Major League Baseball

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Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball Logo.svg

Current season MLB 2020
abbreviation MLB
League foundation 1869/1903
Teams 30th
Country countries United StatesUnited States United States Canada
Title holder Washington Nationals (1st title) (2019)
Record champions New York Yankees (27)
TV partner FOX , TBS , ESPN , DAZN , , MLB Network , Facebook Watch

Major League Baseball ( MLB ) is the baseball association that organizes the game operations of the two North American baseball leagues - the National League and the American League . In common parlance, the designation of the MLB has established itself as a league that belongs together, although the National League and the American League are, strictly speaking, two separate leagues. In this sense, the MLB belongs to the so-called Big 4 , the four most popular professional sports leagues in the United States, alongside the NFL , the NBA and the NHL . Measured by the total number of visitors, the MLB is the most popular sports league in the world with over 70 million viewers per season.

League structure

Major League Baseball venues

The National League consists of 15 US teams and the American League consists of 14 US teams and one Canadian team. Both leagues are divided into three divisions. The mechanism of promotion and relegation is unknown in professional sports in the United States . The composition of the teams in a league and its divisions is fixed and is only changed by the participating organizations if necessary. This can concern the regional redistribution of teams to divisions or the inclusion of a new team. Some teams have also moved in league history, mostly from the east coast to another part of the USA; a name change also took place in some cases.

Discussion, extrapolation and rumors of a possible expansion to a total of 32 franchises do not end. The reason given is usually the economic health of the MLB, the reduction in the travel burden of the teams through geographical expansion, as well as the aesthetic reasons for a mathematical balance through the achievement of a total number of teams that is a power of 2. The latest rumors in autumn 2017 imply a reduction in the number of games per franchise and an abolition of the conferences and the two leagues. However, the management of the MLB will probably only deal with the issue once all stage problems of existing franchises have been clarified.

Game mode

An MLB season consists of the regular season and the postseason , with the postseason only being contested by the ten most successful teams of the regular season. The first place in the six divisions as well as the two best teams per league (National League and American League) that could not win their division (see wild card ) play a tournament after the regular season that includes the World Series , the MLB -Finals, ends.

Preseason (Spring Training)

Spring training is the preparation for the season in MLB and usually lasts from the first week of February to the end of March or beginning of April. The teams compete against each other in two leagues - the Cactus League in Arizona and the Grapefruit League in Florida - in preparatory and test games, the game results are documented in league form. The spring training serves to build up the form and to warm up the teams. In addition to the players added through transfers, young players from the farm teams and free agents are also tested in order to finally put together a squad limited to 25 players for the coming season.

Regular Season

The regular season starts in late March or early April and ends in late September or early October. Each team plays 162 games.

Since the 2013 season , each league has 15 teams, divided into three divisions of five teams each. Each team has 20 interleague games, 66 interdivision games and 76 games within their own division.

For the interleague games, each division plays against a specific division of the other league, as well as four games against local rivals from the other league (regardless of division). In 2013 it looked like this:

Against teams in your own division Against teams in your own league Interleague
AL East 4 × 19 games 4 × 6 games, 6 × 7 games 4 × 3 games (NL West), 1 × 4 games (NL West), 1 × 4 games (local rivals)
AL Central 4 × 19 games 4 × 6 games, 6 × 7 games 4 × 3 games (NL East), 1 × 4 games (NL East), 1 × 4 games (local rivals)
AL West 4 × 19 games 4 × 6 games, 6 × 7 games 4 × 3 games (NL Central), 1 × 4 games (NL Central), 1 × 4 games (local rivals)
NL East 4 × 19 games 4 × 6 games, 6 × 7 games 4 × 3 games (AL Central), 1 × 4 games (AL Central), 1 × 4 games (local rivals)
NL Central 4 × 19 games 4 × 6 games, 6 × 7 games 4 × 3 games (AL West), 1 × 4 games (AL West), 1 × 4 games (local rivals)
NL West 4 × 19 games 4 × 6 games, 6 × 7 games 4 × 3 games (AL East), 1 × 4 games (AL East), 1 × 4 games (local rivals)

The pairings of local rivals are maintained every year and are rivalries that are primarily geographical in origin (e.g. Chicago, New York, Florida, Los Angeles). The two pairings between the Texas teams and Arizona and Colorado change annually. For 2013 the pairings looked like this:

AL East NL East AL Central NL Central AL West NL West
Boston Red Sox Philadelphia Phillies Chicago White Sox Chicago Cubs Seattle Mariners San Diego Padres
New York Yankees New York Mets Cleveland Indians Cincinnati Reds Los Angeles Angels Los Angeles Dodgers
Toronto Blue Jays Atlanta Braves Detroit Tigers Pittsburgh Pirates Oakland Athletics San Francisco Giants
Tampa Bay Rays Miami Marlins Minnesota Twins Milwaukee Brewers Texas Rangers Arizona Diamondbacks
Baltimore Orioles Washington Nationals Kansas City Royals St. Louis Cardinals Houston Astros Colorado Rockies

The following classifications were made for the 2014 season:

Against teams in your own division Against teams in your own league Interleague
AL East 4 × 19 games 4 × 6 games, 6 × 7 games 4 × 3 games (NL Central), 1 × 4 games (NL Central), 1 × 4 games (local rivals)
AL Central 4 × 19 games 4 × 6 games, 6 × 7 games 4 × 3 games (NL West), 1 × 4 games (NL West), 1 × 4 games (local rivals)
AL West 4 × 19 games 4 × 6 games, 6 × 7 games 4 × 3 games (NL East), 1 × 4 games (NL East), 1 × 4 games (local rivals)
NL East 4 × 19 games 4 × 6 games, 6 × 7 games 4 × 3 games (AL West), 1 × 4 games (AL West), 1 × 4 games (local rivals)
NL Central 4 × 19 games 4 × 6 games, 6 × 7 games 4 × 3 games (AL East), 1 × 4 games (AL East), 1 × 4 games (local rivals)
NL West 4 × 19 games 4 × 6 games, 6 × 7 games 4 × 3 games (AL Central), 1 × 4 games (AL Central), 1 × 4 games (local rivals)
AL East NL East AL Central NL Central AL West NL West
Boston Red Sox Atlanta Braves Chicago White Sox Chicago Cubs Seattle Mariners San Diego Padres
New York Yankees New York Mets Cleveland Indians Cincinnati Reds Los Angeles Angels Los Angeles Dodgers
Toronto Blue Jays Philadelphia Phillies Detroit Tigers Pittsburgh Pirates Oakland Athletics San Francisco Giants
Tampa Bay Rays Miami Marlins Minnesota Twins Milwaukee Brewers Texas Rangers Colorado Rockies
Baltimore Orioles Washington Nationals Kansas City Royals St. Louis Cardinals Houston Astros Arizona Diamondbacks

All-Star Game

In the middle of the season - usually early to mid-July - the All-Star Game takes place, which is often referred to as the Midsummer Classic . Two selection teams from the American League and the National League compete against each other. The players are chosen by both the fans and the players of the MLB and the two team managers.

Postseason (play-offs)

With the end of the regular season after the first Sunday in October (or the last Sunday in September), ten teams reach the postseason. Six teams as winners of the divisions of both leagues as well as two teams in each league that play the “wild card” among themselves in a play-off. Participation in these wild card games is determined by the best statistics of the teams that were not division winners.

The winners of the two wild card games then take part with the six division winners in the Division Series (a quarter-finals with eight teams) - the American League Division Series (ALDS) or National League Division Series (NLDS). In a best-of-five series , the participants in the two Championship Series (a semi-final with four teams) - the American League Championship Series (ALCS) and National League Championship Series (NLCS) - are determined in which to win the respective Title (Pennant) of the National or American League a best-of-seven series is played. The two winners reach the World Series - the MLB finals.

World Series

In October, the winners of the respective leagues meet for the final, the World Series. This meeting took place for the first time in 1903 , then as a best-of-nine series. Nowadays the World Series is played in a best-of-seven series.

Interleague Games

Until 1996, teams from the National and American League could only meet in the World Series, but since 1997 there have been interleague games in the regular season . As in the World Series, the designated hitter rule applies to both teams in American League stadiums, but not to both teams in National League stadiums.

Differences in the rules of the game

The rules of the game in the National League and the American League hardly differ. The main difference is the designated hitter rule, which in the American League allows a player to be permanently used as a batter instead of the pitcher (thrower) on the offensive who has no duties on the defensive. At Interleague Games, the rules of the league to which the host team belongs will be played.

MLB Draft

As in the other North American top leagues in ice hockey , basketball and American football , MLB has held an annual draft since 1965, the MLB Draft , in which the greatest junior talent can be selected by the MLB teams. This usually takes place at the beginning of June and is in contrast to the other North American top leagues during the season.

