Appalachian League

From BR Bullpen


The Appalachian League was an Advanced Rookie-class minor league that began play in 1937, continued through World War II with only one year of inactivity in 1956, but was disbanded as part of the restructuring of the minor leagues after the Coronavirus pandemic wiped out what should have been its final season in 2020. It was replaced by a summer college league based in the same cities. From 1937 to 1962, it was Class D League.

Teams were located in the Appalachian regions of the states of Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. In its final seasons, the league operated as a ten-team circuit, with two divisions of five teams.

Earlier incarnations of the league had operated more centrally around Tennessee than later on, from 1911 to 1914 and 1921 to 1925, at the Class D level.

League Champions[edit]

Year Champion
1937 Pennington Gap Lee Bears
1938 Greeneville Burley Cubs
1939 Elizabethton Betsy Red Sox
1940 Johnson City Cardinals
1941 Elizabethton Betsy Red Sox
1942 Bristol Twins
1943 Bristol Twins
1944 Kingsport Cherokees
1945 Kingsport Cherokees
1946 New River Rebels
1947 New River Rebels
1948 Pulaski Counts
1949 Bluefield Blue-Grays
1950 Bluefield Blue-Grays
1951 Kingsport Cherokees
1952 Welch Miners
1953 Welch Miners
1954 Bluefield Blue-Grays
1955 Salem Rebels
1956 Not in operation
1957 Bluefield Dodgers
1958 Johnson City Phillies
1959 Morristown Cubs
1960 Wytheville Senators
1961 Middlesboro Senators
1962 Bluefield Orioles
1963 Bluefield Orioles
1964 Johnson City Yankees
1965 Salem Rebels
1966 Marion Mets
1967 Bluefield Orioles
1968 Marion Mets
1969 Pulaski Phillies
1970 Bluefield Orioles
1971 Bluefield Orioles
1972 Bristol Tigers
1973 Kingsport Royals
1974 Bristol Tigers
1975 Johnson City Cardinals
1976 Johnson City Cardinals
1977 Kingsport Braves
1978 Elizabethton Twins
1979 Paintsville Yankees
1980 Paintsville Yankees
1981 Paintsville Yankees
1982 Bluefield Orioles
1983 Paintsville Brewers
1984 Elizabethton Twins
1985 Bristol Tigers
1986 Pulaski Braves
1987 Burlington Indians
1988 Kingsport Mets
1989 Elizabethton Twins
1990 Elizabethton Twins
1991 Pulaski Braves
1992 Bluefield Orioles
1993 Burlington Indians
1994 Princeton Reds
1995 Kingsport Mets
1996 Bluefield Orioles
1997 Bluefield Orioles
1998 Bristol White Sox
1999 Martinsville Astros
2000 Elizabethton Twins
2001 Bluefield Orioles
2002 Bristol White Sox
2003 Elizabethton Twins
2004 Greeneville Astros
2005 Elizabethton Twins
2006 Danville Braves
2007 Elizabethton Twins
2008 Elizabethton Twins
2009 Danville Braves
2010 Johnson City Cardinals
2011 Johnson City Cardinals
2012 Elizabethton Twins
2013 Pulaski Mariners
2014 Johnson City Cardinals
2015 Greeneville Astros
2016 Johnson City Cardinals
2017 Elizabethton Twins
2018 Elizabethton Twins
2019 Johnson City Cardinals
2020 season canceled due to COVID-19

Cities Represented[edit]




Notable alumni[edit]

Hall of Fame[edit]

Eleven Appalachian League alumni have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame:

MLB Most Valuable Player[edit]

13 Appalachian League alumni have received the Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award:

Cy Young Award[edit]

10 Appalachian League alumni have received the Cy Young Award:

MLB Rookie of the Year[edit]

17 Appalachian League alumni have received the Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award:

Other notable alumni and league leaders[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Thomas Boswell: "Rookies in God's Country", in How Life Imitates the World Series, Penguin Books, New York, NY, 1982, pp. 120-126.
  • Sam Dykstra: "Appy League becoming collegiate wood-bat circuit: Former Rookie Advanced loop introducing changes for 2021 season",, September 29, 2020. [1]

Related Sites[edit]