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NationalLeague.jpg

Officially known as: National League of Professional Baseball Teams

The National League (NL) formed in 1876, giving it seniority over the American League (founded in 1901). For this reason, the NL is nicknamed the "Senior Circuit."

At first the two leagues were completely separate, competing leagues linked only by the World Series, which began in 1903. In 1920 they were unified under a single commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis. From 1900, after four teams were contracted out of the league, until 1961, the league had the same 8 teams, with only a few relocations affecting its composition. In expanded by two teams in 1962, in 1969 and again in 1993. It added one team in the expansion of 1998.

Through the years, the leagues have become more similar in rules and style, though the NL maintains a different style of play from the AL by continuing to eschew the designated hitter rule. The NL's style is a game that is less big-offense driven. The difference, arguably, was never so obvious as during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1997, teams in the National League began to play a number of interleague games against American League opponents each season.

Also in 1997, Radical Realignment almost saw seven NL teams switch to the American League. The plan failed and the NL kept all the teams, as well as gaining the Milwaukee Brewers from the AL. From 1998 to 2012, the National League had 16 teams while the American had 14; the two leagues had the same number of teams - 15- starting in 2013, after the Houston Astros switched to the AL.

Also, during that time, many teams played in multi-purpose stadims that doubled as football stadiums. These stadiums often had playing surfaces made of artificial turf - Astroturf - rather than natural grass. By 2005, however, every NL team had eliminated artificial turf in favor of natural grass.

[edit] League Presidents

The office was eliminated in 1999, although Bill Giles, son of former National League President Warren Giles, and current Phillies Chairman, currently holds the title of honorary National League president.

Teams that have played in the National League:

Feb. 6 - Mar. 9, 1878: Boston Red Caps, Chicago White Stockings, Cincinnati Red Stockings, Louisville Grays, Indianapolis Hoosiers, and Milwaukee Grays.

  • Mar. 9-Dec. 4, 1878: Boston Red Caps, Chicago White Stockings, Cincinnati Red Stockings, Indianapolis Hoosiers, Milwaukee Grays, and Providence Grays.
  • Dec. 4, 1878-Jan. 26, 1879: Boston Red Caps, Chicago White Stockings, Cincinnati Red Stockings, Milwaukee Grays, Providence Grays, Buffalo Bisons, Cleveland Blues, and Syracuse Stars.
  • Jan. 26-Feb. 14, 1879: Boston Red Caps, Chicago White Stockings, Cincinnati Red Stockings, Milwaukee Grays, Providence Grays, Buffalo Bisons, Cleveland Blues, Syracuse Starsand Troy Trojans.
  • Feb. 14, 1879-Sept. 10, 1879: Boston Red Caps, Chicago White Stockings, Cincinnati Red Stockings, Providence Grays, Buffalo Bisons, Cleveland Blues, Syracuse Stars and Troy Trojans.
  • Sept. 10, 1879-Feb. 5, 1880: Boston Red Caps, Chicago White Stockings, Cincinnati Red Stockings, Providence Grays, Buffalo Bisons, Cleveland Blues, Syracuse Stars and Troy Trojans.
  • Feb. 5, 1880-Oct. 6, 1880: Boston Red Caps, Chicago White Stockings, Cincinnati Red Stockings, Providence Grays, Buffalo Bisons, Cleveland Blues, Troy Trojans and Worcester Ruby Legs.
  • Oct. 6, 1880-Dec. 8, 1880: Boston Red Caps, Chicago White Stockings, Providence Grays, Buffalo Bisons, Cleveland Blues, Troy Trojans and Worcester Brown Stockings.
  • Dec. 8, 1880-Dec. 6, 1882: Boston Red Caps (Beaneaters in 1882), Chicago White Stockings, Providence Grays, Buffalo Bisons, Cleveland Blues, Troy Trojans, Worcester Brown Stockings and Detroit Wolverines.
  • Dec. 6, 1882-Jan. 10, 1885: Boston Beaneaters, Chicago White Stockings, Providence Grays, Buffalo Bisons, Cleveland Blues, Detroit Wolverines, New York Gothams, and Philadelphia Quakers.
  • Jan. 10-Nov. 19, 1885: Boston Beaneaters Chicago White Stockings, Providence Grays, Buffalo Bisons, Detroit Wolverines, New York Giants (Gotham name was changed during season), Philadelphia Quakers, and St. Louis Maroons.
  • Nov. 19-28, 1885: Boston Beaneaters, Chicago White Stockings, Providence Grays, Detroit Wolverines, New York Giants, Philadelphia Quakers, and St. Louis Maroons.
  • Nov. 28, 1885-Jan. 16, 1886: Boston Beaneaters, Chicago White Stockings, Detroit Wolverines, New York Giants, Philadelphia Quakers, and St. Louis Maroons.
  • Jan. 16-Feb. 9, 1886: Boston Beaneaters, Chicago White Stockings, Detroit Wolverines, New York Giants, Philadelphia Quakers, St. Louis Maroons and Washington Statesmen.
  • Feb. 9, 1886-Feb. 8, 1887: Boston Beaneaters, Chicago White Stockings, Detroit Wolverines, New York Giants, Philadelphia Quakers, St. Louis Maroons, Washington Statesmen and Kansas City Cowboys.
  • Feb. 8-9, 1887: Boston Beaneaters, Chicago White Stockings, Detroit Wolverines, New York Giants, Philadelphia Quakers, Washington Statesmen, Kansas City Cowboys and Indianapolis Hoosiers.
  • Feb. 9, 1887-Oct. 14, 1888: Boston Beaneaters, Chicago White Stockings, Detroit Wolverines, New York Giants, Philadelphia Quakers, Washington Statesmen, Indianapolis Hoosiers, and Pittsburgh Alleghenies.
  • Oct. 14-Nov. 21, 1888: Boston Beaneaters, Chicago White Stockings, Detroit Wolverines, New York Giants, Philadelphia Quakers, Washington Statesmen, Indianapolis Hoosiers, and Pittsburgh Alleghenies.
  • Nov. 14, 1888-Nov. 14, 1889: Boston Beaneaters, Chicago White Stockings, New York Giants, Philadelphia Quakers, Washington Statesmen, Indianapolis Hoosiers, Pittsburgh Alleghenies (Innocents in 1890) and Cleveland Spiders.
  • Nov. 14, 1889-Dec. 17, 1891: Boston Beaneaters, Chicago White Stockings, New York Giants, Philadelphia Quakers (Phillies: 1890), Pittsburgh Innocents (Pirates in 1891), Cleveland Spiders, Cincinnati Reds, and Brooklyn BBC.
  • Dec. 17, 1891-Mar. 8, 1900: Boston Beaneaters, Chicago White Stockings (Colts, Orphans), New York Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Spiders, Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn BBC, Baltimore Orioles, Louisville Colonels, St. Louis Browns (Perfectos 1899), and Washington Senators.
  • Mar. 8, 1900-Mar. 18, 1953: Boston Beaneaters (now Braves), Chicago Orphans (Cubs in 1902), New York Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn BBC (Dodgers in 1932) and St. Louis Cardinals.

