The East Texas League was a Texas-based league in minor league baseball that existed on-and-off from 1916 to 1950.
In 1916, the first East Texas League began play. A Class-D league, it folded on July 19 of that season. The "league champions," by default, were the Palestine Athletics and Lufkin Lumbermen, who both finished atop the league with a .609 winning percentage. The other teams in the league were the Nacogdoches Cogs, Rusk Governors, Jacksonville Tomato Pickers and a team based in Crockett, Texas that did not have a (known) nickname. Crockett, Nacogdoches and Rusk would never field a professional baseball team again. The Athletics dissolved following the season, with the next Palestine team showing up in 1925 as the Palestine Pals in the Texas Association. The Lumbermen dissolved as well, although a team with that name played in the West Dixie League in 1934.
The next incarnation of the league began play in 1923, and ran until 1926. After playing in the Texas-Oklahoma League in 1921 and 1922 as the Paris Snappers, the Paris Grays moved to the East Texas League and finished at the top with a 76-43 record in 1923, with the Longview Cannibals finishing last, with a 41-77 record. Other teams in the league that year were the Greenville Staplers who played in the Texas-Oklahoma League as the Greenville Togs in 1922; the Marshall Indians; the Mt. Pleasant Cats and Sulphur Springs Lions.
The Cannibals, Cats and Indians returned to the league in 1924. The Greenville, Sulphur Springs and Paris-based teams did as well, however they underwent name changes: the Greenville Staplers became the Greenville Hunters, the Sulphur Springs Lions became the Sulphur Springs Saints and the Paris Grays became the Paris North Stars. In its very first season of existence, league newcomer the Tyler Trojans were league champions with an 83-37 record. Another team, the Texarkana Twins, was new to the league as well.
Returning to the league in 1925 were the Tyler Trojans, Greenville Hunters, Longview Cannibals, Texarkana Twins, Marshall Indians and Mt. Pleasant Cats. The Sulphur Springs Saints became the Sulphur Springs Spartans for 1925, and the Paris North Stars became the Paris Bearcats. The Bearcats won the league championship with a 76-46 record. The Spartans disbanded on June 7 of that year, and because of that the Cannibals consolidated with the Mt. Pleasant Cats, playing as the Longview-Mount Pleasant Longcats until July 12, when the team permanently settled in Longview.
1926 was the final year of the second incarnation of the East Texas League. The Longview Cannibals, Texarkana Twins, Greenville Hunters, Tyler Trojans and Paris Bearcats returned to the league with the names they held the previous year. The Marshall Indians became the Marshall Snappers-Indians. After finishing first in the league in 1925, the Bearcats finished last in the league in 1926, with a 39-81 record. The Cannibals finished with the best record in the league that year, with a mark of 83-39.
The league was revived in 1931, lasting not even the whole season. The Longview Cannibals and Tyler Trojans returned to the league, and newcomers the Henderson Oilers and Kilgore Gushers joined the league as well. Tyler disbanded on May 5 and the entire league disbanded on May 7, with the default league champions being the Oilers who went 4-1. The Gushers and Trojans both went 1-3, while the Cannibals went 4-3.
In 1936, the league resumed play once again, this time until 1940. For the first time in the league's history, it was a C-level league, rather than a D-level league. Returning teams were the Tyler Trojans, Longview Cannibals and Henderson Oilers. The Kilgore team was now known as the Kilgore Braves, while the Marshall team, which did not participate in the 1931 incarnation, was known as the Marshall Orphans. Jacksonville and Palestine had representatives in the league for the first time since 1916, with teams known as the Jacksonville Jax and Palestine Pals, respectively. The Gladewater Bears were completely new to the league, coming from the West Dixie League, where they played in 1935. The Bears won the League Championship, as they beat the Trojans four games to two in the finals. The Trojans had placed first in the regular season standings that year, going 94-56, while the Bears went 93-59 to finish second in the league. The Braves finished last in the league, going 45-106. Following the season, the Bears ceased to exist in Gladewater. A new team with that name would show up in 1948, playing in the Lone Star League.
The Tyler Trojans, Jacksonville Jax, Henderson Oilers, Palestine Pals and Longview Cannibals returned to the league with their names the same. The Marshall team changed its name to the Marshall Tigers, while Kilgore became the Kilgore Rangers. Texarkana had a representative in the league for the first time since 1926, with a team known as the Texarkana Liners. Despite Tyler leading the league with an 85-52 record in the regular season, they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Jacksonville beat Marshall in the league finals four games to two, to become the league champions. Kilgore finished last in the league with a 42-97 record.
