National League West

The National League West is one of the three divisions of the National League of Major League Baseball in North America (including Canada). This Division was formed for the 1969 season when the National League expanded to 12 teams by adding the San Diego Padres and the Montreal Expos. For purpose of keeping a regular-season of 162 games, half of the teams were put into the new East Division and half into the new West Division. Within each division, the teams played 18 games each against their five division mates (90 games), and also 12 games against the teams in the opposite division (72 games), totaling 162 games.

Despite the geography, the owners of the Chicago Cubs insisted that their team be placed into the East Division along with the teams in New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Also, the owners of the St. Louis Cardinals wanted that team to be in the same division with their natural rivals of the Cubs. The league could have insisted on a geographical alignment like the American League did. But the owners were also concerned about what they thought would be a large imbalance in the strength of the divisions. In the previous two seasons prior to realignment, the Cardinals, Giants, and Cubs finished 1-2-3 in the National League standings. The owners were concerned about putting those teams in the same division, thereby creating one very strong division (West) and one weak one (East). Given all of this, the owners of the Atlanta Braves and the Cincinnati Reds consented to being placed into the West Division, even though Atlanta and Cincinnati are both in the Eastern Time Zone. Hence, the West Division had teams spread all the way from the East to the Pacific Coast, and scattered over four time zones. The East Division was spread over the Eastern Time Zone and the Central Time Zone - despite the fact that the National League had six teams in the Eastern Time Zone and six teams spread between the Central Time Zone and the Pacific Time Zone.

All of this increased the traveling distances and times for all of the teams, and it also made radio broadcasting and TV broadcasts of the games more difficult to schedule. The Braves and the Reds had to travel all the way to California three times during each baseball season, and the three teams in California had to travel to Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Houston three times also. Sometimes, the trouble could be alleviated for them by playing some games in Chicago, St. Louis, or Pittsburgh on the same long road trips. The 1994 addition of the Central Division would completely remedy these problems, when the Reds and Braves moved to the NL Central and NL East respectively.

NL West
LeagueNational League
SportMajor League Baseball
Founded1969
Teams
No. of teams5
Championships
Most recent NL West champion(s)Los Angeles Dodgers
(17th title)
Most NL West titlesLos Angeles Dodgers (17)

First season

The very first baseball season of division play, 1969, resulted in what might be considered by many to be two of the best pennant races in Major League baseball history. In the National League West, five of the teams battled for the divisional championship - with only the expansion team, the San Diego Padres, failing to be a contender. The remaining five teams were separated by as few as one-and-one-half games in the standings on August 18, despite the Houston Astros having lost 20 of its first 24 games.

Beginning in mid-August the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers started collapsing, leaving the Braves, the Reds, and the San Francisco Giants in contention. Following a very-long hot streak in July, August, and September, the Braves clinched the divisional championship by winning their next-to-last game. The Giants finished in a close second place. One of the main factors in the big surge by the Braves was that the slugging outfielder Rico Carty returned to the team after missing the first half of the season while he was recovering from tuberculosis. Carty immediately resumed his starring role, adding to the powerful offensive line-up of the Braves that also featured the sluggers Hank Aaron and Orlando Cepeda and the good singles hitter Félix Millán who was on base to score a lot of runs. Aaron finished in third place for the N.L. Most Valuable Player Award, and the starting pitcher Phil Niekro finished in second place for the N.L. Cy Young Award.

Perhaps this latter pennant race was overshadowed by that of the New York Mets and the Chicago Cubs, with the Mets coming back from trailing by nine-and-one-half games near midseason to overtake the Chicago Cubs for the East championship. The big star for the Mets was their starting pitcher Tom Seaver, who won the Cy Young Award. The so-called "Miracle Mets" won the first National League Championship Series over the Braves three games to none, and then the Mets defeated the Baltimore Orioles four games to one in the World Series in October 1969 — in the Mets' first winning season and first appearance in any playoff series whatsoever in their seven year history up to that point.

Divisional membership

Current members

Former members

Division lineups

Place cursor over year for division champ or World Series team.

Years
NL West Division[A]
69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
Atlanta Braves[C]  
Cincinnati Reds[C]  
Houston Astros[C]  
  Colorado Rockies[B]
  Arizona Diamondbacks[D]
NL West Division[A]
05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
     Team not in division      Division Won World Series      Division Won NL Championship
A The creation of the division with the expansion of the league - with the Padres added.
B With the Rockies added as an expansion team.
C With the Braves moved to Eastern Division and the Reds and the Astros moved to the Central Division
D With the Diamondbacks added as an expansion team.

