Atlantic League of Professional Baseball
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Atlantic League of Professional Baseball

Atlantic League of Professional Baseball
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2021 Atlantic League season
Atlantic League of Professional Baseball logo.svg
PresidentRick White[1]
No. of teams8
CountryUnited States
Most recent
Long Island Ducks (2019)
Most titlesSomerset Patriots (6)

The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) is a professional baseball league based in the United States. It is an official MLB Partner League.[2][3] It is located in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States, especially the greater metropolitan areas of the Northeast megalopolis and the Piedmont Triad and Charlotte Metrolina regions of North Carolina. League offices are located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The Atlantic League operates in cities not served by Major League Baseball (MLB) or Minor League Baseball (MiLB) teams; most of its teams are within suburbs and exurbs too close to other teams in the organized baseball system to have minor league franchises of their own. The Atlantic League requires cities to have the market for a 4,000 to 7,500-seat ballpark and for the facility to be maintained at or above Triple-A standards.[4] When Atlantic League professionals are signed by MLB clubs, they usually start in their Double-A or Triple-A affiliates.[5]

The league uses a pitch clock and limits the time between innings in an effort to speed up the game.[6] In 2019, the Atlantic League began a three-year partnership with Major League Baseball allowing MLB to implement changes to Atlantic League playing rules, in order to observe the effects of potential future rule changes and equipment.[7] In 2020, the Atlantic League, together with the American Association, the Frontier League, and the Pioneer League, expanded this agreement to become an official MLB Partner League.[8][9]


In 1998, the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball played its inaugural season, with teams in Bridgewater, Newark, and Atlantic City, New Jersey; Nashua, New Hampshire; Newburgh, New York; and Bridgeport, Connecticut. The creation of the league was the result of the New York Mets' objection to Frank Boulton's proposal to move the former Albany-Colonie Yankees because of its territorial rights to the region. Boulton, a Long Island native, decided to create a new league that would have a higher salary cap for its players and a longer season than most of the other independent baseball organizations. He modeled the Atlantic League after the older Pacific Coast League, with facilities that exceed AAA-level standards. Boulton also emphasized signing players of Major League Baseball experience for all Atlantic League teams, raising the level of play above other independent leagues.

In 2010, the league announced that it would be expanding to Sugar Land, Texas and adding its first franchise not located in an Atlantic coast state.[10] The Sugar Land Skeeters began play in 2012. In 2010, amid financial struggles, the Newark Bears moved from the Atlantic League to the Can-Am League, leaving the Bridgeport Bluefish and Somerset Patriots as the only teams remaining from the league's inaugural season.[11] In the summer of 2013, then-ALPB President Frank Boulton announced that he would be resigning so that he could devote more time to operating the Long Island Ducks. He was replaced by longtime high-ranking Major League Baseball executive Rick White.[12] On July 8, 2015, the Atlantic League began using Rawlings baseballs with red and blue seams, virtually unused in the sport since the American League swapped the blue in their seams for red in 1934.[13]

On September 1, 2015, the Atlantic League announced conditional approval for an expansion team or a relocated team to play in New Britain, Connecticut for the 2016 season.[14][15][16][17] On October 21, 2015, the Camden Riversharks announced they would cease operations immediately due to the inability to reach an agreement on lease terms with the owner of Campbell's Field, the Camden County Improvement Authority.[18] The team was replaced by the New Britain Bees for the 2016 season.[19] On May 29, 2016, Jennie Finch was the guest manager for the league's Bridgeport Bluefish, thus becoming the first woman to manage a professional baseball team.[20]

Shortly before the conclusion of the 2017 season, the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut voted to not continue with professional baseball in the city and announced plans to convert The Ballpark at Harbor Yard into a music amphitheater; the Bridgeport Bluefish announced plans to relocate to High Point, North Carolina in 2019 when the construction of a new multipurpose facility in High Point is completed.[21] League officials announced the return of the Pennsylvania Road Warriors, an all road game team, to keep the league at an even eight teams while the Bluefish go inactive for the 2018 season.[22]

The Atlantic League is generally regarded as the most successful and highest level of baseball among independent leagues.[23][24] Two former Atlantic League players have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame: Tim Raines and Rickey Henderson. Other notable former and future Major League ballplayers who have played in the league include Roger Clemens, Scott Kazmir, Dontrelle Willis, Juan González, Francisco Rodríguez, John Rocker and José Canseco, and several others have coached or managed, including Gary Carter, Tommy John, Bud Harrelson, Gary Gaetti and Sparky Lyle. The Atlantic League has consistently posted higher per game and per season attendance numbers than other independent circuits including the American Association, Can-Am League, and Frontier League.[25][26][27][28]

