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In Major League Baseball, the American League Championship Series (ALCS), played in October, is a round in the postseason that determines the winner of the American League pennant. The winner of the series advances to play the winner of the National League Championship Series in baseball's championship, the World Series. The reigning American League Champions are the New York Yankees.

It began in 1969, when the American League was reorganized into two divisions, East and West. 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 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 or ALDS. The winners of that round then advanced to the best-of-seven ALCS. 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 1995, home field advantage has been given to the team that has the better regular season record, unless that team happens to be the Wild Card team. In that case, the other team gets home field advantage, because by rule the Wild Card team is never allowed home field advantage in a Division Series or LCS. 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 1969-1993, home field advantage alternated between the two divisions.

The Texas Rangers are the only American League team to never appear in an ALCS. The other 13 teams and the Milwaukee Brewers (members of the AL from 1969–1997) have each appeared at least once.

Championship Trophy

The William Harridge Trophy is awarded to the ALCS champion.

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 (1) below in the section on "ALCS results (1969-present)", in the "Series MVP" column, (2) at League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award, and (3) on the MLB website.

ALCS results (1969–present)

Click the link on the far left for detailed information on that series.
Year Winner Loser Record Series MVP Notable TV
1969 Baltimore Orioles Minnesota Twins 3–0   Dick Hall becomes the first pitcher to record a win in League Championship Series play Orioles win two extra inning games including game one off a twelfth inning home run from Boog Powell. NBC
1970 Baltimore Orioles Minnesota Twins 3–0   Dave McNally and Jim Palmer both pitched complete game wins in Games 2 and 3. Davey Johnson hit two HR's in series while a pitcher, Mike Cuellar actually hit a HR in the ALCS. NBC
1971 Baltimore Orioles Oakland Athletics 3–0   The Orioles had half their offensive output in the seventh innings of each game led by Boog Powell with two HR's in game two. Dave McNally, Jim Palmer and Mike Cuellar all recorded wins as starters. NBC
1972 Oakland Athletics Detroit Tigers 3–2   Reggie Jackson is injured stealing home on the front end of a double steal, and Vida Blue pitches 4 innings of scoreless relief as the A's win game 5 in Detroit. NBC
1973 Oakland Athletics Baltimore Orioles 3–2   NBC
1974 Oakland Athletics Baltimore Orioles 3–1   NBC
1975 Boston Red Sox Oakland Athletics 3–0   The Red Sox end the A's string of 3 straight World Championships. NBC
1976 New York Yankees Kansas City Royals 3–2   Chris Chambliss hits the series-ending home run in Game 5. ABC
1977 New York Yankees Kansas City Royals 3–2   The visiting Yankees score three runs in the top of the ninth inning of Game 5 on their way to the second of three straight World Series appearances. NBC
1978 New York Yankees Kansas City Royals 3–1   George Brett sets an ALCS single-game record with three home runs in Game 3 and sets the full series record with two triples (a mark since equaled by Kenny Lofton) bt the Yankees win their 3rd straight A.L. title. ABC
1979 Baltimore Orioles California Angels 3–1   The Angels rally for 2 runs in the 9th inning of game 3 to prolong the series, only to lose game 4. NBC
1980 Kansas City Royals New York Yankees 3–0 Frank White, Kansas City The Royals sweep the Yankees to become the first AL expansion team to win a pennant. ABC
1981 New York Yankees Oakland Athletics 3–0 Graig Nettles, New York "Billy ball" is no match for the powerful, veteran Yankees. NBC
