American League

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").

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).

American League
American League logo
SportBaseball
FoundedJanuary 28, 1901
Presidentvacant
No. of teams15
CountriesUnited States (14 teams)
Canada (1 team)
Most recent
champion(s)
Boston Red Sox (14th)
Most titlesNew York Yankees (40)

History

Teams of the American League (2350728586)
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. 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.

Walter Johnson and Calvin Coolidge shake hands FINAL
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.

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.

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:

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[a] 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 Member of the Baseball Hall of Fame
* Honorary President
Name Years Ref
Ban Johnsondagger 1901–1927
Frank Navin 1927
Ernest Barnard 1927–1931
Will Harridgedagger 1931–1959
Joe Cronindagger 1959–1973
Lee MacPhaildagger 1973–1984
Bobby Brown 1984–1994
Gene Budig 1994–1999
Jackie Autry* 2000–2015
Frank Robinsondagger* 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.

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

  • The National League Story, Lee Allen, Putnam, 1961.
  • The American League Story, Lee Allen, Putnam, 1962.
  • The Baseball Encyclopedia, published by MacMillan, 1968 and later.
2019 Major League Baseball season

The 2019 Major League Baseball season will begin on March 20 and is scheduled to end on September 29. It is the 150th anniversary of professional baseball, dating back to the 1869 foundation of the Cincinnati Reds. The postseason will begin on October 1. The World Series is set to begin on October 22 and a potential Game 7 will be played on October 30 if necessary. The entire schedule was released on August 22, 2018.The 90th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be held on July 9 at Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians.

Alex Rodriguez

Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez (born July 27, 1975), nicknamed "A-Rod", is an American former professional baseball shortstop and third baseman. He played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and New York Yankees. Rodriguez began his professional career as one of the sport's most highly touted prospects and is considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Rodriguez amassed a .295 batting average, 696 home runs, over 2,000 runs batted in (RBI), over 2,000 runs scored, and over 3,000 hits. He is a 14-time All-Star and won three American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards, ten Silver Slugger Awards, and two Gold Glove Awards. Rodríguez is the career record holder for grand slams with 25. He signed two of the most lucrative sports contracts in history, but his career was highly controversial. He incurred criticism from the media for his use of performance-enhancing drugs.The Mariners selected Rodriguez first overall in the 1993 MLB draft, and he debuted in the major leagues the following year at the age of 18. In 1996, he became the Mariners' starting shortstop, won the major league batting championship, and finished second in voting for the AL MVP Award. His combination of power, speed, and defense made him a cornerstone of the franchise, but he left the team via free agency after the 2000 season to join the Rangers. The 10-year, $252 million contract he signed was the richest in baseball history. He played at a high level in his three years with Texas, highlighted by his first AL MVP Award win in 2003, but the team failed to make the playoffs during his tenure. Prior to the 2004 season, Rodriguez was traded to the Yankees, for whom he converted to a third baseman, because Derek Jeter was already the Yankees' full-time shortstop. During Rodriguez's career with the Yankees, he was named AL MVP in 2005 and 2007. After opting out of his contract following the 2007 season, Rodriguez signed a new 10-year, $275 million deal with the Yankees, extending his record for the sport's most lucrative contract. He became the youngest player ever to hit 500 home runs, reaching the milestone in 2007. He was part of the Yankees' 2009 World Series championship over the Philadelphia Phillies, which was the first year of the new Yankee Stadium and Rodriguez's only world title. Toward the end of his career, Rodriguez was hampered by hip and knee injuries, which caused him to become exclusively a designated hitter. He played his final game in professional baseball on August 12, 2016.

During a 2007 interview with Katie Couric on 60 Minutes, Rodriguez denied using performance-enhancing drugs. In February 2009, Rodriguez admitted to using steroids, saying he used them from 2001 to 2003 when playing for Rangers due to "an enormous amount of pressure" to perform. While recovering from a hip injury in 2013, Rodriguez made headlines by feuding with team management over his rehabilitation and for having allegedly obtained performance-enhancing drugs as part of the Biogenesis baseball scandal. In August 2013, MLB suspended him 211 games for his involvement in the scandal, but he was allowed to play while appealing the punishment. Had the original suspension been upheld, it would have been the longest non-lifetime suspension in Major League Baseball history. After an arbitration hearing, the suspension was reduced to 162 games, which kept him off the field for the entire 2014 season.After retiring as a player, Rodriguez became a media personality, serving as a broadcaster for Fox Sports 1, a cast member of Shark Tank and a member of the ABC News network. In January 2018, ESPN announced that Rodriguez would be joining the broadcast team of Sunday Night Baseball In January 2017, CNBC announced Rodriguez would be the host of the show Back In The Game, where he would help former athletes make a comeback in their personal lives; the first episode debuted on the network in March 2018.

