The American League Championship Series (ALCS) is a best-of-seven series played in October in the Major League Baseball postseason that determines the winner of the American League (AL) pennant. The winner of the series advances to play the winner of the National League (NL) Championship Series (NLCS) in the World Series, Major League Baseball's championship series.
Prior to 1969, the American League champion (the "pennant winner") was determined by the best win-loss record at the end of the regular season. There was one ad hoc single-game playoff held, in 1948, due to a tie under this formulation. (The National League had to resolve ties four times, but used three-game playoff series.)
The ALCS started in 1969, when the AL reorganized into two divisions, East and West. The winners of each division played each other in a best-of-five series to determine who would advance to the World Series. In 1985, the format changed to best-of-seven.
In 1994, the league was restructured into three divisions, with the three division winners and a wild-card team advancing to a best-of-five postseason round, known as the American League Division Series (ALDS). The winners of that round then advanced to the best-of-seven ALCS. In 2012, the playoffs were expanded again so that two wild card teams face off in a one-game wild card round to determine which team advances to the division series, with the playoffs then continuing as it had before 2012 (though with the possibility of a fifth seed being in the playoffs and a fourth seed being out) after the end of the wild card round. This is the system currently in use.
The ALCS and NLCS, since the expansion to best-of-seven, are always played in a 2–3–2 format: Games 1, 2, 6, and 7 are played in the stadium of the team that has home field advantage, and Games 3, 4, and 5 are played in the stadium of the team that does not. The series concludes when one team records its fourth win. Since 1998, home field advantage has been given to the team that has the better regular season record, unless that team happens to be the Wild Card team. In that case, the other team gets home field advantage, because by rule the Wild Card team is never allowed home field advantage in a Division Series or LCS. In the event that both teams have identical records in the regular season, home field advantage goes to the team that has the winning head-to-head record. From 1969 to 1993, home field advantage alternated between the two divisions, and from 1995 to 1997 home field advantage was determined before the season.
The Milwaukee Brewers, an American League team between 1969 and 1997, and the Houston Astros, a National League team between 1962 and 2012, are the only franchises to play in both the ALCS and NLCS. The Astros are the only team to have won both an NLCS (2005) and an ALCS (2017). Every current American League franchise has appeared in the ALCS.
The Lee MacPhail Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is given to the outstanding player in the ALCS. No MVP award is given for Division Series play.
Although the National League began its LCS MVP award in 1977, the American League did not begin its LCS MVP award till 1980. The winners are listed (1) below in the section on "ALCS results (1969–present)", in the "Series MVP" column, (2) at League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award, and (3) on the MLB website.
Click the link on the far left for detailed information on that series.
|Wild-card team (since 1995)|
|MVP did not play for winning team|
|1969||Baltimore Orioles||Earl Weaver||Minnesota Twins||Billy Martin||3–0||NBC|
|1970||Baltimore Orioles||Earl Weaver||Minnesota Twins||Bill Rigney||3–0||NBC|
|1971||Baltimore Orioles||Earl Weaver||Oakland Athletics||Dick Williams||3–0||NBC|
|1972||Oakland Athletics||Dick Williams||Detroit Tigers||Billy Martin||3–2||NBC|
|1973||Oakland Athletics||Dick Williams||Baltimore Orioles||Earl Weaver||3–2||NBC|
|1974||Oakland Athletics||Alvin Dark||Baltimore Orioles||Earl Weaver||3–1||NBC|
|1975||Boston Red Sox||Darrell Johnson||Oakland Athletics||Alvin Dark||3–0||NBC|
|1976||New York Yankees||Billy Martin||Kansas City Royals||Whitey Herzog||3–2||ABC|
|1977||New York Yankees||Billy Martin||Kansas City Royals||Whitey Herzog||3–2||NBC|
|1978||New York Yankees||Bob Lemon||Kansas City Royals||Whitey Herzog||3–1||ABC|
|1979||Baltimore Orioles||Earl Weaver||California Angels||Jim Fregosi||3–1||NBC|
|1980||Kansas City Royals||Jim Frey||New York Yankees||Dick Howser||3–0||Frank White, Kansas City||ABC|
|1981||New York Yankees||Bob Lemon||Oakland Athletics||Billy Martin||3–0||Graig Nettles, New York||NBC|
