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National League Central

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

NL Central
LeagueNational League
SportMajor League Baseball
Founded1994
Teams
No. of teams5
Championships
Most recent champion(s)Chicago Cubs
(6th title)
Most titlesSt. Louis Cardinals (11)

The National League Central is one of Major League Baseball's six divisions. This division was created in 1994, by moving two teams from the National League West (the Cincinnati Reds and the Houston Astros) and three teams from the National League East (the Chicago Cubs, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the St. Louis Cardinals).

When the division was created in 1994, the Pirates were originally supposed to stay in the East while the Atlanta Braves were to be moved to the Central from the West. However, the Braves, wanting to form a natural rivalry with the expansion Florida Marlins, requested to remain in the East. Despite the Marlins offering to go to the Central, the Pirates instead gave up their spot in the East to the Braves.[1] Since then, the Pirates have tried several times unsuccessfully to be placed back in the East.[2]

In 1998, the NL Central became the largest division in Major League Baseball when the Milwaukee Brewers were moved in from the American League Central. In 2013, the Astros moved to the American League West.

This division has been dominated by the Cardinals, who have accounted for 11 of the 25 division championships, plus three wild card wins. Aside from the Cardinals, the Cubs have the second most division championships with six, as well as three wild card wins. The Astros have four division titles and two wild card wins. The Reds have three division titles, along with one wild card win. The Brewers have two divisional championships, with two wild card wins. The Pirates have not won the division since the division was created, but possess three wild card wins. The 2013 win was the Pirates’ first playoff berth since 1992.

The current division champion for the NL Central is the 2020 Chicago Cubs. This is the third division championship for the Cubs in five years, winning last in 2017. The Cubs division championship comes in the pandemic shortened 60 game season.

Division membership

Current members

Former member

Division lineups

Place cursor over year for division champ or World Series team.

Years
NL Central Division[A]
94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
Chicago Cubs
Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals
Pittsburgh Pirates
  Milwaukee Brewers[B]
Houston Astros[C]  
  Team not in division   Division Won World Series   Division Won NL Championship
A Creation of division due to the 1994 realignment into three divisions (with Chicago, Pittsburgh and St. Louis from NL East, and Cincinnati and Houston from NL West)
B Milwaukee switched leagues due to the 1998 expansion, moving in from AL Central
C Houston switched leagues after the 2012 season, and joined the AL West

