MLB History

Major League Baseball (MLB) is known as America’s favorite pastime and is the oldest professional sporting league in the United States and Canada, as the National League was established in 1876 while the American League was established in 1901 to rival the National League. 

While the Atlanta Braves refer to themselves as the oldest continuously operating professional sports franchise in America, it was the Cincinnati Red Stockings who were the first professional baseball club. They were in fact the first franchise to pay all their players to play the game of baseball in 1869 when they competed in the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP). 

By 1876, the National League was born and they renamed the National Association of Base Ball Players to the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs. The National League originally had eight teams competing which were the Boston Red Stockings (now Atlanta Braves), Chicago White Stockings (now known as the Chicago Cubs), Athletic Club of Philadelphia, Hartford Dark Blues, Mutual Club of New York, St Louis Brown Stockings, Cincinnati Reds and the Louisville Grays. 

By 1901, there was a new league in town as the American League was introduced to cause a rift between the National League and like their predecessor, they also started with eight charter teams. 

Boston Americans (now known as the Boston Red Sox), Original Baltimore Orioles (were disbanded after the 1902 season), Chicago White Stockings (now known as the Chicago White Sox), Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers (now known as the current Baltimore Orioles side that competes in the MLB), Philadelphia Athletics (now known as the Oakland Athletics) and the Washington Senators (now known as the Minnesota Twins) all were the original teams to play in the American League. 

Two years after the American League entered the baseball world, the two leagues merged together to create the MLB. Since then there has been an introduction into expansion teams coming into both leagues as the National League was an eight-team league until 1962 where they welcomed the New York Mets and Houston Astros. 

A few years later the Montreal Expos and the San Diego Padres joined the National League, while the American League welcomed the Kansas City Royals and the Seattle Pilots. With the introduction of the new teams, it saw the league expand to 24 teams, the National League then set up an East and West divisions. 

The American League did the same when they introduced the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners in 1977. The National League then welcomed two more teams to the fold making it an even keel with 14 teams on both leagues with the introduction of the Florida Marlins, Colorado Rockies in 1993 which then saw a new division added to the league with the use of a Central Division a year later. 

In 1994, the MLB introduced a wildcard playoff series, which saw the best team not to win the division compete in the playoffs. In 1997, the MLB made a significant change that saw the National League teams play the American League teams and vice-versa to incorporate interleague play. 

A year later after the MLB introduced the interleague play, both leagues expanded to 15 teams as the National League introduced the Arizona Diamondbacks while the American League introduced Tampa Bay Red Devils (now known as the Tampa Bay Rays). 

MLB Dominant Decades

Few teams have dominated the MLB like the New York Yankees. One could say the Yankees are probably the most successful side ever in terms of the MLB as they have dominated the mid-1930s when they won four straight World Series from 1936-39.

It got even better for the Yankees in the 1940s when they won five consecutive World Series from 1949-53 and have even completed the three-peat in the late 90s to early 2000 when they won it from 1998-2000. The Yankees didn’t have to wait long either as they won the World Series in 2001 and 2003. 

Few could perhaps rival the mighty dominance of the New York Yankees, however, the St Louis Cardinals would come pretty close to their dominance. After all the Cardinals have been at the top of their game for a long period as they made three World Series from 1930-1934, winning the World Series in 1931 and 1934. 

They were once again a force to be reckoned with in the 1940s as they won four World Series between 1942-1946, and claimed the trophy in 1942, 1944, and 1946 only losing the 1943 World Series during that time.

The late 80s were also kind to the Cardinals as they won the 1982 World Series which kickstarted another dominant period and three years later they appeared in the MLB penultimate event but couldn’t quite win it as well as in 1987. 

They had another golden period in the mid-2000s, after not winning the World Series in 2004, they responded in 2006 to win it, they also made the World Series in 2011 and 2013, with their last win in 2011. 

It may not come as a surprise but the Oakland Athletics were a great team back in their heyday as they also did the three-peat in the early 1970s claiming the World Series in 1972, 1973, and 1974. 

While the Cincinnati Reds haven’t tasted success since 1990, they were one of the most feared teams in baseball through the 1970s as they had somewhat of a golden generation as they appeared in the World Series from 1970-1976. While not getting the prize in 1970 and 1972, the Reds finally got rewarded when they won the World Series back-to-back in 1975 and 1976. 

While neither of these two has been dominant compared to the teams mentioned above, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants have been one of the most dominant teams since 2010. 

The San Francisco Giants have had a golden period of the modern game and since 2010 when the Giants appeared in the World Series they have a 100% win rate as they won the 2010, 2012 and 2014 additions to make a pretty successful era for the first half of the 2010s. 

