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Formed on March 23, 1923 at the Arlington Hotel in Binghamton, NY as a six-team circuit located entirely within two states, the Eastern League (EL) is now composed of two six-team divisions with teams in eight different states.

For the first fifteen years of its existence, the League was known as the New York-Pennsylvania League. The original six cities were Binghamton and Elmira, NY and Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Williamsport, and York, PA. The following year, Harrisburg, PA and Utica, NY joined the fold, increasing the league's membership to eight teams. On July 2, 1936, the York franchise made a mid-season transfer to New Jersey, creating the league's first-ever member from outside New York and Pennsylvania, the Trenton Senators. Two years later, in 1938, the Scranton franchise moved to Hartford, Connecticut and the NY-Penn League became known as the Eastern League. Although there were frequent franchise relocations, the League remained an eight-team unit through 1957. League membership fluctuated between six and eight teams until 1994, when the League grew to ten teams with the addition of the New Haven Ravens and the Portland Sea Dogs. Since 1923, there has been Eastern League teams in 51 different cities located in 12 different states and two Canadian provinces. In 1999, the Eastern League expanded to twelve teams, making it double the size it was just twenty years earlier. The New Hampshire Fisher Cats are the latest addition to this history-enriched League.

The first game in League history took place in Williamsport on May 9, 1923, when the Billies stomped the visiting Wilkes-Barre Barons 10-4. Since then, more than 47,000 Eastern League games have been played in front of more than eighty million fans. The Eastern League set the current attendance record during the 2005 season, when a total of 3,944,195 fans passed through the gates at Eastern League ballparks.

A total of twenty seven Eastern League alumni have been enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, with the latest two, Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg enshrined on July 31, 2005. Nolan Ryan, Juan Marichal, Mike Schmidt, Whitey Ford, Richie Ashburn, Early Wynn, Johnny Mize, Bob Lemon, Warren Spahn, Carlton Fisk, Bill Mazeroski, Gary Carter and Ralph Kiner all played in the EL prior to their Hall of Fame playing careers. Jim Palmer pitched for Elmira in 1968 while rehabbing an arm injury. A year earlier, Robin Roberts closed out his pro career pitching for the Reading Phillies. Following a Hall of Fame career in the Negro Leagues right-hander Leon Day played for the Scranton Miners. Lefty Gomez, Heinie Manush, Travis Jackson, Tony Lazzeri, and Rabbit Maranville all managed in the League following the completion of their big League days. Hall of Fame Manager Earl Weaver was an Eastern League skipper for four years (Elmira 1962-65) prior to landing the job as field boss of the Baltimore Orioles in 1968. Jim Bunning, who entered the Hall with Weaver in 1996, pitched for the Williamsport Tigers in 1952 prior to his major League career and current career in the United States Congress. Twenty years later he returned to the Eastern League to manage the Reading Phillies. One of the few umpires in Baseball's Pantheon, Al Barlick, called `em as he saw `em in the Eastern League in 1939, while Jocko Conlin, who umpired in the Eastern League during 1936 and 1937, also earned enshrinement. The 1941 Springfield Nationals remain one of the few teams in minor League history to have two future Hall of Famers (Manager Maranville and pitcher Wynn) on their roster simultaneously.

The list of Eastern League products in a sports hall of fame does not end in Cooperstown. Don Hutson, a charter member of the professional Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, played for the 1937 Albany Senators. Ken Strong, who earned election to the Football Hall of Fame in 1967, is still the co-holder of the Eastern League record for home runs in a single season. Strong, who like Hutson was an outfielder, belted forty-one round trippers for the Hazelton Mountaineers in 1930. Another outfielder, Bill Sharman, played for Elmira in 1950 before putting his energies into another sport. He subsequently played and coached his way into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975. Glenn Killinger, the manager and second baseman for the Eastern League Champion 1928 Harrisburg Senators, played quarterback for Penn State from 1918-1921 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971. Killinger played football professionally with the New York Giants in 1926 and went on to coach football, basketball and Baseball at West Chester State Teachers College.

In the history of the Eastern League only five players have managed to win the "Triple Crown" (lead the league in home runs, RBI, and batting average). The most recent winner of the Eastern League Triple Crown came during the 2008 season when Bowie Baysox outfielder Lou Montanez batted .335 with 26 home runs and 97 RBI. Other Eastern League Triple Crown winners include Joe Munson of the 1925 Harrisburg Senators (his .400 average is still the league's single season record), Bob Chance of the 1963 Charleston Indians, George Scott of the 1965 Pittsfield Red Sox and Danny Thomas of the 1976 Berkshire Brewers.

Among the Eastern League hurlers who have won the pitching equivalent of the Triple Crown (League leader in wins, ERA, and strikeouts) are Wilkes-Barre's Red Embree in 1941, Chet Covington of Scranton in 1943, Mark Davis of the 1980 Reading Phillies, and two members of the Springfield Giants: Juan Marichal (1959) and Gerry Thomas (1961).

Derek Jeter, Hanley Ramirez, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, David Wright, Grady Sizemore and Chase Utley were among the 27 Eastern League alumni named to the Major League All-Star teams during the 2008 season. Additionally, of the 50 players on the 2008 World Series rosters, 27 have played in the Eastern League during their career, including ALCS Most Valuable Player Matt Garza and NLCS and World Series Most Valuable Player Cole Hamels. Altogether, hundreds of players on 2008 Major League clubs previously played on Eastern League diamonds. The Eastern League has provided families throughout the Northeast and Baseball fans everywhere with competitive athletic entertainment at affordable rates and will continue to do so for many years to come.

(http://eastern.league.milb.com/about/page.jsp?ymd=20081105&content_id=477719&vkey=about_l113&fext=.jsp&sid=l113) www.easternleague.com