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Major League Baseball (MLB) is a
professional baseball Professional baseball is organized baseball in which players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system. It is played in baseball league, leagues and associated farm teams throughout the world. Modern p ...
organization and the oldest major professional sports league in the world. , a total of 30 teams play in Major League Baseball—15 teams in the
National League The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League (NL), is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball Professional baseball is o ...
(NL) and 15 in the
American League The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League (AL), is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball Professional baseball is organized bas ...
(AL)—with 29 in the United States and 1 in Canada. The NL and AL were formed in 1876 and 1901, respectively. Beginning in 1903, the two leagues cooperated but remained legally separate entities until 2000 when they merged into a single organization led by the
Commissioner of Baseball The Commissioner of Baseball is the chief executive officer of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the associated Minor League Baseball (MiLB) – a constellation of leagues and clubs known as "organized baseball". Under the direction of the Commissi ...
. MLB is headquartered in
Midtown Manhattan Midtown Manhattan is the central portion of the New York City borough New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With an ...

Midtown Manhattan
. Baseball's first openly all-professional team was the
Cincinnati Red Stockings The Cincinnati Red Stockings of were baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting (baseball), batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fiel ...
, who were founded in 1869. Before that, some teams had secretly paid some players. 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 is known as the
dead-ball era In baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting (baseball), batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team (baseball), fielding team, ...
, during which players would rarely hit
home run holds the all-time home run record in Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization and the oldest major professional sports league in the world. , a total of 30 teams play in Major League Baseb ...
s. Professional baseball in the United States survived a conspiracy to fix the
1919 World Series The 1919 World Series matched the American League The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League (AL), is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and Canada. It devel ...

1919 World Series
, which came to be known as the
Black Sox Scandal The Black Sox Scandal was a Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization and the oldest major professional sports league in the world. , a total of 30 teams play in Major League Baseball—15 ...
. The sport rose in popularity in the 1920s and survived potential downturns during the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
and
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
. Shortly after the war,
Jackie Robinson Jack Roosevelt Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was an American professional baseball player who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line ...
broke baseball's color barrier. The 1950s and 1960s were a time of club expansion and relocation for the AL and NL. New stadiums and
artificial turf Artificial turf is a surface of synthetic fibers made to look like natural grass. It is most often used in arenas for sports that were originally or are normally played on grass. However, it is now being used on residential lawns and commerc ...
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 steroid Anabolic steroids, also known more properly as anabolic–androgenic steroids (AAS), are steroid A steroid is a biologically active organic compound In , organic compounds are generally any s that contain - . Due to carbon's ability t ...
s among MLB players in the mid-2000s. In 2006, an investigation produced the
Mitchell Report The ''Report to the Commissioner of Baseball of an Independent Investigation into the Illegal Use of Steroids and Other Performance Enhancing Substances by Players in Major League Baseball'', informally known as the Mitchell Report, is the resu ...
, which implicated many players in the use of performance-enhancing substances, including at least one player from each team. 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 The World Series is the annual championship series of (MLB) in the and , contested since between the champion teams of the (AL) and the (NL). The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a , and the winning team is aw ...

World Series
, a best-of-seven championship series between the two league champions that dates to 1903. Baseball games are broadcast on television, radio, and the Internet throughout North America and in several other countries. MLB has the highest total season attendance of any sports league in the world with more than 69.6 million spectators in 2018. MLB also oversees
Minor League Baseball#REDIRECT Minor League Baseball Minor League Baseball (MiLB) is a hierarchy of professional baseball Professional baseball is organized baseball in which players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club sy ...
, which comprises lower-tier teams affiliated with the major league clubs. MLB and the
World Baseball Softball Confederation World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC; french: Confédération internationale de baseball et softball) is the world governing body for the sports of baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two ...
jointly manage the international
World Baseball Classic The World Baseball Classic (WBC) is an international baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting (baseball), batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a play ...
tournament. MLB is the second-wealthiest professional sport league by revenue after the
National Football League The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rect ...
(NFL).


Organizational structure

MLB is governed by the Major League Baseball Constitution. This document has undergone several incarnations since its creation in 1876. Under the direction of the
Commissioner of Baseball The Commissioner of Baseball is the chief executive officer of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the associated Minor League Baseball (MiLB) – a constellation of leagues and clubs known as "organized baseball". Under the direction of the Commissi ...
, 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#REDIRECT Minor League Baseball Minor League Baseball (MiLB) is a hierarchy of professional baseball Professional baseball is organized baseball in which players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club sy ...
. This is due in large part to the 1922
U.S. Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a coun ...

