The Big Leagues.
Major League Baseball (MLB) is the top-level professional baseball organization in the United States and Canada and is the second-wealthiest professional sports league in the world, after the National Football League.
The oldest professional sports league in North America, MLB consists of 30 teams (29 in the United States, 1 in Canada) split between two leagues: the National League and the American League. The MLB season goes from the end of March to the beginning of October across a gauntlet of 162 games, with the six best teams in each league playing in an additional month of playoffs. This eventually culminates in the World Series, a best-of-sevennote contest between the pennant-winning (i.e., league champion) teams of the AL and NL. The current defending World Series (and, therefore, MLB) champions are the Texas Rangers, having won in 2023 for their first-ever championship (after previously losing the World Series in 2010 and 2011).
Unlike the other three of the "Big Four" American and Canadian sports leagues,note MLB doesn't really have a clear date of formation, having gradually developed between the end of the American Civil War and the beginning of the 20th century. The first of the major leagues to be founded was the National League in 1876, which — after struggling to stay afloat in the face of chaotic team finances and competing leagues like the American Association — finally achieved stable footing by basically being the last league standing in The Gay '90s. The American League, meanwhile, was founded in 1900 through the reorganization of the minor league Western League in an attempt to rival the NL's de facto monopoly. After a couple of years of fierce competition, the two leagues decided to make amends by having their respective champion teams play each other in a postseason series (which was quickly dubbed the "World's Championship Series",note later shortened to "World's Series" and eventually "World Series"). The AL and NL proceeded to act as separate leagues for the next twenty years until the Black Sox Scandal forced them to hire judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis as the first ever Commissioner of Baseball.
Over the next couple of decades, MLB went through its classic period. Players like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig made themselves into household names through their sheer athletic talent with the New York Yankees, and Jackie Robinson made American history by shattering the color barrier, becoming the first black ballplayer for an MLB team. In the 1950s and '60s, MLB started growing outside of its Northeast and Midwestern cradle and into the rest of the country via relocations and expansion, like with the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants respectively moving to Los Angeles and San Francisco and the Montreal Expos becoming the first big-league team in Canada. Throughout this period, most of the classic old "jewel box" ballparks from the early 20th century were gradually replaced with giant multipurpose stadiums surrounded by parking lots, occasionally topped with domes, and shared with local NFL teams.
The years afterwards for MLB were marked with various scandals which took the limelight. The '80s saw a large cocaine problem and the majors' all-time leader in hits getting permanently banned from the sport, while The '90s had the 1994 World Series killed by a player's strike and the beginning of the infamous steroid era. There were also a few positive developments, however, including the "ballpark renaissance"note and the beginnings of sabermetrics being employed by MLB teams. Additionally, a number of long-standing championship droughts met their end during The Aughts and The New '10s, such as the Boston Red Sox winning in 2004, the Chicago White Sox in 2005, and the Chicago Cubs in 2016.
Nowadays, there is a feeling of change in the air of MLB. While memories of the steroid era and the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal still linger in many fans' minds, there are also many who think that the league is due for another great shift. The 2023 season saw the addition of a pitch clock that aims to cut down the lengthy game times,note while teams like the New York Mets and San Diego Padres have begun to operate with a more liberal mindset on spending for players. Additionally, the advent of streaming services like Netflix and Max have caused the regional sports network model to crumble, and the Oakland Athletics announced an impending relocation to Las Vegas no earlier than 2025 barring nothing unexpected happeningnote —a prelude to rumors of expansion and its resulting realignment.
Unlike the other three "major" North American professional sports leagues, MLB utilizes a series-based structure for their regular season thanks in part to the 162 game schedule. In these series, two teams play each other in sets of two, three, or four games compared to one-and-done games in other sports leagues. Games are played every day of the week, though Mondays and Thursdays are the common choice to take a day off for traveling. Most of these games are played at night and start at 7:00 pm local time, though it's not rare to see day games that start at 1:00 pm or 4:00 pm local time, usually on Sundays and on days before a team travels. While the vast majority of these games are broadcasted on regional sports networks,note some are nationally televised such as Fox's Major League Baseball Game of the Week and ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. In the postseason, Fox carries half of the games (including the World Series), while the rest is mostly carried by TBS.
If you want to learn more about the rules that MLB uses on the field, then refer to the main article about baseball HERE.
The Teams of MLB
As stated earlier, MLB has thirty teams that play in the leagues: tewenty-nine in the United States, one in Canada.note These thirty teams are divided into two groups of fifteen between the American League and the National League, and are further divided into three groups (or divisions) of five teams. These divisions are placed geographically, consisting of an East, Central, and West. The current postseason format has the first place winners of all six divisions make the playoffs, along with three runner up Wild Cards per league.
Since late 2020, there have been rumblings around the majors of possible expansion, with Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, Mexico City, Montreal (for a potential Expos revival), Nashville, Orlando, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Vancouver among the top candidate cities for expansion or relocation. However, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred stated that expansion would not be a priority until the stadium situations of both the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays were settled.note However, this roadblock has essentially been lifted, since the Athletics have been confirmed to relocate to Las Vegas no earlier than 2025 assuming everything goes rightnote , and the Rays announced they will build a new ballpark adjacent to Tropicana Field with an opening date of no later than 2028.
Year Last Team Added: 2013
League President: Vacantnote
Number of Teams: 15
Reigning Champions: Texas Rangers (3)
Most Titles: New York Yankees (40)
AL Central: Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Guardians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins
AL West: Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers
Although the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs is the younger of the two leagues, it has historically been the more successful one. The Junior Circuit has its origins from the minor leagues in The Gay '90s, when sports editor Ban Johnson was elected president of the Midwest-based Western League in 1894. Johnson, who had a long list of criticisms towards the National League at the top of the American baseball pyramid, aired his grievances through a series of reforms. These reforms, such as giving more power to the umpires, transformed the Western League into not just the strongest minor league in baseball but also the best-managed baseball league in general. By the turn of the century, he made his gambit: he relocated and established a bunch of teams to big Midwestern and Northeastern cities and rechristened it as the American League in 1901. After a year or so of fierce competition between the AL and NL, a peace agreement was eventually made in 1903 that established the two leagues as partners of equal footing, where whoever finished first place in each league played each other in what would become the World Series.
Since the days of the league's eight classic teamsnote , the AL has won 68 of the 119 World Series played, most recently with the Texas Rangers in 2023. Despite nowadays being virtually indistinguishable from conferences in other sports, the AL used to differ from the NL in various ways, such as having umpires wear suitsnote , largely favoring slugging with home runs, and having shorter injury list lengths. However the most significant one was when between 1973 and 2022, they were the only league to have the designated hitter rather than having the pitcher bat.
Here are some things to know about the AL's teams and, perhaps more importantly, their fanbases.
Prior Names/Locations: Milwaukee Brewers (1894-1901), St. Louis Browns (1902-1953)
Nicknames: The O's, The Birds, The Oreos
Colors: Orange, black, white, grey
Home Ballpark: Oriole Park at Camden Yards (since 1992)
Former Ballparks: Lloyd Street Grounds (1894–1901), Sportsman's Parknote (1902–1953), Memorial Stadium (1954–1991)
Current Owner: Peter Angelos
Current General Manager: Mike Elias
Current Manager: Brandon Hyde
World Series Titles: 3; 1966, 1970, 1983
American League Pennants: 7 total; 1944, 1969, 1971, 1979
The Baltimore Orioles: Although traditionally one of the flagship franchises of Baseball, they entered an Audience-Alienating Era that previously seemed to have no end under the "leadership" of Peter Angelos, who was considered the most reviled owner in baseball until Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria managed to take that title for himself with his 2012 fire sale. Since taking over the Orioles in 1993, Angelos' tremendous incompetence has turned a once proud franchise into the laughingstock of baseball. They had 14 consecutive losing seasons, topped only by the Pirates' streak of 20 seasons. In 2012, they finally seemed to make it back to respectability by making it to the playoffs and winning the first ever AL Wild Card game against the Texas Rangers. In 2014, they won their division in a runaway, despite sharing it with three of the previous season's strongest teams (Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays), and swept the heavily favored Tigers in the Division Series before falling to the upstart Royals in the ALCS. After being eliminated in the 2016 wild card game, though, the Orioles later returned to their losing ways with a vengeance, with the 2018 squad being one of the worst teams in modern baseball history and the 2019 squad setting a new record for the most home runs given up in a season.note However, thanks to a burgeoning talent pipeline, the O's surged back into contention in 2023, clinching the AL East on September 28 and finishing with a 101-61 record before they got swept by the Texas Rangers in the ALDS. The team's most famous players historically are super-fielder Brooks Robinson and "Iron Man" Cal Ripken Jr., both Hall-of-Famers who played their entire careers with the Orioles. The team's glory years were 1966-1983, when most of the franchise's best players were at their peak and the manager was the intelligent but famously hot-tempered Earl Weaver. They currently play at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, widely considered one of the most beautiful stadiums in the league. Camden Yards was, when built, a faux-retro baseball-only stadium that was, over the next decade or so, emulated league-wide by teams looking for a new stadium; previously, many teams (particularly the Braves, Cardinals, Reds, Pirates, and Phillies) played in bland, circular concrete structures built for multiple sports.
- From 1902 to 1953, the club was known as the St. Louis Browns,note and even then were mostly associated with losing, though they did manage a single World Series appearance in 1944 where they lost to in-town rivals the St. Louis Cardinals. During this era the Browns (owned at the time by the highly eccentric Bill Veeck) fielded the shortest player in baseball history, 3'7" midget Eddie Gaedel, who took one at-bat as a publicity stunt (and Veeck only got away with it by filing Gaedel's contract with the AL offices at the very end of the work week, ensuring it would get a quick approval and not be scrutinized until the following Monday; the league subsequently revised its rules to ensure all contracts are reviewed by the Commissioner before a player is eligible to take the field). The Browns years seem to actually be something of an Old Shame for the franchise, as the Orioles do not recognize or commemorate any of their statistics or records from their time in St. Louis, and instead leave it to the Cardinals to honor the "Brownies". Ironically, from 1920 to 1953, the Browns owned Sportsman's Park, and the Cardinals were their tenants, but the Cards' vastly greater popularity led to the Browns' eventual departure to Baltimore.
Boston Red Sox
Prior Names/Locations: Boston Americans (1901-1907)
Nicknames: The Sox, The BoSox, The Crimson Hose, The Olde Towne Team
Colors: Red, navy blue, white
Home Ballpark: Fenway Park (since 1912)
Former Ballparks: Huntington Avenue Grounds (1901–1911)
Current Owner: John Henrynote
Current President of Baseball Operations: Craig Breslow
Current General Manager: Vacantnote
Current Manager: Alex Cora
World Series Titles: 9; 1903, 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2018
American League Pennants: 14 total; 1904, 1946, 1967, 1975, 1986
The Boston Red Sox are often considered by their fans—beg your pardon, Red Sox Nation—to be La Résistance to the Yankees' Evil Empire (a view not much shared by fans of other teams these days, given that they have effectively acted exactly like the Yankees since 2004). They've proven immensely successful early in centuries, winning one World Series in the 1900s,note four in the 1910s (in which the newly built Braves Field was used for both the 1915 and 1916 Red Sox due to Fenway Park having been used as the Braves' home for their own World Series as their own stadium was too small and to take advantage of the larger seating capacity Braves Field had at the time),note two in the 2000s, and two in the 2010s—but won no World Series at all from 1918 to 2004 (this is sometimes known as "The Curse of the Bambino", although despite what the American film version of Fever Pitch told you, barely any hardcore Sox fans believed that this curse was why they kept losing). That finally ended in 2004 when the Red Sox, coming off a Miracle Rally that saw them come back from an unprecedented 3 games to nothing hole to beat the Yankees, swept the rival Cardinals in the World Series (during a lunar eclipse, nonetheless) while avenging their last two losses to the same Cards back in 1946 and 1967. They've won three more championships since then note , effectively ending their "loser" status for good, even becoming the second most successful sports team in the whole Northeast since then (not that the bar is too high), just behind the New England Patriots who have won 6 Super Bowls in a 20 year span (also based in Beantown, though in nearby Foxboro) they're the only Boston team who has yet to lose a World Series championship, having gone undefeated since their 2004 championship note , although the team was accused of technological sign-stealing (intercepting the opposing team's messages) during its World Series-winning 2018 season, all but ending their dominance as they have since slipped back to mediocrity, except for a surprising run to the 2021 ALCS where they lost to the hated Astros in 6 games.note The Red Sox are Serious Business in Boston (to the point that their NL counterparts the Braves were forced to move to Milwaukee in 1952 as the Red Sox grew to be too popular), and the rivalry between them and the Yankees is the biggest Fandom Rivalry in North American sports, if not sports period note . When viewed from outside the rivalry, however, the Red Sox have since the end of the curse merely become the lesser of two evils (the result of adopting Yankee-like spending habits). For a while they were said to be "Moneyball on an unlimited budget", as their (then) general manager Theo Epstein used those ideas to great effect. In addition to their legendary rivarly with the Yankees, they also have notable rivalries with the Tampa Bay Rays note , the Chicago White Sox,note the Los Angeles Angels,note and the St. Louis Cardinals.note
- The Red Sox play in Fenway Park,note which was built in 1912,note making it the oldest extant stadium in Major League Baseball. Fenway itself is known for "The Green Monster", a ridiculously high left-field wallnote erected to compensate for its close relative proximity to home plate. (Short pop flies that would be easily caught in other parks can turn into home runs over the Green Monster, while hard liners that would fly out of other parks bounce off the Green Monster for doubles or sometimes even singles. In rare cases balls have come close to landing on the nearby Massachusetts Turnpike, and it is not unheard of for home runs to reach the nearby parking lot and break windshields. If you love your car, don't even attempt to park on Lansdowne Street.)
- Want even more awesomeness, Boston also hosted back to back World Series between two Boston teams and Philadelphia teams back in the 1910'snote .
- Because of the management after Jackie Robinson's debut, they were the absolute last team to integrate in baseball, passing on both Robinson and Willie Mays.
- In another strange quirk, they've won at least three games in all thirteen of their World Series appearances, winning nine of them and losing the other four in the maximum seven games, because of this the Red Sox are the only Boston team to have never won the championship in the full seven games.
- On the business side of things, the Sox are currently owned by a corporation called "Fenway Sports Group" (FSG for short). FSG is noted for turning their Red Sox proceeds into a sports empire, buying up teams in other sports (including Liverpool FC, who share a number of traits the Red Sox: a passionate fanbase, a rich history, a propensity for an epic Fandom Rivalry or two, and a deep love for the colour red) and establishing a massively successful sports-marketing consultancy (they handle LeBron James' rights, for one thing,note and are also part owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins.note )
New York Yankees
Prior Names/Locations: New York Highlanders (1903-1912)
Nicknames: The Yanks, The Bronx Bombers, The Pinstripes, The Evil Empire, Murderer's Rownote
Colors: Midnight navy blue, gray, white
Abbreviations: NYY, NYA
Home Ballpark: Yankee Stadium [II] (since 2009)
Former Ballparks: Hilltop Park (1903–1912), Polo Grounds [IV] (1913–1922), Yankee Stadium [I] (1923–1973, 1976–2008), Shea Stadium (1974–1975)note
Current Owner: Hal Steinbrennernote
Current General Manager: Brian Cashman
Current Manager: Aaron Boone
World Series Titles: 27; 1923, 1927, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1943, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1977, 1978, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2009
American League Pennants: 40 total; 1921, 1922, 1926, 1942, 1955, 1957, 1960, 1963, 1964, 1976, 1981, 2001, 2003
The New York Yankees: If you can name only one baseball team, it probably is this one. Being the most successful team in the World Series era (27 titles, the most for an American professional team) and the fact that it is based in the Big Applesauce have combined to make the Yankees the most popular team in America.... and the most hated team in America. You must, by internet law, either hate them with a passion that rivals the love you have of your own team or be an obnoxious, unpleasant pinstripe-wearer note . An entire industry exists of anti-Yankee media, and although primarily centered in Boston, it thrives throughout North America, including New York itself (like the primarily pro-Mets Daily News). The same thing goes for pro-Yankee media (especially the New York Post). The play Damn Yankees, about a man who hates them so much he sells his soul to the Devil to beat them, was written over 60 years ago. After emerging in the 1920s with the "Murderers' Row" and dominating the league between the mid-1930s and the early 1960s (appearing in almost every single World Series between 1947 and 1964), the team underwent a long period marked by futility, only appearing in four Fall Classics between 1965 and 1995 (winning in 1977 and 1978, losing in 1976 and 1981). Then, manager Joe Torre took the team to four championships in the late 90s, including a three-peat (1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000), but since then, outside of a 2009 season compared to the 1969 "Miracle Mets" for unlikely success, the Yanks have endured a long period of declining quality and relevance (take in mind that the Red Sox and Astros have now since become contenders for the "most hated team" moniker, though the Astros would ultimately claim the award as they appear in one World Series after another, where as Boston has returned to mediocrity), characterized by humiliating late-season or playoff collapses (not that they have been the only NY sports team to undergo this in the 21st century), choking horribly in the last game of the 2001 World Series against the fledgling Arizona Diamondbacks, and more infamously in the fourth game of the 2004 ALCS, allowing the Red Sox to make the first 0-3 comeback in baseball history and win their first Series title in 86 years. Red Sox fans will never let them forget this. They similarly collapsed on their four post-2009 ALCS appearances (2010, 2012, 2017, and 2019) as well as an embarrassing ALDS loss in 2018 to their hated rivals, the Boston Red Sox, who won that year's World Series (it should be noted, however, that the 2017, 2018 and 2019 AL seasons were eventually tarnished by the sign-stealing scandal involving both the Sox and the Astros)note . This made the 2010s the first decade in a century where the Bronx Bombers did not reach the Fall Classic. As a result, the team's current leadership under General Manager Brian Cashman and owner Hal Steinbrenner has come under fire by media and fans, with critics citing Cashman's poor drafting history and tendency to give big contracts to underperforming players and Steinbrenner's refusal to fire Cashman despite team's poor postseason performance as detriments to the team.
- Notable for having not one (Ruth), not two (Gehrig), not three (DiMaggio), but four (Mickey Mantle) names in the argument for best baseball player ever. Not to mention the first (and so far, only) player ever to have been unanimously elected by baseball writers to the Hall of Fame, Mariano Rivera in 2019.note Twenty-three numbers (for 21 different players) are retired, another MLB record. With Derek Jeter's number retirement, the Yankees have retired every single-digit number except for 0, a number they didn't issue until 2019. Their current GM is Brian Cashman.
- They're currently the only team that actually require players to keep their hair and facial hair short (outside of mustaches)note , a rule established by George Steinbrenner (stemming from his time in the military) during his first year as owner to keep the team as uniform and professional, which was an idea he got from the Reds themselves (granted the Yankees were already notorious clean-shaven even as far back as the 1920's), a rule still in place by his son Hal to keep the tradition alive, much to the anger of modern ballplayers who have been pushing for the Yankees to reverse this long-time ban.
- Fun fact: The Yankees once signed life-long celebrity fan Billy Crystal to a one-day contract and let him have an at-bat in a spring training game, after years of him asking the club to grant him a shot at the plate for his favorite team in time to celebrate his 60th birthday note , the Yankees happily complied with Crystal's request note .
- The Yankees nickname was not officially used until 1913, being previously referred to as the Highlanders. The AL's eighth team originated in Baltimore in 1901 note , playing for two seasons before moving to New Yorknote .
