Major League Baseball

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization, and the oldest of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901, respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000.[7][8] The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the Major League clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.

Baseball's first openly all-professional team was founded in Cincinnati in 1869. (There had been teams in the past that paid some players, and some that had paid all players but under the table.) The first few decades of professional baseball were characterized by rivalries between leagues and by players who often jumped from one team or league to another. The period before 1920 in baseball is known as the dead-ball era; players rarely hit home runs during this time. Baseball survived a conspiracy to fix the 1919 World Series, which came to be known as the Black Sox Scandal. The sport rose in popularity in the 1920s, and survived potential downturns during the Great Depression and World War II. Shortly after the war, Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier.

The 1950s and 1960s were a time of expansion for the AL and NL, then new stadiums and artificial turf surfaces began to change the game in the 1970s and 1980s. Home runs dominated the game during the 1990s, and media reports began to discuss the use of anabolic steroids among Major League players in the mid-2000s. In 2006, an investigation produced the Mitchell Report, which implicated many players in the use of performance-enhancing substances, including at least one player from each team.

Today, MLB is composed of 30 teams: 29 in the United States and 1 in Canada. Teams play 162 games each season and five teams in each league advance to a four-round postseason tournament that culminates in the World Series, a best-of-seven championship series between the two league champions that dates to 1903. Baseball broadcasts are aired on television, radio, and the Internet throughout North America and in several other countries throughout the world. MLB has the highest season attendance of any sports league in the world with more than 69.6 million spectators in 2018.[9]

Major League Baseball
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2019 Major League Baseball season
Major League Baseball logo
SportBaseball
Founded1903[1]
(National League, 1876)[2]
(American League, 1901)[2]
CommissionerRob Manfred[3]
No. of teams30[4]
CountriesUnited States (29 teams)
Canada (1 team)
HeadquartersNew York City, New York, United States
Most recent
champion(s)
Boston Red Sox
(9th title)
Most titlesNew York Yankees
(27 titles)[5]
TV partner(s)
Official websitemlb.com

Organizational structure

MLB is governed by the Major League Baseball Constitution. This document has undergone several incarnations since its creation in 1876.[10] Under the direction of the Commissioner of Baseball, MLB hires and maintains the sport's umpiring crews, and negotiates marketing, labor, and television contracts. MLB maintains a unique, controlling relationship over the sport, including most aspects of Minor League Baseball. This is due in large part to the 1922 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Federal Baseball Club v. National League, which held that baseball is not interstate commerce and therefore not subject to federal antitrust law. This ruling has been weakened only slightly in subsequent years.[11] The weakened ruling granted more stability to the owners of teams and has resulted in values increasing at double-digit rates.[11][12] There were several challenges to MLB's primacy in the sport between the 1870s and the Federal League in 1916; the last attempt at a new major league was the aborted Continental League in 1960.[11]

The chief executive of MLB is the commissioner, currently Rob Manfred. The chief operating officer is Tony Petitti. There are five other executives: president (business and media), chief communications officer, chief legal officer, chief financial officer, and chief baseball officer.[13][14]

The multimedia branch of MLB, which is based in Manhattan, is MLB Advanced Media. This branch oversees MLB.com and each of the 30 teams' websites. Its charter states that MLB Advanced Media holds editorial independence from the league, but it is under the same ownership group and revenue-sharing plan. MLB Productions is a similarly structured wing of the league, focusing on video and traditional broadcast media. MLB also owns 67 percent of MLB Network, with the other 33 percent split between several cable operators and satellite provider DirecTV.[15] It operates out of studios in Secaucus, New Jersey, and also has editorial independence from the league.[16]

League organization

In 1920, the weak National Commission, which had been created to manage relationships between the two leagues, was replaced with the much more powerful Commissioner of Baseball, who had the power to make decisions for all of professional baseball unilaterally.[17] From 1901 to 1960, the American and National Leagues fielded eight teams apiece.

In the 1960s, MLB expansion added eight teams, including the first non-U.S. team (the Montreal Expos). Two teams (the Seattle Mariners and the Toronto Blue Jays) were also added in the 1970s. From 1969 through 1993, each league consisted of an East and West Division. A third division, the Central Division, was formed in each league in 1994. Until 1996, the two leagues met on the field only during the World Series and the All-Star Game. Regular-season interleague play was introduced in 1997.[18]

In March 1995 two new franchises, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (now known as the Tampa Bay Rays), were awarded by MLB, to begin play in 1998. This addition brought the total number of franchises to 30. In early 1997, MLB decided to assign one new team to each league: Tampa Bay joined the AL and Arizona joined the NL. The original plan was to have an odd number of teams in each league (15 per league, with five in each division), but in order for every team to be able to play daily, this would have required interleague play to be scheduled throughout the entire season. However, it was unclear at the time if interleague play would continue after the 1998 season, as it had to be approved by the players' union. For this and other reasons, it was decided that both leagues should continue to have an even number of teams; one existing club would have to switch leagues. The Milwaukee Brewers agreed in November 1997 to move from the AL to the NL, thereby making the NL a 16-team league. At the same time, the Detroit Tigers agreed to move from the AL East to the AL Central (to replace Milwaukee), with the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays joining the AL East.[19] Later, when the Houston Astros changed ownership prior to the 2013 season, the team moved from the NL Central to the AL West,[20][21] resulting in both leagues having three divisions of five teams each and allowing all teams to have a more balanced schedule.[20] Interleague play is now held throughout the season.[20]

In 2000 the AL and NL were dissolved as legal entities, and MLB became a single, overall league de jure, similar to the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL)—albeit with two components called "leagues" instead of "conferences." The same rules and regulations are used in both leagues, with one exception: the AL operates under the designated hitter rule, while the NL does not.[22][23] This difference in rules between leagues is unique to MLB; the other sports leagues of the U.S. and Canada have one set of rules for all teams.

