Baseball has been around for what seems like forever. Major League Baseball, in particular, was formed in 1876 and is the oldest professional sports league in the US. The game has changed over the years, building a storied history.
Traditional MLB rivalries over the years feature some of the game’s most storied clubs facing off, including the Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees rivalry that goes back to Babe Ruth being sold, the bad blood between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, or the St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs.
With the introduction of MLB interleague play allowing American League teams to play National League teams each season, new heated rivalries have also formed over the years, each being nearly worth its own tv show. Before this, these rivalries were only possible if both teams made it to the World Series.
Whether during the MLB regular season or postseason, it is hard not to get excited for a series with these teams going head-to-head against one another for three or four games. You never know what you might see as the biggest MLB rivalries take to the diamond each season.
No matter the sport, rivalries make for the best games to watch. Here’s a look at the biggest MLB rivalries:
10 Biggest MLB Rivalries
1. Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees
Head-to-Head Meetings: 2,323, Most Wins: New York Yankees (1,259)
The New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox is the greatest rivalry in MLB history, stemming back to 1919 and the sale of Babe Ruth to the Yankees.
The move set each team on a different path, with the Yankees winning 27 World Series Titles, 40 American League Pennants, and 20 AL East Crowns.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox suffered the Curse of the Bambino, an 86-year drought with no World Series Championships.
However, over the recent years dating back to the mid to late 1990s, these two teams have repeatedly been the focal point of the American League East, battling for the top spot.
In addition, these two teams have met in the postseason in five different seasons (1999, 2003, 2004, 2018, 2021), with each team winning 12 games, while the Red Sox have won three of those five series, including the 2021 AL Wild Card matchup.
2. San Francisco Giants vs Los Angeles Dodgers
Head-to-Head Meetings: 2,559, Most Wins: San Francisco Giants (1,274)
Two teams with one of the most heated head-to-head rivalries are the San Francisco Giants vs Los Angeles Dodgers.
This rivalry is one of the biggest baseball rivalries between two divisional opponents who year in and year out battle for the NL West division crown.
In addition to the heated rivalry on the field, the two have seen some hate from their fans for one another, including multiple incidents that have included fans getting hurt and hospitalized.
Nonetheless, it is hard to look past these two when it comes to on-the-field battles. They’ve met 2,559 times over the years, including during the 2021 NL Division Series, with the Dodgers winning three of five to eliminate the Giants from the postseason.
3. Chicago Cubs vs Chicago White Sox
Head-to-Head Meetings: 144, Most Wins: Chicago White Sox (77)
With the introduction of interleague play, new cross-town rivalries and in-state rivalries have formed in Major League Baseball.
One of the new rivalries in baseball that’s becoming one of the best MLB rivalries is the Chicago Cubs vs Chicago White Sox.
While these two teams have only met once in the postseason, back in the 1906 World Series with the White Sox winning the series, the rivalry was formed in 1997 with the decision to add interleague play.
Since then, the White Sox have won 73 of the 138 regular season meetings between the two, with the White Sox winning the head-to-head series in the last two seasons (2022, 2021).
4. St. Louis Cardinals vs Chicago Cubs
Head-to-Head Meetings: 2,490, Most Wins: Chicago Cubs (1,259)
One of baseball’s most traditional rivalries is the St. Louis Cardinals vs Chicago Cubs rivalry, which dates back to their first meeting during the 1892 season.
These two teams have been part of some memorable games and history dating back to the Hack Wilson riot, the Ryne Sandberg game, the Mark McGwire, and the Sammy Sosa home run chase.
In the early days of one of the greatest MLB rivalries, the Cubs dominated the head-to-head meetings winning the head-to-head series in the 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, and 1930s.
However, since then, the cubs have only won two more decades while the Cardinals have won seven decades, including the 2000s, 2010s, and so far, the early part of the 2020s.
5. New York Yankees vs New York Mets
Head-to-Head Meetings: 138, Most Wins: New York Yankees (82)
Another MLB rivalry forming with the introduction of interleague play is the New York Yankees vs New York Mets.
Despite both calling New York home, these two teams have built storied fan bases who love their respective teams.
Since meeting for the first time on June 16, 1997, the Yankees have won the head-to-head series, winning 82 of their 143 total meetings and posting a 78-60 regular season record in the series.
