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Major League Baseball facts for kids

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Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball logo.svg
Sport Baseball
Founded National League (NL), 1876; 147 years ago (1876)
American League (AL), 1901; 122 years ago (1901)
National Agreement signed, 1903; 120 years ago (1903)
Merged into one organization, 2000; 23 years ago (2000)
Commissioner Rob Manfred
No. of teams 30
Countries United States (29 teams)
Canada (1 team)
Headquarters 1271 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York
Most recent
Texas Rangers
(1st title)
Most titles New York Yankees
(27 titles)
TV partner(s)
  • United States:
  • Broadcast
  • Fox/FS1
  • NBC
  • TBS
  • MLB Network
  • Live streaming
  • ESPN+
  • Peacock
  • Apple TV+
  • Max
  • Canada:
  • Broadcast
  • Sportsnet
  • TSN
  • RDS
  • TVA Sports
  • MLB Network
  • Live streaming
  • Apple TV+
  • International:
  • Broadcasters
Official website

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization and the oldest major professional sports league in the world. As of 2023, 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

T205 Cy Young
Cy Young, 1911 baseball card

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

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

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.


Division Team City Stadium Capacity Coordinates Founded Joined Ref
American League
East Baltimore Orioles Baltimore, Maryland Oriole Park at Camden Yards 45,971 39°17′2″N 76°37′18″W / 39.28389°N 76.62167°W / 39.28389; -76.62167 (Baltimore Orioles) 1901*
Boston Red Sox Boston, Massachusetts Fenway Park 37,949 42°20′47″N 71°5′51″W / 42.34639°N 71.09750°W / 42.34639; -71.09750 (Boston Red Sox) 1901
New York Yankees New York City, New York Yankee Stadium 47,309 40°49′45″N 73°55′35″W / 40.82917°N 73.92639°W / 40.82917; -73.92639 (New York Yankees) 1901*
Tampa Bay Rays St. Petersburg, Florida Tropicana Field 31,042 27°46′6″N 82°39′12″W / 27.76833°N 82.65333°W / 27.76833; -82.65333 (Tampa Bay Rays) 1998
Toronto Blue Jays Toronto, Ontario Rogers Centre 49,282 43°38′29″N 79°23′21″W / 43.64139°N 79.38917°W / 43.64139; -79.38917 (Toronto Blue Jays) 1977
Central Chicago White Sox Chicago, Illinois Guaranteed Rate Field 40,615 41°49′48″N 87°38′2″W / 41.83000°N 87.63389°W / 41.83000; -87.63389 (Chicago White Sox) 1901
Cleveland Guardians Cleveland, Ohio Progressive Field 34,830 41°29′45″N 81°41′7″W / 41.49583°N 81.68528°W / 41.49583; -81.68528 (Cleveland Indians) 1901
Detroit Tigers Detroit, Michigan Comerica Park 41,297 42°20′21″N 83°2′55″W / 42.33917°N 83.04861°W / 42.33917; -83.04861 (Detroit Tigers) 1901
Kansas City Royals Kansas City, Missouri Kauffman Stadium 37,903 39°3′5″N 94°28′50″W / 39.05139°N 94.48056°W / 39.05139; -94.48056 (Kansas City Royals) 1969
Minnesota Twins Minneapolis, Minnesota Target Field 38,871 44°58′54″N 93°16′42″W / 44.98167°N 93.27833°W / 44.98167; -93.27833 (Minnesota Twins) 1901*
West Houston Astros Houston, Texas Minute Maid Park 41,676 29°45′25″N 95°21′20″W / 29.75694°N 95.35556°W / 29.75694; -95.35556 (Houston Astros) 1962 (NL) 2013 (AL)
