The International League is a minor league baseball league which operates in the eastern United States and Canada. It plays at the AAA (Triple-A) level, which is one step below major league baseball. The league was created from the mergers of member teams from three precursor leagues, the Eastern League, founded in 1884, the New York State League, formed in 1885, and the Ontario League, also organized in 1885. The New York State and Ontario Leagues merged in 1886 to form the International League, and in 1887 when the Eastern League was absorbed to create a ten-club league.
The league collapsed soon afterwards, when the northern teams claimed that it was too onerous to travel to the south, and formed the International Association. Teams and league names came and went over the years. In 1954, a franchise was awarded to Havana, Cuba, but it had to be moved in the middle of the 1960 season because of political upheaval in that country. It was moved to Jersey City, New Jersey. Another foray into the Caribbean failed when the newly-created team in San Juan, Puerto Rico, added in 1961, had to be moved to Charleston, West Virginia in mid-season.
In 1971, an International League all-star team beat the New York Yankees in an exhibition game in Rochester, New York, before 11,000 people. In 1984, the all-stars lost to the Cleveland Indians in 11 innings before 11,032 fans in Columbus, Ohio to commemorate the league's 100th Anniversary.
In 1988, the International League and the American Association, another Triple-A league which operated in the Midwest, voted to play interleague games. The league also split into two divisions in the same year. The interleague concept ended in 1992, but the two league divisions remained.
In 1998, with the addition of four new teams from the disbanded American Association, the league reorganized into three divisions, the North Division, South Division, and West Division.
Current member teams:
See International League champions