Teams

Major League Baseball team locations
Division Team City Stadium Capacity Coordinates Founded Joined Ref
American League
East Baltimore Orioles Baltimore, Maryland Oriole Park at Camden Yards 45,971 39°17′2″N 76°37′18″W / 39.28389°N 76.62167°W 1901* [24]
Boston Red Sox Boston, Massachusetts Fenway Park 37,949 42°20′47″N 71°5′51″W / 42.34639°N 71.09750°W 1901 [25]
New York Yankees New York City, New York Yankee Stadium 49,638 40°49′45″N 73°55′35″W / 40.82917°N 73.92639°W 1901* [26]
Tampa Bay Rays St. Petersburg, Florida Tropicana Field 31,042 27°46′6″N 82°39′12″W / 27.76833°N 82.65333°W 1998 [27]
Toronto Blue Jays Toronto, Ontario Rogers Centre 49,282 43°38′29″N 79°23′21″W / 43.64139°N 79.38917°W 1977 [28]
Central Chicago White Sox Chicago, Illinois Guaranteed Rate Field 40,615 41°49′48″N 87°38′2″W / 41.83000°N 87.63389°W 1901 [29]
Cleveland Indians Cleveland, Ohio Progressive Field 35,225 41°29′45″N 81°41′7″W / 41.49583°N 81.68528°W 1901 [30]
Detroit Tigers Detroit, Michigan Comerica Park 41,297 42°20′21″N 83°2′55″W / 42.33917°N 83.04861°W 1901 [31]
Kansas City Royals Kansas City, Missouri Kauffman Stadium 37,903 39°3′5″N 94°28′50″W / 39.05139°N 94.48056°W 1969 [32]
Minnesota Twins Minneapolis, Minnesota Target Field 38,871 44°58′54″N 93°16′42″W / 44.98167°N 93.27833°W 1901* [33]
West Houston Astros Houston, Texas Minute Maid Park 41,676 29°45′25″N 95°21′20″W / 29.75694°N 95.35556°W 1962 (NL) 2013 (AL) [34]
Los Angeles Angels Anaheim, California Angel Stadium 45,957 33°48′1″N 117°52′58″W / 33.80028°N 117.88278°W 1961 [35]
Oakland Athletics Oakland, California RingCentral Coliseum 35,067 37°45′6″N 122°12′2″W / 37.75167°N 122.20056°W 1901* [36]
Seattle Mariners Seattle, Washington T-Mobile Park 47,943 47°35′29″N 122°19′57″W / 47.59139°N 122.33250°W 1977 [37]
Texas Rangers Arlington, Texas Globe Life Park in Arlington 48,114 32°45′5″N 97°4′58″W / 32.75139°N 97.08278°W 1961* [38]
National League
East Atlanta Braves Atlanta, Georgia SunTrust Park 41,500 33°53′24″N 84°28′4″W / 33.89000°N 84.46778°W 1871* (NA) 1876 (NL) [39]
Miami Marlins Miami, Florida Marlins Park 36,742 25°46′41″N 80°13′11″W / 25.77806°N 80.21972°W 1993 [40]
New York Mets New York City, New York Citi Field 41,922 40°45′25″N 73°50′45″W / 40.75694°N 73.84583°W 1962 [41]
Philadelphia Phillies Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Citizens Bank Park 43,651 39°54′21″N 75°9′59″W / 39.90583°N 75.16639°W 1883 [42]
Washington Nationals Washington, D.C. Nationals Park 41,313 38°52′22″N 77°0′27″W / 38.87278°N 77.00750°W 1969* [43]
Central Chicago Cubs Chicago, Illinois Wrigley Field 41,268 41°56′54″N 87°39′20″W / 41.94833°N 87.65556°W 1874 (NA) 1876 (NL) [44]
Cincinnati Reds Cincinnati, Ohio Great American Ball Park 42,319 39°5′51″N 84°30′24″W / 39.09750°N 84.50667°W 1882 (AA) 1890 (NL) [45]
Milwaukee Brewers Milwaukee, Wisconsin Miller Park 41,900 43°1′42″N 87°58′16″W / 43.02833°N 87.97111°W 1969* (AL) 1998 (NL) [46]
Pittsburgh Pirates Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania PNC Park 38,362 40°26′49″N 80°0′21″W / 40.44694°N 80.00583°W 1882 (AA) 1887 (NL) [47]
St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis, Missouri Busch Stadium 43,975 38°37′21″N 90°11′35″W / 38.62250°N 90.19306°W 1882 (AA) 1892 (NL) [48]
West Arizona Diamondbacks Phoenix, Arizona Chase Field 48,519 33°26′43″N 112°4′1″W / 33.44528°N 112.06694°W 1998 [49]
Colorado Rockies Denver, Colorado Coors Field 50,398 39°45′22″N 104°59′39″W / 39.75611°N 104.99417°W 1993 [50]
Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles, California Dodger Stadium 56,000 34°4′25″N 118°14′24″W / 34.07361°N 118.24000°W 1884* (AA) 1890 (NL) [51]
San Diego Padres San Diego, California Petco Park 40,162 32°42′26″N 117°9′24″W / 32.70722°N 117.15667°W 1969 [52]
San Francisco Giants San Francisco, California Oracle Park 41,915 37°46′43″N 122°23′21″W / 37.77861°N 122.38917°W 1883* [53]

An asterisk (*) denotes a relocation of a franchise. See respective team articles for more information.

History

Founding

In the 1860s, aided by soldiers playing the game in camp during the Civil War, "New York"-style baseball expanded into a national game and spawned baseball's first governing body, The National Association of Base Ball Players. The NABBP existed as an amateur league for 12 years. By 1867, more than 400 clubs were members. Most of the strongest clubs remained those based in the northeastern U.S. For professional baseball's founding year, MLB uses the year 1869—when the first professional team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, was established.[54]

A schism developed between professional and amateur ballplayers after the founding of the Cincinnati club. The NABBP split into an amateur organization and a professional organization. The National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, often known as the National Association (NA), was formed in 1871.[55] Its amateur counterpart disappeared after only a few years.[56] The modern Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves franchises trace their histories back to the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players in the 1870s.[57]

In 1876, the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs (later known as the National League or NL) was established after the NA proved ineffective. The league placed its emphasis on clubs rather than on players. Clubs could now enforce player contracts, preventing players from jumping to higher-paying clubs. Clubs were required to play the full schedule of games instead of forfeiting scheduled games when the club was no longer in the running for the league championship, which happened frequently under the NA. A concerted effort was made to curb gambling on games, which was leaving the validity of results in doubt. The first game in the NL—on Saturday, April 22, 1876 (at the Jefferson Street Grounds, Philadelphia)—is often pointed to as the beginning of MLB.[2][58]

1896 Baltimore Orioles
National League Baltimore Orioles, 1896

The early years of the NL were tumultuous, with threats from rival leagues and a rebellion by players against the hated "reserve clause", which restricted the free movement of players between clubs. Competitor leagues formed regularly and also disbanded regularly. The most successful was the American Association (1882–1891), sometimes called the "beer and whiskey league" for its tolerance of the sale of alcoholic beverages to spectators. For several years, the NL and American Association champions met in a postseason championship series—the first attempt at a World Series. The two leagues merged in 1892 as a single 12-team NL, but the NL dropped four teams after the 1899 season. This led to the formation of the American League in 1901 under AL president Ban Johnson, and the resulting bidding war for players led to widespread contract-breaking and legal disputes.

The war between the AL and NL caused shock waves throughout the baseball world. At a meeting at the Leland Hotel in Chicago in 1901, the other baseball leagues negotiated a plan to maintain their independence. A new National Association was formed to oversee these minor leagues.[59] While the NA continues to this day (known as Minor League Baseball), at the time Ban Johnson saw it as a tool to end threats from smaller rivals who might expand in other territories and threaten his league's dominance.

After 1902, the NL, AL, and NA signed a new National Agreement which tied independent contracts to the reserve-clause contracts. The agreement also set up a formal classification system for minor leagues, the forerunner of today's system that was refined by Branch Rickey.[60]

Several other early defunct baseball leagues are officially considered major leagues, and their statistics and records are included with those of the two current major leagues. These include the AA, the Union Association (1884),[61] the Players' League (1890),[62] and the Federal League (1914–1915).[63][64] Both the UA and AA are considered major leagues by many baseball researchers because of the perceived high caliber of play and the number of star players featured. Some researchers, including Nate Silver, dispute the major-league status of the UA by pointing out that franchises came and went and that the St. Louis club was deliberately "stacked"; the St. Louis club was owned by the league's president and it was the only club that was close to major-league caliber.[65]

Dead-ball era

T205 Cy Young
Cy Young, 1911 baseball card

The period between 1900 and 1919 is commonly referred to as the "Dead-Ball Era." Games of this era tended to be low scoring and were often dominated by pitchers, such as Walter Johnson, Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, Mordecai Brown, and Grover Cleveland Alexander. The term also accurately describes the condition of the baseball itself. The baseball used American rather than the modern Australian wool yarn and was not wound as tightly, affecting the distance that it would travel.[66] More significantly, balls were kept in play until they were mangled, soft and sometimes lopsided. During this era, a baseball cost three dollars, equal to $43.35 today (in inflation-adjusted U.S. dollars), and owners were reluctant to purchase new balls. Fans were expected to throw back fouls and (rare) home runs. Baseballs also became stained with tobacco juice, grass, and mud, and sometimes the juice of licorice, which some players would chew for the purpose of discoloring the ball.[67]

Also, pitchers could manipulate the ball through the use of the spitball. (In 1921 use of this pitch was restricted to a few pitchers with a grandfather clause). Additionally, many ballparks had large dimensions, such as the West Side Grounds of the Chicago Cubs, which was 560 feet (170 m) to the center field fence, and the Huntington Avenue Grounds of the Boston Red Sox, which was 635 feet (194 m) to the center field fence, thus home runs were rare, and "small ball" tactics such as singles, bunts, stolen bases, and the hit-and-run play dominated the strategies of the time.[68] Hitting methods like the Baltimore Chop were used to increase the number of infield singles.[69] On a successful Baltimore chop, the batter hits the ball forcefully into the ground, causing it to bounce so high that the batter reaches first base before the ball can be fielded and thrown to the first baseman.[70]

The adoption of the foul strike rule in the early twentieth century quickly sent baseball from a high-scoring game to one where scoring runs became a struggle. Prior to the institution of this rule, foul balls were not counted as strikes: a batter could foul off any number of pitches with no strikes counted against him; this gave an enormous advantage to the batter. In 1901, the NL adopted the foul strike rule, and the AL followed suit in 1903.[71]