Champions by year

  • Team names link to the season in which each team played
Year Winner Record Win% Playoff Results
1994§ No playoffs due to 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike
1995 Cincinnati Reds (1) 85–59 .590 Won NLDS (Dodgers) 3–0
Lost NLCS (Braves) 4–0
1996 St. Louis Cardinals (1) 88–74 .543 Won NLDS (Padres) 3–0
Lost NLCS (Braves) 4–3
1997 Houston Astros (1) 84–78 .519 Lost NLDS (Braves) 3–0
1998 Houston Astros (2) 102–60 .630 Lost NLDS (Padres) 3–1
1999 Houston Astros (3) 97–65 .599 Lost NLDS (Braves) 3–1
2000 St. Louis Cardinals (2) 95–67 .586 Won NLDS (Braves) 3–0
Lost NLCS (Mets) 4–1
2001* Houston Astros (4) 93–69 .574 Lost NLDS (Braves) 3–0
2002 St. Louis Cardinals (3) 97–65 .599 Won NLDS (Diamondbacks) 3–0
Lost NLCS (Giants) 4–1
2003 Chicago Cubs (1) 88–74 .543 Won NLDS (Braves) 3–2
Lost NLCS (Marlins) 4–3
2004 St. Louis Cardinals (4) 105–57 .648 Won NLDS (Dodgers) 3–1
Won NLCS (Astros) 4–3
Lost World Series (Red Sox) 4–0
2005 St. Louis Cardinals (5) 100–62 .617 Won NLDS (Padres) 3–0
Lost NLCS (Astros) 4–2
2006 St. Louis Cardinals (6) 83–78 .516 Won NLDS (Padres) 3–1
Won NLCS (Mets) 4–3
Won World Series (Tigers) 4–1
2007 Chicago Cubs (2) 85–77 .525 Lost NLDS (Diamondbacks) 3–0
2008 Chicago Cubs (3) 97–64 .602 Lost NLDS (Dodgers) 3–0
2009 St. Louis Cardinals (7) 91–71 .562 Lost NLDS (Dodgers) 3–0
2010 Cincinnati Reds (2) 91–71 .562 Lost NLDS (Phillies) 3–0
2011 Milwaukee Brewers (1) 96–66 .593 Won NLDS (Diamondbacks) 3–2
Lost NLCS (Cardinals) 4–2
2012 Cincinnati Reds (3) 97–65 .599 Lost NLDS (Giants) 3–2
2013 St. Louis Cardinals (8) 97–65 .599 Won NLDS (Pirates) 3–2
Won NLCS (Dodgers) 4–2
Lost World Series (Red Sox) 4–2
2014 St. Louis Cardinals (9) 90–72 .556 Won NLDS (Dodgers) 3–1
Lost NLCS (Giants) 4–1
2015 St. Louis Cardinals (10) 100–62 .617 Lost NLDS (Cubs) 3–1
2016 Chicago Cubs (4) 103–58 .640 Won NLDS (Giants) 3–1
Won NLCS (Dodgers) 4–2
Won World Series (Indians) 4–3
2017 Chicago Cubs (5) 92–70 .568 Won NLDS (Nationals) 3–2
Lost NLCS (Dodgers) 4–1
2018 Milwaukee Brewers (2) 96–67 .589 Won NLDS (Rockies) 3–0
Lost NLCS (Dodgers) 4–3
2019 St. Louis Cardinals (11) 91–71 .562 Won NLDS (Braves) 3–2
Lost NLCS (Nationals) 4–0
2020† Chicago Cubs (6) 34–26 .567 Lost NLWC (Marlins) 2–0

§ – Due to the 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike on August 12, no official winner was awarded. Cincinnati was leading by half a game over Houston at the time of the strike.

* – The Astros and Cardinals finished with identical regular season records. Because the Astros edged the Cardinals in head-to-head games, 9–7, they were awarded the National League Central division title, and the Cardinals were designated as winners of the National League Wild Card.

† – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the season was shortened to 60 games. By virtue of the eight-team postseason format used for that season, division runner-up St. Louis (30–28, .517) also automatically qualified for the playoffs. The St. Louis Cardinals Lost NLWC (Padres) 2–1.

National League Championships

The division has produced six National League Pennant winners: St. Louis in 2004, 2006, 2011 and 2013, Houston in 2005, and Chicago in 2016.

Wild-card winners

The wild card was introduced in 1994 and was initially assigned to the team with the best record in each league that did not win its division. The first year of implementation was 1995 as a player strike prematurely ended the 1994 season. Since implementation, each of the NL Central teams has won the wild card. In 2012, a second wild card was added to post-season play.

Year Winner Record % GB Playoff Results
1998 Chicago Cubs* 90–73 .552 12.5 Lost NLDS (Braves) 3–0
2001 St. Louis Cardinals† 93–69 .574 0 Lost NLDS (Diamondbacks) 3–2
2004 Houston Astros 92–70 .568 13 Won NLDS (Braves) 3–2
Lost NLCS (Cardinals) 4–3
2005 Houston Astros 89–73 .549 11 Won NLDS (Braves) 3–1
Won NLCS (Cardinals) 4–2
Lost World Series (White Sox) 4–0
2008 Milwaukee Brewers 90–72 .556 7.5 Lost NLDS (Phillies) 3–1
2011 St. Louis Cardinals 90–72 .556 6 Won NLDS (Phillies) 3–2
Won NLCS (Brewers) 4–2
Won World Series (Rangers) 4–3
2012 St. Louis Cardinals** 88–74 .543 9 Won NLWC (Braves)
Won NLDS (Nationals) 3–2
Lost NLCS (Giants) 4–3
2013 Pittsburgh Pirates** 94–68 .580 3 Won NLWC (Reds)
Lost NLDS (Cardinals) 3–2
Cincinnati Reds** 90–72 .556 7 Lost NLWC (Pirates)
2014 Pittsburgh Pirates** 88–74 .543 2 Lost NLWC (Giants)
2015 Pittsburgh Pirates** 98–64 .605 2 Lost NLWC (Cubs)
Chicago Cubs** 97–65 .599 3 Won NLWC (Pirates)
Won NLDS (Cardinals) 3–1
Lost NLCS (Mets) 4–0
2018 Chicago Cubs** 95–68 .583 1 Lost NLWC (Rockies)
2019 Milwaukee Brewers 89–73 .549 2 Lost NLWC (Nationals)
2020†† Cincinnati Reds 31–29 .517 3 Lost NLWC (Braves) 2–0
Milwaukee Brewers*** 29–31 .483 5 Lost NLWC (Dodgers) 2–0