|1982||Milwaukee Brewers||Harvey Kuenn||California Angels||Gene Mauch||3–2||Fred Lynn, California*||ABC|
|1983||Baltimore Orioles||Joe Altobelli||Chicago White Sox||Tony La Russa||3–1||Mike Boddicker, Baltimore||NBC|
|1984||Detroit Tigers||Sparky Anderson||Kansas City Royals||Dick Howser||3–0||Kirk Gibson, Detroit||ABC|
|1985||Kansas City Royals||Dick Howser||Toronto Blue Jays||Bobby Cox||4–3||George Brett, Kansas City||NBC|
|1986||Boston Red Sox||John McNamara||California Angels||Gene Mauch||4–3||Marty Barrett, Boston||ABC|
|1987||Minnesota Twins||Tom Kelly||Detroit Tigers||Sparky Anderson||4–1||Gary Gaetti, Minnesota||NBC|
|1988||Oakland Athletics||Tony La Russa||Boston Red Sox||Joe Morgan||4–0||Dennis Eckersley, Oakland||ABC|
|1989||Oakland Athletics||Tony La Russa||Toronto Blue Jays||Cito Gaston||4–1||Rickey Henderson, Oakland||NBC|
|1990||Oakland Athletics||Tony La Russa||Boston Red Sox||Joe Morgan||4–0||Dave Stewart, Oakland||CBS|
|1991||Minnesota Twins||Tom Kelly||Toronto Blue Jays||Cito Gaston||4–1||Kirby Puckett, Minnesota||CBS|
|1992||Toronto Blue Jays||Cito Gaston||Oakland Athletics||Tony La Russa||4–2||Roberto Alomar, Toronto||CBS|
|1993||Toronto Blue Jays||Cito Gaston||Chicago White Sox||Gene Lamont||4–2||Dave Stewart, Toronto||CBS|
|1995||Cleveland Indians||Mike Hargrove||Seattle Mariners||Lou Piniella||4–2||Orel Hershiser, Cleveland||ABC/NBC|
|1996||New York Yankees||Joe Torre||Baltimore Orioles wc||Davey Johnson||4–1||Bernie Williams, New York||NBC|
|1997||Cleveland Indians||Mike Hargrove||Baltimore Orioles||Davey Johnson||4–2||Marquis Grissom, Cleveland||Fox|
|1998||New York Yankees||Joe Torre||Cleveland Indians||Mike Hargrove||4–2||David Wells, New York||NBC|
|1999||New York Yankees||Joe Torre||Boston Red Sox wc||Jimy Williams||4–1||Orlando Hernández, New York||Fox|
|2000||New York Yankees||Joe Torre||Seattle Mariners wc||Lou Piniella||4–2||David Justice, New York||NBC|
|2001||New York Yankees||Joe Torre||Seattle Mariners||Lou Piniella||4–1||Andy Pettitte, New York||Fox|
|2002||Anaheim Angels wc||Mike Scioscia||Minnesota Twins||Ron Gardenhire||4–1||Adam Kennedy, Anaheim||Fox|
|2003||New York Yankees||Joe Torre||Boston Red Sox wc||Grady Little||4–3||Mariano Rivera, New York||Fox|
|2004||Boston Red Sox wc||Terry Francona||New York Yankees||Joe Torre||4–3||David Ortiz, Boston||Fox|
|2005||Chicago White Sox||Ozzie Guillén||Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim||Mike Scioscia||4–1||Paul Konerko, Chicago||Fox|
|2006||Detroit Tigers wc||Jim Leyland||Oakland Athletics||Ken Macha||4–0||Plácido Polanco, Detroit||Fox|
|2007||Boston Red Sox||Terry Francona||Cleveland Indians||Eric Wedge||4–3||Josh Beckett, Boston||Fox|
|2008||Tampa Bay Rays||Joe Maddon||Boston Red Sox wc||Terry Francona||4–3||Matt Garza, Tampa Bay||TBS|
|2009||New York Yankees||Joe Girardi||Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim||Mike Scioscia||4–2||CC Sabathia, New York||Fox|
|2010||Texas Rangers||Ron Washington||New York Yankees wc||Joe Girardi||4–2||Josh Hamilton, Texas||TBS|
|2011||Texas Rangers||Ron Washington||Detroit Tigers||Jim Leyland||4–2||Nelson Cruz, Texas||Fox|
|2012||Detroit Tigers||Jim Leyland||New York Yankees||Joe Girardi||4–0||Delmon Young, Detroit||TBS|
|2013||Boston Red Sox||John Farrell||Detroit Tigers||Jim Leyland||4–2||Koji Uehara, Boston||Fox|
|2014||Kansas City Royals wc||Ned Yost||Baltimore Orioles||Buck Showalter||4–0||Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City||TBS|
|2015||Kansas City Royals||Ned Yost||Toronto Blue Jays||John Gibbons||4–2||Alcides Escobar, Kansas City||Fox/FS1|
|2016||Cleveland Indians||Terry Francona||Toronto Blue Jays wc||John Gibbons||4–1||Andrew Miller, Cleveland||TBS|
|2017||Houston Astros||A. J. Hinch||New York Yankees wc||Joe Girardi||4–3||Justin Verlander, Houston||FS1/Fox|
|2018||Boston Red Sox||Alex Cora||Houston Astros||A. J. Hinch||4–1||Jackie Bradley Jr., Boston||TBS|
|Team||Wins||Losses||Win %||Most recent
|16||New York Yankees||11||5||.688||2009||2017||48||36||.571|
|11||Boston Red Sox||6||5||.545||2018||2018||30||32||.484|
|8||Kansas City Royals||4||4||.500||2015||2015||20||17||.541|
|7||Toronto Blue Jays||2||5||.286||1993||2016||16||24||.400|
|6||Los Angeles Angels||1||5||.167||2002||2009||13||19||.406|
|3||Chicago White Sox||1||2||.333||2005||2005||7||8||.467|
|1||Tampa Bay Rays||1||0||1.000||2008||2008||4||3||.571|
|4||Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees||Yankees, 3–1||1976, 1977, 1978, 1980|
|3||Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees||Yankees, 2–1||1999, 2003, 2004|
|3||Baltimore Orioles vs. Oakland Athletics||Athletics, 2–1||1971, 1973, 1974|
