Division Series History

Every Division Series in Major League Baseball History

October belongs to Major League Baseball. Why? Because that is when the postseason begins for the top teams that make the playoffs. Until 1969, when there were no divisions, the team finishing with the best record in each league won that league's pennant and faced the other league's pennant winner in the Fall Classic.

In 1969, however, the sport experienced a major shift in its post-season process after both the American and National Leagues added two more teams each and reorganized into two divisions, the East and West. As a result, the winners in each division were now required to play each other in a best-of-five League Championship Series to determine who would advance to the World Series. In 1985, the format was changed to a best-of-seven contest, where it has remained to this day.

Technically, the first division series were in the strike-interrupted year of 1981. Due to the two-month strike, Major League owners elected to split the 1981 season into two halves, with the first-place teams from each half in each division meeting in a best-of-five divisional playoff series. The winner of each of these series was then the division winner facing the other division winner in the League Championship Series. However, there would be no more division series until 1995.

Beginning with the 1994 season, baseball added a third division, the Central, to accommodate the introduction of expansion teams and realignment. Because of the strike that season, there were no postseason games. Thus the Divisional Series premiered in 1995, adding another elimination round to the playoffs. The American League Division Series and National League Division Series have given birth to many memorable moments.

How does it currently work? The Divisional Series is a best-of-five series, featuring the three division winners and a wild-card team. Typically, the wild-card team plays the division leader with the best winning percentage in one series, and the other two division leaders play the other series. However, if the wild-card team and the division leader with the best record are from the same division, the wild-card team plays the next winningest division leader, and the remaining two division leaders play. The teams with the better winning percentage get homefield advantage (home team for games 1, 2 and 5). The two Division Series winners move on to the best-of-seven League Championship Series to determine the pennant winner and league representative for the World Series.

"Perhaps this latest wild-card wackiness will prove to be little more than an unfortunate rain delay, but don't wait till next year; this may be our last and best September." - Columnist Walter Shapiro in Time Magazine (October 1993)
Division Series History

1981 & 1995 - 2020

1981 American League Division Playoff

1981 National League Division Playoff

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New York
East (1-0)

3

Oakland
West (1-0)

3

Montreal
East (1-0)

3

Los Angeles
West (1-0)

3

Milwaukee
East (0-1)

2

Kansas City
West (0-1)

0

Philadelphia
East (0-1)

2

Houston
West (0-1)

2

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1995 American League Division Series

1995 National League Division Series

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Cleveland
Central (1-0)

3

Seattle
West (1-0)

3

Cincinnati
Central (1-0)

3

Atlanta
East (1-0)

3

Boston
East (0-1)

0

New York
Wildcard (1-1)

2

Los Angeles
West (1-1)

0

Colorado
Wildcard (0-1)

1

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1996 American League Division Series

1996 National League Division Series

New York
East (2-1)

3

Baltimore
Wildcard (1-0)

3

St. Louis
Central (1-0)

3

Atlanta
East (2-0)

3

Texas
West (0-1)

1

Cleveland
Central (1-1)

1

San Diego
West (0-1)

0

Los Angeles
Wildcard (1-2)

0

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1997 American League Division Series

1997 National League Division Series

Cleveland
Central (2-1)

3

Baltimore
East (2-0)

3

Atlanta
East (3-0)

3

Florida
Wildcard (1-0)

3

New York
Wildcard (2-2)

2

Seattle
West (1-1)

1

Houston
Central (0-2)

0

San Francisco
West (0-1)

0

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1998 American League Division Series

1998 National League Division Series

Cleveland
Central (3-1)

3

New York
East (3-2)

3

Atlanta
East (4-0)

3

San Diego
West (1-1)

3

Boston
Wildcard (0-2)

1

Texas
West (0-2)

0

Chicago
Wildcard (0-1)

0

Houston
Central (0-3)

1

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1999 American League Division Series

1999 National League Division Series

New York
East (4-2)

3

Boston
Wildcard (1-2)

3

New York
Wildcard (1-0)

3

Atlanta
East (5-0)

3

Texas
West (0-3)

0

Cleveland
Central (3-2)

2

Arizona
West (0-1)

1

Houston
Central (0-4)

1

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2000 American League Division Series

2000 National League Division Series

Seattle
Wildcard (2-1)

3

New York
East (5-2)

3

New York
Wildcard (2-0)

3

St. Louis
Central (2-0)

3

Chicago
Central (0-1)

0

Oakland
West (1-1)

2

San Francisco
West (0-2)

1

Atlanta
East (5-1)

0

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2001 American League Division Series

2001 National League Division Series

Seattle
West (3-1)

3

New York
East (6-2)

3

Arizona
West (1-1)

3

Atlanta
East (6-1)

3

Cleveland
Central (3-3)

2

Oakland
Wildcard (1-2)

2

St. Louis
Wildcard (2-1)