Importance of Major League Baseball

Similar to the importance of the NBA , NFL and NHL , the major league is undisputedly the best professional league in the world for its sport. The goal of every ambitious professional player is a place in a major league team. Only the best players from the non-North American professional leagues can prevail in the Major League. The most important of these leagues are from East Asia and the Caribbean : the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) from Japan , the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) from South Korea , the Liga Mexicana de Béisbol (LMB) and the Liga Mexicana del Pacífico (LMP) from Mexico , the Liga de Béisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico (LBPPR) from Puerto Rico , the Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional (LVBP) from Venezuela , the Serie Nacional de Béisbol from Cuba , the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) from Taiwan and the Liga Dominicana de Béisbol Invernal (LIDOM) from the Dominican Republic .


Founding years

In the 1860s, baseball, which had previously been popular mainly in New York , became a national phenomenon in the United States. This was mainly due to soldiers who played the game in military camps during the American Civil War and thus made the sport more popular. In 1857, the first American baseball association, the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP), was founded. By 1867, more than 400 clubs had joined the association. However, the strongest teams were still based in the northeastern United States, particularly New York. The successor organization to NABBP, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NAPBBP) - also known as the National Association (NA) - is the world's first professional baseball league, founded in 1871 . Two years earlier, in May 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings was the first baseball team that consisted exclusively of paid players, and is therefore known as the first professional baseball team. Today's Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves franchises also date their history back to the NAPBBP in the 1870s.

National League Baltimore Orioles, 1896

In 1876, the NAPBBP was replaced by the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs (later known as the National League ). For the first time, clubs could now negotiate contracts with players to prevent them from moving to better paying teams. In addition, the teams were now encouraged to play out all the games of the season instead of dropping out as soon as they were no longer in the championship race, which had happened regularly in the National Association . A joint attempt was made to prevent betting on the outcome of the game, as this often made the credibility of the results questionable. The first National League game between the Philadelphia Athletics and Boston on April 22, 1876 at the Jefferson Street Grounds stadium in Philadelphia is often referred to as the start of modern MLB.

The early years of the National League were extremely turbulent. Rebellions by players against the reserve clause , which prevented them from freely switching between teams, and the threat of newly formed competitive leagues shaped everyday life in the league. The most successful competitive league was the American Association , which was also known as the "beer and whiskey league", as it allowed alcoholic beverages to be served to spectators. For several years, the respective champions of the National League and the American Association met in a championship series - an early predecessor of the World Series . The American Association was merged with the National League in 1892 to form a joint league with 12 teams. But the newly formed National League lost four teams in the 1899 season and so the American League , which still exists today, was founded in 1901 . The first years of coexistence between the two leagues were marked by legal disputes and a real bidding war for the most valuable players.

Dead ball era

Cy Young baseball trading card , 1911

The period from 1900 to 1919 is widely known as the dead ball era . The term refers to the fact that games during this period typically had low scores and were dominated by pitchers such as Walter Johnson , Cy Young , Christy Mathewson , Mordecai Brown and Pete Alexander . Because the balls were then made from American yarn and not from Australian yarn as they are now, and could not yet be wrapped as tightly, they covered much shorter flight distances on average. Since the price of three dollars a baseball was very high at the time and the owners of the teams were reluctant to buy new balls, they were often played with until they were completely frayed. Spectators were encouraged to throw back foul balls and home runs (which were very rare) so that they could continue to be used. The balls were often manipulated with a wide variety of substances in order to influence their trajectory (see Spitball ). In 1921 this manipulation was banned. Another reason for the low number of home runs was the enormous size of the ball parks at the time. That is why so-called "small ball" tactics such as singles, base stealing , bunts and hit-and-run tactics were mainly used. Hitting methods such as the so-called "Baltimore Chop", in which the ball was deliberately hit hard on the ground so that it flew as high as possible in the air and the batter could reach first base, were also used.

After the 1919 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds , the baseball world was rocked by a bribery scandal known as the Black Sox Scandal . Eight Chicago White Sox players - "Shoeless" Joe Jackson , Eddie Cicotte, Claude "Lefty" Williams, Buck Weaver , Chick Gandil, Fred McMullin, Swede Risberg and Oscar "Happy" Felsch - purposely lost the World Series in exchange for a 100,000 US dollar expensive ring (around one million in today's US dollars ). Despite being acquitted, all eight players were permanently banned from the MLB. The incident was captured in the American film Eight Men and a Scandal from 1988, with Charlie Sheen and John Cusack in the lead roles.