Tampa Bay Rays
Prior Names/Locations: Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998-2007)
Colors: Navy blue, light blue, yellow, white
Abbreviations: TB, TBR, TBA
Home Ballpark: Tropicana Field (1998-NLT 2027)
Future Ballpark: Gas Plant Stadiumnote (NLT 2028 onwards)
Current Owner: Stuart Sternberg
Current President of Baseball Operations: Erik Neander
Current General Manager: Vacantnote
Current Manager: Kevin Cash
World Series Titles: 0
American League Pennants: 2; 2008, 2020
The Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays: A relatively new team that was originally going to be called the Sting Rays (after the aquatic mammal) but legal copyright issues prevented the team from using it forcing them to name themselves as the Devil Rays (which caused a large amount of controversy amongst religious groups over the use of the word "devil" in the team's name) which they spent the first decade of their existence losing a lot and generally coming in last. However, in 2008, they Took a Level in Badass: first by rebranding themselves as the Raysnote (dropping the "Devil" part of their identity, to the relief of religious groups) and then going from worst-to-first, winning their division, defeated the much-higher-payroll Yankees and Red Sox, and made it all the way to the World Series, largely due to the emergence of a number of extremely talented younger players and lights-out relief pitching, only to lose the series in 5 to the Phillies. Though they've displayed a Montreal Expos-like inability to hold onto their stars (much like their in-state neighbors, the Miami Marlins), they have remained surprisingly competitive; they won another division title in 2010, came out of nowhere to steal the wild card from the Boston Red Sox in 2011, and made it to the playoffs again in 2013, 2019, and 2020, winning the division and reaching the World Series in that last season only to again lose to the Dodgers in 6. Before their resurgence at the end of The New '10s, they came back down to earth, but maintained a reputation for being capable of holding their own in any given game, even during a losing season. Their notoriously lukewarm fanbase and terrible stadiumnote doesn't help their situation as they were constantly rumored to be relocating (which was shot down very quickly), not to mention the fact that they've had to share a division with perennial AL powerhouses Boston and New York, plus some strong Toronto and Baltimore squads. Furthermore, the Yankees' spring training complex and official team headquarters have long been located in Tampa, resulting in a large fan base and a great deal of media focus on the Yankees in the area, which wasn't helped by the Rays effectively fielding a team of minor leaguers and washed-up has-beens during their first decade as the Devil Rays while the Yankees were appearing in one World Series after another during the Joe Torre years.note Their team name was originally based on the Atlantic Devil Ray, a species of ray common in Florida waters note . The "devil" part was finally dropped and the name reworked to mean a burst of sunlight, although the devil ray from the old logo still appears on the sleeves of their current uniforms.
Toronto Blue Jays
Nicknames: The Jays, The Blue Birds
Colors: Royal blue, navy blue, red, white
Home Ballpark: Rogers Centrenote (since 1989)
Former Ballparks: Exhibition Stadium (1977–1989)note
Current Owner: Rogers Communications
Current General Manager: Ross Atkins
Current Manager: John Schneider
World Series Titles: 2; 1992, 1993
American League Pennants: 2
The Toronto Blue Jays are Canada's team. Their glory days were the early 90s when they put together an All-Star lineup and won two consecutive World Series ('92 and '93). They also got a stadium, first called SkyDomenote , which had this cool "futuristic" retractable roof that popularized the trend in bad-weather ballparks. The Jays tend to operate like a mid-market team, not because Toronto is a small city, but rather because some players refuse to play in Canada due to it having much higher taxes than the US, not to mention that they have to pay income taxes to both Canada and America, as opposed to if they signed for a team located in a US state with no income tax. (The financial issue runs both ways; salaries are difficult on the team management because salaries have to be paid out in US dollars but ticket revenue is charged in Canadian dollars.) They also have the misfortune of playing in the brutal American League East division, where they've been forced to compete against not just perennial powerhouses the Yankees and the Red Sox, but some pretty strong Rays and Orioles teams as well. In recent years, they've had a tendency to get off to a fast start only to fade halfway through the season. In 2015, they finally won the AL East again after a 22-year playoff drought, thanks to GM Alex Anthopoulos's acquiring of several all-star fielders and pitchers both during the off-season and the trade deadline. Roberto Alomar, who played a crucial role in the Jays' back-to-back championships, was inducted into the Hall of Fame wearing a Blue Jays cap. Paul Molitor, another Hall of Famer, also spent time in Toronto, and was the MVP of the Jays' 1993 World Series championship. Still another Hall of Famer, pitcher Roy Halladay, had most of his best years with the Jays before ending his career in Philadelphia, though his Hall of Fame plaque is logo-less.note The Blue Jays are the only home team in the expansion era (post-1960) to win a game by forfeitnote ; in a game in their inaugural season at Exhibition Stadium, Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver protested the placement of rain tarps in the bullpen area (which was in foul territory and thus within the field of play), claiming they jeopardized his players' safety. The umpire disagreed, causing Weaver to pull his team off the field. When the Orioles refused to return to the field, the head umpire declared the game a forfeit. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all their home games were played in Buffalo, New York (as Canada enacted much stricter lockdown rules than the U.S., effectively banning sports events in the country for most of the year), the home town of their Triple-A team the Buffalo Bisons, becoming the first ever MLB team to play in that city after many years and advance to the postseason also after many decades (only to lose in the Wild Card series to the eventual AL champions the Tampa Bay Rays). That move christened a new name for their fanbase, the Jays Mafia, modeled and named after their temporary NFL brethren the Buffalo Bills, the new dark blue home uniforms used that season (which are similar in color to those of the Bills) and the usual fan adaptation of the Chris Berman phrase (Nobody circles the wagons/bases like the Buffalo Blue Jays). Due to the lingering effects of the pandemic, most notably a ban on most cross-border travel between the United States and Canada, the Jays started their 2021 season playing their home games in their Spring Training field in Dunedin, Florida; in June of that year, they moved back to Buffalo, and they returned to Toronto just before the end of July when the Canadian government gave them permission to regularly cross the border.
Chicago White Sox
Prior Names/Locations: Sioux City Cornhuskers (1894), St. Paul Saints (1895–1899), Chicago White Stockings (1900–1903)
Nicknames: The Sox, The Chisox, The South Siders, The Pale Hose, Go-Go Soxnote
Colors: Black, silver, white
Abbreviations: CHW, CWS, CHA
Home Ballpark: Guaranteed Rate Field (since 1991)
Former Ballparks: Lexington Park (1897–1899), South Side Park (1900–1910), Comiskey Park (1910–1990)
Current Owner: Jerry Reinsdorf
Current General Manager: Chris Getz
Current Manager: Pedro Grifol
World Series Titles: 3; 1906, 1917, 2005
American League Pennants: 5 total; 1919, 1959
Pre-World Series Titles: 3; 1894WL , 1900, 1901
The Chicago White Sox, a charter member of the American League and Barack Obama's favorite team (to the point where he wore their logo-jacket to an All-Star Game in St. Louis, resulting in an awkward situation). They also had an era which began, it is said, in 1919 when eight of the team's players ("The Black Sox" or "the Eight Men Out"), including Shoeless Joe Jackson, either took, intended to take, or knew the others were taking, money to throw the World Series (which unfortunately tainted the Reds' first championship). All eight of them were kicked out. Forever. And then the White Sox didn't win anything until 2005 (except for the AL pennant in 1959), when Ozzie Guillén (who had starred for them as a shortstop during The '90s) guided them to a World Series championship. It still didn't make them more popular than the Cubs though, since the city hasn't really forgiven them for the 1919 scandal and, unlike Boston who went on to win 3 more championships, this championship turned out to be a fluke; the team quickly returned to mediocrity, and has ended more often than not dead last or, in the best of times, blowing their pennant chances (it didn't help that other teams became the AL Central's powerhouses — the Twins in the late 2000s, the Tigers in the early 2010s, the Royals in the mid-10s, and the Indians at the end of the decadenote . The White Sox's fortunes seem to have improved in the early 2020s as they reached the Wild Card berth in 2020 and won the division in 2021 behind legendary manager Tony LaRussa), only to slip back into mediocrity. Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, the former player who served as the team's principal TV announcer for over 30 years, was well known for his memetic play-calling, open embrace of bias for the home team when even most local announcers at least try to present an impartial position, and signature catchphrases (including referring to the Sox as the "good guys", "He gone!" when an opposing player struck out, "can of corn" for any high pop-up, and his signature call for Sox home runs: "You can put on the boooaaaard, YES!").
- The White Sox also had one of the most eccentric owners in MLB history, Bill Veeck (who also owned several other teams at different periods). After selling the Sox off to the Allyn brothers, he bought the team back prior to the 1976 season, and created arguably the first fauxback uniforms, with untucked, early 1900s-styled pullover jerseys with large flared collars (that only went up to the shoulder seam), paired with a modernized SOX on the cap to create a level of visual dissonance. The team also went so far as to experiment with shorts that year, but they were abandoned after appearing in only three games in August. The baggy pullovers were never particularly popular, and even as a modern throwback they were so disliked that pitcher Chris Sale destroyed the throwbacks prior to their scheduled appearance in 2016. Veeck would later oversee the infamous Disco Demolition Night fiasco, which was organized by his son Mike (promotions manager for the team) and shock jock Steve Dahl. Veeck sold the team again in 1981, this time to an ownership group featuring Jerry Reinsdorf, who would later purchase the Chicago Bulls. Under the new ownership, the Sox held a design-the-uniform fan contest to replace the Veeck-era pullovers, a move worthy of Veeck himself as it helped draw interest back to the team, and one that has not been duplicated by any other major-league teamnote . These pullover uniforms, featuring a wide stripe across the chest, lasted from 1982 to 1986, and have been a more popular throwback in recent years than the Veeck jerseys. The White Sox under Reinsdorf would hold the first official Turn Back the Clock game in 1990, wearing proper throwback uniforms based on the 1917 World Series championship team, before switching to their current black and silver look at the end of that season, with their home uniforms having pinstripes added.
Prior Names/Locations: Grand Rapids Rippers (1894-1899), Cleveland Lake Shores (1900), Cleveland Bluebirds/Blues (1901–1902), Cleveland Bronchos (1902), Cleveland Napoleons/Naps (1903–1914), Cleveland Indians (1915-2021)
Nicknames: The Guardsnote
Colors: Navy blue, red, white
Home Ballpark: Progressive Field (since 1994)
Former Ballparks: League Park (1900–1932, 1934–1946), Cleveland Stadium (1932–1933, 1937–1993)
Current Owner: Larry Dolan
Current President of Baseball Operations: Chris Antonetti
Current General Manager: Mike Chernoff
Current Manager: Steven Vogt
World Series Titles: 2; 1920, 1948
American League Pennants: 6 total; 1954, 1995, 1997, 2016
The Cleveland Guardians (renamed from Cleveland Indians after the 2021 season) are a charter member of the American League, and are basically the Cubs of the AL, only with a modern stadium.note No one really remembers just how they got their now-abandoned name (popular belief asserts that it came from an early Native American-descended player named Louis Sockalexis, who played for their predecessors the Cleveland Spiders in the 1890s), but some agree it's politically incorrect. They've won just two World Series championships in their history, the most recent of which was in 1948. Their previous stadium was cold, windy, and in general a horrible place to play.note Their new stadium is still cold and windy, but it's at least pretty despite the occasional swarm of insects (which actually helped them win a key playoff game in 2007) and, in 2009, seagulls. An ill-conceived "Ten Cent Beer Night" promotion in 1974 caused them to forfeit a game after drunken fans stormed the field and began to attack the opposing players. They were perennial last-place finishers in the '80s, which led up to the movie Major League, in which a fictional version of the Indians overcomes their idiosyncrasies and ineptitude to win the pennant. Incredibly, a few years after the release of the movie, the franchise turned its fortunes completely around and became one of the most consistently successful teams in the American League for several years. After coming up one win short of the American League pennant in 2007, they fell into mediocrity for the next several years, but an improved farm system and some promising young players restored them to contention, culminating in an AL pennant in 2016 and a World Series matchup against MLB's other "black sheep" franchise: the Cubs, which ended with them choking a 3-1 series lead (a complete reversal of their NBA brethren the Cavs) to give the Cubs their first title in over a century and take over as the team with the longest active championship drought in the majors. (To be fair, Cleveland was missing its best hitter all season and had two starting pitchers injured before even coming into the playoffs.) The team won AL Central titles in 2017 and 2018 but lost in the ALDS both years, ensuring that their championship drought would extend to 70 years and counting.
- Prior to their rebranding, the team's iconography policy was mired in controversy. Chief Wahoo, one of their logos, is a caricature of a Native American who was first made in the 1946 and whose current version was drawn in 1951. He hasn't aged any too well, so the Indians quietly phased him out in favor of a rather bland block letter "C", all while denying that this is the case. Fans who see Wahoo as something whose time has passed have taken to boycotting merch that depicts him or removing him from their jerseys and hats.note The team removed Wahoo from the uniforms in 2019, but still produces a limited amount of commemorative Wahoo merchandise in order to keep its trademark. The name itself was finally changed midway through the 2021 season, with the change taking effect after that season.note
Nicknames: The Cats, the Tiggs, the Bengals, the Motor City Kitties,note , Bless You Boysnote
Colors: Midnight navy blue, orange, white
Home Ballpark: Comerica Park (since 2000)
Former Ballparks: Boulevard Park (1894–1895), Bennett Park (1896–1911), Tiger Stadium (1912–1999)
Current Owner: Christopher Ilitch
Current President of Baseball Operations: Scott Harris
Current General Manager: Jeff Greenberg
Current Manager: A. J. Hinch
World Series Titles: 4; 1935, 1945, 1968, 1984
American League Pennants: 11 total; 1907, 1908, 1909, 1934, 1940, 2006, 2012
The Detroit Tigers are one of the charter American League teams.note Historically, they've alternated between periods of brilliance and long dry spells of non-contention. After enduring one such dry spell for more than two decades following their 1984 World Series championship (an era which included losing 119 games in 2003, one shy of tying the Major League record for losses in 162 games), the Tigers came out of nowhere in 2006 to reach the Fall Classic again under then-manager Jim Leyland (only to wind up unexpectedly and swiftly defeated by the Cardinals). However, high expectations in ensuing seasons failed to bear fruit; in 2009, they suffered one of the worst September collapses in baseball history, becoming the first team ever to blow a three-game division lead with only four games to play. They turned things back around in 2011, reaching the ALCS with an excellent offense and one of the best pitching rotations in AL history (headed by Justin Verlander, with Jose "Papa Grande" Valverde serving as an absolute top-notch closer). The Tigers made the Fall Classic again in 2012, sweeping the Yankees in the ALCS (this time, the removal of Valverde, who'd started to choke badly in the ALDS, is given a great deal of weight; strange how this happens...) before suffering the indignity of getting swept themselves by the Giants in the World Series. In 2013, they made it to the ALCS but were defeated by the Red Sox, who went on to win the World Seriesnote ; in 2014, they were swept by Baltimore in the ALDS. These days the Tigers are probably best known for first baseman Miguel Cabrera, their star hitter before hanging up his spikes in 2023, and arguably one of the best right-handed ones in the history of the game; in 2012 he became the first hitting Triple Crown winner since the 1960s. After dealing Verlander to the Astros in 2017, among other moves, the Tigers began a rebuilding period; time will tell whether or not this marks the start of another long down period.
- The Tigers have boasted several Hall of Famers in their history, including Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford in the 1900s and '10s, Hank Greenberg (the majors' first Jewish-American star) and Charlie Gehringer in the '30s and '40s, Al Kaline in the '50s and '60s, and Jack Morris and Alan Trammell in the late '70s and through the '80s. Not to mention that Miguel Cabrera, the face of the Tigers in the 2010s and into the '20s, is all but certain to enter Cooperstown once he becomes eligible in 2029. Another Tigers Hall of Famer is late manager Sparky Anderson, who after leading the Cincinnati Reds to two World Series crowns in the 70s spent 17 seasons managing the Tigers, leading them to their last World Series title to date in 1984.note And the late radio/TV broadcaster Ernie Harwell, who called the team's games for over 40 years, is a recipient of the Hall's Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence. (Although broadcasters are not eligible for Hall of Fame membership, fans usually call Frick Award recipients "Hall of Fame broadcasters".)
- The Tigers also have an interesting pattern in their ownership history: they have the distinction of having been owned by the founders of Domino's Pizza (Tom Monaghan) and Little Caesars Pizza (Mike Ilitch). Both are from the Detroit area and life-long Tigers fans (Ilitch was a Detroit sports fan in general, and also owned the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League until his death in 2017).
- Like the Yankees allowing comedian Billy Crystal to have an at-bat for a Spring Training game. The Tigers did the same thing for one of their own celebrity fans back in the late '70s by giving Tom Selleck a few at-bats. The Tigers hat that his iconic Magnum character wears on the hit Magnum, P.I.? It's the same hat Selleck himself wore during his brief contract with his beloved club.
Kansas City Royals
Nicknames: The Blue Crew, the Crowns
Colors: Royal blue, gold, powder blue, white
Abbreviations: KC, KCR, KCA
Home Ballpark: Kauffman Stadium (since 1973)
Former Ballparks: Municipal Stadium (1969–1972)
Current Owner: John Sherman
Current President of Baseball Operations: J. J. Picollo
Current General Manager: J. J. Picollo
Current Manager: Matt Quatraro
World Series Titles: 2; 1985, 2015
American League Pennants: 4 total; 1980, 2014
The Kansas City Royals are the American League's equivalent of the Pirates, albeit without most of the history and with a management team that seems to give a crap. The franchise did enjoy some glory years in the late 1970s and early '80s (winning several division titles, two AL pennants in 1980 and 1985, and the 1985 World Series, and boasting eventual Hall of Famer George Brett at third base) before sliding into perennial non-contention over the ensuing three decades. Their home park of Kaufmann Stadium, which features a fountain just beyond the center field fence, is regarded as one of the nicest in baseball. (And just to clarify, they play in Missouri, not Kansas.) In The New '10s, baseball analysts thought that the Royals might finally be due for a turnaround in the next few seasons; years of losing enabled the team to stockpile quite a few high-ceiling prospects, and some of those prospects appeared to be on the verge of breaking through. The analysts were proven right in 2014, when the Royals made the wild-card game, won it, and then made the World Series, where they came within a single victory of winning it all (and probably would have won had it not been for the heroics of Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner). They responded to the heartbreak by playing even better the following season, winning not just their division and the American League pennant, but their second World Series championship. Made headlines early in the COVID-19-abbreviated 2020 season when Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomesnote purchased a minority stake in the team, shortly after signing (at the time) the richest contract in NFL history. The Royals' primary radio play-by-play announcer, Denny Matthews, has been calling the team's games since the 1969 inception of the franchise, and has the longest current tenure (55 seasons and counting, as of 2023) among MLB broadcasters.
Prior Names/Locations: Washington Senators [I] (1901-1960)
Nicknames: The Twinkies
Colors: Red, navy blue, white
Home Ballpark: Target Field (since 2010)
Former Ballparks: American League Park (1901–1903), National Park (1904–1910), Griffith Stadium (1911–1960), Metropolitan Stadium (1961–1981), Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (1982–2009)
Current Owner: Jim Pohlad
Current President of Baseball Operations: Derek Falvey
Current General Manager: Thad Levine
Current Manager: Rocco Baldelli
World Series Titles: 3; 1924, 1987, 1991
American League Pennants: 6 total; 1925, 1933, 1965
The Minnesota Twins: Originally the Washington Senators,note and one of the original eight American League teams, the Twins (who had lost a World Series in 1965) won the World Series in 1987 and 1991 before entering a bad stretch that saw them nearly be disbanded (along with the Montreal Expos). The only thing that kept them from being contracted was the lease they had with the city of Minneapolis. Then, go figure, they started winning, and were a perennial threat in the AL Central during the 2000s, and an off-and-on threat at the end of the 2010s. However, success in the playoffs has been much harder to come by—they haven't won a postseason series since 2002, and didn't win a postseason game from 2004 to 2023. During that time, the Twins lost 18 straight postseason games, with the New York Yankees being responsible for 13 of them. A common compliment said about the Twins is their seemingly bottomless farm system, which has allowed them to remain reasonably competitive even as star players leave town for big city riches. They are also often called "scrappy", with a habit of climbing back into things when least expected that led White Sox manager Ozzie Guillén to call them "The Piranhas", as their team at the time did not have one single "slugger" but a lot of "little" players chipping away at the edges.note
- "All those piranhas — blooper here, blooper here, beat out a ground ball, hit a home run, they're up by four. They get up by four with that bullpen? See you at the national anthem tomorrow. When I sit down and look at the lineup, give me the New York Yankees. Give me those guys because they've got holes. You can pitch around them, you can pitch to them. These little guys? Castillo and all of them? People worry about the catcher, what's his name, Mauer? Fine, yeah, a good hitter, but worry about the little [guys], they're on base all the time."