2

Houston
Central (0-5)

0

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2002 American League Division Series

2002 National League Division Series

Minnesota
Central (1-0)

3

Anaheim
Wildcard (1-0)

3

San Francisco
Wildcard (1-2)

3

St. Louis
Central (3-1)

3

Oakland
West (1-3)

2

New York
East (6-3)

1

Atlanta
East (6-2)

2

Arizona
West (1-2)

0

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2003 American League Division Series

2003 National League Division Series

New York
East (7-3)

3

Boston
Wildcard (2-2)

3

Florida
Wildcard (2-0)

3

Chicago
Central (1-1)

3

Minnesota
Central (1-1)

1

Oakland
West (1-4)

2

San Francisco
West (1-3)

1

Atlanta
East (6-3)

2

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2004 American League Division Series

2004 National League Division Series

New York
East (8-3)

3

Boston
Wildcard (3-2)

3

St. Louis
Central (4-1)

3

Houston
Wildcard (1-5)

3

Minnesota
Central (1-2)

1

Anaheim
West (1-1)

0

Los Angeles
West (1-3)

1

Atlanta
East (6-4)

2

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2005 American League Division Series

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Anaheim
West (2-1)

3

Chicago
Central (1-1)

3

St. Louis
Central (5-1)

3

Houston
Wildcard (2-5)

3

New York
East (8-4)

2

Boston
Wildcard (3-3)

0

San Diego
West (1-2)

0

Atlanta
East (6-5)

1

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2006 American League Division Series

2006 National League Division Series

Detroit
Wildcard (1-0)

3

Oakland
West (2-4)

3

St. Louis
Central (6-1)

3

New York
East (3-0)

3

New York
East (8-5)

1

Minnesota
Central (1-3)

0

San Diego
West (1-3)

1

Los Angeles
Wildcard (1-4)

0

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2007 American League Division Series

2007 National League Division Series

Boston
East (4-3)

3

Cleveland
Central (4-3)

3

Arizona
West (2-2)

3

Colorado
Wildcard (1-1)

3

Anaheim
West (2-2)

0

New York
Wildcard (8-6)

1

Chicago
Central (1-2)

0

Philadelphia
East (0-2)

0

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2008 American League Division Series

2008 National League Division Series

Boston
Wildcard (5-3)

3

Tampa Bay
East (1-0)

3

Los Angeles
West (2-4)

3

Philadelphia
East (1-2)

3

Anaheim
West (2-3)

1

Chicago
Central (1-2)

1

Chicago
Central (1-3)

0

Milwaukee
Wildcard (0-2)

1

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2009 American League Division Series

2009 National League Division Series

New York
East (9-6)

3

Anaheim
West (3-3)

3

Los Angeles
West (3-4)

3

Philadelphia
East (2-2)

3

Minnesota
Central (1-4)

0

Boston
Wildcard (5-4)

0

St. Louis
Central (6-2)

0

Colorado
Wildcard (1-2)

1

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2010 American League Division Series

2010 National League Division Series

New York
Wildcard (10-6)

3

Texas
West (1-3)

3

Philadelphia
East (3-2)

3

San Francisco
West (2-3)

3

Minnesota
Central (1-4)
0 Tampa Bay
East (1-0)
2 Cincinnati
Central (1-0)
0 Atlanta
Wildcard (6-5)
1
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2011 American League Division Series 2011 National League Division Series

Detroit
Central (2-0)

3 Texas
West (2-3)
3 Milwaukee
Central (1-2)
3 St. Louis
Wildcard (7-2)
3
New York
East (10-7)
2 Tampa Bay
Wildcard (1-1)
1 Arizona
West (2-3)
2 Philadelphia
East (3-3)
2

