Minor League history: Canadian League

In two centuries, there were a total of four leagues that adopted the name of Canadian League.

The first league that adopted the name started in 1885. The league lasted only one year, but it finished the season, resulting in a championship of the Hamilton Clippers. Other teams in that league were: the London Cockneys, the Toronto Torontos, the Guelph Maple Leafs and the Hamilton Primrose.

Eleven years later a new Canadian League would see the light. It lasted four years before it joined (in 1900) what later would become the International League.
In the first three years the number of games was limited to 34-58 games. Only in the last season (1899), the number of games expanded to 92 games.
In the first year only three teams finished the season as the Galt Galts disbanded near the end of the season. For the next two years, the league was stable as no team disbanded. But in 1899 the Stratford Poets moved to Woodstock to become the Woodstock Bains. The Saint Thomas Saints disbanded early in the season.
The Guelph Maple Leafs won the first championship in 1896, followed by the Hamilton Blackbirds that won the championship in the next two years. The London Cockneys won the pennant in 1899.

Cities represented 1896-1899:

Chatham, ON: Chatham Babes 1898 Chatham Reds 1899
Galt, ON: Galt Galts 1896
Guelph, ON: Guelph Maple Leafs 1896-1897, 1899
Hamilton, ON: Hamilton Hams 1896 Hamilton Blackbirds 1897-1899
London, ON: London Tecumsehs 1896 London Cockneys 1897-1899
St. Thomas, ON: St. Thomas Saints 1898-1899
Stratford, ON: Stratford Poets 1899
Toronto, ON: Toronto Canucks 1897
Woodstock, ON: Woodstock Bains 1899

In 1905 a third Canadian League started. The class D league only lasted one season and faced difficulties rather quick as the Simcoe franchise disbanded somewhere between June 30 and July 17. There are no exact date that can confirm the precise date on which the team folded.

The Woodstock Maroons won the championship with a 4.5 lead over the Ingersoll franchise.

Cities represented 1905:

Brantford, ON: Brantford Indians
Ingersoll, ON: Ingersoll
St. Thomas, ON: St. Thomas Saints
Simcoe, ON: Simcoe
Woodstock, ON: Woodstock Maroons
Guelph, ON: Guelph Biltmores
The final edition of the Canadian League started in 1911 as a class D league but was awarded the class C status in the next year. For the first time, a non-Canadian team participated in the league as the Erie Yankees joined the league in 1914. It is very likely to assume that the team was named Yankees because it was the only team in the league that came from the United States.

Cities represented 1911-1915:

Berlin, ON: Berlin Green Sox 1911; Berlin Busy Bees 1912-1913
Brantford, ON: Brantford Red Sox 1911-1915
Erie, PA: Erie Yankees 1914
Guelph, ON: Guelph Maple Leafs 1911-1913, 1915
Hamilton, ON: Hamilton Kolts 1911-1912; Hamilton Hams 1913-1915
London, ON: London Cockneys 1911; London Tecumsehs 1912-1915
Ottawa, ON: Ottawa Senators 1912-1915
Peterborough, ON: Peterborough White Caps 1912; Peterborough Petes 1913-1914
St. Thomas, ON: St. Thomas Saints 1911-1915
Toronto, ON: Toronto Beavers 1914

Urban Shocker.jpg
Urban Shocker

In the first year, the league contained six teams, but in the next three years the league would have eight teams playing. Only in the last season the number of teams was reduced to six again.

Championships 1911-1915:

1911 Berlin Green Sox
1912 Ottawa Senators
1913 Ottawa Senators
1914 Ottawa Senators
1915 Ottawa Senators

At least one well known Major Leaguer played in this edition of the Canadian League. Urban Shocker played for the  Senators in 1914 and 1915 before he joined the New York Yankees in 1916 but played for the St. Louis Browns for the biggest part of his career.


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