North American League (baseball)
The North American League (officially known as the North American Baseball League) was an independent baseball league that began play in the 2011 season. The league consisted of a merger of three independent leagues, the Northern League of Illinois, United League Baseball of Texas, and the Golden Baseball League based in the Western United States and Western Canada and was a last-ditch effort to save the teams in said league. The league's chairman of the board was Dave Kaval, former CEO of Diamond Sports and Entertainment (owners of the now-defunct GBL), league president was Brian MacInnes and main board member was James C. Peters.
North American League logo
|No. of teams||10|
|San Rafael Pacifics|
After playing two seasons, the North American League folded.
Travel issues and division alignment
To keep travel costs from being a financial issue for the teams, in 2011 the league played in a division structure where teams played 75% of their 96-game schedule within their division and made just one lengthy roadtrip of 12 games outside their division. The season concluded with divisional playoffs followed by a North American Championship Series.
As of the 2012 season there was no inter division play. The North and United played all games within their own division. The only play outside the division was supposed to be a 3 out of 5 games for the North American Baseball League championship. The United Division refused to play a championship series.
The 2012 United Division championship series saw the Edinburg Roadrunners defeating the Fort Worth Cats, three games to none. In the North Division championship series, the San Rafael Pacifics topped Na Koa Ikaika Maui, two games to one.
Level of play
The roster rules allowed all teams to keep their existing players from 2010. The three predecessor leagues had contracts of 35 players purchased by Major League organizations in 2010. In addition, these three leagues placed half of the prospects on the Baseball America Top Indy Prospects List and six of the 14 players on the 2010 Baseball America All-Indy First Team.
Downfall of the league
On March 27, 2012, it was announced that Diamond Sports & Entertainment walked away as management of the league. As the 2012 season came to a close, the league finally folded due to financial instability and franchises withdrawing from the league.
Teams that played
|North American League|
|Abilene Prairie Dogs||1995||Abilene, Texas||Walt Driggers Field||900||Charter team. Had not played since 1999. Folded after the 2012 season.|
|Calgary Vipers||2005||Calgary, Alberta||Foothills Stadium||6,000||Charter team. Were members of Golden Baseball League at time of merger. Joined that league from Northern League in 2005. Folded in 2011.|
|Chico Outlaws||2005||Chico, California||Nettleton Stadium||4,200||Charter team. Two-time Golden Baseball League Champions. Folded in 2012, remnants of franchise now with the San Rafael Pacifics.|
|Edinburg Roadrunners||2001||Edinburg, Texas||Edinburg Stadium||4,000||Charter team. Rejoined United League Baseball in 2013, team has since folded.|
|Edmonton Capitals||2005||Edmonton, Alberta||Telus Field||10,000||Charter team. Founded as Edmonton CrackerCats in 2005. Was a member of Golden Baseball League at time of merger, having joined that league from Northern League in 2008. Team is currently inactive.|
|Fort Worth Cats||2001||Fort Worth, Texas||LaGrave Field||4,100||Charter team. Joined league from the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball after being a charter franchise of that league. Joined United League Baseball in 2013.|
|Hawaii Stars||2012||Hilo, Hawaii||Wong Stadium||3,500||Moved to Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs, have since folded.|
|Lake County Fielders||2009||Zion, Illinois||Fielders Stadium||7,000||Charter team. Folded in 2011 during the season as they were unable to make payroll and refused to appear at scheduled games.|
|McAllen Thunder||2011||McAllen, Texas||Edinburg Stadium||4,000||Charter team. Rejoined United League Baseball in 2013, have since folded.|
|Na Koa Ikaika Maui||2009||Wailuku, Hawaii||Maehara Stadium||2,500||Charter team. Played in Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs, have since folded.|
|Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings||1994||Harlingen, Texas||Harlingen Field||4,500||Charter team. Rejoined United League Baseball in 2013.|
|San Angelo Colts||2000||San Angelo, Texas||Foster Field||4,200||Charter team; Rejoined United League Baseball in 2013|
|San Rafael Pacifics||2011||San Rafael, California||Albert Park||1,200||Second and final NABL champions; Now playing in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs|
|Sonoma County Grapes||2012||Sonoma County, California||Traveling Team||N/A||Folded after one season|
Notes and references
- "It's Official: North American League Unveiled - Ballpark Digest". Ballpark Digest.
- NABL Staff, NABL website
- Gilbertson, Wes (November 19, 2010). "Merge a boost for Vipers". Calgary Sun.
- Williams, Clay (September 12, 2012). "Roadrunners Win 3rd League Championship". ValleyCentral.com. Harlingen, Texas: KGBT-TV.
- "Pacifics top Na Koa for division title". The Maui News. August 27, 2012.
- "Fielders join new professional North American League". lakecountyjournal.com.
- New for 2012: Hawaii Stars, Baseball Digest, May 7, 2012
- Collias, Robert (September 30, 2009). "Golden Baseball League plans to have Maui team in 2010". The Maui News. Archived from the original on July 25, 2011.
- Golden Baseball League Expands to Hawaii, GBL website, September 30, 2009
- "New For 2012: San Rafael Pacifics - Ballpark Digest". Ballpark Digest.
- New Sonoma County Travel Team To Be Named Grapes, IndependentBaseball.net, May 4, 2012
- New for 2012: Sonoma County Grapes, Baseball Digest, May 4, 2012