Division champions

Before the forming of a third division in both leagues in 1994, the winners of each division competed in a best-of-five series, with the series being lengthened by two possible games in 1985 to a best-of-seven series, dubbed the "League Championship Series" to determine the winner of the league pennant. This format was to be changed in 1994, though it was not carried out until 1995 due to the 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike that started on August 12, 1994. There was the addition of two further teams in the playoffs in each league. This has led to the creation of a "Division Series" round of the playoffs, in which two best-of-five series are conducted to determine the participants of the League Championship Series. As before, the winners of each league's pennant compete in the best-of-seven World Series to determine the champion of Major League Baseball.

  • Team names link to the season in which each team played
Year Winner Record % Playoffs
1969 Atlanta Braves 93–69 .574 Lost NLCS to New York, 3–0
1970 Cincinnati Reds 102–60 .630 Lost World Series to Baltimore, 4–1
1971 San Francisco Giants 90–72 .556 Lost NLCS to Pittsburgh, 3–1
1972 Cincinnati Reds 95–59 .617 Lost World Series to Oakland, 4–3
1973 Cincinnati Reds 99–63 .611 Lost NLCS to New York, 3–2
1974 Los Angeles Dodgers 102–60 .630 Lost World Series to Oakland, 4–1
1975 Cincinnati Reds 108–54 .667 Won World Series over Boston, 4–3
1976 Cincinnati Reds 102–60 .630 Won World Series over New York, 4–0
1977 Los Angeles Dodgers 98–64 .605 Lost World Series to New York, 4–2
1978 Los Angeles Dodgers 95–67 .586 Lost World Series to New York, 4–2
1979 Cincinnati Reds 90–71 .559 Lost NLCS to Pittsburgh, 3–0
1980 Houston Astros* 93–70 .571 Lost NLCS to Philadelphia Phillies, 3–2
1981 Los Angeles Dodgers 63–47 .573 Won World Series over New York, 4–2
1982 Atlanta Braves 89–73 .549 Lost NLCS to St. Louis, 3–0
1983 Los Angeles Dodgers 91–71 .562 Lost NLCS to Philadelphia, 3–1
1984 San Diego Padres 92–70 .568 Lost World Series to Detroit, 4–1
1985 Los Angeles Dodgers 95–67 .586 Lost NLCS to St. Louis, 4–2
1986 Houston Astros 96–66 .593 Lost NLCS to New York, 4–2
1987 San Francisco Giants 90–72 .556 Lost NLCS to St. Louis, 4–3
1988 Los Angeles Dodgers 94–67 .584 Won World Series over Oakland, 4–1
1989 San Francisco Giants 92–70 .568 Lost World Series to Oakland, 4–0
1990 Cincinnati Reds 91–71 .562 Won World Series over Oakland, 4–0
1991 Atlanta Braves 94–68 .580 Lost World Series to Minnesota, 4–3
1992 Atlanta Braves 98–64 .605 Lost World Series to Toronto, 4–2
1993 Atlanta Braves 104–58 .642 Lost NLCS to Philadelphia, 4–2
1994§ No playoffs due to 1994 Major League Baseball strike
1995 Los Angeles Dodgers 78–66 .542 Lost NLDS to Cincinnati, 3–0
1996 San Diego Padres 91–71 .562 Lost NLDS to St. Louis, 3–0
1997 San Francisco Giants 90–72 .556 Lost NLDS to Florida, 3–0
1998 San Diego Padres 98–64 .605 Lost World Series to New York, 4–0
1999 Arizona Diamondbacks 100–62 .617 Lost NLDS to New York, 3–1
2000 San Francisco Giants 97–65 .599 Lost NLDS to New York 3–1
2001 Arizona Diamondbacks 92–70 .568 Won World Series over New York, 4–3
2002 Arizona Diamondbacks 98–64 .605 Lost NLDS to St. Louis, 3–0
2003 San Francisco Giants 100–61 .621 Lost NLDS to Florida, 3–1
2004 Los Angeles Dodgers 93–69 .574 Lost NLDS to St. Louis, 3–1
2005 San Diego Padres 82–80 .506 Lost NLDS to St. Louis, 3–0
2006 San Diego Padres†† 88–74 .543 Lost NLDS to St. Louis, 3–1
2007 Arizona Diamondbacks 90–72 .556 Lost NLCS to Colorado, 4–0
2008 Los Angeles Dodgers 84–78 .519 Lost NLCS to Philadelphia, 4–1
2009 Los Angeles Dodgers 95–67 .586 Lost NLCS to Philadelphia, 4–1
2010 San Francisco Giants 92–70 .568 Won World Series over Texas, 4–1
2011 Arizona Diamondbacks 94–68 .580 Lost NLDS to Milwaukee, 3–2
2012 San Francisco Giants 94–68 .580 Won World Series over Detroit, 4–0
2013 Los Angeles Dodgers 92–70 .568 Lost NLCS to St. Louis, 4–2
2014 Los Angeles Dodgers 94-68 .580 Lost NLDS to St Louis, 3-1
2015 Los Angeles Dodgers 92–70 .568 Lost NLDS to New York, 3–2
2016 Los Angeles Dodgers 91–71 .562 Lost NLCS to Chicago, 4–2
2017 Los Angeles Dodgers 104–58 .642 Lost World Series to Houston, 4–3
2018 Los Angeles Dodgers 92–71 .564 Lost World Series to Boston, 4–1

* - Defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in a one game playoff for the division title, 7–1.

† - Due to the 1981 Major League Baseball strike, the season was split. Los Angeles won the first half and defeated second-half champion Houston (61–49) in the postseason.
The Cincinnati Reds had the best record in the division (66-42) overall but due to the split season did not qualify for the playoffs.

§ - Due to the players' strike starting August 12, no official winner was awarded. Los Angeles was leading at the strike.

†† - The San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers finished the 2006 season tied for first place with identical records. San Diego won the season series against Los Angeles and was awarded the tie-breaker; Los Angeles was awarded the wild-card berth. Had a team from another division won the wild card, a one-game playoff would have decided the division champion.

Wild-card winners produced

See List of National League Wild Card winners (since 1994)

The wild card is given to the team in each league with the best record that did not win its division and was first introduced in 1994. The system, however, was not implemented until the following season, as a player strike prematurely ended the 1994 season. Since its implementation, three different NL West teams have won the wild card, on six different occasions.

Year Winner Record % GB Playoffs
1995 Colorado Rockies 77–67 .535 1 Lost NLDS to Atlanta, 3–1
1996 Los Angeles Dodgers 90–72 .556 1 Lost NLDS to Atlanta, 3–0
2002 San Francisco Giants 95–66 .590 2.5 Lost World Series to Anaheim, 4–3
2006 Los Angeles Dodgers 88–74 .543 0 Lost NLDS to New York, 3–0
2007 Colorado Rockies 90–73* .552 0.5 Lost World Series to Boston, 4–0
2009 Colorado Rockies 92–70 .568 3 Lost NLDS to Philadelphia, 3–1
2014 San Francisco Giants** 88–74 .543 6 Won World Series over Kansas City, 4–3
2016 San Francisco Giants** 87–75 .537 4 Lost NLDS to Chicago, 3–1
2017 Arizona Diamondbacks** 93–69 .574 11 Lost NLDS to Los Angeles, 3–0
Colorado Rockies** 87–75 .537 17 Lost NLWC to Arizona
2018 Colorado Rockies** 91–72 .558 1 Lost NLDS to Milwaukee, 3–0

* The Colorado Rockies played the San Diego Padres in a wild card tie-breaker game after both teams finished the season with the same record, 89–73. The Rockies defeated the Padres, 9–8, in 13 innings. A wild card tie-breaker game is still considered part of the regular season, and thus, the Rockies' win made it their 90th victory of the season.

** – Starting with the 2012 season, there will be two Wild Card winners in each league. The qualifiers will play a single-game playoff to determine who will face the top-seeded team in the National League Division Series.

Division titles won by team

Team Number of Championships Won Last Year Won Year (s)
Los Angeles Dodgers 17 2018 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1988, 1995, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
San Francisco Giants 8 2012 1971, 1987, 1989, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2010, 2012
Cincinnati Reds 7 1990 1970, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1990
San Diego Padres 5 2006 1984, 1996, 1998, 2005, 2006
Atlanta Braves 5 1993 1969, 1982, 1991, 1992, 1993
Arizona Diamondbacks 5 2011 1999, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2011
Houston Astros 2 1986 1980, 1986
Colorado Rockies 0

indicates no longer in division since 1993

See also

References

1969 Atlanta Braves season

The 1969 Atlanta Braves season was the fourth in Atlanta and the 99th overall season of the franchise. The National League had been split into two divisions before the season, with the Braves somewhat incongruously being assigned to the National League West. The Braves finished with a record of 93–69, winning the first ever NL West division title by three games over the San Francisco Giants.