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2012 American League Division Series 2012 National League Division Series
Detroit
Central (3-0)
3 New York
East (11-7)
3 San Francisco
West (3-3)
3 St. Louis
Wildcard (8-2)
3
Oakland
West (2-5)
2 Baltimore
Wildcard (2-1)
2 Cincinnati
Central (1-1)
2 Washington
East (0-1)
2
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2013 American League Division Series 2013 National League Division Series
Detroit
Central (4-0)
3 Boston
East (6-4)
3 Los Angeles
West (4-4)
3 St. Louis
Central (9-2)
3
Oakland
West (2-6)
2 Tampa Bay
Wildcard (1-2)
1 Atlanta
East (6-6)
1 Pittsburgh
Wildcard (0-1)
2
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2014 American League Division Series 2014 National League Division Series
Baltimore
East (3-1)
3 Kansas City
Wildcard (1-1)
3 San Francisco
Wildcard (4-3)
3 St. Louis
Central (10-2)
3
Detroit
Central (4-1)
0 Anaheim
West (3-4)
0 Washington
East (0-2)
1 Los Angeles
West (4-5)
1
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2015 American League Division Series 2015 National League Division Series
Toronto
East (1-0)
3 Kansas City
Central (2-1)
3 Chicago
Wildcard (2-3)
3 New York
East (4-0)
3
Texas
West (2-4)
2 Houston
Wildcard (2-6)
2 St. Louis
Central (10-3)
1 Los Angeles
West (4-6)
2
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2016 American League Division Series 2016 National League Division Series
Toronto
Wildcard (2-0)
3 Cleveland
Central (5-3)
3 Chicago
Central (3-3)
3 Los Angeles
West (5-6)
3
Texas
West (2-5)
0 Boston
East (6-5)
0 San Francisco
Wildcard (4-4)
1 Washington
East (0-3)
2
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2017 American League Division Series 2017 National League Division Series
New York
Wildcard (12-7)
3 Houston
West (3-6)
3 Chicago
Central (4-3)
3 Los Angeles
West (6-6)
3
Cleveland
Central (5-4)
2 Boston
East (6-6)
1 Washington
East (0-4)
2 Arizona
Wildcard (2-4)
0
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2018 American League Division Series 2018 National League Division Series
Boston
East (7-6)
3 Houston
West (4-6)
3 Milwaukee
Central (2-2)
3 Los Angeles
West (7-6)
3
New York
Wildcard (12-8)
1 Cleveland
Central (5-5)
0 Colorado
Wildcard (1-3)
0 Atlanta
East (6-7)
1
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2019 American League Division Series 2019 National League Division Series
New York
East (13-8)
3 Houston
West (4-6)
3 St. Louis
Central (11-3)
3 Washington
Wildcard (1-4)
3
Minnesota
Central (1-5)
0 Tampa Bay
Wildcard (1-2)
2 Atlanta
East (6-8)
2 Los Angeles
West (7-7)
2
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2020 American League Division Series 2020 National League Division Series
TBD
TBD (x-x)
x TBD
TBD (x-x)
x TBD
TBD (x-x)
x TBD
TBD (x-x)
x
TBD
TBD (x-x)
x TBD
TBD (x-x)
x TBD
TBD (x-x)
x TBD
TBD (x-x)
x
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American League Division Series

National League Division Series

Division Series History : 1981 & 1995 - 2020 | Research by Baseball Almanac, Inc.



Did you know that during the 1892 season the National League — which boasted twelve teams at the time — had made plans for two six-team divisions?
Divisons / alignments have changed many times since 1969 and writer Tom Verduccii of Sports Illustrated once said in 1995, "The format is harder to understand than the essay question on a Russian literature exam. The American League's official media guide, the Red Book, even had it wrong! When an Indian official telephoned both the American and National league offices to find out which league champion has the home field advantage in the World Series, he received two different answers."
How do you feel about divisional play? Is it now a mute issue? Could it still be made even better? Should another round of playoffs be made? Should another format be used? Please, tell us your opinions on Baseball Fever .
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Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac07 Nov
ICYMI: TV ratings for 2019 World Series have been published on #BaseballAlmanac [baseball-almanac.com/ws/wstv.shtml]. This yea… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac07 Nov
All necessary SABR Biographical Research Committee Data added to The Ballplayers. (baseball-almanac.com/players/ballpl…). ❤️⚾️ https://t.co/CJR6NvD2oP
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac06 Nov
RIP😢: Cecil Butler [baseball-almanac.com/players/player…]. RHP, blistering fastball, #Milwaukee #Braves (1962, 1964 | 2-0, 24 Ks… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac05 Nov
Did you know more than 50 #MLB players have served time in prison? The full set of original research is on… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac04 Nov
Dick Groat. Made #MLB debut in 1952, SAME YEAR, made #NBA debut! It’s on his #BaseballAlmanac page [… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac04 Nov
#Trivia: One #MLB HR, a walk-off dinger in the #SkyDome. Wore #21. Played only 38 games total, but was on 25-man ro… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac04 Nov
What to do when a fan sends #BaseballAlmanac a scanned-in ticket to a game from 1925, that his parents attended on… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac31 Oct
RIP😢: Ron Fairly [baseball-almanac.com/players/player…]. A 21-year #MLB career - DYK he hit 1-or-more home runs every single sea… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac31 Oct
Thanks for sharing that with your followers Mark, we really do appreciate it. 👍😀 twitter.com/TribStarMark/s…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac31 Oct
@MrRedBeard4256 @Reds I'm right beside you! I can't even remember the one I saw in person, and it was a Game 7 cont… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac31 Oct
The FINAL OUTS [baseball-almanac.com/ws/world_serie…]: You know what happens next, but do you remember the final out from your t… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac24 Oct
@ToddZolecki Should we update it now Todd, or wait till later today? [Baseball Manager History: baseball-almanac.com/mgrmenu.shtml]
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac24 Oct
The Panda, OTD2012, joined Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols; becoming the 4th player in #MLB history to… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
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