Pioneer League (baseball)

Pioneer League (baseball)

Pioneer League logo
Sport Baseball
Founded 1939
President James R. McCurdy (1994-Present)
No. of teams 8
Country USA
Most recent
Orem Owlz (2016)
Most titles Billings Mustangs (15)
Classification Rookie Advanced
Official website

The Pioneer League is a minor league baseball league which currently operates in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. In the past, it also operated in adjoining portions of Canada. It is classified as a Rookie League, and is staffed with mostly first and second year players. The Pioneer League is a short-season league operating from June to early September.

Along with the Appalachian League, it forms the second-lowest rung on the minor league ladder. Although classified as a Rookie league, the level of play is slightly higher than that of the two "complex" Rookie leagues, the Gulf Coast League and Arizona League. Unlike these two leagues, Pioneer League games charge admission and sell concessions.

The Pioneer League began in 1939 with six teams in Idaho and Utah. With players in short supply due to World War II, the league suspended operations for the 1943 through 1945 seasons. In 1948, the league expanded into Montana. At that time, several of the teams were operating as minor league affiliates of Pacific Coast League teams, which were unsuccessfully trying to grow into a major league. When the Los Angeles Dodgers displaced the Hollywood Stars PCL team, they moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, taking away the Pioneer League's largest market. By 1959, the league was down to six teams, and by 1964, there were only four. By the end of the 1970s there were eight teams, a number that remains to this day and is not likely to change without further expansion or contraction within Major League Baseball.

In 2015, total league attendance was 633,622.[1]


Division Team MLB Affiliation City Stadium Capacity
Northern Billings Mustangs Cincinnati Reds Billings, Montana Dehler Park 5,000
Great Falls Voyagers Chicago White Sox Great Falls, Montana Centene Stadium 2,500
Helena Brewers Milwaukee Brewers Helena, Montana Kindrick Legion Field 2,010
Missoula Osprey Arizona Diamondbacks Missoula, Montana Ogren Park at Allegiance Field 3,500
Southern Grand Junction Rockies Colorado Rockies Grand Junction, Colorado Suplizio Field 7,014
Idaho Falls Chukars Kansas City Royals Idaho Falls, Idaho Melaleuca Field 3,400
Ogden Raptors Los Angeles Dodgers Ogden, Utah Lindquist Field 8,262
Orem Owlz Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Orem, Utah Brent Brown Ballpark 5,000

Current team rosters

Pioneer League teams (1939–present)


James R. McCurdy is the current president of the Pioneer Baseball League. McCurdy received his BBA from the University of Houston in 1970 and his JD from the University of Texas School of Law in 1974. He mediated the restructure of Minor League Baseball's governing structure in 1992 and was an inaugural member of the MiLB board of trustees from 1992-94. In 1993, he was appointed by the president of MiLB to serve on the Professional Baseball Executive Council. McCurdy was elevated to the position of league president in 1994, replacing Ralph Nelles who was the president from 1975 to 1993. McCurdy also teaches sports law courses at Gonzaga University School of Law and the University of San Diego School of Law. His publications include: Sports Law: Cases & Materials (with Ray Yasser, C. Peter Goplerud, and Maureen Weston) (7th ed. LexisNexis 2011),[2] Thunder on the Road from Seattle to Oklahoma City: Going from NOPA to ZOPA in the NBA, in Legal Issues in American Basketball ch. IV (Lewis Kurlantzick ed., Academica Press 2011),[2] and, The Fundamental Nature of Professional Sports Leagues, Constituent Clubs, & Mutual Duties to Protect Market Opportunities: Organized Baseball Case Study, in Legal Issues in Professional Baseball ch. IV (Lewis Kurlantzick ed., Academica Press 2005).[2]

League champions

Year Champion Runner-up Finals
1939Twin Falls Cowboys
1940Ogden Reds
1941Ogden Reds
1942Pocatello Cardinals
1943Not in operation
1944Not in operation
1945Not in operation
1946Salt Lake City Bees
1947Twin Falls Cowboys
1948Twin Falls Cowboys
1949Pocatello Cardinals
1950Billings Mustangs
1951Great Falls Electrics
1952Idaho Falls Russets
1953Salt Lake City Bees
1954Great Falls Electrics
1955Magic Valley Cowboys
1956Boise Braves
1957Billings Mustangs
1958Boise Braves
1959Billings Mustangs
1960Boise Braves
1961Great Falls Electrics
1962Billings Mustangs
1963Idaho Falls Yankees
1964Treasure Valley Cubs
1965Treasure Valley Cubs
1966Ogden Dodgers
1967Ogden Dodgers
1968Ogden Dodgers
1969Ogden Dodgers
1970Idaho Falls Angels
1971Great Falls Giants
1972Billings Mustangs
1973Billings Mustangs
1974Idaho Falls Angels
1975Great Falls Giants
1976Great Falls Giants
1977Lethbridge Dodgers
1978Billings MustangsIdaho Falls Angels2–0
1979Lethbridge DodgersHelena Brewers2–0
1980Lethbridge DodgersBillings Mustangs2–1
1981Butte Copper KingsCalgary Expos3–2
1982Medicine Hat Blue JaysIdaho Falls A's3–1
1983Billings MustangsCalgary Expos3–1
1984Helena Gold SoxBillings Mustangs3–1
1985Salt Lake City TrappersGreat Falls Dodgers3–2
1986Salt Lake City TrappersGreat Falls Dodgers3–1
1987Salt Lake City TrappersHelena Brewers3–1
1988Great Falls DodgersButte Copper Kings3–2
1989Great Falls DodgersButte Copper Kings3–0
1990Great Falls DodgersSalt Lake City Trappers3–0
1991Salt Lake City TrappersGreat Falls Dodgers2–1
1992Billings MustangsSalt Lake City Trappers2–0
1993Billings MustangsHelena Brewers2–1
1994Billings MustangsHelena Brewers3–2
1995Helena BrewersMedicine Hat Blue Jays2–0
1996Helena BrewersOgden Raptors2–0
1997Billings MustangsGreat Falls Dodgers2–0
1998Idaho Falls BravesLethbridge Mounties2–1
1999Missoula OspreyBillings Mustangs2–0
2000Idaho Falls PadresGreat Falls Dodgers2–0
2001Billings MustangsProvo Angels2–0
2002Great Falls DodgersProvo Angels2–1
2003Billings MustangsProvo Angels2–0
2004Provo AngelsBillings Mustangs2–0
2005Orem OwlzHelena Brewers2–0
2006Missoula OspreyIdaho Falls Chukars2–0
2007Orem OwlzGreat Falls White Sox2–0
2008Great Falls VoyagersOrem Owlz2–1
2009Orem OwlzMissoula Osprey2–1
2010Helena BrewersOgden Raptors2–0
2011Great Falls VoyagersOgden Raptors2–0
2012Missoula OspreyOgden Raptors2–1
2013Idaho Falls ChukarsHelena Brewers2–1
2014Billings MustangsOrem Owlz2–0
2015Missoula OspreyIdaho Falls Chukars2–1
2016Orem OwlzBillings Mustangs2–0


  1. "Pioneer League: Attendance". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 "James R. McCurdy". 2015-12-11. Retrieved 2016-08-11.
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