After the season, the Braves played in the first-ever inter-divisional National League Championship Series. They went on to lose the NLCS to the eventual World Champion New York Mets, three games to none.

1970 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1970 Cincinnati Reds season consisted of the Reds winning the National League West title with a record of 102–60, 14½ games ahead of the runner-up Los Angeles Dodgers. The Reds defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in three straight games in the 1970 National League Championship Series to win their first National League pennant since 1961. The team then lost to the Baltimore Orioles in the 1970 World Series in five games.

The Reds were managed by first-year manager George "Sparky" Anderson and played their home games at Crosley Field during the first part of the year, before moving into the then-new Riverfront Stadium on June 30.

1971 San Francisco Giants season

The 1971 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 89th year in Major League Baseball, their 14th year in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season, and their 12th at Candlestick Park. The team finished in first place in the National League West with a 90–72 record. The Giants faced the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1971 National League Championship Series, losing three games to one.

1974 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers won the National League West by four games over the Cincinnati Reds, then beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1974 National League Championship Series before losing to the Oakland Athletics in the 1974 World Series.

1975 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1975 Cincinnati Reds season was a season in American baseball. The Reds dominated the league all season, and won the National League West with a record of 108–54, best record in MLB and finished 20 games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Reds went on to win the National League Championship Series by defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates in three straight games, and the World Series in seven games over the Boston Red Sox. The Reds were managed by Sparky Anderson and played their home games at Riverfront Stadium. It was the first World Series championship for Cincinnati since 1940. The 1975 Reds are one of the few teams to consistently challenge the 1927 Yankees, what some people call the best in baseball history, for the title for the best team in MLB history. Some sources consider the 1975 Reds the greatest team to ever play baseball. But according to some sources, a lot of them put the 1927 Yankees ahead of the '75 Reds. The Reds went 64–17 at home in 1975, which is the best home record ever by a National League team, which still stands today. It is currently the second best home record in MLB history, behind the 1962 Yankees, who went 65-16.

1976 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1976 Cincinnati Reds season was a season in American baseball. The Reds entered the season as the reigning world champs. The Reds dominated the league all season, and won their second consecutive National League West title with a record of 102–60, best record in MLB and finished 10 games ahead of the runner-up Los Angeles Dodgers. They went on to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1976 National League Championship Series in three straight games, and then win their second consecutive World Series title in four straight games over the New York Yankees. They were the third and most recent National League team to achieve this distinction, and the first since the 1921–22 New York Giants. The Reds drew 2,629,708 fans to their home games at Riverfront Stadium, an all-time franchise attendance record. As mentioned above, the Reds swept through the entire postseason with their sweeps of the Phillies and Yankees, achieving a record of 7-0. As of 2018, the Reds are the only team in baseball history to sweep through an entire postseason since the addition of divisions.

1977 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 1977 Los Angeles Dodgers season saw Tommy Lasorda in his first full season at the helm of the Dodgers, replacing longtime manager Walter Alston as Manager of the team near the end of the previous season. The Dodgers won the National League West by 10 games and defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in four games in the NLCS, then lost to the New York Yankees in the World Series. This edition of the Dodgers featured the first quartet of teammates that hit 30 or more home runs: Steve Garvey with 33, Reggie Smith with 32, and Dusty Baker and Ron Cey, who both hit 30. The Dodgers duplicated this feat again 20 years later in 1997.

1980 National League West tie-breaker game

The 1980 National League West tie-breaker game was a one-game extension to Major League Baseball's (MLB) 1980 regular season, played between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers to decide the winner of the National League's (NL) West Division. The game was played on October 6, 1980, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. It was necessary after the Dodgers overcame a three-game deficit in the final three games of the season and both teams finished with identical win–loss records of 92–70. The Dodgers won a coin flip late in the season which, by rule at the time, awarded them home field for the game.

The Astros won the game, 7–1, with Houston starter Joe Niekro throwing a complete game. This victory advanced the Astros to the 1980 NL Championship Series (NLCS), in which they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies, ending the Astros' season. In baseball statistics, the tie-breaker counted as the 163rd regular season game for both teams, with all events in the game added to regular season statistics.

