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Old 01-23-2014, 01:32 AM   #1
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The Minor Leagues Throughout History in OOTP

This could go into the Historical Leagues forum, but I wanted to put it here because it pertains to historical leagues and fictional/historical leagues, and because that forum doesn't seem to get too much activity anyways.

A little backround: Shortly after buying my first version of OOTP (11), I've been planning a universe that would sort of mirror the real life history of baseball, with fictional players and parallel, fictional teams (basically real historical franchises with fictional nicknames and graphics). After four versions of this game, I've never gotten this universe up and running. The problem has always been getting the minor leagues right.

The problem is the conflict between the way the real minor leagues evolved, and the way the game's minor leagues work. In real life, minor leagues started and folded all the time, were independent, had primitive classifications that don't exist in the game. In OOTP, the implied minor leagues have a structure that mirrors the parent league. The classification system in OOTP makes it hard to reflect the minor leagues in the year 1905, for example, where the levels were A, B, C and D.

So after all of this time I think I've found the best workable solution. It makes some compromises to account for the games limitations.


For starters, independent minor league teams are avoided. An independent team in the game can sign any player willing to sign a minor league contract no matter what the league level is. So a AAA type guy will sign with an independed rookie club. This happens instantly with no negotionation period. Once a player is on an indy club, they are stuck there, forever, until either A. the indy club becomes affiliated with a major league team, or B. the user does some commish mode stuff. In the pre-farm system period (before 1932) players still moved up through the ranks of minor leagues. The only way this upward movement can occur in OOTP is if the minor leagues are affiliated from the beginning.


The other workaround is getting the classifications right. Classifications changed alot throughout the years:

1902-1911: A, B, C, D
1912-1935: AA, A, B, C, D
1936-1945: AA, A1, A, B, C, D
1946-1962: AAA, AA, A, B, C, D
1963-: AAA, AA, A, R (with sub-levels within A and R)

In a 1902 league it would seem easy to translate this system to OOTP: A, B, C, and D would be AAA, AA, A, and R. But what happens in 1912? For awhile I thought the best solution would be to ignore all minor leagues that aren't at least class A, but 9 of the current surviving minor leagues were either B, C, or D leagues until 1963 when those levels were eliminated.

I think the best way to replicate the B/C/D levels is to just make them all rookie leagues. This gives you A and R from 1902-1911, AA, A and R from 1912-1935, and AAA, AA, A and R from 1936 onward. This is a much more workable system.

Another thing that got me was the massive number of minor leagues that gave existed. Putting every minor league that ever existed into the game would obviously be overkill. Only using leagues that still exist today seems okay, but only four modern leagues existed prior to 1936, so there would be a pretty sparse farm system landscape in the earlier years. The American Association and Southern Association were very stable, high-level minor leagues in their day. So what if we include all modern minor leagues, plus all defunct minor leagues that were at class A or above?

Here's the leagues from 1902-1911:
Class A - American Association (1903), Eastern League, Pacific Coast League (1904), Pacific National League (1903), Southern Association, Western League
Class D (R) - Texas League

Right away there's the problem of too many leagues at the A level. If all of the minor league teams are going to be affiliated, and there are 16 major league teams, there are going to be multiple A teams for each ML team, which would create the problem of constant lateral player movement. This had me going for awhile and was throwing some wrenches in my plans. But in 1912 class A gets split up into AA and A.

AA - American Association, Eastern League, Pacific Coast League
A - Southern Association, Western League

If we can assume that the Southern Association and Western leagues had lower talent levels than the others before 1912, then we can make some sub-levels within the A level to prohibit the lateral movement using the sabremetric PCM's in the league strategy screen. OOTP already does this with the ML quickstart. Advanced A leagues have slightly higher PCMs than the low A leagues.

So the Southern Association and Western league get slightly lower PCM's, and the Pacific Coast League gets slightly higher PCM's. This can also be done at the R level to create the difference between B, C and D leagues.

This thread is getting long and rambly, and might be really confusing so I'm going to end it here and I'll post some more on it later, hopefully more coherently
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Old 01-23-2014, 04:40 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by OmahaReynolds View Post
The other workaround is getting the classifications right. Classifications changed alot throughout the years:

1902-1911: A, B, C, D
1912-1935: AA, A, B, C, D
1936-1945: AA, A1, A, B, C, D
1946-1962: AAA, AA, A, B, C, D
1963-: AAA, AA, A, R (with sub-levels within A and R)
Just to follow up on this, it should be noted that, prior to 1963, the minor league classifications were not directly tied to the 'quality' of the league. Instead, the classification was determined by the aggregate population of the member cities of the league.

'AA' was added in 1912 since the three biggest 'A' leagues had population counts much further ahead of the other 'A' leagues. Similarly, 'A1' was added in 1936 since the Texas League and Southern Association were sufficiently larger than the other 'A' leagues they advocated for their own classification. The 1946 change basically just renamed the existing levels, along with an adjustment to the population count for the top levels.

Note that there was also the 'E' classification, but this was only ever used once, though it remained in the rules for a number of years (the 'A1' classification also remained in the rules after 1946 but was no longer used). There was also the 'Open' classification which the PCL operated under from 1952-57.

One difference I have with 'official' sources is the classifying of the Nebraska State League (1956-59) and Appalachian League (1957-62) as Class D leagues. I do not think this is technically correct. These were the first short season leagues, and in point of fact the 'Rookie' classification appears in the National Association rules no later than 1959 (and probably before then). It was described as "leagues which employ only players who have not had previous professional experience, as defined by each such league, and which play a schedule of not more than 75 games." It also had an active roster limit different from that of 'D' (21 compared to 17). The details of the two leagues seem to fit more with the 'Rookie' level rather than 'D' but for some reason are listed that way.

In regards to the modern-day 'Rookie' and 'Rookie Advanced', the important distinction there is that the 'Rookie' leagues are not really traditional minor leagues like the others. The 'Rookie' leagues are different in that (a) they do not actually represent specific towns or cities, as the parks used are the spring training parks of the major league parent clubs; and (b) no admission is charged so consequently no attendance is kept. The 'Rookie' leagues are, in essence, instructional leagues, wholly owned and operated by the major league parent clubs. All the other minor leagues are money-making ventures which charge for admission and represent specific locales. So I'd say it's six minor league levels plus a special seventh level to represent these 'complex' leagues (so-called because the games are played at the spring training complexes of the major league clubs).

Lastly, for those wondering, here is how the classifications were determined (excluding the 'E' classification and those classifications which remained in the rules but were no longer used):

A: 1,000,000+
B: 250,000-1,000,000
C: 150,000-250,000
D: up to 150,000

AA: 1,750,000+
A: 1,000,000-1,750,000
B: 250,000-1,000,000
C: 150,000-250,000
D: up to 150,000

AA: 1,750,000+
A1: 1,450,000-1,750,000
A: 1,000,000-1,450,000
B: 250,000-1,000,000
C: 150,000-250,000
D: up to 150,000

AAA: 3,000,000+
AA: 1,750,000-3,000,000
A: 1,000,000-1,750,000
B: 250,000-1,000,000
C: 150,000-250,000
D: up to 150,000

Open: 10,000,000+
AAA: 3,000,000-10,000,000
AA: 1,750,000-3,000,000
A: 1,000,000-1,750,000
B: 250,000-1,000,000
C: 150,000-250,000
D: up to 150,000

For major league classification, a league needed an aggregate population of 15,000,000 starting in 1952.
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Last edited by Le Grande Orange; 01-23-2014 at 04:42 AM.
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