American League

Last updated

American League
American League logo.svg
Sport Baseball
FoundedJanuary 28, 1901;121 years ago (1901-01-28) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Founder Ban Johnson
Presidentvacant (honorary)
Divisions3
No. of teams15
Countries
  • United States (14 teams)
  • Canada (1 team)
Most recent
champion(s)
Houston Astros (3rd)
Most titles New York Yankees (40)

The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as 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").

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 2021, American League teams have won 66 of the 117 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).

History

American League President and founder Ban Johnson, in center, surrounded by the portraits of the league's eight teams in 1907. Teams of the American League (2350728586).jpg
American League President and founder Ban Johnson, in center, surrounded by the portraits of the league's eight teams in 1907.

Originally a minor league known as the Western League, which existed from 1885 to 1899 with teams in mostly Great Lakes states, the league changed its name to the American League for the 1900 season and the next year developed into a second major league as a competitor to the older National League. This was prompted by the NL dropping four teams following the 1899 season after having absorbed it previous rival, the American Association, which disbanded in 1891 after ten seasons.

In its early history of the late 1880s, the minor Western League struggled until 1894, when Ban Johnson became the president of the league. Johnson pushed the league to rise to major league status, after the name change to the American League was decided in a league meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the former Republican Hotel. A historical marker is at the intersection of North Old World 3rd Street and West Kilbourn Avenue where the hotel once stood. [1]

In March 1904, Johnson moved the league's headquarters from Chicago to New York. [2]

Babe Ruth, 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. The American League has one notable difference versus the rival National League: 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. In 1969, the AL (and NL) were divided into East and West divisions, with a postseason playoff series for the pennant and the right to play in the World Series.

U.S. 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
U.S. 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 colleagues 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, Russ Goetz, George Maloney, Bill Kunkel and Jerry Neudecker, who became the last full-time MLB umpire to use the outside protector in 1985.

In 1994, the league, along with the National League, reorganized again, this time 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 to become the National League's 16th team, 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. Even after expansion, the American League then continued with 14 teams. This situation changed again in 2013 when the Houston Astros moved from the National League Central division to the American League West. The Astros had been in the NL for 51 years since beginning as an expansion team in 1962. Since their move, both leagues now consist of 15 teams.

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 was used only in games where the American League team is the home team, until the 2022 season, when the universal DH rule was implemented.

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, and the year after the New York Highlanders replaced the disbanded original Baltimore Orioles. Those eight franchises constituted the league for 52 seasons until the Browns moved to Baltimore and took up the Orioles name. The eight original teams and their counterparts in the "Classic Eight" were:

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 [6] (adopted name Red Sox in 1908)
  • New York Yankees enfranchised 1901 as Baltimore Orioles, moved to New York (1903) and nicknamed the Highlanders [7] ("Highlanders" dropped out of use after move to the Polo Grounds in 1913; officially adopted alternate nickname Yanks/Yankees by 1923) [8]
  • Tampa Bay Rays enfranchised 1998 as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (team name changed in 2008)
  • Toronto Blue Jays enfranchised 1977 [9]

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)

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.

Related Research Articles

Ottawa Lynx Minor League Baseball team

The Ottawa Lynx were a Minor League Baseball team that competed in the Triple-A International League (IL) from 1993 to 2007. The team's home field was Lynx Stadium in Ottawa, Ontario. Over 15 seasons, the team was an affiliate of the Montreal Expos (1993–2002), Baltimore Orioles (2003–2006), and Philadelphia Phillies (2007). At the time, it was the only IL franchise in Canada.

Interleague play

Interleague play in Major League Baseball refers to regular-season baseball games played between an American League (AL) team and a National League (NL) team. Interleague play was first introduced during the 1997 Major League Baseball season. Prior to that, matchups between AL teams and NL teams occurred only during spring training, the All-Star Game, other exhibition games, and the World Series. Unlike modern interleague play, none of these contests, except for the World Series, counted toward official team or league records.

American League East Division of Major League Baseball

The American League East is one of six divisions in Major League Baseball (MLB). MLB consists of an East, Central, and West division for each of its two 15-team leagues, the American League (AL) and National League (NL). This division was created before the start of the 1969 season along with the American League West division. Before that time, each league consisted of 10 teams without any divisions.