- This was for a long time a driving philosophy of theirs in the organizational level—former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who started his career with the Twins, noted that he was only able to become the power hitter he was after he'd left them. It is therefore perhaps ironic that in 2019, the Twins set a new major league record for team home runs in a season with 307, narrowly holding off the Yankees who would finish the season with 306. note
Year Joined American League: 2013
Prior Names/Locations: Houston Colt .45s (1962-1964)
Nicknames: The 'Stros
Colors: Dark blue, orange, white
Home Ballpark: Minute Maid Park (since 2000)
Former Ballparks: Colt Stadium (1962–1964), Astrodome (1965–1999)
Current Owner: Jim Crane
Current General Manager: Dana Brown
Current Manager: Joe Espada
World Series Titles: 2; 2017, 2022
American League Pennants: 4 total; 2019, 2021
National League Pennants: 1; 2005
The Houston Astros (originally the Colt .45snote ): Began play in 1962, after owners unable to obtain expansion teams decided to form their own league, the Continental League. The league was intended solely to bluff MLB into awarding their cities MLB franchises; the Astros were awarded in response along with the Washington Senators (now Texas Rangers), Los Angeles Angels, and New York Mets. They are the world record holders for the ugliest uniforms (worn from 1975 through 1986), often referred to by fans as the Tequila Sunrise or Rainbow Guts jersey - a look that has become popular through the Nostalgia Filter, and is often imitated by teams at other levels of play. A National League team for their first half-century of existence, the Astros are responsible for both the domed stadium (the Astrodome) and, because grass doesn't grow indoors,note for artificial turf, better known as AstroTurf. The team often contends, but just as often fizzles out, with their most notable streak of success coming in the late 1990s and early 2000s (which includes their first World Series appearance in 2005, where they got swept by the Chicago White Sox). Moved into Enron Field in 2000, just in time for Enron to have a major Enron-killing scandal; the stadium was quickly rebranded into Minute Maid Park two years later. In 2011, Jim Crane officially decided to buy the team, in exchange for their move into the AL West (Pacific) division in 2013 and the expansion of interleague play to a year-round schedule; this makes them the second team to have switched leagues in the modern era. While they were the worst team in all of baseball from 2011 to 2013 (losing an average of 108 games per season during those years), by 2015 they had reestablished themselves as a force to be reckoned with; in 2017, they not only had over 100 wins, but went on to finally win their first World Series (and becoming the first and only team to go to the World Series as both an AL team and an NL team), also winning the pennant in 2019 (losing the World Series to the Nationals)... but by 2020 shortly before the 2019 World Series concluded, it was discovered that these victories were partly because the Astros illegally stole catchers' signs to guess the opposing team's next pitchnote , which led to numerous sanctions (and the firing of both their GMs and manager and banning them for the entire 2020 season) and made them the most hated team in baseball. Yes, even more hated than the Yankeesnote . With COVID-19 forcing the Astros to play in empty stadiums for the entire 2020 season, meaning an extra year for rival teams' fanbases to bottle up their resentment, the biggest question facing the team post-pandemic was how loudly they'd get booed once they could finally play on the road in a full stadium. Which eventually happened in 2021 (see their division rival, the Texas Rangers). The Astros got all of the expected hate and then some... though it didn't prevent them from clinching the AL pennant and another trip to the World Series, even though they ended losing a second time on their home turf, this time to the Braves, in 2021. The 'Stros won the pennant again in 2022, getting a bye into the Division Series and proceeding to sweep both the Division Series and ALCS, before going on to defeat the Phillies in the World Series for their second championship (and the first for their 73-year-old manager Dusty Baker) and their first legitimate championship since the tainted 2017 season.
- If you're any kind of player and have a last name starting with B, join the Astros and you're the next Killer B, a reference to a period when the team had several very good players whose last names all began with the letter B (Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Lance Berkman, and several lesser names).
Los Angeles Angels
Prior Names/Locations: California Angels (1965–1996), Anaheim Angels (1997–2004), Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2005–2015)
Nicknames: The Halos
Colors: Red, navy blue, silver
Home Ballpark: Angel Stadium (since 1966)
Former Ballparks: Wrigley Fieldnote (1961), Dodger Stadium (1962–1965)
Current Owner: Arte Moreno
Current General Manager: Perry Minasian
Current Manager: Ron Washington
World Series Titles: 1; 2002
American League Pennants: 1
Prior Names/Locations: Philadelphia Athletics (1901-1954), Kansas City Athletics (1955-1967)
Future Name/Location: Las Vegas Athletics (NET 2025-)
Nicknames: The A's, The Elephants, The Green and Gold, The Swingin' A'snote
Colors: Green, gold, white
Home Ballpark: Oakland Colisseum (1968-NET 2024)
Former Ballparks: Columbia Park (1901–1908), Shibe Park (1909–1954), Municipal Stadium (1955–1967)
Future Ballparks: New Las Vegas Stadiumnote (NET 2028 onward)
Current Owner: John Fisher
Current President of Baseball Operations: Billy Beane
Current General Manager: David Forst
Current Manager: Mark Kotsay
World Series Titles: 9; 1910, 1911, 1913, 1929, 1930, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1989
American League Pennants: 14 total; 1905, 1914, 1931, 1988, 1990
Pre-World Series Titles: 1; 1902
The Oakland Athletics are one of the league's oldest teams (being descended from earlier franchises in Philadelphia and Kansas City, not to be confused with either of the short-lived American Association's Philadelphia Athletics teams or the National League Philadelphia Athletics that got expelled in the League's first year for refusing to play out the full schedule) and also one of the current sufferers of "small-market syndrome". However, their stretch of unexpectedly strong teams with tiny payrolls in the early 2000s led to writer Michael Lewis writing the book Moneyball on Oakland general manager Billy Beane. Beane's "Moneyball" approach to the game emphasized new statistics, computerized analysis, and unconventional means of analyzing players. And for a while, it worked, proving that baseball really is the Game of Nerds. Many other teams, most notably the Red Sox, then began adopting Moneyball-style strategies, relegating Oakland to the back end again, though the A's have still managed to scrounge several winning seasons thanks to "Moneyball 2.0" strategies. The franchise as a whole has won nine World Series, tied for the third most in baseball with the Red Sox and trailing the Yankees and the Cardinals (although only one of those titles has come in the last 40 years, in the 1989 World Series that was infamously interrupted by the Loma Prieta earthquake which occurred prior to the originally scheduled Game 3 in San Francisco).
- In Philadelphia, they were managed (and either partially or wholly owned) by Cornelius McGillicuddy, better known as Connie Mack, for their first fifty years. Mack led the A's to five World Series titles in that time, and Shibe Park was renamed Connie Mack Stadium in his honor during its later years. Age forced Mack to step down as manager following the 1950 season, and he sold the team in 1954, leading to their relocation to Kansas City. Infamously, during this time, the Athletics became a de facto farm team for the Yankees. New A's owner Arnold Johnson was a close friend of the Yankees owners of that era, and repeatedly made bad trades to give his best young players to the Yankees in exchange for older veterans whose skills had declined, as well as providing a convenient place for promising young Yankees prospects to stay in game shape until roster space opened for them. When Johnson suddenly died in 1960, the eccentric Charles O. Finley bought the team from his estate, put an immediate end to the "special relationship" between the A's and Yankees, and soon changed the team colors from blue and red to his favorite color scheme, green and gold. Finley didn't have much interest in keeping the team in Kansas City, however, and moved them to Oakland once the other AL owners let him. He did build a winning team, though, as the Oakland A's won three straight World Series in 1972, 1973, and 1974.
- Their current stadium, the Oakland Coliseum (also known by several corporate names), was also home to the Oakland Raiders NFL team through 2019, making the A's the last team with this arrangement. This fact coupled with some disrepair at the Coliseum has the ownership wanting to get a new stadium built specifically for them, preferably in nearby San Jose. San Jose wants the team and has land available for that purpose, but Byzantine league rules with regard to team relocation note coupled with Oakland's competing efforts to build a new stadium in Oakland have those plans in Development Hell. note In 2021, the Athletics began considering plans to relocate to Las Vegas, much like their erstwhile stadium-mates, the Raiders, before them.
A Las Vegas move became even more likely when the team announced in April 2023 it had agreed to purchase land for a new ballpark near the Las Vegas Strip (no doubt to avoid upsetting the Raiders by sharing their stadium again). The proposed move became offical on November 16, 2023, when the relocation vote ended with a unaminous approval at the owners meetings in Arlington that year. The stadium expected to be completed in time for the 2028 MLB season and the current deal with the Coliseum ends after the 2024 season. Where the A's will play in between that time remains unclear: possibilities include the Giants' Oracle Park across San Francisco Bay, the A's AAA affiliate's ballpark in Las Vegas, or a mixture between the two. However, it is worth noting that the relocation is not completely set in stone, as the money to be used to fund the Las Vegas stadium's construction has not been granted yet. If such government funding instead goes to other places, then the Athletics might stay in Oakland for the forseeable future.
Nicknames: The M's
Colors: Green, gold, white
Home Ballpark: T-Mobile Park (since 1999)
Former Ballparks: Kingdome (1977–1999)
Current Owner: John Stanton
Current President of Baseball Operations: Jerry Dipoto
Current General Manager: Justin Hollander
Current Manager: Scott Servais
World Series Titles: 0
American League Pennants: 0
The Seattle Mariners have a reputation as a consistently mediocre team with a high number of Japanese fans (thanks to the number of NPB players they've acquired over the years). They are the only team who has never played in the World Series, with the team's only real run of success coming from 1995-2001, when they made the playoffs four times and advanced to the League Championship Series in three of those four occasions (though they never got any further); in 2001, they had the best regular season record in baseball history with their 116-46 record. To add insult to injury, the four aforementioned playoff appearances remained the sum total of the Mariners' postseason history the team entered a two-decade playoff drought; an ill-fated attempt to spend their way into the playoffs in the mid-2000s ended with them becoming the first $100 million+ payroll team to lose at least 100 games in the 2008 season. The club has had a few stars in its history, most notably Edgar Martínez, Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Ichiro Suzuki, and Félix Hernández (who pitched the first perfect game in team history). The M's first retired number (other than Robinson's) was that of Griffey, which the team retired during the 2016 season—not just for the Mariners themselves, but also for all their minor-league affiliates. Martínez' number was retired the following season. Johnson, Ichiro, and Hernández are major candidates for the honor as wellnote Johnson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014, but was inducted as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, with whom he won a World Series and had debatably greater success than with the Mariners.note Griffey was elected the next year, breaking the record for highest percentage of votes (99.3%)note and was the first player to enter the Hall as a Mariner. Martínez was elected in 2019 on his 10th and final chance in regular voting, with the main obstacle to his induction having been that he was mostly a DH. Ichiro, who retired just after the start of the 2019 season, is generally expected to make the Hall in 2025. Alex Rodriguez also began his career with the Mariners before moving on to greater fame with the Rangers and Yankees. Interesting notes are that the Mariners' original ownership group was led by Danny Kaye, and the M's were owned by Nintendo from 1992 to 2016. The latter explains how Ken Griffey Jr. got a couple of video games on some of Nintendo's consoles.note Junior became a minority owner of the team late in the 2021 season, and in 2022 the team finally got over the hump to return to the playoffs, only to get swept by the eventual champions and hated rival Houston Astros, though the M's didn't go down without a fight note .
Prior Names/Locations: Washington Senators [II] (1961-1971)
Colors: Blue, red, white
Home Ballpark: Globe Life Field (since 2020)
Former Ballparks: Griffith Stadium (1961), RFK Stadium (1962–1971), Arlington Stadium (1972–1993), Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (1994–2019)
Current Owner: Ray Davis
Current General Manager: Chris Young
Current Manager: Bruce Bochy
World Series Titles: 1; 2023
American League Pennants: 3 total; 2010, 2011
The Texas Rangers are best known as the team that George W. Bush owned before his political career and producing a number of sluggers (Rafael Palmeiro, Juan González, Iván "Pudge" Rodríguez, among others) who may or may not have been chemically enhanced. They are descended from the Washington Senators, but not the old Senators team from the first half of the 20th century; rather, they are descended from the new expansion Senators that began play in 1961. The old Senators are now the Minnesota Twinsnote . For years, the club was known for big bats, terrible pitching, and not much else. Until 2010, they were the only team in baseball who had never won a postseason series. They finally accomplished this in 2010 after nearly 50 years of trying, making it all the way to their first ever World Series before finally losing to the San Francisco Giants. In 2011, they lost ace pitcher Cliff Lee to free agency, but managed to have an even better year than before, reaching their second consecutive World Series before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals. Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan pitched his last two no-hitters and earned his 5,000th strikeout and 300th win with the team. His plaque in Cooperstown bears a Rangers cap,note and he served as part-owner and Team President until late in the 2013 season, when he was pushed out of the front office after a dispute with the majority owners and ended up selling his stake in the team. His guidance, especially with regard to how to handle pitchers, is considered the biggest factor in the team's turnaround. Despite sharing the same state with the Houston Astros, Rangers' fans seem to have traditionally seen the Los Angeles Angels as their main rival, especially after slugger Josh Hamilton left Texas for the Halos and made bashing remarks about Texas as a franchise on his way out (though the Angels ended up sending him back to the Rangers in 2015). The Rangers play in MLB's newest park, Globe Life Field, a retractable-roof park which opened for the 2020 season. It replaced The Ballpark in Arlington (since renamed Choctaw Stadium* ), an open-air stadium across the street that had been their home since 1994. Perhaps most notably, the Rangers were the first team in any North American professional sport to lift all COVID-19 attendance restrictions, opening Globe Life Field at full capacity to start the 2021 season. They have begun to develop a nasty rivarly with their southern neighbors the Astros, much like the rest of the league. This was mainly due to the Rangers' quick rise back to prominence in the early 20's, thanks to signing players like Corey Seager and Jacob deGrom and hiring former San Diego Padres and San Francsico Giants manager Bruce Bochy for the job. This eventually culminated in 2023 when the Astros and Rangersnote faced each other in the ALCS, in which Texas won in seven games for their third ever AL Pennant. Ultimately, it ended with the Rangers winning their first ever World Series title, after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks in five games (and now giving each Dallas-Fort Worth-area major professional club at least one titlenote ).
Year Last Team Added: 1998
League President: Bill Giles
Number of Teams: 15
Reigning Champions: Arizona Diamondbacks (2)
Most Titles: Los Angeles Dodgers (24)
NL Central: Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals
NL West: Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants
The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs holds the honor of being the oldest extant major professional sports league in the United States, tracing its lineage back over 140 years ago. The origins of the Senior Circuit can be found in the early 1870s with the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NAPBBP), which holds the record of being the world's first fully professional baseball league. Despite its historic status, the National Association had numerous issues plauging the league not long after its founding in 1871, such as with Boston's NA club being absolutely dominant and teams straight up ignoring rules at times. This all came to a head in 1875 when William Hubert, the owner of the NA's Chicago team, secretly met with other team owners about creating their own league with a stronger central authority and more exclusive membership. After the NA threatened to expel five players from Hubert's team, he sprang his plan into action on February 2, 1876, when he and player Albert Spalding established the National League alongside five other NA clubs and two new expansion teams.
Since the days of the league's eight classic teamsnote , the NL has won 51 of the 119 World Series played, most recently with the Atlanta Braves in 2021. As stated earlier, the NL used to differ from the AL in various ways, but now are essentially conferences with fancy names.note
Here are some things to know about the NL's teams and, perhaps more importantly, their fanbases.
Year Joined National League: 1876
Prior Names/Locations: Boston Red Stockings (1871–1875), Boston Red Caps (1876–1882), Boston Beaneaters (1883–1906), Boston Doves (1907–1910), Boston Rustlers (1911), Boston Braves (1912–1935, 1941–1952), Boston Bees (1936–1940), Milwaukee Braves (1953–1965)
Nicknames: The Bravos, America's Team
Colors: Navy blue, scarlet red, gold, white
Home Ballpark: Truist Park (since 2017)
Former Ballparks: South End Grounds (1871–1914), Fenway Park (1914–1915), Braves Field (1915–1952), Milwaukee County Stadium (1953–1965), Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium (1966–1996), Turner Field (1997–2016)
Current Owner: Liberty Medianote
Current President of Baseball Operations: Alex Anthopoulos
Current General Manager: Alex Anthopoulos
Current Manager: Brian Sniker
World Series Titles: 4; 1914, 1957, 1995, 2021
National League Pennants: 10 total; 1948, 1958, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1999
Pre-World Series Titles: 12; 1872NA , 1873NA , 1874NA , 1875NA , 1877, 1878, 1883, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1897, 1898
The Atlanta Braves are, along with the Cubs, one of the two franchises that have existed since the beginning of the National Leaguenote , and the only team to have continued operation since 1871, though they were originally based in Boston (until 1952, forced out due to the greater popularity of the AL Red Sox) and later Milwaukee (until 1965, forced out due to struggling Milwaukee market and lukewarm stadium). Actually, they're even older than that; they were formed when the first professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, folded and their manager and key players migrated to Bostonnote . They are the oldest continuously existing sports franchise in America. Historically, they've had flashes of success interspersed with long periods of losses. For an example of the first, they won their first World Series in 1914 in Boston with the Miracle Braves squad who went from literally dead last at mid-season to suddenly catch fire (which began the day after July 4th) and won the pennant at the end of the season over the New York (now San Francisco) Giants and won the championship in a sweep against the heavily favored Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics squad note , they would manage one more World Series appearance in the the late 40's with the help of legendary pitching duo Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain (to the point they inspired a legendary poem to be written by a member of the Boston Post that soon entered the baseball vocabulary: "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain") where they lost to the Cleveland Indians in what would be their last World Series win to date note , the greater popularity of the Red Sox and their slugging superstar Ted Williams forced the Braves to move west to Milwaukee in 1952, then there's the team of Hank Aaron, who broke Babe Ruth's career home run record note despite receiving numerous death threats and alongside Spahn and fellow slugger Eddie Matthews helped the Braves win their second World Series in 1957 against the powerhouse Yankees in 7 games (their only World Series win against the Yankees, and the city of Milwaukee their only World Series championship), they nearly pulled off a repeat in 1958 only to lose the World Series to the Yankees in 7 games, with the Bronx Bombers coming back from a 3-games-to-1 deficit. However their stay in Milwaukee would be much shorter than their stay in Boston, due to a lukewarm stadium and the strain of playing for a small market city, forced the Braves to move South to Atlanta in 1965. After Aaron (who would end his career in Milwaukee when they got another team in the Brewers), they went from mediocre to horrible in the mid-to-late 1980s. In 1991, they went worst-to-first, went on an absolute tear in the second half of the season, defeated the Pirates on a controversial call in the NL Championship Series, and lost in the World Series to the Minnesota Twins in an epic 7 game series, considered by many to be one of the best since the 1975 World Seriesnote . Then, in 1992, they basically did the same thing all over again, except this time losing the World Series to the Toronto Blue Jays (who would proceed to repeat their championship the following year). From then until 2005, they made the playoffs every year, won their third World Series championship where they defeated the Cleveland Indians in 6 games, getting revenge for their own World Series defeat in 1948 note and lost two more to the Yankees (losing the 96 series in 6 games despite the Braves outscoring them in Games 1 and 2 by a combined 16-1 mark only to fall apart quickly and then getting swept by the same team in the 99 series during the Yanks' three-peat), and were best known for their outstanding starting pitching rotation. However, during the 2006 season they deteriorated into an also-ran that could at best only field low-rung playoff teams (reaching the Wild Card berth in 2010 and 2012, winning the first, and leading the NL East in 2013) also being prone to collapse late in the season (most infamously in 2011 and 2014), not to mention an economic fair play scandal. All this forced the Braves into a full-on rebuilding mode in 2015 that finally started to pay off in 2018 when they won their division, doing the same the following three years, even though they seemed to have picked up a Yankees-like tendency to choke during the worst possible moments. Nevertheless, they finally reached and won the World Series in 2021 (winning their first pennant since 1999 and their first World Series championship since 1995 and their fourth overall) even though the Braves spent the best part of the season looking as if they had returned to their late-2000s era doldrums, being the underdog for the NL East, the NLDS against the Brewers, the NLCS against the Dodgers and finally the Fall Classic against the hated Astros, beating them in 6 games. The following season had them win a tightly close NL East over the rival Mets note , however they returned to their choking ways in the postseason with a vengeance where they lost to the rival Phillies in the Wild Card round (who would then go on to lose the World Series to the very same Astros team the Braves beat in the previous World Series), and again in the 23 postseason after dominating the NL East by setting new Braves records. They are one of two teams (the other one being, again, the Cubs) that has had nationwide television coverage thanks to Ted Turner's WTBS "superstation" (now Atlanta-only),note and, therefore, one of the Majors' biggest fan bases, to the point of dubbing themselves "America's Team" for a number of years (similar to the Dallas Cowboys whom also have a large fanbase). The Braves have played the most seasons out of any professional sports franchise, due to the Cubs losing two seasons over the Great Chicago Fire and are the only MLB team to have won the World Series in it's three cities. In 1997, the Braves moved from Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium to neighboring Turner Field, which had been built to serve as the main venue for the 1996 Summer Olympics (as Centennial Olympic Stadium) before being permanently configured for baseball. Desiring a better neighborhood, though, for the 2017 season, the Braves moved into a new ballpark just outside the Atlanta city limits (but still with an Atlanta mailing address), Truist Park, while Turner Field was reconfigured into a football stadium for the Georgia State Panthers that's now known as Center Parc Stadium. The wall where Aaron hit his record-breaking home run is preserved in Center Parc Stadium's parking lot, which sits on the footprint of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium; however, the university plans to build a new baseball park on the site, incorporating said wall. With the Cleveland Indians rebranding into the Cleveland Guardians beginning in the 2022 season, the Braves are now the absolute last team still using their controversial imagery:note .
