American League Championship Series

The American League Championship Series (ALCS), also known as the American League Pennant, 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 two winners of the 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 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 1981, a division series was held due to a split season caused by a players' strike.

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. The playoffs were expanded in 2012 to include a second Wild Card team and in 2022 to include a third Wild Card team.

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 a division champion would always get home advantage over a Wild Card team. 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 Houston Astros (2017-present) are the only team in the American League to have made six consecutive American League Championship Series appearances.

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, 2019, 2021, and 2022). Every current American League franchise has appeared in the ALCS.

Championship Trophy

The William Harridge Trophy is awarded to the ALCS champion.[1] Will Harridge served as American League president from 1931 to 1959.[2]

Most Valuable Player Award

See: League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award#American League winners

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:


Wild card
MVP did not play for winning team
Year Winning team Manager Games Losing team Manager Series MVP
1969 Baltimore OriolesEarl Weaver 3–0 Minnesota TwinsBilly Martin  
1970 Baltimore OriolesEarl Weaver 3–0 Minnesota TwinsBill Rigney
1971 Baltimore OriolesEarl Weaver 3–0 Oakland AthleticsDick Williams
1972 Oakland AthleticsDick Williams 3–2 Detroit TigersBilly Martin
1973 Oakland AthleticsDick Williams 3–2 Baltimore OriolesEarl Weaver
1974 Oakland AthleticsAlvin Dark 3–1 Baltimore OriolesEarl Weaver
1975 Boston Red SoxDarrell Johnson 3–0 Oakland AthleticsAlvin Dark
1976 New York YankeesBilly Martin 3–2 Kansas City RoyalsWhitey Herzog
1977 New York YankeesBilly Martin 3–2 Kansas City RoyalsWhitey Herzog
1978 New York YankeesBob Lemon 3–1 Kansas City RoyalsWhitey Herzog
1979 Baltimore OriolesEarl Weaver 3–1 California AngelsJim Fregosi
1980 Kansas City RoyalsJim Frey 3–0 New York YankeesDick Howser Frank White, Kansas City
1981 New York YankeesBob Lemon 3–0 Oakland AthleticsBilly Martin Graig Nettles, New York
1982 Milwaukee BrewersHarvey Kuenn 3–2 California AngelsGene Mauch Fred Lynn, California*
1983 Baltimore OriolesJoe Altobelli 3–1 Chicago White SoxTony La Russa Mike Boddicker, Baltimore
1984 Detroit TigersSparky Anderson 3–0 Kansas City RoyalsDick Howser Kirk Gibson, Detroit
1985 Kansas City RoyalsDick Howser 4–3 Toronto Blue JaysBobby Cox George Brett, Kansas City
1986 Boston Red SoxJohn McNamara 4–3 California AngelsGene Mauch Marty Barrett, Boston
1987 Minnesota TwinsTom Kelly 4–1 Detroit TigersSparky Anderson Gary Gaetti, Minnesota
1988 Oakland AthleticsTony La Russa 4–0 Boston Red SoxJoe Morgan Dennis Eckersley, Oakland
1989 Oakland AthleticsTony La Russa 4–1 Toronto Blue JaysCito Gaston Rickey Henderson, Oakland
1990 Oakland AthleticsTony La Russa 4–0 Boston Red SoxJoe Morgan Dave Stewart, Oakland
1991 Minnesota TwinsTom Kelly 4–1 Toronto Blue JaysCito Gaston Kirby Puckett, Minnesota
1992 Toronto Blue JaysCito Gaston 4–2 Oakland AthleticsTony La Russa Roberto Alomar, Toronto
1993 Toronto Blue JaysCito Gaston 4–2 Chicago White SoxGene Lamont Dave Stewart, Toronto
1994 No Series due to a players' strike.
1995 Cleveland IndiansMike Hargrove 4–2 Seattle MarinersLou Piniella Orel Hershiser, Cleveland
1996 New York YankeesJoe Torre 4–1 Baltimore OriolesDavey Johnson Bernie Williams, New York
1997 Cleveland IndiansMike Hargrove 4–2 Baltimore OriolesDavey Johnson Marquis Grissom, Cleveland
1998 New York YankeesJoe Torre 4–2 Cleveland IndiansMike Hargrove David Wells, New York
1999 New York YankeesJoe Torre 4–1 Boston Red SoxJimy Williams Orlando Hernández, New York
2000 New York YankeesJoe Torre 4–2 Seattle MarinersLou Piniella David Justice, New York
2001 New York YankeesJoe Torre 4–1 Seattle MarinersLou Piniella Andy Pettitte, New York
2002 Anaheim AngelsMike Scioscia 4–1 Minnesota TwinsRon Gardenhire Adam Kennedy, Anaheim
2003 New York YankeesJoe Torre 4–3 Boston Red SoxGrady Little Mariano Rivera, New York
2004 Boston Red SoxTerry Francona 4–3 New York YankeesJoe Torre David Ortiz, Boston
2005 Chicago White SoxOzzie Guillén 4–1 Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimMike Scioscia Paul Konerko, Chicago
2006 Detroit TigersJim Leyland 4–0 Oakland AthleticsKen Macha Plácido Polanco, Detroit
2007 Boston Red SoxTerry Francona 4–3 Cleveland IndiansEric Wedge Josh Beckett, Boston
2008 Tampa Bay RaysJoe Maddon 4–3 Boston Red SoxTerry Francona Matt Garza, Tampa Bay
2009 New York YankeesJoe Girardi 4–2 Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimMike Scioscia CC Sabathia, New York
2010 Texas RangersRon Washington 4–2 New York YankeesJoe Girardi Josh Hamilton, Texas
2011 Texas RangersRon Washington 4–2 Detroit TigersJim Leyland Nelson Cruz, Texas
2012 Detroit TigersJim Leyland 4–0 New York YankeesJoe Girardi Delmon Young, Detroit
2013 Boston Red SoxJohn Farrell 4–2 Detroit TigersJim Leyland Koji Uehara, Boston
2014 Kansas City RoyalsNed Yost 4–0 Baltimore OriolesBuck Showalter Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City
2015 Kansas City RoyalsNed Yost 4–2 Toronto Blue JaysJohn Gibbons Alcides Escobar, Kansas City
2016 Cleveland IndiansTerry Francona 4–1 Toronto Blue JaysJohn Gibbons Andrew Miller, Cleveland
2017 Houston AstrosA. J. Hinch 4–3 New York YankeesJoe Girardi Justin Verlander, Houston
2018 Boston Red SoxAlex Cora 4–1 Houston AstrosA. J. Hinch Jackie Bradley Jr., Boston
2019 Houston AstrosA. J. Hinch 4–2 New York YankeesAaron Boone José Altuve, Houston
2020 Tampa Bay RaysKevin Cash 4–3 Houston Astros Dusty Baker Randy Arozarena, Tampa Bay
2021 Houston AstrosDusty Baker 4–2 Boston Red SoxAlex Cora Yordan Álvarez, Houston
2022 Houston AstrosDusty Baker 4–0 New York YankeesAaron Boone Jeremy Peña, Houston

