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Major League Baseball

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In North America, the generic term Major League Baseball generally refers to the top-level caliber of baseball play. Leagues in other parts of the world, notably Japan and Latin America may have equivalent levels of play (and increasingly draw from the same talent pools), but are typically not included when the term is used.

More specifically, "Major League Baseball" (MLB) refers to the two top leagues, the National League and the American League, and the joint organizational structure which exists between them. MLB has a Commissioner, maintains joint umpiring crews, and negotiates marketing and television contracts for the two major leagues. This structure and the major league ownership of minor league baseball is possible because of an 1922 court decision in which baseball was ruled a local affair and not interstate commerce subject to antitrust law, an exemption which does not apply to other sports.

Current Major Leagues At the time of writing the Commissioner of Baseball, Bud Selig, has often floated the idea of further expansion and realignment of the major leagues. At the moment, however, the major leagues are each split into three divisions, and structured as follows:

American League

Anaheim Angels Chicago White Sox Baltimore Orioles
Oakland Athletics Cleveland Indians Boston Red Sox
Seattle Mariners Detroit Tigers New York Yankees
Texas Rangers Kansas City Royals Tampa Bay Devil Rays
  Minnesota Twins Toronto Blue Jays

National League

Arizona Diamondbacks Chicago Cubs Atlanta Braves
Colorado Rockies Cincinnati Reds Florida Marlins
Los Angeles Dodgers Houston Astros Montreal Expos
San Diego Padres Milwaukee Brewers New York Mets
San Francisco Giants Pittsburgh Pirates Philadelphia Phillies
 Saint Louis Cardinals 

Historical Major Leagues In 1969, the centennial of professional baseball, a commission chartered by Major League Baseball identified the following leagues as "major leagues". The list is sometimes disputed by baseball researchers. The MLB list included the following:

Some researchers contend that the National Association[?] (1871-1875), the Negro Leagues (primarily during the years from 1921-1946), and the first year of the American League (1900) deserve consideration as major leagues due to the caliber of player and the level of play exhibited. However, game and statistical records for these particular leagues were not kept in a consistent manner.

Commissioners of Baseball

For detailed history of the Major Leagues see Baseball/History
For list of Minor Baseball teams see Minor league baseball

See also : Baseball, National League Championship Series, American League Championship Series, Cy Young Award, Perfect game, Batting average, List of lifetime home run leaders through history, Negro League baseball, Triple crown, List of highest paid baseball players, List of major league baseball players,Continental League,19th Century National League Teams

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