Each Division Series in Major League Baseball History
October belongs to Major League Baseball. Why? Because that is when the postseason begins for the very best teams which produce the playoffs. Until 1969, when there were no divisions, the team finishing with the best record in each league won that league’s pennant and faced the other league’s pennant winner at the Fall Classic.
In 1969, however, the game experienced a significant shift in its post-season process after both the American and National Leagues additional two teams each and every reorganized into two branches, the East and West. Because of this, the winners in each branch were now required to play with each other in a best-of-five League Championship Series to determine who would advance to the World Series. In 1985, the format was changed to a best-of-seven contest, where it has remained to this day.
Technically, the first division series were in the strike-interrupted season of 1981. Due to this two-month strike, Major League owners chose to divide the 1981 season into two halves, with the first-place teams from every half in every branch meeting in a best-of-five divisional playoff series. The winner of each of these series was subsequently the division winner facing the other division winner in the League Championship Series. But, there would be no more branch series until 1995.
Beginning with the 1994 season, baseball included a third branch, the Central, to accommodate the introduction of expansion teams and realignment. Due to the strike that season, there weren’t any postseason games. So the Divisional Series premiered in 1995, adding another elimination round to the playoffs. The American League Division Series and National League Division Series have given birth to many memorable moments.
Can it currently work? The Divisional Series is a best-of-five series, including the 3 division winners plus a wild-card team. Normally, the wild-card team plays with the division chief with the best winning percentage in 1 series, along with the other two division leaders play another series. However, if the wild-card team and the division chief with the best document are from precisely the same branch, the wild-card team performs with the next winningest division leader, along with the remaining two division leaders playwith. The teams with the greater winning percentage gain homefield advantage (home team for games 1, 2 and 5). Both Division Series winners proceed into the best-of-seven League Championship Series to determine that the pennant winner and league representative to the World Series.