After the 1919 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds, baseball was rocked by allegations of a game fixing scheme known as the Black Sox Scandal. Eight players—Joe Jackson, Eddie Cicotte, Claude "Lefty" Williams, George "Buck" Weaver, Arnold "Chick" Gandil, Fred McMullin, Charles "Swede" Risberg, and Oscar "Happy" Felsch—intentionally lost the World Series in exchange for a ring worth $100,000 ($1,064,705.88 in 2016 dollars).[72] Despite being acquitted, all were permanently banned from Major League Baseball.[73]

Rise in popularity

Baseball's popularity increased in the 1920s and 1930s. The 1920 season was notable for the death of Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians. Chapman, who was struck in the head by a pitch and died a few hours later, became the only MLB player to die of an on-field injury, a tragedy which led directly to both leagues requiring the placing into play new, white baseballs whenever a ball became scuffed or dirty, helping bring the "dead-ball" era to an end. The following year, the New York Yankees made their first World Series appearance.[74] By the end of the 1930s, the team had appeared in 11 World Series, winning eight of them.[75] Yankees slugger Babe Ruth had set the single season home run record in 1927, hitting 60 home runs; a few years earlier, Ruth had set the same record with 29 home runs.[76]

Affected by the difficulties of the Great Depression, baseball's popularity had begun a downward turn in the early 1930s. By 1932, only two MLB teams turned a profit. Attendance had fallen, due at least in part to a 10% federal amusement tax added to baseball ticket prices. Baseball owners cut their rosters from 25 men to 23 men, and even the best players took pay cuts. Team executives were innovative in their attempts to survive, creating night games, broadcasting games live by radio and rolling out promotions such as free admission for women. Throughout the period of the Great Depression, no MLB teams moved or folded.[77]

World War II era

The onset of World War II created a significant shortage of professional baseball players, as more than 500 men left MLB teams to serve in the military. Many of them played on service baseball teams that entertained military personnel in the US or in the Pacific. MLB teams of this time largely consisted of young men, older players, and those with a military classification of 4F, indicating mental, physical, or moral unsuitability for service. Men like Pete Gray, a one-armed outfielder, got the chance to advance to the major leagues. However, MLB rosters did not include any black players through the end of the war.[78] Black players, many of whom served in the war, were still restricted to playing Negro league baseball.[79]

Wartime blackout restrictions, designed to keep outdoor lighting at low levels, caused another problem for baseball. These rules limited traveling and night games to the point that the 1942 season nearly had to be canceled.[79] On January 14, 1942, MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis wrote a letter to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and pleaded for the continuation of baseball during the war in hopes for a start of a new major league season. President Roosevelt responded, "I honestly feel that it would be best for the country to keep baseball going. There will be fewer people unemployed and everybody will work longer hours and harder than ever before. And that means that they ought to have a chance for recreation and for taking their minds off their work even more than before."[80]

With the approval of President Roosevelt, spring training began in 1942 with few repercussions. The war interrupted the careers of stars including Stan Musial, Bob Feller, Ted Williams, and Joe DiMaggio, but baseball clubs continued to field their teams.[81]

Breaking the color barrier

Branch Rickey, president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, began making efforts to introduce a black baseball player to the previously all-white professional baseball leagues in the mid-1940s. He selected Jackie Robinson from a list of promising Negro league players. After obtaining a commitment from Robinson to "turn the other cheek" to any racial antagonism directed at him, Rickey agreed to sign him to a contract for $600 a month. In what was later referred to as "The Noble Experiment", Robinson was the first black baseball player in the International League since the 1880s, joining the Dodgers' farm club, the Montreal Royals, for the 1946 season.[82]

The following year, the Dodgers called up Robinson to the major leagues. On April 15, 1947, Robinson made his major league debut at Ebbets Field before a crowd of 26,623 spectators, including more than 14,000 black patrons. Black baseball fans began flocking to see the Dodgers when they came to town, abandoning the Negro league teams that they had followed exclusively. Robinson's promotion met a generally positive, although mixed, reception among newspaper writers and white major league players. Manager Leo Durocher informed his team, "I do not care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a fuckin' zebra. I'm the manager of this team, and I say he plays. What's more, I say he can make us all rich. And if any of you cannot use the money, I will see that you are all traded."[83]

After a strike threat by some players, NL President Ford Frick and Baseball Commissioner Happy Chandler let it be known that any striking players would be suspended. Robinson received significant encouragement from several major league players, including Dodgers teammate Pee Wee Reese who said, "You can hate a man for many reasons. Color is not one of them."[84] That year, Robinson won the inaugural Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award (separate NL and AL Rookie of the Year honors were not awarded until 1949).[85]

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.[86] The next year, a number of other black players entered the major leagues. Satchel Paige was signed by the Indians and the Dodgers added star catcher Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe, who was later the first winner of the Cy Young Award for his outstanding pitching.[87]

Women in baseball

MLB banned the signing of women to contracts in 1952, but that ban was lifted in 1992.[88] As of 2019, there have been no female MLB players.

Expanding west, south and north

From 1903 to 1953, the two major leagues consisted of two eight-team leagues. The 16 teams were located in ten cities, all in the northeastern and midwestern United States: New York City had three teams and Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and St. Louis each had two teams. St. Louis was the southernmost and westernmost city with a major league team. The longest possible road trip, from Boston to St. Louis, took about 24 hours by railroad. In 1953, the NL's Boston Braves became the Milwaukee Braves. In 1954, the St. Louis Browns became the Baltimore Orioles. In 1955, the Philadelphia Athletics became the Kansas City Athletics.

Baseball experts consider the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers' boss Walter O'Malley to be "perhaps the most influential owner of baseball's early expansion era."[89] Before the 1958 Major League Baseball season, he moved the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles.[90] When O'Malley moved the Dodgers from Brooklyn, he appeared on the cover of Time.[91] O'Malley was also influential in persuading the rival New York Giants to move west to become the San Francisco Giants. The Giants were already suffering from slumping attendance records at their aging ballpark, the Polo Grounds. Had the Dodgers moved out west alone, the St. Louis Cardinals—1,600 mi (2,575 km) away[92][93]—would have been the closest NL team. The joint move made West Coast road trips economical for visiting teams.[94] O'Malley invited San Francisco Mayor George Christopher to New York to meet with Giants owner Horace Stoneham.[94] Stoneham was considering moving the Giants to Minnesota,[95] but he was convinced to join O'Malley on the West Coast at the end of 1957. The meetings between Stoneham, Christopher and O'Malley occurred against the wishes of Ford Frick, the Commissioner of Baseball.[96] The dual moves were successful for both franchises—and for MLB.[90] The Dodgers set a single-game MLB attendance record in their first home appearance with 78,672 fans.[94]

In 1961, the first Washington Senators franchise moved to Minneapolis–St. Paul to become the Minnesota Twins. Two new teams were added to the American League at the same time: the Los Angeles Angels (who soon moved from downtown L.A. to nearby Anaheim) and a new Washington Senators franchise. The NL added the Houston Astros and the New York Mets in 1962. The Astros (known as the "Colt .45s" during their first three seasons) became the first southern major league franchise since the Louisville Colonels folded in 1899 and the first franchise to be located along the Gulf Coast. The Mets established a reputation for futility by going 40–120 during their first season of play in the nation's media capital—and by playing only a little better in subsequent campaigns—but in their eighth season (1969) the Mets became the first of the 1960s expansion teams to play in the postseason, culminating in a World Series title over the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles.

In 1966, the major leagues moved to the "Deep South" when the Braves moved to Atlanta. In 1968, the Kansas City Athletics moved west to become the Oakland Athletics. In 1969, the American and National Leagues both added two expansion franchises. The American League added the Seattle Pilots (who became the Milwaukee Brewers after one disastrous season in Seattle) and the Kansas City Royals. The NL added the first Canadian franchise, the Montreal Expos, as well as the San Diego Padres.

In 1972, the second Washington Senators moved to the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex to become the Texas Rangers. In 1977, baseball expanded again, adding a second Canadian team, the Toronto Blue Jays, as well as the Seattle Mariners. Subsequently, no new teams were added until the 1990s and no teams moved until 2005.

