As you all likely know, the Rocket is back. Roger Clemens, last seen escaping government perjury charges, will be lacing them up for a start with the Atlantic League’s Sugar Land Skeeters. However, you see some news articles saying this means he is going to have a “Minor League” start.
This, in a way, is true, as it is in a league that isn’t a Major League. However, it isn’t really true, because the Atlantic League is not a Minor League (the Minor Leagues are all under the umbrella of the organization Minor League Baseball), it is an independent league. Let me explain:
Way back when, every minor league was an independent league. Teams weren’t tied up with affiliations, as there were no farm systems. Instead, they signed their own players and, if those players were good, they’d sell those players to a big club for a profit. For example, Babe Ruth was a member of the International League’s Baltimore Orioles, and was sold to the Boston Red Sox. Occasionally a team might have a deal with a big league team that they’d give them the first crack at signing a minor league star, but it was more of a case of the owners or managers being buddies, not anything official.