Prior Names/Locations: Florida Marlins (1993-2011)
Nicknames: The Fish
Colors: Midnight black, Miami blue, Caliente red, Slate grey
Home Ballpark: LoanDepot Park (since 2012)
Former Ballparks: Sun Life Stadium (1993–2011)
Current Owner: Bruce Sherman
Current President of Baseball Operations: Peter Bendix
Current General Manager: Vacantnote
Current Manager: Skip Schumaker
World Series Titles: 2; 1997, 2003
National League Pennants: 2
The Miami Marlins: Formerly known as the Florida Marlins. Came into the league in 1993. Until 2012, they played their games in a giant football stadium intended for the NFL's Miami Dolphins to minuscule audiences that would make even a smaller stadium appear empty. Announced attendances were small enough already, usually hovering around 10,000, but the crowd actually in the stadium had a tendency to go into triple digits from time to time, to the point where hecklers who would never be heard in a regular game setting were thrown out of the game as the umpire could hear them very well, and player chatter was easily heard in the stands without amplification. In a stadium with a capacity over 75,000. This comes partly as a result of Miami being a football town (although this comes off as an excuse as teams from other football towns—such as Los Angeles, which has two NFL teams plus two wildly popular college teams—have no attendance problems) and most notably the distance to the stadium from population areas (suburban stadiums distant from a city are fine for football games and concerts, but nobody wants to make that drive up to 81 times a year for baseball), but more as a result of poor ownership. Weather is also a factor; games in Miami were extremely prone to being rained out before they moved into a stadium with a retractable roof, eliminating that problem (though the Marlins still do occasionally have to cancel a game due to a hurricane). The Marlins have won two World Series championships in 1997 and 2003, but both titles, and several other seasons besides, were immediately followed by releasing or trading virtually every breakout player on them. They made frequent threats to move the team if a new stadium was not built, which they finally got; they moved into it in 2012, it has both a retractable roof and a backstop featuring an aquarium with real fish (which is protected with multiple layers of Lexan). As a side effect, the team changed its name to the Miami Marlins upon its move, a condition of the new stadium deal. Former owner Jeffrey Loria was arguably one of the most hated owners in baseball behind Baltimore's Angelos and New York's Steinbrenner. He's been accused of deliberately putting an inferior product on the field simply to save money, and has on two separate occasions fired a well-liked, well-respected manager for failing to win with such a cash-strapped lineup.
- As a point of interest, the Marlins did not lose a postseason series until 2020; prior to their NLDS loss to the Atlanta Braves, they were the only team in baseball this could be said of. All of their playoff appearances to date have come as a wild card team, meaning that they've won two World Championships but have never finished first in their own division. Either way, it's one of the only reasons they get any respect from anyone.
- After Loria's 2012 gutting of the team, he easily became the most hated owner in baseball. There was much rejoicing in 2017 when he finally agreed to sell to the team to a new ownership group headlined by incoming CEO Derek Jeter- which was soon followed by the revelation that the new ownership group had to go deeply into debt to actually buy the team and didn't really have the money to run it, so they embarked on yet another fire sale.
- For a more positive point of interest, the Marlins became the first team in any of North America's four traditional pro leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) with a female general manager when they hired Kim Ng shortly after the 2020 season, until she left after the 2023 postseason. She's also the first person of East Asian descent to serve in such a role in MLB.
New York Mets
Nicknames: The Amazin's, The Metsies, The Metropolitans, the Miracle Metsnote
Colors: Blue, orange, white
Abbreviations: NYM, NYN
Home Ballpark: Citi Field (since 2009)
Former Ballparks: Polo Grounds [IV] (1962-1963), Shea Stadium (1964-2008)
Current Owner: Steve Cohen
Current President of Baseball Operations: David Stearns
Current General Manager: Vacantnote
Current Manager: Carlos Mendoza
World Series Titles: 2; 1969, 1986
National League Pennants: 5 total; 1973, 2000, 2015
The New York Mets: The Annoying Younger Sibling of the two New York baseball teams, the Mets (a shortened version of Metropolitans, the name of an old New York baseball team from the 19th century) have, for most their history, been the polar opposite of their more popular and Aloof Big Brother. Founded in 1962 to bring National League baseball back to New York City after the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants departed for California in 1957, their teams colors of blue and orange are a nod to their predecessors. They tend to go through cycles of brilliant play for five or six years followed by stretches where they're one of the worst teams in the league. They've won two World Series titles, both of which are the source of major Baseball mythology (the first one literally considered a miracle against one of the greatest and finest teams ever assembled in the 1969 Baltimore Orioles, the second one only happening because they were playing the Red Sox during their Curse of the Bambino stage (see: Bill Buckner)note . The Mets' first season (1962) featured only 40 wins in 160 games, and is considered the worst team in modern history. In the 1990s and early 2000s, they frequently sported one of the higher budgets in the majors, only to have an uncanny tendency to collapse in the season's final weeks, despite them advancing to the 2000 World Series, where they lost in the first-ever modern Subway series to the hated crosstown Yankees in 5 games (a condition that since the mid-2000s has been commonplace for NY sports teams in general); in 2007, they coughed up a 7-game lead with 17 to play, then did the same in 2008 with a 3½-game lead, both times losing the division race to their hated rival the Phillies. In 2009, a rash of injuries caused them to tumble to fourth place, sending them into rebuilding mode (which did help them to acquire a surplus of promising young pitching talent). Their situation hasn't been helped by their owners, the Wilpon family, losing millions of dollars in the Bernie Madoff scandal, forcing them to curb their spendthrift ways and creating the bizarre sight of a New York team being forced to take the field with a severely underfinanced roster. It looked like their fate was about to finally turn around in 2015, as the team's young talented pitching staff began to gel and the pickup for Yoenis Céspedes helped bring the offense to life, leading them to the Fall Classic, though they lost in 5 to the Kansas City Royals; however, the team's fortunes ended up quickly cratering in subsequent seasons, thanks in part to yet another rash of injuries. In 2022, it seemed that the Mets were finally on the verge of greatness again, with roster stacked with talent across the board and a new owner who was much more willing to spend money on talented players than the Wilpons ever were. However, despite leading the NL East for 174 out of the 180 days of the MLB regular season and reaching 101 wins, they once again fell apart in the final weeks of the season and lost the division title to the Braves. Despite their checkered on-field history, they have their fans (most notably Jon Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld, Lady Gaga, and Spider-Man). Everybody loves an underdog, right? Let's go Mets baby, love da Mets!
Prior Names/Locations: Philadelphia Quakers (1883-1889), Philadelphia Blue Jays (1944-1949)
Nicknames: The Phils, The Fightin' Phils, The Whiz Kidsnote
Colors: Red, white, blue
Home Ballpark: Citizen's Bank Park (since 2004)
Former Ballparks: Recreation Park (1883–1886), Baker Bowl (1887–1938) Shibe Parknote (1938–1970), Veterans Stadium (1971–2003)
Current Owner: John Middleton
Current President of Baseball Operations: Dave Dombrowski
Current General Manager: Sam Fuld
Current Manager: Rob Thomson
World Series Titles: 2; 1980, 2008
National League Pennants: 8 total; 1915, 1950, 1983, 1993, 2009, 2022
The Philadelphia Phillies: Played their first season in 1883 after replacing the Worcester Worcesters, thus making them one of the oldest franchises in baseball, if not all of American professional sports. With two World Series championships as of this edit, their victory in the 2008 Series is particularly notable for ending a 25-year streak of Philadelphia not winning a championship in any major sport. Though they were the best team in the National League in the late 2000s, they are historically the losingest baseball franchise ever (and in terms of number of losses, the losingest team in all of professional sports). They were also the last of the 16 original Major League teams to win a championship, their first title not coming until 1980. Like all Philadelphia sports teams, their fans are usually appear to be generally good-hearted working-class folk, but they can get really dangerous if drunk or if their team wins a championship (rioting is a popular Philly pastime), and if you should get caught wearing a Mets uniform, or a Mets cap, or anything related to the Mets (or New York, really (this also includes the Mets' own crosstown rivals Yankees) then you're really just asking for it.note The late, great Harry Kalas — known to most of America as The Voice of NFL Films after John Facenda died — was their lead TV/radio announcer until his death during the 2009 season. From 2007 to 2011, the team basically became the Yankees of the National League, procuring superstar players (mostly pitchers) at any price to make World Series runs. However, they went straight back to their losing ways in 2012, and were forced to commence a full-blown rebuild in 2015, which lasted until their fortunes finally started turning around in 2018. This was capped by a 2022 run from a Wild Card berth into the World Series, where they were defeated by the (hated) Houston Astros to give them their second World Series ring (and the first one not marked by a giant scandal), though it ultimately set the Phillies up for mockery. By the way, the team's somewhat uncreative nickname is an artifact of history; in the early days of baseball media would often refer to teams by simply pluralizing a city name. Also known for the Phillie Phanatic, one of the goofiest and most-beloved mascots in sports.
Prior Names/Locations: Montreal Expos (1969-2004)
Nicknames: The Nats, The Natsposnote
Colors: Scarlet red, navy blue, white
Abbreviations: WSH, WAS
Home Ballpark: Nationals Park (since 2008)
Former Ballparks: Jarry Park Stadium (1969–1976), Olympic Stadium (1977–2004), RFK Stadium (2005-2007)
Current Owner: Mark Lerner
Current President of Baseball Operations: Mike Rizzo
Current General Manager: Mike Rizzo
Current Manager: Dave Martinez
World Series Titles: 1; 2019
National League Pennants: 1
The Washington Nationals: Founded in 1969 as the Montreal Expos, they are arguably The Chew Toy of Major League Baseball. Sure, both the Phillies and the Braves have accumulated more than 10,000 losses, the Cubs had a nearly eleven decade-long championship drought and have since joined the Phillies and Braves in the 10,000 loss club, the Red Sox spent decades always losing to their hated rival, the Pirates went 20 years without a winning season, the Rangers didn't win a playoff series for 50 years, and the Mets have to share a city with the Yankees, but all those teams have bright spots in their history as well. The Expos almost had one; they were leading their division in August 1994 and were considered a legitimate threat to win it all that year, only for the season to be cancelled by a strike (itself an Audience-Alienating Era), leading to the first year without a World Series since 1904. Their owner spent the rest of the decade trading their stars for much cheaper players. This eventually resulted in the team being bought by the league, nearly eliminated altogether, and eventually sold and moved to Washington D.C. The old owner went on to do pretty much the same thing to his new team, the Florida/Miami Marlins (see their paragraph above). Oh, and don't confuse them with the Washington Senators—local politicians vow to oppose that name as long as Washington, D.C. has no vote in Congress, and on top of that the previous Senators baseball club still owns the rights to the name even though they became the Texas Rangers in 1972. As a result of their team's suckage, Washington D.C. became subject to the old chestnut "First in war, first in peace, and last in the National League" (which was true of both Senators teams except with "American" instead of "National"). However, the Nationals have managed to turn things around by following the Rays' and Athletics' method of stockpiling high draft picks (the two most prominent being pitcher Stephen Strasburg and catcher-turned-outfielder Bryce Harper), and supplementing a strong farm system with savvy trades and good free agent signings. And unlike the A's and Rays, the Nats have a budget which should allow them to hang on to their stars. They finished with the best record in the National League in both 2012 and 2014, and won their division again in 2016 and 2017, but lost in the Division Series all four times. While Harper skedaddled to the Phillies in free agency after the 2018 season, the Nats made the 2019 playoffs as a wild card and finally got past the Division Series. They went on to sweep the Cardinals in the NLCS and reach the World Series for the first time in franchise history, beating the 107-55 Houston Astros in a dramatic seven-game series, bringing a MLB championship to DC for the first time in 95 years. The repercussions of the Astros sign-stealing scandal that broke just weeks following that championship run has led to baseball fans calling the 2019 team as the team that saved baseball with that victory over Houston. The 2019 World Series was also historic as it was the first seven-game series in any round, in any of the MLB, NHL or NBA playoffs in which the road team won all seven games. During their unexpected World Series run, Nationals fans would ultimately adopt the notorious catchy Baby Shark theme as their official rallying cry with them even copying the theme tune by mimicking a shark bite with their hands.
Prior Names/Locations: Chicago White Stockings [NL] (1876–1889), Chicago Colts (1890–1897), Chicago Orphans (1898–1902)
Nicknames: The Cubbies, The Lovable Losers, The Northsiders, The Baby Bears
Colors: Scarlet red, navy blue, white
Abbreviations: CHC, CHN
Home Ballpark: Wrigley Field (since 1916)
Former Ballparks: 23rd Street Grounds (1876–1877), Lakefront Park [I] (1878–1882), Lakefront Park [II] (1883–1884), West Side Park [I] (1885–1891), South Side Park (1891–1893), West Side Park [II] (1893–1915)
Current Owner: Thomas S. Ricketts
Current President of Baseball Operations: Jed Hoyer
Current General Manager: Carter Hawkins
Current Manager: Craig Counsell
World Series Titles: 3; 1907, 1908, 2016
National League Pennants: 11; 1906, 1910, 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938, 1945
Pre-World Series Titles: 7; 1870NA , 1876, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1885, 1886
The Chicago Cubsnote : The oldest professional team in America's big four leagues that is still in existence,note the Cubs held the dubious distinction of owning the longest championship drought in all of North American professional sports prior to winning the World Series in 2016, having previously not won a Fall Classic since 1908, or even appeared in one since 1945.note Superstitious Cubs fans often claimed that the team's long-term lack of postseason success was the result of the "Curse of the Billy Goat" note , although this mostly had been the result of a series of misfortunes led by perpetual money shortages, including a succession of owners (one of them previously owned a Federal League team), a whole bunch of losing seasons (and some winning seasons in which they barely hovered over .500note ), and the Windy City's traditional bad luck in all sports until recent years (though, of course, the Cubs haven't benefited too much from the rising tide as of yet; neither have the Sox, for that matter, despite their 2005 championshipnote ). Even when the Cubs have played well, it's pretty much always ended in heartbreak; they've had some agonizingly close calls (most prominently 1984 and 2003), and when they actually got into the NLCS in 2015 after five straight losing seasons, they ended up being swept by the Mets... on the same day some flick predicted they would sweep the World Series (fans rejoiced anyways since they beat the hated Cardinals in the Division Series for the first time). However, they were done justice by going all the way, taking the World Series in seven games over the Indians in 2016. This was a fitting conclusion of their deliberately painful rebuild under the oversight of Theo Epstein (the same man who helped end the Red Sox's own championship drought), and has turned the Cubs into a talented young team with a seemingly bright future ahead of them. They play in Wrigley Field, the oldest park in the National League (1914, originally used by the Federal League Whales), and second-oldest in all of baseball, behind only Boston's Fenway Park, and, also like Fenway Park, among the most well-known and loved Major League stadiums. It's famous for countless quirks such as ivy-covered outfield walls, fans sitting on nearby rooftops to watch the game, and the fact that night games were not allowed there until 1988. They are also well known for now long-deceased broadcaster Harry Caray, known for his 7th inning renditions of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" as well as his unique approach to color commentary.
- Irony: The Cubs have made history in the World Series in over a half-dozen ways: (beginning with their crosstown loss to the White Sox in the 1906 World Series). They went 2-2 in the World Series over a five year span from 1906-1910 (not appearing in 1909).
- First Team with multiple World Series Appearances (Two, Three, Four)
- First Team with Consecutive World Series Appearances (Two, Three)
- First Team with multiple World Series wins (Two)
- First Team with consecutive World Series win (Two)
- First Team to win a World Series without a loss (4-0-1 in 1907 against the Detroit Tigers)
- First Team To Play an extra innings Game (12 innings in a Game 1 Tie in 1907)
- First Team to win two World Series against the same opponent (1907 & 1908 vs. Detroit Tigers)
- First Team to win an extra-inning World Series game (Game 4 in 10 innings in 1910 [for their lone victory] against the Athletics)
- First Team to win an extra-inning World Series game 7 on the road (in 10 innings in 2016)
- First leadoff home run in a World Series game 7 (2016, Dexter Fowlernote )
- Oldest player to hit a home run in a World Series game (2016, David Ross (39), Game 7—in his final at-bat as a player, no less)
Year Joined National League: 1890
Prior Names/Locations: Cincinnati Red Stockings (1881–1889), Cincinnati Redlegs (1953–1959)
Nicknames: The Big Red Machinenote
Colors: Red, black, white
Home Ballpark: Great American Ballpark (since 2003)
Former Ballparks: Bank Street Grounds (1881–1883), League Park [I] (1884–1893), League Park [II] (1894–1901), Palace of the Fans (1902–1911), Crosley Field (1912–1970), Riverfront Stadium (1970–2002)
Current Owner: Bob Castellini
Current President of Baseball Operations: Nick Krall
Current General Manager: Brad Meador
Current Manager: David Bell
World Series Titles: 5; 1919, 1940, 1975, 1976, 1990
National League Pennants: 9 total; 1939, 1961, 1970, 1972
Pre-World Series Titles: 1; 1882AA
The Cincinnati Reds: Cincy was the first city to have a professional team (the Cincinnati Red Stockings), so the Reds are generally considered the oldest club in the league (even though, in the words of Joel Luckhaupt, "the line from the Reds back to that 1869 squad isn't a straight one"). Before TV ratings became important, it was custom that the first major league game of every season take place in Cincy, and even today the Reds Home Opener is quite a big deal. They won their first World Series in 1919 note , and wouldn't appear in another World Series until 1939 where they got swept by the powerhouse New York Yankees, they would bounce back and win their next championship in 7 games against the Detroit Tigers in 1940. The glory days of the Reds were the '70s, when they were called the Big Red Machine that began with the team adopting the Yankees way, by banning all facial hair and long hair back in the late 60's note , and stocking up on players throughout the 60's, though they would appear in another World Series in 1961 only to again lose to the powerhouse Yankees in 5 games note , before appearing in two more to start the 70's off where the Big Red Machine took off (losing first to the powerhouse Orioles in 1970 and again to the Mustache Gang Athletics in 1972 during their three-peat) before finally securing victory in 1975 during an epic 7 game World Series over the Boston Red Sox note and starting an unprecedented winning streak in Game 7 by going 9-0 in World Series games by repeating in 1976 by sweeping the Yankees (getting revenge over their defeats in 1939 and 1961 in the process). Longtime ESPN broadcaster Joe Morgan was a member of the Big Red Machine, and he would never let you forget it. Another bright spot came in 1990, when the Reds swept the World Series against the heavily-favored A's, getting revenge for their defeat in 1972. Owned for a while by the totally insane and despicable Marge Schott, famous for her racist tirades, collection of Nazi memorabilia, and devotion to her Saint Bernard, Schottzie and later on Schottzie II who was outright hated by many die-hard Reds fans for ruining the club's reputation because of her famous tirades and Nazi connections note , relief was finally brought when she sold the club in 2001 in part due to failing health. The Reds have eight players in the Hall of Fame, and would undoubtedly have a ninth if longtime player (and later manager) Pete Rose hadn't been expelled from MLB for life in 1989 due to betting on games.note Since their 1990 championship however, the Reds have mostly seen teams with great hitters but terrible pitching. After being swept by the Braves in the 1995 NLCS, it would be 15 years before they would taste the postseason again...only to be swept by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2010 NLDS, being no-hit by Roy Halladay in game 1. This is also where hometown hero Ken Griffey Jr. played most of his later, more injury-prone years note . After years of mediocrity, they made the playoffs 3 times in 4 years from 2010-2013 with a nucleus of cerebral first baseman Joey Votto, flashy second baseman Brandon Phillips, and streaky-hitting outfielder Jay Bruce, plus young pitchers Homer Bailey (who threw 2 no-hitters for the Reds) and Johnny Cueto (2008-2015). Despite this, the Reds playoff luck seemed to match their next door neighbors the Bengals: being swept in the 2010 NLDS, leading 2 games to none in the 2012 NLDS vs. the Giants, winning both games in San Francisco before losing three straight at home, and losing 6 of their last 8 regular season games (including dropping their final five) in 2013, dropping them to the NL's second wild card spot and having to play the wild card game in Pittsburgh against a Pirates team making the postseason for the first time in 21 years. By 2014 their championship window was closing, but ownership remained steadfast on contending one last time in 2015 because their home Great American Ball Park was hosting the All-Star Game. At the trade deadline, they traded the aforementioned Cueto (to Kansas City, where he was a part of their World Series championship team that year) and starting pitcher Mike Leake (to San Francisco). From 2016-18, the Reds were an afterthought, never winning more than 68 games, with some of the worst pitching in major league history. They seemed to be coming out of the slump in 2019 (a season which featured two bench-clearing brawls with the Pirates), winning 8 more games than the previous season, with the acquisition of pitcher Sonny Gray from the New York Yankees and the breakout season of third baseman Eugenio Suarez (whose 49 home runs are the most ever by a Venezuelan player). Before the MLB season was delayed due to COVID-19, the Reds were on track to field a contender in 2020 (after breaking the franchise record for free-agent spending), with the acquisitions of outfielder Nick Castellanos, infielder Mike Moustakas, and pitcher Wade Miley, among others. That team would limp into the playoffs and get swept (by the Atlanta Braves) in the Wild Card round. After half-heartedly trying in 2021, Reds ownership decided to blow the team up, with ownership trading nearly every "big name" player just weeks before Opening Day. When longtime fans complained, team president (and son of the team owner) went on the team's radio station on Opening Day to ask fans "where you gonna go?" The 2022 squad lost 100 games. However, the team surprised many the next season as several prospects were called up and broke out and the Reds proceeded to contend for a wild card playoff spot deep into the month of September, only to lose out to the Diamondbacks and Marlins.
