Naturally, because BDB always has all of our bases covered (baseball puns always encouraged in baseball articles), we’ve weeded through those 50 some-odd leagues and narrowed it down to the top 10 heavy hitters (see, there we go again).
So we won’t keep you waiting any longer, oh who are we kidding, you love baseball, waiting is your thing. But seriously, top 10 collegiate baseball summer leagues. Right now.
10. California Collegiate League
At number 10 on our list, this was more of a “best of the worst” situation. This league has seen quite a few players off to leagues in Japan, but few have secured MLB careers with much longevity. The current league champs are the San Luis Obispo Blues.
9. Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League
The PGCBL is new to the collegiate summer baseball scene, founded in 2010 when seven teams left the New York Collegiate Baseball League. For the rookie of the top 10, they’re doing pretty well. The Amsterdam Mowhawks nabbed the 2012 title with a 35-12 record. While the PGCBL has yet to see any players make it big in the Majors, alums from the NYCBL have seen action on teams such as the New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, and San Francisco Giants.
8. Futures Collegiate Baseball League
Another rookie on the list is the FCBL, also founded in 2010, this league has nine teams throughout New England. But in its first two years of play, there were only four teams, we have to imagine this was less than exciting. Regardless, this league has grown into a quality organization being one of just collegiate leagues to gain recognition from Baseball America, Oursportscentral.com, and Ballpark Digest (see all seven others below).
7. Prospect League
The PL was founded in 1963, sort of. The Central Illinois Collegiate League was founded in 1963, but the CICL didn’t become the PL (LOVE the acronyms, right?) until 2009. Regardless, since 1963 the PL or the CICL, or whatever combination of letters you feel fits best, has given us John Papelbon and Adam Rosales. Not to mention, Papelbon played for the ever-so-clever Danville Dans in Danville Stadium. Man, we love these team names.
6. West Coast League
“The Diamond Standard” that’s their motto and we didn’t dare leave the off this list. We don’t know if it’s the fact that their motto makes them sound like the James Bond of collegiate baseball leagues or what, but they seem to be raking in some top prospects. They might not be churning out the top MLB players, but the talent in the West Coast league will definitely fuel some exciting games. Keep your eye on them. Also, the reigning champs are the Wenatchee Applesox, and, like, we don’t know what Applesox are but go watch a game and find out if its something you eat or wear – or if its something you eat wears.
5. Texas Collegiate League
The TCL started in 2004 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with nine teams. One boycott later, they’re down to seven, but with no less talent. The TCL is responsible for Major Leagues Clay Buchholz, Hunter Pence, and Chris Davis. Oh, and we really like the name East Texas Pump Jacks, who just happen to be the 2012 league champions.
4. Northwoods League
Coming in at number four on the list is the league with the biggest attendance, most teams, and the only one in the top 10 to include Canada. So all accomplishments and notable alumni aside, BDB thinks you earned this spot just because we appreciate your inclusiveness. See also: Curtis Granderson (Yankees), Chris Sale (White Sox), Max Scherzer (Tigers), and Josh Willingham (Twins).
3. Coastal Plain League
This league wins points just because one day in 1997 Pete Bock (yeah, we don’t know either) was feeling bummed that there wasn’t a collegiate league closer to his home. So he made one. What could have been a colossal failure has turned into one of the most elite collegiate leagues in the U.S. In fact, there were 44 CPL alumni at MLB spring training in 2012; Kevin Youkilis, Bobby Parnell, Justin Maxwell, Mark Reynolds, and Andy Dirks, just to name a few.
2. New England Collegiate Baseball League
The NECBL began in 1993 as a collaboration between a baseball great and an Emmy Award winning TV producer. By the next year, George Forester, former Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets All-Star and Major League Baseball home run leader, and Joseph Consentino, The Big Blue Marble producer had one of the top leagues on their hands. The league now had 13 teams spanning all 6 New England States (Our favorite team is the Keene Swamp Bats…), and recruits players from all across the country. The NECBL has been a collegiate right of passage for many past and present MLB players like Swamp Bats alum Andre Ethier, outfielder for the Dodgers.
1. Cape Cod Baseball League
There are a lot of reasons the CCBL is topping off our list. First off, it’s the granddad of all collegiate leagues, what with it being founded in 1885 and all. But as we know, older doesn’t always mean better, so here’s some reasons why it actually is better:
- In the 2008 MLB season 205 CCBL alumni played in the majors or were on injured reserve.
- They have a Hall of Fame
- It’s necessary to note that the Harwich Mariners were not “named after” the Seattle Mariners because the CCBL team pre-dates the American League expansion of 1977
- The league has inspired six books and one documentary to date
- Kevin Youkilis (you collegiate league whore), Mike Myers, Evan Longoria, Mike Lowell, Joe Girardi, Harold Traynor, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Varitek, Mark Teixeira, Nomar Garciaparra, Carlton Fisk…want us to keep going?