In 2015, the Atlantic League experienced a watershed moment for independent baseball when it signed a formal agreement with Major League Baseball which put into writing the rules which the ALPB would follow in selling its players' contracts to MLB clubs and their affiliates. This marked the first time that MLB, which has enjoyed a U.S. Supreme Court-granted antitrust exemption since 1922, had made any formal agreement with or acknowledgment of an independent baseball league.[29]


In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the league announced that it would be unable to operate for the 2020 season with the current 8 member ballclubs, thereby canceling its season.[30] Several teams (Somerset, York, and Lancaster) did not gain necessary approval from governmental and health officials to open their ballparks to the capacity level necessary for competition.[31] They used their stadiums to host recreational and community-based events, as well as local baseball activities where allowed. Meanwhile, the Long Island Ducks, High Point Rockers, and Southern Maryland Blue Crabs initially attempted to partner with teams from other leagues in order to play a 70-game season from mid-July through the end of September. However, due to ongoing restrictions and capacity limitations, they ultimately decided to suspend all baseball activities for the 2020 season. The only teams that played in 2020 was the Sugar Land Skeeters, who would create a new 4-team independent league in Texas, with all 60 games played at Constellation Field, and the Somerset Patriots, who played weekend games with a second squad called the New Jersey Blasters.[32][33]

In July 2020, the league announced the addition of a new franchise in Gastonia, North Carolina beginning in 2021; it will be the league's second team based in North Carolina.[34]

In November 2020, the Atlantic League lost its last charter franchise and its westernmost franchise when both teams became official minor league affiliates. On November 7, the Somerset Patriots announced that they were leaving the league to join the MLB-affiliated Eastern League, where they will replace the Trenton Thunder as the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees.[35] Approximately two weeks later, the Houston Astros announced that they had purchased a controlling stake in the Sugar Land Skeeters and, as a result, the Skeeters would become the Astros' Triple-A affiliate and join the Pacific Coast League.[36]

On February 18, 2021, the league announced the addition of the Lexington Legends, previously the Class A South Atlantic League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, for the 2021 season.[37] The West Virginia Power, also formerly a member of the Class A South Atlantic League, announced their move to the league on February 24, 2021.[38]

Experimental rules


In March 2019, the Atlantic League and Major League Baseball reached agreement to test multiple rule changes during the 2019 Atlantic League season:[39]

  • Use of a radar tracking system to assist umpires in calling balls and strikes
  • Reducing the time between half innings by 20 seconds, from 2 minutes 5 seconds to 1:45
  • Requiring pitchers to face at least three batters
    • Exceptions: side is retired or injury
  • Banning mound visits
    • Exceptions: pitching change or for medical issues
  • Restricting infield shifts
    • Two infielders must be positioned on each side of second base
  • Increasing the size of bases from 15 inches (38 cm) to 18 inches (46 cm)
  • Moving the pitching rubber on the pitcher's mound back 24 inches (61 cm)
    • This change would have taken effect in the second half of the season

In April 2019, implementation of two of the changes was delayed:[40]

  • The tracking system for calling balls and strikes "will be implemented gradually over the course of the 2019 season"
  • Moving the pitching rubber back will not occur until the second half of the 2020 Atlantic League season; this rule change was never implemented.

The tracking system for calling balls and strikes was introduced at the league's all-star game on July 10.[41] In addition to rule changes noted above, additional changes being implemented for the second half of the league's 2019 season are:[42]

  • Pitchers required to step off rubber to attempt pickoff
  • One foul bunt permitted with two strikes
  • Batters may "steal" first base
    • "Any pitched ball not caught by the catcher shall be subject to the same baserunning rules for the batter as an uncaught third strike, with the exception of the first base occupied with less than two out exclusion."
  • "Check swings" more batter-friendly
    • "In making his ruling, the base umpire should determine whether the batter's wrists 'rolled over' during an attempt to strike at the ball and, if not, call the pitch a ball."


The Atlantic League and MLB jointly announced that the former would adopt several additional experimental rules for the 2021 season:[43]

  • The automated ball-strike calling system introduced for 2019 remains in use, but has been tweaked. The strike zone, which had been a three-dimensional space above home plate in 2019, changed to a two-dimensional space measured at the front of home plate.
  • A "double-hook" rule is in force for the entire season. Under this rule, once a team removes its starting pitcher, it loses the right to use a designated hitter for the rest of the game.
  • During the second half of the season (starting on August 3), the pitcher's rubber was moved back 1 foot (30 cm), making the distance between the front edge of the rubber to the rear point of home plate 61 feet 6 inches (18.75 m).


Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
Download coordinates as: KML
Team Founded Joined City Stadium Capacity Coordinates Ref
North Division
Lancaster Barnstormers 2003 2005 Lancaster, Pennsylvania Clipper Magazine Stadium 6,000 40°2?55?N 76°18?39?W / 40.04861°N 76.31083°W / 40.04861; -76.31083 (Lancaster Barnstormers) [44]
Long Island Ducks 1998 2000 Central Islip, New York Fairfield Properties Ballpark 6,002 40°45?54?N 73°11?32?W / 40.76500°N 73.19222°W / 40.76500; -73.19222 (Long Island Ducks) [45]
Southern Maryland Blue Crabs 2006 2008 Waldorf, Maryland Regency Furniture Stadium 4,200 38°33?45?N 76°54?13?W / 38.56250°N 76.90361°W / 38.56250; -76.90361 (Southern Maryland Blue Crabs) [46]
York Revolution 2006 2007 York, Pennsylvania PeoplesBank Park 5,200 39°58?3?N 76°43?45?W / 39.96750°N 76.72917°W / 39.96750; -76.72917 (York Revolution) [47]
South Division
Gastonia Honey Hunters 2020 2021 Gastonia, North Carolina CaroMont Health Park 5,000 35°15?45?N 81°11?42?W / 35.26250°N 81.19500°W / 35.26250; -81.19500 (Gastonia Honey Hunters) [48]
High Point Rockers 2018 2019 High Point, North Carolina Truist Point 4,500 35°57?34?N 80°00?43?W / 35.95944°N 80.01194°W / 35.95944; -80.01194 (High Point Rockers) [49]
Lexington Legends 2001 2021 Lexington, Kentucky Whitaker Bank Ballpark 6,994 38°3?56?N 84°28?43?W / 38.06556°N 84.47861°W / 38.06556; -84.47861 (Lexington Legends) [50]
West Virginia Power 1987 2021 Charleston, West Virginia Appalachian Power Park 4,500 38°20?56?N 81°37?30?W / 38.34889°N 81.62500°W / 38.34889; -81.62500 (West Virginia Power) [51]
Future team
Staten Island 2021 2022 Staten Island, New York Richmond County Bank Ballpark 7,171 40°38?44?N 74°4?35?W / 40.64556°N 74.07639°W / 40.64556; -74.07639 (Staten Island) [52]
Hagerstown 2021 2023 Hagerstown, Maryland Multi-Use Sports & Events Facility TBD TBD [53]
Current team locations:
  North Division
  South Division

League timeline

Staten Island ALPB TeamWest Virginia PowerLexington LegendsLexington LegendsGastonia Honey HuntersHigh Point RockersNew Britain BeesSugar Land SkeetersSouthern Maryland Blue CrabsYork RevolutionLancaster BarnstormersCamden RiversharksLong Island DucksAberdeen ArsenalSomerset PatriotsPennsylvania Road WarriorsPennsylvania Road WarriorsNewburgh Black DiamondsNewark BearsNashua PrideBridgeport BluefishAtlantic City Surf

League members Moved to another league

Former teams

Team City Stadium Seasons History
Aberdeen Arsenal Bel Air, Maryland Thomas Run Park 2000 Replaced by the Aberdeen IronBirds (Orioles Class-A affiliate)
Atlantic City Surf Atlantic City, New Jersey The Sandcastle 1998-2006 Moved to Can-Am League, folded prior to the 2009 season
Bridgeport Bluefish Bridgeport, Connecticut The Ballpark at Harbor Yard 1998-2017 Folded when they lost the lease on their ballpark; replaced by the High Point Rockers
Camden Riversharks Camden, New Jersey Campbell's Field 2001-2015 Replaced by the New Britain Bees
Lehigh Valley Black Diamonds Quakertown, Pennsylvania Quakertown Memorial Stadium 1999-2001 Formerly the Newburgh Black Diamonds (1998), became the first Pennsylvania Road Warriors
Nashua Pride Nashua, New Hampshire Holman Stadium 1998-2005 Moved to Can-Am League, later relocated to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, folded at the end of the 2011 season
Newark Bears Newark, New Jersey Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium 1998-2010 Moved to Can-Am League, folded prior to the 2014 season
Newburgh Black Diamonds Newburgh, New York Delano-Hitch Stadium 1998 Became the Lehigh Valley Black Diamonds (1999-2001), which became the first Pennsylvania Road Warriors (2002-2004)
New Britain Bees New Britain, Connecticut New Britain Stadium 2016-2019 Moved to Futures Collegiate Baseball League; Replaced by the Road Warriors for the 2020 season[54]
Somerset Patriots Bridgewater Township, New Jersey TD Bank Ballpark 1998-2020 Moved to Minor League Baseball as part of MiLB realignment; became New York Yankees Double-A affiliate.
Sugar Land Skeeters Sugar Land, Texas Constellation Field 2012-2020 Moved to Minor League Baseball as part of MiLB realignment; became Houston Astros Triple-A affiliate.[55][56]