Year Joined National League: 1998
Prior Names/Locations: Seattle Pilots (1969)
Nicknames: The Brew Crew, The Beermakers, Harvey's Wallbangersnote
Colors: Navy blue, yellow, royal blue
Home Ballpark: American Family Fieldnote (since 2001)
Former Ballparks: Sick's Stadium (1969), Milwaukee County Stadium (1970–2000)
Current Owner: Mark Attanasio
Current President of Baseball Operations: Matt Arnold
Current General Manager: Matt Arnold
Current Manager: Pat Murphy
World Series Titles: 0
American League Pennants: 1; 1982
The Milwaukee Brewers are descended from Seattle's original team, the Pilots, who were a complete disaster that only lasted one season. Then they were bought by a Milwaukee car salesman, Bud Selig, who somehow worked his way up to commissioner of MLB. Nowadays the Brewers are best known for playing at American Family Field (originally Miller Park), considered by many to be the best modern ballpark, and for their odd traditions such as the 6th inning "sausage races" and the mascot, Bernie Brewer, who formerly slid into various containers of liquid but now just slides down a waterpark-sponsored slide as a cute mascot marketed towards children can't dive into an over-sized mug of beer these days. Brewers fans are also considered to have introduced tailgating to baseball back when the team played at County Stadium. Bob Uecker, better known outside of Wisconsin for his appearances in Miller Lite beer commercials, Mr. Belvedere, and the Major League movies (not to mention being choked by André the Giant at WrestleMania IV), has been the team's lead radio announcer since 1971. The Brewers had their glory days in the early '80s, nearly winning the 1982 World Series. They are the first of the currently existing MLB teams to have switched leagues, as they were American until 1998. Despite being a small market team with an overall mediocre record, the Brewers nevertheless have a passionately devoted fanbase who steadfastly support the team in both good and bad years. In many ways, they're considered a Spiritual Successor to the Milwaukee Braves, having retired Hank Aaron's jersey and erected a statue of him outside of AmFam Field despite having only spent two uneventful seasons with the Brewers. The Brewers are also the fourth team to have the name; the first two were short-lived (as in one season) teams in the also short-lived American Association and Union Association, and the third is now the Baltimore Orioles. For a long time, they were the only team to switch leagues, but since the Astros switched leagues in time for the 2013 season, this is no longer the case. In 2021, the Brew Crew made headlines for much the same reason the Royals did the year before – namely, for picking up a minority investor with local ties most prominent in another sport. In the Brewers' case, the new investor was Milwaukee Bucks forward and two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was bought in shortly after leading the Bucks to their first NBA title in a half-century.
Year Joined National League: 1887
Prior Names/Locations: Allegheny (1882–1886), Pittsburgh Alleghenys (1887–1890)
Nicknames: The Buccos, The Bucs
Colors: Black, gold, white
Home Ballpark: PNC Park (since 2001)
Former Ballparks: Exposition Park I, II (1882–1883), Recreation Park (1884–1890), Exposition Park III (1891–1909), Forbes Field (1909–1970), Three Rivers Stadium (1970–2000)
Current Owner: Bob Nutting
Current General Manager: Bob Cherington
Current Manager: Derek Shelton
World Series Titles: 5; 1909, 1925, 1960, 1971, 1979
National League Pennants: 7 total; 1903, 1927
Pre-World Series Titles: 2; 1901, 1902
The Pittsburgh Pirates: Another storied franchise with a long history that includes 5 World Series titles, most recently in 1979 (during which year they famously adopted "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge as their theme; the '79 Pirates were also the first World Series team with a majority of ballplayers of color). The team of Roberto Clemente, a very highly regarded right fielder who collected his 3000th hit in 1972, and then tragically died in a plane crash delivering supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. (He was posthumously enshrined in the Hall of Fame, setting the precedent that deceased players need not have been retired for a minimum of five years; the official rule is now six months after death.) Also the original team of the preternaturally talented and equally hated Barry Bonds. However, for almost a generation they were better known for their seemingly-endless streak of losing seasons that lasted for twenty years from 1993 to 2012, the longest such streak in American professional sports history. They finally began showing real promise again in 2011 (including having legitimate superstar players on the roster again, like Pedro Álvarez and Andrew McCutchen), but in both that year and the next managed to pull off improbable and painful late-season collapses that kept the futility streak going. They finally shook off the "losers" label in 2013, securing not only a winning season, but a postseason berth as a Wild Card team. They then proved it wasn't a fluke by doing it again in 2014 and 2015, though every time they were eventually eliminated from play before reaching the World Series. Prior to that, their last postseason success was three straight division titles from 1990 to 1992, but lost the NL Championship Series all three times: the first to the Reds, in six games, the next two to the Braves, both in 7 games, and both in heartbreaking fashion. In 1991, they held a three games to two lead, but were shut out in each of the final two games (including 1-0 in Game 6, with the winning run scoring in the ninth inning). Then in 1992, the Bucs were a single out away from winning the series when Francisco Cabrera, an obscure utility player, singled in two runs to win the series for the Braves, with former Pirate Sid Bream (not known for his speed, to put it mildly) eluding the tag of Pirates catcher Mike LaValliere and sliding across with the winning run. With 5 championships in only 7 World Series appearances, they boast the highest success rate of the original 16 teams (Miami and Toronto are both 2-for-2 and Arizona and the Angels are both 1-for-1), but in an inversion of Boston's quirk, they've lost at least 3 games in every World Series they've played in—most notably the 1960 World Series against the Yankees, in which their four wins were by a combined seven runs while their three losses were by at least 10 runs each; add in the fact that Game 7 was a high-scoring game on both sides and you get the Yankees setting a bunch of offensive records for a World Series that have yet to be broken nearly 60 years later even though they lost the Series.
- Interestingly, FiveThirtyEight called the 2018 Pirates the most average sports team in history.
- The Pirates have, for reasons that are probably all complete coincidence, an unusual number of ethnicity/nationality-related firsts. This includes the first Latin American Hall of Famer (Clemente), the first all-Black starting lineup (in 1971), the first signing of players from India (who didn't reach the Major League club, but were the subject of the movie Million Dollar Arm), the first Egyptian player (Sam Khalifa, briefly their shortstop in the mid-1980s) and more recently the first Lithuanian and sub-Saharan African players in the Major Leagues.
St. Louis Cardinals
Year Joined National League: 1892
Prior Names/Locations: St. Louis Brown Stockings (1882), St. Louis Browns (1883–1898). St. Louis Perfectos (1899)
Nicknames: The Redbirds, The Cards, The Birds
Colors: Cardinal red, midnight navy blue, yellow, white
Home Ballpark: Busch Stadium [III] (since 2006)
Former Ballparks: Sportsman's Parknote (1882–1892, 1920–1966), Robison Field (1893–1920), Busch Memorial Stadiumnote (1966–2005)
Current Owner: Bill DeWitt Jr.
Current President of Baseball Operations: John Mozeliak
Current General Manager: Mike Girsch
Current Manager: Oliver Marmol
World Series Titles: 11; 1926, 1931, 1934, 1942, 1944, 1946, 1964, 1967, 1982, 2006, 2011
National League Pennants: 19 total; 1928, 1930, 1943, 1968, 1985, 1987, 2004, 2013
Pre-World Series Titles: 4; 1885AA , 1886AA , 1887AA , 1888AA
The St. Louis Cardinals: The most successful team in the National League during the World Series era (11 championships) and by far the majors' most popular "small market" franchise, the Cardinals are noted for their highly-devoted fanbase (not surprising given that the Cards are by far the city's most consistently good sports team), their seemingly infinite well of minor league talent (their general manager from the 20s to early 40s, Branch Rickey, basically invented the modern farm system), their ability to consistently field solid teams (no back-to-back losing seasons since the end of 1959 [with the exception of strike-shortened 1994], by far the longest streak of its kind in all of MLB), and their rivalry with the Chicago Cubs (it is said that the only way you can get booed in Busch Stadium is if you are wearing a Chicago jersey — just ask Barack Obama.note ) Though their fanbase has a reputation for niceness and knowledgeability, there has been some understandable Hype Backlash from other teams' fanbases towards this notion in recent years, who point that St. Louis has plenty of annoying racists and idiots too. Three Hall of Fame broadcasters were once employed by the Cardinals: Harry Caray (who spent 25 years in St. Louis before moving to Chicago), catcher-turned-announcer Joe Garagiola (who would later became one of NBC's main baseball voices and carve out a career in game shows, most notably To Tell the Truth and Strike It Rich), and Jack Buck (whose son Joe was the lead play-by-play announcer for both MLB and the NFL with the Fox network for more than two decades before moving to ESPN in 2022 as the primary voice of Monday Night Football). The Cardinals are currently best-known for their insane comeback from being 10½ games (21 actual games) behind from the Wild Card spot to winning the 2011 World Series, embracing most of the underdog-related sports tropes on this website. Game 6 alone brought them Down to the Last Strike twice and yet they pulled it out, proving to be both Truth in Television and Reality Is Unrealistic. Probably the highest-profile Cardinals fan today is Jon Hamm (a St. Louis native).
Nicknames: The D-backs, The Snakes
Colors: Sedona red, Sonoran sand, black, turquoise, white
Abbreviations: ARI, AZ, AZN
Home Ballpark: Chase Field (since 1998)
Current Owner: Ken Kendrick
Current President of Baseball Operations: Mike Hazen
Current General Manager: Mike Hazen
Current Manager: Torey Lovullo
World Series Titles: 1; 2001
National League Pennants: 2 total; 2023
The Arizona Diamondbacks are one of the two relatively newer teams in baseball, as they began play in 1998 along with Tampa Bay. Unlike the norm for expansion teams, they immediately started off playing really well, finishing their second ever season as NL West champions and the second-best record in baseball that season. Despite getting swept by the Mets in the NLDS that year, they responded by winning the 2001 World Series against the three-time reigning champions Yankees in a hard-fought series delayed into November by 9/11. However, by the 2004 season they had completely fallen apart, finishing the season with 51 wins and 111 losses. For the following 18 years the D-Backs have mostly been mediocre, with various highlights being making the NLCS in 2007, winning the NL West in 2011, and winning the 2017 NL Wild Card game. For the time they were managed by Kirk Gibson (2010-14) they were more known for valuing gritty, hard-nosed play over success. In 2021 they had an atrocious 52-110 season, tied for worst in the league with the Baltimore Orioles, but has swiftly bounced back by 2023 after finishing 84-78 and absolutely shocking the world by snatching their second ever National League pennant. Unfortunately, this run ended in heartbreak after falling to the Texas Rangers in 5 games. Despite the Diamondbacks being the third fiddle in the Valley of the Sun after the Phoenix Suns and the Arizona Cardinals, they still have a dedicated fanbase in part because of their early success around the turn of the millennium and has developed a notable rivalry with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Also, their home ballpark of Chase Field has a swimming pool past the outfield fence, a place used for celebration both by The D-backs and away teams.
Nicknames: The Rox, the Blake Street Bombersnote
Colors: Purple, black, silver
Home Ballpark: Coors Field (since 1995)
Former Ballparks: Mile High Stadium (1993–1994)
Current Owner: Charles Monfort
Current General Manager: Bill Schmidt
Current Manager: Bud Black
World Series Titles: 0
National League Pennants: 1; 2007
The Colorado Rockies began play in 1993 along with Miami (then Florida). Based in Denver, which is by far the highest-altitude MLB city. This is important because the thin, dry air leads to balls flying out of the stadium regularly, leading to massively over-inflated offensive statistics and some very miserable pitchers. This has lessened somewhat in recent years as the local grounds crew began storing game balls in a special humidor in the stadium. Despite a well-earned reputation for on-field mediocrity (they have only three 90-or-more-win seasons and have never finished first in their own division)—although with the Rockies' recent success, in which they came out of nowhere to win the Wild Card twice, the latter time they almost won the division but lost in a tiebreaker to the Dodgers, this might be changing—the Rockies have a strong fan base, which is even more impressive considering that Denver has always been a football-first city (with every other sport at best a distant second); the Rockies actually have the second highest attendance figures in the city, even though the Colorado Avalanche and the Denver Nuggets have both enjoyed far more on-field success. That said, they did have an insane streak in 2007 that saw them win 21 out of 22 games (including a tiebreaker playoff and 7 postseason games in a row), a season that eventually resulted in them making it all the way to the World Series... only to be swept by the Boston Red Sox. The team still holds the all-time single season attendance record, drawing 4,483,350 fans in their inaugural 1993 season at Mile High Stadium.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Year Joined National League: 1890
Prior Names/Locations:Brooklyn Grays (1883, 1885–1887), Brooklyn Atlantics (1884), Brooklyn Bridegrooms (1888–1890, 1896–1898), Brooklyn Grooms (1891–1895), Brooklyn Superbas (1899–1910), Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers (1911–1912), Brooklyn Robins (1914–1931), Brooklyn Dodgers (1913, 1932–1957)
Nicknames: Los Doyers, The Boys in Blue, The Boys of Summernote , Dem Bumsnote
Colors: Dodger blue, white, red, gray
Abbreviations: LAD, LAN
Home Ballpark: Dodger Stadium (since 1962)
Former Ballparks: Washington Park [I] (1884–1890), Eastern Park (1891–1897), Washington Park [II] (1898–1912), Ebbets Field (1913–1957), Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (1958–1961)
Current Owner: Mark Walternote
Current President of Baseball Operations: Andrew Friedman
Current General Manager: Brandon Gomes
Current Manager: Dave Roberts
World Series Titles: 7; 1955, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, 1988, 2020
National League Pennants: 21 total; 1916, 1920, 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1966, 1974, 1977, 1978, 2017, 2018
Pre-World Series Titles: 4; 1889AA , 1890, 1899, 1900
The Los Angeles Dodgers: An NL team since 1890,note and formerly of Brooklyn (hence, "trolley dodgers", making their name an Artifact Title). In their Brooklyn days, they were known as one of the best teams in the National League, being in contention practically every season and winning 12 NL pennants, though they couldn't translate all those titles into success in the World Series (in those 12 trips, they only won once, prompting the well-remembered cry of "Wait 'til next year!"). They've been far more successful since moving West in 1958, winning 12 NL pennants and six World Series championships... although it took them more than 30 years to go from six to seven World Series wins (1988–2020). They are also noted for their late TV/radio announcer Vin Scully (who was The Voice of many a great baseball moment from 1950—starting back in Brooklyn—until retiring at the end of his 67th season in 2016), their former Spanish-language radio announcer Jaime Jarrín (who stayed on the job for 64 seasons, ending in 2022), their late manager Tommy Lasorda, and celebrity fans such as Alyssa Milano. A running joke in baseball is that most Dodger fans are just at the game to be seen and will leave early to beat the traffic (after arriving late due to traffic). The Dodgers were also the team of Jackie Robinson, who broke the major leagues' unofficial "color barrier" in 1947 and remains a revered figure throughout the game. (Since 1997 all teams in MLB have permanently retired Robinson's uniform number, 42, in his honor.) Besides their pitching ace Clayton Kershaw, their plethora of Cuban players and prospects, and their immense payroll (the highest in MLB since 2014), the Dodgers of the early 21st century are also known for their despised former owners, the McCourts, who purchased the team in 2004 with loans against their Boston parking lot empire and used the franchise as a piggy bank, until MLB took control away in 2011 during the McCourts' bickering divorce and bankruptcy. The Dodgers were then sold in March 2012 for $2 billion, to a consortium that included film producer Peter Guber and retired Los Angeles Lakers legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson. Their back-to-back World Series losses in 2017 and 2018 gave them the title of "most World Series lost", a title previously held by the Yankees (it was then discovered that both series were marred by sign-stealing). They finally won it all in 2020, beating the Tampa Bay Rays in six games for their first World Series title in 32 years. Afterwards, they lost the NLCS to Atlanta the following year, got bounced by San Diego in the divisional round in 2022 after amassing a franchise-record 111 wins in the regular season, and then got swept by Arizona in the 2023 NLDS.
- The first "Subway Series", or World Series played between New York teams, was the 1889 World Series,note when American Association pennant winners the Brooklyn Bridegrooms (as they were called then) lost to the New York Giants six games to three. They and the Cincinnati Red Stockings transferred to the National League the following year when the NL lost teams in Washington and St. Louis.
San Diego Padres
Nicknames: The Pads, Slam Diego, The Dads
Colors: Brown, gold, white
Abbreviations: SD, SDP, SDN
Home Ballpark: Petco Park (since 2004)
Former Ballparks: Qualcomm Stadiumnote (1969–2003)
Current Owner: Estate of Peter Seidler
Current President of Baseball Operations: A. J. Preller
Current General Manager: A. J. Preller
Current Manager: Mike Shildt
World Series Titles: 0
National League Pennants: 2; 1984, 1998
The San Diego Padres seemingly only receive national attention for being on the wrong side of history — they've surrendered several historical milestones (gave up Barry Bonds' record-tying 755th home run and Pete Rose's then-record-breakingnote 4,192nd base hit, were no-hit by pitcher Dock Ellis whilst the latter was high on LSD, and are one of only three teams to be no-hit twice by the same pitcher note ), collapsed multiple times at the end of the regular season to allow division rivals to key up a Miracle Rally (notably to the Colorado Rockies in 2007 and San Francisco Giants in 2010 — both teams would eventually win the NL pennant, and the Giants won the World Series that year), had few players reach individual success (they didn't record their first no-hitter until April 2021, and they were the last team to have a player hit for the cycle as well), and in 2016 became the only team to begin a season by being shut out in their first three games (getting outscored 25-0 by the Los Angeles Dodgers at home). The Padres typically field OK-to-mediocre teams, and few players get much in the way of national attention due to the team's small market and offense-unfriendly stadium. However, they have had some real success in their history, most notably in 1984, when they came back down 2-0 against the notorious loser Cubs and won the NL pennant, and in 1998, when they went 98-64 to win the most games in franchise history, won the NL West, faced not one, but TWO 100-game winners in the postseason in the Astros and Braves and soundly beat them both, and put up an underrated fight against the dominant Yankees, who swept them in the World Series. The only players to really achieve superstardom with the Padres are Hall of Famers Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman,note though Fernando Tatís Jr. is quickly becoming the third. Known for odd public address-related incidents; in the team's very first home game under owner Ray O. Kroc (the same as McDonald's) in 1974, Kroc grabbed the microphone and apologized to the befuddled crowd for the team's poor performance. Later, in 1990, they got Roseanne Arnold to sing the National Anthem for some reason, and she delivered a deliberately horrible rendition that briefly irritated the entire country. Their long-time radio announcer, the late Jerry Coleman, was well known for frequently saying things that just plain didn't make any sense ("It's a high sky out there, and that can get you in trouble if you get caught in the middle of it."), while their late television broadcaster Dick Enberg was known to openly root for the opposing team during losing streaks. Also known for their former mascot, the San Diego Chicken, who is the reason most teams have annoying mascots today, and their distinctive uniforms: both the 1970's era brown-and-yellows and the modern camouflage uniforms – which are a tribute to San Diego being America's largest military town – are widely regarded as some of the ugliest ever, though even these have their defenders (note ).
