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From BR Bullpen
The American League has its origins in the minor league Western League, which existed from 1894 to 1899. The league was reorganized and renamed by Ban Johnson in 1900 and played as a minor league that year. Its intention, however, was to compete with the National League, and did so in 1901 when it proclaimed itself a rival major league, moved teams into the cities of Boston, MA and Philadelphia, PA, even though they were occupied by National League teams, and started to sign NL players. In 1903, with a precarious peace established through the National Agreement, the champions of the rival leagues met in the first World Series.
In 1904 there was no World Series due to the refusal of the New York Giants to play along; public pressure forced a permanent peace between the leagues after that. In 1997 the league was almost completely changed through Radical Realignment. In 1999, the two leagues were virtually dissolved as the league presidencies were abolished and merged under a single commissioner, Bud Selig. The AL (as it's frequently called) now exists in name only as part of Major League Baseball.
The American League is often called the "junior circuit", given it is 25 years younger than the National League.
 League Presidents
- Ban Johnson: 1901 to 1927
- Frank Navin: (acting) 1927
- Ernest Barnard: 1927 to 1931
- Will Harridge: 1931 to 1958
- Tom Yawkey: (acting) 1958 to 1959
- Joe Cronin: 1959 to 1973
- Lee MacPhail: 1974 to 1984
- Dr. Bobby Brown: 1984 to 1994
- Dr. Gene Budig: 1994 to 1999
 Further Reading
- Paul Hensler: The American League in Transition, 1965-1975: How Competition Thrived When the Yankees Didn't, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2013. ISBN 978-0-7864-4626-1
- Donald Honig: The American League: An Illustrated History, Crown Publishers, New York, NY, 1983. ISBN 0517550423
- Warren N. Wilbert: The Arrival of the American League: Ban Johnson and the 1901 Challenge of the National League Monopoly, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2007.
 Related Sites
-  An article examining the differences between the American and National Leagues over the decades in The Hardball Times, part 1.
-  An article examining the differences between the American and National Leagues over the decades in The Hardball Times, part 2.
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