List of International League champions
The International League of Minor League Baseball is one of two Triple-A baseball leagues in the United States. A league champion is determined at the end of each season. From the league's creation in 1884 until 1932, champions were simply the regular season pennant winners. Since 1933, postseason playoffs have been held to determine champions. Playoff winners are awarded the Governors' Cup.
Governors' Cup replica
|Given for||Winning the league championship|
|First winner||Buffalo Bisons|
|Most wins||Columbus Clippers (11)|
|Most recent||Columbus Clippers (2019)|
Currently, three division winners and a wild card team (the team with the best second-place record in the league) are determined at the end of the season. The North Division champion plays the wild card team, while the champions of the South and West Divisions play one another in best-of-five series. The winners then play each other in a best-of-five series to determine a league champion.
The Rochester Red Wings have won 19 titles, the most in the league's history, followed by the Buffalo Bisons (12) and Columbus Clippers and Toronto Maple Leafs (11). Since the introduction of the Governors' Cup in 1933, the most cup titles have been won by the Columbus Clippers (11), followed by the Rochester Red Wings (10) and Syracuse Mets (8).
League champions have been determined by different means since the International League's formation in 1884. Champions from 1884 to 1932 were simply the regular season pennant winners. Frank Shaughnessy, general manager of the IL's Montreal Royals, was interested in developing a way for multiple clubs to share in the excitement of postseason play. His new playoff format, devised to maintain the interest of fans and players alike during the Depression era, provided an opportunity for four teams to compete for the league's championship. In 1933, he introduced his plan to league president Charles H. Knappe, and the Governors' Cup was born. Several other leagues, including the Pacific Coast League, noticed the success of the "Shaughnessy Plan" and began using the system as well.
In response to the new playoff format, the governors of Maryland, New Jersey, and New York and the lieutenant governors of the provinces of Quebec and Ontario sponsored a trophy to be awarded annually to the winner of the International League playoffs. The original trophy, designed by the supervisor of the league's umpires and silversmith W. B. Carpenter, was created out of solid silver and has been appraised at over $3,000. In 1988, IL president Harold Cooper donated the trophy to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, where it is on permanent display. A new trophy of the same name was minted in its place and is presented annually to the winner of the Governors' Cup Championship Series.
Typically, from 1933 to 1987, the four teams with the best records at the end of the season competed in semi-finals and then a final best-of-seven series for the championship. For the few years in which the league was split into two divisions, the top two teams in each division competed against one another, with the winners competing to determine a champion. The championship series was shortened to a best-of-five series in some years. The league also competed in two divisions from 1988 to 1997.
Since 1998, the league has been split into three divisions. Under this format, the three division winners and a wild card team (the team with the best second-place record in the league) are determined at the end of the season. The North Division champion plays the wild card team, while the champions of the South and West Divisions play one another in best-of-five series. The winners then play each other in the best-of-five Governors' Cup Playoffs to determine the champion.
- Scores and additional teams are absent from 1884 to 1932 when pennant winners were declared champions.
Championship wins by teamEdit
Active International League teams appear in bold.
|19||10||Rochester Bronchos/Red Wings||1899, 1901, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1939, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1964, 1971, 1974, 1988, 1990, 1997|
|12||6||Buffalo Bisons||1891, 1904, 1906, 1915, 1916, 1927, 1933, 1936, 1957, 1961, 1998, 2004|
|11||11||Columbus Clippers||1979, 1980, 1981, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1996, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2019|
|11||4||Toronto Maple Leafs||1897, 1902, 1907, 1912, 1917, 1918, 1926, 1934, 1960, 1965, 1966|
|10||2||Baltimore Orioles||1908, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1944, 1950|
|8||7||Montreal Royals||1898, 1941, 1946, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1953, 1958|
|8||8||Syracuse Chiefs (Syracuse Mets)||1935, 1942, 1943, 1947, 1954, 1969, 1970, 1976|
|6||6||Durham Bulls||2002, 2003, 2009, 2013, 2017, 2018|
|5||4||Newark Bears||1932, 1937, 1938, 1940, 1945|
|5||0||Providence Grays/Clamdiggers||1894, 1905, 1896, 1900, 1914|
|5||5||Richmond Braves||1978, 1986, 1989, 1994, 2007|
|5||5||Tidewater Tides (Norfolk Tides)||1972, 1975, 1982, 1983, 1985|
|4||4||Pawtucket Red Sox||1973, 1984, 2012, 2014|
|3||3||Toledo Mud Hens||1967, 2005, 2006|
|2||2||Charlotte Knights||1993, 1999|
|2||0||Detroit Wolverines||1889, 1890|
|2||2||Indianapolis Indians||1963, 2000|
|2||2||Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees/RailRiders||2008, 2016|
|2||0||Syracuse Stars||1885, 1888|
|1||1||Havana Sugar Kings||1959|
|1||0||Jersey City Skeeters||1903|
|1||1||Louisville RiverBats (Louisville Bats)||2001|
|1||0||Newark Little Giants||1886|
- "International League Governors' Cup Championship". Triple-A Baseball. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
- "International League Personnel and Staff". International League. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- "2020 Minor League Baseball Season Shelved". Minor League Baseball. June 30, 2020. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
- "International League Champions". International League. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
- "International League Governors' Cup Championship". Triple-A Baseball. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
- O'Neal, Bill (1992), The International League: A Baseball History 1884–1991, Eakin Press, ISBN 9780890158562
- Wright, Marshall (2005), The International League: Year-by-Year Statistics 1884–1953, McFarland, ISBN 9780786404582