Minor League History: Bi-State League

There were two leagues that called themselves Bi-State League but except for the name they did not have any relationship.

The first Bi-State League was the successor of the Wisconsin-Illinois League and lasted only a part of the 1915 season. The league had five teams from Illinois and one from Wisconsin.

The cities that were represented in the 1915 edition were:

Aurora, IL: Aurora Foxes
Elgin, IL: Elgin Watch Makers
Freeport, IL: Freeport Pretzels
Ottawa, IL: Ottawa Indians
Racine, WI: Racine Belles
Streator, IL: Streator Boosters

The Elgin Watchmakers and the Aurora Foxes disbanded on July 4. Three days later the whole league disbanded.  By the time the league ceased activities, all teams had played around fifty games.

In 1934 a second league with the name of Bi-State League started. The league had teams from Virginia and North Carolina and was qualified as a Class D league as well. The league would last through nine seasons before it folded. The league started as a six team league in 1934, but in the next year, two teams were added. The league remained an eight team league through the 1940 season, but the last two seasons the league contained six teams again.

The following cities had teams in the league:

Bassett, VA: Bassett Furnituremakers 1935-1940
Burlington, NC: Burlington Bees 1942
Danville, VA: Danville Leafs 1934-1938
Danville, VA & Schoolfield, VA: Danville-Schoolfield Leafs 1939-1942
Fieldale, VA: Fieldale Virginians 1934; Fieldale Towlers 1935-1936
Leaksville, NC, Draper, NC, & Spray, NC: Leaksville-Draper-Spray Triplets 1934-1942
Martinsville, VA: Martinsville Manufacturers 1934-1941
Mayodan, NC: Mayodan Senators 1934; Mayodan Mills 1935; Mayodan Orphans 1936; Mayodan Senators 1937; Mayodan Millers 1938-1941
Mount Airy, NC: Mount Airy Graniteers 1934; Mount Airy Reds 1935-1937; Mount Airy Graniteers 1938-1941
Reidsville, NC: Reidsville Luckies 1935-1940
Rocky Mount, NC: Rocky Mount Rocks 1942
Sanford, NC: Sanford Spinners 1941-1942
South Boston, VA & Halifax, VA: South Boston Twins 1937; South Boston-Halifax Wrappers 1938; South Boston Wrappers1939-1940
Wilson, NC: Wilson Tobs 1942, moved from Coastal Plain League 1939-1941

Only one team played during the full run of the league: it was a combo team of the cities Leaksville, Draper and Spray, all from North Carolina, the Leaksville-Draper-Spray Triplets. The team won the league title in 1935 and 1941. The team with the most titles though was the Bassett Furniture Makers that won back-to-back-to-back titles from 1936 to 1938 and one in 1940, their last season in the league.

When the Fieldale Towlers dropped out of the league after the 1936 season, their place was taken by the South Boston Twins in the following year.

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The 1941 Leaksville-Draper-Spray Triplets

After the 1940 season, South Boston, Bassett and Reidsville dropped out. To get an even number of teams, the Sandford Spinners from Sanford NC were added for the 1941 season. After the 1941 season three more teams folded: Martinsville, Mount Airy and Mayodan. They were replaced by the Wilson Tobs (who came from the Class D Coastal Plain League. Tobs was the abbreviation of tobacconists), the Rocky Mount Rocks (also coming from the defunct Coastal Plain League) and the Burlington Bees. The Rocky Mount Rocks won the league championship in their first and final year in the league by beating the Sanford Spinners 4-1 in the championship series.

Champions of the 1934-1942 Bi-State League:

1934 Danville Leafs
1935 Leaksville-Draper-Spray Triplets
1936 Bassett Furniture Makers
1937 Bassett Furniture Makers
1938 Bassett Furniture Makers
1939 Danville-Schoolfield Leafs
1940 Leaksville-Draper-Spray Triplets
1941 Martinsville Manufacturers
1942 Rocky Mount Rocks

The two most well known MLB players that named that played in the Bi-State League were Phil Rizzutto (Basset Furniture Makers) and Enos Slaughter, who spent the biggest part of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, but also spent time with the Yankees, the Kansas City Athletics and the Milwaukee Braves.

 

 

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