* – Defeated the San Francisco Giants in a one game playoff for the Wild Card, 5–3.

† – Finished with the same record as the Houston Astros, but Houston won the season series vs. the Cardinals that year, and were given the higher seed in the playoffs.

** – Starting with the 2012 season, there are two Wild Card winners in each league. The qualifiers will play a single-game playoff to determine who will face the top-seeded team in the National League Division Series.

†† – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the season was shortened to 60 games.

*** – Finished with the same record as the San Francisco Giants but won the wild-card spot due to a superior intra-divisional record (Brewers went 19–21 vs. the NL Central while the Giants went 18–22 vs. the NL West).

Season results

(#) Denotes team that won the World Series
(#) Denotes team that won the National League pennant, but lost World Series
(#) Denotes team that qualified for the MLB postseason
Season Team (record)
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
1994 Cincinnati (66–48) Houston (66–49) Pittsburgh (53–61) St. Louis (53–61) Chicago Cubs (49–64)
1995 (2) Cincinnati (85–59) Houston (76–68) Chicago Cubs (73–71) St. Louis (62–81) Pittsburgh (58–86)
1996 (1) St. Louis (88–74) Houston (82–80) Cincinnati (81–81) Chicago Cubs (76–86) Pittsburgh (73–89)
1997 (1) Houston (84–78) Pittsburgh (79–83) Cincinnati (76–86) St. Louis (73–89) Chicago Cubs (68–94)
1998 (2) Houston (102–60) (4) Chicago Cubs[a] (90–73) St. Louis (83–79) Cincinnati (77–85) Milwaukee (74–88) Pittsburgh (69–93)
1999 (3) Houston (97–65) Cincinnati[b] (96–67) Pittsburgh (78–83) St. Louis (75–86) Milwaukee (74–87) Chicago Cubs (67–95)
2000 (2) St. Louis[c] (95–67) Cincinnati (85–77) Milwaukee (73–89) Houston (72–90) Pittsburgh (69–93) Chicago Cubs (65–97)
2001 (1) Houston[d] (93–69) (4) St. Louis (93–69) Chicago Cubs (88–74) Milwaukee (68–94) Cincinnati (66–96) Pittsburgh (62–100)
2002 (3) St. Louis (97–65) Houston (84–78) Cincinnati (78–84) Pittsburgh (72–89) Chicago Cubs (67–95) Milwaukee (56–106)
2003 (3) Chicago Cubs (88–74) Houston (87–75) St. Louis (85–77) Pittsburgh (75–87) Cincinnati (69–93) Milwaukee (68–94)
2004 (1) St. Louis (105–57) (4) Houston (92–70) Chicago Cubs (89–73) Cincinnati (76–86) Pittsburgh (72–89) Milwaukee (67–94)
2005 (1) St. Louis (100–62) (4) Houston (89–73) Milwaukee (81–81) Chicago Cubs (79–83) Cincinnati (73–89) Pittsburgh (67–95)
2006 (3) St. Louis (83–78) Houston (82–80) Cincinnati (80–82) Milwaukee (75–87) Pittsburgh (67–95) Chicago Cubs (66–96)
2007 (3) Chicago Cubs (85–77) Milwaukee (83–79) St. Louis (78–84) Houston (73–89) Cincinnati (72–90) Pittsburgh (68–94)
2008 (1) Chicago Cubs (97–64) (4) Milwaukee (90–72) Houston (86–75) St. Louis (86–76) Cincinnati (74–88) Pittsburgh (67–95)
2009 (3) St. Louis (91–71) Chicago Cubs (83–78) Milwaukee (80–82) Cincinnati (78–84) Houston (74–88) Pittsburgh (62–99)
2010 (3) Cincinnati (91–71) St. Louis (86–76) Milwaukee (77–85) Houston (76–86) Chicago Cubs (75–87) Pittsburgh (57–105)
2011 (2) Milwaukee (96–66) (4) St. Louis (90–72) Cincinnati (79–83) Pittsburgh (72–90) Chicago Cubs (71–91) Houston (56–106)
2012 (2) Cincinnati (97–65) (5) St. Louis (88–74) Milwaukee (83–79) Pittsburgh (79–83) Chicago Cubs (61–101) Houston (55–107)