American League East

The American League East is one of Major League Baseball (MLB)'s six divisions (An East, Central, and West division for each of the two leagues). This division was created before the start of the 1969 season along with the American League West division. Before that time the American League (AL) had existed as a single league of 10 teams.

Four of its five teams are located in the Eastern United States, with the other in Central Canada. It is currently the only division to contain a non-American team. At the end of the MLB season, the team with the best record in the division earns one of the American League's five playoff spots. The most recent team to win this division was the Boston Red Sox in 2018.

American League West

The American League West is one of three divisions in Major League Baseball's American League. The division has five teams as of the 2013 season, but had four teams from 1994 to 2012, and had as many as seven teams before the 1994 realignment. Although its teams currently only reside along the west coast and in Texas, historically the division has had teams as far east as Chicago. From 1998 (when the NL West expanded to five teams) to 2012, the AL West was the only MLB division with four teams. The current champion of this division is the Houston Astros. In 2013, the Houston Astros went from the National League Central to the AL West. That move gives all six MLB divisions an equal five teams and both leagues an equal 15 teams each.

Babe Ruth

George Herman "Babe" Ruth Jr. (February 6, 1895 – August 16, 1948) was an American professional baseball player whose career in Major League Baseball (MLB) spanned 22 seasons, from 1914 through 1935. Nicknamed "The Bambino" and "The Sultan of Swat", he began his MLB career as a stellar left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, but achieved his greatest fame as a slugging outfielder for the New York Yankees. Ruth established many MLB batting (and some pitching) records, including career home runs (714), runs batted in (RBIs) (2,213), bases on balls (2,062), slugging percentage (.690), and on-base plus slugging (OPS) (1.164); the latter two still stand as of 2018. Ruth is regarded as one of the greatest sports heroes in American culture and is considered by many to be the greatest baseball player of all time. In 1936, Ruth was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame as one of its "first five" inaugural members.

At age 7, Ruth was sent to St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory where he learned life lessons and baseball skills from Brother Matthias Boutlier of the Xaverian Brothers, the school's disciplinarian and a capable baseball player. In 1914, Ruth was signed to play minor-league baseball for the Baltimore Orioles but was soon sold to the Red Sox. By 1916, he had built a reputation as an outstanding pitcher who sometimes hit long home runs, a feat unusual for any player in the pre-1920 dead-ball era. Although Ruth twice won 23 games in a season as a pitcher and was a member of three World Series championship teams with the Red Sox, he wanted to play every day and was allowed to convert to an outfielder. With regular playing time, he broke the MLB single-season home run record in 1919.

After that season, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Ruth to the Yankees amid controversy. The trade fueled Boston's subsequent 86 year championship drought and popularized the "Curse of the Bambino" superstition. In his 15 years with the Yankees, Ruth helped the team win seven American League (AL) pennants and four World Series championships. His big swing led to escalating home run totals that not only drew fans to the ballpark and boosted the sport's popularity but also helped usher in baseball's live-ball era, which evolved from a low-scoring game of strategy to a sport where the home run was a major factor. As part of the Yankees' vaunted "Murderers' Row" lineup of 1927, Ruth hit 60 home runs, which extended his MLB single-season record by a single home run. Ruth's last season with the Yankees was 1934; he retired from the game the following year, after a short stint with the Boston Braves. During his career, Ruth led the AL in home runs during a season 12 times.

