National League

Wed, 05 Nov 2008 02:05

The National League

Detailed information about the national league of baseball.

The National League is one of the two main divisions of Major League Baseball. Established in 1876, the National League started with eight charter members. These were the Chicago White Stockings, the Philadelphia Athletics, the Boston Red Stockings, the Hartford Dark Blues, the Mutual of New York, the St. Louis Brown Stockings, the Cincinnati Red Stockings and the Louisville Grays. The Mutual of New York and the Philadelphia Athletics were expelled after the 1876 season by not following their league obligations. Hartford, St. Louis, and Louisville would fold from the league in 1877.

In 1882, the American Association was established to rival the National League. Both leagues boast of their own strong teams and they would let some of their teams face off to settle who has the better clubs. By 1891, the American Associated has folded and some of their teams were incorporated into the National League. The league now had the clubs of the Cincinnati Reds, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Cleveland Spiders, the New York Giants, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta Braves are also included in the list.

By 1900, only eight teams were left in the National League. The following year, the American League was established and it acquired some of the cities that the National League have let go. During the first years, the National League did not see the American League as a strong competitor. However, when talents from the National League began defecting to the American League, a new agreement was formed to acknowledge the strength of each league. For 60 years, the National League only had eight teams. However, movements in the American League and the formation of the Continental League caused alarm for the National League management.

The New York Mets and the Houston Astros (known back then as the Colt .45s) joined the National League in 1962. The San Diego Padres and the Montreal Expos (later known as the Washington Nationals) would also enter the National League by 1969. The league now had 12 teams in its lineup. Another expansion happened in 1993 wherein the Colorado Rockies and the Florida Marlins joined the league. The Arizona Diamondbacks would become part of the National League in 1998. The Milwaukee Brewers would also move to the National League after its stint with the American League.

In 1994, the National League was divided into three divisions, namely the East, West and Central. The champions of each division would go on to the next round while a team in second place in their division would get a wildcard slot if they have the best record as compared with second place teams in other divisions. There are also some rules in the American League that were not incorporated into the National League. These include the designated hitter rule and the inclusion of the pitcher in the batting lineup. The annual World Series would then pit the champions of each league to settle the ultimate winner for that season.