While the first half of the 2010s belonged to the San Francisco Giants, the second half belonged to the Los Angeles Dodgers, they made it to the World Series in 2017, 2018 and 2020. However, they only won it once in 2020 but it did cap off a remarkable four years by the franchise. 

MLB World Series

Following the introduction of the American League in 1901, the first World Series occurred two years later in 1903 when the winner of the National League took on the winner of the American League.

The first World Series took place when the Boston Americans (American League) took on the Pittsburgh Pirates (National League), with the Boston Americans taking out the inaugural event. 

It is now the penultimate showpiece of the MLB calendar as it is a best of seven series, the World Series is traditionally held in October but it can carry over into November, and since it’s held in this month it is sometimes referred to as the fall classic. 

In total there have been 115 World Series games played since its introduction, with the New York Yankees having won the most titles out of any franchises as they have won it 27 times. On top of that American League teams have won it more times (66) than the National League teams (49). 

In 2016, the Chicago Cubs ended the longest drought in between World Series titles when they clinched their first World Series since 1908 ending a 108-year drought. There are no current droughts quite like that right now.

Although, the Cleveland Indians do have the current longest drought in between titles as they have waited for 72-years and counting. Despite winning the 2020 World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers hold the record for most World Series losses with 14. 

MLB Legend Players

When speaking of legends that have graced the baseball field one name, in particular, comes to mind and that is former Boston Red Sox and New York Yankee, Babe Ruth. While Ruth began his Major League Baseball debut with the Red Sox, it was his time at the Yankees where he made a name for himself, as he spent 14 years at the franchise. 

Ruth started his career as a pitcher, but then dramatically changed to a power hitter, while also plying his trade as an outfielder. He is now well known for his presence with the bat and in doing so became the first player to hit 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 home runs in a season, he also had an average of .342 and had a slugging percentage of .690. 

Cy Young is another MLB legend and he was one of the best pitchers in the MLB throughout his time. He threw pitches at blistering speed, and he even had control. He started his career at the Cleveland Spiders and the St Louis Perfectos / Cardinals before crossing to the Boston Red Sox where he spent the majority of his career from 1901 to 1908.

After his stint at the Red Sox he then went to the Cleveland Naps for two years and ended his career with the Boston Rustlers. Young is one of the best pitchers to ever grace the baseball field and he currently holds the record for innings pitched 7,356. Given his dominance on the mound, the MLB introduced the Cy Young award in 1956 to be awarded to the best pitcher in the American League and the National League. 

Jackie Robinson created history in the MLB as when he signed for the Brooklyn Dodgers as he became the first African-American to play in the major league. Robinson would spend a decade playing for the Dodgers and throughout that time won the MLB Rookie of the Year, became a World Series champion, became a six-time All-Star player, NL MVP, NL batting champion, and was a member of the MLB All-Century Team. 

In honor of his impact on baseball and breaking the color barrier down, all MLB teams retired the no. 42 jersey. On top of that, the MLB introduced Jackie Robinson Day which is held on April 15, in honor of his MLB debut which sees every official and player wear the No. 42 jerseys for that day. 

Joe DiMaggio is one of the players that deserve to be in the conversation of being one of the best players to ever step foot on the diamond. He only played for one franchise, the New York Yankees over two stints with his first being from 1936-1942 and his second from 1946-1951. 

DiMaggio was a once in a lifetime generational talent as in each season he played for the Yankees he made the All-Star team, but more importantly, his stats steal the show. He has a batting average of .325, 2,214 hits, 361 home runs, however, he is most remembered for his hitting streak throughout the 1941 MLB season, which lasted 56 games and is still the record to this day.

MLB All-Star game

The MLB All-Star game is traditionally held in the middle of the season and it sees the American League take on the National League which is also often referred to as the “midsummer classic”. 

It is traditionally played on the second or third Tuesday of July, which is usually a sign that the MLB season has reached its midway point, while the All-Star game takes the headline there are other events and the most common is the home run derby. 

The selection to play in the MLB All-Star is similar to the NFL Pro-Bowl, where fans get to select a few players in the American League or the National League team. However, there is a catch as the fans can only select players as starting fielders, as the general manager selects the pitchers and the reserves. 

The first MLB All-Star game was played in 1933, with the American League winning the inaugural game. The American League has more wins (45) than any National League (43), as they also have scored the most runs 373 to 370. 

The American League is also undefeated in their last seven games dating back to 2013, with the last National League win coming in 2012. Murray Wills made history as he became the first All-Star MVP player when he was crowned the title in 1962. Hank Aaron though has competed in the most All-Star games with 21. 

While many players have been crowned the MVP since it’s introduction in 1962, Willie Mays, Steve Garvey, Gary Carter, Cal Ripken Jr. and Mike Trout have become the only players to win multiple MVP titles with two each. 

