American League

Last updated

American League
American League logo.svg
Sport Baseball
FoundedJanuary 28, 1901 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Presidentvacant
No. of teams15
CountriesUnited States (14 teams)
Canada (1 team)
Most recent
champion(s)
Boston Red Sox (14th)
Most titles New York Yankees (40)

The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League (AL), is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and Canada. It developed from the Western League, a minor league based in the Great Lakes states, which eventually aspired to major league status. It is sometimes called the Junior Circuit because it claimed Major League status for the 1901 season, 25 years after the formation of the National League (the "Senior Circuit").

Major League Baseball Professional baseball league

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization, the oldest of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901 respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000. The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the Major League clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Canada Country in North America

Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Consequently, its population is highly urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Canada's climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons.

Contents

At the end of every season, the American League champion plays in the World Series against the National League champion; two seasons did not end in playing a World Series (1904, when the National League champion New York Giants refused to play their AL counterpart, and 1994, when a players' strike prevented the Series). Through 2018, American League teams have won 66 of the 114 World Series played since 1903, with 27 of those coming from the New York Yankees alone. The New York Yankees have won 40 American League titles, the most in the league's history, followed by the Philadelphia/Kansas City/Oakland Athletics (15) and the Boston Red Sox (14).

The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

San Francisco Giants Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in San Francisco, California, United States

The San Francisco Giants are an American professional baseball team based in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1883 as the New York Gothams, and renamed three years later the New York Giants, the team eventually moved to San Francisco in 1958. The Giants compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) West division.

New York Yankees Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in the Bronx, New York, United States

The New York Yankees are an American professional baseball team based in the New York City borough of the Bronx. The Yankees compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) East division. They are one of two major league clubs based in New York City, the other being the New York Mets of the National League. In the 1901 season, the club began play in the AL as the Baltimore Orioles. Frank Farrell and Bill Devery purchased the franchise and moved it to New York City, renaming the club the New York Highlanders. The Highlanders were officially renamed the Yankees in 1913.

History

The players' portraits of the 8 franchises/teams of the American League of Professional Basball Clubs (American League) surrounding portrait of AL founder/president Ban Johnson (1864-1931), at age 39, in the third season of the League, 1903 Teams of the American League (2350728586).jpg
The players' portraits of the 8 franchises/teams of the American League of Professional Basball Clubs (American League) surrounding portrait of AL founder/president Ban Johnson (1864–1931), at age 39, in the third season of the League, 1903

Originally a minor league known as the Western League which existed 1885 to 1899, with teams in mostly Great Lakes states, the newly organized Western League later developed into a rival major league after the previous American Association (1882–1891) disbanded after ten seasons as a competitor to the older National League of Professional Baseball Clubs (usually known as the National League) which was founded in 1876. In its early history of the late 1880s, the minor Western League struggled until 1894, when Ban Johnson (1864–1931) became the president of the league. Johnson led the Western League into elevation as claiming major league status and soon became the president of the newly renamed American League of Professional Baseball Clubs (also simply called the American League) in 1901. The American League was founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the former Republican Hotel by five Irishmen. George Herman ("Babe") Ruth (1895–1948), noted as one of the most prolific hitters in Major League Baseball history, spent the majority of his career in the American League with the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees (plus his first year with his hometown team, the Baltimore Orioles of the minor level International League). The American League has one notable difference versus the rival National League, in that in modern times since 1973 it has had the designated hitter rule. Under the rule, a team may use a batter in its lineup who is not in the field defensively, replacing the pitcher in the batting order, compared to the old rule that made it mandatory for the pitcher to bat. In the last two decades, the season schedule has allowed occasional interleague play.

Great Lakes lakes in North America

The Great Lakes, also called the Laurentian Great Lakes and the Great Lakes of North America, are a series of interconnected freshwater lakes primarily in the upper mid-east region of North America, on the Canada–United States border, which connect to the Atlantic Ocean through the Saint Lawrence River. They consist of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, although hydrologically, there are four lakes, Superior, Erie, Ontario, and Michigan-Huron. The connected lakes form the Great Lakes Waterway.

The American Association (AA) was a professional baseball league that existed for 10 seasons from 1882 to 1891. Together with the NL, founded in 1876, the AA participated in an early version of the World Series seven times versus the champion of the NL in an interleague championship playoff tournament. At the end of its run, several AA franchises joined the NL. After 1891, the NL existed alone, with each season's champions being awarded the prized Temple Cup (1894-1897).

National League Baseball league, part of Major League Baseball

The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League (NL), is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and Canada, and the world's oldest current professional team sports league. Founded on February 2, 1876, to replace the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NAPBBP) of 1871–1875,, the NL is sometimes called the Senior Circuit, in contrast to MLB's other league, the American League, which was founded 25 years later.

