List of American League Wild Card winners

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The wild card was established for Major League Baseball's playoffs in 1994 with the intention of helping the best teams that did not win their division to still have a chance to win the World Series. The restructuring of both the American and National Leagues from two divisions each to three made it necessary to either give one team a bye in the first round of playoffs, or create the wild card for the best second-place team. In addition, the wild card guaranteed that the team with the second best record in each league would qualify for the playoffs, even if they were in the same division with the team having the best record.

There were no division or wild-card winners in 1994, due to the 1994 Major League Baseball strike.

Beginning in 2012 a second wild card team was added to each league. The two wild card teams in each league face each other in a one game playoff, the winner advancing to meet the number one seed in the Division Series.

As of October 2014, the AL East has produced 15 of 23 wild-card teams; the AL West is second with five teams, while the AL Central has qualified three wild-card teams.

AL wild-card qualifiers by year[edit]

As of 2011, two AL wild-card teams went on to win the World Series (Anaheim in 2002 and Boston in 2004). One team won the AL pennant but lost the World Series (Detroit in 2006). Six other teams won the division series but lost the championship series.

  • Team names link to the season in which each team played
Year Team Record % Playoffs
Original Format
1995 New York Yankees 78–65 .549 Lost Division Series to Seattle, 3–2
1996 Baltimore Orioles 88–74 .543 Lost ALCS to New York (AL), 4–1
1997 New York Yankees 96–66 .586 Lost Division Series to Cleveland, 3–2
1998 Boston Red Sox 92–70 .568 Lost Division Series to Cleveland, 3–1
1999 Boston Red Sox 94–68 .580 Lost ALCS to New York (AL), 4–1
2000 Seattle Mariners 91–71 .562 Lost ALCS to New York (AL), 4–2
2001 Oakland Athletics 102–60 .630 Lost Division Series to New York (AL), 3–2
2002 Anaheim Angels 99–63 .611 Won World Series over San Francisco, 4–3
2003 Boston Red Sox 95–67 .586 Lost ALCS to New York (AL), 4–3
2004 Boston Red Sox 98–64 .605 Won World Series over St. Louis, 4–0
2005 Boston Red Sox 95–67 .586 Lost Division Series to Chicago (AL), 3–0
2006 Detroit Tigers 95–67 .586 Lost World Series to St. Louis, 4–1
2007 New York Yankees 94–68 .580 Lost Division Series to Cleveland, 3–1
2008 Boston Red Sox 95–67 .586 Lost ALCS to Tampa Bay, 4–3
2009 Boston Red Sox 95–67 .586 Lost Division Series to Los Angeles (AL), 3–0
2010 New York Yankees 95–67 .586 Lost ALCS to Texas, 4–2
2011 Tampa Bay Rays 91–71 .562 Lost Division Series to Texas, 3–1
Expanded Format
2012 Texas Rangers 93–69 .574 Lost Wild Card Game to Baltimore
Baltimore Orioles 93–69 .574 Lost Division Series to New York (AL), 3–2
2013 Cleveland Indians 92–70 .568 Lost Wild Card Game to Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay Rays** 92–71 .564 Lost Division Series to Boston, 3–1
2014 Kansas City Royals 89–73 .549 Lost World Series to San Francisco, 4-3
Oakland Athletics 88–74 .543 Lost Wild Card Game to Kansas City

** In 2013, the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays finished the season with the identical records of 91–71. A one-game playoff was held and the Rays won it 5–2 over the Rangers to capture the second Wild Card berth.

Most AL wild-card appearances[edit]

Rank Team Total Year(s)
1 Boston Red Sox 7 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009
2 New York Yankees 4 1995, 1997, 2007, 2010
T-3 Baltimore Orioles 2 1996, 2012
T-3 Oakland Athletics 2 2001, 2014
T-3 Tampa Bay Rays 2 2011, 2013
T-6 Cleveland Indians 1 2013
T-6 Detroit Tigers 1 2006
T-6 Kansas City Royals 1 2014
T-6 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 1 2002
T-6 Seattle Mariners 1 2000
T-6 Texas Rangers 1 2012
  • Year in which the Wild Card qualifier won the Wild Card playoff is listed in italics.

Teams' ALDS records as AL wild-card qualifier[edit]

AL Team Series Record
Baltimore Orioles 1–1
Boston Red Sox 4–3
Detroit Tigers 1–0
Kansas City Royals 1–0
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 1–0
New York Yankees 1–3
Oakland Athletics 0–1
Seattle Mariners 1–0
Tampa Bay Rays 0–2
Overall Wild Card Team Record 10–10

Teams' ALCS records as AL wild-card qualifier[edit]

AL Team Series Record
Baltimore Orioles 0–1
Boston Red Sox 1–3
Detroit Tigers 1–0
Kansas City Royals 1–0
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 1–0
New York Yankees 0–1
Seattle Mariners 0–1
Overall Wild Card Team Record 4–6

Teams' World Series records as AL wild-card qualifier[edit]

AL Team Series Record
Boston Red Sox 1–0
Detroit Tigers 0–1
Kansas City Royals 0–1
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 1–0
Overall Wild Card Team Record 2–2

See also[edit]