The Continental League (1959-1960)

By Anthony Smith


The "CL" was a proposed third Major League for baseball in the United States and Canada, announced in 1959 and scheduled to begin play in the 1961 season.


The Continental League was the idea of New York City attorney William Shea, proposed in November 1958. On July 27, 1959, the new league was formally announced, with teams in Denver, Houston, Minneapolis-St Paul, New York City and Toronto.


Owners in each of the 4 cities had agreed to pay $50,000 to the league and committed to a capital investment of $2.5 million, not including stadium costs. A minimum seating capacity of 35,000 was established by the league for the venues in which its teams would play

Branch Rickey

The Former Dodgers president was named league president.

Bigger Leagues Respond

The National League and the American League reacted to the formation of the new league by announcing plans to expand by adding two teams in each of the existing leagues. This resulted in the not having teams in cities that they expected.

The End

on August 2, 1960, the Continental League formally disbanded. At the time it was reported that four Continental League cities would get major league teams. As it turned out, only three of those cities gained Major League Baseball franchises in the immediate aftermath of the Continental League's destruction.