1982 Milwaukee Brewers California Angels 3–2 Fred Lynn, California First LCS ever to match two expansion teams. The city of Milwaukee's first pennant since 1958 (that one being won by the Braves). Brewers become the first to win a LCS after trailing 2 games to 0. ABC.
1983 Baltimore Orioles Chicago White Sox 3–1 Mike Boddicker, Baltimore The White Sox' first playoff appearance since 1959 is stopped cold by the eventual World Series champions. NBC
1984 Detroit Tigers Kansas City Royals 3–0 Kirk Gibson, Detroit Paced by Kirk Gibson's hitting, the Tigers sweep the Royals en route to a World Championship. ABC
1985 Kansas City Royals Toronto Blue Jays 4–3 George Brett, Kansas City The first best-of-seven ALCS. Down 3 games to 1, Kansas City comes back, including two roadmarker wins. Jim Sundberg breaks Game 7 wide open with a 3-RBI triple. NBC
1986 Boston Red Sox California Angels 4–3 Marty Barrett, Boston Angels are one out (one strike) from the pennant in Game 5 when Dave Henderson hits a go-ahead home run against Donnie Moore. The Angels tie the game but the Red Sox win in extra innings, then take the next two at home. ABC
1987 Minnesota Twins Detroit Tigers 4–1 Gary Gaetti, Minnesota The Twins advanced to their first World Series since 1965 despite having the weakest record of any of the 4 division champions in 1987. NBC
1988 Oakland Athletics Boston Red Sox 4–0 Dennis Eckersley, Oakland Eckersley sets an unbreakable record with 4 saves in the series. ABC
1989 Oakland Athletics Toronto Blue Jays 4–1 Rickey Henderson, Oakland Henderson's 8 steals (in just 5 games) are an ALCS record, but the big story is the mammoth home run José Canseco blasts into the highest deck of the SkyDomemarker. NBC
1990 Oakland Athletics Boston Red Sox 4–0 Dave Stewart, Oakland Roger Clemens gets ejected in Game 4, putting the nail in Boston's coffin. CBS
1991 Minnesota Twins Toronto Blue Jays 4–1 Kirby Puckett, Minnesota CBS
1992 Toronto Blue Jays Oakland Athletics 4–2 Roberto Alomar, Toronto MVP Alomar hits a crucial 9th-inning home run off Dennis Eckersley in Game 4. The Jays become the first non-U.S.marker team to win a pennant. CBS
1993 Toronto Blue Jays Chicago White Sox 4–2 Dave Stewart, Toronto The Blue Jays knocked off the White Sox in 6 games en route to their second consecutive World Championship. CBS
1994 Not held due to labor dispute.
1995 Cleveland Indians Seattle Mariners 4–2 Orel Hershiser, Cleveland In the first-ever LCS appearance for both teams, Hershiser became the first player to win LCS MVP awards in both leagues as Cleveland won their first AL Pennant since 1954. ABC (Games 1–2), NBC (Games 3–6)
1996 New York Yankees Baltimore Orioles 4–1 Bernie Williams,
New York
Aided by fan Jeffrey Maier, who reached over the right field wall to pull a fly ball into the stands and out of the reach of Orioles outfielder Tony Tarasco, Derek Jeter hit a game-tying home run in Game 1, then Williams hit the walk-off shot in extra innings. NBC
1997 Cleveland Indians Baltimore Orioles 4–2 Marquis Grissom, Cleveland An 11th inning Home Run by Tony Fernández in Game 6 propelled Cleveland to its second pennant in three years. FOX
1998 New York Yankees Cleveland Indians 4–2 David Wells, New York The Yankees defeat of the Indians in six games would be the first of four consecutive AL pennants for the Yankees. NBC
1999 New York Yankees Boston Red Sox 4–1 Orlando Hernández, New York Bernie Williams' game-winning home run in the 11th inning of Game 1 sent the Yankees on their way to their second consecutive AL Pennant. FOX
2000 New York Yankees Seattle Mariners 4–2 David Justice, New York Justice's towering homer off Arthur Rhodes in Game 6 ensured the first Subway Series since 1956. Roger Clemens set an ALCS record with 15 strikeouts in a one-hit shutout of Seattle in Game 4. NBC
2001 New York Yankees Seattle Mariners 4–1 Andy Pettitte, New York Although the Mariners boasted a record 116 wins in the regular season, the Yankees wiped them out in 5 games. Alfonso Soriano hit a walk-off home run in Game 4. FOX
2002 Anaheim Angels Minnesota Twins 4–1 Adam Kennedy, Anaheim The series MVP hit three home runs in the deciding Game 5 as the Angels won their first-ever pennant, also becoming the first wild-card team to do so. FOX