Increasing popularity in the 20s and 30s

In the 20s and 30s the popularity of baseball in the United States increased enormously. Players like Rogers Hornsby , Tris Speaker and especially Babe Ruth are still some of the great legends of the sport. In the 1920 season, Ray Chapman , a Cleveland Indians player , was hit in the head by a pitch and died hours later. He became the first baseball player to die of an injury on the field. The tragedy led the National League and American League to agree to only use new, white balls in the future and to remove used, dirty balls from the game because they were more difficult to control. This agreement can be described as the end of the "dead ball era". The following year, 1921, the New York Yankees made their first appearance in the World Series . By the late 1930s, the Yankees had participated in the World Series a total of 11 times and won the title eight times. Yankees player Babe Ruth set a record with 60 home runs in one season in 1927 . To this day, Ruth is considered one of the best and most popular baseball players of all time.

With the beginning of the Great Depression in 1929, the MLB baseball clubs also got into increasing financial difficulties. In 1932 only two teams in the league were making a profit . The number of viewers fell, also due to a newly introduced entertainment tax of 10%, which was added to the ticket prices. The squad of the teams has been reduced from 25 to 23 players and even the salaries of the best players have been lowered. The problems were met with creative strategies such as live radio broadcasts and free tickets for women, but the crisis hit the teams hard. Nevertheless, all teams could be maintained.

Second World War

The beginning of World War II saw a drastic reduction in the number of professional baseball players as more than 500 league players left MLB teams to serve in the military. However, many of them continued to play on military baseball teams. The absence of many professional players meant that more and more very young and very old players were used in the teams, as well as those who were retired for military service. For example, Pete Gray, a one-armed outfielder, got the chance to advance to the professional league. However, despite the war, no African Americans were used in the league. Black players, many of whom had served in the war, were restricted to appearances in the Negro Leagues .

Blackout measures during the war were another problem for baseball games, as they prevented the use of floodlights during night games. This almost resulted in the cancellation of the 1942 season. On January 14, 1942, then MLB commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis wrote a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt asking him to allow the MLB season to take place during the war. President Roosevelt replied that he thought it best to end the season because people needed some way to rest during the war. Thus, the spring training in 1942 could be carried out with only a few interruptions. The war interrupted the careers of some star players like Stan Musial , Bob Feller , Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio , but the baseball teams were able to continue their operations.

The end of the color barrier

Jackie Robinson , the first black player in the MLB in its current form.

Branch Rickey, the then president and manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers , made the first attempts in the mid-1940s to integrate Jackie Robinson, a black player, into the previously exclusively white league. Baseball had previously been strictly segregated , with black players playing in the Negro Leagues and being banned from the MLB. Robinson signed the deal for $ 600 a month and joined the Montreal Royals, a Dodgers farm team , in the 1946 season . This event became known as The Noble Experiment .

The following year Robinson was called up to the Major League. On April 15, 1947, he made his debut at Ebbets Field in front of an audience of 26,623, including more than 14,000 black fans. Some players threatened to strike if Robinson stayed in the league, but National League president Ford Frick and MLB commissioner Happy Chandler announced that striking players would be suspended. However, Robinson also got encouragement from some players, including his teammate Pee Wee Reese , who said, "You can hate a man for many reasons. Color is not one of them." ("You can hate a man for many reasons. Skin color is not one of them."). In his first year in MLB, Robinson won the Rookie of the Year award.

Less than three months later, Larry Doby became the first African-American to break the color barrier in the American League with the Cleveland Indians . A number of other black players entered the MLB the next year. Satchel Paige was signed by the Cleveland Indians, and the Brooklyn Dodgers added star catcher Roy Campanella and pitcher and eventual Cy Young Award winner Don Newcombe to their team.

Women in baseball

The MLB banned teams from including women on its squad in 1952, but that ban was lifted in 1992. To date (as of June 8, 2018), however, a female player has never been included in an MLB squad.

Expansion and relocation in the 1960s

From 1903 to 1953 the National League and the American League consisted of 8 teams each. The total of 16 teams were spread across ten cities, including New York City with three teams and Boston , Chicago , Philadelphia and St. Louis with two each. St. Louis was the southernmost and westernmost city with a major league team. In 1953 the Boston Braves became the Milwaukee Braves and in 1954 the St. Louis Browns became the Baltimore Orioles . In 1955, the Philadelphia Athletics became the Kansas City Athletics.