U.S. Supreme Court
ruling in '' Federal Baseball Club v. National League'', which held that baseball is not
interstate commerce The Commerce Clause describes an enumerated powerThe enumerated powers (also called expressed powers, explicit powers or delegated powers) of the United States Congress The United States Congress or U.S. Congress is the bicameral legisl ...
and therefore not subject to federal
antitrust Competition law is a law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is ...
law; MLB is the only league that has such a status, and has not faced any competition since this case. This ruling has been weakened only slightly in subsequent years. The weakened ruling granted more stability to the owners of teams and has resulted in values increasing at double-digit rates. There were several challenges to MLB's primacy in the sport, with notable attempts to establish competing leagues occurring during the late 1800s, from 1913 to 1915 with the short-lived
Federal League The Federal League of Base Ball Clubs, known simply as the Federal League, was an American professional baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams, typically of nine players each, that take turns ...
, and in 1960 with the aborted
Continental League The Continental League of Professional Baseball Clubs (known as the Continental League or CL) was a proposed third major league for baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who ta ...
. The chief executive of MLB is the commissioner, currently
Rob Manfred Robert D. Manfred Jr. (born September 28, 1958) is an American lawyer and business executive who is the tenth and current Commissioner of Major League Baseball. He previously served as the Chief Operating Officer A chief operating officer (COO ...
. 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. The multimedia branch of MLB is
MLB Advanced Media MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) is a limited partnership of the club owners of Major League Baseball (MLB) based in New York City and is the Internet and interactive branch of the league. Robert Bowman, former president and CEO of MLBAM, indicated in ...
, which is based in New York City. This branch oversees
MLB.com #REDIRECT MLB.com MLB.com is the official site of Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is an American professional baseball organization and the oldest of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A ...
and each of the 30 teams' websites. Its charter states that MLB Advanced Media holds
editorial independence Editorial independence is the freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy and religion, it is associ ...
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 The MLB Network is an American television sports channel dedicated to baseball. It is primarily owned by Major League Baseball, with AT&T's WarnerMedia News & Sports, Comcast's NBC Sports Group, Charter Communications, and Cox Communications havi ...
, with the other 33 percent split between several cable operators and satellite provider
DirecTV DirecTV (trademarked as DIRECTV) is an American multichannel video programming distributorMultichannel television in the United States has been available since at least 1948. The United States The United States of America (USA), commonl ...

DirecTV
. It operates out of studios in
Secaucus, New Jersey Secaucus ( ) is a town A town is a . Towns are generally larger than s and smaller than , though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin and use The word "town" shares an origi ...

Secaucus, New Jersey
, and also has editorial independence from the league.


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. 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 The Montreal Expos (french: link=no, Les Expos de Montréal) were a Canadian professional baseball team based in Montreal, Montreal, Quebec. The Expos were the first Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise located outside the United States. They ...
). Two teams (the
Seattle Mariners The Seattle Mariners are an American professional baseball team based in Seattle. They compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) American League West, West division. The team joined the American League ...
and the
Toronto Blue Jays The Toronto Blue Jays are a Canadian professional baseball team based in Toronto Toronto is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Ontario. With a recorded population of 2,731,571 in 2016, it i ...
) were also added in the 1970s. From 1969 through 1993, each league consisted of an East and West Division. In 1993, the National League expanded with two teams, the
Florida Marlins The Miami Marlins are an American professional baseball team based in Miami Miami (), officially the City of Miami, is a Coast, coastal metropolis located in southeastern Florida in the United States. It is the third most populous metropolit ...
and the
Colorado Rockies The Colorado Rockies are an American professional baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting (baseball), batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player ...

Colorado Rockies
, to even up the number of teams in both leagues. 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 The World Series is the annual championship series of (MLB) in the and , contested since between the champion teams of the (AL) and the (NL). The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a , and the winning team is aw ...

World Series
and the
All-Star Game An all-star game is an exhibition game that purports to showcase the best players (the "stars") of a sports league. The exhibition is between two teams organized solely for the event, usually representing the league's teams based on region or divi ...
. Regular-season
interleague play frame, Interleague play logo Interleague play in Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization and the oldest major professional sports league in the world. , a total of 30 teams play in Major Leag ...
was introduced in 1997. In March 1995, two new franchises, the
Arizona Diamondbacks The Arizona Diamondbacks, often shortened as the D-backs, are an American team based in . The Diamondbacks compete in (MLB) as a member club of the (NL) division. The team plays its home games at , formerly known as Bank One Ballpark. Throu ...
and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (now known as the
Tampa Bay Rays The Tampa Bay Rays are an American professional baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting (baseball), batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on ...
), were awarded by MLB, which began 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 the 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, and therefore, one existing club would have to switch leagues. The
Milwaukee Brewers The Milwaukee Brewers are an American professional baseball Professional baseball is organized baseball in which players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system. It is played in baseball league, ...
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 The Detroit Tigers are an American professional baseball Professional baseball is organized baseball in which players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system. It is played in baseball league, leagu ...