- Padres fans are generally regarded as knowledgeable and loyal, though one might say that's because the team has gone through such a rough time for most of its history that anyone remaining on the bandwagon has to be a fanatic.
San Francisco Giants
Prior Names/Locations: New York Gothams (1883–1884), New York Giants (1885–1957)
Nickname: The G-Men, Los Gigantes
Colors: Black, orange, metallic gold, cream
Abbreviations: SF, SFG, SFN
Home Ballpark: Oracle Park (since 2000)
Former Stadiums: Polo Grounds [I] (1883–1888), St. George Cricket Grounds (1889), Polo Grounds [II] (1889–1890), Polo Grounds [III] (1891–1911), Polo Grounds [IV] (1911-1957), Seals Stadium (1958–1959), Candlestick Park (1960–1999)
Current Owner: Charles B. Johnson
Current President of Baseball Operations: Farhan Zaidi
Current General Manager: Pete Putila
Current Manager: Bob Melvin
World Series Titles: 8; 1905, 1921, 1922, 1933, 1954, 2010, 2012, 2014
National League Pennants: 21 total; 1904, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1917, 1923, 1924, 1936, 1937, 1951, 1962, 1989, 2002
Pre-World Series Titles: 2; 1888, 1889
The San Francisco Giants: Another of the classic NL teams, with roots going back to 1883. Most of their first seven decades were spent in New York at the oddly-shaped Polo Grounds in Harlem, where the team enjoyed a three-cornered intracity rivalry with the (hated) Brooklyn Dodgers and the AL Yankees (whom they faced in six World Series). The Giants' luster began to fade in the mid-1950s due to mediocre play and a crumbling stadium, but as luck would have it the (hated) Dodgers were moving to sunny California and needed a travel buddy! And so in 1958 they relocated to San Francisco, where they've been ever since. From 1960 to 2000 they played in frigid, windy Candlestick Park, where (supposedly) a pitcher was blown off the mound during the 1961 All-Star Game, and (definitely) Game 3 of the 1989 World Series was interrupted by the Loma Prieta earthquake. After flirting with moves to Silicon Valley and St. Petersburg, Florida, they traded up to spiffy new Pacific Bell (later SBC, then AT&T, and now Oracle) Park in 2000 (with its infamous Triples Alley in right field and its constantly-changing name). The Giants have a proud pedigree of Hall of Fame players – including Carl Hubbell and Mel Ott from before the move, Willie Mays in both cities (but mostly in SF), and Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal after the move – but starting in The '90s they became best known as the team of controversial superstar Barry Bonds, as he obliterated cherished baseball records at the cost of his reputation. Despite his dominance, the Giants still remained unable to bring a World Series title to San Francisco during the Bonds eranote . It took a stretch of irrelevance, during which the team hit big on several draft picks – including pitchers Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner, third baseman Pablo Sandoval, and catcher Buster Posey – to launch the Giants to their first title since 1954. They won in 2010 by surrounding their homegrown stars with a roster of other teams' castoffs; then, after working in a few more homegrown players and younger free agents, they did it again in 2012 and 2014, establishing the "Even Year Magic" memenote and establishing themselves as one of the powerhouse teams of the first half of The New '10s. But even in disappointing odd-numbered years, the garlic fries are tasty, the park is beautiful, the broadcast teams (former players Kruk and Kuipnote on TV, Hall of Fame honoree Jon Miller and his partner Dave Flemming on radio) are rated among the league's best, and they can always try to ruin things for the (hated) Dodgers.
- The Giants also hold the distinction of having won more games (over 11,400 as of 2023) than any other MLB franchise, and likely the most games of any professional sports team in North America.
- The original National League's Baltimore Orioles (1881-1899) actually officially started out as the Baltimore Base Ball and Exhibition Company back when they were in the then-rivaling American Association. The Baltimore Base Ball and Exhibition Company did not start out so well as a charter team in their first two seasons there, finishing in last place first with a 19-54 record and then a 28-68 record afterward. From there, Baltimore did see some initial improvements to their team throughout the 1880's, though they still had some trouble with finishing in last place for some seasons and were never considered one of the truly elite teams in the American Association even when they were winning. As such, Baltimore was briefly kicked out of the American Association in 1890, which led to them playing a season in the independent minor league called the Atlantic Association under the same team name they went under for the American Association. In their only season at the Atlantic Association, they suddenly felt like an elite team there, leading the eight-team Atlantic Association with a 77-24 record before they accepted the American Association's begging to return to their league for the rest of the 1890 season and the entirety of the 1891 season due to one of their newest teams that season, the Brooklyn Gladiators, folding with a last-place 26-73 finish. That led to Baltimore taking on the rest of the games that Brooklyn left behind that season, which resulted in Baltimore going 15-19 in their emergency return to the American Association. Their final season in that league had them finish in third place with a 71-64 record, which was good enough to allow them to join the St. Louis Browns (now the modern-day Cardinals), the Louisville Colonels, and the Washington Statesmen turned Washington Senators (see below) as the final four American Association teams to join the National League once the former league went under. In Baltimore's first two seasons in the National League, the Orioles faced immediate struggles there just like they first did in the American Association, finishing those seasons with a last place finish at 46-101 and then an 8th place finish at 60-70 a year later. However, under new player management led by centerfielder Ned Hanlon combined with a colorful cast of future Hall of Famers that developed strategies that keenly fit the era of "inside baseball" that occurred in that time (mainly tight pitching, hit and run tactics* , stolen bases, and precise bunting), the Orioles won three straight pennants in the National League from 1894-1896 alongside two straight Temple Cups (the precursor to the modern-day World Series) in 1896 and 1897, being the only team to compete in the Temple Cup for every season it was available for them. Unfortunately for the National League, they had common problems with the team having poor conduct and fights being commonplace with the team, to the point where on May 16, 1894, a match against the Boston Beaneaters (now Atlanta Braves) led to a brawl that somehow led to a fire caused by several boys at the South End Grounds in Boston, which led to the destruction and damage of not just the stadium, but 117 other buildings there. They also had a record of most batters being hit by a pitch in 1898 with 148 batters being hit by pitches during that second-place season. That season also led to their eventual downfall, however, as Orioles owner Harry Von der Horst took control of the Brooklyn Bridegrooms (now Los Angeles Dodgers) and placed many of his Baltimore stars and player manager Ned Hanlon to the Brooklyn squad, leading to new team manager John McGraw trying to lead a team without a good amount of stars left on their team. While the Orioles finished their final season with a better than expected record of 86-62 record for fourth place, their infamous team conduct combined with ownership abandoning the Orioles led to them being one of four teams to fold in the National League's contraction of 1899, despite their great success for the most of that decade. However, it wasn't necessarily the end of the Orioles as a whole, as team manager John McGraw led a revival of the Orioles in the rivaling American League in 1901, which eventually became the New York Yankees of today, while the Orioles ended up fielding their permanent stay as a franchise in 1954 once the second St. Louis Browns (not related to the National League's Cardinals) relocated their failing squad to Baltimore.
- The Buffalo Bisons (1877-1885) first began as a League Alliance team in 1877 before being promoted to the International Association in 1878 and then the National League in 1879. The Bisons were a notable team in the NL for a few reasons. First, they were one of the first teams to register a no-hitter game in the National League, doing so in 1880 against Worcester. Second, they held the first ever player to hit the cycle (that is hit a single, double, triple, and a home run in the same game) with Curry Foley hitting a grand slam in the first inning, a triple in the second, a single in the third and a double in the fifth. Third, and probably most important of them all, the Triple-A based Buffalo Bisons of the modern-day era hold an interesting connection with the major league team, being the only team from the 19th century to have a sense of existing while at the same time no longer existing properly.Explanation
- The original Cincinnati Reds (1875-1879) were originally named the Cincinnati Red Stockings when they were first created. This team was created by John Joyce five years after the original Cincinnati Red Stockings he created went defunct, as they were originally an amateur team that competed against local amateur clubs at that time. However, when they were purchased by Josiah "Si" Keck in the winter of 1876, his wealth helped promote them into the newly created National League that same year as a charter team there. However, the Reds that season started out as the worst team in the league that season, winning only 9 games (out of 65 total) that year. It became the lowest win percentage for a team there until 1899, as well as the lowest amount of games won by a team for a season in NL (and by extension, MLB) history. However, the Red Stockings did improve upon them in each subsequent season they played in, though they were never considered one of the best teams in the league from that period of time. As such, the team disbanded in 1879 before that season even concluded, though they did get replaced a year later by...
- The Cincinnati Stars (1880) were considered the replacement to the original Cincinnati Red Stockings of the time. However, the Stars performed no better than the Red Stockings before them, having a 21-59 record in their only season of play. That being said, their record wasn't the reason for the Stars being disbanded from the National League. No, what ultimately kicked them out was NL president William Hulbert and the rest of the league being against the Stars both selling beer during games and renting out Bank Street Grounds for baseball games played on Sunday, both of which were considered very important to the team in that time. However, with team president W. H. Kennett refusing to sign a pledge against those ideas, the NL president and the majority of team owners that were against those practices expelled the team from the National League despite them not yet going into effect at that time. That move later resulted in the eventual creation of the Cincinnati Reds (who actually competed in the then-rivaling American Association at that time) that we know of today.
- The Cleveland Blues (1879-1884) were one of two expansion teams created by the National League in 1879 in order to help the league survive after ending their previous season with only four teams left in the NL at the time. Throughout their history, the Blues were never truly considered one of the best teams in the National League (for reference, their best season was their second season with a 47-37 record for third place, mainly being led by Hall of Famer Ned Hanlon), only finishing above fifth place one other time in their history. However, they are remembered for having one of the first ever no-hitters in the National League with pitcher Hugh Daily getting a 1-0 no-hitter against the Philadelphia Quakers in 1883. That being said, them never reaching greatness did affect the Blues badly in their final season of play, being the second-worst team of the National League with a 35-77 record to their name. After finishing their season poorly, the Blues were then purchased by Charles Bryne for $10,000 and simply got folded into his own baseball team, the Brooklyn Grays (now the Los Angeles Dodgers).
- The Cleveland Spiders (1887-1899) originally first started out as first the Cleveland Forest Citys and then the Cleveland Blues back when they first played in the rivaling American Association for two seasons. After Cleveland was given a promotion to the National League early despite two bad, losing records in the American Association (thus being the city's second franchise in MLB history), the team officially changed their name to the Spiders due to joking comments reportedly made from a team executive when assessing his rather skinny players at the time. Once they moved to the National League, they already saw immediate improvements despite still having a losing record in their first season in the National League, finishing 61-72 for sixth place after previously going 50-82 for sixth place and 39-92 for last place in their first two seasons in the American Association. After two more losing seasons (one of which finished with a 44-88 record), the Spiders managed to finish in second place with a 93-56 record for 2nd place overall, going 53-23 for first place in the second half of their season after finishing 40-33 for fifth place in the first half. It also led to them playing in the only World Series match against two National League teams due to the half placement that year, though it ended with them being swept 5-0 to the first half and overall champions that year, the Boston Beaneaters (now Atlanta Braves) after their first game ended in a 0-0 tie due to darkness (remember, this was before the lightbulb was commonplace). From that point onward until 1898, the Spiders remained as one of the most competitive teams in the National League, even winning the National League's Temple Cup championship (a precursor to the World Series that we know today) over the original Baltimore Orioles of the National League (see above for that) 4-0, despite being second place in the NL that year. Unfortunately for the Spiders, they faced a very bitter end near the end of 1898 once team owners Frank & Stanley Robison ended up purchasing the St. Louis Browns (now Cardinals) from their original owner. Due to them also owning the Spiders as well, the conflict of interests led to them transferring many of Cleveland's best players (including Hall of Famers like Cy Young) to St. Louis in 1899 in exchange for much weaker players from St. Louis going to Cleveland due to the new owners seeing new crowd potential in St. Louis, yet being completely disappointed in Cleveland despite their winning ways through most of the 1890's (which got paid back by the end of that decade with a total of 6,088 fans attending home games at the end of the 19th century, or an average of 145 fans per home game that season). Combine that with the Spiders playing most of their games on the road (not playing at home until May 1 that year), and it's no wonder why they not only finished with the worst record in MLB history (ending their misery with a lowly 20-134 record through a 9-33 record at home and an 11-101 on the road), but also finished with the lowest amount of wins in the modern-day MLB era until the COVID-19 Pandemic ended that through a shortened 2020 season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. As a result of Cleveland's absolute futility combined with their team owners being more interested in their new franchise in St. Louis over their original one in Cleveland, the Spiders were one of four teams to dissolve by 1899, being an obvious, dubious case in sports futility.
- The Detroit Wolverines (1881-1888) were first created when the mayor of Detroit, William G. Thompson, bought the majority of the Cincinnati Stars' players in the aftermath of their expulsion from the National League and decided to place his new team in the National League as an expansion squad replacement for the Stars. In the team's first two years, they were considered a decent squad, though nothing special for the National League. Even then, the Wolverines have held two important historical footprints in their early history; the first related to them being the focal point of the only banned umpire in MLB history.Explanation The second, and far more dubious point related to them giving up 18 straight runs in a single inning against the Chicago White Stockings in 1883, which still remains the MLB record for the most runs given up for an inning. On that note, the Wolverines' mid-history had them become one of the worst teams in the National League, placing either last place or close to it in their next three seasons after previously being a decent squad early on. When the mayor of Detroit ended up selling the team to Frederick Kimball Stearns during the 1885 season, he planned on getting the Wolverines one of the first ever "super teams" in baseball history by purchasing high-priced players to become competitive going forward. Most notably, Stearns purchased the entire Buffalo Bisons in August 1885 to secure the playing rights of their "Big Four" star players of Dan Brouthers, Jack Rowe, Hardy Richardson, and Deacon White before he forcibly kicked the Bisons out of the National League at the end of their season. For the Wolverines, the cold-blooded strategy worked early on, as they immediately rose up the rankings to become the second-best team in the NL in 1886 (behind the Chicago White Stockings) before not just winning the pennant race a year later with a 79-45 record, but also winning the 1887 World Series over the 95-40 St. Louis Browns by beating them in 10 out of 15 games that year. However, the super team scheme ended up losing the team a lot of money in their final season due to the NL reducing the maximum share for visiting teams and Detroit being a small city back in the 19th century (decades before getting the Motor City nickname), which led to the owner selling their biggest stars to other teams after they had another middling season before ultimately folding the team at the end of their final season.
- The Hartford Dark Blues (1874-1876) were originally created as a member of the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (a precursor to the National League) before being chosen as a charter member of the National League in 1876. In their inaugural season in the NL, Hartford became a prominent member of the National League due to their pitching staff having the most complete games of all NL teams that year (69 out of 70 total games) and tied the original Philadelphia Athletics for the lowest number of home runs allowed that season. They were also the favorite team of acclaimed author Mark Twain at the time, to the point of even being (falsely) rumored to be an umpire for one of their games at one point. However, due to the departure of the New York Mutuals, the Hartford Dark Blues moved to Brooklyn for one season to become the Brooklyn Hartfords (1877). In their sole season in Brooklyn, the Hartfords were once again third place in the NL, though their talent level decreased with star pitchers Tommy Bond and Candy Cummings leaving the team by the time they moved. Despite finishing the season with a solid 31-27 record, the Hartfords left disbanded after the end of their 1877 season.
- The Indianapolis Blues (1877-1878) were originally a team created for the short-lived League Alliance, which was a semi-affiliate minor league to the National League. They joined the Buffalo Bisons, Milwaukee Grays, and Syracuse Stars as one of four teams from the League Alliance to enter the National League at some point, with the Blues and Grays being the only teams to enter immediately after the League Alliance folded. However, the Blues finished fifth place in the six-team National League in their only season there, finishing ahead of only the Milwaukee Grays and being one of only two teams that to finish with a below average record. After their only season in the National League concluded, the Blues left the league altogether and folded their squad from there.
- The Kansas City Outlaws (1886) was a team the National League implemented on a trial basis as a means to see if the team could perform well in that league. While their team name was given in memory to the original Kansas City Outlaws created in the short-lived Union Association team of the same name, their history has no relation to that team whatsoever (especially since that team had a poor record there, yet was strangely the only other team alongside the St. Louis Maroons to be profitable that year). However, like the original Outlaws team before them, this Kansas City Outlaws squad also performed poorly themselves, finishing 7th place (out of eight teams) with a 30-91 record before the National League forced the team to sell its players for the NL in exchange for $6,000 in February 1887. After the players for cash transaction was completed, the National League decided to implement the Pittsburgh Alleghenys (now Pittsburgh Pirates) from the American Association into their league instead going forward.
- The Louisville Colonels (1874-1899) originally first started out as the Louisville Eclipse back when they first started playing as a semi-professional baseball team at the time. After years of playing as a well-known local team, the Eclipse proved their worth for gaining entry to play in the rivaling American Association. This became Louisville's second and final attempt at a major league team after their first run ended in controversy (see below for more information on that). Back when the team was named the Express, they actually started out as a pretty good team, finishing with a 42-38 record for second place (behind Cincinnati) in their inaugural season and continued winning even after the American Association expanded the amount of teams there. To give an idea of how good they were back then, two different pitchers (Tony Mullane & Guy Hecker) threw no-hitters on September 11 & 19, 1882, their inaugural, professional season. However, when the Eclipse changed their team name to the Colonels (a name to honor residents of distinction there), they had some struggles in their first two seasons, getting losing records of 53-59 and 66-70 respectively there before briefly getting back to their winning ways again with a 76-60 finish the following season. Unfortunately, the following two seasons gave them their worst results in that league, finishing with a 48-87 record the next season and then a humiliating 27-111 record the year after that due to financial issues combined with a player's strike and a professional record 26-game losing streak for the Major Leagues to recognize, which is still a record to this day. After finishing those seasons, however, the team was brought back to respectability by new ownership through Barney Dreyfuss, with his leadership (combined with some other players leaving for an attempt at their own baseball league and the best teams in the American Association at the time going to the National League by 1890) resulting in the Colonels getting not just their league's pennant with an 88-44 record, but also technically winning a World Series in 1890 (via tie) against the Brooklyn Bridegrooms (now Los Angeles Dodgers).Explanation Unfortunately, the Colonels could never replicate their success in the American Association ever again, as they finished their final season in the soon-to-be-dead league with a 54-83 record, finishing with the second-worst record that year behind the Washington Statesmen, though both teams did move to the National League after the American Association's collapse. Along the way, the Colonels never finished with a good record at all in the National League, finishing in the bottom half with a losing record for every single season there, though they were close to at least getting an average record in their final season (finishing 75-77). However, the Colonels met their untimely end that year when their improved Eclipse Park was destroyed in a fire near the end of their final season, which led to Louisville playing their final games on the road instead of at home. The burned down ballpark combined with the Colonels never being a good team in the National League led to them being one of the four teams to be dissolved by that league near the end of the 19th century in order for the National League to survive efficiently.
- The Louisville Grays (1876-1877) were an inaugural National League team created alongside the National League itself. In their first season, they placed 5th in the league with a 30-36 losing record. However, their final season left them with an improved record at 35-25 for second place, though it came with heavy controversy that would not be met again until the 1919 World Series. While Louisville were actually in first place entering August 1877, they ended up suspiciously losing seven games and tying one game to the Brooklyn Hartfords and the Boston Red Caps, which caused them to lose the pennant and drop down to second place. The problem was so egregious that the owner's son had to write about it in the Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper, questioning the team's conduct there. Even worse, team president Charles Chase received anonymous telegrams with gamblers betting on the Hartfords in an upcoming series, with Louisville throwing a game on August 21... which did happen with multiple suspicious errors in mind between players bobbling the ball, appearing too slow in between bases, and swinging suspiciously wide in a 7-0 loss. This led to National League President William Hulbert investigating the players of the team, ordering every single player to authorize Western Union to release all telegrams either sent or received to them during the 1877 season. Every player except for team captain Bill Craver (who was previously a crooked player back in 1870 with Chicago) complied with the order, with the telegrams revealing that star pitcher Jim Devlin, star left fielder George Hall, and utility player Al Nichols all intentionally lost games in exchange for more money being received to them. While no direct evidence was ever found implicating Craver, all four players in question were permanently banned from the National League, thus creating the death sentence for the Grays since they were forced out of business in relation to the investigation at hand.