Baseball experts believe the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers , Walter O'Malley for "perhaps the most influential owners in the early stage of baseball expansion." Before the 1958 season, he initiated the Brooklyn Dodgers' move to Los Angeles. The move made big waves, among other things it was reported in Time magazine .

O'Malley also had a huge impact on the decision to move the Dodgers' main rivals to San Francisco with the New York Giants . The Giants were already suffering from falling audience figures due to their aging stadium, the Polo Ground . If the Dodgers were the only team to have moved to California , the closest team, the St. Louis Cardinals , would have been over 2,500 miles away. The joint relocation of both teams made the trip to the west coast economically sensible for the visiting teams. O'Malley invited San Francisco Mayor George Christopher to New York to meet Giants owner Horace Stoneham. Stoneham was considering bringing the Giants to Minnesota at the time, but was convinced after the conversation that he would follow O'Malley's move to the west coast. This was against the wishes of Ford Frick, the MLB commissioner at the time. The change of location was a great economic success, both for the two teams and for the MLB. The Dodgers set a new attendance record for an MLB game with 78,672 fans with their first home game.

In 1961 the Washington Senators moved to Saint Paul and became the Minnesota Twins . At the same time, two new teams joined the American League : the Los Angeles Angels (who moved from downtown Los Angeles to Anaheim after a short time ) and a new Washington Senators franchise, which replaced the previous one. In the National League a year later, the Houston Astros and the New York Mets were added as expansion teams. The Astros, dubbed the Colt .45s for their first three years, became the first ever MLB franchise in the former Southern States since the Louisville Colonels fell in 1899, and the first Gulf Coast team. The Mets developed a reputation as a losing team, losing 120 games and winning only 40 in their first season, and having few successes in the following seasons. In their eighth season, however, the Mets became the first of the expansion teams to make it into the postseason and even win a World Series title against the Baltimore Orioles , who were considered the clear favorites .

the Montreal Expos were the first Canadian team in the MLB.

In 1966, another team migrated south with the Boston Braves' move to Atlanta . In 1968, the Kansas City Athletics followed with their move to Oakland , making them the Oakland Athletics that still exist today . In 1969 the Seattle Pilots (who became the Milwaukee Brewers after a disastrous season ) and the Kansas City Royals were formed in the American League , and the first Canadian franchise, the Montreal Expos , and the San Diego Padres were accepted into the National League .

In 1972 the Washington Senators became the Texas Rangers . In 1977 the MLB expanded again and incorporated a second Canadian team, the Toronto Blue Jays , and the Seattle Mariners . No new teams were added until 1992. It wasn't until 1993 that the Florida Marlins in Miami and the Colorado Rockies in Denver followed . In 1998 the Milwaukee Brewers moved from the American League to the National League and two more teams were added with the Arizona Diamondbacks (National League) in Phoenix (Arizona) and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (American League) in St. Petersburg .

After no team had relocated for over three decades, the Montreal Expos moved to Washington, DC in 2005 and became the Washington Nationals . The Toronto Blue Jays remained the only team in Canada and the capital of the United States had its own MLB team again after 33 years. Since then, Montreal has been the only city with a former MLB team that does not currently host a franchise.

Pitcher dominance and new rules in the 70s

Development of the average number of runs per MLB game over the years

Towards the end of the 1960s, the balance between pitchers and baters increasingly developed in the direction of pitchers . In 1968, later dubbed the "Year of the Pitcher," Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox won the batting leader title with a batting average of just .301 - the lowest in Major League Baseball history. The Detroit Tigers -Pitcher Denny McLain won 31 games, so he was the first pitcher since Dizzy Dean was in 1934, which won more than 30 games in a season. Bob Gibson of the St. Louis Cardinals achieved a similarly rare feat with an earned run average of just 1.12.

As a result of this season, in December 1968 the responsible committee decided to reduce the strike zone from the knee to the armpit of the batter instead of from the knees to the shoulders as before. In addition, the pitcher's mound height has been reduced from 15 to 10 inches .

In 1973, the Designated Hitter rule was introduced in the American League , which made it possible to replace the pitcher with a stronger batter on the offensive .

New stadiums and artificial playing areas

In the 1960s and 1970s, multi-purpose stadiums were built in some cities to serve as the common home of MLB and NFL teams. Due to the easier maintenance and lower costs, artificial turf was used for the first time in many of these stadiums . In addition, they were mostly oval-shaped to accommodate both baseball and American football . However, this often resulted in the fields having significantly larger foul territory than older stadiums. This made it easier to catch foul balls and made home runs difficult to achieve due to the size of the fields.

