Atlantic League

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Atlantic League

Atlantic League 1998.png

Founded 1998
No. of teams 8
Country Flag of United States United States
Current champions Sugar Land Skeeters
Official website AtlanticLeague.com

The current Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, based in Camden, New Jersey, is a professional, independent baseball organization located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic United States, especially the greater metropolitan areas of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. It operates in cities not served by Major or Minor League Baseball teams and is not affiliated with either. The Atlantic League requires cities to have the market for a 4,500 to 7,500 seat ballpark and for the facility to be maintained at or to exceed AAA standards.

In the spring of 2019, the league reached an agreement with Major League Baseball to experiment with some potential rule changes, in order to judge their effect with experienced ballplayers putting them into practice. These included having all balls and strikes called by computer; tinkering with the distance between home plate and first base by shortening it by 3 inches, a result of using larger bases; and increasing the distance between the mound and home plate by 2 feet in the second half of the season, to 62' 6". There would also be a rule to restrict the use of defensive shifts in the infield and another forcing relief pitchers to face a minimum of three batters or complete the half inning before being replaced, unless injured. The role of the home plate umpire on pitches will be limited to overruling the system in case a ball bounced in front of home plate and through the strike zone, or to make rulings on checked swings. The experiment was originally slated to start on opening day, April 25th, but a couple of weeks before that, it was announced that the introduction of the changes would be delayed, with the computerized strike zone only being implemented gradually during the course of the year, and the other changes waiting until the 2020 season. The automatic strike zone came into effect with the start of 2019 season's second half, in mid-July. They also introduced a variation on the dropped third strike rule that allows the batter to "steal" first base on any count if the ball strays far enough from the catcher for him to reach the base safely.

There have been three Atlantic Leagues in baseball history.

Minor League 1896-1900[edit]

The first Atlantic League lasted from 1896-1900 and was the successor of the Pennsylvania State League 1892-1895.

Cities Represented[edit]

In 1896 New Haven moved to Lancaster on July 3rd, while New York was expelled on July 13th and replaced by Philadelphia. In 1899 Paterson disbanded on July 4th, and Scranton followed on July 9th. In 1900 Philadelphia moved to Harrisburg, and Newark and Jersey City disbanded on June 2nd. The league disbanded on June 12th.

Teams & Statistics[edit]

Years[edit]

1896
President: Samuel B. Crane

Team Standings W L PCT GB Managers
Newark Colts 82 61 .573 - Oyster Burns
Hartford Bluebirds 73 56 .566 1 Billy Barnie
Paterson Silk Weavers 74 60 .552 3.5 Ed Barrow
New York Metropolitans / Philadelphia Athletics # 57 69 .452 13 John Irwin / Bill Sharsig
Wilmington Peaches 58 79 .423 20 Danny Long
New Haven Texas Steers @ 21 38 .356 NA Ted Sullivan
Lancaster Maroons $ 26 30 .464 NA Frank Rinn

@ New Haven disbanded July 12
$ Lancaster entered the league July 13
# New York (30-32) was expelled July 13 and was replaced by Philadelphia; first home game July 13
Soby Cup Playoff: Paterson 5 games, Hartford 2

Player Statistics
Player Team Stat Tot Player Team Stat Tot
John Newell Wilmington BA .391 Tom Vickery Hartford W 34
Rasty Wright Newark Runs 163 Jerry Nops Wilmington SO 199
Rasty Wright Newark Hits 189 Tom Vickery Hartford Pct 34-19 .642
John Rothfuss Newark HR 13
John Rothfuss Newark SB 87


1897
President: Ed Barrow

Team Standings W L PCT GB Managers
Lancaster Maroons 90 45 .667 - Frank Rinn
Newark Colts 89 52 .631 4 George Ellis
Hartford Bluebirds 78 55 .586 11 Oyster Burns
Richmond Bluebirds 71 59 .546 16.5 Jake Wells
Norfolk Jewels 66 72 .478 25.5 William A. Smith
Paterson Silk Weavers 68 79 .463 28 Charles McKee
Philadelphia Athletics 49 89 .355 43 Bill Sharsig
Reading Coal Heavers 40 100 .286 53 Danny Long
Player Statistics
Player Team Stat Tot Player Team Stat Tot
Rasty Wright Newark BA .372 William Carrick Newark W 31
Hal O'Hagan Newark Runs 150 Sam Leever Richmond SO 179
Hal O'Hagan Newark Hits 202 Joe Yeager Lancaster Pct 28-9 .757
Socks Seybold Lancaster HR 14
Charles Cavelle Hartford SB 71


