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National League


Joined in 1878

  • Indianapolis Blues, folded after 1878
  • Milwaukee Grays, folded after 1878
  • Providence Grays, folded after 1885

Joined in 1879

  • Buffalo Bisons, folded after 1885
  • Cleveland Blues, folded after 1884
  • Syracuse Stars, folded after 1879
  • Troy Trojans, folded after 1882

Joined in 1880

  • Worcester Worcesters, folded after 1882

Joined in 1881

  • Detroit Wolverines, folded after 1888

Joined in 1883

  • New York Giants (now the San Francisco Giants)
  • Philadelphia Phillies

Joined in 1885

  • St. Louis Maroons, joined from U.A., folded after 1886

Joined in 1886

  • Kansas City Cowboys, folded after 1886
  • Washington Nationals, folded after 1889

Joined in 1887

  • Indianapolis Hoosiers, folded after 1889
  • Pittsburgh Pirates, joined from A.A.

Joined in 1889

  • Cleveland Spiders, joined from A.A., folded after 1899

Joined in 1890

  • Cincinnati Reds, joined from A.A.
  • Brooklyn Dodgers (now the Los Angeles Dodgers), joined from A.A.

Post-AA merger, 1892-1899

In 1892, the National League absorbed the American Association, bringing in four teams from the A.A., in addition to the four teams that had switched leagues in the preceding half-decade. From 1892 through 1899, the twelve teams in what, for a time, was termed the "National League and American Association" were the following:

  • Baltimore Orioles joined from A.A. in 1892, contracted after 1899
  • Boston Beaneaters (now the Atlanta Braves), N.L. charter member, originated in N.A.
  • Brooklyn Dodgers (now the Los Angeles Dodgers), joined from A.A. in 1890
  • Chicago White Stockings or Colts (now the Chicago Cubs), N.L. charter member, originated in N.A.
  • Cincinnati Reds, joined from A.A. in 1890
  • Cleveland Spiders, joined from A.A. in 1889, contracted after 1899
  • Louisville Colonels, joined from A.A. in 1892, contracted after 1899
  • New York Giants (now the San Francisco Giants), enfranchised 1883
  • Philadelphia Phillies, enfranchised 1883
  • Pittsburgh Pirates, joined from A.A. in 1887
  • St. Louis Browns (now the St. Louis Cardinals), joined from A.A. in 1892
  • Washington Senators, joined from A.A. in 1892, contracted after 1899

Classic eight

After the 1899 season, the league underwent its largest contraction since 1877, dropping four clubs: the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Spiders, Louisville Colonels, and Washington Senators. This left the "classic eight" teams of the National League. All eight teams still exist today, and they would stay in place for over 50 years:

  • Boston Beaneaters (eventually to become known as the Atlanta Braves)
  • Brooklyn Superbas (eventually to become known as the Los Angeles Dodgers)
  • Chicago Orphans (eventually to become known as the Chicago Cubs)
  • Cincinnati Reds
  • New York Giants (eventually to become known as the San Francisco Giants)
  • Philadelphia Phillies
  • Pittsburgh Pirates
  • St. Louis Perfectos (eventually to become known as the St. Louis Cardinals)

Contraction, expansion, and relocation, 1953-present

The N.L. remained an eight team league for over 60 years.

  • 1953: Boston Braves move to Milwaukee
  • 1958: New York Giants move to San Francisco and Brooklyn Dodgers move to Los Angeles.

1962: New York Mets and Houston Colts

In 1962, facing competition from the Continental League and confronted by the unilateral expansion of the American League in 1960, the National League added the New York Mets and the Houston Colt .45s.

1965: Houston Astros

The "Colts" would be renamed the Houston Astros three years later in 1965.

  • 1966: Milwaukee Braves move to Atlanta

1969: San Diego Padres and Montreal Expos

In 1969, the league added the San Diego Padres and the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals), becoming a 12-team league for the first time since 1899.

1993: Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins

In 1993, the league expanded to 14 teams, adding the Colorado Rockies and the Florida Marlins.

1998: Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers

In 1998, the Arizona Diamondbacks became the league's fifteenth franchise, and the Milwaukee Brewers moved from the American League to the National, to make the National League the 16-team league it is today.

  • 2005: Montreal Expos moved by MLB to Washington, renamed the Washington Nationals

As a result of expansion to 12 teams in 1969, the National League, which for the first 93 years of its existence competed equally in a single grouping, was reorganized into two divisions of six teams (East and West, although geographically it was more like North and South), with the division champions meeting in the National League Championship Series (an additional round of postseason competition) for the right to advance to the World Series.

