Several readers have asked about how unusual the St. Louis Cardinals’ feat of three league championships at all three short-season level classifications in the US. 2016 title winners include the State College Spikes of the New York-Penn League, the Johnson City Cardinals of the Appalachian League and the Gulf Coast League Cardinals.
The answer is that I do not know yet, but the odds of it happening seem quite slim. After all, most organizations field teams at only two of the classification levels. Further, with the talent more disbursed across the three-team organizations, compared to those with just two, the skill dilution would seem to make the feat even more challenging for the fewer number of systems with three clubs.
Here is the quick math:
22 Short-Season Class-A clubs (New York-Penn League/Northwest League)
18 Rookie clubs (Appalachian/Pioneer)
31 Complex clubs (Gulf Coast/Arizona)
71 sum of Short-Season clubs
Divided by 30 organizations
An average of less than 2.4 short-season teams per organization
As a result, it seems unlikely that one organization has taken titles in all three classifications in the same season. But I cannot yet prove this. If any readers have a way to verify this without me having to go through annual league records manually, please let me know.
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