1898
President: Ed Barrow

Team Standings W L PCT GB Managers
Richmond Bluebirds 77 44 .636 - Jake Wells
Lancaster Maroons 82 50 .621 0.5 Frank Rinn / Pierce Chiles / Carl McVey
Reading Coal Heavers 72 56 .563 8.5 John Newell
Paterson Silk Weavers 65 70 .481 19 Sam Laroque
Allentown Peanuts 55 67 .451 25.5 Bill Sharsig
Newark Colts 58 71 .450 26 Oyster Burns
Hartford Cooperatives 57 76 .429 29 Bill Traffley / Mike Roach
Norfolk Jewels 47 79 .373 35.5 Charley Jewell
Player Statistics
Player Team Stat Tot Player Team Stat Tot
Pat Meaney Newark BA .330 Edward Fertsch Reading W 28
John Buttermore Lancaster Runs 118 Ned Garvin Reading W 28
Pierce Chiles Lancaster Hits 184 Harry Wilhelm Lancaster Pct 20-5 .800
Socks Seybold Richmond HR 17
Piggy Ward Lancaster SB 59


1899
President: Ed Barrow

Team Standings W L PCT GB Managers
Richmond Bluebirds 63 25 .716 - Jake Wells
Wilkes-Barre Coal Barons 49 37 .570 13 Dan Shannon / William Goeckel
Lancaster Maroons 51 42 .548 14.5 Carl McVey
Reading Coal Heavers 46 40 .535 16 Frank Rinn
Allentown Peanuts 37 47 .440 24 Bill Sharsig
Newark Colts 42 54 .438 25 Jim Field / Jack Chapman / Abner Powell
Scranton Miners $ 25 38 .397 NA Martin Swift
Paterson Giants # 21 51 .292 NA Rasty Wright / Jack Thornton / Ed Barrow / Abner Powell
Player Statistics
Player Team Stat Tot Player Team Stat Tot
Jack Thornton Paterson/Newark BA .379 Harry Wilhelm Lancaster W 21
John Buttermore Lancaster Runs 83 Case Patten Wilkes-Barre SO 101
Piggy Ward Lancaster Hits 136 Ned Garvin Reading Pct 14-3 .824
Socks Seybold Richmond HR 11
Louis Lippert Scranton SB 41


1900
President: Horace Fogel

Team Standings W L PCT GB Managers
Scranton Miners 26 7 .788 - Walter Burnham
Wilkes-Barre Coal Barons 24 13 .649 4 Bill Clymer
Reading Coal Heavers 16 16 .500 9.5 Ben Fleishman
Allentown Peanuts 14 20 .412 12.5 Bill Sharsig
Philadelphia Athletics / Harrisburg @ 10 17 .370 13 Duff Cooley
Elmira Pioneers 11 19 .367 13.5 George Sayers
Newark Colts # 8 12 .400 NA John Irwin
Jersey City # 7 12 .368 NA Samuel Mills

@ Philadelphia (10-11) transferred to Harrisburg; first game June 4
# Newark and Jersey City disbanded June 2
The league disbanded June 14

Player Statistics
Player Team Stat Tot Player Team Stat Tot
Joe Delahanty Allentown BA .469 Dan Kerwin Scranton W 8
Fred Ketcham Wilkes-Barre Runs 49 Frank Owen Wilkes-Barre W 8
Joe Delahanty Allentown Hits 67 Frank Owen Wilkes-Barre SO 41
Fred Ketcham Wilkes-Barre Hits 67 Bill Milligan Scranton Pct 7-0 1.000
John Burns Wilkes-Barre HR 4
Bill Clymer Wilkes-Barre HR 4
Fred Ketcham Wilkes-Barre HR 4

Hall of Fame Alumni[edit]


Minor League, 1914, 1916[edit]

In 1914 there was a class D league known as the Atlantic League. The league had been known as the New York-New Jersey League in 1913. The title was won by the Poughkeepsie Honey Bugs. Internal politics and poor financial agreements hindered the league, which made it to the year's end, but folded before it could try another run in 1915. The league operated once again in 1916 before again disbanding on June 24th.