Ruth's legendary power and charismatic personality made him a larger-than-life figure during the Roaring Twenties. During his career, he was the target of intense press and public attention for his baseball exploits and off-field penchants for drinking and womanizing. His often reckless lifestyle was tempered by his willingness to do good by visiting children at hospitals and orphanages. After his retirement as a player, he was denied the opportunity to manage a major league club, most likely due to poor behavior during parts of his playing career. In his final years, Ruth made many public appearances, especially in support of American efforts in World War II. In 1946, he became ill with esophageal cancer and died from it two years later. Ruth remains a part of American culture and in 2018, President Donald Trump posthumously awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

CC Sabathia

Carsten Charles Sabathia Jr. (born July 21, 1980), commonly known as CC Sabathia, is an American professional baseball pitcher for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Cleveland Indians and Milwaukee Brewers. Sabathia bats and throws left-handed.

Sabathia made his major league debut with the Indians in 2001, where he helped anchor the team to its sixth Division title in seven years and placed second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting behind 2001 AL MVP Ichiro Suzuki. Sabathia played the first seven-and-a-half seasons of his career with the Indians, with whom he won the 2007 Cy Young Award. He led the Indians to the 2007 AL Central Division title and their first postseason berth since his rookie year. Sabathia played the second half of the 2008 MLB season with the Milwaukee Brewers, leading them to their first playoff appearance in 26 years and their first as a National League team.

In the 2008 offseason, Sabathia signed with the New York Yankees for seven years and $161 million; at the time, this was the largest contract ever signed by a pitcher. With the Yankees, Sabathia led all of Major League Baseball in wins in both 2009 and 2010 and helped lead the Yankees to the 2009 World Series championship in the franchise's first year at the new Yankee Stadium. He was also voted the 2009 American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player. Sabathia remained with the Yankees through the 2018 season and re-signed with the team for the 2019 season.

During his career, Sabathia has been named an All-Star six times and has won the Warren Spahn award three times. As of February 2019, Sabathia is the all-time American League leader in strikeouts by a left-handed pitcher and is the active Major League leader in innings pitched and strikeouts.

Carl Yastrzemski

Carl Michael Yastrzemski (; nicknamed "Yaz"; born August 22, 1939) is an American former Major League Baseball player. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989. Yastrzemski played his entire 23-year Major League career with the Boston Red Sox (1961–1983). He was primarily a left fielder, but also played 33 games as a third baseman and mostly was a first baseman and designated hitter later in his career. Yastrzemski is an 18-time All-Star, the possessor of seven Gold Gloves, a member of the 3,000 hit club, and the first American League player in that club to also accumulate over 400 home runs. He is second on the all-time list for games played, and third for total at-bats. He is the Red Sox' all-time leader in career RBIs, runs, hits, singles, doubles, total bases, and games played, and is third on the team's list for home runs behind Ted Williams and David Ortiz.In 1967 Yastrzemski achieved a peak in his career, leading the Red Sox to the American League pennant for the first time in over two decades and being voted the 1967 American League MVP. Yastrzemski also won the Triple Crown that year, a milestone which was not accomplished again in the Major Leagues until Miguel Cabrera achieved the feat 45 years later in 2012.

Cleveland Indians

The Cleveland Indians are an American professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) Central division. Since 1994, they have played at Progressive Field. The team's spring training facility is at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona. Since their establishment as a major league franchise in 1901, the Indians have won two World Series championships: in 1920 and 1948, along with 10 Central Division titles and six American League pennants. The Indians' current World Series championship drought is the longest active drought.The name "Indians" originated from a request by club owner Charles Somers to baseball writers to choose a new name to replace "Cleveland Naps" following the departure of Nap Lajoie after the 1914 season. The name referenced the nickname "Indians" that was applied to the Cleveland Spiders baseball club during the time when Louis Sockalexis, a Native American, played in Cleveland. Common nicknames for the Indians include the "Tribe" and the "Wahoos", the latter being a reference to their former logo, Chief Wahoo. Also, the team's mascot is named "Slider."

The franchise originated in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1894 as the Grand Rapids Rustlers, a minor league team that competed in the Western League. The team then relocated to Cleveland in 1900 and changed its name to the Cleveland Lake Shores. The Western League itself changed its name to the American League while continuing its minor league status. One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the major league incarnation of the club was founded in Cleveland in 1901. Originally called the Cleveland Bluebirds, the team played in League Park until moving permanently to Cleveland Stadium in 1946. At the end of the 2018 season, they had a regular season franchise record of 9,384–8,968 (.511). On September 14, 2017, the Cleveland Indians won their 22nd straight game, which extended the new American League record they set the previous game, while also becoming the longest winning streak with no ties in Major League Baseball history.

Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers are an American professional baseball team based in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member of the American League (AL) Central division. One of the AL's eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Detroit as a member of the minor league Western League in 1894. They are the oldest continuous one name, one city franchise in the AL. The Tigers have won four World Series championships (1935, 1945, 1968, and 1984), 11 AL pennants (1907, 1908, 1909, 1934, 1935, 1940, 1945, 1968, 1984, 2006, 2012), and four AL Central division championships (2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014). The Tigers also won division titles in 1972, 1984, and 1987 as a member of the AL East. The team currently plays its home games at Comerica Park in Downtown Detroit.

The Tigers constructed Bennett Park at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Trumbull Avenue in Corktown (just west of Downtown Detroit) and began playing there in 1896. In 1912, the team moved into Navin Field, which was built on the same location. It was expanded in 1938 and renamed Briggs Stadium. It was renamed Tiger Stadium in 1961 and the Tigers played there until moving to Comerica Park in 2000.

Frank Robinson

Frank Robinson (August 31, 1935 – February 7, 2019) was an American outfielder and manager in Major League Baseball who played for five teams from 1956 to 1976. The only player to be named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of both the National League (NL) and the American League (AL), he was named the NL MVP after leading the Cincinnati Reds to the pennant in 1961 and was named the AL MVP in 1966 with the Baltimore Orioles after winning the Triple Crown; his 49 home runs that year tied for the most by any AL player between 1962 and 1989, and stood as a franchise record for 30 years. Robinson helped lead the Orioles to the first two World Series titles in franchise history in 1966 and 1970, and was named the Series MVP in 1966 after leading the Orioles to a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1975, he became the first black manager in major league history.

A 14-time All-Star, Robinson batted .300 nine times, hit 30 home runs eleven times, and led his league in slugging four times and in runs scored three times. His 586 career home runs ranked fourth in major league history at the time of his retirement, and he ranked sixth in total bases (5,373) and extra-base hits (1,186), eighth in games played (2,808) and ninth in runs scored (1,829). His 2,943 career hits are the most since 1934 by any player who fell short of the 3,000-hit mark. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1982.Robinson went on to manage the San Francisco Giants, the Baltimore Orioles, and the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals. For most of the last two decades of his life, Robinson served in various executive positions for Major League Baseball, concluding his career as honorary President of the American League.

Frank Thomas (designated hitter)

Frank Edward Thomas Jr. (born May 27, 1968), nicknamed "The Big Hurt", is an American former first baseman and designated hitter in Major League Baseball who played for three American League (AL) teams from 1990 to 2008, all but the last three years with the Chicago White Sox. A five-time All-Star, he is the only player in major league history to have seven consecutive seasons (1991–97) with at least a .300 batting average, 100 runs batted in (RBI), 100 runs scored, 100 walks, and 20 home runs. Thomas also won the AL batting title in 1997 with a .347 mark.

Thomas was named the AL's Most Valuable Player by unanimous vote in 1993. That year, he became the first White Sox player to hit 40 home runs and led the team to a division title. He repeated as MVP in the strike-shortened 1994 season, batting .353 and leading the league in slugging average and runs. Following two sub-par seasons, Thomas lost a close MVP vote in 2000 despite posting career highs of 43 home runs and 143 RBI. Still, he was named AL Comeback Player of the Year, and Chicago finished with the AL's best record. Later in Thomas's career, a variety of foot injuries and minor ailments reduced his productivity and often limited him to a designated hitter role. In 2005, his final season in Chicago, he helped the White Sox to their first World Series title in 88 years.

