Independent Baseball History – Why It Is Important For Today’s Players

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Also, be sure to get actual and print-on-demand memorabilia and merchandise from independent baseball teams (active and now defunct) starting at this link: Go Here

Many of today’s independent baseball players and new front office staff members are not aware of independent baseball’s history across North America.  IndependentBaseball.net believes that the lack of understanding the industry’s history hurts everybody, including the players themselves.


The reasons for this are plentiful:

  • Sports which are popular today have to thank their historical recordings for helping keep a team’s (or league’s) popularity high, especially during the off-season.  For example, NFL Films does a fantastic job of preserving the NFL’s history as well as helping people create comparisons to previous players and teams.  Having the historical basis of comparison allows fans to talk about which team, and which era, was “greater” or “tougher.”  This fuels conversation, popularity, and ultimately profitability for the industry
  • Many independent players today would be hard-pressed to name any Major League player (current or retired) whose career STARTED in the independent leagues.  While dozens of players could name former Major League players whose careers continued in the independent leagues, they are not even aware of those who were like them:  starting pro careers in independent baseball before making it to the Major Leagues; and this prevents them from learning the successful habits of the  successful players who achieved the “holy grail” of those on independent league rosters
  • Executives and front office staff risk not learning from independent baseball’s history, thereby jeopardizing profitability
  • Fans are not aware of the other leagues and players on other teams, especially previous teams.  This lessens the overall experience for those fans who want to go a ball game and get more than “just escape for a few hours while letting the kids have fun for a cheap price”
  • Leagues and teams lose out on possible sponsorship opportunities from the larger, national sponsors because those companies may see the industry as being “fragmented” or “disjointed” with no continuity.  While this is not the case, many decision makers at prospective sponsor companies could gain that perception.  Having a more formalized history could be a part in helping the industry gain greater credibility in the eyes of those firms which could help keep these baseball teams and leagues profitable through sponsorship dollars

Yes, baseball at the professional level is foremost an entertainment business.  While we at IndependentBaseball.net wish that the industry’s success was primarily about wins & losses, performance on the field is not the benchmark for success and longevity of a team or league.  Ultimately, it comes down to how profitable these businesses are.

Nonetheless, independent baseball is unique and has its own history.  While many baseball fans and historians may believe that failed independent leagues (and the players associated with them) should be forgotten as they were not with affiliated leagues, IndependentBaseball.net begs to differ.

The history of the industry as a whole is important, and it should serve to complement fans, players, current executives and team staff, baseball historians, and those who were part of independent teams regardless of whether or not those teams and leagues still exist.  Those studying sports marketing and the sports business industry need to know the history of an industry that fielded over 250 professional teams since 1993.

If you ever get to talk with industry insiders who have been involved with the independent leagues in one way or another for many years, you will get a perspective on the sports business unlike that you will find elsewhere.  Several of the stories are hysterical, and many of the tales have a lesson to be learned from them.

In conclusion, the purpose of this post is to encourage those of you who have access to historical/archived information about independent league baseball to contact IndependentBaseball.net so that we can help all parties associated with the industry to better understand its history and give further legitimacy to what we do as a whole.

Should you have access to accurate, authoritative history on the independent baseball leagues then please contact us here so that we can begin to formalize the industry’s history in a way that everyone can benefit as we go into the 2010 season.  The contact information is on the bottom right column of this website or you can leave a comment on this post.

Finally, here are some next steps whether or not you have access to historical industry information:

Thank you for any contributions you can offer and IndependentBaseball.net looks forward to helping everyone benefit in some way from a more formalized history of professional independent minor league baseball.

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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

Get notified of upcoming independent baseball tryouts from either of these services: first service or the second service. Prospective players can find some helpful resources here

We will be providing a growing list of possibly helpful tips and suggestions on various baseball information. This will range from "how to" information about baseball skills all the way to helpful information for casual baseball fans. Please click the link for more information: Tips And How To Information

3 Comments

    • This is one of the better explanations of the start of Independent Baseball, stemming from the 1991 agreement which attempted to force upgrades to stadiums in cities with affiliated baseball. If any of you have additional documentation about independent baseball’s origin (in this case, 1991-1993) then please contribute. Thank you.

  1. I was part of that championship Whaler team in’87 and we had a blast all summer.The Empire League never really took off,but there was talent there. I often wonder what happened to alot of the guys I played with. Chris Clehane

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