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The Western Carolinas League was a Class D (1948-52, 1960-62) and a low Class A (1963-79) full-season league in American minor league baseball. The WCL changed its name prior to the 1980 season and has been known since as the South Atlantic League, a highly successful low Class A circuit with teams up the Eastern Seaboard from Georgia to New Jersey.

Originally called the "Western Carolina League," the 1948-52 WCL was composed exclusively of teams located in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge sections of western North Carolina. It merged with the North Carolina State League to form the short-lived Class D Tar Heel League, which lasted only 1½ seasons (1953-54) before folding.

In 1960, the WCL was revived as a Class D circuit intended for farm teams of member clubs of a planned third major league, the Continental League. It featured teams in eight North Carolina locales: Gastonia, Hickory, Lexington, Newton-Conover, Rutherford County, Salisbury, Shelby and Statesville, but soon expanded to sites in South Carolina.

When the CL was torpedoed by the Major League Baseball expansion in 1961-62, the members of the Western Carolinas League became affiliates of American and National League clubs. It was upgraded to Class A in the 1963 reorganization of the minor leagues.

For nearly 60 years, 1948 through 2007, the dominant figure in the WCL/SAL was league founder and president John Henry Moss, who started the WCL as a young man in 1948, refounded it in 1960 and then led it into the new century. Moss retired at the close of the 2007[1] Sally League season and died, at age 90, on July 1, 2009[2].

Contents

Member teams

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Western Carolina League (1948-52)

  • Forest City Owls
  • Gastonia Browns
  • Granite Falls Graniteers
  • Hendersonville Skylarks
  • Hickory Rebels
  • Lenoir Red Sox
  • Lincolnton Cardinals
  • Marion Marauders
  • Morganton Aggies
  • Newton-Conover Twins
  • Rutherford County Owls
  • Shelby Farmers

Western Carolinas League (1960-79)

  • Greenville Red Sox
  • Greenwood Braves
  • Hickory Rebels
  • Lexington Giants
  • Lexington Indians
  • Monroe Indians
  • Monroe Pirates
  • Newton-Conover Twins
  • Orangeburg Cards
  • Orangeburg Dodgers
  • Rock Hill Cardinals
  • Rock Hill Indians
  • Rock Hill Wrens
  • Rutherford County Owls
  • Salisbury Astros
  • Salisbury Braves

References

  1. ^ Baseball America, December 15, 2007
  2. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/14/sports/baseball/14moss.html?hpw

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