By the end of his career, Thomas was tied for eighth in AL history for home runs (521), ninth for RBI (1,704), and sixth for walks (1,667). Among players with at least 7,000 at bats in the AL, he ranked eighth in slugging average (.555) and ninth in on-base percentage (.419). With a .301 lifetime batting average, he became the seventh player in history to retire with at least a .300 average and 500 home runs. He holds White Sox franchise records for career home runs (448), RBI (1,465), runs (1,327), doubles (447), extra base hits, walks (1,466), slugging average, (.568) and on-base percentage (.427). The White Sox retired Thomas's uniform number 35 in 2010 and unveiled a statue of him at U.S. Cellular Field in 2011. Thomas was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014 in his first year of eligibility—the first White Sox star to achieve that distinction.Thomas was one of the few major league stars who never fell under suspicion during the performance-enhancing drugs controversies of the late 1990s. An advocate for drug testing as early as 1995, he was the only active player who agreed to be interviewed for the Mitchell Report in 2007.

Joe DiMaggio

Joseph Paul DiMaggio (November 25, 1914 – March 8, 1999), nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper", was an American baseball center fielder who played his entire 13-year career in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees. Born to Italian immigrants in California, he is widely considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time, and is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak (May 15 – July 16, 1941), a record that still stands.DiMaggio was a three-time Most Valuable Player Award winner and an All-Star in each of his 13 seasons. During his tenure with the Yankees, the club won ten American League pennants and nine World Series championships.

At the time of his retirement after the 1951 season, he ranked fifth in career home runs (361) and sixth in career slugging percentage (.579). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955, and was voted the sport's greatest living player in a poll taken during the baseball centennial year of 1969. His brothers Vince (1912–1986) and Dom (1917–2009) also were major league center fielders. DiMaggio is widely known for his marriage and lifelong devotion to Marilyn Monroe.

Justin Verlander

Justin Brooks Verlander (born February 20, 1983) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Detroit Tigers for 13 seasons, with whom he made his major league debut on July 4, 2005. A right-handed batter and thrower, Verlander stands 6 feet 5 inches (1.96 m) tall and weighs 225 pounds (102 kg).

From Manakin-Sabot, Virginia, Verlander attended Old Dominion University (ODU) and played college baseball for the Monarchs. He broke the Monarchs' and Colonial Athletic Association's career records for strikeouts. At the 2003 Pan American Games, Verlander helped lead the United States national team to a silver medal. The Tigers selected him in the first round and as the second overall pick of the 2004 first-year player draft. As a former ace in the Tigers' starting rotation, he was a key figure in four consecutive American League (AL) Central division championships from 2011−2014, and in the Astros' first World Series championship in 2017. He is among the career pitching leaders for the Tigers, including ranking second in strikeouts (2,373), seventh in wins (183), and eighth in innings pitched (2511).

The winner of a number of accolades, Verlander is a seven-time MLB All-Star, has led the AL in strikeouts five times and in wins twice. He was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2006, and on June 12, 2007, pitched the first no-hitter at Comerica Park versus the Milwaukee Brewers. In 2009, he led the AL in wins and strikeouts, both for the first time. Verlander produced his most successful season in 2011, including his second career no-hitter versus the Toronto Blue Jays on May 7, 2011. By season's end, Verlander won the Pitching Triple Crown, the AL Cy Young Award unanimously, the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award, and the Sporting News Player of the Year Award.

On August 31, 2017, the Tigers traded Verlander to the Houston Astros just before the trade deadline, and he immediately became an impact for the team, going undefeated in his first five starts heading into the postseason. He helped lead the Astros to the 2017 World Series, which they won over the Los Angeles Dodgers, giving him his first career ring. For his performance in the 2017 American League Championship Series, he was named MVP, and was co-winner of the Babe Ruth Award (with teammate José Altuve) for most outstanding performance in the 2017 postseason. In the 2018 season, Verlander became the 114th pitcher in major league history to reach 200 career wins, also becoming the 20th fastest to reach the milestone (412 starts).

Lou Gehrig

Henry Louis Gehrig, (born Heinrich Ludwig Gehrig June 19, 1903 – June 2, 1941), nicknamed "the Iron Horse", was an American baseball first baseman who played his entire professional career (17 seasons) in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees, from 1923 until 1939. Gehrig was renowned for his prowess as a hitter and for his durability, which earned him his nickname "the Iron Horse." He was an All-Star seven consecutive times, a Triple Crown winner once, an American League (AL) Most Valuable Player twice, and a member of six World Series champion teams. He had a career .340 batting average, .632 slugging average, and a .447 on base average. He hit 493 home runs and had 1,995 runs batted in (RBI). In 1939, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and was the first MLB player to have his uniform number (4) retired by a team.