Mar. 18, 1953-Oct. 11, 1957: Chicago Cubs, New York Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Milwaukee Braves.

  • Oct. 11, 1957-Oct. 17, 1961: Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Braves, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Oct. 17, 1961-Jan. 27, 1966: Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Braves, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Colt .45s (Astros in '65), and New York Mets.
  • Jan. 27, 1966-May 27, 1968: Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, New York Mets, and Atlanta Braves.
  • May 28, 1968-Jul. 5, 1991: Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, Montreal Expos and San Diego Padres.
  • Jul. 5, 1991-Mar. 9, 1995: Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, Montreal Expos, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins.
  • Mar. 9, 1995-Nov. 6, 1997: Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, Montreal Expos, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, Florida Marlins, and Arizona Diamondbacks.
  • Nov. 6, 1997-Nov. 15, 2004: Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, Montreal Expos, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, Florida Marlins, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Milwaukee Brewers.
  • Nov. 15, 2004-Jan. 1, 2013: Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, Florida Marlins (became Miami Marlins in 2012), Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals.
  • Jan. 1, 2013-Present: Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, Miami Marlins, Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals.

[edit] Further Reading

  • Donald Honig: The National League: An Illustrated History, Crown Publishers, New York, NY, 1983. ISBN 0517550415
  • Tom Melville: Early Baseball and the Rise of the National League, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2001.

[edit] Related Sites

  • [1] An article examining the differences between the National and American Leagues over the decades in The Hardball Times, part 1.
  • [2] An article examining the differences between the National and American Leagues over the decades in The Hardball Times, part 2.

Sources:

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NATIONAL LEAGUE
EASTERN DIVISION

Atlanta Braves
Miami Marlins
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Philadelphia Phillies
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CENTRAL DIVISION

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Milwaukee Brewers
Pittsburgh Pirates
St. Louis Cardinals

WESTERN DIVISION

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CENTRAL DIVISION

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