Appearances by team

Apps Team Wins Losses Win % Most recent
Most recent
win %
18New York Yankees117.611200920225044.532
12Boston Red Sox66.500201820213236.471
11Oakland Athletics65.545199020062323.500
10Baltimore Orioles55.500198320142120.512
8Kansas City Royals44.500201520152017.541
7Detroit Tigers34.429201220131815.545
7Toronto Blue Jays25.286199320161624.400
6Los Angeles Angels15.167200220091319.406
6Houston Astros42.667202220222015.571
5Cleveland Guardians32.600201620161713.567
5Minnesota Twins23.40019912002912.429
3Chicago White Sox12.3332005200578.467
3Seattle Mariners03.000Never2001512.294
2Texas Rangers201.0002011201184.667
2Tampa Bay Rays201.0002020202086.571
1Milwaukee Brewers[lower-alpha 1]101.0001982198232.600

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.

Apps Team Wins Losses Win % Season(s)
18New York Yankees117.6111976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2017, 2019, 2022
12Boston Red Sox66.5001975, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2018, 2021
11Oakland Athletics65.5451971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1981, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 2006
10Baltimore Orioles55.5001969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1983, 1996, 1997, 2014
8Kansas City Royals44.5001976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1984, 1985, 2014, 2015
6Houston Astros42.6672017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
7Detroit Tigers34.4291972, 1984, 1987, 2006, 2011, 2012, 2013
5Cleveland Guardians32.6001995, 1997, 1998, 2007, 2016
7Toronto Blue Jays25.2861985, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 2015, 2016
5Minnesota Twins23.4001969, 1970, 1987, 1991, 2002
2Texas Rangers201.0002010, 2011
2Tampa Bay Rays201.0002008, 2020
6Los Angeles Angels15.1671979, 1982, 1986, 2002, 2005, 2009
3Chicago White Sox12.3331983, 1993, 2005
1Milwaukee Brewers[lower-alpha 1]101.0001982
3Seattle Mariners03.0001995, 2000, 2001

Recurring matchups

Count Matchup Record Years
4 Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees Yankees, 3–1 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980
3 Houston Astros vs. New York Yankees Astros, 3–0 2017, 2019, 2022
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 Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros Tied, 1–1 2018, 2021

See also


  1. The Milwaukee Brewers moved to the National League in 1998.


  1. Dave (Tampa Bay Rays fan), "Overjoyed!", Fielder's Choice Baseball Card Blog, April 10, 2009. Retrieved August 17, 2009 (including photo of trophy).
  2. Armour, Mark. "SABR Baseball Biography Project: Will Harridge". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  3. League Championship Series Most Valuable Players ( ). MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
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