A native of New York City and a student at Columbia University, Gehrig signed with the Yankees in 1923. He set several major-league records during his career, including the most career grand slams (23) (since broken by Alex Rodriguez) and most consecutive games played (2,130), a record that stood for 56 years and was long considered unbreakable until surpassed by Cal Ripken, Jr., in 1995. Gehrig's consecutive game streak ended on May 2, 1939, when he voluntarily took himself out of the lineup, stunning both players and fans, after his performance on the field became hampered by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an incurable neuromuscular illness now commonly referred to in North America as "Lou Gehrig's disease." The disease forced him to retire at age 36, and was the cause of his death two years later. The pathos of his farewell from baseball was capped off by his iconic 1939 "Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth" speech at Yankee Stadium.

In 1969, the Baseball Writers' Association voted Gehrig the greatest first baseman of all time, and he was the leading vote-getter on the Major League Baseball All-Century Team chosen by fans in 1999. A monument in Gehrig's honor, originally dedicated by the Yankees in 1941, currently resides in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. The Lou Gehrig Memorial Award is given annually to the MLB player who best exhibits Gehrig's integrity and character.

Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award

The Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) is an annual Major League Baseball (MLB) award given to one outstanding player in the American League and one in the National League. Since 1931, it has been awarded by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA). The winners receive the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award, which became the official name of the award in 1944, in honor of the first MLB commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who served from 1920 until his death on November 25, 1944.MVP voting takes place before the postseason, but the results are not announced until after the World Series. The BBWAA began by polling three writers in each league city in 1938, reducing that number to two per league city in 1961. The BBWAA does not offer a clear-cut definition of what "most valuable" means, instead leaving the judgment to the individual voters.First basemen, with 34 winners, have won the most MVPs among infielders, followed by second basemen (16), third basemen (15), and shortstops (15). Of the 25 pitchers who have won the award, 15 are right-handed while 10 are left-handed. Walter Johnson, Carl Hubbell, and Hal Newhouser are the only pitchers who have won multiple times, Newhouser winning consecutively in 1944 and 1945.Hank Greenberg, Stan Musial, Alex Rodriguez, and Robin Yount have won at different positions, while Rodriguez is the only player who has won the award with two different teams at two different positions. Barry Bonds has won the most often (seven times) and the most consecutively (four: 2001–04). Jimmie Foxx was the first player to win multiple times; 9 players have won three times, and 19 have won twice. Frank Robinson is the only player to win the award in both the American and National Leagues.

The award's only tie occurred in the National League in 1979, when Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell received an equal number of points. There have been 18 unanimous winners, who received all the first-place votes. The New York Yankees have the most winning players with 22, followed by the St. Louis Cardinals with 17 winners. The award has never been presented to a member of the following three teams: Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets, and Tampa Bay Rays.

In recent decades, pitchers have rarely won the award. When Justin Verlander won the AL award in 2011, he became the first pitcher in either league to be named the MVP since Dennis Eckersley in 1992. Verlander also became the first starting pitcher to win this award since Roger Clemens accomplished the feat in 1986. The National League went even longer without an MVP award to a pitcher. After Bob Gibson won in 1968, no pitcher in that league was named MVP until Clayton Kershaw in 2014.

Mickey Mantle

Mickey Charles Mantle (October 20, 1931 – August 13, 1995), nicknamed The Commerce Comet and The Mick, was an American professional baseball player. Mantle played his entire Major League Baseball (MLB) career with the New York Yankees as a center fielder and first baseman, from 1951 through 1968. Mantle was one of the best players and sluggers, and is regarded by many as the greatest switch hitter in baseball history. Mantle was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974 and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999.

Mantle was arguably the greatest offensive threat of any center fielder in baseball history. He has the highest career OPS+ of any center fielder and he had the highest stolen base percentage in history at the time of his retirement. In addition, compared to the four other center fielders on the all-century team, he had the lowest career rate of grounding into double plays (by far) and he had the highest World Series on-base percentage and World Series slugging percentage. He also had an excellent 0.984 fielding percentage when playing center field. Mantle was noted for his ability to hit for both average and power, especially tape measure home runs. He hit 536 MLB career home runs, batted .300 or more ten times, and is the career leader (tied with Jim Thome) in walk-off home runs, with a combined thirteen, twelve in the regular season and one in the postseason.