In addition to meeting 138 times during the regular season, the Yankees vs. Mets squared off in the subway series during the 2000 World Series, with the Yankees winning the series in five games.
6. Houston Astros vs New York Yankees
Head-to-Head Meetings: 86, Most Wins: New York (43), Houston Astros (43)
As most MLB rivalries feature divisional matchups such as teams in the American League East or the National West, the New York Yankees vs Houston Astros rivalry is new with the addition of interleague play with the Astros eventually moving to the American League West division.
Over the years, this rivalry has become one of the best in the game as both teams have made deep runs in the postseason, including the Astros winning all four series.
They also met during the 2017 AL Championship Series, a series won by the Astros. The rivalry has only continued to grow with allegations of sign stealing by the Astros.
The Astros knocked out the Yankees during the 2022 MLB playoffs, evening up the head-to-head series, with each team winning 43 of their 86 matchups.
7. New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Head-to-Head Meetings: 1,055, Most Wins: Philadelphia Phillies (541)
The Battle of the Broads is one of the most heated and famous MLB rivalries dating back to their first meeting during the 1962 season.
Memories have been building since that first meeting, including a perfect game thrown by Jim Bunning in 1964 and multiple team brawls, including one during the 1990 MLB season featuring Dwight Gooden charging the mound and tackling Pat Combs.
This heated rivalry has continued to build as both teams have battled for NL East crowns throughout the late 1990s through the present, including during the 2022 MLB season, with both teams reaching the 2022 MLB playoffs.
8. Milwaukee Brewers vs Chicago Cubs
Head-to-Head Meetings: 417, Most Wins: (Milwaukee Brewers (209)
The National League Central division has been home to some of the Best MLB Rivalries, including the Milwaukee Brewers vs Chicago Cubs.
The I-94 rivalry featuring these twos that are only 83 miles from each other has become a fan favorite since they first met during the 1997 MLB season.
At the time, the Brewers played in the American League, setting up their first interleague series before moving to the NL Central just a season later.
Since then, the Brewers hold a one-game lead over their NL Central rivalries, winning 209 of the 417 head-to-head meetings.
One of the most pivotal meetings between these two came during the 2018 MLB season after finishing the season tied for first place in the NL Central.
The two met in a one-game tiebreaker that featured the Brewers winning 3-1 to win the division crown.
9. Atlanta Braves vs New York Mets
Head-to-Head Meetings: 916, Most Wins: Atlanta Braves (495)
Another storied MLB rivalry features the Atlanta Braves vs New York Mets, as both teams have had their success over the years, winning the World Series, dominating the NL East, and being two of the most storied MLB teams within their respective divisions.
Their rivalry dates back to when the Braves played in Milwaukee, with their first game taking place during the 1962 season at Polo Grounds.
Since that first meeting, the Braves have held their own in the Braves vs. Mets rivalry, winning 495 of the 916 head-to-head meetings.
However, each team eliminated the other during their only two playoff meetings. The Mets won the series 3-0 during the 1969 NL Championship Series, and the Braves won the series 4-2 during the 1999 NL Championship Series.
The excitement and drama has continued over the years, including the Braves eliminating the Mets from wild-card contention during the 1998 MLB season and both teams winning 101 games during the 2022 MLB schedule.
The Mets and Braves remain among the top MLB rivalries year in and year out.
10. Baltimore Orioles vs Washington Nationals
Head-to-Head Meetings: 90, Most Wins: Baltimore Orioles (51)
The last of the MLB rivalries landing on the Biggest MLB rivalries list is the Baltimore Orioles vs Washington Nationals rivalry, or what is known as the Beltway Series.
This rivalry is sometimes referred to as the Battle of the Beltway, as the two teams play just 40 miles apart, with the Baltimore Beltway (I-695) and Capital Beltway (I-495) separating the two teams from playing each other.
The Orioles vs. National rivalry is more than just on the field. The two have been battling over telecast rights since the Montreal Expos moved to Washington DC, with heated legal battles over their MASN rights.
However, on the field, the Orioles have cruised to a 51-39 record in the head-to-head series however, The Orioles have won the head-to-head series in two of the past four seasons while the two teams split during the 2019 MLB season and 2021 MLB season.