- The Milwaukee Grays (1877-1878) have no relation to the Louisville Grays mentioned earlier here. In fact, the Milwaukee Grays first started as a League Alliance team, later joining the Indianapolis Blues as the only other team from that short-lived league to enter the National League immediately after the League Alliance folded. In the League Alliance, they were a respectable team, winning 19 games and losing 13 of them for a respectable fourth place finish, even earning a spot in the National League due to their sharp style of play and strong hometown support. However, once they moved into the National League, their sharp style appeared to have faded away from them, as they finished their only season there at last place with a 15-45 record. After finishing their season as the worst team that year, the Milwaukee Grays folded from existence altogether. However, this team is at least remembered in Milwaukee as a vintage baseball club, joining the Milwaukee Cream Citys as one of two teams dedicated to preserving and presenting the sport's rich history of baseball in the city of Milwaukee. A modern iteration of them is a member of the Vintage Base Ball Association, with players there wearing replica uniforms based off of the original team uniforms worn back in 1878.
- The New York Mutuals (1857-1876) were first created as the Mutual Base Ball Club (or the Mutual Base Ball Club of New York for locations outside of New York) as a team too late to be a part of the inaugural National Association of Base Ball Players that year. Despite that, the Mutual of New York were considered the best team of the National Amateur Association once they entered properly in 1858, later winning another pennant a decade later in 1868 and then declaring themselves champions in 1870 in protest to how their final match against the Chicago White Stockings that year was handled.Explanation As a result of the controversy involved there, the Mutual moved to the National Association as a charter member there in 1871, continuing to stay there until they later got promoted to the National League as a charter member there in 1876. During their only season in the NL, the New York Mutuals executed the first ever triple play in MLB history in a game against the Hartford Dark Blues. However, the Mutuals were both one of the weakest teams in the league and poor on money, to the point of refusing to complete their final road trip out west to complete their inaugural NL season. This led to the Mutuals being kicked out of the league altogether and then dissolved soon afterward.
- The original Philadelphia Athletics (1860-1876) first began as an amateur club named the Athletic Base Ball Club (or the Athletic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia for locations outside of Philadelphia) before being promoted into the National Amateur Association in 1861 during the Civil War era. After that era concluded, the Athletic (removing the Base Ball Club from their name) competed against the equally-colloquially named Atlantic Base Ball Club of Brooklyn for the NAA championship of 1866, as well as won championships in 1867 and 1868 (being considered the best teams in the league in terms of wins) before looking to compete against professional teams for championships in 1869 and 1870. With their competitive nature against professional teams in mind, the Athletic moved into the National Association in 1871, winning their first and only pennant that year. While they never won another pennant afterward, they still remained a very good, competitive team there. So much so, in fact, that they were given the invite to the National League as a charter member there in 1876 over the rivaling Philadelphia Whites (or Philadelphia White Stockings), the Brooklyn Atlantics, and the New Haven Elm Citys due in part to exclusive territories being given to all member clubs there. Once they moved into the National League, though, the Philadelphia Athletics performed poorly there, placing 7th in the conference with only 14 wins to their name there. Even worse, they couldn't get a proper road trip out west ready for their season due to financial problems, which caused them to be dropped completely alongside the New York Mutuals near the end of the National League's inaugural season. This led to the NL going from 8 teams to 6 entering the league's second year.
- The Providence Grays (1875-1885) were originally created as a semi-pro team named the Rhode Islands off of the growing popularity of the sport in Rhode Island, including several other successful amateur teams of the time and Brown University having a powerhouse college team at the time. After drawing excellent success in their first three seasons, the team was invited to the National League to replace the Brooklyn Hartfords, officially changing their name to the Providence Grays before the start of their first season in the National League. Despite having their home arena (which was considered the best ballpark plant in the country at the time) being completed only five minutes before the start of their first game and having awkward moments with the Milwaukee Grays mentioned above, Providence's first season was a successful one, going 33-27 and reaching third place in the NL. However, once they became the only team to be named the Grays around the league from their second season onward, they got cooking as one of the best teams of the entire National League that season, being led by Hall of Fame pitcher John Montgomery Ward to win the NL pennant of 1879 with a 59-25 record. That season also hosted two more positive features for the sport that the team had a hand in: creating a protective screen behind the field for foul balls and wild pitches and likely having the first ever African-American baseball player (and probably the only former slave of that era) to play a major league game in former Brown University student William Edward White, who played for the Grays in a win on June 21, 1879. The Providence Grays continued to be one of the best teams in the National League in later seasons, which also featured the second ever perfect game in MLB history (as pitched by John Montgomery Ward against the Buffalo Bisons in 1880) and the final perfect game of the 19th century, a no-hitter by Charles Radbourn against the Cleveland Blues in 1883, and a then-strikeout record of 19 batters in a nine-inning game by Charles Sweeney against the Boston Red Stockings in 1884, the last of which lasted for 102 years until it was broken by Roger Clemens in 1986. Providence also hosted the first ever World Series from the 19th century alongside the New York Metropolitans (no relation to the current New York Mets outside of name inspiration) of the rivaling American Association in 1884 after the general manager of the 75-32 Metropolitans issued a exhibition series challenge to the 84-28 Grays (who won their second NL pennant that year) for whoever won a best of 3 series to take home a prize of $2,000 ($1,000 from both the Grays and Metropolitans). The series was a sweep favoring the Grays by a 6-0 Game 1, a 3-2 Game 2 in 7 innings, and a 12-2 Game 3 in 6 innings, but it proved to be a fun incentive to continue the original World Series with that then-rival of theirs until the American Association folded in 1891 and the NL briefly experimented with its own take on the World Series in 1892 between the first-half champions and second-half champions competing against each other for the championship that year. Despite winning an extra $1,000 from the Metropolitans in the World Series, however, the Grays still faced financial problems in 1885. While they continued to be a respectable team in that time (finishing in fourth place with a 53-57 record, their only losing season), financial issues proved to become too much to overcome for Providence, leading to them folding in after the conclusion of their final season. There was also a minor league team named the Providence Grays that lasted from 1886 until 1949, though that team had no connection to the major league squad from earlier.
- The (original) St. Louis Brown Stockings (1875-1877) were originally created in the final year of the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players' existence. They were the first of two St. Louis teams that joined the league that year (the second joined as an amateur team turned professional in an attempt to spite the Brown Stockings due to them not having even one natural St. Louis player joining their team) and were easily the more successful St. Louis based team of the two. The Brown Stockings not only finished the season successfully (hosting a 39-29 record for fourth place there as opposed to folding by the Fourth of July that year), but were one of eight teams promoted into the National League as a charter team in its inaugural season. In their first season, they were highly successful, placing third with a 45-19 record and winning a for fun "Champions of the West" series 4-1 over the Chicago White Stockings due to the Brown Stockings winning the season series and being second in terms of win percentages, despite the White Stockings already winning the pennant that year. That season also gave the National League their first contemporary no-hitter, with George Bradley and the Brown Stockings being the winners of that 2-0 game against the Hartford Dark Blues on July 15 that year (though it might be considered the first official one in modern-day standards).Explanation St. Louis' second season in the National League was not considered fruitful, however, as they saw their team drop below to a 28-32 record and slip to fourth place there. Even worse, two players the Brown Stockings originally signed for their upcoming season for 1878, star players Jim Devlin and George Hall, were permanently banned from the league due to them being involved in a game fixing scandal back when they played for the Louisville Grays. Due to the two players making St. Louis feel guilty by association, wasting money on players that later became permanently banned from professional baseball, the Brown Stockings filed for bankruptcy in 1877. However, members of the original team made a new Brown Stockings team to help revive the team as a barnstorming team, playing whoever they could on an independent basis at first. Originally, they faced a different problem with a lack of attendance instead of a lack of success, with that team being threatened from being shut down for a second time by 1881. However, by persuasion of outfielder Ned Cuthbert, Chris von der Ahe purchased the lease for the Grand Avenue Park, renovated the ballpark to help the Brown Stockings out, and then gave the new Brown Stockings a place in the American Association, with that Brown Stockings team now becoming the modern St. Louis Cardinals we know today.
- The St. Louis Maroons (1884-1886) were originally created by the MLB-recognized Union Association, a short-lived major league competitor to the National League that the Maroons easily excelled in! How great did they excel in the Union Association? After starting out their inaugural season with a 7-2 win over the Chicago Browns, the Maroons continued to go on to a 20-game winning streak to start out their season; for reference on how long-lasting that record was, no other Major League team has come close to breaking that record naturally to start out a season, with the Maroons' record only being broken 131 years later by the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors of the NBA starting out their 73-9 season with a 24-game winning streak. Another point to show how dominant they were to their competition there, their final record for their championship season was 94-19 (modified for a modern regular MLB season, it'd be on pace for 132-135 wins and 27-30 losses to their name), while their closest competitor to them (the Cincinnati Outlaw Reds) finished with a 69-36 record. The record caught the attention of the National League, taking on the Maroons once the Union Association collapsed after finishing their only season there, figuring they could make for a great inner city rivalry with the then-Browns. Unfortunately for the Maroons, not only did the Browns perform at their peak of the late 19th century with four straight NL pennants to their name, but the better competition in the National League proved to be a real struggle for the Maroons to compete against, finishing dead last at 36-72 in their first season in the NL and then finishing sixth place at 43-79 the following year. Their final season under that name also featured a player named Fred Dunlap hitting the cycle there against the New York Gothams. However, financial troubles resulted in the team moving to Indianapolis after finishing their 1886 season, which led to them being the National League's Indianapolis Hoosiers (1887-1889) for the rest of their history.Explanation Their seasons in Indianapolis didn't fare much better for them either, as the Hoosiers finished dead last in 1887 before finishing in seventh place (out of eight teams) in their final two seasons of existence. Interestingly enough, when the team played their home baseball games on Sundays, they could not play in their home field at the Athletic Park due to Indianapolis holding blue laws at the time forbidding activities like playing baseball in the city on Sundays; as a result, the team played certain home games outside of the city at the Bruce Grounds in 1887 and at the ironically named Indianapolis Park the following seasons afterward. Also in their final season, the team held a Hall of Fame pitcher named Amos Rusie debuting in the team and saw Jack Glasscock hit for the cycle with Indianapolis in an interleague match against the American Association's New York Metropolitans. After their season concluded, the team folded, and their history was exactly that.
- The Syracuse Stars (1877-1879) started out similarly to the Buffalo Bisons by beginning in the short-lived League Alliance in 1877 as a sort of independent team before being promoted to the International Association a year later in 1878 and then being promoted to the National League a year later in 1879. However, unlike the Bisons, the Syracuse Stars faced significant significant struggles in their only season in the NL, including three different acting team managers throughout the team (one of whom being an interim in a losing game). While their first team manager didn't produce the best results in his time there (going 17-26 before being fired), the other guys proved to be much worst by comparison, especially the last guy going 5-21 to finish out their season. In fact, their season proved to be so bad that they did not complete their official schedule (finishing 7th place with a 22-48 record that year) before they decided to fold their team altogether. The name was also revived for other minor league teams, but unlike the Bisons, those teams have no affiliation involved with the old Syracuse Stars whatsoever.
- The Troy Trojans (1879-1882), based in the upstate New York city of that name, were created as an expansion team for the National League after the NL dropped down to only four existing teams by the end of 1878. They were created alongside the Cleveland Blues to help make sure the National League survived after seeing the Milwaukee Grays and Indianapolis Blues drop out of the league and cease existing altogether, pretty much doubling the amount of teams ready for their 1879 season. Since the Trojans were basically created as an expansion team of sorts for the league, naturally their first season had them hold the worst record in the league with a 19-56 record that year. However, the team's next two seasons were significantly better for Troy, going from the worst team in the league to one of the more average teams there (despite never having a winning record in the NL). Not only that, but their 1881 season saw them host the first ever grand slam home run by the Trojans' Roger Connor (who has been described as the Babe Ruth of the 19th century) through a scenario kids wanting to play in the MLB could only dream of happening to them in real life. However, when the team moved to Watervliet (West Troy as it was known at the time) in their final season, the National League saw the Trojans as one of two teams still in the National League that had to be cut out by the end of their 1882 season due to the city's small size, though they were still encouraged to finish their final season, albeit as a lame duck team. Once they finished as the second-worst team of the season, the team disbanded and were replaced by the New York Gothams (now San Francisco Giants) going forward; a few players from the Trojans ended up joining the Gothams in their inaugural season. Not to be confused with the modern Troy Trojans, the athletic program of Troy University in Alabama.
- The original National League's Washington Nationals (1886-1889) were actually the fourth iteration of the team name that we currently know of today, being named after the original team from the National Association from 1859-1875. There were also Washington Nationals teams in the American Association and the Union Association in 1884, but neither of those teams are related to these Washington Nationals. Anyways, sometimes, the team was referred to as the Washington Statesmen or even the Washington Senators during this Nationals team's existence, but the Nationals were never one of the good teams within the National League. In fact, their best season (their second season in 1887) had them finish at seventh place (out of eight teams) with a 46-76 record, which put them ahead of only the Indianapolis Hoosiers (as seen above) that year... and it wasn't even their best record by that time! Their first season had them finish at an abysmal 28-92 record, while their third season had their best record at 48-86 still place them dead last before their final season kicked them out of the league with a 41-83 record. However, their team did have a couple of notable players in future Hall of Fame manager Connie Mack and the first deaf baseball player in Dummy Hoy. And while the Nationals were gone, they weren't the last Washington team in the 19th century to play in the National League...
- The original, official Washington Senators (1891-1899) were considered the first ever iteration of the team known as the Washington Senators. While they also had been referred to as the Washington Nationals as well at certain points (confusing, isn't it?), the team actually started out as the Washington Statesmen back when they played their only season at the soon-to-be out of business American Association in 1891. Despite finishing in last place there for that league's final season, after the American Association folded, the Statesmen changed their team name to the Senators and joined the Baltimore Orioles, the Louisville Colonels, and the St. Louis Browns as the last teams from that league to join the National League. Unfortunately, the team still struggled with performance issues from the transfer, finishing their first season there with a 7th place spot (out of 12 teams now) for the first half of the season before going dead last in the second half (though finishing that season in 10th place with a 58-93 record) and never truly getting any better as a team from there. In the team's seven seasons in the National League, the Senators finished in the top half of the National League only once in 1897, and that was through a combination of a surprise winning streak near the end of that season (winning 30 of their last 46 games after going 31-55 early on) and owning the tiebreaker over the Brooklyn Bridegrooms that season. For every other season, the Senators finished in 10th, 11th, or dead last place for every season except for their 1896 season, where they finished in 9th place that year. When the National League contracted itself in 1899, the Senators were the easiest team for the league to cut that year because of the fact that they never performed well throughout their entire history. While a second Washington Senators appeared in the American League in 1901, those Senators had no relation to the team created in the 19th century.
- The Worcester Worcesters (1879-1882) originally started out as the Worcester Brown Stockings in the National Association minor league before being promoted to the National League major league and were given the alternative nickname of the Worcester Ruby Legs in that time (though no contemporary sources of the era gave true support for either prior nickname). The reason why they were picked up despite being in a location that held 58,000 people at the time when the minimum population required for teams at the time was 75,000 related to ace pitcher Lee Richmond, who helped Worcester go 6-2 against National League teams in exhibition games. The Worcesters also did interesting promotions both inside Worcester, Massachusetts* and outside of it* to both get into the league and help themselves stay there. Despite their short history, they've had some notable moments to their name in the National League, including the first major league perfect game done by Lee Richmond in a 1-0 win against the Cleveland Blues, became the first home team to be no-hit themselves in a 1-0 loss to the Buffalo Bisons, and were considered an instrumental factor in kicking the Cincinnati Stars out of the National League and eventually create the modern-day Cincinnati Reds by the current director of the Baseball Hall of Fame. However, while Worcester had a respectable first season in the National League, they soon became the worst team in the league for their final seasons, to the point where the size of the city was a deciding factor against them continuing on any further than they did. In fact, only reason why they didn't shut down their team earlier in their last season was because they considered one of two lame duck teams for the rest of the National League. To give perspective on how little was cared for their departure, their final two games of their last season against the Troy Trojans (who were the other lame duck team of the NL that season) recorded attendance totals of 6 and 25 people respectively, making for the lowest recorded attendance totals for any league game (not relating to abnormal, behind closed doors events like the COVID-19 Pandemic occurring, of course) for professional sports history! One more note, the Worcester franchise did not move to Philadelphia and become the modern-day Phillies, contrary to historic belief; only the team's spot in the National League was moved to Philadelphia, since the Quakers team that were the Phillies were created as an expansion team to help even out the league in that time.
Structure and Scheduling
- MLB is made up of two leagues:note the National League (NL), sometimes referred to as the "Senior Circuit", since it is the older of the two; and the American League (AL), sometimes called the "Junior Circuit". Each league currently consists of 15 teams, sorted into three five-team divisions. From 1973 to 2021, the most notable difference was that the AL used the designated hitter while the NL did not (aside from the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season, in which both leagues used it).note This led to something of a Broken Base (no pun intended) as to which league was better, or whether the DH is good or bad for the game. Starting in 2022, all of MLB uses the DH, but the Broken Base will undoubtedly live on for years.
- The regular season consists of 162 games for each team (although sometimes it's less if a rain-out isn't made up; before 2022, it was at rare times more if a divisional or wild-card tie occurred at the end of the season).note
- The midpoint of the season is usually the All-Star Game,note in which the top players of the two leagues square off against each other. From 2003 through 2016, the All-Star Game was controversially used to determine who had the home-field advantage in the World Series, but beginning in 2017 home advantage in the World Series goes to the pennant winner with the better regular-season record.note Another tidbit: The day following the MLB All-Star Game is traditionally the only day of the year on which none of America's four major pro sports leagues has any game or major event scheduled.note ESPN has capitalized on this, and now tapes its annual ESPY Awards the day after the All-Star Game. (Prior to 2010, the ceremony was aired the following Sunday; since then it's been broadcast live.)
- The postseason has gone through a number of changes over the years (most of which have involved lengthening it), with the one constant being that it all culminates in the World Series, the major leagues' best-of-sevennote championship event.
- Prior to 1969, it was pretty simple: the team with the best regular-season record in each league was automatically crowned its league's champion (or "pennant winner", to use the preferred nomenclature) — barring those rare occasions when two teams wound finish up with identical records and a special playoff was then held to break the tie (see below) — and would then face its counterpart from the other league in the World Series, which was generally played in the first week of October.
- In 1969 — after several rounds of expansion had increased the number of major-league teams from 16 to 24 — both leagues were split into two divisions of six teams each. Now each league's two division winners would face off in a League Championship Series to determine the league's pennant winner and World Series representative. The LCS used a best-of-five format until 1985, when it became a best-of-seven. This consequently pushed the World Series back to about the second or third week of October.
- In 1995 — by which time MLB had expanded some more — each league was reshuffled into three divisions, which necessitated the creation of yet another postseason round: now, in addition to the three division champions, there would be a "wild card", consisting of the team with the best record among its league's non-division winners (confused yet?). The new first round of the postseason, dubbed the Division Series, would have each league's wild card face off against one of the division champions in one best-of-five series while the other two division champions squared off in the other. The two winners of those series would then face each other in the LCS, the winner of which would once again capture its league's pennant and advance to the World Series, which was now pushed back to the third week of October at the very earliest.
- In 2012, each league gained a second wild card team. Now the two wild-card winners would face each other in a single, sudden-death elimination game, the winner of which would advance to the Division Series.
- In 2022, a third wild card was added in each league, and the postseason was expanded to four rounds. Now, the two division winners in each league with the best records receive byes into the Division Series. The other division winner and the three wild cards play in the new Wild Card round, with that division winner playing the wild card team with the worst record and the two remaining wild cards playing one another. This round consists of best-of-three series, with the higher seed hosting all three games. (Note that the division winner gets a higher seed even if it has a worse record than any or all of the wild card teams.)
As you might imagine, all of this means that the World Series nowadays doesn't begin until the end of October, and occasionally extends into the first week of November if it goes the distance. Many favor expanding the Division Series to best-of-seven format, but Major League Baseball has resisted the idea due to not wanting to push the season too late into the year (by late October, many top baseball cities are already quite cold weather-wise).
