How old is mlb? Major League Baseball has a rich history that spans over a century, with many teams boasting storied pasts and longstanding traditions. As one delves into the ages of each MLB team, it becomes evident that the history of baseball in the United States is a fascinating tapestry woven with the stories of various franchises’ beginnings, growth, and accomplishments.
The two oldest teams in the MLB are the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs, both of which have been in existence for more than 100 years. The Braves hold the distinction of being the oldest team in the National League, while the Cubs are the oldest in the American League. Over the years, numerous teams have joined the MLB, with significant expansions taking place in the 1960s and 1970s, adding more diversity and excitement to the world of professional baseball.
The Atlanta Braves, initially founded as the Boston Red Stockings in 1871, are the oldest team in the National League. The team has gone through several name and city changes over the years, including being known as the Boston Beaneaters, Boston Doves, Boston Rustlers, Boston Bees, Boston Braves, Milwaukee Braves, and finally, the Atlanta Braves.
Similarly, the Chicago Cubs, originally known as the Chicago White Stockings, were founded in 1870, making them the oldest team in the American League. The team underwent several name changes as well, transitioning from the Chicago White Stockings to the Chicago Colts, Chicago Orphans, and finally settling on the Chicago Cubs in 1907.
Other long-standing MLB teams include the Cincinnati Reds, established in 1869, and the St. Louis Cardinals, founded in 1882. These teams have contributed significantly to the history and tradition of American baseball.
Expansion Era Teams
The Expansion Era refers to the period in Major League Baseball (MLB) history when the league expanded from its original 16 teams to the current 30. During the 1960s, eight new teams were added to the MLB, with more additions in the following decades. This section provides a brief overview of some of the MLB teams that were introduced during the Expansion Era.
One notable expansion occurred in 1969, when MLB introduced four new teams to the league, resulting in a total of 24 teams and the beginning of divisional play. This expansion was marked by the arrival of the Kansas City Royals, the Milwaukee Brewers, the San Diego Padres, and the Montreal Expos, with the Expos being the first non-US team to join the league.
In the 1970s, two more teams joined the MLB, further expanding the league. The Toronto Blue Jays and the Seattle Mariners both made their debut in this decade. These two teams helped solidify MLB’s presence in Canada and the northwestern United States.
Expansion continued in the 1990s as the league added more franchises. In 1993, the Colorado Rockies and the Florida Marlins, now known as the Miami Marlins, joined the ranks of MLB teams. The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (now Tampa Bay Rays) came on the scene in 1998, bringing the total number of MLB teams to 30.
The expansion of MLB during this era resulted in the league’s growth not only in the number of teams but also in geographical reach, as baseball moved beyond the borders of the United States and into Canada.
Recent Franchise Additions
In the history of Major League Baseball (MLB), there have been various expansions and franchise moves that have given birth to many new teams. The most recent ones have been established in the last few decades, bringing the total number of MLB teams to 30.
The Miami Marlins were considered the youngest team in the league, having joined MLB in 1993. Soon after, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays made their debuts in 1998, marking the beginning of a new era for these franchises.
These new teams joined a long history of MLB franchises, such as the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves, which have been active in the league for over 175 and 178 years, respectively. The addition of these recent franchises has increased the competition and excitement within Major League Baseball.
Historic Team Name Changes
Throughout the history of Major League Baseball, several teams have undergone significant name changes to better represent the location, history, or culture of their franchises. One such example is the Los Angeles Angels, who have changed their name four times in their 60-year history. Initially known as the Los Angeles Angels during the team’s first five seasons in L.A., they changed their name to the California Angels in 1965 when moving to Anaheim Stadium (source) .
Another historic team name change occurred with the Chicago Cubs. Founded in 1876 as the White Stockings, they eventually adopted the Cubs name in 1907. Similarly, the Cincinnati Reds were originally founded as the Red Stockings in 1881, later adopting the name “Reds” in 1890 after changing to all-red uniforms.
Some teams changed their name due to relocation. For instance, when the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954, they rebranded their franchise as the Baltimore Orioles after a dominating Baltimore team in the late 1890s with the same nickname. In 1965, the Houston Colt .45s changed their name to the Houston Astros after the Astrodome’s completion, symbolizing the connection with the city’s space center.
In addition to name changes brought about by relocations, the MLB also experienced team name changes during expansion periods. The 1960s saw the addition of eight new teams, with one standout example being the Montreal Expos – the first non-US team in the MLB. The following decade, the 1970s saw the addition of two more teams: the Toronto Blue Jays and the Seattle Mariners.
MLB Timeline and Growth
The history of Major League Baseball (MLB) dates back to the formation of the National League (NL) in 1876, which consisted of 8 teams, including franchises in Boston and Chicago that are still part of the league today. The American League (AL) was later established, and in 1903, they merged with the National League to form MLB. Between 1901 and 1960, both the AL and the NL contained eight teams each.
During the 1960s, MLB expanded with the addition of eight new teams, such as the Montreal Expos, the first non-US-based team. This expansion was followed by the inclusion of two more teams in the 1970s: the Toronto Blue Jays and the Seattle Mariners. The league continued to grow in the 1990s with the addition of more teams, such as the Florida Marlins and the Colorado Rockies.
Throughout its history, MLB has seen numerous team relocations, such as the Braves’ move from Boston to Milwaukee in 1953, the Browns’ relocation to Baltimore in 1954, and the Athletics’ move to Kansas City in 1955.
Currently, MLB consists of 30 teams, divided equally into the National League and the American League, with three divisions in each league: East, Central, and West. The list of the 30 teams and their respective leagues and divisions can be found on the official MLB website.
Future MLB Expansion
Major League Baseball (MLB) has seen stable team membership for over two decades, with the most recent expansion occurring in 1998 when the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays joined as the 29th and 30th teams. However, there has been ongoing discussion about expanding the league to 32 teams, which would prompt realignment and new divisions. In the bid for expansion, several cities have emerged as potential candidates for hosting these new teams.
Portland and Charlotte are two cities that have been chosen for potential MLB expansion teams, scheduled for the 2026 season. As part of the expansion, each league would have 28 teams divided into 4 divisions. The expansion draft rules were laid out when the MLB and MLBPA agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement in December 2024.
Other cities that have been mentioned as candidates for MLB expansion teams include Montreal, Las Vegas, Nashville, and others. These cities showcase the potential for growth in MLB, as well as new opportunities for fans and players. Some of the criteria for a city to be considered for an expansion team include population size, infrastructure, and commitment to building an MLB-caliber stadium.
Upon expanding to 32 teams, the MLB is expected to re-align into eight divisions, each with four teams. This realignment would lead to significant changes in the composition of divisions, potentially making them more geographically-oriented.
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