The American League Championship Series (ALCS) is a best-of-seven playoff
and one of two League Championship Series
comprising the penultimate round of Major League Baseball
's (MLB) postseason
. It is contested by the winners of the two American League
(AL) Division Series
. The winner of the ALCS wins the AL pennant
and advances to the World Series
, MLB's championship series, to play the winner of the National League
's (NL) Championship Series
. The ALCS began in 1969 as a best-of-five playoff and used this format until 1985, when it changed to its current best-of-seven format.
Prior to 1969, the American League champion (the "pennant winner
") was determined by the best win-loss record at the end of the regular season. There was one ''ad hoc'' single-game playoff
held, in , due to a tie under this formulation. (The National League
had to resolve ties four times, but used three-game playoff series.)
The ALCS started in 1969, when the AL reorganized into two divisions, East
. The winners of each division played each other in a best-of-five series to determine who would advance to the World Series. In 1985, the format changed to best-of-seven.
In 1981, a division series
was held due to a split season caused by a players' strike
In 1994, the league was restructured into three divisions, with the three division winners and a wild-card team advancing to a best-of-five postseason round, known as the American League Division Series
(ALDS). The winners of that round then advanced to the best-of-seven ALCS. In 2012, the playoff
s were expanded again so that two wild card teams face off in a one-game wild card round to determine which team advances to the division series, with the playoffs then continuing as it had before 2012 (though with the possibility of a fifth seed being in the playoffs and a fourth seed being out) after the end of the wild card round. This is the system currently in use.
The ALCS and NLCS, since the expansion to best-of-seven, are always played in a 2–3–2 format: Games 1, 2, 6, and 7 are played in the stadium of the team that has home field advantage
, and Games 3, 4, and 5 are played in the stadium of the team that does not. The series concludes when one team records its fourth win. Since 1998, home field advantage has been given to the team that has the better regular season record, except that the team made the postseason as the Wild Card
shall not get home field advantage. In the event that both teams have identical records in the regular season, home field advantage goes to the team that has the winning head-to-head record. From 1969 to 1993, home-field advantage alternated between the two divisions, and from 1995 to 1997 home-field advantage was determined before the season.
The Milwaukee Brewers
, an American League team between 1969 and 1997, and the Houston Astros
, a National League team between 1962 and 2012, are the only franchises to play in both the ALCS and NLCS. The Astros are the only team to have won both an NLCS (2005
) and an ALCS (2017
). Every current American League franchise has appeared in the ALCS.
The William Harridge Trophy
is awarded to the ALCS champion. The trophy's namesake comes from the American League president
from 1931 to 1959.
Most Valuable Player Award
:''See: League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award#American League winners
The Lee MacPhail
Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is given to the outstanding player in the ALCS. No MVP award is given for Division Series play.
Although the National League began its LCS MVP award in 1977, the American League did not begin its LCS MVP award till 1980. The winners are listed in several locations:
* in the below ALCS results table, in the "Series MVP" column
* in the article League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award
* on the MLB websiteLeague Championship Series Most Valuable Players
(MLB.com/News/Awards/History/ ). MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
Appearances by team
Years of appearance
In the sortable table below, teams are ordered first by number of wins, then by number of appearances, and finally by year of first appearance. In the "Season(s)" column, bold years indicate winning appearances.
*List of American League pennant winners
*List of American League Wild Card winners
*American League Division Series
*National League Championship Series
ALCS Boxscores and Play-by-Play at Baseball-Reference.com
Category:Recurring sporting events established in 1969
Category:Annual events in Major League Baseball