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. Later, when the
Houston Astros The Houston Astros are an American professional baseball Professional baseball is organized baseball in which players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system. It is played in baseball league, le ...
changed ownership prior to the 2013 season, the team moved from the NL Central to the AL West, resulting in both leagues having three divisions of five teams each and allowing all teams to have a more balanced schedule. Interleague play is now held throughout the season.MLB required the Astros to accept this move as a condition of approving their sale to
Jim Crane James Robert Crane (born January 17, 1954) is an American businessman from Houston Houston ( ) is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Texas, fourth-most populous city in the United States, most populous city in the Southern United ...
.
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 The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rect ...
(NFL),
National Basketball Association The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a professional basketball sports league, league in North America. The league is composed of 30 teams (29 in the United States and 1 in Canada) and is one of the four major professional sports leagu ...
(NBA) and
National Hockey League The National Hockey League (NHL; french: Ligue nationale de hockey—LNH) is a professional ice hockey sports league, league in North America comprising 32 teams—25 in the United States and 7 in Canada. It is considered to be the premier pr ...
(NHL)—albeit with two components called "leagues" instead of "conferences". The same
rules Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and po ...
and
regulations Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory Systems theory is the interdisciplinary study of system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that a ...
are used in both leagues, with one exception: the AL operates under the
designated hitter In baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams, typically of nine players each, that take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher play ...
(DH) rule, while the NL does not. 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. In 2020, the
National League The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League (NL), is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball Professional baseball is o ...
(NL) used the designated hitter (DH) rule for the first time.


Teams

''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 A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
, "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 United States. For
professional baseball Professional baseball is organized baseball in which players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system. It is played in baseball league, leagues and associated farm teams throughout the world. Modern p ...
's founding year, MLB uses the year 1869—when the first professional team, the
Cincinnati Red Stockings The Cincinnati Red Stockings of were baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting (baseball), batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fiel ...
, was established. 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 The National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NAPBBP), often known simply as the National Association (NA), was the first fully-Professional sports league organization, professional sports league in baseball. The NA was founded in ...
, often known as the National Association (NA), was formed in 1871. Its amateur counterpart disappeared after only a few years. The modern
Chicago Cubs The Chicago Cubs are an American professional baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting (baseball), batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on t ...
and
Atlanta Braves The Atlanta Braves are an American professional baseball team based in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The Braves compete in Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is an American professional baseball organization and the oldes ...
franchises trace their histories back to the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players in the 1870s. In 1876, the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs (later known as the
National League The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League (NL), is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball Professional baseball is o ...
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 Jefferson Street Grounds was a baseball field A baseball field, also called a ball field, sandlot or a baseball diamond, is the field upon which the game of baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between t ...
, Philadelphia)—is often pointed to as the beginning of MLB. 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. Teams came and went; 1882 was the first season where the league's membership was the same as the preceding season's, and only four franchises survived to see 1900. Competitor leagues formed regularly and also disbanded regularly. The most successful was the
American AssociationAmerican Association may refer to one of the following professional baseball leagues: * American Association (19th century), a major league active from 1882 to 1891 * American Association (20th century), a minor league active from 1902 to 1962 and 1 ...
(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 World Series is the annual championship series of (MLB) in the and , contested since between the champion teams of the (AL) and the (NL). The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a , and the winning team is aw ...

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 The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League (AL), is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball Professional baseball is organized bas ...
in 1901 under AL president
Ban Johnson Byron Bancroft "Ban" Johnson (January 5, 1864 – March 28, 1931) was an American executive in professional baseball who served as the founder and first president of the American League (AL). Johnson developed the AL—a descendant of th ...

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. While the NA continues to this day (known as
Minor League Baseball#REDIRECT Minor League Baseball Minor League Baseball (MiLB) is a hierarchy of professional baseball Professional baseball is organized baseball in which players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club sy ...
), 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 Wesley Branch Rickey (December 20, 1881 – December 9, 1965) was an American baseball player and sports executive. Rickey was instrumental in breaking Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organizatio ...
.


Other recognized leagues

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. In 1969, the Special Baseball Records Committee of Major League Baseball officially recognized six major leagues: the National League, American League, American Association,
Union Association The Union Association was a league in Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is an American professional baseball organization and the oldest of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 ...
(1884),
Players' League The Players' National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs, popularly known as the Players' League (PL), was a short-lived but star-studded professional American baseball league of the 19th century. The PL was formed by the Brotherhood of Profes ...
(1890), and
Federal League The Federal League of Base Ball Clubs, known simply as the Federal League, was an American professional baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams, typically of nine players each, that take turns ...
(1914–1915). The status of the National Association as a major league has been a point of dispute among baseball researchers; while its statistics are not recognized by Major League Baseball, its statistics ''are'' included with those of other major leagues by some baseball reference websites, such as
Retrosheet Retrosheet is a nonprofit organization whose website features box scores of Major League Baseball (MLB) games from 1906 to the present, and play-by-play narratives for almost every contest since the 1930s. It also includes scores from every major l ...
. Both the Union Association and American Association 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 Nathaniel Read Silver (born January 13, 1978) is an American statistician A statistician is a person who works with theoretical or applied statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, inte ...
, dispute the major-league status of the Union Association 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. In December 2020, Major League Baseball announced its recognition of seven leagues within
Negro league baseball The Negro leagues were United States professional baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting (baseball), batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player o ...
as major leagues, and in 2021, baseball reference website Baseball-Reference.com began to include statistics from those seven leagues into their major-league statistics.