1990 Cincinnati Reds season

The Cincinnati Reds' 1990 season was the Reds' 122nd season in American baseball. Starting with a club best nine straight wins to open the season, as well as holding the top spot in the National League West every game during the season, the Reds went 41-21 after 62 games, splitting the remaining 100 games 50-50 to end up with a 91-71 record. It consisted of the 91-71 Reds winning the National League West by five games over the second-place Dodgers, as well as the National League Championship Series in six games over the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the World Series in a four-game sweep over the overwhelming favorite Oakland Athletics, who had won the World Series the previous year. It was the fifth World Championship for the Reds, and their first since winning two consecutive titles in 1975 and '76.

1993 Atlanta Braves season

The 1993 Atlanta Braves season was the Braves' 123rd in existence and their 28th since moving to Atlanta. The Braves were looking to improve on their 98-64 record from 1992 and win the National League pennant for a third consecutive year.

The Braves finished the season with a 104-58 record to win the National League West for the third consecutive year after trailing the San Francisco Giants, who finished in second place by one game, for most of the season in what is generally regarded as the last real pennant race before playoff expansion. 1993 was also the last year that the team competed in the National League West, as they would shift to the National League East for 1994.

Despite their excellent regular season, the Braves' streak of National League pennants ended at two as they fell to the underdog Philadelphia Phillies in six games in the National League Championship Series. By a twist of fate, the Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Phillies in-state rivals, in back-to-back NLCS series in 1991 and 1992, but in 1993, lost to the Pirates in-state rivals.

1997 San Francisco Giants season

The 1997 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 115th season in Major League Baseball, their 40th season in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season, and their 38th at 3Com Park at Candlestick Point. The Giants finished in first place in the National League West with a record of 90 wins and 72 losses. They lost the National League Division Series in three games to the Florida Marlins.

2000 San Francisco Giants season

The 2000 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 118th season in Major League Baseball and their 43rd season in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season. The Giants finished in first place in the National League West with a record of 97 wins and 65 losses. They lost the National League Division Series in four games to the New York Mets.

The team played their first season in newly opened Pacific Bell Park.

2002 Arizona Diamondbacks season

The 2002 Arizona Diamondbacks looked to repeat as World Series champions. They looked to contend in what was once again a strong National League West Division. They finished the season with a record of 98-64, good enough for the division title. Randy Johnson would finish the season as the NL Cy Young Award winner and become the second pitcher to win five Cy Young Awards.

2003 San Francisco Giants season

The 2003 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 121st year in Major League Baseball, their 46th year in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season, and their fourth at Pacific Bell Park. The Giants finished in first place in the National League West with a record of 100 wins and 61 losses. They lost the National League Division Series in four games to the Florida Marlins.

2004 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 2004 season brought change to the Dodgers as the sale of the franchise to developer Frank McCourt was finalized during spring training. McCourt promptly dismissed General Manager Dan Evans and hired Paul DePodesta to take over the team. That led to a flurry of trade activity as the new group attempted to rebuild the Dodgers in their image.

Despite it all, the Dodgers managed to finish the season in first place in the Western Division of the National League and won their first post season game since 1988. However they lost the NL Division Series 3-1 to the St. Louis Cardinals.

2004 San Francisco Giants season

The 2004 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 122nd year in Major League Baseball, their 47th year in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season, and their fifth at SBC Park. The team finished in second place in the National League West with a 91-71 record, 2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. Barry Bonds became the oldest player in the history of the National League to win the MVP Award. It would be the last winning season San Francisco would have until 2009.

2005 San Francisco Giants season

The 2005 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 123rd year in Major League Baseball, their 48th year in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season, and their sixth at SBC Park. The team finished in third place in the National League West with a 75-87 record, 7 games behind the San Diego Padres.

2006 San Francisco Giants season

The 2006 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 124th year in Major League Baseball, their 49th year in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season, and their sixth at AT&T Park. The team finished in third place in the National League West with a 76-85 record, 11½ games behind the San Diego Padres.

2018 National League West tie-breaker game

The 2018 National League West tie-breaker game was a one-game extension to Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2018 regular season, played between the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers to determine the champion of the National League's (NL) West Division. It was played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California on October 1, 2018.

The game was won by Los Angeles, 5–2. The Dodgers became the second seed in the NL playoffs and advanced to play the NL East champion Atlanta Braves in the National League Division Series. The Rockies were hosted by the NL Central runner-up Chicago Cubs in the NL Wild Card Game on October 2.The tie-breaker counted as a regular season game for both teams, with all events in the game added to regular season statistics.

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