2003 New York Yankees Boston Red Sox 4–3 Mariano Rivera, New York Aaron Boone hit an 11th-inning blast off Tim Wakefield to cap off an exciting Game 7. Considered by some to be the best game in the Red Sox – Yankees rivalry, it may be better known for Grady Little refusing to pull ace Pedro Martínez from the game. The series was also marred by a fight in Game 3, instigated after Pedro Martínez hit Karim Garcia in retaliation for Roger Clemens throwing a pitch near the head of Manny Ramírez. The fight was memorable for Don Zimmer's charge toward Martinez in the fracas, which Martinez was able to avoid by side-stepping Zimmer and pushing him to the ground. FOX
2004 Boston Red Sox New York Yankees 4–3 David Ortiz, Boston Boston becomes the first baseball team in history to win a series after losing the first three games. The series featured, among other things, two consecutive postseason blown saves by Yankee closer Mariano Rivera and two consecutive game winning hits from Red Sox slugger David Ortiz in Games 4 and 5. The Red Sox' first pennant since 1986. The Red Sox, who had been three outs away from elimination in Game 4, tied the game in the bottom of the ninth inning, won it in the 12th, won the next three games and went on to win the World Series for the first time in 86 years. FOX
2005 Chicago White Sox Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 4–1 Paul Konerko, Chicago After Neal Cotts worked ⅔ of an inning in a Game 1 loss, the White Sox, aided by a controversial Doug Eddings dropped third strike call in Game 2, pitched 4 complete games in a row. Konerko hit two first inning homers in Games 3 and 4. The White Sox' first pennant since 1959. FOX
2006 Detroit Tigers Oakland Athletics 4–0 Plácido Polanco, Detroit Magglio Ordóñez hit a game-winning, series ending home run in the bottom of the ninth of Game 4 to complete the sweep. Oakland also went a playoff record 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position in Game 1, hitting into four double-plays. FOX
2007 Boston Red Sox Cleveland Indians 4–3 Josh Beckett, Boston In Game 4, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, and Manny Ramírez of Boston hit the first back-to-back-to-back home runs in LCS history. In Game 7, the tie-breaking game, the Red Sox and Indians were neck and neck, 3–2, until the 7th inning when Boston scored two more runs, and in the 8th, when they scored six more. The Red Sox rallied from a 3–1 series deficit, outscoring the Indians 30–5 over the final three games. FOX
2008 Tampa Bay Rays Boston Red Sox 4–3 Matt Garza, Tampa Bay After blowing a 7–0 lead late in a potential series-clinching Game 5 and a 3–1 series lead, the Rays rebound behind starter Matt Garza, who outpitches Red Sox ace Jon Lester for the second time in a week, finishing the series with a 2–0 record, a 1.38 ERA, 14 strikeouts and the ALCS MVP award. The Rays win their first-ever pennant in their first-ever postseason trip, the first team to do so since the 1997 Florida Marlins. TBS
2009 New York Yankees Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 4–2 CC Sabathia, New York Alex Rodriguez smashed a game-tying solo home run off Angels closer Brian Fuentes in the 11th inning in Game 2 to lead the Yankees to a 4-3 13 inning win. The Angels responded in Game 3 with a walk-off double by Jeff Mathis in the 11th to cut the series lead to 2-1, but CC Sabathia's dominant outing in Game 4 on three days' rest put the Yankees up 3-1 to earn him the series MVP. The Angels overcame a 6-run 7th inning by the Yankees to win Game 5, but Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera shut down the Angels in Game 6 to win the Yankees' 40th American League pennant. FOX

See also


  1. winner. Dave (Tampa Bay Rays fan), "Overjoyed!", Fielder's Choice Baseball Card Blog, Apr. 10, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-17 (including photo of trophy).
  2. League Championship Series Most Valuable Players ( ). MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved 2009-08-31.

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