Although professional baseball leagues are well-known, some people, especially those not so invested in baseball, only focus on the MLB. Surprise, surprise: the minor leagues exist too! And they are as significant as the major ones.
We don’t blame you for missing out on the minors. They don’t quite get as much airtime as the majors. But appreciating baseball without getting to know the minor leagues is an incomplete experience. Perhaps you can start by finding out how many minor league baseball teams are there.
Number of Minor League Baseball Teams
As of today, there are 120 minor league baseball teams. There are three countries with minor league teams in baseball: United States, Canada, and the Dominican Republic.
How Does Minor League Differ From Major League?
Albeit basically sharing the same set of rules, the two leagues significantly differ in terms of finance, player profile, size, history (they both developed simultaneously, though), types of venues, and more.
Here, we will only be talking about the major differences:
The minor league has a more extensive classification for talents than the major league. Player levels, for instance, have (6) tiers, progressing from rookie to AAA.
The minor leagues have fewer games than the major league. For example, the latter has 162 games, while the triple A class has 144 games and the double A class has 138 games. However, these figures could change rapidly from time to time or season to season.
On the other hand, the major league has only one level for a player and a fixed number of thirty (30) major teams (based on thirty cities) competing.
As per record today, a minor league player earns a meager $15,000.00 per year or even lower. And a player will not be receiving any pay until April.
On the other hand, a major league player generally gets to earn $563,500-4 million a year, with a median point of $1.1 million. Even with the set value, the rate of each player varies depending on the team he is playing in.
Several factors through the years drove that massive wedge in minimum wage between the major and minor leagues. Before the turn of the mid-twentieth century, major leagues hired players with a minimum of $1,000 per year, while the minors paid their players $750 or higher.
In other words, there was not much difference in minimum wage then. However, this did not remain the case for long.
Firstly, the American government established that antitrust laws would not affect the policies regulating the American and National leagues. This event eventually influenced the payment rates of said leagues.
Second, the popularity of television further elevated the major league players and their respective unions, pushing the minor league out of favor.
This rather unfair fate of the minor league cannot be solely attributed to television, as the agencies which decide wages for players were too preoccupied with the major league dealings.
Unfortunately, to this day, the minor league remains without a single union.
What Are Some Popular Minor League Teams?
Here is a list of minor league baseball teams that have become popular throughout the years (not in ranking order):
- Frisco RoughRiders: The Frisco RoughRiders team was founded in 2003 in Frisco, Texas. A double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers owned by the Greenberg Sports Group, the team has earned a total record of 16 minor league titles.
- Buffalo Bisons: The Buffalo Bisons was founded in 1979 in Buffalo, New York. It is a triple-A East affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Robert E. Rich, Jr, currently owns it.
- Frederick Keys: The Frederick Keys was founded in 1989 in Frederick, Maryland. The team is identified as a collegiate summer baseball team of the MLB draft league. Attain Sports and Entertainment currently owns this team.
- Richmond Flying Squirrels: The Richmond Flying Squirrels was founded in 2010 in Richmond, Virginia. A Double-A (closer to low-A baseball teams) affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, it is currently owned by Lou DiBella. As of the 2021 season, it has earned fourth place.
- Springfield Cardinals: The Springfield Cardinals was founded in 2005 in Springfield, Missouri. It is a Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. They are currently owned by the St. Louis Cardinals, a major league team.
- Pensacola Blue Wahoos: The Pensacola Blue Wahoos was founded in 2012 in Pensacola, Florida. It is a proud Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. Shared ownership between the Studers and Bubba Watson keeps the team running. Ultimately, it has earned a total record of 7-12.
Other equally famous MLB minor league teams include:
- Hillsboro Hops
- Rome Braves
- Iowa Cubs
As we have learned in this article, the answer to “how many minor league baseball teams are there” is one-hundred twenty (120).
From the discussion above, it seems that the industry’s treatment of the minor league is unfair. And this treatment has caused so much difference between the minor and major leagues. Fortunately, with the effort of minor league teams, we can finally anticipate the unionization of players in the minor league.
A powerful swing and the ball is flying across the field, just one hit, and we might never forget the thrill it brings. I do not know about you, but I never do. Every baseball game is the chance to compete with others and cooperate with your teammate. It is among my biggest passions.