2013 (1) St. Louis (97–65) (4) Pittsburgh (94–68) (5) Cincinnati (90–72) Milwaukee (74–88) Chicago Cubs (66–96)
2014 (3) St. Louis (90–72) (4) Pittsburgh (88–74) Milwaukee (82–80) Cincinnati (76–86) Chicago Cubs (73–89)
2015 (1) St. Louis (100–62) (4) Pittsburgh (98–64) (5) Chicago Cubs (97–65) Milwaukee (68–94) Cincinnati (64–98)
2016 (1) Chicago Cubs (103–58) St. Louis (86–76) Pittsburgh (78–83) Milwaukee (73–89) Cincinnati (68–94)
2017 (3) Chicago Cubs (92–70) Milwaukee (86–76) St. Louis (83–79) Pittsburgh (75–87) Cincinnati (68–94)
2018 (1) Milwaukee[e] (96–67) (4) Chicago Cubs (95–68) St. Louis (88–74) Pittsburgh (82–79) Cincinnati (67–95)
2019 (3) St. Louis (91–71) (5) Milwaukee (89–73) Chicago Cubs (84–78) Cincinnati (75–87) Pittsburgh (69–93)
  • 2020: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the season was shortened to 60 games. The postseason field was expanded to eight teams and the wild-card round became a best-of-three series.
2020 (3) Chicago Cubs (34–26) (5) St. Louis (30–28) (7) Cincinnati (31–29) (8) Milwaukee[f] (29–31) Pittsburgh (19–41)
Notes and Tiebreakers
  • a Chicago and San Francisco of the National League West were tied for the wild-card berth and played in a tie-breaker game. The Cubs won 5–3 to claim the wild-card spot.
  • b Cincinnati and New York of the National League East were tied for the wild-card berth and played in a tie-breaker game. The Reds lost 5–0 and were eliminated from postseason contention.
  • c St. Louis and Atlanta of the National League East were tied for the second and third seed but the Cardinals claimed the second seed by winning the season series 4–3.
  • d Houston and St. Louis were tied for the division championship and wild-card berth but the Astros claimed the division crown by winning the season series 9–7, relegating St. Louis to the wild-card spot.
  • e Milwaukee and Chicago were tied for the division championship and first wild-card berth and played in a tie-breaker game. The Brewers won 3–1 to claim the division crown, while the Cubs were relegated to the first wild-card spot.
  • f Milwaukee and San Francisco of the National League West were tied for the second wild-card berth but the Brewers clinched the final postseason spot due to a superior intra-division record (Milwaukee had a 19–21 record while San Francisco had an 18–22 record).

NL Central titles won by team

Team Number of
Championship(s) Won
Years Won
St. Louis Cardinals 11 1996, 2000, 2002, 2004-2006, 2009, 2013-2015, 2019
Chicago Cubs 6 2003, 2007, 2008, 2016, 2017, 2020
Houston Astros 4 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001*
Cincinnati Reds 3 1995, 2010, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers 2 2011, 2018*
Pittsburgh Pirates 0 --

* – Won division via tiebreaker
Italics indicates former division member

See also

References

  1. ^ Chass, Murray. "BASEBALL; Pirates Relent on New Alignment". nytimes.com. Archived from the original on 24 August 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Starkey: Pirates in American League' Yes!". TribLIVE.com. 16 June 2011. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014.

External links

This page was last edited on 12 April 2021, at 16:57
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