Proposed teams that never played

Championship Series

The ALPB Championship Series is played as a best-of-five. Numbers in parenthesis denote the number of championships won by a team to that point, when more than one.

All-Star Games

dagger Freedom Division won the 2019 game in a "homer-off" after the teams were tied at the end of nine innings.[59]

League records

Major League Baseball players

Some Atlantic League players have come from, or advanced to, the higher ranks of Major League Baseball. Some have resurrected their careers and returned to the majors, while others played in the independent league during the start or end of their careers.[60] The following is a list of some of those players:

See also


  1. ^ "League Office". Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ "Indy Atlantic League designated MLB Partner League". Ballpark Digest. August Publishing. September 23, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ "American Association, Frontier League now MLB Partner Leagues". Ballpark Digest. August Publishing. September 24, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ "Atlantic League Market Requirements". Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. Archived from the original on May 2, 2006. Retrieved 2006.
  5. ^ Walk, John (May 18, 2012). "Ian Thomas earns first affiliated contract". The York Dispatch. Archived from the original on August 21, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ Beach, Jerry (July 13, 2018). "For the Atlantic League, the All-Star Game is All About Its Amazing Balancing Act". Forbes. Retrieved 2018.
  7. ^ "MLB to Test Experimental Rules, Equipment in Atlantic League". Ballpark Digest. August Publishing. February 26, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  8. ^ "Indy Atlantic League designated MLB Partner League". Ballpark Digest. August Publishing. September 23, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  9. ^ "American Association, Frontier League now MLB Partner Leagues". Ballpark Digest. August Publishing. September 24, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  10. ^ Reichard, Kevin (May 17, 2010). "Atlantic League to expand to Sugar Land". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved 2015.
  11. ^ Reichard, Kevin (October 6, 2010). "It's official: Bears to Can-Am Association". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved 2015.
  12. ^ Merrill, Everett (February 5, 2014). "Atlantic League's New President Wants To Innovate". Baseball America. Retrieved 2015.
  13. ^ Fagan, Ryan (June 30, 2015). "Atlantic League set to introduce red, white and blue baseballs". Sporting News. Retrieved 2015.
  14. ^ "New Britain gains Atlantic League OK". Record-Journal. September 1, 2015. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  15. ^ "Baseball Will Likely Return to New Britain Next Season". NBC Connecticut. September 1, 2015.
  16. ^ "Conditional Deal For Baseball In New Britain In 2016". CBS Connecticut. September 1, 2015. Archived from the original on September 3, 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  17. ^ "New Britain Conditionally Approved to Begin Atlantic League Play in 2016". Atlantic League Professional Baseball: Newswire. September 1, 2015.
  18. ^ "Riversharks Baseball Ceases Operation; Team Not Offered New Lease". Atlantic League Professional Baseball: Newswire. October 22, 2015.
  19. ^ Stacom, Don (October 22, 2015). "Atlantic League Baseball: Camden Is Out, New Britain Is In". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2015.
  20. ^ Eisenberg, Matt (May 29, 2016). "Guest manager Jennie Finch leads Bridgeport Bluefish to win". Retrieved 2016.
  21. ^ "End Of An Era: Bluefish Will Be Moving From Bridgeport To North Carolina". Daily Voice. Bridgeport, Connecticut. September 10, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  22. ^ "2018 Atlantic League Schedule Announced". October 23, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  23. ^ Fehrman, Craig (May 9, 2012). "Down And Out In Baseball's Indie Leagues; Or, What Made Tommy John Want To Rake The Infield?". Deadspin. Gawker Media. Retrieved 2015.
  24. ^ "Creation of developmental indy league announced". Ballgamers. June 28, 2013. Retrieved 2015.
  25. ^ Knight, Graham. "Independent Leagues 2014 Attendance". Retrieved 2015.
  26. ^ Recihard, Kevin (September 16, 2013). "2013 Independent Attendance by League". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved 2015.