For the first time in East Texas League history, the same exact same teams played in the league two consecutive seasons: 1937 and 1938. Following 1937, there were no league departures, and there were no name changes or new teams for the 1938 season. The Trojans, who had finished in fourth place in the regular season, beat the Oilers, who had finished in third place during the regular season, four games to three in the league finals to win the league championship. Marshall (84-55) and Texarkana (80-60) had finished first and second in the league, respectively, however they were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. The Jax finished last with a 58-82 record.
No teams would leave the league following 1938, and only one team would change its name for the 1939 season: the Kilgore Rangers became the Kilgore Boomers. Aside from that, every team would stay the same. The Henderson Oilers had the best record in the league, going 85-55, while the Jacksonville Jax went only 51-89. In the league finals, the second-place Boomers beat the first-place Oilers four games to zero. The Jax again finished last in the league, this time with a 51-89 record.
1940 was the final year of the fourth incarnation of the East Texas League. Each team returned from the previous season, and only one team underwent a name change: the Longview Cannibals became the Longview Texans. The third-place Trojans beat the fourth-place Tigers in the league championship. Longview had finished first in the league with a 79-53 record, but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. On June 5, both the Palestine Pals and Jacksonville Jax disbanded. The Marshall Tigers moved onto the Cotton States League for the 1941 season. The Texarkana Liners changed their name back to the Texarkana Twins and moved to the Cotton States League as well.
The league made a one-year comeback in 1946, with the Oilers, Trojans and Jax returning. Texarkana came back with a new team name, the Texarkana Bears, as did Greenville (which hadn't had a team in the league since 1926), its team known as the Greenville Majors. Paris, too, returned with a team called the Paris Red Peppers, and Lufkin returned to the league for the first time since 1916, with a team known as the Lufkin Foresters. Sherman was entirely new to the league, with a team known as the Twins. Henderson finished atop the league with an 83-56 record, and they won the League Championship as well, defeating Texarkana four games to two. Lufkin finished last in the league with a 47-92 record. The league disbanded following the 1946 season. The Oilers, Jax, Foresters and Trojans moved onto the Lone Star League, while the Bears, Majors, Red Peppers and Twins moved onto the Big State League. The Twins became known as the Sherman-Denison Twins.
1949 was the beginning of the sixth and final incarnation of the East Texas League. It would last until 1950. The Longview Texans returned to the league after not playing in it during the 1946 incarnation, coming from the Lone Star League. The Gladewater Bears returned as well, after not playing in the league since 1936. They too arrived from the Lone Star League. The Tyler Trojans and Henderson Oilers returned after spending time in the Lone Star League, as well. The Paris team arrived from the Big States League, changing its name from the Paris Rockets (it changed its name to the Rockets for the 1948 Big States League season) to the Paris Panthers. Kilgore returned as the Kilgore Drillers, coming from the Lone Star League. The Marshall team was now known as the Marshall Browns. They arrived from the Lone Star League, where they were known as the Marshall Comets in 1947 and Marshall Tigers in 1948. Bryan, Texas had a representative in the league for the first time, the Bryan Bombers. They arrived from the Lone Star League. So many team arrived from the Lone Star league because that league folded following the 1948 season.
Longview finished first in the league in 1949, with a 89-51 record. Gladewater ended up winning the league championship, however, defeating the fourth-place Kilgore four games to zero. The Bombers finished last in the league, with a 48-91 record.
Every team that played in the league in 1949 returned for 1950, with the Bombers changing their name to the Bryan Sports. The Sports and Paris Panthers disbanded on July 20. Gladewater led the league with a 92-45 record, but second-place Marshall beat fourth-place Longview four games to one in the finals.
The league folded following the 1950 season. The Gladewater Bears, Marshall Browns, Henderson Oilers and Kilgore Drillers folded with it. The Longview Texans did not play in 1950, however Longview was represented by the Longview Cherokees in 1952 and the Longview Pirates in 1953 in the Big State League. The Tyler Trojans became the Tyler East Texans and moved to the Big State League. A team named the Paris Indians represented Paris in Big State League from 1952 to 1953. Paris had minor league teams through 1957. Bryan had minor league teams until 1954, although none in 1951 and 1952.
The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball: Second Edition.