American League Championship Series

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The American League Championship Series (ALCS) is a best-of-seven series played in October in the Major League Baseball postseason that determines the winner of the American League (AL) pennant. The winner of the series advances to play the winner of the National League (NL) Championship Series (NLCS) in the World Series, Major League Baseball's championship series.


It started in 1969, when the AL reorganized into two divisions, East and West. The winners of each division played each other in a best-of-five series to determine who would advance to the World Series. In 1985, the format changed to best-of-seven. In 1994, the league was restructured into three divisions, with the three division winners and a wild-card team advancing to a best-of-five postseason round, known as the American League Division Series (ALDS). The winners of that round then advanced to the best-of-seven ALCS. In 2012, the playoffs were expanded again so that two wild card teams face off in a one-game wild card round to determine which team advances to the division series, with the playoffs then continuing as it had before 2012 (though with the possibility of a fifth seed being in the playoffs and a fourth seed being out) after the end of the wild card round. This is the system currently in use.

The ALCS and NLCS, since the expansion to best-of-seven, are always played in a 2–3–2 format: Games 1, 2, 6, and 7 are played in the stadium of the team that has home field advantage, and Games 3, 4, and 5 are played in the stadium of the team that does not. The series concludes when one team records its fourth win. Since 1998, home field advantage has been given to the team that has the better regular season record, unless that team happens to be the Wild Card team. In that case, the other team gets home field advantage, because by rule the Wild Card team is never allowed home field advantage in a Division Series or LCS. In the event that both teams have identical records in the regular season, home field advantage goes to the team that has the winning head-to-head record. From 1969 to 1993, home field advantage alternated between the two divisions, and from 1995 to 1997 home field advantage was determined before the season.

Every current American League team has played in the ALCS at least once, except as follows. The Houston Astros moved to the American League in 2013, but played in the NLCS in 1980, 1986, 2004 and 2005. The Milwaukee Brewers played in the ALCS in 1982 before that club moved to the NL in 1998.

The 2004 ALCS is noted as the only instance where a team has come back from a 0–3 deficit to win 4–3. The Boston Red Sox achieved this against their bitter rivals, the New York Yankees, and went on to win their first World Series in 86 years.

Recurring matchups

Count Matchup Record Years
4 Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees Yankees, 3–1 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980
3 Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees Yankees, 2–1 1999, 2003, 2004
3 Baltimore Orioles vs. Oakland Athletics Athletics, 2–1 1971, 1973, 1974
3 Boston Red Sox vs. Oakland Athletics Athletics, 2–1 1975, 1988, 1990
2 Baltimore Orioles vs. Minnesota Twins Orioles, 2–0 1969, 1970
2 Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics Tied, 1–1 1972, 2006
2 Kansas City Royals vs. Toronto Blue Jays Royals, 2–0 1985, 2015
2 New York Yankees vs. Seattle Mariners Yankees, 2–0 2000, 2001
2 Oakland Athletics vs. Toronto Blue Jays Tied, 1–1 1989, 1992

Championship Trophy

The William Harridge Trophy is awarded to the ALCS champion. The trophy's namesake comes from the American League president from 1931 to 1959.[1]

Most Valuable Player Award

See: League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award#American League winners

The Lee MacPhail Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is given to the outstanding player in the ALCS. No MVP award is given for Division Series play.

Although the National League began its LCS MVP award in 1977, the American League did not begin its LCS MVP award till 1980. The winners are listed (1) below in the section on "ALCS results (1969–present)", in the "Series MVP" column, (2) at League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award, and (3) on the MLB website.[2]

ALCS results (1969–present)

Click the link on the far left for detailed information on that series.

