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There are four types of leagues in OOTP: standard, historical, fictional, and imported. Remember that in OOTP, one saved game can contain multiple leagues. So, your saved game could theoretically contain a combination of all of these types of leagues!
Standard leagues are based closely on professional baseball leagues that exist in the world today. In standard leagues, league structure and details have been configured to match the real-world details of those leagues as closely as possible, although the player and team names are different. OOTP comes with the following standard leagues:
- Major American League (This is league similar in structure to the Major Leagues, but with different team names. Players who want a true Major League experience should use the Create a Major League Game option.)
- Japanese Pro League
- Korean Baseball League
- Taiwanese Baseball League
- Mexican Baseball League
- Cuban Baseball League
- Mexican Winter League
- Dominican Winter League
- Puerto Rican Winter League
- Venezuelan Winter League
Historical Leagues are closely based on Major League historical data. You can think of this option as the "Major League option for every year but the current one." This option is most commonly used by players who prefer to do historical simulations. Historical leagues are based on statistical databases that are created by third parties. These databases include all of the true Major League baseball statistics for every year from 1871 through last year.
OOTP comes with two types of historical databases already loaded and available for your use:
- The standard Lahman database by Sean Lahman.
- A "park-neutral" version of the Lahman database created by OOTP forum members Garlon and Spritze. In this database, all stats have been park- and run-neutralized using Bill James' neutralization process, so that it provides the truest possible representation of a player's abilities. (For example, players who played their entire careers at a hitter's stadium like Coors Field will not receive inflated ability ratings.) See here for more information about neutralization.
Note: Other OOTP modders often create their own versions of historical databases. You can generally use any historical database that matches the Lahman format in OOTP, although the game works best with one of the two databases above.
Fictional Leagues allow you to create your own baseball universe from scratch. You can define all the details of a fictional league however you see fit, including the team names, cities, financial model, free agency, player settings, and more. For information about creating a Fictional League, see the Fictional League Wizard, or the Advanced Mode screen about Fictional Leagues.
OOTP also allows you to import OOTP leagues from prior versions of the game. See Importing Old OOTP Games for more information about which versions can be imported, and how it works.