The 2005 Major League Baseball season was notable for the league's new steroid policy in the wake of the BALCO scandal, which enforced harsher penalties than ever before for steroid use in Major League Baseball. Several players, including veteran Rafael Palmeiro, were suspended under the new policy. Besides steroids it was also notable that every team in the NL East division finished the season with at least 81 wins. Additionally it was the first season featuring a baseball team in Washington, D.C. since the second iteration of the Washington Senators last played there in 1971; the Washington Nationals had moved from Montreal, the first relocation of a team in 34 years and currently the last time this has occurred in the majors.

This article contains a list of Rule 5 draft results. Players chosen in the Major League Baseball (MLB) phase of the Rule 5 draft have to remain on their new team's active roster for the entire following MLB season, or they are placed on waivers and offered back to their original team if not claimed. Players chosen in the Minor League Baseball phases of the Rule 5 draft remain with their new organization without restrictions.

2007 Los Angeles Angels season Major League Baseball season

The 2007 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim season was the franchise's 47th season since inception. The regular season ended with a record of 94–68 and the Angels winning the American League West division title for the sixth time. However, the Angels' playoff run quickly ended, as they were swept by the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series, just as they were in 2004.

The 2007 Major League Baseball season began on April 1 with a rematch of the 2006 National League Championship Series; the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets played the first game of the season at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, which was won by the Mets, 6–1. The regular season concluded with seven teams entering the postseason who had failed to reach the 2006 playoffs including all National League teams, with only the New York Yankees returning; a dramatic one-game playoff between the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres; and the largest September collapse for a leading team in baseball history, with the Mets squandering a 7-game lead with 17 to play, losing on the final day of the regular season, and the Philadelphia Phillies capturing the National League East for the first time since 1993. The season ended on October 28, with the Boston Red Sox sweeping the World Series over the Rockies, four games to none.

The 2008 Major League Baseball season began on March 25, 2008, in Tokyo, Japan with the 2007 World Series champion Boston Red Sox defeating the Oakland Athletics at the Tokyo Dome 6–5 in the first game of a two-game series, and ended on September 30 with the host Chicago White Sox defeating the Minnesota Twins in a one-game playoff to win the AL Central division. The Civil Rights Game, an exhibition, in Memphis, Tennessee, took place March 29 when the New York Mets beat the Chicago White Sox, 3–2.

2008 Major League Baseball draft Baseball draft of amateur players

The 2008 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft continued Major League Baseball's annual amateur draft of high school and college baseball players, and was held on June 5 and 6, 2008.

Georgia Bulldogs baseball Baseball team of the University of Georgia

The Georgia Bulldogs baseball team represents the University of Georgia in NCAA Division I college baseball.

The following is a timeline of franchise evolution in Major League Baseball. The histories of franchises in the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP), National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NA), Union Association (UA), and American Association (AA) before they joined the National League are also included. In 1900 the minor league Western League renamed itself the American League (AL). All of the 1899 Western League teams were a part of the transformation with the Saint Paul Apostles moving to Chicago and to play as the White Stockings. In 1901 the AL declared itself a Major League. For its inaugural major league season the AL dropped its teams in Indianapolis, Buffalo and Minneapolis and replaced them with franchises in Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore and the Kansas City Blues moved to Washington to play as the Senators.

World Series Championship of Major League Baseball

The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and Canada, contested since 1903 between the champion teams of the American League (AL) and the National League (NL). 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.

References

  1. "Birthplace of the American League Historical Marker". www.hmdb.org. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  2. "Move to New York: American League to Transfer its Headquarters to Gotham". Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. March 16, 1904. p. 6.
  3. "Bankrupt Orioles". Baseball-Reference. Archived from the original on July 23, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  4. Officially "Bluebirds", a form seldom used
  5. "American League". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  6. To distinguish them from Boston's National League team, then called the Red Stockings or the Nationals
  7. after their home, Hilltop Park, and a pun on their owner's name, Gordon's Highlanders, referencing the famous Scottish regiment.
  8. 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.
  9. Edgarf. "Baltimore Orioles History – American League East". MLB Baseball Betting. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. Retrieved August 25, 2013.

Sources