Welcome to the new ARIZONA-MEXICO LEAGUE website!
The league is known as the Arizona-Mexico League of Professional Baseball and is a non-profit corporation.
VISIT THE ARIZONA-MEXICO LEAGUE
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March 1, 2018 - Announced the formation of a minor league that will begin play in 2019.
August 6, 2016 - Named Rene Morales Leon - Vice President.
August 1, 2016 - Named Geovanna Morales - League Development.
July 12, 2016 - Named Jason Mutum - Player Procurement/Southwest.
April 1, 2016 - Named Bob Lipp - President.
April 1, 2016 - Filed Incorporation to become legal entity.
Welcome to the Arizona-Mexico League!
Written by David Skinner
February 14, 2017
Since 1958 when Major League Baseball came to Los Angeles and AAA to Phoenix, fans in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico have taken for granted that professional baseball at the highest levels is available to view in person nearby, watch or listen to at home, and follow in the press. This has not always been the case. From 19th century boom towns and mining camps to the burgeoning cities of southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, West Texas, Baja California Norte, northern Sonora, and northwest Chihuahua in the 20th century, informal leagues involving teams on both sides of the United States-Mexico border came and went until the mid-1920s. These leagues were amateur and industrial in nature, with players sometimes given jobs so that they could represent the company or the community in such regional and often bi-national aggregations. Until the arrival of professional baseball in the form of the fallen star-studded “outlaw” Frontier (later Copper) League in 1925, such ballclubs could be considered semi-pro at best. A Negro League was even attempted in the still-segregated Southwest as early as 1910, a decade before the first successful Negro National League began play.
After the class D Rio Grande Association failed to complete its innaugural season in 1915, Organized Baseball never obtained a foothold in the region until 1928 when the Arizona State League began play, henceforth operating a class D and later class C league continuously for 30 years except for brief periods during the Depression and World War II. Until the late 1940s however, the leagues under the authority of the National Association, unlike the outlaw leagues before them which included the Juarez Indians in 1925-26, remained almost exclusively situated north of the border. The one exception was the so-called Mexican National League of 1946, which was an ill-conceived and short-lived attempt by OB to counter the then-independent Mexican League with what was despite its name a class B bi-national circuit.
Beginning with a brief stint for the Juarez Indios in its first post-war season of 1947, the class C Arizona-Texas League as it was then known was forever after bi-national in nature, not only in 1951 when it merged for one season with the Sunset League to form the Southwest International League, a fact which was finally recognized by the NA in 1955 when its name was changed to the Arizona-Mexico League. The Sunset, which itself had become a bi-national entity in its second season of 1948 when the Mexicali Aguilas swept to the regular season title, ceased to exist after 1950, though the SWI under that name continued for a season after its breakup with the A-TL, and key cities were later eased into the latter circuit and its successor the A-ML. The borderlands now host MLB teams in San Diego, Los Angeles, Anaheim, and since 1998 Phoenix, while AAA, in the widespread Pacific Coast League which long had franchises in SoCal, embraced Tucson in 1969, where it has remained after Phoenix hit the Bigs excepting two seasons of independent ball in 2009-10. It should be noted that the Mexican League has been part of Organized Baseball since 1955, initially at AA level and since 1967 at AAA. From 1973 to 1984 the Indios de Ciudad Juarez at the eastern end of our region played in the Mexican League, as have the Tijuana Toros and Potros de Tijuana at the western end from 2004 through 2008, and in their current incarnation as again the Toros de Tijuana since 2014.
Modern independent professional baseball, no longer branded “outlaw”, began to make inroads in the border region beginning with the 1995 Golden State League. The revived 2003 Arizona-Mexico League focused on the borderlands from northern Baja to southeast Arizona, and the 2005-10 Golden League featured teams in Yuma, San Diego, Tijuana, and various other border area communities, including Tucson’s two years as an indie. Then beginning in 2011 the Pecos League placed teams in southern New Mexico and later southern Arizona. West Texas too has seen its share of ballclubs since the disappearance of lower classification Organized Baseball from the smaller cities along the border, with El Paso moving up to the AA Texas League in 1962 where it remained until 2004, and after nine years of indie ball, one in the Central League and the rest in the farflung American Association with franchises as far north as Winnipeg beyond the Canadian border, graduating to the AAA PCL in 2014.
This series of articles will initially deal with the leagues, teams, and players from each period of professional baseball in the American Southwest and Mexican Northwest, from the failed multinational Southwest Colored League of 1910 and Organized Baseball’s first foray to the nation’s southern boundary, the Rio Grande Association of 1915, through the outlaw leagues of the 1920s which featured the great Hal Chase and the disgraced stars of the Chicago “Black Sox”, winding along the three decades in the low minors of National Association supremacy where the farm system gradually came to prominence and developing players for Major League teams became the goal, and finally the era of AAA, the Major Leagues, and the revival of independent ball which we are in today.