|3||Boston Red Sox vs. Oakland Athletics||Athletics, 2–1||1975, 1988, 1990|
|2||Baltimore Orioles vs. Minnesota Twins||Orioles, 2–0||1969, 1970|
|2||Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics||Tied, 1–1||1972, 2006|
|2||Kansas City Royals vs. Toronto Blue Jays||Royals, 2–0||1985, 2015|
|2||New York Yankees vs. Seattle Mariners||Yankees, 2–0||2000, 2001|
|2||Oakland Athletics vs. Toronto Blue Jays||Tied, 1–1||1989, 1992|
The 1969 American League Championship Series was the first ALCS held after Major League Baseball adopted the two-division format that season. It featured the Baltimore Orioles vs. the Minnesota Twins, with the Orioles winning the series 3–0 and advancing to the 1969 World Series, where they would lose to the New York Mets in five games. The Orioles and Twins would meet again the following year, with similar results.
This was the first of three straight appearances in the ALCS for the Orioles.1971 American League Championship Series
The 1971 American League Championship Series was a matchup between the East Division Champion Baltimore Orioles and the West Division Champion Oakland A's. The Orioles swept the A's in three games, despite the fact that each team had won 101 games. The Orioles won their third consecutive pennant in the process, but lost the 1971 World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
This was the first of ten ALCS series between 1971 and 1981 that featured either the Oakland A's or the Kansas City Royals. The only time neither team appeared in the ALCS during that period was in 1979 American League Championship Series.1973 American League Championship Series
The 1973 American League Championship Series took place between October 6 and 11, 1973. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Baltimore Orioles, three games to two. Games 1 and 2 were played in Memorial Stadium in Baltimore; Games 3–5 were played at the Oakland Coliseum. It was the second match-up between the two teams in the ALCS.1974 American League Championship Series
The 1974 American League Championship Series was a best-of-five matchup between the East Division Champion Baltimore Orioles and the West Division Champion Oakland A's. It was a rematch of the previous year's series and third overall between the two teams. The A's beat the Orioles three games to one and received their third straight pennant in the process. They defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1974 World Series and won their third straight World Series championship.1975 American League Championship Series
The 1975 American League Championship Series pitted the Boston Red Sox against the three-time defending world champion Oakland Athletics for the right to advance to the 1975 World Series. The Red Sox swept the series 3-0 to win their first AL pennant since 1967, and simultaneously end the A's run of three consecutive world championships.1976 American League Championship Series
The 1976 American League Championship Series was won by the New York Yankees, who defeated the Kansas City Royals, 3–2.1978 American League Championship Series
The 1978 American League Championship Series was held between the New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals for the third consecutive year.1980 American League Championship Series
The 1980 American League Championship Series featured the Kansas City Royals facing the team that had defeated them three straight years in the ALCS from 1976–78, the New York Yankees.1981 American League Championship Series
The 1981 American League Championship Series was a best-of-five series between the New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics.1983 American League Championship Series
The 1983 American League Championship Series was played between the Chicago White Sox and the Baltimore Orioles from October 5 to 8.
The Orioles won the series three games to one. Although the White Sox took Game 1 won by a score of 2–1, the Orioles came back to win the last three games of the series. The Orioles went on to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies in five games in the 1983 World Series. In the regular season the White Sox won the West Division by twenty games with a 99–63 record. The Orioles won the East Division by six games with a 98–64 record.1984 American League Championship Series
The 1984 American League Championship Series matched the East Division champion Detroit Tigers against the West Division champion Kansas City Royals. The Tigers prevailed three games to none, to advance to the 1984 World Series against the San Diego Padres.