Dead-ball era

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 Walter Perry Johnson (November 6, 1887 – December 10, 1946), nicknamed "Barney" and "The Big Train", was an American professional baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams, typically of nine player ...

Walter Johnson
,
Cy Young Denton True "Cy" Young (March 29, 1867 – November 4, 1955) was an American Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization and the oldest major professional sports league in the world. , a total o ...

Cy Young
,
Christy Mathewson Christopher Mathewson (August 12, 1880 – October 7, 1925), nicknamed "Big Six", "The Christian Gentleman", "Matty", and "The Gentleman's Hurler", was a Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher, who played 17 seasons with the History of the N ...

Christy Mathewson
,
Mordecai Brown Mordecai Peter Centennial Brown (October 19, 1876 – February 14, 1948), nicknamed Three Finger Brown or Miner, was an American Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is an American professional baseball organization and the oldes ...
, and
Grover Cleveland Alexander Grover Cleveland Alexander (February 26, 1887 – November 4, 1950), nicknamed "Old Pete", was an American Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is an American professional baseball organization and the oldest of the major prof ...

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. 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 $ 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. Also, pitchers could manipulate the ball through the use of the
spitball A spitball is an illegal baseball pitch in which the ball has been altered by the application of a foreign substance such as saliva Saliva (commonly referred to as spit) is an extracellular fluid Extracellular fluid (ECF) denotes all body fl ...
. (In 1921 use of this pitch was restricted to a few pitchers with a
grandfather clause A grandfather clause (or grandfather policy, grandfathering, or grandfathered in) is a provision in which an old rule continues to apply to some existing situations while a new rule will apply to all future cases. Those exempt from the new rule ...
). Additionally, many ballparks had large dimensions, such as the
West Side Grounds West Side Park was the name used for two different baseball parks that formerly stood in Chicago, Illinois. They were both home fields of the team now known as the Chicago Cubs of the National League. Both baseball park, parks hosted baseball champ ...
of the Chicago Cubs, which was to the center field fence, and the
Huntington Avenue Grounds Huntington Avenue American League Baseball Grounds is the full name of the baseball stadium that formerly stood in Boston Boston (, ), officially the City of Boston, is the capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Massachusetts, m ...

Huntington Avenue Grounds
of the
Boston Red Sox The Boston Red Sox are an American professional baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting (baseball), batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player ...
, which was to the center field fence, thus home runs were rare, and "small ball" tactics such as
singlesSingles may refer to: * Single persons and associated businesses and discussions Film and television * Singles (miniseries), ''Singles'' (miniseries), a 1984 Australian television series * Singles (1992 film), ''Singles'' (1992 film), written and ...
, bunts,
stolen base, steals third base in 1988. In baseball, a stolen base occurs when a runner advances to a base to which he is not entitled and the official scorer rules that the advance should be credited to the action of the runner. The umpires determine whether ...
s, and the
hit-and-run In traffic laws, a hit and run or a hit-and-run is the act of causing a traffic collision A traffic collision, also called a motor vehicle collision, car accident, or car crash, occurs when a vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a ...
play dominated the strategies of the time. Hitting methods like the Baltimore Chop were used to increase the number of infield singles. 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. 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. After the
1919 World Series The 1919 World Series matched the American League The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League (AL), is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and Canada. It devel ...

1919 World Series
between the
Chicago White Sox The Chicago White Sox are an American professional baseball team based in Chicago. The White Sox compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) American League Central, Central division. The team is owned ...

Chicago White Sox
and Cincinnati Reds, baseball was rocked by allegations of a game fixing scheme known as the
Black Sox Scandal The Black Sox Scandal was a Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization and the oldest major professional sports league in the world. , a total of 30 teams play in Major League Baseball—15 ...
. Eight players— Joe Jackson,
Eddie Cicotte Edward Victor Cicotte (; June 19, 1884 – May 5, 1969), nicknamed "Knuckles", was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball best known for his time with the Chicago White Sox. He was one of eight players permanently ineligible fo ...

