The American League is sometimes called the “junior circuit,” while the National League is the “senior circuit.” Why? Because the AL was formed 25 years after the NL. Of course, the AL has still been around for as long as anyone can remember. It began in 1901 when the old Western League chose a new name, and decided that they were just as much a major league as the NL.

There were eight teams in the original American League. All eight teams are still around, though only the Tigers are still in the same city with the same name.

The Original 1876 American League

Fourteen teams make up the American League today. The only major difference between an AL team and an NL team is the use of the designated hitter. Pitchers don't bat in games played in AL ballparks. Nowadays, most people think the American League has better teams than the National League. For example, the AL has won 13 of the last 15 All-Star Games; in interleague play, the AL has beaten the NL in eight straight years. Still, recent World Series champions have come from both leagues.

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