History of the National League and National League West Division
Dodger Stadium video board, lights, 2022 NLDS
Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

The National League (NL) is one of the two major professional baseball leagues in the United States and Canada, along with the American League (AL). Together they form Major League Baseball (MLB), which has 30 franchises in North America.

The NL was founded in 1876, making it North America’s oldest professional sports league.

National League History

The idea of a professional baseball league emerged in the 1860s when the amateur National Association of Baseball Players (NABBP) began disintegrating due to player compensation disputes. In 1876, William Hulbert, a Chicago businessman and president of the Chicago White Stockings (now known as the Cubs), formed the National League intending to create a stable, profitable professional baseball league.

The original NL consisted of eight teams: the Boston Red Caps (now known as the Braves), Chicago White Stockings, Cincinnati Red Stockings (now known as the Reds), Hartford Dark Blues, Louisville Grays, New York Mutuals, Philadelphia Athletics, and St. Louis Brown Stockings (now known as the Cardinals).

The NL faced competition from the American Association (AA), founded in 1882 and operated as a rival major league until 1891. The two companies eventually merged, and the NL emerged as the dominant league, with the AA teams folding or being absorbed into the NL.

Over the years, the NL has undergone various changes in its teams, structure, and rules. In 1901, the AL was founded as a rival league. The two leagues operated as separate entities until 1903 when they agreed to play a postseason championship series known as the World Series.

Today, the NL consists of 15 teams, divided into three divisions: the East, Central, and West. The NL’s most successful franchise is the St. Louis Cardinals, who have won 11 World Series titles, while the most successful team in regular season wins is the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers, who, according to sports betting on Gap, are the favorites this year to win the NL Pennant, lead with 24 pennants won and 34 postseason appearances.

National League West

The National League West Division is one of the three divisions that make up the National League of Major League Baseball (MLB). It was created as part of the expansion of MLB from two leagues to four leagues in 1969, with the National League adding two new teams, the San Diego Padres and the Montreal Expos, and dividing its 12 groups into two divisions.

The original members of the NL West were the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, and San Francisco Giants. The division has undergone several changes since its inception. In 1993, the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins joined the league, with the Rockies becoming a member of the NL West. In 1998, the Arizona Diamondbacks were added to the division, bringing the total number of teams to seven.

The NL West has a rich history of success, with several teams winning World Series championships. The Dodgers have been the most successful team in the division, winning the NL West title 19 times, including eight consecutive titles from 2013 to 2020. They have also won seven NL pennants and six World Series championships. The Giants have won the division eight times, including three World Series championships in 2010, 2012, and 2014. The Diamondbacks have won the division five times and the Rockies once.

Over the years, the NL West has been home to some of baseball’s biggest stars, including Hall of Famers such as Sandy Koufax, Tony Gwynn, Randy Johnson, and Trevor Hoffman, as well as current stars such as Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, and Freddie Freeman.

Today, the NL West consists of five teams: the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, and San Francisco Giants. The division has remained largely unchanged since the addition of the Diamondbacks in 1998 and continues to be one of the most competitive and exciting divisions in MLB.