There were more casualties of Major League Baseball’s 2020 reorganization of the minor leagues than just the 43 teams who lost their affiliated status. The leagues that hosted the 120 teams who retained or gained affiliations lost the unique names that in some cases went back generations—according to Benjamin Hill of Minor League Baseball, the 11 leagues in affiliated Minor League Baseball are an average of 85 years old.
Gone were traditional names like the California League (rebranded with the regional designation Low-A West), Midwest League (High-A Central), Texas League (Double-A Central), and so on.
As of this week, that change has been erased. After playing the 2021 season with generic league names while they sorted out the legal details of using the historical names, Minor League Baseball reinstituted the names and logos that the leagues had before the reorganization. That said, it’s not entirely a return to the familiar: There was a significant shuffling of clubs in the 2020 reorganization, so many teams find themselves playing in new leagues, or playing in old leagues against new opponents and missing old rivals.
One notable exception to the restoration of old logos is the Triple-A-level Pacific Coast League, which now has a new logo. The new PCL logo, created by designers with the Tacoma Rainiers, a member of the league, highlights the waterways, mountains, rock formations, and foliage found in the American West.
“Our team started the process,” said Rainiers president Aaron Artman, quoted in an article by Tyler Maun on Minor League Baseball’s website. “We had two or three weeks to put it together, and then we handed it over to MLB, who did a fantastic job of simplifying the concept.”
Minor League Baseball also announced that the classification that had been called Low-A in 2021 is now simply Single-A, while High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A remain unchanged.
The Triple-A season begins April 5, while other affiliated classifications begin April 8.