Pitching dominance and rule changes

MLB runs
Graph showing, by year, the average number of runs per MLB game

By the late 1960s, the balance between pitching and hitting had swung in favor of the pitchers. In 1968—later nicknamed "the year of the pitcher"[97]—Boston Red Sox player Carl Yastrzemski won the American League batting title with an average of just .301, the lowest in the history of Major League Baseball.[98] Detroit Tigers pitcher Denny McLain won 31 games, making him the only pitcher to win 30 games in a season since Dizzy Dean in 1934.[99] St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Bob Gibson achieved an equally remarkable feat by allowing an ERA of just 1.12.[100]

Following these pitching performances, in December 1968 the MLB Playing Rules Committee voted to reduce the strike zone from knees to shoulders to top of knees to armpits and lower the pitcher's mound from 15 to 10 inches, beginning in the 1969 season.[101]

In 1973, the American League, which had been suffering from much lower attendance than the National League, sought to increase scoring even further by initiating the designated hitter (DH) rule.[102]

New stadiums and artificial surfaces

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, as baseball expanded, NFL football had been surging in popularity, making it economical for many of these cities to build multi-purpose stadiums instead of single-purpose baseball fields. Because of climate and economic issues, many of these facilities had playing surfaces made from artificial turf, as well as the oval designs characteristic of stadiums designed to house both baseball and football.[103] This often resulted in baseball fields with relatively more foul territory than older stadiums. These characteristics changed the nature of professional baseball, putting a higher premium on speed and defense over home-run hitting power, since the fields were often too big for teams to expect to hit many home runs and foul balls hit in the air could more easily be caught for outs.

Teams began to be built around pitching—particularly their bullpens—and speed on the basepaths. Artificial surfaces meant balls traveled quicker and bounced higher, so it became easier to hit ground balls "in the hole" between the corner and middle infielders. Starting pitchers were no longer expected to throw complete games; it was enough for a starter to pitch 6–7 innings and turn the game over to the team's closer, a position which grew in importance over these decades. As stolen bases increased, home run totals dropped. After Willie Mays hit 52 home runs in 1965, only one player (George Foster) reached that mark until the 1990s.

Scandals and a changing game

During the 1980s, baseball experienced a number of significant changes the game had not seen in years. Home runs were on the decline throughout the decade, with players hitting only 40 home runs just 13 times and no one hitting more than 50 home runs in a season for the first time since the Dead-ball era (1900—1919).[104][105] Teams instead focused on building their rosters around speed and defense.

The 1981 Major League Baseball strike from June 12 until July 31 forced the cancellation of 713 total games and resulted in a split-season format.

In 1985, Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb's all-time hits record with his 4,192nd hit, and in 1989 Rose received a lifetime ban from baseball as a result of betting on baseball games while manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Rose was the first person to receive a lifetime ban from baseball since 1943.[104][106] 1985 also saw the Pittsburgh drug trials which involved players who were called to testify before a grand jury in Pittsburgh related to cocaine trafficking. Eleven players were officially suspended, but all the suspensions were commuted in exchange for fines, drug testing, and community service.

Steroid era and further expansion

Routinely in the late 1990s and early 2000s, baseball players hit 40 or 50 home runs in a season, a feat that was considered rare even in the 1980s. It has since become apparent that at least some of this power surge was a result of players using steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

In 1993, the NL added the Florida Marlins in the Miami area and the Colorado Rockies in Denver. In 1998, the Brewers switched leagues by joining the National League and two new teams were added: the NL's Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix and the American League's Tampa Bay Devil Rays in St. Petersburg, Florida.

After the 2001 season, the team owners voted in favor of contraction. Several MLB teams had been considered for elimination in early talks about contraction, but the Montreal Expos and the Minnesota Twins were the two teams that came closest to folding under the plan. Plans for MLB contraction were halted when the Twins landlord was awarded a court injunction that required the team to play its 2002 home games at their stadium. MLB owners agreed to hold off on reducing the league's size until at least 2006.[107]

The Montreal Expos became the first franchise in over three decades to move when they became the Washington Nationals in 2005. This move left Canada with just one team, but it also returned baseball to the United States capital city after a 33-year absence. This franchise shift, like many previous ones, involved baseball's return to a city which had been previously abandoned. Not counting the short-lived Federal League, Montreal is the only city granted an MLB franchise since 1901 that does not currently host a team.

Uniforms

Baseball1870s
A baseball team and its uniforms in the 1870s. Note that the team is integrated, in contrast to 20th century MLB, which was segregated until 1947.

A baseball uniform is a type of uniform worn by baseball players, and by some non-playing personnel, such as field managers and coaches. It is worn to indicate the person's role in the game and—through the use of logos, colors, and numbers—to identify the teams and their players, managers, and coaches.[108]

Traditionally, home uniforms display the team name on the front, while away uniforms display the team's home location. In modern times, however, exceptions to this pattern have become common, with teams using their team name on both uniforms.[109] Most teams also have one or more alternate uniforms, usually consisting of the primary or secondary team color on the vest instead of the usual white or gray.[109] In the past few decades throwback uniforms have become popular.[110]

The New York Knickerbockers were the first baseball team to use uniforms, taking the field on April 4, 1849, in pants made of blue wool, white flannel shirts (jerseys) and straw hats.[111][112][113] Caps and other types of headgear have been a part of baseball uniforms from the beginning.[114][115] Baseball teams often wore full-brimmed straw hats or no cap at all since there was no official rule regarding headgear.[116] Under the 1882 uniform rules, players on the same team wore uniforms of different colors and patterns that indicated which position they played.[117]

In the late 1880s, the Detroit Wolverines and Washington Nationals of the National League and the Brooklyn Bridegrooms of the American Association were the first to wear striped uniforms.[118] By the end of the 19th century, teams began the practice of having two different uniforms, one for when they played at home in their own baseball stadium and a different one for when they played away (on the road) at the other team's ballpark.[109] It became common to wear white pants with a white color vest at home and gray pants with a gray or solid (dark) colored vest when away.[109] By 1900, both home and away uniforms were standard across the major leagues.[119]

Season structure

Spring training

Spring training
A Grapefruit League game at the former Los Angeles Dodgers camp in Vero Beach, Florida

Spring training is a series of practices and exhibition games preceding the start of the regular season. Teams hold training camps in the states of Arizona and Florida, where the early warm weather allows teams to practice and play without worrying about late winter cold. Spring training allows new players to audition for roster and position spots, and gives existing team players practice time prior to competitive play. The teams that hold spring training in Arizona are grouped into the Cactus League,[120] while teams that hold camp in Florida are known as the Grapefruit League.[121] Spring training has always attracted fan attention, drawing crowds who travel to the warmer climates to enjoy the weather and watch their favorite teams play, and spring training usually coincides with spring break for many college students. Autograph seekers also find greater access to players during spring training.

Spring training typically lasts almost two months, starting in mid February and running until just before the season opening day, traditionally the first week of April. As pitchers benefit from a longer training period, pitchers and catchers begin spring training several days before the rest of the team.[122]

Regular season

The current MLB regular season, consisting of 162 games per team, typically begins on the first Sunday in April and ends on the first Sunday in October. Each team's schedule is typically organized into three-game series, with occasional two- or four-game series.[123] Postponed games or continuations of suspended games can result in an ad hoc one-game or five-game series. A team's series are organized into homestands and road trips that group multiple series together. Teams generally play games five to seven days per week, commonly having Monday or Thursday as an off day. Frequently, games are scheduled at night. Sunday games are generally played during the afternoon, allowing teams to travel to their next destination prior to a Monday night game. In addition, teams will play day games frequently on Opening Day, holidays, and getaway days.

Each team plays 19 games against each of its four divisional opponents. It plays one home series and one away series, amounting to six or seven games, against the 10 other teams in its league. A team also plays one of the divisions in the other league, rotating each year, with two opponents in a three-game home series, two in a three-game away series, and one with four games split between home and away. Furthermore, each team has an interleague "natural rival" (in many cases its counterpart in the same metro area) with which it plays two home games and two away games each year.

