Independent League Baseball In 1987

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Most people generally consider independent baseball leagues, as we know them today, to have started in 1993 with the Northern League and Frontier League.  In actuality, professional independent league baseball has an interesting history.  Many independently-owned teams were playing in the affiliated minor leagues throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s.


Other independent leagues existed in the earlier days of baseball before the formal structure of Minor League Baseball, as we know it.  One unique piece of history, however, is the Empire State League.  The league had 4 teams playing in one location (Long Island, NY) in 1987.

While it was not exactly as we know independent baseball today, it served as a catalyst for the 1993 inception which then spawned 20+ leagues and over 250 teams.  Here is background on the Empire State League:

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There are several good books about the independent professional baseball leagues. You are welcome to see a list of suggestions through this link: Books

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