Eddie Cicotte
, , , ,
Fred McMullin Fred Drury McMullin (October 13, 1891 – November 20, 1952) was an American Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is an American professional baseball organization and the oldest of the major professional sports leagues in ...
, Swede Risberg, Charles "Swede" Risberg, and Happy Felsch, Oscar "Happy" Felsch—intentionally lost the World Series in exchange for a ring worth $100,000 ($1,064,705.88 in 2016 dollars). Despite being acquitted, all were permanently banned from Major League Baseball.


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. By the end of the 1930s, the team had appeared in 11 World Series, winning eight of them. 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. Affected by the difficulties of the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
, 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 Major League Baseball rosters, 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.


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 (military conscription), 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. Black players, many of whom served in the war, were still restricted to playing
Negro league baseball The Negro leagues were United States professional baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting (baseball), batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player o ...
. Blackout (wartime), 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. 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." 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.


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 Jack Roosevelt Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was an American professional baseball player who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line ...
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. 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." 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." 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).''Rookie of the Year Awards & Rolaids Relief Award Winners''. Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 24, 2013. 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.''Doby was AL's first African-American player''. ESPN Classic. June 26, 2003. Retrieved November 24, 2013. 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.


Women in baseball

MLB banned the signing of women to contracts in 1952, but that ban was lifted in 1992. As of 2021, there have been no female MLB players.


Relocation and expansion

From 1903 to 1953, the major leagues consisted of two eight-team leagues whose 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. After a half-century of stability, starting in the 1950s, teams began to move out of cities with multiple teams into cities that hadn't had them before. In three consecutive years from 1953 to 1955, three teams moved to new cities: the Boston Braves became the Milwaukee Braves, the St. Louis Browns became the Baltimore Orioles, and the History of the Philadelphia Athletics, Philadelphia Athletics became the Kansas City Athletics. The 1958 Major League Baseball season was perhaps the pivotal season in making Major League Baseball a nationwide league. Walter O'Malley, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, moved his team to Los Angeles, marking the first major league franchise on the West Coast. Called "perhaps the most influential owner of baseball's early expansion era," O'Malley appeared on the cover of ''Time (magazine), Time'' as a result of his efforts to move baseball to a more nationwide sport O'Malley was also influential in persuading the rival History of the New York Giants (NL), 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— away—would have been the closest NL team. The joint move made West Coast road trips economical for visiting teams. O'Malley invited San Francisco Mayor George Christopher to New York to meet with Giants owner Horace Stoneham. Stoneham was considering moving the Giants to Minnesota, 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. The dual moves were successful for both franchises—and for MLB. The Dodgers set a single-game MLB attendance record in their first home appearance with 78,672 fans. In 1961, the first History of the Washington Senators, Washington Senators franchise moved to Minneapolis – Saint Paul, 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, California, Anaheim) and a new Washington Senators (1961–1971), Washington Senators franchise. The NL added the
Houston Astros The Houston Astros are an American professional baseball Professional baseball is organized baseball in which players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system. It is played in baseball league, le ...
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 1969 Major League Baseball expansion, 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 The Montreal Expos (french: link=no, Les Expos de Montréal) were a Canadian professional baseball team based in Montreal, Montreal, Quebec. The Expos were the first Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise located outside the United States. They ...
, 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 (baseball), Texas Rangers. In 1977, baseball 1977 Major League Baseball expansion, expanded again, adding a second Canadian team, the
Toronto Blue Jays The Toronto Blue Jays are a Canadian professional baseball team based in Toronto Toronto is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Ontario. With a recorded population of 2,731,571 in 2016, it i ...
, as well as the
Seattle Mariners The Seattle Mariners are an American professional baseball team based in Seattle. They compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) American League West, West division. The team joined the American League ...
. Subsequently, no new teams were added until the 1990s and no teams moved until 2005.


Pitching dominance and rule changes

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"1968 – The Year of the Pitcher
''Sports Illustrated'', August 4, 1998.
—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.
Detroit Tigers The Detroit Tigers are an American professional baseball Professional baseball is organized baseball in which players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system. It is played in baseball league, leagu ...

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. St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Bob Gibson achieved an equally remarkable feat by allowing an Earned run average, ERA of just 1.12. 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. 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 In baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams, typically of nine players each, that take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher play ...
(DH) rule.


New stadiums and artificial surfaces

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, as baseball expanded, National Football League, 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 Artificial turf is a surface of synthetic fibers made to look like natural grass. It is most often used in arenas for sports that were originally or are normally played on grass. However, it is now being used on residential lawns and commerc ...
, as well as the oval designs characteristic of stadiums designed to house both baseball and football. 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 (baseball), 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 (baseball), 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). 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. 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. The 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike from August 12, 1994, to April 25, 1995, caused the cancellation of over 900 games and the forfeit of the entire 1994 postseason. In 2019, Major League Baseball opened an investigation into allegations that members of the 2017 World Series champion
Houston Astros The Houston Astros are an American professional baseball Professional baseball is organized baseball in which players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system. It is played in baseball league, le ...
Houston Astros sign stealing scandal, stole signs from opposing teams using technology during the 2017 and 2018 Houston Astros season, 2018 seasons. The Astros were found guilty in January 2020 and while no active players faced any repercussions, Astros General manager (baseball), general manager Jeff Luhnow and Manager (baseball), field manager A. J. Hinch were suspended for the entire 2020 season. The Astros were fined the maximum allowable $5 million and forfeited their first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts.