With an odd number of teams in each league (15), it is necessary to have two teams participate in interleague play for most days in the season, except when two or more teams have a day off. Each team plays 20 interleague games throughout the season, usually with just one interleague game per day, but for one weekend in late May all teams will participate in an interleague series. Use of the DH rule is determined by the home team's league rules. Before 2013, interleague play was structured differently: there would be one weekend in mid-May and another period consisting typically of the last two-thirds of June in which all teams played interleague games (save for two NL teams each day), and no interleague games were scheduled outside those dates. (Before 2013, season-long interleague play was not necessary, because each league had an even number of teams. In 2013, the Houston Astros moved to the American League, so that each league would have 15 teams.)

Over the course of a season, teams compete for one of the five playoff berths in their league. They can win one of these berths by either winning their division, or by capturing a wild card spot.[124]

After the conclusion of the 162-game season, an additional tie-breaking game (or games) may be needed to determine postseason participation.[125]

All-Star Game

President attends the 32nd All-Star Baseball Game, throws out first ball. Speaker of the House John W. McCormack... - NARA - 194250
President John F. Kennedy throwing out the first pitch at the 1962 All-Star Game at DC Stadium

In early-to-mid July, just after the midway point of the season, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game is held during a four-day break from the regular-season schedule. The All-Star Game features a team of players from the American League (AL)—led by the manager of the previous AL World Series team—and a team of players from the National League (NL), similarly managed, in an exhibition game. From 1959 to 1962, two games were held each season, one was held in July and one was held in August. The designated-hitter rule was used in the All-Star Game for the first time in 1989. Following games used a DH when the game was played in an AL ballpark. Since 2010, the DH rule has been in effect regardless of venue.[126]

The first official All-Star Game was held as part of the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago, Illinois, and was the idea of Arch Ward, then sports editor for The Chicago Tribune.[127] Initially intended to be a one-time event, its great success resulted in making the game an annual one. Ward's contribution was recognized by Major League Baseball in 1962 with the creation of the "Arch Ward Trophy", given to the All-Star Game's Most Valuable Player each year.[128] (In 1970, it was renamed the Commissioner's Trophy, until 1985, when the name change was reversed. In 2002, it was renamed the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award.)

Beginning in 1947, the eight position players in each team's starting lineup have been voted into the game by fans.[127] The fan voting was discontinued after a 1957 ballot-box-stuffing scandal in Cincinnati: seven of the eight slots originally went to Reds players, two of whom were subsequently removed from the lineup to make room for Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. Fan voting was reinstated in 1970 and has continued ever since, including Internet voting in recent years.

The 2002 contest in Milwaukee controversially ended in an 11-inning tie when both managers ran out of pitchers. In response, starting in 2003 the league which wins the All-Star game received home-field advantage in the World Series: the league champion hosted the first two games at its own ballpark as well as the last two (if necessary). The National League did not win an All-Star game and thus gain home-field advantage until 2010; it was able to overcome this disadvantage and win in three of the seven World Series from 2003 to 2009.[129][130] This was discontinued after the 2016 season.

MLB All-Stars from both leagues have worn uniforms from their respective teams at the game with one exception. In the 1933 All-Star Game, the National League All-Star Team members wore special gray uniforms with "National League" written in navy blue letters across the front of the jersey.[131][132]

Postseason

World Series Records
Team Number
of Series
won
Last
Series
won
Series
played
New York Yankees (AL) † 27 2009 40
St. Louis Cardinals (NL) 11 2011 19
Boston Red Sox (AL) † 9 2018 14
Oakland Athletics (AL) † 9 1989 14
San Francisco Giants (NL) † 8 2014 20
Los Angeles Dodgers (NL) † 6 1988 20
Cincinnati Reds (NL) 5 1990 9
Pittsburgh Pirates (NL) 5 1979 7
Detroit Tigers (AL) 4 1984 11
Chicago Cubs (NL) 3 2016 11
Atlanta Braves (NL) † 3 1995 9
Baltimore Orioles (AL) † 3 1983 7
Minnesota Twins (AL) † 3 1991 6
Chicago White Sox (AL) 3 2005 5
Philadelphia Phillies (NL) 2 2008 7
Cleveland Indians (AL) 2 1948 6
New York Mets (NL) 2 1986 5
Kansas City Royals (AL) 2 2015 4
Toronto Blue Jays (AL) 2 1993 2
Miami Marlins (NL) † 2 2003 2
Houston Astros (NL to AL, 2013) 1 [AL] 2017 2
(1 [NL], 1 [AL])
Arizona Diamondbacks (NL) 1 2001 1
Los Angeles Angels (AL) † 1 2002 1
San Diego Padres (NL) 0   2
Texas Rangers (AL) † 0   2
Milwaukee Brewers (AL to NL, 1998) 0   1 [AL]
Colorado Rockies (NL) 0   1
Tampa Bay Rays (AL) † 0   1
Seattle Mariners (AL) 0   0
Washington Nationals (NL) † 0   0
AL=American League
NL=National League
† Totals include a team's record in a previous city or under another name
(see team article for details).
‡ Have not yet played in a World Series.
More detail at World Series and List of World Series champions
Source: MLB.com

When the regular season ends after the first Sunday in October (or the last Sunday in September), ten teams enter the postseason playoffs. These ten teams consist of six teams that are division champions by earning the best regular season overall win-loss record for their respective divisions, and four who are "wild-card" teams that are each one of two teams in their respective leagues who have earned the best regular season win-loss record, but are not division champions. Four rounds of series of games are played to determine the champion:

  1. Wild Card Game, a one-game playoff between the two wild-card teams in each league.
  2. American League Division Series and National League Division Series, each a best-of-five-games series.
  3. American League Championship Series and National League Championship Series, each a best-of-seven-games series played between the winning teams from the Division Series. The league champions are informally referred to as the pennant winners.
  4. World Series, a best-of-seven-games series played between the pennant winners of each league.

Within each league, the division winners are the #1, #2 and #3 seeds, based on win–loss records. The team with the best record among non division winners will be the first wildcard and the #4 seed. The team with the second best record among non division winners will be the second wildcard and the #5 seed. In the wildcard round, the #5 seed will play at the #4 seed in a one-game playoff. For the division series, the matchup will be the #1 seed against the Wild Card Game winner and the #2 seed against the #3 seed.[133] Since 2017, home-field advantage in the World Series is determined by regular-season records of the two league champions, replacing a system used for the prior 14 seasons where the champion of the league that won the All-Star Game would receive home-field advantage.

Because each postseason series is split between the home fields of the two teams, home-field advantage does not usually play a large role in the postseason unless the series goes to its maximum number of games, giving one team an additional game at home. However, the first two games of a postseason series are hosted by the same team. That team may have an increased chance of starting the series with two wins,[134] thereby gaining some momentum for the rest of the series.[135]

The DH rule in the World Series is only used in games played at the American League Champions' home field. National League home games will play the traditional rules with each teams pitching staff batting.[136]

International play

Since 1986 an All-Star team from MLB is sent to a biennial end-of-the-season tour of Japan, dubbed as MLB Japan All-Star Series, playing exhibition games in a best-of format against the All-Stars from Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) or recently as of 2014 their national team Samurai Japan.

In 2008, MLB played the MLB China Series in the People's Republic of China. It was a series of two spring-training games between the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers. The games were an effort to popularize baseball in China.[137]

MLB played the MLB Taiwan All-Star Series in Taiwan in November 2011. It was a series of five exhibition games played by a team made up of MLB players called the MLB All-Stars and the Chinese Taipei national baseball team. The MLB All-Stars swept the series, five games to zero.[138] At the end of the 2011 season, it was announced that the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics would play their season openers in Japan.[139] In October 2013, Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune wrote that MLB was considering postseason all-star tours in Taiwan and Korea; baseball is increasing in popularity in both countries.[140]

The Arizona Diamondbacks opened the 2014 season against Los Angeles Dodgers on March 22–23 in Australia.[141] The teams played each other at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground, which has a seating capacity of 46,000. The two games represented the first MLB regular-season play held in that country. The games counted as home games for the Diamondbacks, so they played 79 home games at Chase Field.[142]

In 2019, the Red Sox were the home team in the inaugural MLB London Series, a regular season two-game series against the Yankees. The games were played on June 29–30 at London Stadium with the Yankees winning both games. The pair were the first regular season MLB games held in Europe.

