Mexican League

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The Mexican League is a AAA-level baseball minor league in Mexico. The league is regarded in Mexico as the domestic major league.

History

There have actually been six Mexican leagues of note. The first was an outlaw circuit directed by Jorge Pasquel from the late 1930s until 1953. Having major league ambitions, Pasquel stocked his teams with Negro League greats, then raided the U.S. major leagues for additional talent when a player surplus and pay cuts there followed the World War II player shortage. Pasquel's raids netted 23 Major League regulars, most of whom jumped to the Quebec Provincial League in 1948-1949, and were reinstated by the majors in June 1949. Struggling financially, Pasquel's league dissolved in 1953. The northern clubs merged into the Arizona-Texas and Arizona-Mexico leagues of 1953-57. The Mexican League proper reorganized in 1955, and has operated continuously since.

The Mexican Central League, recognized as Class-A, formed in 1960, and was joined during the decade by the short-lived Mexican Northern League, Mexican Pacific League, and Mexican Rookie League. All were based on previously existing outlaw circuits. The last three were acknowledged farm leagues for the Mexican League, but the Mexican Central League, while hosting some farm clubs, had aspirations to equal status. The Mexican and Central leagues finally merged into a single 20-team circuit with four divisions in 1979. A players' strike curtailed the 1980 season, but six clubs broke the strike to play a 40-game schedule. Following numerous bankruptcies, the Mexican League dwindled to 14 teams in two divisions.

Long known as a last stop for over-the-hill major leaguers, the Mexican League has swung back and forth between dead-ball and lively-ball eras. A new lively-ball era commenced in 1984: In 1983 no player hit 20 home runs; in 1986 14 hit more than 30.

Chronology

  • February 19, 1946: New York Giants OF Danny Gardella becomes the first major leaguer to announce he is jumping to the "outlaw" Mexican League, the first shot in the series of events that will dominate baseball even more than the return of all the war veterans. His attempt to return to the Major Leagues a few years later will initiate a major court battle.
  • April 26, 1946: Giants pitchers Ace Adams and Harry Feldman jump to the Mexican League.
  • May 27, 1946: The outlaw Mexican League scuttles its competition, Mexico's only league entry in organized baseball. There are now 43 minor leagues for 1946.
  • July 8, 1946: A special meeting of clubs deals with Mexican League defections and attempts by players to gain new rights. Some results: $5,000 minimum salary, $25-per-week training-camp expenses, a fixed period for spring training, 25 days for post-season barnstorming, maximum pay cut of 25 percent. A pension fund aimed at providing $100 a month for retired 10-year players will be funded by World Series broadcast rights and net proceeds from All-Star Games. Each league will have a player rep to baseball councils. The first player reps named are New York Yankees P Johnny Murphy and Brooklyn Dodgers OF Dixie Walker.
  • February 9, 1949: A federal appeals court orders the $300,000 suit against baseball by Mexican League jumper Danny Gardella back to a lower court for trial.
  • March 8, 1949: Max Lanier and Fred Martin, late of the Mexican League, file a $2.5 million suit against baseball. A federal judge on April 1 will deny their right to be reinstated.
  • June 29, 1949: Mickey Owen and Luis Olmo rejoin the Dodgers from Mexican League exile.
  • February 20, 1953: The U.S. Court of Appeals rules that organized baseball is a sport and not a business, affirming the 25-year-old Supreme Court ruling. This effectively dismisses the antitrust suits of Jack Corbett and former Dodger farm hand Walter Kowalski. The $300,000 suit of Corbett, the owner of the Texas League El Paso club, is based on his belief that he lost money when Major League baseball prohibited him from signing several players suspended for participation in the Mexican League. Kowalski's $150,000 suit is based on the general principles of the antitrust and restraint-of-trade laws. Their lawyer in these cases is Frederic Johnson, who also represents Danny Gardella in his suit against Major League baseball.
  • August 17, 1977: Records fall as the Mexican League concludes its season. Ironman hurler Aurelio Lopez of the Mexico City Reds racks up his 30th save to go with a record 19 victories in relief. Veteran Tampico first baseman Hector Espino hits only 14 home runs, but raises his career total to 435, a new minor league record. Thirty-eight-year-old Vic Davalillo, the league's top hitter at .384, is purchased by the Dodgers.


Teams

Summer League (Known as the Mexican Baseball League)

North Zone:

South Zone:

Inactive Summer League Teams

Winter League (Known as The Mexican Pacific League)

Inactive Winter Teams

BIGGEST RIVALRIES

  • 1.- Mexico Red Devils vs. Mexico Tigers
  • 2.- Mexico Red Devils vs. Cordoba Cofee Dealers
  • 3.- Monterrey Sultans vs. Saltillo Sarapeers -
  • 4.- Yucatan Lions vs. Campeche Pirates

League Information

  • Mailing Address: Angel Pola #16, Col. Periodista C.P. 11220 Mexico, D.F.
  • Phone: 011-525-557-1007
  • Fax: 011-525-395-2454
  • Email Address: mbl@prodigy.net.mx
  • Website Address: http://www.lmb.com.mx
  • Year Founded: 1955
  • President: Alejandro Hutt
  • Chairman of the Board: Alvaro Ley Lopez
  • Manager, Operations: Nestor Alva Brito
  • Treasurer: Juan Lopez Ponce
  • Regular Season Opens: March 19
  • Regular Season Closes: July 27
  • Regular Season Format: Split
  • Number of Games: 110
  • First Half Ends: May 22
  • Second Half Begins: May 24
  • All-Star Game: June 4 in Angelopolis (Tigres)
  • League roster limits: 28, no more than 5 imports
  • Play-off system: Twelve teams qualify. Six First round winners and two "best losers" advance to *second round. All playoff series are best-of-7. Second Round winners meet in Division Finals. *Winners advance to best-of-7 series for Mexican League championship
  • Brand of Baseball: Rawling

References

David Pietrusza Major Leagues: The Formation, Sometimes Absorption and Mostly Inevitable Demise of 18 Professional Baseball Organizations, 1871 to Present Jefferson (NC): McFarland & Company, 1991. ISBN: 0899505902

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