How Many MLB Teams Are There?

- November 16, 2021

A common question by fans just getting into baseball is how many teams there are in Major League Baseball. The number of teams has increased steadily over the years, and as of 2021, there are 30 teams throughout Major League Baseball, divided into two leagues with three divisions in each league.

The teams are placed in divisions that best fits a geographical region.

How Many Players Are There in Major League Baseball?

Major League Baseball rosters are 26 players throughout the regular season. With 30 teams in MLB, there are at any one time, 780 players throughout the league on the active roster. Each team has a 40-man roster of those players under Major League contract, so there are 1040 players under contract each season.

What Are the 30 Teams in the MLB?

MLB consists of two leagues, the American League and National League. 

The American League was founded in 1901 and is sometimes known as the Junior Circuit since it is the younger of the two leagues. There are three divisions in the American League: East, Central, and West.

The teams in the American League East are the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, and Tampa Bay Rays. The American League Central consists of the Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, and the Kansas City Royals. The American League West features the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels, and Houston Astros.

The National League was founded in 1876 and is sometimes referred to as the Senior Circuit since it was founded nearly a quarter of a century before American League.

Same as the American League, the National League divides into three divisions, the East, Central, and West.

The teams the comprise the National League East are the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, and Washington Nationals. The National League Central consists of the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, and Cincinnati Reds. 

The teams in the National League West are the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, San Francisco Giants, and Arizona Diamondbacks.

How Many People Have Played MLB?

Although finding the exact number of players and digging way back into the record books is a little complicated, the best estimate is that around 20,000 players have played at least one game in MLB. On May 21, 2021, Jose Godoy of the Seattle Mariners became the 20,0000th player in 150 years. Other players have made MLB rosters for a short duration but never appeared in a game.

Of those 20,000 who have played in MLB, only 263 have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. That boils down to 1 out of every 76 players that have played the game entering the Hall of Fame. 

List of MLB Teams by Age

Since the National League was formed first, all of the oldest teams are from the National League.

The Atlanta Braves were founded in 1871 as the Boston Red Stockings. The Chicago Cubs were initially the Chicago White Stockings in 1876. The Cincinnati Reds (Cincinnati Red Stockings), Pittsburgh Pirates (Allegheny), and St. Louis Cardinals (Brown Stockings) were founded in 1882. 

A year later, the Philadelphia Phillies (Quakers), Los Angeles Dodgers (Brooklyn Grays), and San Francisco Giants (New York Gothams) came into existence. In 1894, the Cleveland Indians (Grand Rapids Rustlers), Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox (White Stockings), and the Minnesota Twins (Washington Nationals/Senators) became enfranchised.

During the second year of the 20th century in 1901, the New York Yankees (at that time the Baltimore Orioles until becoming the New York Highlanders in 1903), Boston Red Sox (Americans), Baltimore Orioles (originally Milwaukee Brewers), and Oakland Athletics (Philadelphia Athletics) came into existence.

The number of teams remained the same until 1961, when the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers were added to the American League. The National League added two teams in 1962 when the New York Mets and Houston Astros (then the Colt 45s) came into existence as an expansion team. The Washington Nationals (Montreal Expos), Kansas City Royals, and San Diego Padres. 

In 1977 the American League added the Toronto Blue Jays and the Seattle Mariners. 

Baseball remained the same until the early 1990s when the National League added the Miami Marlins and the Colorado Rockies. The newest teams added to MLB were the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays in 1998.

Oldest to Newest Stadiums in MLB

  • Fenway Park – Boston Red Sox (1912)
  • Wrigley Field – Chicago Cubs (1914)
  • Dodger Stadium – Los Angeles Dodgers (1962)
  • Angel Stadium of Anaheim – Los Angeles Angels (1966)
  • Oakland Coliseum – Oakland Athletics (1966)
  • Kaufman Stadium – Kansas City Royals (1973)
  • Rogers Center – Toronto Blue Jays (1989)
  • Tropicana Field – Tampa Bay Rays (1990)
  • Guaranteed Rate Field – Chicago White Sox (1991)
  • Oriole Park at Camden Yards – Baltimore Orioles (1992)
  • Progressive Field – Cleveland Indians (1994)
  • Coors Field – Colorado Rockies (1994)
  • Chase Field – Arizona Diamondbacks (1998)
  • T-Mobile Park – Seattle Mariners (1999)
  • Oracle Park – San Francisco Giants (2000)
  • Minute Maid Park – Houston Astros (2000)
  • Comerica Park – Detroit Tigers (2000)
  • PNC Park – Pittsburgh Pirates (2001)
  • American Family Field – Milwaukee Brewers (2001)
  • Great American Ball Park – Cincinnati Reds (2003)
  • Citizens Bank Park – Philadelphia Phillies (2004)
  • Petco Park – San Diego Padres (2004)
  • Busch Stadium – St. Louis Cardinals (2006)
  • Nationals Park – Washington Nationals (2008)
  • Citi Field – New York Mets (2009)
  • Yankee Stadium – New York Yankees (2009)
  • Target Field – Minnesota Twins (2010)
  • LoanDepot Park – Miami Marlins (2012)
  • Trust Park – Atlanta Braves (2017)
  • Globe Life Park – Texas Rangers (2020)

How Many Times do MLB Teams Play Each Other?

The current MLB schedule is 162 games, with each team playing all others in the division 19 times each. This schedule began in 2013 after the Astros moved from the National League Central to the American League West.

Therefore, nearly half of all games played during the regular season are against divisional opponents.

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