Mantle won the Triple Crown in 1956, leading the major leagues in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in (RBI); he later wrote a book about his best year in baseball. He was an All-Star for 16 seasons, playing in 16 of the 20 All-Star Games that were played. He was an American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) three times and a Gold Glove winner once. Mantle appeared in 12 World Series including seven championships, and holds World Series records for the most home runs (18), RBIs (40), extra-base hits (26), runs (42), walks (43), and total bases (123).

Mike Trout

Michael Nelson Trout (born August 7, 1991) is an American professional baseball center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Major League Baseball (MLB). Trout is a seven-time MLB All-Star, received the American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in 2014 and 2016 (finishing second in the 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2018 votes), and is a six-time winner of the Silver Slugger Award. Trout is nicknamed "The Millville Meteor."

Trout was a first-round pick by the Angels in the 2009 MLB draft and made a brief major league appearance in 2011. He became a regular player for the Angels the subsequent season and won the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year Award unanimously. He is under contract with the Angels through 2020.

Trout's athleticism on the field has received praise from both the mainstream media and sabermetricians. He is regarded as one of the most outstanding young players in the history of baseball, as well as one of the best current players in all of MLB. Trout led the American League in wins above replacement (WAR) in each of his first five full seasons (according to Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference.com).Trout has led the American League in runs (2012-14, 2016) and times on base (2013, 2015-16, 2018) four times. As of 2018, he led all active major league ballplayers in career slugging percentage (.573), on base plus slugging (.990), and stolen base percentage (84.75%), and was second in career on base percentage (.416).

National League

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, (often called simply the "National Association"), the NL is sometimes called the Senior Circuit, in contrast to MLB's other league, the American League, which was founded 25 years later.

Both leagues currently have 15 teams. After two years of conflict in a "baseball war" of 1901–1902, the two leagues of 8 team franchises each, agreed in a "peace pact" to recognize each other as "major leagues", draft rules regarding player contracts, prohibiting "raiding", regulating relationships with minor leagues and lower level clubs, and with each establishing a team in the nation's largest metropolis of New York City, and the league champions of 1903 arranged to compete against each other in the new professional baseball championship tournament with the inaugural "World Series" that Fall of 1903, succeeding earlier similar national series in previous decades since the 1880s. After the 1904 champions failed to reach a similar agreement, the two leagues also formalized the new World Series tournament beginning in 1905 as an arrangement between the leagues themselves. National League teams have won 48 of the 114 World Series championships contested from 1903 to 2018.

Due to its length, the National League's full name is rarely used. Historically up until about the 1970's, the term National League was widely considered an informal term to be used for any North American major sports league that included those two words in its name, especially the National Football League (NFL) and National Hockey League (NHL). By the 21st century, that practice had mostly fallen out of favor in North America, with the terms National League and NL reserved for the baseball league and similarly-named leagues in other sports being referred to by their full names or initials.

Reggie Jackson

Reginald Martinez Jackson (born May 18, 1946) is an American former professional baseball right fielder who played 21 seasons for the Kansas City / Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, and California Angels of Major League Baseball (MLB). Jackson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993.

Jackson was nicknamed "Mr. October" for his clutch hitting in the postseason with the Athletics and the Yankees. He helped Oakland win five consecutive American League West divisional pennants, three consecutive American League pennants and three consecutive World Series titles, from 1972 to 1974. Jackson helped New York win four American League East divisional pennants, three American League pennants and two consecutive World Series titles, from 1977 to 1981. He also helped the California Angels win two AL West divisional pennants in 1982 and 1986. Jackson hit three consecutive home runs at Yankee Stadium in the clinching game six of the 1977 World Series.Jackson hit 563 career home runs and was an American League (AL) All-Star for 14 seasons. He won two Silver Slugger Awards, the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award in 1973, two World Series MVP Awards, and the Babe Ruth Award in 1977. The Yankees and Athletics retired his team uniform number in 1993 and 2004. Jackson currently serves as a special advisor to the Yankees.Jackson led his teams to first place ten times over his 21 year career.

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