30th President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933, served 1923-1929), and Washington Senators pitcher Walter Johnson (1887-1946, played 1907-1927, managed 1929-1932 for Senators; managed Cleveland Indians 1933-1935), shake hands following the Senators' 1924 American League championship at Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C. Walter Johnson and Calvin Coolidge shake hands FINAL.jpg
30th President Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933, served 1923–1929), and Washington Senators pitcher Walter Johnson (1887–1946, played 1907–1927, managed 1929–1932 for Senators; managed Cleveland Indians 1933–1935), shake hands following the Senators' 1924 American League championship at Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C.

Until the late 1970s, league umpires working behind home plate wore large, balloon-style chest protectors worn outside the shirt or coat, while their brethren in the National League wore chest protectors inside the shirt or coat. In 1977, new umpires (including Steve Palermo) had to wear the inside chest protector, although those on staff wearing the outside protector could continue to do so. Most umpires made the switch to the inside protector, led by Don Denkinger in 1975 and Jim Evans the next year, although several did not, including Bill Haller, Lou DiMuro, George Maloney, and Jerry Neudecker, who became the last MLB umpire to use the outside protector in 1985.

Stephen Michael Palermo was an umpire in Major League Baseball who worked in the American League from 1977 to 1991. His field career ended when he was shot in the back following his intervention in an altercation outside Campisi's, a Dallas Italian restaurant. He wore uniform number 14 when the American League began using uniform numbers for its umpires in 1980, and the number was never reassigned to another AL umpire until after the AL and NL umpire staffs were unified by MLB in 2000.

Donald Anton Denkinger is a former Major League Baseball umpire who worked in the American League from 1969 to 1998. Denkinger wore uniform number 11, when the AL adopted uniform numbers in 1980. He is best remembered for an incorrect safe call he made at first base in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series, which came to be known as The Call.

James Bremond Evans is a former umpire in Major League Baseball (MLB) who worked in the American League (AL) from 1971 to 1999, and ran a professional umpiring school from 1990 through 2012.

In 1994, the league, along with the National League, reorganized again, into three divisions (East, West, and Central) and added a third round to the playoffs in the form of the American League Division Series, with the best second-place team advancing to the playoffs as a wild-card team, in addition to the three divisional champions. In 1998, the newly franchised Tampa Bay Devil Rays joined the league, and the Arizona Diamondbacks joined the National League: i.e., each league each added a fifteenth team. An odd number of teams per league meant that at least one team in each league would have to be idle on any given day, or alternatively that odd team out would have had to play an interleague game against its counterpart in the other league. The initial plan was to have three five-team divisions per league with inter league play year-round—possibly as many as 30 interleague games per team each year. For various reasons, it soon seemed more practical to have an even number of teams in both leagues. The Milwaukee Brewers agreed to change leagues, moving from the AL Central to the NL Central. At the same time, the Detroit Tigers were moved from the AL East to the AL Central, making room for the Devil Rays in the East. Following the move of the Houston Astros, which had been in the NL for 51 years since beginning as an expansion team in 1962, to the American League in 2013, both leagues now consist of 15 teams, a far cry from their original 8 for the first half-century of the 20th century.

The American League Central is one of six divisions in Major League Baseball. This division was formed in the realignment of 1994, and its teams are all located in the Midwestern United States. The Central is currently the only division in the Major Leagues in which all of its members have won a World Series title. In fact, each team has captured at least two World Series championships.

In Major League Baseball, the American League Division Series (ALDS) determines which two teams from the American League will advance to the American League Championship Series. The Division Series consists of two best-of-five series, featuring the three division winners and the winner of the wild-card play-off.

Tampa Bay Rays Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in St. Petersburg, Florida, United States

The Tampa Bay Rays are an American professional baseball team based in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member of the American League (AL) East division. Since its inception, the team's home venue has been Tropicana Field.

Permanent Interleague play

For the first 96 years, American League teams faced their National League counterparts only in exhibition games or in the World Series. Beginning in 1997, interleague games have been played during the regular season and count in the standings. As part of the agreement instituting interleague play, the designated-hitter rule is used only in games where the American League team is the home team.

