When the division was created in 1994, the Pirates were originally supposed to stay in the East while the Atlanta Braves were to be moved to the Central from the West. However, the Braves, wanting to form a natural rivalry with the expansion Florida Marlins (a rivalry that as of today has yet to develop, largely due to the Marlins being noncompetitive except for their two World Series-winning seasons), requested to be moved to the East instead. Despite the Marlins offering to go to the Central, the Pirates instead gave up its spot in the East to the Braves. Since then, the Pirates have tried several times unsuccessfully to be placed back in the East.
This division has been dominated by the Cardinals, who have accounted for nine of the twenty division championships, plus three wild card wins. Aside from the Cardinals, the Astros have the most division championships with four, as well as two wild card wins. The Cubs and Reds, who have each won the wild card once, are tied with three division titles, while the Brewers have one, with one wild card win. The Pirates have not won the division since the division was created, but possesses two wild card wins. The 2013 win was the team's first playoff berth since 1992.
* - The Astros and Cardinals finished with identical regular season records. Because the Astros edged the Cardinals in head-to-head games, 9-7, they were awarded the National League Central division title, and the Cardinals were designated as winners of the National League Wild Card.
The division has produced five National League Pennant winners: St. Louis in 2004, 2006, 2011 and 2013, and Houston in 2005. In both 2004 and 2005 the American League Champions swept the World Series. The St. Louis Cardinals won the 2006 World Series in five games, won the 2011 World Series in seven games, and lost the 2013 World Series in six games.
The wild card was introduced in 1994 and was initially assigned to the team with the best record in each league that did not win its division. The first year of implementation was 1995 as a player strike prematurely ended the 1994 season. Since implementation, each NL Central teams has won the wild card. In 2012, a second wild card was added to post-season play.
† - finished with the same record as the Houston Astros, but Houston won the season series vs. the Cardinals that year, and were given the higher seed in the playoffs.
** – Starting with the 2012 season, there will be two Wild Card winners in each league. The qualifiers will play a single-game playoff to determine who will face the top-seeded team in the National League Division Series.