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Wikipedia - Triple-A (baseball)

Triple-A (officially Class AAA) has been the highest level of play in Minor League Baseball in the United States since 1946. Currently, two leagues operate at the Triple-A level, the International League (IL) and the Pacific Coast League (PCL). There are 30 teams, one per each Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise, with 20 in the IL and 10 in the PCL. Triple-A teams are located in smaller cities as well as larger metropolitan areas without MLB teams, such as Austin, Jacksonville, Columbus, and Charlotte.

All current Triple-A teams are located in the United States; before 2008, some Triple-A leagues also fielded teams in Canada, and from 1967 to 2020 the Mexican League was classified as Triple-A. Other than the current two Triple-A leagues, only three other leagues have ever held the classification.

History

Prior to 1946, the top level of Minor League Baseball was Double-A, which had been established in 1912. The Triple-A classification was created before the 1946 season, and began with all three leagues then in Double-A moving up to the new level:

  • American Association (AA)
  • International League (IL)
  • Pacific Coast League (PCL)

This structure persisted for the next 75 years with only a few changes:

  • 1952–1957: The PCL was classified as "Open" for these six seasons, in anticipation of it potentially becoming a third major league; once the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants relocated from New York City to California, the PCL returned to Triple-A for the 1958 season.
  • 1963–1968: The AA did not operate during these six seasons.
  • 1967: The Mexican League received Triple-A classification; it had previously been Double-A since 1955
  • 1979: The Inter-American League debuted with a Triple-A classification; the league disbanded in June
  • 1998: Teams from the AA, which disbanded after the 1997 season, were added to the PCL and IL

The IL, PCL, and Mexican League continued as Triple-A leagues until Major League Baseball (MLB) reorganized the minor leagues prior to the 2021 season. At that time, the IL and PCL were temporarily renamed Triple-A East and Triple-A West, respectively. The Mexican League continues to operate, independently. Following MLB's acquisition of the rights to the names of the historical minor leagues, MLB announced on March 16, 2022, that the leagues would once again be called the International League and the Pacific Coast League, effective with the 2022 season.

Countries

While all current and the majority of past Triple-A teams have been located in the United States, Triple-A teams have also been based in:

  • Canada: multiple teams, including the Montreal Royals and Ottawa Lynx of the IL, and the Calgary Cannons and Vancouver Mounties of the PCL
  • Cuba: the Havana Sugar Kings were members of the IL from 1954 to 1960
  • Dominican Republic: the short-lived Inter-American League had a team based here in 1979
  • Mexico: all Mexican League teams
  • Panama: one Inter-American League team in 1979
  • Puerto Rico: the San Juan Marlins of the IL in 1961, and one Inter-American League team in 1979
  • Venezuela: two Inter-American League teams in 1979