American League Championship Series
|Part of a series on the|
|Major League Baseball postseason|
|League Championship Series|
The American League Championship Series (ALCS) is a best-of-seven playoff and one of two League Championship Series comprising the penultimate round of Major League Baseball's (MLB) postseason. It is contested by the winners of the two American League (AL) Division Series. The winner of the ALCS wins the AL pennant and advances to the World Series, MLB's championship series, to play the winner of the National League's (NL) Championship Series. The ALCS began in 1969 as a best-of-five playoff and used this format until 1985, when it changed to its current best-of-seven format.
Prior to 1969, the American League champion (the "pennant winner") was determined by the best win-loss record at the end of the regular season. There was one ad hoc single-game playoff held, in 1948, due to a tie under this formulation. (The National League had to resolve ties four times, but used three-game playoff series.)
The ALCS started in 1969, when the AL reorganized into two divisions, East and West. The winners of each division played each other in a best-of-five series to determine who would advance to the World Series. In 1985, the format changed to best-of-seven.
In 1994, the league was restructured into three divisions, with the three division winners and a wild-card team advancing to a best-of-five postseason round, known as the American League Division Series (ALDS). The winners of that round then advanced to the best-of-seven ALCS. In 2012, the playoffs were expanded again so that two wild card teams face off in a one-game wild card round to determine which team advances to the division series, with the playoffs then continuing as it had before 2012 (though with the possibility of a fifth seed being in the playoffs and a fourth seed being out) after the end of the wild card round. This is the system currently in use.
The ALCS and NLCS, since the expansion to best-of-seven, are always played in a 2–3–2 format: Games 1, 2, 6, and 7 are played in the stadium of the team that has home field advantage, and Games 3, 4, and 5 are played in the stadium of the team that does not. The series concludes when one team records its fourth win. Since 1998, home field advantage has been given to the team that has the better regular season record, except that the team made the postseason as the Wild Card shall not get home field advantage. If both teams have identical records in the regular season, then home field advantage goes to the team that has the winning head-to-head record. From 1969 to 1993, home-field advantage alternated between the two divisions, and from 1995 to 1997 home-field advantage was determined before the season.
Eight managers have led a team to the ALCS in three consecutive seasons; however, the most consecutive ALCS appearances by one manager is Joe Torre, who led the New York Yankees to four straight from 1998 to 2001. The Oakland Athletics (1971-75) and the Houston Astros (2017-present) are the only teams in the American League to have made five consecutive American League Championship Series appearances (with the latter being the first team to ever win the ALDS five straight years)
The Milwaukee Brewers, an American League team between 1969 and 1997, and the Houston Astros, a National League team between 1962 and 2012, are the only franchises to play in both the ALCS and NLCS. The Astros are the only team to have won both an NLCS (2005) and an ALCS (2017). Every current American League franchise has appeared in the ALCS.
Most Valuable Player Award
The Lee MacPhail Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is given to the outstanding player in the ALCS. No MVP award is given for Division Series play.
Although the National League began its LCS MVP award in 1977, the American League did not begin its LCS MVP award till 1980. The winners are listed in several locations:
- in the below ALCS results table, in the "Series MVP" column
- in the article League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award
- on the MLB website
|MVP did not play for winning team|
Appearances by team
|Apps||Team||Wins||Losses||Win %||Most recent
|17||New York Yankees||11||6||.647||2009||2019||50||40||.556|
|12||Boston Red Sox||6||6||.500||2018||2021||32||36||.471|
|8||Kansas City Royals||4||4||.500||2015||2015||20||17||.541|
|7||Toronto Blue Jays||2||5||.286||1993||2016||16||24||.400|
|6||Los Angeles Angels||1||5||.167||2002||2009||13||19||.406|
|3||Chicago White Sox||1||2||.333||2005||2005||7||8||.467|
|2||Tampa Bay Rays||2||0||1.000||2020||2020||8||6||.571|
Years of appearance
In the sortable table below, teams are ordered first by number of wins, then by number of appearances, and finally by year of first appearance. In the "Season(s)" column, bold years indicate winning appearances.
|4||Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees||Yankees, 3–1||1976, 1977, 1978, 1980|
|3||Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees||Yankees, 2–1||1999, 2003, 2004|
|3||Baltimore Orioles vs. Oakland Athletics||Athletics, 2–1||1971, 1973, 1974|
|3||Boston Red Sox vs. Oakland Athletics||Athletics, 2–1||1975, 1988, 1990|
|2||Baltimore Orioles vs. Minnesota Twins||Orioles, 2–0||1969, 1970|
|2||Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics||Tied, 1–1||1972, 2006|
|2||Kansas City Royals vs. Toronto Blue Jays||Royals, 2–0||1985, 2015|
|2||New York Yankees vs. Seattle Mariners||Yankees, 2–0||2000, 2001|
|2||Oakland Athletics vs. Toronto Blue Jays||Tied, 1–1||1989, 1992|
|2||Houston Astros vs. New York Yankees||Astros, 2–0||2017, 2019|
|2||Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros||Tied, 1–1||2018, 2021|
- List of American League pennant winners
- List of American League Wild Card winners
- American League Division Series
- National League Championship Series
- The Milwaukee Brewers moved to the National League in 1998.
- http://fielderschoice.wordpress.com/2009/04/10/overjoyed/ Dave (Tampa Bay Rays fan), "Overjoyed!", Fielder's Choice Baseball Card Blog, April 10, 2009. Retrieved August 17, 2009 (including photo of trophy).
- Armour, Mark. "SABR Baseball Biography Project: Will Harridge". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
- League Championship Series Most Valuable Players (MLB.com/News/Awards/History/ ). MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved August 31, 2009.