IBL: Canada’s Top League Since 1919
The Intercounty Baseball League has been in operation since 1919 and boasts some of the best talent in Canada. Celebrating its 101st season in 2019, the league’s talent pool has only increased in the last decade with 2019 being one of its best.
The IBL took a look at how the 2019 rosters are comprised and what an impressive list it is.
Starting off at the top, two players from 2019 have seen MLB action. Toronto’s Chris Leroux played six seasons in the Majors with Florida (Miami), Pittsburgh, and New York (Yankees). Joining him on that list is Abel De Los Santos of the Brantford Red Sox. Abel spent two seasons in the Majors with the Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds.
Moving down to the minors, IBL rosters saw 31 players suit up for MLB affiliates during their careers. Juliandry Higuera of the London Majors suited up for AAA baseball’s Buffalo Bisons in 2018 before returning to London last season. Jasvir Rakkar, a 2015 Pan American Games and 2015 WBSC Premier12 Team Canada Member, also saw time in AAA with the Iowa Cubs in 2014.
"For some time, it has been widely accepted that the IBL offers the best adult amateur baseball in Canada and given the increase in the level of play over the last few years that is even more so the case" said IBL Commissioner John Kastner.
"We have seen an increase in the calibre of our imports, many of which are former professionals. And more and more Canadian players are coming back to the IBL after stints with pro teams while others are either currently at U.S. colleges or are graduates of U.S. college programs."
Not only have IBL players suited up in affiliated pro, some also spent time in the Independent Professional Leagues with 20 players suiting up for the Frontier League, Can-Am League or American Association.
Where do players get their start?
Any IBL players come from great NCAA, NAIA, and OUA programs. 50 current players play or have played for NCAA Division I schools. Following that, 30 players have NCAA Division II experience for a total of 80 players with NCAA experience. The NAIA saw 12 IBL players come through their parks, while the NJCAA saw 18.
Keeping it local
Canadian University Baseball has really boomed over the last decade and produced some amazing talent along the way. Regarded as one of the best outfielders and hitters in the IBL, Hamilton’s Justin Gideon in a product of the OUA’s Brock University. As many as 37 players have come from OUA/OCAA programs and the talent level on the north side of the border only gets better.
15 current players have been selected in the MLB Draft at one point in their careers including as recently as 2018 when Barrie’s Ryan Rijo was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 37th round of the MLB June Amateur Draft from New Mexico Junior College (Hobbs, NM).
The Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) is the top-level baseball league in Canada, boasting ex-major league professional and elite NCAA college baseball players. The 2020 season will mark the IBL’s 102nd in operation. The IBL is the fifth-longest continually operated baseball league in the world and serves as a valuable training ground for coaches, umpires, and front office staff. More than 40 IBL players have advanced to Major League Baseball or returned to the IBL following their MLB careers. The league is comprised of teams from Barrie, Brantford, Kitchener, London, Toronto, Guelph, Welland, and Hamilton. For more information, visit www.theibl.ca.