Major League Baseball facts for kids
|Founded||National League (NL), 1876
American League (AL), 1901
National Agreement signed, 1903
Merged into one organization, 2000
|No. of teams||30|
|Countries||United States (29 teams)
Canada (1 team)
|Headquarters||1271 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York
|Most titles||New York Yankees
Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization and the oldest major professional sports league in the world. As of 2023[update], a total of 30 teams play in Major League Baseball—15 teams in the National League (NL) and 15 in the American League (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 signed the National Agreement and cooperated but remained legally separate entities until 2000, when they merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball. MLB is headquartered in Midtown Manhattan.
Baseball's first all-professional team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, was founded in 1869. Before that, some teams had secretly paid certain 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 was the dead-ball era, when home runs were rarely hit. Professional baseball in the United States survived the Black Sox Scandal, a conspiracy to fix the 1919 World Series. The sport rose in popularity in the 1920s and survived potential downturns during the Great Depression and World War II. Shortly after the war, Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier.
The 1950s and 1960s were a time of club expansion and relocation for the AL and NL. Modern stadiums with artificial turf surfaces began to change the game in the 1970s and 1980s. Home runs dominated the game during the 1990s, and media reports disclosed the use of anabolic steroids among MLB players in the mid-2000s. In 2006, an investigation produced the Mitchell Report, which implicated many players in the use ofperformance-enhancing substances, including at least one player from each team.
Each team plays 162 games per each season and six teams in each league advance to a four-round postseason tournament that culminates in the World Series, a best-of-seven championship series between the two league champions that dates to 1903. Baseball 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, which comprises lower-tier teams affiliated with the major league clubs. MLB and the World Baseball Softball Confederation jointly manage the international World Baseball Classic tournament.
MLB is the second-wealthiest professional sport league by revenue after the National Football League (NFL).
Major League Format
The 30 teams in MLB are divided into two leagues: American and National. Each league is divided into three divisions: East, Central, West. Since the 2013 season, each division has five teams. The most recent change took place after the 2012 season, when the Houston Astros moved from the NL Central to the AL West.
Each team in Major League Baseball is scheduled to play a 162-game season. This season begins in April (or sometimes the end of March) and ends in October. The teams play other teams in their own division the most, and play very few (no more than six) games against teams in the other league. Teams usually play each other in series of three or four games at a time. If a game is cancelled because of bad weather, it may be held again at a different date, sometimes as part of a doubleheader (two games in one day). Sometimes these games are not held again if it would not affect either team's place in the standings (the list of teams ordered by their number of wins and losses). If teams are tied at the end of a season, and at least one of the tied teams cannot make the playoffs, they will play an extra game (or, with more than one team involved, a series of single games) to decide which team(s) will make the playoffs. However, these games are played only to decide which team (or teams) is out of the playoffs. If the tied teams will all make the playoffs, tiebreakers are used to decide playoff seeding.
In July, there are three days where teams do not play normal games, and a group of players voted on by fans play in the "Major League Baseball All-Star Game". This period is called the "All-Star Break", and it is thought of as the point where half of the season is over. Lately, some games at the beginning of the regular season have been played in other countries, such as Japan;)
There is one difference between games played in the American League and games played in the National League. The American League teams play with a "designated hitter", a player who bats in place of the pitcher and does not play in the field. In the National League, the pitcher must bat along with the other players. In games played in teams from both leagues, the rule that the home team usually plays by is used.
At the end of every season, ten teams play in the playoffs. Five teams from the AL, and five teams from the NL are in the playoffs. The team from the West, Central, or East division from each league with the most wins makes the playoffs (a team with the best record in its division is said to have "won its division". The next two best teams in the AL and the next two best teams in the NL also get to play in the playoffs. They are called "wild card" teams. The first playoff round is called the Wild Card game. The two wild card teams from each league play each other in a one-game playoff. The winner of each game moves on to the Division Series. The team with the best record in each league plays the winner of its league's Wild Card game. The division winner with the second best record plays against the division winner with the third best record.
In the Division Series, teams play "best out of 5". Once one team beats the other three times, the winning team moves onto the next round of the playoffs. The teams that lose are out of the playoffs. The AL teams that win play in the AL Championship Series. The NL teams that win play in the NL Championship Series. The Championship series is "best out of 7 games". Once one team beats the other four times, the winning team moves onto the next round of the playoffs. After the Championship Series, there are only two teams left. These two teams play each other in the World Series, which is also a "best out of 7 games" series. The winner of the World Series is the champion of the league.
Major League History
The first league of professional baseball teams began in 1871 and was called the National Association. This league did not play baseball the same way MLB does. For example, batters would walk after nine pitches instead of four. Many of the teams had problems with money and split up after only one or two seasons. However two teams are still playing today. Those teams were the Boston Red Stockings, which today are the Atlanta Braves, and the Chicago White Stockings, which today are the Chicago Cubs. In 1876, a league that was run better, the National League, began, and included the Red and White Stockings as well as six other teams. Even though this league was run better, many teams still would split up after only a few seasons, though some, like the teams that are now called the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants, are also still playing today. There were other leagues also. The American Association started in 1882 and was almost as good as the National League. However many of its teams would go to the National League, and the American Association disappeared in 1891. The National League had problems, though. Players and fans did not behave well, and once a fire that destroyed part of Boston happened during a game.
An asterisk (*) denotes a relocation of a franchise. See respective team articles for more information.
Images for kids
In Spanish: Grandes Ligas de Béisbol para niños
Major League Baseball Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.