Northern League 1902 – 1971

Northern League 1902-1971

The Northern League was a name used by several minor league baseball organizations that operated off and on between 1902 and 1971 in the upper midwestern United States and Manitoba, Canada.



The Northern League name represented four leagues in this time frame:

First Northern League: 1902–1905

Northern-Copper Country League 1906–1907

Second Northern League: 1908

Minnesota–Wisconsin League 1909–1911

Central International League 1912

Third Northern League: 1913–1917

Fourth Northern League: 1933–1971 (suspended operations 1943–1945 due to World War II)


Historical Overview

The first Northern League operated between 1902 and 1905. Charter members were the Winnipeg Maroons, Crookston Crooks, Fargo, Devil's Lake, Grand Forks and Cavalier.

In 1906, the league merged with the Copper Country Soo League to become the Northern-Copper Country League (1906–1907). A second Northern League was attempted in 1908 but did not finish its first season. The third Northern League appeared when the Central International League of 1912 expanded and changed its name in 1913. This third Northern League would last until 1917, when it was forced to disband due to a lack of players as a result of World War I.

The league did not re-emerge until 1933, when it began play with the Brainerd Muskies, Brandon Grays, Crookston Pirates, East Grand Forks Colts, Eau Claire Cardinals, Fargo-Moorhead Twins, Superior Blues and Winnipeg Maroons.[2] The league did not operate between 1943 and 1945 because of a lack of manpower during World War II, and finally folded again in 1971.

While the Northern League in its various incarnations began as an independent loop in 1902, it was Class D (1903–1905, 1908, 1917, 1933–1940) and Class C (1913–1916, 1941–1942, 1946–1962) under the antiquated classification system for Minor League Baseball. The league operated as Class A (1963–1971) under the modern minor league classification system.[3] When the league folded after the 1971 season, the remaining teams were the Aberdeen Pheasants, Sioux Falls Packers, St. Cloud Rox and Watertown Expos.


The Northern League with its rich history of developing Major League and Hall of Fame players over the last century needs to be kept alive in the collective memories of baseball fans.  This includes HOF Hank Aaron, Orlando Cepeda, Lou Brock, Gaylord Perry and Jim Palmer as well as other greats such as Roger Marris, Don Larsen to name a few who began their MLB career path in the league.   The Northern League is a symbol of our past greatness as a sport, it celebrates America’s honored pastime and its hollowed place in baseball history.



 League Champions
1902 Winnipeg Maroons 1943–1945 league did not operate
1903 Winnipeg Maroons 1946 St. Cloud Rox
1904 Duluth White Sox 1947 Sioux Falls Canaries
1905 Duluth White Sox 1948 Grand Forks Chiefs
1906 Calumet Aristocrats (NCCL) 1949 Aberdeen Pheasants
1907 Winnipeg Maroons (NCCL) 1950 Sioux Falls Canaries
1908 Brandon Angels 1951 Grand Forks Chiefs
1909 Duluth White Sox (MWL) 1952 Superior Blues
1910 Eau Claire Commissioners (MWL) 1953 Fargo-Moorhead Twins
1911 Superior Red Sox (MWL) 1954 Fargo-Moorhead Twins
1912 Duluth White Sox (CIL) 1955 St. Cloud Rox
1913 Winona Pirates 1956 Duluth-Superior White Sox
1914 Duluth White Sox 1957 Winnipeg Goldeyes
1915 Fargo-Moorhead Graingrowers 1958 Fargo-Moorhead Twins
1916 Winnipeg Maroons 1959 Winnipeg Goldeyes
1917 Fargo-Moorhead Graingrowers 1960 Winnipeg Goldeyes
1918–1932 league did not operate 1961 Aberdeen Pheasants
1933 Superior Blues 1962 Eau Claire Braves
1934 Fargo-Moorhead Twins 1963 Grand Forks Chiefs
1935 Winnipeg Maroons 1964 Aberdeen Pheasants
1936 Eau Claire Bears 1965 St. Cloud Rox
1937 Duluth Dukes 1966 St. Cloud Rox
1938 Duluth Dukes 1967 St. Cloud Rox
1939 Winnipeg Maroons 1968 St. Cloud Rox
1940 Grand Forks Chiefs 1969 Duluth-Superior Dukes
1941 Eau Claire Bears 1970 Duluth-Superior Dukes
1942 Winnipeg Maroons 1971 St. Cloud Rox