Betting on the MLB

It wasn’t too long ago that you weren’t allowed to bet on the MLB, but now there are more ways to bet than ever, with the MLB recently allowing sportsbooks to sponsor the league, with FanDuel, MGM Resorts International and DraftKings all being the major wagering partners of the MLB. 

Here at SportsTips, we provide you with the best in-depth analysis of the best MLB picks and parlays as well as expert MLB predictions for every game, every week. We also keep a close eye on the all important odds, if you want to know more about MLB odds, make sure you check out that page.

For an in-depth explanation on how MLB betting works, the most popular MLB markets and odds and payout examples, check out our MLB betting page! It is important to get all the necessary information before placing your MLB bets, you want to pick a winner right?!

MLB Teams FAQs

Who is predicted to win the World Series?

While the 2020 World Series is done and dusted following a Los Angeles Dodgers victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, betting has already begun for next year’s World Series. The Los Angeles Dodgers remain favorites to win the series in 2021 paying +450, while the New York Yankees are the second favorites to win the event with +600. 

How are the MLB All-Star teams picked? 

Fans can have a say in which players they would like to have in the American League team and the National League team, however, they can only select fielders. The general managers will then pick the starting pitchers from each team and also the reserves. 

Who has the first pick in the MLB draft?

At the moment the Pittsburgh Pirates have the first pick in the 2021 MLB draft. 

How many picks are in the MLB draft?

In total there are five rounds in the MLB draft consisting of 160 picks. 

How do you read MLB odds?

There are multiple different types of displaying and reading odds, including American, fraction and decimal odds. For information on different odd types, how to read odds and how to do the math on how much money you might win, check our betting guides page

How to bet on the MLB playoffs? 

SportsTips will provide you with current odds, spreads, over / under totals and all the MLB information you need before making any bets. There are multiple different betting agencies available to bet on MLB games including PointsBet, FanDuel and DraftKings among others, as of June 10th, there are only 18 states with legalized sports betting. If you want to know which sportsbooks are available in your state, check out our sportsbook review page.

How to watch the MLB playoffs?

There are many ways to watch the MLB playoffs such as through MLB.TV, ESPN, TBS, FS1 and Fox. 

How do the MLB playoffs work?

The MLB playoffs use a seeding system that normally has five teams from the American League and five teams from the National League. The teams that have won their divisions are seeded 1-3, and since the introduction of the Wild Card game in 2012, the team in each division that has the best record outside of the winners of the division are seeded 4-5. 

The teams that play in the Wild Card game, play only one game and then advance to the Divisional series playing the number one seed, as well as the teams seeded 2 and 3 squaring off against each other. 

The winners will then progress to the Championship Series, which is the best of seven, and then the winners of the Championship Series progress to the penultimate stage of the World Series. 

What does the MLB stand for?

The MLB stands for Major League Baseball. 

Who has the most MLB World Series?

Since the introduction of the World Series in 1903, the New York Yankees have appeared in the World Series 40 times, winning it 27 times which is the most out of any franchise in both the American League and the National League. 

When is the MLB All-Star Game?

The MLB All-Star Game is traditionally held on the second or third Tuesday of July which signifies the midway point of the season.

When does the MLB regular season start?

Traditionally the season usually starts around March / early April. In 2020 the MLB season started late due to the COVID-19 pandemic which saw them start on July 23. The MLB has already released the start of the season of the 2021 season which will begin on April 1st. 

How long is an MLB game?

Normally an MLB game lasts three hours as it consists of nine innings. However, occasionally it can take a bit longer especially when the game reaches past the nine innings if the score is tied.

There have been some long baseball games in the past, most notably in the World Series in 2018 between the Boston Red Sox against the Los Angeles Dodgers which lasted seven hours and 20 minutes when the game went to 18 innings with the Dodgers winning 3-2. 

However, the longest MLB game recorded by time happened in 1984 when the Chicago White Sox played the Milwaukee Brewers which lasted eight hours and took two days to complete.

The longest MLB game recorded by innings occurred in 1920 when the Brooklyn Robins played the Boston Braves which lasted 26 innings, they only stopped play because it was getting dark. 

When do the MLB playoffs start?

The playoffs usually start in October, following the conclusion of the regular season. 

How many games are there in an MLB season?

Traditionally there are 162 games in the MLB regular season. However, this wasn’t the case in the 2020 season due to the global COVID-19 pandemic which saw the league cut games to 60. 

What does against the spread in the MLB mean?

The spread is the number of points that the sportsbooks think the favorites should win the game by. The bigger the favorite is for the game, the bigger their points spread they have to cover to win the spread bet.