Together with the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB sponsors the World Baseball Classic, an international baseball tournament contested by national teams.

Steroids in baseball

Palmeiro swing2
Rafael Palmeiro (batter), one of the MLB players suspended for steroid use[143]

In 1998, both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa hit more than the long-standing single-season MLB record of 61 home runs. Barry Bonds topped the record in 2001 with 73 home runs. McGwire, Bonds and Sosa became the subjects of speculation regarding the use of performance-enhancing substances. McGwire later admitted that he used a steroid hormone that was still legal in baseball during the 1998 season.[144] Baseball's original steroid testing policy, in effect from 2002 to 2005, provided for penalties ranging from a ten-game suspension for a first positive test to a one-year suspension for a fourth positive test. Players were tested at least once per year, with the chance that several players could be tested many times per year.[145]

A 2006 book, Game of Shadows by San Francisco Chronicle investigative reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada, chronicled alleged extensive use of performance enhancers, including several types of steroids and growth hormone by baseball superstars Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, and Jason Giambi. Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell was appointed by Selig on March 30, 2006[146] to investigate the use of performance-enhancing drugs in MLB. The appointment was made after several influential members of the U.S. Congress made negative comments about both the effectiveness and honesty of MLB's drug policies and Commissioner Selig.[147]

The day before the Mitchell Report was to be released in 2007, Selig said, "I haven't seen the report yet, but I'm proud I did it."[148][149] The report said that after mandatory random testing began in 2004, HGH treatment for athletic enhancement became popular among players, as HGH is not detectable in tests. It pointed out that HGH is likely a placebo with no performance-enhancing effects.[150] The report included substance use allegations against at least one player from each MLB team.[151]

According to ESPN, some people questioned whether Mitchell's director role with the Boston Red Sox created a conflict of interest, especially because no "prime [Sox] players were in the report."[152] The report named several prominent Yankees who were parts of World Series clubs; there is a long-running and fierce Yankees–Red Sox rivalry. Former U.S. prosecutor John M. Dowd brought up Mitchell's conflict of interest,[153] but he later said that the former senator had done a good job.[154] Mitchell acknowledged that his "tight relationship with Major League Baseball left him open to criticism",[155] but he said that readers who examine the report closely "will not find any evidence of bias, of special treatment of the Red Sox".[155]

On January 10, 2013, MLB and the players union reached an agreement to add random, in-season HGH testing. They also agreed to implement a new test to reveal the use of testosterone for the 2013 season.[156] The current MLB drug policy provides for an 80-game suspension for a first positive test, a 162-game suspension for a second positive test, and a lifetime suspension for a third positive test.[157] In 2009, allegations surfaced against Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz, and Manny Ramirez received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for banned substances. In early April 2011, Ramirez retired from baseball rather than face a 100-game suspension for his second positive steroid test.[158] He would later unretire, having the suspension dropped to 50 games, and would serve those in 2012.

Media coverage

Television

Several networks televise baseball games, including Fox, ESPN, and MLB Network. Since 2008, Fox Sports has broadcast MLB games on Fox Saturday Baseball throughout the entire season; Fox previously only broadcast games from May to September.[159] Fox also holds rights to the All-Star Game each season. Fox also alternates League Championship Series broadcasts, broadcasting the American League Championship Series (ALCS) in odd-numbered years and the National League Championship Series (NLCS) in even-numbered years. Fox broadcasts all games of the World Series. ESPN continues to broadcast MLB games through 2013 as well, beginning with national Opening Day coverage.[160] ESPN broadcasts Sunday Night Baseball, Monday Night Baseball, Wednesday Night Baseball, and Baseball Tonight. ESPN also has rights to the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game each July.[149]

TBS airs Sunday afternoon regular season games (non-exclusive) nationally. In 2007, TBS began its exclusive rights to any tiebreaker games that determine division or wild card champions; However, in 2018, the two tiebreaker games were broadcast on ESPN. it also airs exclusive coverage of the Division Series round of the playoffs.[161] TBS carries the League Championship Series that are not included under Fox's television agreement; TBS shows the NLCS in odd-numbered years and the ALCS in even-numbered years.[162]

In January 2009, MLB launched the MLB Network, featuring news and coverage from around the league, and airing 26 live games in the 2009 season.[163] Each team also has local broadcasts for all games not carried by Fox on Saturdays or ESPN on Sunday nights. These games are typically split between a local broadcast television station and a local or regional sports network (RSN), though some teams only air local games through RSNs or through their own team networks. As Canada only contains one team, Sportsnet broadcasts Toronto Blue Jays games nationally.[164] The channel is owned by Rogers Communications, who is also the parent company of the Blue Jays.[164] Sportsnet also televises Fox's Saturday afternoon games, the All-Star Game, playoff games, and the World Series.[164][165] In April 2011, TSN2 began carrying ESPN Sunday Night Baseball in Canada.[166]

Blackout policy

MLB Blackout Areas
MLB blackout map in the United States
Canadian MLB Blackout map
Canadian MLB blackout map

MLB has several blackout rules.[167] A local broadcaster has priority to televise games of the team in their market over national broadcasters. For example, at one time TBS showed many Atlanta Braves games nationally and internationally in Canada. Fox Sports Networks also show many games in other areas. If the Braves played a team that FSN or another local broadcaster showed, the local station will have the broadcast rights for its own local market, while TBS would have been blacked out in the same market during the game. A market that has a local team playing in a weekday ESPN or ESPN2 game and is shown on a local station will see ESPNews, or, in the past, another game scheduled on ESPN or ESPN2 at the same time (if ESPN or ESPN2 operates a regional coverage broadcasting and operates a game choice), or will be subject to an alternative programming feed.[168] MLB's streaming Internet video service is also subject to the same blackout rules.

Radio and Internet

ESPN Radio holds national broadcast rights and broadcasts Sunday Night Baseball weekly throughout the season in addition to all playoff games.[169] The rights to the World Series are exclusive to ESPN.

In addition, each team employs its own announcers, who broadcast during the regular season. Most teams operate regional networks to cover their fan bases; some of these supposedly regional networks (such as the New York Yankees Radio Network) have a national reach with affiliates located across the United States.[170] Major League Baseball has an exclusive rights deal with XM Satellite Radio, which includes the channel MLB Network Radio and live play-by-play of all games.[171] Many teams also maintain a network of stations that broadcast their games in Spanish; the former Montreal Expos broadcast their games in both English and French.

MLB games are also broadcast live on the internet. All television and radio broadcasts of games are available via subscription to MLB.tv at Major League Baseball's website, MLB.com, and radio-only broadcasts are also available via subscription to MLB.com Gameday Audio.[172] Radio station affiliates are officially forbidden from streaming games through their Internet feeds. Blackout rules are still applied for live television broadcasts, but not radio broadcasts.

International broadcasting

ESPN Deportes televises a large number of MLB games in Spanish throughout Latin America.[173] Wapa 2 airs games in Puerto Rico, including spring training games and most of the World Baseball Classic games involving the team from Puerto Rico.[174] In Brazil, ESPN Brasil has exclusive rights on TV (ESPN and ESPN+) and Internet (WatchESPN),[175] with Fox Sports also broadcasting some games.

Five in the United Kingdom previously screened MLB games, including the All-Star Game and the postseason games, on Sunday and Wednesday usually starting at 1 a.m. BST. Most recently, Johnny Gould and Josh Chetwynd presented MLB on Five on that station.[176] The channel covered baseball beginning on its opening night in 1997, but for financial reasons, the decision was made not to pick up MLB for the 2009 season.[177] ESPN UK show live and recorded games several times a week—it is available with BT Sport and (on a subscriber-basis) Virgin Media in the UK.[178] ESPN America televised a large number of games in the UK and dozens of other countries; in May 2013, ESPN announced that it would shut down the channel on July 31, 2013.[179][180]

In Australia, MLB games are regularly shown on ESPN Australia (subscription).[181]

In the Middle East & North Africa, MLB games are broadcast on beIN Sports channels.

