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Difference Between American League and National League

Difference Between American League and National League

American League

American League vs. National League

Like most prevalent sports played in America, baseball is divided into foremost conferences. These major baseball leagues are the American League and the National League. Sure, they’re both baseball – however, there is a remarkable difference in the rules directing the game. In addition to those disparities, far-reaching dissimilarities are also apparent in the playing style, tenure, popularity, and influence on 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 disbanded in the late 1890’s. By 1977, AL spread out into 14 teams. Come 1990’s, it was partitioned into three divisions: East, Central, and West. Its counterpart, the National League (NL), also known as the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, is about two decades older than AL. It was established in 1876 as a replacement for the National Association of Professional Baseball Players (NA). It started with six teams, and over the years it grew to 16 teams split into three divisions, namely the National League East, National League Central, and National League West.

The AL and NL are primarily set apart by one rule: the former permits what they call a ‘designated hitter’ – or DH – for the pitcher, while the latter doesn’t; the pitcher bats all for himself. A DH is a player dedicated to 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.

Difference Between American League and National League-1

National League

With a disparity on that single rule, AL and NL playing styles differ altogether. The NL is mostly oriented towards pitching, with stronger emphasis on offensive running. The AL, on the other hand, focuses on the home run and highly depends on power overall. Furthermore, NL players are put in a batting rotation while, as mentioned, the AL maintains a designated hitter that stands in for pitchers in the rotation.

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

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


  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 younger by about 2 decades and comprises 14 teams today.
  3. The striking difference between the two is in the dedicated hitter or DH rule. The AL maintains a dedicated hitter that bats in place of the pitcher in rotation, while the NL requires the pitcher in the rotation to also do the batting.
  4. The AL is focused on power and homeruns, while the NL focuses on pitching and offensive running.

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