Teams

Charter franchises

There were eight charter teams in 1901, the league's first year as a major league, and the next year the original Milwaukee Brewers moved to St. Louis to become the St. Louis Browns. These franchises constituted the league for 52 seasons, until the Browns moved to Baltimore and took up the name Baltimore Orioles. All eight original franchises remain in the American League, although only four remain in the original cities (Detroit, Chicago, Boston, and Cleveland). The eight original teams and their counterparts in the "Classic Eight" were:

History of the St. Louis Browns Wikimedia disambiguation page

The St. Louis Browns were a Major League Baseball team that originated in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as the Milwaukee Brewers. Charter member of the American League, the Brewers moved to St. Louis, Missouri, after the 1901 season, where they played for 52 years as the St. Louis Browns. This article covers the franchise's more-than-five-decade history in St. Louis.

Baltimore Orioles Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Baltimore, Maryland, United States

The Baltimore Orioles are an American professional baseball team based in Baltimore, Maryland. As one of the American League's eight charter teams in 1901, this particular franchise spent its first year as a major league club in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as the Milwaukee Brewers before moving to St. Louis, Missouri, to become the St. Louis Browns. After 52 often-beleaguered years in St. Louis, the franchise was purchased in November 1953 by a syndicate of Baltimore business and civic interests led by attorney/civic activist Clarence Miles and Mayor Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. The team's current majority owner is lawyer Peter Angelos.

Expansion, renaming, and relocation summary

Current teams

American League East

  • Baltimore Orioles enfranchised 1901 as the Milwaukee Brewers, moved to St. Louis (1902) and to Baltimore (1954)
  • Boston Red Sox enfranchised 1901, nicknamed the Americans [4] (adopted name Red Sox in 1908)
  • New York Yankees enfranchised 1901 as Baltimore Orioles, moved to New York (1903) and nicknamed the Highlanders [5] (officially adopted alternate nickname Yanks/Yankees in 1913) [6]
  • Tampa Bay Rays enfranchised 1998 as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (team name changed in 2008)
  • Toronto Blue Jays enfranchised 1977 [7]

American League Central

American League West

  • Houston Astros enfranchised 1962 in National League as the Houston Colt .45s (team changed name to Astros in 1965), transferred to American League (2013)
  • Los Angeles Angels enfranchised 1961 as the Los Angeles Angels, then as the California Angels after moving to Anaheim (1966), then the Anaheim Angels (1997), then the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2005). This last remains the legal name of the franchise, but in actual practice the team is known as the Los Angeles Angels.
  • Oakland Athletics enfranchised 1901 [lower-alpha 1] in Philadelphia, moved to Kansas City (1955) and to Oakland (1968)
  • Seattle Mariners enfranchised 1977
  • Texas Rangers enfranchised 1961 as the Washington Senators, moved to Arlington, Texas (1972)

American League presidents

Following the 1999 season, the American and National Leagues were merged with Major League Baseball, and the leagues ceased to exist as business entities. The position of the American League President and National League President became honorary.

Key
Dagger-14-plain.pngMember of the Baseball Hall of Fame
*Honorary President
NameYearsRef
Ban Johnson Dagger-14-plain.png1901–1927
Frank Navin 1927
Ernest Barnard 1927–1931
Will Harridge Dagger-14-plain.png1931–1959
Joe Cronin Dagger-14-plain.png1959–1973
Lee MacPhail Dagger-14-plain.png1973–1984
Bobby Brown 1984–1994
Gene Budig 1994–1999
Jackie Autry *2000–2015
Frank Robinson Dagger-14-plain.png*2015–2019

See also

Notes

  1. See commentary on Western League page. The Indianapolis and Minneapolis teams were replaced by teams in Baltimore and Philadelphia in 1901, but it is unclear and disputed as to which team went where.

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The history of the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs stretches back into the late-19th century. Prior to 2000, when the AL and NL were dissolved as separate entities and merged into the organization called Major League Baseball, the American League was one of the two leagues that made up major league baseball. Originally a minor league known as the Western League, the league later developed into a major league after the American Association disbanded. In its early history, the Western League struggled until 1894, when Byron Bancroft “Ban” Johnson became the president of the league. Johnson led the Western League into major league status and soon became the president of the newly renamed American League. The American League has one notable difference over the National League, and that is the designated hitter rule. Under the rule, a team may use a batter in their lineup who is not in the field defensively, compared to the old rule that made it mandatory for the pitcher to hit.

References

  1. "Bankrupt Orioles". Baseball-Reference. Archived from the original on July 23, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  2. Officially "Bluebirds", a form seldom used
  3. "American League". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  4. To distinguish them from Boston's National League team, then called the Red Stockings or the Nationals
  5. after their home, Hilltop Park
  6. Sources recently have dissociated the 1902–1903 Baltimore Orioles from the Highlanders/Yankees. Sports Reference.com Archived July 23, 2014, at the Wayback Machine and sources cited on that page. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  7. Edgarf. "Baltimore Orioles History – American League East". MLB Baseball Betting. Retrieved August 25, 2013.

Sources