Cities Represented[edit]

Teams & Statistics[edit]

Years[edit]

1914
President: Rosslyn M Cox

Team Standings W L PCT GB Managers
Poughkeepsie Honey Bugs 65 31 .677 - Bill McCabe
Newark Cubans / Long Branch Cubans # 59 32 .648 3.5 Ricardo Henriquez
Middletown Middies 47 45 .511 16 Jack Lawler
Danbury Hatters 49 48 .505 16.5 Tom Guiheen
Perth Amboy Pacers 44 49 .473 19.5 Bob Ganley / Henry Ramsey
Newburgh Hill Climbers 40 48 .455 21 Andrew Marshall / Todd Waterman
Paterson Silk Weavers 32 54 .372 28.5 Richard Cogan
Bloomfield-Long Branch Cubans / Asbury Park Sea Urchins $ 30 59 .337 31.5 Sam Jaeger

# Newark (26-11) moved to Long Beach June 29
$ Bloomfield-Long Branch (15-22) moved to Asbury Park July 2

Player Statistics
Player Team Stat Tot Player Team Stat Tot
Angel Aragon Long Beach BA .443 Jim Clinton Poughkeepsie W 15
Joe McCarthy Poughkeepsie Runs 83 Andy Coakley Asbury Park SO 138
William Duggan Poughkeepsie Hits 120 Jim Clinton Poughkeepsie Pct 15-1 .937
Jim Elcock Newburgh HR 7



Independent League, 1998-present[edit]

Since 1998, an independent league named the Atlantic League has been in operation. One of the strongest independent loops, it is based on the east coast (as its name implies) and has featured many ex-big leaguers like Rickey Henderson, Jose Canseco, Ruben Sierra and Tim Raines Sr. The league has also been home to players who opted for the indies instead of signing right after being drafted - such as Scott Boras clients Stephen Drew and Jered Weaver. The league added one new team and lost one in 2007; the York Revolution of York, PA joined the circuit and the Atlantic City Surf moved to the Canadian-American Association. In 2008, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of Waldorf, MD began play as well.

In 2014, he league introduced a set of special rules in mid-season in order to speed up play. Those included issuing intentional walks automatically (i.e. without the need to throw four pitches outside the strike zone); reducing the number of warm-up pitches allowed; designating courtesy runners for catchers to allow them to put on their equipment in preparation for the next half-inning; and reducing the number of mound visits allowed. Umpires were also instructed to do a better job of moving the game along. The rule about pinch-running for catchers was quickly dropped, as it was found to be potentially counter-productive.

Current Teams[edit]

2019 Atlantic League Teams
Freedom Division Liberty Division
Team City Manager Team City Manager
Lancaster Barnstormers Lancaster, PA Ross Peoples High Point Rockers High Point, NC Jamie Keefe
Southern Maryland Blue Crabs Waldorf, MD Stan Cliburn Long Island Ducks Central Islip, NY Wally Backman
Sugar Land Skeeters Sugar Land, TX Pete Incaviglia New Britain Bees New Britain, CT Mauro Gozzo
York Revolution York, PA Mark Mason Somerset Patriots Bridgewater, NJ Brett Jodie

Cities Represented[edit]

League Champions[edit]

Year Winner Series Loser
1998 Atlantic City Surf 3-1 Bridgeport Bluefish
1999 Bridgeport Bluefish 3-0 Somerset Patriots
2000 Nashua Pride 3-0 Somerset Patriots
2001 Somerset Patriots 3-2 Newark Bears
2002 Newark Bears 3-0 Bridgeport Bluefish
2003 Somerset Patriots 3-2 Nashua Pride
2004 Long Island Ducks 3-0 Camden Riversharks
2005 Somerset Patriots 3-0 Nashua Pride
2006 Lancaster Barnstormers 3-0 Bridgeport Bluefish
2007 Newark Bears 3-1 Somerset Patriots
2008 Somerset Patriots 3-1 Camden Riversharks
2009 Somerset Patriots 3-1 Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
2010 York Revolution 3-0 Bridgeport Bluefish
2011 York Revolution 3-1 Long Island Ducks
2012 Long Island Ducks 3-2 Lancaster Barnstormers
2013 Long Island Ducks 3-2 Somerset Patriots
2014 Lancaster Barnstormers 3-0 Sugar Land Skeeters
2015 Somerset Patriots 3-1 Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
2016 Sugar Land Skeeters 3-0 Long Island Ducks
2017 York Revolution 3-0 Long Island Ducks
2018 Sugar Land Skeeters 3-2 Long Island Ducks

Further Reading[edit]

  • Emma Baccellieri: "How the Atlantic League Became MLB's Laboratory for the Future of Baseball", Sport Illustrated, July 25, 2019. [1]
  • Frank Bodani: "Baseball history made: Inside the debut of robot umpires", York Daily Record, July 10, 2019. [2]

External Link[edit]