The Northwestern League
was a minor league baseball
Minor league baseball is a hierarchy of professional baseball leagues in the Americas that compete at levels below Major League Baseball and provide opportunities for player development. All of the minor leagues are operated as independent businesses...
league that operated from 1883–1884, and again from 1886-1887. It was founded by Elias Matter in 1883.
The original teams in the Northwestern League were the Peoria Reds, the Toledo Blue Stockings
The Toledo Blue Stockings formed as a minor league baseball team in Toledo, Ohio in 1883. They won the Northwestern League championship in 1883. Their home ballpark was League Park....
, the Fort Wayne Hoosiers, the Saginaw Greys, and teams from Bay City, Michigan
Bay City is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan located near the base of the Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 34,932, and is the principal city of the Bay City Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Saginaw-Bay City-Saginaw Township North...
; Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. The city is located on the Grand River about 40 miles east of Lake Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 188,040. In 2010, the Grand Rapids metropolitan area had a population of 774,160 and a combined statistical area, Grand...
; Quincy, Illinois
Quincy, known as Illinois' "Gem City," is a river city along the Mississippi River and the county seat of Adams County. As of the 2010 census the city held a population of 40,633. The city anchors its own micropolitan area and is the economic and regional hub of West-central Illinois, catering a...
; and Springfield, Illinois
Springfield is the third and current capital of the US state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County with a population of 117,400 , making it the sixth most populated city in the state and the second most populated Illinois city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area...
. The Blue Stockings won the championship.
In 1884, teams from Evansville, Indiana
Evansville is the third-largest city in the U.S. state of Indiana and the largest city in Southern Indiana. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 117,429. It is the county seat of Vanderburgh County and the regional hub for both Southwestern Indiana and the...
; Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee is the largest city in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, the 28th most populous city in the United States and 39th most populous region in the United States. It is the county seat of Milwaukee County and is located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan. According to 2010 census data, the...
; Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis , nicknamed "City of Lakes" and the "Mill City," is the county seat of Hennepin County, the largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota, and the 48th largest in the United States...
; Muskegon, Michigan
Muskegon is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 38,401. The city is the county seat of Muskegon County...
; St. Paul, Minnesota; Stillwater, Minnesota
As of the census of 2000, there were 15,143 people, 5,797 households, and 4,115 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,340.0 people per square mile . There were 5,926 housing units at an average density of 915.7 per square mile...
; Terre Haute, Indiana
Terre Haute is a city and the county seat of Vigo County, Indiana, United States, near the state's western border with Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 60,785 and its metropolitan area had a population of 170,943. The city is the county seat of Vigo County and...
; and Winona, Minnesota
Winona is a city in and the county seat of Winona County, in the U.S. State of Minnesota. Located in picturesque bluff country on the Mississippi River, its most noticeable physical landmark is Sugar Loaf....
joined the league. The new teams included the original Minneapolis Millers
The Minneapolis Millers were an American professional minor league baseball team that played in Minneapolis, Minnesota, until 1960. In the 19th century a different Minneapolis Millers were part of the Western League.The team played first in Athletic Park and later Nicollet Park.The name Minneapolis...
. Springfield and Toledo had left the league after the 1883 season.
Bay City disbanded from the league on July 22, and started a chain reaction. Evansville left on July 30, and Grand Rapids and Muskegon followed suit on August 2. The season ended when the Millers disbanded on September 3. St. Paul and Milwaukee left for the Union Association
The Union Association was a league in Major League Baseball which lasted for only one season in 1884. St. Louis won the pennant and joined the National League the following season...
on September 27.
In 1886, the league was recreated when teams from Duluth, Minnesota
Duluth is a port city in the U.S. state of Minnesota and is the county seat of Saint Louis County. The fourth largest city in Minnesota, Duluth had a total population of 86,265 in the 2010 census. Duluth is also the second largest city that is located on Lake Superior after Thunder Bay, Ontario,...
; Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Eau Claire is a city located in the west-central part of the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The population was 65,883 as of the 2010 census, making it the largest municipality in the northwestern portion of the state, and the 9th largest in the state overall. It is the county seat of Eau Claire County,...
; Milwaukee, Minnesota, St. Paul, and Oshkosh, Wisconsin
As of the census of 2000, there were 62,916 people, 24,082 households, and 13,654 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,662.2 people per square mile . There were 25,420 housing units at an average density of 1,075.6 per square mile...
were added to the league.
In 1887, teams from Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines is the capital and the most populous city in the US state of Iowa. It is also the county seat of Polk County. A small portion of the city extends into Warren County. It was incorporated on September 22, 1851, as Fort Des Moines which was shortened to "Des Moines" in 1857...
; La Crosse, Wisconsin
La Crosse is a city in and the county seat of La Crosse County, Wisconsin, United States. The city lies alongside the Mississippi River.The 2011 Census Bureau estimates the city had a population of 52,485...
; and St. Paul joined the Northwestern League. Only 2 teams had left the league. Oshkosh won the championship.
The Northwestern league was disbanded after the 1887 season, and replaced by the Western Association
The Western Association was the name of five different leagues in American minor league baseball during the 19th and 20th centuries.The oldest league, originally established as the Northwestern League in 1883, was refounded as the Western Association on October 28, 1887...
The Northwestern League also operated in other classifications between 1879 and 1917:
- 1879 - Davenport Brown Stockings, Dubuque Red Stockings, Omaha Green Stockings, Rockford White Stockings
- 1881 - N/A
- 1885 - N/A
- 1886 - Duluth Jayhawks, Eau Claire Lumbermen, Milwaukee Brewers, Minneapolis Millers, Oshkosh, St. Paul Freezers
- 1891 - Bay City, Dayton, Detroit Wolverines, Evansville Hoosiers, Evansville Hoosiers, Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids Shamrocks, Grand Rapids Shamrocks, Peoria Distillers, Terre Haute Hottentots, Terre Haute Hottentots
- 1895 - N/A
- 1905 - Bellingham Gillnetters, Everett Smokestackers, Vancouver Veterans, Victoria Legislators/Spokane Indians
- 1906 - Butte Miners, Grays Harbor Lumbermen, Spokane Indians, Tacoma Tigers
- 1907 - Aberdeen Black Cats, Butte Miners, Seattle Siwashes, Spokane Indians, Tacoma Tigers, Vancouver Canucks
- 1908 - Aberdeen/Grays Harbor Grays, Butte Miners, Seattle Siwashes, Spokane Indians, Tacoma Tigers, Vancouver Beavers
- 1909 - Grays Harbor Grays, Portland Colts, Seattle Turks, Spokane Indians, Tacoma Tigers, Vancouver Beavers
- 1910 - Seattle Giants, Spokane Indians, Tacoma Tigers, Vancouver Beavers
- 1911 - Portland Pippins, Seattle Giants, Spokane Indians, Tacoma Tigers, Vancouver Beavers, Victoria Bees
- 1912 - Portland Colts, Seattle Giants, Spokane Indians, Tacoma Tigers, Vancouver Beavers, Victoria Bees
- 1913 - Portland Colts, Seattle Giants, Spokane Indians, Tacoma Tigers, Vancouver Beavers, Victoria Bees
- 1914 - Portland Colts/Ballard Pippins, Seattle Giants, Spokane Indians, Tacoma Tigers, Vancouver Beavers, Victoria Bees
- 1915 - Aberdeen Black Cats, Seattle Giants, Spokane Indians, Tacoma Tigers, Vancouver Beavers, Victoria Bees
- 1916 - Butte Miners, Great Falls Electrics, Seattle Giants, Spokane Indians, Tacoma Tigers, Vancouver Beavers
- 1917 - Butte Miners, Great Falls Electrics, Seattle Giants, Spokane Indians, Tacoma Tigers, Vancouver Beavers