- Through 2021, there was also the rarely seen "play-in" or tiebreaker game, sometimes known as a one-game playoff (emphasis singular) or Game 163 (since it counted as a regular season game). This was an extra game following the last scheduled day of the regular season, and was only played when two or more teams had identical records after the season's end and a postseason berth was on the line.note This was considered a regular-season game, and all statistics accumulated during play counted in the regular-season numbers. The most recent of these games to occur (and, as it turns out, the last ones) were in 2018, when two of the National League's three divisions needed tiebreakers: the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers in the Central, and the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers in the West. In both cases, the winner would become division champion, and the loser would drop to the wild-card game. The Brewers and Dodgers won the games, while the Cubs and Rockies then faced off in the wild-card game, with the Rockies winning. Prior to 2012, no playoff was held if both teams qualified for the postseason anyway (that is, if the loser would still be in line for the wild card); the team with the better record in head-to-head competition was considered the division champion while the other was relegated to the wild card. When the postseason expanded in 2012, Major League Baseball decreed that going forward, all ties for a division lead would be settled with a one-game playoff (settling ties between two division-winning teams from different divisions or two wild card teams with a tie-breaker game would be rather silly — it wouldn't have much of an effect on which teams reached the division series) even if both teams would make the playoffs anyway, with the winner getting the division title and the loser getting a wild card. This was presumably done in the interest of fairness, since the wild card team now had to face a single-game sudden death situation (as opposed to automatically gaining a berth in the Division Series) anyway. Beginning with the 2022 season, tiebreaker games have been eliminated; all postseason spots will be determined by tiebreaker formulas if necessary, much like what's seen in the NFL.
- In mid-February, about six weeks prior to the start of the season, teams will gather for Spring Training to prepare for the upcoming season by getting back into game shape, practicing with their teammates, and playing exhibition games (games that don't count in the league regular season standings) against other teams training nearby.note Due to a combination of tradition and practicality, half the teamsnote hold spring training at small ballparks in central Florida, nicknamed the Grapefruit League. The other halfnote train in the Greater Phoenix Area in Arizona, known as the Cactus League. Teams play exhibitions against their respective teams regardless of regular season league alignments, which is much less notable than it was before the introduction of regular season interleague games. The time is used to evaluate and settle on a regular season roster, and decide who has to start the season in the minor leagues. Also notable is that pitchers and catchers will report a few days before other players (as the difficulty of pitching means they need the time to get into shape), leading to (particularly passionate) fans talking about the number of days till pitchers and catchers report as a way to deal with a long slog of winter.
After the season, a number of different awards are given out to those who excelled in some aspect of the game. The specific awards, which are voted on by the Baseball Writers' Association of America except as noted, are as follows.
Most Valuable Player
Most Recent AL Winner: Shohei Ohtani, SP/DH, Angels
Most Recent NL Winner: Ronald Acuña Jr., OF, Braves
Most Recent AL Winner: Gerrit Cole, Yankees
Most Recent NL Winner: Blake Snell, Padres
The Cy Young Award is given to each league's best pitcher. It is named for the pitcher with the most career wins of all time. (He also has the most career losses of all time, but he played in an era where pitchers pitched every day.) Starting pitchers and relief pitchers are both eligible, but the award almost always goes to a starter. The last reliever to win the Cy Young is Éric Gagné of the Dodgers in 2003; the last AL reliever to win is Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics in 1992. Yes, it was the same year he won the MVP. Yes, he was that good.
Rookie of the Year
Most Recent AL Winner: Gunnar Henderson, SS, Orioles
Most Recent NL Winner: Corbin Carroll, OF, Diamondbacks
The Rookie of the Year Award is given to the rookie in each league who is considered to have had the best season. Though a rookie is generally defined as a first-year player, he doesn't necessarily have to be. As long as the player enters the current season without having exceeded 130 Major League at-bats, 50 innings pitched, or 45 days spent on a Major League team's roster, he is considered to be in his rookie season. Experience in leagues besides the MLB is not counted against a player, which has caused some controversy since beginning with Hideo Nomo in 1995, several Japanese-born players won the award despite having prior professional experience in Japanese baseball. It was renamed the Jackie Robinson Award in The '80s to commemorate one of its most famous winners. Robinson was also the first recipient of the award. The official name is rarely used, however.
Reliever of the Year
Most Recent AL Winner: Félix Bautista, Orioles
Most Recent NL Winner: Devin Williams, Brewers
The Reliever of the Year Award is given to the relief pitcher in each league who is considered to have had the best season. While several bodies have presented their own awards for this position, with the magazine Sporting News having done so since 1960, MLB did not present an official award for this position until 2005, when it started selecting a single "Delivery Man of the Year" for all of MLB. The Delivery Man award was replaced by the current Reliever of the Year Awards in 2014. The awards are named for the all-time saves leaders in each league—Mariano Rivera in the AL and Trevor Hoffman in the NL, both Hall of Famers. It's one of the few MLB awards for players that's not voted on by the BBWAA; instead, the voting body is a panel of seven retired relievers, including the two award namesakes. Usually goes to a closer, although two recent NL winners were setup men: Josh Hader in 2018 and Devin Williams in 2020, both with the Brewers. Both would later win the NL award as closers, Hader in 2019 and 2021 and Williams in 2023.
Manager of the Year
Most Recent AL Winner: Brandon Hyde, Orioles
Most Recent NL Winner: Skip Schumaker, Marlins
The Manager of the Year Award is awarded to one manager in each league. There are no specific guidelines for who can win, but the award typically goes to the manager of a team who achieved surprising success, usually a team that was expected to finish low in the standings but ended up competing for a title.
Comeback Player of the Year
Most Recent AL Winner: Liam Hendriks, P, White Sox
Most Recent NL Winner: Cody Bellinger, OF/1B, Cubs
Most Recent Winner: Shohei Ohtani, Angels
The Edgar Martínez Award goes to the top designated hitter as voted on by the BBWAA. It was presented in 1973, the first season of the DH, and named after the Seattle Mariners great shortly before his retirement in 2004. Unlike most other MLB awards, there's only one recipient, mostly because the DH was long exclusive to the AL. During the COVID season of 2020, in which the NL temporarily adopted the DH, the award was open to all of MLB. With the DH being permanently adopted by the NL in 2022, the award is now fully open to both leagues.
Executive of the Year
Most Recent Winner: Mike Elias, executive VP and general manager, Oriolesnote
The Executive of the Year Award is one of MLB's newer awards, having been first presented in 2018. Unlike almost all other MLB awards, it has only one recipient (unless the voting is tied, which has yet to happen). It's also not voted on by the BBWAA, but rather by team executives themselves.
First Baseman: Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals
Second Baseman: José Altuve, Astros
Third Baseman: Manny Machado, Padres
Shortstop: Trea Turner, Dodgers
Outfielders: Mookie Betts, Dodgers; Aaron Judge, Yankees; Mike Trout, Angels
Designated Hitter: Yordan Álvarez, Astros
Starting Pitchers: Sandy Alcántara, Marlins; Alek Manoah, Blue Jays; Shohei Ohtani, Angels; Framber Valdez, Astros; Justin Verlander, Astros
Relief Pitchers: Emmanuel Clase, Guardians; Edwin Díaz, Mets
First Baseman: Freddie Freeman, Dodgers
Second Baseman: Andrés Giménez, Guardians
Third Baseman: Nolan Arenado, Cardinals
Shortstop: Francisco Lindor, Mets
Outfielders: Julio Rodríguez, Mariners; Kyle Schwarber, Phillies; Kyle Tucker, Astros
Designated Hitter: Shohei Ohtani, Angels
Starting Pitchers: Dylan Cease, White Sox; Max Fried, Braves; Aaron Nola, Phillies; Max Scherzer, Mets; Julio Urías, Dodgers
Relief Pitchers: Ryan Helsley, Cardinals; Ryan Pressly, Astros
The All-MLB Team is MLB's newest major honor, having been introduced for the 2019 season. As the name implies, it consists of the players viewed as the best in the game at their positions, regardless of league, with a first and second team. Each team consists of one catcher, one player at each infield position, three outfielders (regardless of specific position), one designated hitter, five starting pitchers, and two relievers. Another honor that's not voted on by the BBWAA, instead using a panel of media members (print and broadcast), former players, and baseball officials, plus a single vote determined by fan poll on the MLB website.
Second Baseman: Andrés Giménez, Guardians
Third Baseman: Matt Chapman, Blue Jays
Shortstop: Anthony Volpe, Yankees
Left Fielder: Steven Kwan, Guardians
Center Fielder: Keven Kiermaier, Blue Jays
Right Fielder: Adolis García, Rangers
Catcher: Jonah Heim, Rangers
Pitcher: José Berríos, Blue Jays
Utility Player: Mauricio Dubón, Astros
Team: Toronto Blue Jays
Platinum Glove: Andrés Giménez, Guardians
Second Baseman: Nico Hoerner, Cubs
Third Baseman: Ke'Bryan Hayes, Pirates
Shortstop: Dansby Swanson, Cubs
Left Fielder: Ian Happ, Cubs
Center Fielder: Brenton Doyle, Rockies
Right Fielder: Fernando Tatís Jr., Padres
Catcher: Gabriel Moreno, Diamondbacks
Pitcher: Zack Wheeler, Phillies
Utility Player: Ha-seong Kim, Padres
Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Platinum Glove: Fernando Tatís Jr., Padres
The Gold Glove Award goes to the top defensive players in the game. Unlike most of the above awards, they are voted on by the managers and coaches in each league as opposed to the baseball writers. Since the 2022 season, each league awards 10 Gold Gloves, one at each fielding position plus one for a "utility player" (essentially one who regularly plays multiple positions). Also, since 2011 a Platinum Glove is awarded to the best fielder regardless of position in each league, as chosen by fans from the Gold Glove winners. Since fielding excellence tends to be measured by a lot of intangibles rather than pure statistics, the Gold Gloves frequently spark debate; the most common criticism of the award process is that they are often awarded based on reputation, without regard as to whether the player truly had a better year in the field than his peers. Derek Jeter was one of the more prominent examples of an undeserving Gold Glove winner; though he had a reputation as a great defensive shortstop, advanced fielding statistics generally didn't back up his reputation and few sabermetricians would have considered him remotely Gold Glove-worthy (and, during the years when he was teammates with Alex Rodriguez—a legitimately good defensive shortstop before he moved to third base—they would be known to snark that Jeter wasn't even the best shortstop on his own team, let alone the entire American League). Another particularly egregious example was Rafael Palmeiro winning the AL Gold Glove at first base in 1999, despite the fact that he was primarily a designated hitter that year and only played 28 games in the field. More recently, the process has been adjusted for these awards with a sizable portion of the vote now coming from taking several advanced fielding metrics into account, which has started to improve things a bit, though average or even poor defenders still win a Gold Glove from time to time. A recent example of this is Eric Hosmer, who won 4 Gold Gloves at first base in a 5-year span in the mid-2010s despite advanced statistics being in general agreement that he was at best an average defender and at worst a terrible one.
Most Recent AL Winner: Aaron Judge, Yankees
Most Recent NL Winner: Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals
Note:2023 winners to be announced on December 16
The Hank Aaron Award goes to the top hitter in each league. The BBWAA has no role in the voting; a combination of broadcast media (specifically MLB announcers and color commentators, on both radio and TV) and fans vote, weighted 70/30 in favor of media. It was introduced in 1999 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Aaron's breaking of Babe Ruth's career home run record, and before his death in 2021, Aaron presented the awards personally (except in 2019).
Second Baseman: Marcus Semien, Rangers
Third Baseman: Rafael Devers, Red Sox
Shortstop: Corey Seager, Rangers
Left Fielder: Luis Robert Jr., White Sox
Center Fielder: Julio Rodríguez, Mariners
Right Fielder: Kyle Tucker, Astros
Catcher: Adley Rutschman, Orioles
Designated Hitter: Shohei Ohtani, Angels
Utility Player: Gunnar Henderson, Orioles
Second Baseman: Luis Arraez, Marlins
Third Baseman: Austin Riley, Braves
Shortstop: Francisco Lindor, Mets
Left Fielder: Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves
Center Fielder: Mookie Betts, Dodgers
Right Fielder: Juan Soto, Padres
Catcher: William Contrares, Brewers
Designated Hitter: Bryce Harper, Phillies
Utility Player: Cody Bellinger, Cubs
The Silver Slugger Award goes to the top offensive player at each position. Like the Gold Gloves, they are voted on by each league's managers and coaches rather than the baseball writers. Before the National League adopted the designated hitter in 2022, the Silver Slugger awards were slightly different from Gold Glove awards; due to the American League's use of the DH, the award for AL pitchers (who didn't hit) was replaced with one for designated hitters. With no pitchers batting for 2022 and beyond* , the DH award has now fully replaced the pitchers' award.
World Series Most Valuable Player
Most Recent Winner: Corey Seager, SS, Rangers
The World Series Most Valuable Player (WSMVP) Award is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, awarded to whoever on the field was most valuable to giving the World Series winner its ring. First given out to Dodgers pitcher Johnny Podres in 1955, it is usually presented and awarded on the field in the hours after the series is won. In 2017, it was renamed after Giants outfielder Willie Mays in honor of the 63rd anniversary of his famous catch during the 1954 World Series, despite the fact the man himself never won a WSMVP.
League Championship Series Most Valuable Player
Most Recent ALCSMVP Winner: Adolis García, OF, Rangers
Most Recent NLCSMVP Winner: Ketel Marte, 2B, Diamondbacks
The League Championship Series Most Valuable Player (LCSMVP) Award is extremely similar to the WSMVP except for one rung below the Autumn Classic. A unique award to baseball, it is given to the two players most valuable to helping their team win their respective pennants. Additionally, much like the WSMVP, a winner is typically chosen right after the clinching and awarded on the field. Unlike what some may think, an LCSMVP winner is not an indicator to who will win the WSMVP, with such a case happening only nine times throughout the award's history.
Most Recent Winner: Aaron Judge, Yankees
The Roberto Clemente Award is MLB's "Man of the Year" award, given to one player who best represents the game on and off the field, emphasizing community involvement. Named after the Pirates Hall of Fame right fielder who died in a plane crash while attempting to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Drafting and Contracts
- MLB has no salary cap, and trades are much more open-ended than in other sports. Players may be traded not only for other players, but also cash, or minor league prospects (known as a "player to be named later", this gives the team six months to decide which minor leaguer would be the best fit for their roster). The vagaries of MLB transactions have led to several players being traded for themselves, and one (future Hall of Famer Dave Winfield) being traded for dinner between two GMs note . Other bizarre trades from the early days of baseball include a player being traded for a suit of clothes and another being given to a team in exchange for that team paying for the player's previous team to get a new outfield fence at their home stadium.
- Teams are free to make trades of any kind from the end of the previous season—more specifically, two days after the day on which the final game of the World Series starts—to 4 pm Eastern Daylight Time (UTC 2000) on July 31 of the current season. Since the 2019 season, this has been the only trade deadline, at least for players on a team's 40-man reserve list. Previously, a team wishing to trade a player between July 31 and the August 31 eligibility deadline for postseason play had to put him through waivers: a transaction system in which any other team may claim him for a small fee if the team wishes. If a player clears waivers (meaning no team claimed him), he could then be traded.note The waiver system still operates, but a team can no longer receive any compensation if another team claims the player. Players signed to minor-league contracts can still be traded through the August 31 postseason eligibility deadline.
- Due to the lack of a salary cap, and the relative open-endedness of MLB ownership, most teams exist in a cycle of contending and rebuilding. A contending team will stock up on free agents in an attempt to make playoff appearances, until they are too far in the hole, their star players age out, or their farm system just runs too dry. At that point, they will begin to sell off their high-valued players for cash and/or prospects, and generally do very poorly while stocking up a new generation of players, hopefully to be supplemented with high quality free agents for another championship run in the future. MLB draft picks once played a principal role in this cycle, but changes in the Player's Agreement in 2013 drastically reduced the role of compensatory picks.
- Speaking of the draft, MLB has two of these every year. The event popularly known as the "MLB Draft" is the first and by far largest of these. Its formal name is "First-Year Player Draft", and is sometimes called the "Rule 4 Draft" from the MLB rule that governs it. This draft differs from those of other major sports leagues in the US and Canada (NFL, NBA, NHL, CFL, MLS) in several dramatic ways:
- First, it takes place during the season, usually in June after the NCAA season ends.
- It's much longer than the other major drafts. The NBA draft is only 2 rounds. The MLS SuperDraft has 3. The CFL draft has 6 rounds, and those of the NFL and NHL have 7. MLB? Twenty... reduced from 40 effective in 2021. And in the distant past, the draft had lasted as long as 400 rounds.
- The eligibility rules are different from those of most other leagues. For the NFL, NBA, CFL, and MLS drafts, college/university players must renounce any remaining eligibility at that level to be drafted. Not so in MLB (or, for that matter, the NHL). All residents of the United States, its territories, and Canada are automatically draft-eligible upon graduating from high school. Once they enroll in a four-year college or university, they're no longer eligible to be drafted (or re-drafted) until after three years or turning 21, whichever comes first. At that point, eligibility is again automatic, with no requirement to renounce college eligibility. Those who enroll in junior colleges (two-year schools) remain eligible.*
- To prevent teams from "stashing" too many high-level players in the minor leagues that other teams would use in the majors, every year a "Rule 5 Draft" is held that allows teams to select players from other teams that have had a minimum of 4 years service in the minor leagues (5 years if they were signed prior to their 19th birthday) and are not on the 40-man reserve list. A player selected in this draft costs $50,000, and must remain on the major league roster for the following year or at the end of the season be offered back to his original team for half-price.
- Player contracts are under team control for up to six years of major league time. For their first few years, few make above the league minimum salary of around $500,000. After three years, or two for an exceptional player, a player is eligible for salary arbitration, in which both player and team submit salary proposals to an impartial arbitrator, who then chooses one or the other. Teams and players generally try to avoid arbitration and instead find a compromise number in negotiation — arbitration hearings are notoriously unpleasant, with teams having to explain why a player isn't good enough to justify a larger salary. It's just business, but it's still not fun for the player, and it can be very alienating. For a quality player, this is usually a substantial pay raise. After six years, a player is eligible to enter into a contract with any team willing to sign him, for whatever amount both sides regard as fair. MLB first permitted free agency in 1975, and the vagaries of free agency have occasionally become very contentious between players and the league, with several high profile collusion cases (in which MLB teams made a prohibited decision not to sign each other's free agents) in the late 1980s, leading into a players' strike in 1994.
People to Know in MLBThe various players, managers, and other people associated with MLB have two pages, one to list the current names to know and one that lists the historically significant people.
Other notable facts about MLB
- The village of Cooperstown, New York — where popular mythology once held that future Union Army general Abner Doubleday had invented the game of baseball in 1839 — is home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, established in 1939 for enshrining the history of the game and those who have played in or otherwise contributed to it. Each year a handful of retired major leaguers are selected by committee for induction into the Hall, and are thereafter known as "Hall of Famers". Players need to have been retired for at least five years before gaining eligibility to join the Hall, although this requirement has been waived exactly once: Roberto Clemente, who died in a 1972 plane crash, was inducted the following year. This exception subsequently became a rule, as the Hall decreed that an otherwise eligible player who dies while active or prior to the five-year cutoff would be eligible six months later. Contrary to popular belief, no formal exception was made for Lou Gehrig aside from a special one-man election just for him. Under the rules of his day, he was eligible for the Hall upon his retirement, and because of his terminal illness (a disease that now bears his name, at least in North America), a special election was held for him in December 1939, about 18 months before his death. Although he was duly elected and honored with a plaque in Cooperstown, Gehrig never received a formal induction ceremony until 2013.
- Various team executives, managers, and umpires have also been enshrined in the Hall, and there are annual awards given to the game's journalists and broadcasters (who strictly speaking are not actually Hall inductees, but are generally regarded by the public as "Hall of Famers" regardless). There is a common belief that comedians Abbott and Costello are also Hall honorees, but they aren't; their famous Who's on First? routine is commemorated with an exhibit in the Hall museum, but neither comedian holds any sort of ties to the game apart from the routine.
- Major League Baseball, unlike every other sports league in the United States, enjoys explicit protection from antitrust legislation (granted in what is universally believed to be an "oddball" Supreme Court decision, with many calling the antitrust exemption an outright Ass Pull... and that's not even getting into subsequent Supreme Court decisions, which basically maintained that because Congress hadn't passed any law repealing the antitrust exemption — which did not actually exist in any law — that meant they endorsed the exemption, and it was therefore outside the Court's power to remove it). And that's in spite of later SCOTUS decisions, which held that antitrust laws applied to every other sports league. Among other things, this means that franchise relocations (often forced by an antitrust lawsuit) have been much rarer in MLB than in the NFL or NBA.
The Minor LeaguesTo get to the Majors, most players (with the exception of people coming over from Japan's league and occasionally a rare prodigy) have to go through time in the Minor Leagues, lower leagues in smaller cities where every team is made up of players who are the property of a major league club. More information can be found on its own dedicated page.
Take me out to the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don't care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win, it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game.