During this time, the teams began to work more on pitching - especially on the bullpen - and the speed of the runners . The artificial playing surfaces made the balls fly faster and higher after hitting the ground, which made it easier to get a base hit with ground balls . From Starting pitchers one was not generally expected, Complete Game (9 thrown innings ) to pitch; it was enough to play six or seven innings and leave the rest of the game to a closer . After Willie Mays hit 52 home runs in 1965, only one other player (George Foster) did so until the 1990s.

Doping era

In the 1990s and 2000s, the MLB, as in other professional sports leagues, increased cases of doping . the most prominent cases include Mark McGwire and José Canseco , both of whom admitted the use of steroids to improve performance. Canseco published the book Juiced in 2005 , in which he also accused numerous former teammates of doping. Since January 10, 2013, MLB players have been tested for illegal substances such as somatropin on a regular basis .

Statcast Era (2015-present)

Statcast technology has been used in all MLB stadiums since 2015, making it possible to measure statistical data on player movements, ball speed and other game factors. Since then, every MLB franchise has its own analysis team that evaluates the data collected in order to obtain more precise information about the performance of the players. While values ​​such as the batting average and the number of hits or RBI were traditionally used as the main factors for evaluating a player in the past, with the introduction of statcast data such as the speed of the ball when leaving the racket ( exit velocity ) and the angle of flight of a hit won Balles ( launch angle ) in importance. When pitching , factors such as the spin rate of the ball during the throw and the perceived velocity can be measured. The record for the fastest hit ball measured by Statcast is held by Giancarlo Stanton at 123.9 mph (199.4 km / h ). He also hit the longest home run with a distance of 154 meters. Aaron Judge holds the record for the fastest home run with 194.9 km / h. Aroldis Chapman holds the record for the fastest pitch of the Statcast era at 105.1 mph (169.1 km / h ). This also secured him an entry in the Guinness Book of Records .


The organizers of the major leagues are considering internationalizing the league. In addition to the American teams, only the Toronto Blue Jays from Canada are taking part (up to and including 2004 the Montréal Expos , which played a few home games in Puerto Rico in 2003 due to a lack of fans before they were finally settled in Washington, DC ).

Since 2001, individual games have been played in Mexico, Japan and Australia for publicity reasons. For example, the first MLB game took place in Tokyo in 2008 . In addition, the MLB Japan All-Star Series has been held regularly since 1986 between the selection teams of the MLB and the Japanese Nippon Professional Baseball League and, since 2014, the Japanese national baseball team. has been the official website of the MLB in German-speaking countries since June 2017 .

In the long term, more teams outside of the US are expected to participate in major leagues. Mexico City is considered the most promising candidate. The international division of MLB, Major League Baseball International (MLBI), supports youth programs around the world to promote the sport of baseball. In Germany these programs have been operated successfully since 1996 and appear under the title “Play Ball!”. In March 2006, the first international tournament with the participation of MLB professional players , the World Baseball Classic , was held. European participants in 2006 and 2009 were the Netherlands and Italy. At the third tournament in 2013, Spain was also added as a European representative.

On May 8, 2018, the MLB announced that there will be two games each in 2019 and 2020 at the London Stadium in the British capital, London . In the first year of the MLB London Series , the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees met on June 29th and 30th, 2019. It was the first MLB game to be played in Europe. The games scheduled for 2020 between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic .

Major League Baseball teams

division team City / region Stadion Founded Joined Info
American League
East Baltimore Orioles 1 Baltimore Oriole Park at Camden Yards 1894 1901
Boston Red Sox 2 Boston Fenway Park 1901
New York Yankees 3 new York Yankee Stadium 1901
Tampa Bay Rays 4 Saint Petersburg , Florida Tropicana Field 1998
Toronto Blue Jays Toronto Rogers Center / Sahlen Field 1977
Central Chicago White Sox 5 Chicago Guaranteed Rate Field 1894 1901
Cleveland Indians 6 Cleveland Progressive Field 1894 1901
Detroit Tigers Detroit Comerica Park 1894 1901
Kansas City Royals Kansas City , Missouri Kauffman Stadium 1969
Minnesota Twins 7 Minneapolis Target Field 1894 1901
west Houston Astros 14 19th Houston Minute Maid Park 1962
Los Angeles Angels 8 Anaheim , California Angel Stadium of Anaheim 1961
Oakland Athletics 9 Oakland , California Oakland Coliseum 1901
Seattle Mariners Seattle T-Mobile Park 1977
Texas Rangers 10 Arlington , Texas Globe Life Field 1961
National League
East Atlanta Braves 11 Atlanta SunTrust Park 1871 1876
Miami Marlins 12 Miami Marlins Park * 1993
New York Mets new York Citi Field 1962
Philadelphia Phillies Philadelphia Citizens Bank Park 1883
Washington Nationals 13 Washington, DC Nationals Park ° 1969
Central Chicago Cubs Chicago Wrigley Field 1870 1876
Cincinnati Reds Cincinnati Great American Ball Park 1882 1890
Milwaukee Brewers 15th Milwaukee Miller Park 1969 (AL) 1998 (NL)
Pittsburgh Pirates Pittsburgh PNC Park 1882 1887
St. Louis Cardinals 16 St. Louis Busch Stadium 1882 1892
west Arizona Diamondbacks Phoenix Chase Field 1998
Colorado Rockies Denver Coors Field 1993
Los Angeles Dodgers 17th los Angeles Dodger Stadium 1883 1890
San Diego Padres San Diego PETCO Park 1969
San Francisco Giants 18th San Francisco AT&T Park 1883
American League Divisions Venues: Purple pog.svgWest, Orange pog.svgCentral, Red pog.svgEast.
National League divisions venues: Cyan pog.svgWest, Blue pog.svgCentral, Turquoise pog.svgEast


  1. Formerly Milwaukee Brewers ( Western League 1894-1899) 1900-1901; St. Louis Browns 1902-1953
  2. Known as the Boston Americans until 1907
  3. Formerly Baltimore Orioles 1901–1902; New York Highlanders 1903-1912
  4. Formerly Tampa Bay Devil Rays until 2008
  5. Formerly Sioux City Cornhuskers (Western League) 1894; St. Paul Saints (WL) 1895-1899; played in the American League West 1969-1993
  6. Formerly Grand Rapids Rustlers (Western League) 1894–1899; Cleveland Blues 1900-1902; Cleveland Naps 1903-1914; played in the American League East 1969-1993
  7. Formerly Kansas City Blues (Western League) 1894-1900; Washington Senators 1901-1960; played in the American League West 1969-1993
  8. Known as the Los Angeles Angels from 1961–1965; California Angels 1965-1996; Anaheim Angels 1997-2004; Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 2005-2015
  9. Formerly based in Philadelphia until 1954 and Kansas City from 1955–1967
  10. Formerly Washington Senators, played in the American League East from 1969–71
  11. Originally in Boston until 1952. In Boston they were called Braves from 1912–35 & from 1941–52 and Bees from 1936–40; before 1912 they were known as Red Stockings, Red Caps, Beaneaters, Doves, and Rustlers; Milwaukee from 1953-1965; played in the National League West 1969-1993
  12. Formerly Florida Marlins until 2011
  13. Formerly the Montreal Expos moved after the 2004 season; Property of Major League Baseball from 2002-2004
  14. Renamed Houston Colt .45's in 1965; played in the National League West 1969-1993
  15. Formerly Seattle Pilots (AL West) 1969; played in AL West until 1971, AL East 1972-1993, AL Central 1994-1997
  16. Formerly St. Louis Brown Stockings 1882 ( American Association ); St. Louis Browns 1883-1898 ( American Association 1883-1891); St. Louis Perfectos 1899
  17. Based in Brooklyn, New York until 1957. Before 1931 they were called Atlantics, Grays, Bridegrooms, Grooms, Superbas, Trolley Dodgers, Dodgers and Robins
  18. Resident in New York until 1957
  19. Played in NL Central until 2012
†. 2016 All-Star Game
*. 2017 All-Star Game
°. 2018 All-Star Game

Audience numbers

The following shows the attendance figures for the entire league as well as the average attendance per game in the MLB for the past ten years. The last column shows the team with the most spectators for the respective season (number of spectators in brackets).