Steroid era, further expansion and near contraction

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 Doping in baseball, steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. In 1993, the NL added the Florida Marlins in the Miami metropolitan area, Miami area and the
Colorado Rockies The Colorado Rockies are an American professional baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting (baseball), batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player ...

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 The Arizona Diamondbacks, often shortened as the D-backs, are an American team based in . The Diamondbacks compete in (MLB) as a member club of the (NL) division. The team plays its home games at , formerly known as Bank One Ballpark. Throu ...
in Phoenix and the American League's Tampa Bay Devil Rays in St. Petersburg, Florida. After the 2001 season, the team owners 2001 Major League Baseball contraction plan, 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. 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 Washington after a 33-year absence. This franchise shift, like many previous ones, involved baseball's return to a city that 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, since 2004 Montreal Expos season, 2004, host a team.


Uniforms

A baseball uniform is a type of uniform worn by position player, baseball players, and by some non-playing personnel, such as Manager (baseball), field managers and coaches. It is worn to indicate the person's role in the game and—through the use of logos, colors, and uniform number (Major League Baseball), numbers—to identify the teams and their players, managers, and coaches. 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. Most teams also have one or more third jersey, alternate uniforms, usually consisting of the primary or secondary team color on the vest instead of the usual white or gray. In the past few decades throwback uniforms have become popular. 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 (Jersey (sport), jerseys) and straw hats. baseball cap, Caps and other types of headgear have been a part of baseball uniforms from the beginning. Baseball teams often wore full-brimmed straw hats or no cap at all since there was no official rule regarding headgear. Under the 1882 uniform rules, players on the same team wore uniforms of different colors and patterns that indicated which position they played. This rule was soon abandoned as impractical. In the late 1880s, Detroit Wolverines, Detroit and Washington Nationals (1886–89), Washington of the
National League The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League (NL), is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball Professional baseball is o ...
and Brooklyn Bridegrooms, Brooklyn of the American Association were the first to wear striped uniforms. 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 park, baseball stadium and a different one for when they played away (Road game, on the road) at the other team's ballpark. 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. By 1900, both home and away uniforms were standard across the major leagues. In June 2021, MLB announced a long-term deal with cryptocurrency exchange FTX, which includes the FTX logo appearing on umpire uniforms during all matches. FTX is MLB's first-ever umpire uniform patch partner.


Season structure


Spring training

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 the 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, while teams that hold camp in Florida are known as the Grapefruit League. 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.


Regular season

Each team's schedule is typically organized into three-game series, with occasional two- or four-game series. 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 game#Baseball, 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. In the current three-division structure, 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 advantage, 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 #League organization, 15 teams.) Over the course of a season, teams compete for the five Playoffs, playoff berths in their respective leagues. To secure a berth, a team must either win its MLB#League organization, division or capture a MLB Wild Card, wild card spot by having one of the two best records among the non-winners in its entire league. After the conclusion of the 162-game season, an additional One-game playoff, tie-breaking game (or games) may be needed to determine MLB postseason, postseason participation.


All-Star Game

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. The first official All-Star Game was held as part of the Century of Progress, 1933 World's Fair in Chicago, Illinois, and was the idea of Arch Ward, then sports editor for ''The Chicago Tribune''. 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. (In 1970, it was renamed the Commissioner's Trophy, until 1985, when the name change was reversed. In 2002, it was renamed the Major League Baseball All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, 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. The fan voting was discontinued after a 1957 ballot-box-stuffing scandal in Cincinnati: seven of the eight slots originally went to Cincinnati Reds, 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 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, 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 a 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. 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 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, 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. On July 3, 2020, it was announced that the 2020 Major League Baseball All-Star Game scheduled to be held in Los Angeles would not be played due to the COVID-19 pandemic in North America, COVID-19 pandemic. As compensation, Los Angeles was awarded the next available All-Star Game in 2022.


Postseason

The regular season ends after the first Sunday in October (or the last Sunday in September), after which ten teams enter the postseason playoffs. These ten teams consist of the six division champions and four "wild-card" teams: the team with the best overall winning percentage, win-loss record in each of the six divisions, and the two teams in each league with the best records other than the division champions. Four rounds of series of games are played to determine the champion: # Major League Baseball Wild Card Game, Wild Card Game, a one-game playoff between the two wild-card teams in each league. # American League Division Series and National League Division Series, each a best-of-five-games series. # 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 (sports), pennant winners. #
World Series The World Series is the annual championship series of (MLB) in the and , contested since between the champion teams of the (AL) and the (NL). The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a , and the winning team is aw ...