  27. ^ Reichard, Kevin (September 24, 2012). "2012 Independent Attendance by League". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved 2015.
  28. ^ Reichard, Kevin (September 19, 2011). "2011 Independent Average Attendance by League". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved 2015.
  29. ^ Cooper, J.J. (May 15, 2015). "MLB, Atlantic League Sign Player Transfer Agreement". Baseball America. Retrieved 2015.
  30. ^ "Independent Atlantic League cancels season due to virus". AP NEWS. June 19, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  31. ^ "Atlantic League Clubs Announce Updated 2020 Plans". Retrieved 2020.
  32. ^ "Skeeters Intend to Host Four-Team Pro Baseball League at Constellation Field". June 13, 2020.
  33. ^ "Somerset Patriots Series Brings Baseball To Sellout Crowds And Community". August 26, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  34. ^ "Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Expands to City of Gastonia, NC". July 28, 2020.
  35. ^ "The Somerset Patriots Are The New York Yankees Double-A Affiliate". November 7, 2020.
  36. ^ Rome, Chandler (November 20, 2020). "Astros officially make Sugar Land Skeeters the Triple-A affiliate". Houston Chronicle.
  37. ^ "Atlantic League Welcomes Lexington Legends". February 18, 2021. Retrieved 2021.
  38. ^ "Power announces new league, ownership for 2021". Retrieved 2021.
  39. ^ Jung, Tristan (March 8, 2019). "MLB's Experimental Rule Changes for 2019 Atlantic League Include Moving Mound Back, Banning Shifts". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2020.
  40. ^ "MLB Delays Atlantic League Robo Ump Experiment". Close Call Sports. April 10, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  41. ^ Maaddi, Rob (July 10, 2019). ""Robot umpires" debut in independent Atlantic League". AP. Retrieved 2019.
  42. ^ Imber, Gil (July 10, 2019). "Atlantic League Debuts New Rules, E-Zone". Close Call Sports & Umpire Ejection Fantasy League. Retrieved 2019.
  43. ^ Rogers, Jesse (April 14, 2021). "MLB to have Atlantic League experiment with moving back mound, 'double-hook' DH". Retrieved 2021.
  44. ^ "Clipper Magazine Stadium". Lancaster Barnstormers. 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  45. ^ "Fairfield Properties Ballpark". Long Island Ducks. 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  46. ^ "Regency Furniture Stadium". Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  47. ^ "PeoplesBank Park". York Revolution. 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  48. ^ "FUSE Ballpark". Gastonia Pro Baseball. 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  49. ^ "Truist Point". High Point Rockers. 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  50. ^ "Whitaker Bank Ballpark". Lexington Legends. 2021. Retrieved 2021.
  51. ^ "Power announces new league, ownership for 2021". Retrieved 2021.
  52. ^ D'Amodio, Joe (July 24, 2021). "NYC officially announces agreement to bring Atlantic League team to Staten Island". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved 2021.
  53. ^ Reichard, Kevin (September 1, 2021). "Hagerstown formally approved for 2023 Atlantic League debut". Ballpark Digest. August Publications. Retrieved 2021.
  54. ^ McFarland, Shawn (October 28, 2019). "New Britain Bees set to leave Atlantic League, will join Futures Collegiate Baseball League". Hartford Courant.
  55. ^ Young, Matt (November 16, 2020). "Astros to make Sugar Land Skeeters their Class AAA affiliate". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2020.
  56. ^ Byrne, Connor (November 17, 2020). "Sugar Land Skeeters To Become Astros' Triple-A Affiliate". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved 2020.
  57. ^ Fitzgerald, Brian (August 13, 1999). "Alum hopes to bring minor league baseball to his hometown". B.U. Bridge. Boston University.
  58. ^ "Long Island Ducks Are 2019 Atlantic League Champions". NY Sports Day (Press release). Long Island Ducks. October 7, 2019.
  59. ^ @AtlanticLg (July 10, 2019). "Hometown hero Isaias Tejeda of the @YorkRevolution wins the 2019 Atlantic League All-Star Game in a homer-off after the teams were tied at three following nine innings!! Congratulations to the Freedom Division!" (Tweet). Retrieved 2019 – via Twitter.
  60. ^ "Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, About Us". Retrieved 2021.
  61. ^ "Lexington Legends Sign Future MLB Hall of Famer Brandon Phillips". Retrieved 2021.

Further reading

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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