Beginning with the 1994 season, the league has been divided into three geographical divisions (East and West, currently each with five teams, and Central, currently with six teams; from 1994-97 the West and Central each had one team less). A third postseason round was added at the same time: the three division champions plus a wild card team (the team with the best record among those finishing in second place) now advance to the preliminary National League Division Series. However, due to a player's strike, the postseason was not actually held in 1994.

Often characterized as being a more "traditional" or "pure" league, the National League has never adopted the designated hitter rule as did the American League in 1973. In theory, this means the role of the manager is greater in the National League than in the American, because the N.L. manager must take offense into account when making pitching substitutions and vice versa. Overall, there are fewer home runs and runs scored in the National League than in the American due to the presence of the pitcher in the N.L. batting order.

For the first 96 years of its coexistence with the American League, National League teams faced their A.L. counterparts only in exhibition games or in the World Series. Beginning in 1997, however, interleague games have been played during the regular season, and count in the standings.

Through the 2007 season, the Dodgers have won the most National League pennants (21, plus one A.A. pennant), followed closely by the Giants (20) and Cardinals (17, plus 4 A.A. pennants). Representing the National League against the American, the Cardinals have won the most World Series (10) followed by the Dodgers (6), Pirates (5), and Giants (5). St. Louis also holds the distinction of being the only A.A. club to defeat an N.L. club in the nineteenth century version of the World Series.

Current major league teams

Major League Baseball (2008)ALEastCentralWestBaltimore OriolesChicago White SoxLos Angeles Angels of AnaheimBoston Red SoxCleveland IndiansOakland AthleticsNew York YankeesDetroit TigersSeattle MarinersTampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsTexas RangersToronto Blue JaysMinnesota TwinsNLEastCentralWestAtlanta BravesChicago CubsArizona DiamondbacksFlorida MarlinsCincinnati RedsColorado RockiesNew York MetsHouston AstrosLos Angeles DodgersPhiladelphia PhilliesMilwaukee BrewersSan Diego PadresWashington NationalsPittsburgh PiratesSan Francisco GiantsSt. Louis Cardinals Post-Season: World Series · ALCS · NLCS · ALDS · NLDS All-Star Game · World Baseball Classic · Baseball awards · Hall of Fame · MLBPA · TV contracts
Baseball year-by-year · Minor leagues · Negro leagues · All-American Girls Professional Baseball League · Federal League · History of baseball

National League presidents, 1876-1999

  • Morgan G. Bulkeley 1876
  • William A. Hulbert 1877-1882
  • Arthur H. Soden 1882
  • Abraham G. Mills 1883-1884
  • Nicholas E. Young 1885-1902
  • Harry Clay Pulliam 1903-1909
  • John A. Heydler 1909
  • Thomas J. Lynch 1910-1913
  • John K. Tener 1913-1918
  • John A. Heydler 1918-1934
  • Ford C. Frick 1934-1951
  • Warren C. Giles 1951-1969
  • Charles S. "Chub" Feeney 1970-1986
  • A. Bartlett Giamatti 1986-1989
  • William D. White 1989-1994
  • Leonard S. Coleman, Jr. 1994-1999

The President's office was eliminated in 1999, although Bill Giles, son of former N.L. President Warren C. Giles, currently holds the title of honorary National League president.


The National League is the oldest existing league in any sport and has established a sense of tradition and camaraderie in the different cities by way of baseball. It has evolved into the national pastime of the country, and is one of the four major sports in the United States, along with the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, and the National Hockey League.


  1. ↑ Sports Encyclopedia, William Hulbert. Retrieved August 21, 2008.
  2. ↑ Baseball Library, Baseball Library: The National League. Retrieved August 20, 2008
  3. ↑ Leonard Koppett, Koppett's Concise History of Major League Baseball (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998, ISBN 1566396387).


  • A Baseball Century: The First 100 Years of the National League. 1976. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 0025103806.
  • Allen, Lee. 1965. The National League Story, The Official History. New York: Hill & Wang. OCLC 722677.
  • Dickey, Glenn. 1982. The History of National League Baseball, Since 1876. New York: Stein and Day. ISBN 0812861019.
  • Melville, Tom. 2001. Early Baseball and the Rise of the National League. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. ISBN 0786409622.

External links

All links retrieved November 9, 2018.

  • 19th Century Base Ball 19cbaseball.com.