World Series
, a best-of-seven-games series played between the Pennant (sports), pennant winners of each league. Within each league, the division winners are the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 seeds, based on win-loss records. The team with the best record among non-division winners will be the first wildcard and the No. 4 seed. The team with the second-best record among non-division winners will be the second wildcard and the No. 5 seed. In the wildcard round, the No. 5 seed will play at the No. 4 seed in a one-game playoff. For the division series, the matchup will be the No. 1 seed against the Wild Card Game winner and the No. 2 seed against the No. 3 seed. 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, the 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,World Series The World Series is the annual championship series of (MLB) in the and , contested since between the champion teams of the (AL) and the (NL). The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a , and the winning team is aw ...

World Series
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World Series The World Series is the annual championship series of (MLB) in the and , contested since between the champion teams of the (AL) and the (NL). The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a , and the winning team is aw ...

World Series
, sec. 3.2.2 (Game-by-Game), note 2; as of 2008, the 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers are the last team to win a World Series after losing the first two games on the road. thereby gaining some momentum for the rest of the series. The DH rule in the World Series is only used in games played at the American League champions' home field. National League home games use the traditional rules with each team's pitchers batting.


International play

Since 1986 an all-star game, 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 Playoff format#Best-of formats, 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 Major League Baseball China Series, 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. 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. At the end of the 2011 season, it was announced that the
Seattle Mariners The Seattle Mariners are an American professional baseball team based in Seattle. They compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) American League West, West division. The team joined the American League ...
and the Oakland Athletics would play their season openers in Japan. 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. The
Arizona Diamondbacks The Arizona Diamondbacks, often shortened as the D-backs, are an American team based in . The Diamondbacks compete in (MLB) as a member club of the (NL) division. The team plays its home games at , formerly known as Bank One Ballpark. Throu ...
opened the 2014 season against Los Angeles Dodgers on March 22–23 in Australia. 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. In 2019, the Boston Red Sox, Red Sox were the home team in a regular-season two-game series against the Yankees. The games, which were the first regular-season MLB games held in Europe, were played on June 29–30 at London Stadium with the Yankees winning both games. Together with the
World Baseball Softball Confederation World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC; french: Confédération internationale de baseball et softball) is the world governing body for the sports of baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two ...
, MLB sponsors the
World Baseball Classic The World Baseball Classic (WBC) is an international baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting (baseball), batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a play ...
, an international baseball tournament contested by national teams.


Performance-enhancing drugs

In 1998, both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa hit more
home run holds the all-time home run record in Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization and the oldest major professional sports league in the world. , a total of 30 teams play in Major League Baseb ...
s than the record of 61 set by Yankees right fielder Roger Maris in 1961. 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. 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. 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 Party leaders of the United States Senate, Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell was appointed by Selig on March 30, 2006 to investigate the use of performance-enhancing drugs in MLB. The appointment was made after several influential members of the United States Congress, U.S. Congress made negative comments about both the effectiveness and honesty of MLB's Major League Baseball drug policy, drug policies and Commissioner Selig. The day before the
Mitchell Report The ''Report to the Commissioner of Baseball of an Independent Investigation into the Illegal Use of Steroids and Other Performance Enhancing Substances by Players in Major League Baseball'', informally known as the Mitchell Report, is the resu ...
was to be released in 2007, Selig said, "I haven't seen the report yet, but I'm proud I did it." The report said that after mandatory random testing began in 2004, growth hormone in sports, 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. The report included substance use allegations against at least one player from each MLB team. 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." 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, but he later said that the former senator had done a good job. Mitchell acknowledged that his "tight relationship with Major League Baseball left him open to criticism", but he said that readers who examine the report closely "will not find any evidence of bias, of special treatment of the Red Sox". 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 (medication), testosterone for the 2013 season. 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. 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. 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 Sports (United States), Fox, ESPN Major League Baseball, ESPN, Major League Baseball on TBS, TBS, and
MLB Network The MLB Network is an American television sports channel dedicated to baseball. It is primarily owned by Major League Baseball, with AT&T's WarnerMedia News & Sports, Comcast's NBC Sports Group, Charter Communications, and Cox Communications havi ...
. Since 2008, Fox Sports has broadcast MLB games on ''Fox Major League Baseball, Fox Saturday Baseball'' throughout the entire season; Fox previously only broadcast games from May to September. 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. 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. TBS has aired Sunday afternoon regular season games (non-exclusive) nationally, but beginning in 2022 this will be replaced by Tuesday night games. In 2007, TBS began its exclusive rights to any tiebreaker games that determine division or wild card champions. It also airs exclusive coverage of the Division Series round of the playoffs. 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. In January 2009, MLB launched the
MLB Network The MLB Network is an American television sports channel dedicated to baseball. It is primarily owned by Major League Baseball, with AT&T's WarnerMedia News & Sports, Comcast's NBC Sports Group, Charter Communications, and Cox Communications havi ...
, featuring news and coverage from around the league, and airing 26 live games in the 2009 season. 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. The channel is owned by Rogers Communications, who is also the parent company of the Blue Jays. Sportsnet also televises Fox's Saturday afternoon games, the All-Star Game, playoff games, and the World Series. In April 2011, TSN2 began carrying ESPN ''Sunday Night Baseball'' in Canada.