See also

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Further reading

  • Banner, Stuart. The Baseball Trust: A History of Baseball's Antitrust Exemption. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Bouton, Jim. Ball Four: My Life and Hard Times Throwing the Knuckleball in the Major Leagues. World Publishing Company, 1970.
  • Buchanan, Lamont, The World Series and Highlights of Baseball, E. P. Dutton & Company, 1951.
  • Cohen, Richard M., Neft, David, Johnson, Roland T., Deutsch, Jordan A., The World Series, 1976, Dial Press.
  • Deutsch, Jordan A., Cohen, Richard M., Neft, David, Johnson, Roland T., The Scrapbook History of Baseball, Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1975.
  • King, Corretta. Jackie Robinson. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.
  • James, Bill. The Historical Baseball Abstract. New York: Villard, 1985 (with many subsequent editions).
  • Lanigan, Ernest, Baseball Cyclopedia, 1922, originally published by Baseball Magazine.
  • Lansch, Jerry, Glory Fades Away: The Nineteenth Century World Series Rediscovered, Taylor Publishing, 1991. ISBN 0-87833-726-1.
  • Murphy, Cait. Crazy '08: How a Cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads, and Magnates Created the Greatest Year in Baseball History. New York: Smithsonian Books, 2007. ISBN 978-0-06-088937-1.
  • Okkonen, Marc. Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century: The Official Major League Baseball Guide, 1991.
  • Ritter, Lawrence. The Glory of their Times. New York: MacMillan, 1966. Revised edition, New York: William Morrow, 1984.
  • Ross, Brian. "Band of Brothers". Minor League News, April 6, 2005. Available at Minor League News.
  • Seymour, Harold. Baseball: The Early Years. 2v. New York: Oxford University Press, 1960. ISBN 0-19-500100-1.
  • Turkin, Hy, and Thompson, S. C., The Official Encyclopedia of Baseball, 1951, A.S. Barnes and Company
  • Tygiel, Jules. Past Time: Baseball as History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-19-514604-2.
  • The New York Times, The Complete Book of Baseball: A Scrapbook History, 1980, Bobbs Merrill.

External links

1901 Major League Baseball season

The 1901 Major League Baseball season, involved the inaugural season of the American League. The eight franchises that comprised the AL that year were the original Baltimore Orioles, the Boston Americans, the Chicago White Stockings, the Cleveland Blues, the Detroit Tigers, the original Milwaukee Brewers, the Philadelphia Athletics and the original Washington Senators.

2011 Major League Baseball draft

The 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft was held from June 6 through June 8, 2011, from Studio 42 of the MLB Network in Secaucus, New Jersey. The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Gerrit Cole out of the University of California, Los Angeles, with the first overall pick.

2015 Major League Baseball draft

The 2015 Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft was held from June 8 through June 10, 2015, to assign amateur baseball players to MLB teams. The draft order is the reverse order of the 2014 MLB season standings. As the Diamondbacks finished the 2014 season with the worst record, they had the first overall selection. In addition, the Houston Astros had the 2nd pick of the 2015 draft, as compensation for failing to sign Brady Aiken, the first overall selection of the 2014 MLB Draft.

Twelve free agents received and rejected qualifying offers of $15.3 million for the 2015 season, entitling their teams to compensatory draft choices if they are signed by another team. The team signing the player will lose their first round choice, though the first ten picks are protected. The New York Mets surrendered their first round pick (15th overall) to sign Michael Cuddyer, while the Colorado Rockies gained a supplementary pick. The Toronto Blue Jays lost their pick for signing Russell Martin, giving a compensatory pick to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Boston Red Sox surrendered their second- and third-round picks (Boston's first pick is protected) to sign Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramírez. The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers received supplementary picks.Dean Kremer became the first ever Israeli drafted in an MLB draft, when selected in the 39th round, by the Padres.

2016 Major League Baseball draft

The 2016 Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft began on June 9, 2016, to assign amateur baseball players to MLB teams.

The draft order is the reverse order of the 2015 MLB season standings. In addition, compensation picks will be distributed for players who did not sign from the 2015 MLB Draft. The Philadelphia Phillies received the first overall selection. The Los Angeles Dodgers received the 36th pick as compensation for failing to sign Kyle Funkhouser, the 35th overall selection of the 2015 MLB Draft.Teams from the smallest markets and revenue pools are eligible for competitive balance draft picks. The first six picks, Round A, were determined by lottery between the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Cincinnati Reds, Miami Marlins, San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Rays, Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, and St. Louis Cardinals. The six preceding teams that do not receive a pick in Round A were entered into a second lottery, with the Baltimore Orioles, Minnesota Twins, and Seattle Mariners, to receive the six picks in Round B. The twelve competitive balance draft picks are the only picks allowed to be traded. The Reds received the first pick in Round A, followed by the Athletics, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Marlins, and Pirates. The Padres received the first pick of Round B, followed by the Indians, Twins, Brewers, Orioles, and Rays.

2017 Major League Baseball draft

The 2017 Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft began on June 12, 2017. The draft assigned amateur baseball players to MLB teams. The first 36 picks, including the first round and compensatory picks, were broadcast on MLB Network on June 12, while the remainder of the draft was live streamed on MLB.com on June 13 and 14.With the worst record in the 2016 MLB season, the Minnesota Twins received the first overall pick. Compensation picks were distributed for players who did not sign from the 2016 MLB Draft. Also, fourteen small-market teams competed in a lottery for additional competitive balance picks, with six teams receiving an additional pick after the first round, and eight teams receiving an additional pick after the second round. The Twins selected Royce Lewis with the first overall selection.

2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 89th Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The game was hosted by the Washington Nationals and was played at Nationals Park on July 17, 2018. It was televised nationally by Fox. The American League beat the National League 8–6, in 10 innings.

The host city was announced on April 6, 2015, by Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred; it was the fifth All-Star Game in Washington, D.C., and the first since 1969, when the second Washington Senators hosted. It was also the first time that the Nationals had hosted the All-Star Game, and the first time that the Nationals franchise had hosted it since 1982, when the franchise played as the Montreal Expos.

The two leagues came into the game with identical 43–43–2 records and both had scored exactly 361 runs each in All-Star Game history. The game also broke a home run record, as ten home runs were hit in the game; the previous record being six. All but one run was scored by way of a home run. This is the second consecutive game the AL has won in the 10th inning.

The national rating for the game was 5.2, down from 6.5 in 2017.

2018 Major League Baseball draft

The 2018 Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft began on June 4, 2018. The draft assigned amateur baseball players to MLB teams. The draft order was determined based on the reverse order of the 2017 MLB season final standings. In addition, compensation picks were distributed for players who did not sign from the 2017 MLB Draft and for teams who lose qualifying free agents. The first 43 picks, including the first round and compensatory picks, were broadcast by MLB Network on June 4. The remainder of the draft was streamed on MLB.com on June 5 and 6.

With a tie for the worst record in the 2017 MLB season at 64–98, the Detroit Tigers received the first overall pick ahead of the San Francisco Giants via a tiebreaker. The Detroit Tigers selected Casey Mize with the first overall pick in the draft. There were a total of 40 rounds in the draft, with 1,214 players selected.

2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 90th Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The game was hosted by the Cleveland Indians and was played at Progressive Field on July 9, 2019, with the American League prevailing over the National League, 4–3.The decision to name Cleveland the host city was announced on January 27, 2017 by Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred. It was the sixth All-Star Game in Cleveland, and the first since 1997; this established the Indians as the team to have hosted the most All-Star Games, breaking a four-way tie with the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, and Cincinnati Reds, who have each hosted the game five times. It was also the first time since 2014 that an American League team has hosted the event. That All-Star Game also coincided with the 25th anniversary of Progressive Field and made it the second All-Star Game hosted by that ballpark. Alex Cora of the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox managed the American League, and Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers managed the National League for the second consecutive year.

2020 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 2020 Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be the 91st Major League Baseball All-Star Game, held between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and the National League (NL).

The game will be hosted by the Los Angeles Dodgers of the NL. This will be the second All-Star Game held at Dodger Stadium, following the 1980 All-Star Game, and the fourth hosted by the Dodgers.

