The National League (NL), formally known as the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, is one of the two leagues in the MLB (Major League Baseball) of the United States. The other league in the MLB is the American League (AL). Of the two, the NL is referred to as the ‘Senior Circuit’ because it was established as a major league in 1876, 25 years earlier than the AL. Its 19th century founding also makes the ML the oldest existent professional team sports league in the world.
The NL was created to replace the National Association of Professional Baseball Players. The NL and the AL first met in the World Series in 1903. NL teams have won 43 of the total 104 World Series games played. There are three divisions in the NL – the National League East, the National League Central and the National West.
By the end of the 2008 season, the Philadelphia Phillies was the defending champion in the National League Pennant. The team also won the 2008 World Series. The Los Angeles Dodgers, however, is the team which leads in the NL with 21 National League Titles.
There are currently 16 teams in the National League.
Throughout the league’s history, there has been multiple expansions, renaming, relocation and contractions. The earliest was in 1953 when the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee (the Braves later on moved to Atlanta in 1966) and in 1958 when the New York Giants moved to San Francisco. In 1962, the Houston Colt.45s were renamed the Astros. The latest move and name change occurred in 2005 when the Montreal Expos moved to Washington and became the Washington Nationals.