American Association (20th century)
|No. of teams||32 (Total)|
|Buffalo Bisons (1)|
|Most titles||Louisville Colonels (15)|
The American Association (AA) was a minor league baseball league at the Triple-A level of baseball in the United States from 1902 to 1962 and 1969 to 1997. In both incarnations, it comprised teams primarily from Midwestern and South Central United States.
Together with the International League, the American Association contested the Junior World Series which determined the championship team in minor league baseball, at least for the eastern half of the United States. Later, its teams would also compete in the Triple-A World Series and Triple-A Classic, and its players in the Triple-A All-Star Game.
The league's attendance base began to be eroded significantly in the 1950s and early 1960s due to expansion and westward migration of major league teams into several of the AA's larger member cities: Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Kansas City, Missouri; and Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota. By 1961, the league was down to six clubs.
After the 1962 season, the American Association disbanded, and some of its member teams were distributed between the Pacific Coast League and the International League, while others (the Louisville Colonels and Omaha Dodgers) folded. The Indianapolis Indians were first assigned to the IL but then, in a geographic oddity, they were switched to the PCL. The Dallas Rangers, the Denver Bears, and the Oklahoma City 89ers also went to the PCL.
With major league expansion in 1969, and the need for four new Triple-A farm teams, the time seemed right for reviving the league, which re-acquired its old Indianapolis territory from the PCL, along with several cities that were new to the Association.
After the 1997 season, the American Association disbanded for the second time, and its teams were again distributed to the remaining Triple-A leagues. The Iowa Cubs, Nashville Sounds, New Orleans Zephyrs, Oklahoma City 89ers (now the Oklahoma City Dodgers), and Omaha Royals joined the West Coast Pacific Coast League starting with the 1998 season. The Buffalo Bisons, Indianapolis Indians, and Louisville Redbirds became part of the International League, also starting in 1998.
The Buffalo Bisons were the last league champions in 1997, and the trophy is still in their possession.
On and off, from 1905 to 1962, and again from 1970 to 1975, the American Association champion played against the champion from the International League in the Junior World Series. The champions from these two leagues and the Pacific Coast League also met during 1983 at the Triple-A World Series.
From 1988 until the league's demise in 1997, players from all three Triple-A leagues were selected to play in the mid-season Triple-A All-Star Game. One team was made up of All-Stars from American League affiliates and the other of National League affiliates.