About the League

About The League

American Association of Independent Professional Baseball The American Association is one of the great names in the history of baseball leagues in the United States. The first American Association was formed in 1902 as an independent minor league for the larger cities in the Midwest. The original members of the league were the St. Paul Apostles, the Minneapolis Millers, the Kansas City cowboys, the Toledo Mud Hens, the Indianapolis Indians, the Louisville Colonels, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Columbus (OH) Senators. The following year, the American Association joined the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (the minor league organization), and for the next half century, the league was arguably the most influential minor league in all of baseball.

Great players such as Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, and Willie Mays starred in league ballparks, and the Junior World Series was a major event in the U.S. sporting world. In 1944, more than 50,000 fans showed up for a crucial JWS game between Louisville In 1953, major league baseball saw the first movement of franchises since the turn of the century as the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee.

Over the next decade, the American Association would also lose Kansas City, Minneapolis, and St. Paul to major league baseball. At the same time, minor league baseball was going through a serious decline. In earlier years, minor league teams could work without a major league working agreement, but the economics of minor league baseball had changed. It was now imperative to have a major league agreement for the team’s survival, but the major leagues were streamlining their lists of affiliates. The advent of television, air conditioning, and suburbia were also a factor in the decline of the minors, and in 1963, the American Association would close its doors.

The Pacific Coast League and the International League absorbed the surviving minor league teams. In 1969, the American Association returned as the expansion of major league baseball created a need for more Class AAA farm clubs. The original six members of the returning Association were the Indianapolis Indians, the Omaha Royals, the Tulsa Oilers, the Denver Bears, the Iowa Oaks, and the Oklahoma City 89ers. The following year the league would go to eight clubs with the addition of Wichita and Evansville. The league remained fairly stable until 1997 when minor league baseball decided to realign and the American Association would again be dropped. As in the prior demise of the league, teams would be absorbed by the other two AAA leagues.

In the fall of 2005, the possibility of a revival of the American Association was discussed. Teams from two independent leagues, the Northern League and the Central League, proposed coming together to form a “super” independent league. Two of the cities in the discussions, St. Paul and Fort Worth, had been members of the old American Association, and the geography was similar to that of the original league.

With the history and precedent set by its namesake, the American Association of Independent Baseball was formed on October 11, 2005.