Due to a strike by major league umpires, the series was played using local and collegiate umpires, with former AL umpire and league supervisor Bill Deegan working home plate for all three games.1987 American League Championship Series
The 1987 American League Championship Series pitted the Minnesota Twins, the American League West champions, against the Detroit Tigers, the American League East champions. Minnesota won the Series four games to one, en route to winning the 1987 World Series four games to three over the St. Louis Cardinals.1988 American League Championship Series
The 1988 American League Championship Series was a best-of-seven series that pitted the East Division champion Boston Red Sox against the West Division champion Oakland Athletics. It was the second meeting between the two in ALCS play. The Athletics swept the Series four games to none and would go on to lose to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1988 World Series.1990 American League Championship Series
The 1990 American League Championship Series was a best-of-seven series that matched the East Division champion Boston Red Sox against the West Division champion Oakland Athletics. For the second time in three years, the Athletics swept the Red Sox four games to none. The sweep was capped by a Roger Clemens ejection in Game 4 for arguing balls and strikes. The Athletics lost to the Cincinnati Reds in the 1990 World Series.1996 American League Championship Series
The 1996 American League Championship Series (ALCS), the second round of the 1996 American League playoffs, matched the East Division champion New York Yankees against the Wild Card team, the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees had the home field advantage in the series because they had won their division and the Orioles were the Wild Card team.1998 American League Championship Series
The 1998 American League Championship Series (ALCS), the second round of the 1998 American League playoffs, was played between the East Division champion New York Yankees and the Central Division champion Cleveland Indians.
The Yankees defeated the Indians four games to two and went on to sweep the National League champion San Diego Padres in the 1998 World Series. New York, who won 114 games during the regular season, recorded their only two losses of the 1998 postseason in this series.2003 American League Championship Series
The 2003 American League Championship Series (ALCS) was played between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees from October 8 to 16, 2003. The Yankees won the series four games to three to advance to the World Series, where they lost in six games to the National League champion Florida Marlins.League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award
The League Championship Series Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is given in each of the two annual League Championship Series, for the American and National Leagues, to the player deemed to have the most impact on his team's performance. The award has been presented in the National League since 1977, and in the American League since 1980. Dusty Baker won the inaugural award in 1977 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Frank White won the first American League award in 1980 with the Kansas City Royals. The eight Hall of Famers to win LCS MVPs include Roberto Alomar, George Brett, Dennis Eckersley, Rickey Henderson, Kirby Puckett, Ozzie Smith, Willie Stargell, and John Smoltz.
Three players have won the award twice: Steve Garvey (1978, 1984), Dave Stewart (1990, 1993), and Orel Hershiser (1988, 1995). Incidentally, all three of these players won their two awards with two different teams. Seven players have gone on to win the World Series MVP Award in the same season in which they won the LCS MVP—all of them in the National League. Three players have won while playing for the losing team in the series: Fred Lynn played for the 1982 California Angels; Mike Scott pitched for the 1986 Houston Astros; and Jeffrey Leonard played for the 1987 San Francisco Giants. Two players have shared the award in the same year three times, all in the National League; Rob Dibble and Randy Myers for the 1990 Cincinnati Reds, the Chicago Cubs' Jon Lester and Javier Báez in 2016, and Chris Taylor and Justin Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017.
Garvey, Leonard, and Albert Pujols hit four home runs in their winning series—Garvey in his first win. Adam Kennedy won the 2002 ALCS MVP for hitting 3 home runs in 5 games; he had hit 7 during the regular season and hit 80 in his 14-year career. David Ortiz had 11 runs batted in (RBI) during the 2004 ALCS and Iván Rodríguez had 10 during the 2003 NLCS—the only two players to reach double-digit RBI in the series in the history of the award. From the pitcher's mound, Steve Avery threw 161⁄3 innings without giving up a run in the 1991 NLCS, and John Smoltz amassed 19 strikeouts the following year. Liván Hernández won the 1997 NLCS MVP after winning his only start and earning a win out of the bullpen in relief; he struck out 16 in 102⁄3 innings. Daniel Murphy won the 2015 NLCS MVP after hitting home runs in six consecutive games, setting a major league record.Liván Hernández (1997, NL) and his half-brother Orlando Hernández (1999, AL) are the only family pair to have won the award. The only rookies to have won the award are Mike Boddicker (1983, AL), Liván Hernández, and Michael Wacha (2013, NL).List of American League Championship Series broadcasters
The following is a list of the national television and radio networks and announcers that have broadcast American League Championship Series games over the years. It does include any announcers who may have appeared on local broadcasts produced by the participating teams.