Alex Cora

José Alexander Cora (born October 18, 1975) is a Puerto Rican professional baseball manager and former infielder. He is the manager for the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB). Cora led the team to the 2018 World Series championship in his first season as a manager, becoming the fifth manager to do so in MLB history and the first as a Puerto Rican manager.Cora played college baseball at the University of Miami before playing in MLB for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, Texas Rangers, and Washington Nationals from 1998 through 2011. Cora was a baseball analyst for ESPN before becoming a coach and manager.

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.

Home Run Derby

The Home Run Derby is an annual home run hitting competition in Major League Baseball (MLB) customarily held the day before the MLB All-Star Game, which places the contest on a Monday in July. Since the inaugural derby in 1985, the event has seen several rule changes, evolving from a short outs-based competition, to multiple rounds, and eventually a bracket-style timed event.

List of Major League Baseball All-Star Games

Ninety Major League Baseball All-Star Games have been played since the inaugural one in 1933. The American League (AL) leads the series with 45 victories, and a 373–370 run advantage; two games ended in ties. The National League (NL) has the longest winning streak of 11 games from 1972–1982; the AL held a 13-game unbeaten streak from 1997–2009 (including a tie in 2002). The AL previously dominated from 1933 to 1949, winning 12 of the first 16. The NL dominated from 1950 to 1987, winning 33 of 42 with 1 tie, including a stretch from 1963 to 1982 when they won 19 of 20. Since 1988 the AL has dominated, winning 24 of 31 with one tie. In 2018 the AL took their first lead in the series since 1963.

The "home team" has traditionally been the league in which the host franchise plays its games, however the AL was designated the home team for the 2016 All-Star Game, despite it being played in Petco Park, home of the National League's San Diego Padres. This decision was made following the announcement of Miami as host for the 2017 All-Star Game, which was the third consecutive year in which the game is hosted in an NL ballpark. The criteria for choosing the venue are subjective; for the most part, cities with new parks and cities who have not hosted the game in a long time—or ever—tend to get the nod. In the first two decades of the game there were two pairs of teams that shared ballparks, located in Philadelphia and St. Louis. This led to some shorter-than-usual gaps between the use of those venues: The Cardinals hosted the game in 1940, and the Browns in 1948. The Athletics hosted the game in 1943, and the Phillies in 1952.

A second game was played for four seasons, from 1959 through 1962. The All-Star Game Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award was introduced in 1962 and the first recipient was Maury Wills of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 2008 game featured the longest All-Star Game by time: 4 hours 50 minutes, and tied for innings at 15 with the 1967 game.

List of Major League Baseball career home run leaders

This is a list of the top 300 Major League Baseball leaders in home runs hit. In the sport of baseball, a home run is a hit in which the batter scores by circling all the bases and reaching home plate in one play, without the benefit of a fielding error. This can be accomplished either by hitting the ball out of play while it is still in fair territory (a conventional home run), or by an inside-the-park home run.

Barry Bonds holds the Major League Baseball home run record with 762. He passed Hank Aaron, who hit 755, on August 7, 2007. The only other player to have hit 700 or more is Babe Ruth with 714. Alex Rodriguez (696), Willie Mays (660), Albert Pujols (647), Ken Griffey, Jr. (630), Jim Thome (612), and Sammy Sosa (609) are the only other players to have hit 600 or more.

Listed are all Major League Baseball players with 218 or more home runs hit during official regular season games (i.e., excluding playoffs or exhibition games). Players in bold face are active as of the 2019 Major League Baseball season (including free agents), with the number in parenthesis designating the number of home runs they have hit during the 2019 season. The last change in the cutoff for the top 300 occurred on July 12, 2019, when Carlos Santana hit his 218th career home run, displacing Benito Santiago.

List of current Major League Baseball stadiums

The following is a list of Major League Baseball stadiums, their locations, their first year of usage and home teams.

The newest Major League Baseball (MLB) ballpark is SunTrust Park in Cumberland, Georgia, home of the Atlanta Braves, which opened for the 2017 season. Fenway Park in Boston, home of the Boston Red Sox, is the oldest, having opened in 1912.

Nine MLB stadiums do not have corporate naming rights deals: Angel Stadium, Dodger Stadium, Fenway Park, Kauffman Stadium, Marlins Park, Nationals Park, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Wrigley Field, and Yankee Stadium.

Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also known as the "Midsummer Classic", is an annual professional baseball game sanctioned by Major League Baseball (MLB) contested between the All-Stars from the American League (AL) and National League (NL), currently selected by fans for starting fielders, by managers for pitchers, and by managers and players for reserves.

The game usually occurs on either the second or third Tuesday in July, and is meant to mark a symbolic halfway-point in the MLB season (though not the mathematical halfway-point which, for most seasons, is usually found within the previous calendar week). Both of the major leagues share an All-Star break, with no regular-season games scheduled on the day before or two days after the All-Star Game itself. Some additional events and festivities associated with the game take place each year close to and during this break in the regular season.

No official MLB All-Star Game was held in 1945 including the official selection of players due to World War II travel restrictions. Two All-Star Games were held each season from 1959 to 1962. The most recent All-Star Game was held on July 9, 2019, at Progressive Field, home of the American League's Cleveland Indians. The 2020 and 2021 All-Star Games are scheduled to be held in Los Angeles and Atlanta, respectively.

Mark McGwire

Mark David McGwire (born October 1, 1963), nicknamed Big Mac, is an American former professional baseball first baseman. His Major League Baseball (MLB) playing career spanned from 1986 to 2001 while playing for the Oakland Athletics and the St. Louis Cardinals, winning one World Series championship each with Oakland as a player in 1989 and with St. Louis as a coach in 2011. One of the most prolific home run hitters in baseball history, McGwire holds the major league career record for at bats per home run ratio (10.6), and is the former record holder for both home runs in a single season (70 in 1998) and home runs hit by rookie (49 in 1987).

He ranks 11th all time in home runs with 583, and led the major leagues in home runs in five different seasons, while establishing the major league record for home runs hit in a four-season period from 1996−1999 with 245. Further, he demonstrated exemplary patience as a batter, producing a career .394 on-base percentage (OBP) and twice leading the major leagues in bases on balls. Injuries cut short the manifestation of even greater potential as he reached 140 games played in just eight of 16 total seasons. A right-handed batter and thrower, McGwire stood 6 feet 5 inches (1.96 m) tall and weighed 245 pounds (111 kg) during his playing career.

From Pomona, California, the Athletics chose McGwire with the 10th overall selection in the 1984 MLB draft, and he was a member of the silver medal-winning entry of the United States national team that same year at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. As a rookie in 1987, he quickly grabbed media attention with 33 home runs before the All-Star break, and would lead the major leagues in home runs that year with 49, while setting the single-season rookie record. He appeared in six straight All-Star Games from 1987 to 1992 despite a brief career decline related to injuries. Another string of six consecutive All-Star appearances followed from 1995 to 2001. Each season from 1996 to 1999, he again led the major leagues in home runs.

A part of the 1998 Major League Baseball home run record chase of Roger Maris' 61 with the Cardinals, McGwire set the major league single-season home run record with 70, which Barry Bonds broke three years later with 73. McGwire also led the league in runs batted in, twice in bases on balls and on-base percentage, and four times in slugging percentage. Injuries significantly cut into his playing time in 2000 and 2001 before factoring into his retirement. He finished with 583 home runs, which was fifth all-time when he retired.For his career, McGwire averaged a home run once every 10.61 at bats, the best at bats per home run ratio in baseball history (Babe Ruth is second at 11.76). He was the fastest player to hit 500 home runs, in 5,487 at-bats.McGwire was a central figure in baseball's steroids scandal. In 2010, McGwire publicly admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during a large portion of his career. In his first ten years of eligibility, McGwire has not been elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Strikeout

In baseball or softball, a strikeout (or strike-out) occurs when a batter racks up three strikes during a time at bat. It usually means the batter is out. A strikeout is a statistic recorded for both pitchers and batters, and is denoted by K. A strikeout looking is denoted by a ꓘ.Although a strikeout suggests that the pitcher dominated the batter, the free-swinging style that generates home runs also leaves batters susceptible to striking out. Some of the greatest home run hitters of all time – such as Alex Rodriguez, Reggie Jackson, and Sammy Sosa – were notorious for striking out.

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