Denotes wild-card team (since 1995).
Denotes MVP did not play for winning team.
Year Winner Loser Record Series MVP TV
1969 Baltimore Orioles Minnesota Twins 3–0 NBC
1970 Baltimore Orioles Minnesota Twins 3–0   NBC
1971 Baltimore Orioles Oakland Athletics 3–0   NBC
1972 Oakland Athletics Detroit Tigers 3–2   NBC
1973 Oakland Athletics Baltimore Orioles 3–2   NBC
1974 Oakland Athletics Baltimore Orioles 3–1   NBC
1975 Boston Red Sox Oakland Athletics 3–0   NBC
1976 New York Yankees Kansas City Royals 3–2   ABC
1977 New York Yankees Kansas City Royals 3–2   NBC
1978 New York Yankees Kansas City Royals 3–1   ABC
1979 Baltimore Orioles California Angels 3–1   NBC
1980 Kansas City Royals New York Yankees 3–0 Frank White, Kansas City ABC
1981 New York Yankees Oakland Athletics 3–0 Graig Nettles, New York NBC
1982 Milwaukee Brewers California Angels 3–2 Fred Lynn, California* ABC
1983 Baltimore Orioles Chicago White Sox 3–1 Mike Boddicker, Baltimore NBC
1984 Detroit Tigers Kansas City Royals 3–0 Kirk Gibson, Detroit ABC
1985 Kansas City Royals Toronto Blue Jays 4–3 George Brett, Kansas City NBC
1986 Boston Red Sox California Angels 4–3 Marty Barrett, Boston ABC
1987 Minnesota Twins Detroit Tigers 4–1 Gary Gaetti, Minnesota NBC
1988 Oakland Athletics Boston Red Sox 4–0 Dennis Eckersley, Oakland ABC
1989 Oakland Athletics Toronto Blue Jays 4–1 Rickey Henderson, Oakland NBC
1990 Oakland Athletics Boston Red Sox 4–0 Dave Stewart, Oakland CBS
1991 Minnesota Twins Toronto Blue Jays 4–1 Kirby Puckett, Minnesota CBS
1992 Toronto Blue Jays Oakland Athletics 4–2 Roberto Alomar, Toronto CBS
1993 Toronto Blue Jays Chicago White Sox 4–2 Dave Stewart, Toronto CBS
1994 Series cancelled[3]
1995 Cleveland Indians Seattle Mariners 4–2 Orel Hershiser, Cleveland ABC
1996 New York Yankees Baltimore Orioles wc 4–1 Bernie Williams, New York NBC
1997 Cleveland Indians Baltimore Orioles 4–2 Marquis Grissom, Cleveland Fox
1998 New York Yankees Cleveland Indians 4–2 David Wells, New York NBC
1999 New York Yankees Boston Red Sox wc 4–1 Orlando Hernández, New York Fox
2000 New York Yankees Seattle Mariners wc 4–2 David Justice, New York NBC
2001 New York Yankees Seattle Mariners 4–1 Andy Pettitte, New York Fox
2002 Anaheim Angels wc Minnesota Twins 4–1 Adam Kennedy, Anaheim Fox
2003 New York Yankees Boston Red Sox wc 4–3 Mariano Rivera, New York Fox
2004 Boston Red Sox wc New York Yankees 4–3 David Ortiz, Boston Fox
2005 Chicago White Sox Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 4–1 Paul Konerko, Chicago Fox
2006 Detroit Tigers wc Oakland Athletics 4–0 Plácido Polanco, Detroit Fox
2007 Boston Red Sox Cleveland Indians 4–3 Josh Beckett, Boston Fox
2008 Tampa Bay Rays Boston Red Sox wc 4–3 Matt Garza, Tampa Bay TBS
2009 New York Yankees Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 4–2 CC Sabathia, New York Fox
2010 Texas Rangers New York Yankees wc 4–2 Josh Hamilton, Texas TBS
2011 Texas Rangers Detroit Tigers 4–2 Nelson Cruz, Texas Fox
2012 Detroit Tigers New York Yankees 4–0 Delmon Young, Detroit TBS
2013 Boston Red Sox Detroit Tigers 4–2 Koji Uehara, Boston Fox
2014 Kansas City Royals wc Baltimore Orioles 4–0 Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City TBS
2015 Kansas City Royals Toronto Blue Jays 4–2 Alcides Escobar, Kansas City Fox/FS1

ALCS appearances by team

Team Wins Losses Win % Most recent
Most recent
15 New York Yankees 11 4 68.75 2009 2012
11 Oakland Athletics 6 5 54.55 1990 2006
10 Boston Red Sox 5 5 50.00 2013 2013
10 Baltimore Orioles 5 5 50.00 1983 2014
8 Kansas City Royals 4 4 50.00 2015 2015
7 Detroit Tigers 3 4 42.86 2012 2013
6 California/Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 1 5 16.67 2002 2009
6 Toronto Blue Jays 2 4 33.33 1993 2015
5 Minnesota Twins 2 3 40.00 1991 2002
4 Cleveland Indians 2 2 50.00 1997 2007
3 Chicago White Sox 1 2 33.33 2005 2005
3 Seattle Mariners 0 3 0.00 - 2001
2 Texas Rangers 2 0 100.00 2011 2011
1 Tampa Bay Rays 1 0 100.00 2008 2008
1 Milwaukee Brewers 1 0 100.00 1982 1982
0 Houston Astros 0 0 0.00 - -

See also


  1. winner. Dave (Tampa Bay Rays fan), "Overjoyed!", Fielder's Choice Baseball Card Blog, April 10, 2009. Retrieved August 17, 2009 (including photo of trophy).
  2. League Championship Series Most Valuable Players ( ). MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
  3. "Baseball-Reference Playoff and World Series Index". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved November 5, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links