Los Angeles Angels Anaheim, California Angel Stadium 45,957 33°48′1″N 117°52′58″W / 33.80028°N 117.88278°W / 33.80028; -117.88278 (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) 1961
Oakland Athletics Oakland, California Oakland Coliseum 35,067 37°45′6″N 122°12′2″W / 37.75167°N 122.20056°W / 37.75167; -122.20056 (Oakland Athletics) 1901*
Seattle Mariners Seattle, Washington T-Mobile Park 47,943 47°35′29″N 122°19′57″W / 47.59139°N 122.33250°W / 47.59139; -122.33250 (Seattle Mariners) 1977
Texas Rangers Arlington, Texas Globe Life Field 40,300 32°45′5″N 97°4′58″W / 32.75139°N 97.08278°W / 32.75139; -97.08278 (Texas Rangers) 1961*
National League
East Atlanta Braves Cumberland, Georgia Truist Park 41,500 33°53′24″N 84°28′4″W / 33.89000°N 84.46778°W / 33.89000; -84.46778 (Atlanta Braves) 1871* (NA) 1876 (NL)
Miami Marlins Miami, Florida LoanDepot Park 36,742 25°46′41″N 80°13′11″W / 25.77806°N 80.21972°W / 25.77806; -80.21972 (Miami Marlins) 1993
New York Mets New York City, New York Citi Field 41,922 40°45′25″N 73°50′45″W / 40.75694°N 73.84583°W / 40.75694; -73.84583 (New York Mets) 1962
Philadelphia Phillies Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Citizens Bank Park 43,651 39°54′21″N 75°9′59″W / 39.90583°N 75.16639°W / 39.90583; -75.16639 (Philadelphia Phillies) 1883
Washington Nationals Washington, D.C. Nationals Park 41,313 38°52′22″N 77°0′27″W / 38.87278°N 77.00750°W / 38.87278; -77.00750 (Washington Nationals) 1969*
Central Chicago Cubs Chicago, Illinois Wrigley Field 41,268 41°56′54″N 87°39′20″W / 41.94833°N 87.65556°W / 41.94833; -87.65556 (Chicago Cubs) 1874 (NA) 1876 (NL)
Cincinnati Reds Cincinnati, Ohio Great American Ball Park 42,319 39°5′51″N 84°30′24″W / 39.09750°N 84.50667°W / 39.09750; -84.50667 (Cincinnati Reds) 1882 (AA) 1890 (NL)
Milwaukee Brewers Milwaukee, Wisconsin American Family Field 41,900 43°1′42″N 87°58′16″W / 43.02833°N 87.97111°W / 43.02833; -87.97111 (Milwaukee Brewers) 1969* (AL) 1998 (NL)
Pittsburgh Pirates Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania PNC Park 38,362 40°26′49″N 80°0′21″W / 40.44694°N 80.00583°W / 40.44694; -80.00583 (Pittsburgh Pirates) 1882 (AA) 1887 (NL)
St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis, Missouri Busch Stadium 43,975 38°37′21″N 90°11′35″W / 38.62250°N 90.19306°W / 38.62250; -90.19306 (St. Louis Cardinals) 1882 (AA) 1892 (NL)
West Arizona Diamondbacks Phoenix, Arizona Chase Field 48,519 33°26′43″N 112°4′1″W / 33.44528°N 112.06694°W / 33.44528; -112.06694 (Arizona Diamondbacks) 1998
Colorado Rockies Denver, Colorado Coors Field 46,897 39°45′22″N 104°59′39″W / 39.75611°N 104.99417°W / 39.75611; -104.99417 (Colorado Rockies) 1993
Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles, California Dodger Stadium 56,000 34°4′25″N 118°14′24″W / 34.07361°N 118.24000°W / 34.07361; -118.24000 (Los Angeles Dodgers) 1884* (AA) 1890 (NL)
San Diego Padres San Diego, California Petco Park 40,162 32°42′26″N 117°9′24″W / 32.70722°N 117.15667°W / 32.70722; -117.15667 (San Diego Padres) 1969
San Francisco Giants San Francisco, California Oracle Park 41,915 37°46′43″N 122°23′21″W / 37.77861°N 122.38917°W / 37.77861; -122.38917 (San Francisco Giants) 1883*

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

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