Blackout policy

MLB has several blackout (broadcasting), blackout rules. A local broadcaster has priority to televise games of the team in their market over national broadcasters if the game is not exclusive to the national broadcaster. A market that has a local team playing in a non-exclusive game will receive an alternative programming feed on the national broadcaster. 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. The rights to the World Series are exclusive to ESPN. In 2021, TUDN Radio picked up Spanish-language rights to MLB games, starting with that year's postseason. 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. 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. Many teams also maintain a network of stations that broadcast their games in Spanish; the former
Montreal Expos The Montreal Expos (french: link=no, Les Expos de Montréal) were a Canadian professional baseball team based in Montreal, Montreal, Quebec. The Expos were the first Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise located outside the United States. They ...
broadcast their games in both English and French, the
Toronto Blue Jays The Toronto Blue Jays are a Canadian professional baseball team based in Toronto Toronto is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Ontario. With a recorded population of 2,731,571 in 2016, it i ...
currently broadcast all games in English and some in French, and the Los Angeles Dodgers broadcast in Korean as well as English and Spanish. 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. 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 many MLB games in Spanish throughout Latin America. WAPA-TV, 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. In Brazil, ESPN Brasil has exclusive rights on TV (ESPN and ESPN2) and Internet (WatchESPN), with Fox Sports also broadcasting some games. Channel 5 (UK), Five in the United Kingdom previously screened MLB games, including the All-Star Game and the mlb#Postseason, postseason games, on Sunday and Wednesday usually starting at 1 a.m. British Summer Time, BST. Most recently, Johnny Gould and Josh Chetwynd presented ''MLB on Five'' on that station. 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. BT Sport ESPN show live and recorded games several times a week—it is available with BT Sport and (on a subscriber-basis) Virgin Media#Virgin TV, Virgin Media in the UK. ESPN America televised many 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. In Australia, MLB games are regularly shown on ESPN Australia (subscription). In the Middle East, North Africa and France, MLB games are broadcast on beIN Sports Arabia, beIN Sports channels. In Germany MLB games will be broadcast from 2022 exclusively on Sport1 (Germany), Sport1 until 2026. In Hungary, MLB games are broadcast on Sport1 (Eastern Europe), Sport1 as of 2020.


See also

* Australian Baseball League * Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) * Baseball in Canada * Baseball in the United States * Bob Feller Act of Valor Award * List of all-time Major League Baseball win-loss records * List of American and Canadian cities by number of major professional sports franchises * List of Major League Baseball awards * List of Major League Baseball managers * List of Major League Baseball retired numbers * List of Major League Baseball spring training ballparks * List of Major League Baseball stadiums * List of professional sports leagues * List of professional sports teams in the United States and Canada * Major League Baseball attendance records * Major League Baseball draft * Major League Baseball Players Association, the labor union representing players for collective bargaining negotiations with franchise owners * MLB Industry Growth Fund * Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities * Comparison of Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball


References


Explanatory notes


Citations


Further reading

* Banner, Stuart. ''The Baseball Trust: A History of Baseball's Antitrust Exemption.'' New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. * Jim Bouton, 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., Richard M. Cohen, Cohen, Richard M., David Neft, Neft, David, Johnson, Roland T., ''The Scrapbook History of Baseball'', Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1975. * King, Corretta. Jackie Robinson. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987. * Bill James, James, Bill. ''The Historical Baseball Abstract''. New York: Villard, 1985 (with many subsequent editions). * Ernest Lanigan, Lanigan, Ernest, ''Baseball Cyclopedia'', 1922, originally published by ''Baseball Magazine''. * Lansch, Jerry, ''Glory Fades Away: The Nineteenth Century World Series Rediscovered'', Taylor Publishing, 1991. . * 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. . * 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 a
Minor League News
* Seymour, Harold. ''Baseball: The Early Years''. 2v. New York: Oxford University Press, 1960. . * Hy Turkin, Turkin, Hy, and S. C. Thompson, 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. . * ''The New York Times'', ''The Complete Book of Baseball: A Scrapbook History'', 1980, Bobbs Merrill.


External links

* *
MLB
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