MLB audience development from 1900 to 2006.
year total spectator

per game

Team with the most spectators
2008 78,624,315 32,382 New York Yankees (4,298,655)
2009 73.430.580 30,218 Los Angeles Dodgers (3,761,653)
2010 73,061,763 30,066 New York Yankees (3,765,807)
2011 73.425.667 30,228 Philadelphia Phillies (3,680,718)
2012 74,859,268 30,806 Philadelphia Phillies (3,565,718)
2013 74.027.037 30,451 Los Angeles Dodgers (3,743,527)
2014 73,739,622 30,345 Los Angeles Dodgers (3,782,337)
2015 73.719.340 30,349 Los Angeles Dodgers (3,764,815)
2016 73.159.044 30.131 Los Angeles Dodgers (3,703,312)
2017 72,678,797 29,908 Los Angeles Dodgers (3,765,856)
2018 69,671,272 28,660 Los Angeles Dodgers (3,857,500 *)

* One season attendance record for the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Player records

Pete Rose is the player with the most MLB career games
Barry Bonds is the player with the most career home runs

The following is a list of individual records that have been set by individual players:

500 Home Run Club

All players who have hit at least 500 home runs in their MLB career are accepted into the 500 Home Run Club . The list currently includes 31 players (as of June 14, 2018) .

3,000 hits club

All players who have recorded at least 3,000 hits in their MLB career are admitted to the 3,000 Hits Club . The list currently includes 31 players (as of June 14, 2018) .

30-30 club, 40-40 club and 300-300 club

All players who have managed to reach 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases within an MLB season are accepted into the 30-30 club . The same goes for the 40-40 Club with 40 home runs and 40 stole bases. The 300-300 club is reserved for players who have scored at least 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases in their entire MLB career.

Triple crown

The Triple Crown is awarded to pitchers or batterers who have topped the league in the three most important statistics in a season: for pitchers these are the earned run average (ERA), the number of wins and the number of strikeouts ; for batter the number of home runs , the number of batted in runs (RBI) and the batting average (AVG). The Batting Triple Crown is extremely rare - the Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera became the first player to be awarded it in 2012 since the Boston Red Sox's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Clayton Kershaw ( Los Angeles Dodgers ) and Justin Verlander (then Detroit Tigers) last won the Pitching Triple Crown in 2011.

Most major league games

To date, 59 MLB players have played more than 2500 games in their careers. Pete Rose tops the list with 3,562 games .

Team records

The following are the records set by MLB teams:

Most successful season

The most successful season, measured by the win-loss record - the comparison of wins and losses - was played by the Chicago Cubs in 1906 with a win rate of 76.3%.

Longest winning streak

The longest winning streak in an MLB regular season was achieved by the New York Giants in 1916, winning 26 games in a row. However, a game rated as a tie was also counted. The 22-game winning streak of the Cleveland Indians in the 2017 season can therefore, depending on the definition, be regarded as the second longest or longest winning streak in the MLB.

Attendance records

The Colorado Rockies had the most viewers in one season in 1993 with a total of 4,483,350 viewers at Mile High Stadium . The most popular game in an MLB preseason was a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with 115,301 spectators. The World Series game with the most viewers was Game 5 of the 1959 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 6, 1959 in front of 92,706 spectators.

Awards and trophies

Baseball Hall of Fame

The Baseball Hall of Fame is the hall of fame for the greatest American baseball players . Other officials who have made a special contribution to the sport of baseball can also be accepted there.

Commissioner's Trophy

The Commissioner's Trophy is the championship trophy in the MLB and is presented annually to the winning team of the World Series . In contrast to other championship trophies such as the Stanley Cup in the National Hockey League , the Commissioner's Trophy is not a challenge cup , but is made anew every season. The trophy has only been awarded since 1967 and the New York Yankees hold the league record with 7 Commissioner's Trophies.

Warren C. Giles Trophy

The Warren C. Giles Trophy is a challenge trophy given to the winning team of the National League Championship Series .

William Harridge Trophy

The William Harridge Trophy is the counterpart to the Warren C. Giles Trophy and is presented to the winning team of the American League Championship Series .

Most Valuable Player Award

The Most Valuable Player Award is given to the National League and American League player who is considered the “most valuable” player of the season.

Cy Young Award

The Cy Young Award is given to the best pitcher in the National League and the American League.

Gold Glove Award

The Gold Glove Award is given to the best outfielder in the National League and the American League.

Silver Slugger Award

The Silver Slugger Award is given to the strongest offensive players in both leagues.

Babe Ruth Award

The Babe Ruth Award (named after baseball legend Babe Ruth ) is given to the player with the best individual performance in the postseason .

Rookie of the Year Award

The Rookie of the Year Award is given to the best player who has played his first year in the professional league.


MLB in film and television

Due to the high level of popularity of the MLB, especially in the USA, there are a large number of films and television programs that refer to the league or individual teams or players. Below are just a few of the most popular examples.



See also

Portal: Baseball  - Overview of Wikipedia content on baseball

Web links

Commons : Major League Baseball  - Collection of pictures, videos, and audio files

Individual evidence

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