurs withdrew from the league.[6] They were temporarily replaced by the Salina Stockade from the Pecos League for the season. The Chicago Dogs joined for 2018 [7] and the Milwaukee Milkmen joined in 2019, replacing the Wichita Wingnuts, who folded.

In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the league announced that 6 of its 12 clubs would play an abbreviated 60-game season beginning on July 3, 2020.[8] Five stadiums were used for gameplay: Sioux Falls Stadium (hosting the Sioux Falls Canaries and St. Paul Saints during July), Newman Outdoor Field (hosting the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks and Winnipeg Goldeyes), Franklin Field (hosting the Milwaukee Milkmen), Impact Field (hosting the Chicago Dogs), and CHS Field (hosting the St. Paul Saints beginning in August). Players from non-participating teams will have the opportunity to be drafted by one of the six active clubs. A limited number of fans will be allowed to attend games, in accordance with local government guidelines and restrictions.

Business model

Typically the American Association recruits college, ex-major and ex-minor players. Former affiliated-league players that get injured or have other circumstances join the AA as an opportunity to get re-signed by major league organizations. Other players consist of college players who were not drafted into MLB, but seek the opportunity to be seen by major league scouts and possibly get signed by major league organizations. Other former MLB players join the AA as a way to stay involved in baseball after their career as a major league player, often as coaches and managers.

As of 2008, the salary cap for each team was $100,000, with a minimum salary of $800 per month.[9] The price of an expansion team is also about $750,000.[9] This is in stark contrast with the minor and major leagues. Former Commissioner Miles Wolff stated in an interview that "We have to pay the salaries of the players, which they don't in an affiliated [league]. It's a much riskier business. Just because of the longevity and tradition, we usually don't get the best cities, either, so some of the markets we're in are not great markets. But as I say, I think it's a better product."[9]


Current team locations:
  North Division
  South Division

Current teams

League timeline

Milwaukee MilkmenChicago DogsSalina Stockade (baseball)Cleburne RailroadersJoplin BlastersWinnipeg GoldeyesKansas City T-BonesGary SouthShore RailCatsFargo-Moorhead RedHawksWichita WingnutsTexas AirHogsGrand Prairie AirHogsSioux Falls CanariesSioux City ExplorersLaredo LemursShreveport-Bossier CaptainsSt. Paul SaintsSt. Joe BlacksnakesAmarillo ThunderheadsPensacola PelicansLincoln SaltdogsUnited League BaseballNorth American LeagueFort Worth CatsEl Paso DiablosCoastal Bend Aviators

League members Former Team

Former teams


All-Star Game

The American Association hosted an annual All-Star Game from 2006 to 2010. The league's first All-Star game was played in El Paso, Texas, on July 18, 2006, which pit a team of American Association All-Stars against an All-Star team from the Can-Am League. Its current format pits the all-stars from each division against each other. There was no All-Star game in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2018, or 2020.

Game results
  • 2006 - AA 5, Can-Am 3
  • 2007 - South 6, North 4
  • 2008 - South 11, North 4
  • 2009 - North 6, South 2
  • 2010 - South 12, North 3
  • 2011 - game cancelled
  • 2012 - game cancelled
  • 2013 - game cancelled
  • 2014 - South 7, North 0
  • 2015 - North 3, South 1
  • 2016 - North 6, South 1
  • 2017 - Can-Am 3, AA 2
  • 2018 - game cancelled
  • 2019 - North 7, South 3
  • 2020 - game cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Most Valuable Players

  • 2006 - Pichi Balet, (Lincoln Saltdogs)
  • 2007 - Jorge Alvarez, (El Paso Diablos)
  • 2008 - Beau Torbert, (Sioux Falls Canaries)
  • 2009 - Greg Porter, (Wichita Wignuts)
  • 2010 - Beau Torbert, (Sioux Falls Canaries)
  • 2011 - Lee Cruz, (Amarillo Sox)
  • 2012 - Nic Jackson, (Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks)
  • 2013 - C. J. Ziegler, (Wichita Wingnuts)
  • 2014 - Brent Clevlen, (Wichita Wignuts)
  • 2015 - Vinny DiFazio, (St. Paul Saints)
  • 2016 - Nate Samson, (Sioux City Explorers)
  • 2017 - Josh Romanski, (Winnipeg Goldeyes)
  • 2018 - Jose Sermo, (Sioux City Explorers)
  • 2019 - Keon Barnum, (Chicago Dogs)
  • 2020 - Adam Brett Walker II, (Milwaukee Milkmen)

League attendance

Year Total attendance Average Per Game Change from previous year avg
2006 1,296,936 2,819 n/a
2007 1,318,841 2,924 +105
2008 1,506,870 3,312 +388
2009 1,483,214 3,154 -158
2010 1,227,518 2,692 -462
2011 2,162,269 3,152 +460
2012 2,241,510 3,508 +356
2013 2,150,031 3,435 -73
2014 1,885,998 3,332 -103
2015 2,006,110 3,215 -117
2016 1,833,503 3,156 -59
2017 1,866,910 3,322 +166
2018 1,891,794 3,251 -71
2019 1,775,249 3,082 -169
2020 179,150 1,066 -2,016

See also


  1. ^ "Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax". American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. October 31, 2017.
  2. ^ "American Association, Frontier League now MLB Partner Leagues". Ballpark Digest. August Publishing. September 24, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ "RailCats release schedule, American Association announces crossover games with Can-Am League". NWI Times. November 30, 2011. Archived from the original on May 6, 2018.
  4. ^ "ThunderHeads, AirHogs to merge teams". Amarillo Globe-News. November 19, 2015. Archived from the original on March 1, 2016.
  5. ^ "American Association: 12 teams in 2016". Ballpark Digest. November 19, 2015. Archived from the original on June 2, 2017.
  6. ^ Gallardo, Yocelin (May 3, 2017). "Lemurs Owner Withdraws Team from League". Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ Reichard, Kevin (July 28, 2017). "New for 2018: Chicago Dogs". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved 2017.
  8. ^ "American Association unveils plans for 2020 season". Retrieved 2020.
  9. ^ a b c van der Horst, Roger (May 19, 2008). "All About Baseball: Wolff Happily Stays Independent". McClatchy-Tribune Business News. ProQuest 465137999. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ "AMERICAN ASSOCIATION of Independent Professional Baseball". Retrieved 2018.
  11. ^ "2018 American Association". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 2019.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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