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A Wild Card team is a team that qualifies for the post-season without finishing first in its division. When it was first introduced, the Wild Card slot went to the team with the best winning percentage in each league which was not one of the three division winners. The wild card team plays against the team with the best record in its league in the Division Series, if it is not a team from its own division. In that case, the wild card team plays against the division winner with the second-best record.

The Wild Card was first used in 1995; it was scheduled to be used in 1994, but the postseason was cancelled as a result of the 1994 strike. The 1981 Postseason also included an additional round of series as a result of the 1981 strike, but there was no wild card involved that year.

After the 2011 season, Major League Baseball and the Major League Players Association agreed to expand the wild card format to include two wild card teams in each league. The two teams play a one-game playoff to determine which of them will play the division winner with the best overall record in the Division Series. As a result of the expansion of the format, the rule which prevented two teams from the same division from meeting in the Division Series was set aside. The new format was initially agreed for the 2013 season, but subsequent discussions allowed it to apply immediately in 2012. The purpose of the expansion was not only to provide one more team in each league with a berth in the postseason, but also to make the act of winning a division title more meaningful by giving non-winners an extra hurdle to clear.

Contents

[edit] American League Wild Card

Year Champion Record Manager Postseason Notes
1995 New York Yankees 79-65 Buck Showalter Lost ALDS to Seattle Mariners
1996 Baltimore Orioles 88-74 Davey Johnson Lost ALCS to New York Yankees
1997 New York Yankees 96-66 Joe Torre Lost ALDS to Cleveland Indians
1998 Boston Red Sox 92-70 Jimy Williams Lost ALDS to Cleveland Indians
1999 Boston Red Sox 94-68 Jimy Williams Lost ALCS to New York Yankees
2000 Seattle Mariners 91-71 Lou Piniella Lost ALCS to New York Yankees
2001 Oakland Athletics 102-60 Art Howe Lost ALDS to New York Yankees
2002 Anaheim Angels 99-63 Mike Scioscia Won World Series over San Francisco Giants
2003 Boston Red Sox 95-67 Grady Little Lost ALCS to New York Yankees
2004 Boston Red Sox 98-64 Terry Francona Won World Series over St. Louis Cardinals
2005 Boston Red Sox 95-67 Terry Francona Lost ALDS to Chicago White Sox 1
2006 Detroit Tigers 95-67 Jim Leyland Lost World Series to St. Louis Cardinals
2007 New York Yankees 94-68 Joe Torre Lost ALDS to Cleveland Indians
2008 Boston Red Sox 95-67 Terry Francona Lost ALCS to Tampa Bay Rays
2009 Boston Red Sox 95-67 Terry Francona Lost ALDS to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
2010 New York Yankees 95-67 Joe Girardi Lost ALCS to Texas Rangers
2011 Tampa Bay Rays 91-71 Joe Maddon Lost ALDS to Texas Rangers
2012 Baltimore Orioles 93-69 Buck Showalter Lost ALDS to New York Yankees
2013 Tampa Bay Rays 92-71 Joe Maddon Lost ALDS to Boston Red Sox

Notes:

  1. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox finished with identical records in the AL East; Boston was named the Wild Card team because New York had a better head-to-head record.

[edit] American League Wild Card Game

Year Date Home team Record Manager Score Road team Record Manager Notes
2012 October 5 Texas Rangers 93-69 Ron Washington 1-5 Baltimore Orioles 93-69 Buck Showalter
2013 October 1 Cleveland Indians 92-70 Terry Francona 0-4 Tampa Bay Rays 92-71 Joe Maddon 1
  1. The Tampa Bay Rays won a one-game playoff with the Texas Rangers for the wild card spot

[edit] National League Wild Card

Year Champion Record Manager Postseason Notes
1995 Colorado Rockies 77-67 Don Baylor Lost NLDS to Atlanta Braves
1996 Los Angeles Dodgers 90-72 Tommy Lasorda / Bill Russell Lost NLDS to Atlanta Braves
1997 Florida Marlins 92-70 Jim Leyland Won World Series over Cleveland Indians
1998 Chicago Cubs 90-73 Jim Riggleman Lost NLDS to Atlanta Braves 1
1999 New York Mets 97-66 Bobby Valentine Lost NLCS to Atlanta Braves 2
2000 New York Mets 94-68 Bobby Valentine Lost World Series to New York Yankees
2001 St. Louis Cardinals 93-69 Tony LaRussa Lost NLDS to Arizona Diamondbacks 3
2002 San Francisco Giants 95-66 Dusty Baker Lost World Series to Anaheim Angels
2003 Florida Marlins 91-71 Jeff Torborg / Jack McKeon Won World Series over New York Yankees
2004 Houston Astros 92-70 Jimy Williams / Phil Garner Lost NLCS to St. Louis Cardinals
2005 Houston Astros 89-73 Phil Garner Lost World Series to Chicago White Sox
2006 Los Angeles Dodgers 88-74 Grady Little Lost NLDS to New York Mets 4
2007 Colorado Rockies 90-73 Clint Hurdle Lost World Series to Boston Red Sox 5
2008 Milwaukee Brewers 90-72 Ned Yost / Dale Sveum Lost NLDS to Philadelphia Phillies
2009 Colorado Rockies 92-70 Clint Hurdle / Jim Tracy Lost NLDS to Philadelphia Phillies
2010 Atlanta Braves 91-71 Bobby Cox Lost NLDS to San Francisco Giants
2011 St. Louis Cardinals 90-72 Tony LaRussa Won World Series over Texas Rangers
2012 St. Louis Cardinals 88-74 Mike Matheny Lost NLCS to San Francisco Giants
2013 Pittsburgh Pirates 94-68 Clint Hurdle Lost NLDS to St. Louis Cardinals

Notes:

  1. The Chicago Cubs won a one-game playoff with the San Francisco Giants for the Wild Card slot.
  2. The New York Mets won a one-game playoff with the Cincinnati Reds for the Wild Card slot.
  3. The Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals finished with identical records in the NL Central; St. Louis was named the Wild Card team because Houston had a better head-to-head record.
  4. The San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers finished with identical records in the NL West; Los Angeles was named the Wild Card team because San Diego had a better head-to-head record.
  5. The Colorado Rockies won a one-game playoff with the San Diego Padres for the Wild Card slot.

[edit] National League Wild Card Game

Year Date Home team Record Manager Score Road team Record Manager Notes
2012 October 5 Atlanta Braves 94-68 Fredi Gonzalez 3-6 St. Louis Cardinals 88-74 Mike Matheny
2013 October 1 Pittsburgh Pirates 94-68 Clint Hurdle 6-2 Cincinnati Reds 90-72 Dusty Baker


Major League Baseball Wild Card Game

National League
2012 | 2013
American League
2012 | 2013

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