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Difference Between American League and National League

American League vs National League

Like most prevalent sports played in America, baseball is divided into foremost conferences. These major baseball leagues are not other than American League and National League. Sure, they’re both baseball but there is a remarkable difference in the rules directing the game. But more than such disparity, far-reaching dissimilarities are also apparent in the playing style, tenure, popularity and influence in American baseball.

The American League (AL), short for American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, was established in 1901 as the successor of the Western League, a minor baseball league which disbanded in the latter part of 1890′s. By 1977, AL spread out into 14 teams. Come 1990′s it was partitioned into three which would be the East, Central and West divisions. Its counterpart, the National League (NL) or also known as the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs is about two decades older than AL. It was brought into being early 1876 as a replacement to the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NA). It started with six teams until 1978. Through the years it grew to 16 teams split into three divisions namely the National League East, National League Central, and lastly, National League West.

The AL and NL are primarily set apart by one rule. And that is the former permits what they call a designated hitter or DH for the pitcher, while the latter doesn’t and rather the pitcher bat all for himself. A DH is a player dedicated for batting. He is allowed to bat on behalf of the pitcher. Because they employ a devoted batter in the lineup, AL teams generally average higher on runs than NL teams do. Other members of an AL team, for instance pitchers, don’t have to bat. As a result, team members are able to maximize their strong skills. With NL teams, pitchers are still expected to bat. In effect, they require an equally strong and effective set of skills that exceeds all aspects and roles in baseball.

With a disparity on that single rule, AL and NL playing styles differed altogether. The NL turned out to be more oriented in pitching with stronger highlight on offensive running. The AL, on one hand, focuses on the home run and highly depends on power overall. Furthermore, NL players are put in a batting rotation while, as mentioned, AL maintains a designated hitter that stands in for pitchers in the rotation.

By and large, the AL won more games than NL at 1,249 to 1,202. AL holds a home run record of 61 through Roger Maris of the Yankees while NL outdoes is at 73 through Barry Bonds of the Giants. As for the number of team victories, the Yankees of AL has a record of 41 while the Giants of NL holds 37. With regard to strikeouts, AL set 383 through Nolan Ryan of the Angels, while NL, only a point lower through Sandy Koufax of the Dodgers.

Moreover, both AL and NL are the major leagues in American baseball. They are equally popular across thirty host cities in the United States.

Summary:

  1. The American League and the National League are considered the major baseball leagues in the U.S. today.
  2. The NL was founded in 1876 and has grown to 16 teams to date. The AL is slightly younger by about 2 decades and now comprises 14 teams.
  3. The striking difference between the two would be in the dedicated hitter or DH rule. AL maintains a dedicated hitter that bats in place of the pitcher in rotation, while NL requires the pitcher in the rotation to also do the batting.
  4. AL is focused on power and homeruns while NL on pitching and offensive running.

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