The Calf League (CaL) is a professional baseball league that operates in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. It is the A-level minor league for the Bull Baseball League, and is categorized as one level below the AA-level Heifer League, and one level above the Short Season A-level Milk League.
Currently, the league consists of 20 teams, all of which are affiliated to a Bull League club. The teams are located in four Canadian provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and Ontario), nine US states (Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas and Wisconsin) and one in Baja-California state, Mexico.
A league champion is determined at the end of each season, and commencing with 2018, the playoffs will be made up of the division leaders after each half season, called split season play.
The CaL was created in 2004 in order to allow teams to place drafted players at a lower level than AAA-level Cow League (as they were not usually ready for that level of play), and have more options overall in player development. The Calf League is the second-oldest minor league in the Bull Baseball League.
When it was created in 2004, it consisted of 16 teams. In 2012, the league expanded to 20 teams to match the major-level Bull League expansion.
Structure and season
The CaL is divided into two subleagues, which are called conferences at this level. They are the Desert Conference (DC), consisting of teams mainly in three Canadian prairie provinces and three Southwestern US states, as well as Mexico, and the Mid-West Conference (MWC), consisting of teams around the Great Lakes region, plus Kentucky. Each conference consists of an East and a West division, composed of five teams in each division. The teams play an 82-game schedule which begins in the third week of May, and runs until early August.
Beginning in 2018, the league will use a split season schedule, which splits the schedule into two halves. The division leaders at the end of each half season are seeded into the playoffs. There are no games scheduled between the conferences, and no All-Star Game.
The CaL uses the designated hitter rule, the 10-day disabled list, and a 26-man roster.
At the end of each season, there is a playoff to determine the overall Calf League championship. The postseason involves three best-of-three rounds, with the division leaders at the end of each half season seeded into the eight playoff teams. The final round is called the Calf Cup Series.
|East||Albuquerque Crystals||2004||Nevada Speeders||Albuquerque, NM|
|Lethbridge Raiders||2004||Calgary Inferno||Lethbridge, AB|
|Saskatoon Nuggets||2004||Washington Freedom||Saskatoon, SK|
|Winnipeg Gophers||2004||Seattle Salts||Winnipeg, MB|
|West||Flagstaff Racers||2004||California Tidals||Flagstaff, AZ|
|Tijuana Firebirds||2004||St. Petersburg Admirals||Tijuana, MEX|
|Tucson Rattlers||2004||Minneapolis Ravens||Tucson, AZ|
|Yuma Hedgehogs||2004||Arizona Cowboys||Yuma, AZ|
|East||Lexington Moonshiners||2004||Boston Brawlers||Lexington, KY|
|London Bluebirds||2012||Toronto Nomads||London, ON|
|Markham Tar Heels||2012||Miami Storm||Markham, ON|
|Sarnia Shock||2004||Montreal Metros||Sarnia, ON|
|West||Duluth Jesters||2004||New York Dragons||Duluth, MN|
|Fort Wayne Lightning||2004||Ohio Oxen||Fort Wayne, IN|
|Grand Rapids Frontiersmen||2004||Milwaukee Hops||Grand Rapids, MI|
|Peoria Mosquitos||2004||Chicago Pit Bulls||Peoria, IL|
|Age range||Minimum age 18|
|Disabled list||10 days|
|Pro time limit||None|
This level has a roster limit of 26 players, but no age ceiling. It is the first level at which professional baseball players are considered to have started their pro careers. The minimum age is 18, to encourage teams to place their international scouting discoveries in rookie-level or short season A until they have gained enough experience and are ready for A level.
The season is 81 games played in a split-season format.
The CaL has crowned one team to be a league champion each season since 2004.
Championship wins by team
|2||Fort Wayne Lightning||2013, 2015|
|2||Lubbock Luddites||2004, 2014|
|2||Peoria Mosquitos||2005, 2017|
|2||Tucson Rattlers||2007, 2012|
|2||Winnipeg Gophers||2009, 2020|
|1||El Paso Smugglers||2010|
|1||Grand Rapids Frontiersmen||2011|