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Oldest teams in Major League Baseball

  • Oldest teams in Major League Baseball

    The National League was founded in 1876, while the American League formed in 1901 (two years later, Major League Baseball officially began). Still, some current MLB teams predate both leagues, originating when baseball was played by men with curly mustaches, wearing high baggy pants, and with crudely constructed bats and gloves.

    As the professional baseball season heats up this summer with intense pennant races and mind-boggling trades, Stacker counts down the oldest MLB teams. These 30 clubs are ranked by the year founded, with tiebreakers decided by total historic wins.

    Just because a team is relatively new does not mean it hasn’t found success; some younger clubs have more World Series appearances than teams entering the senior citizen age bracket. There are also some trends to note. Baseball expansion often occurred in bunches, marking major moments in the league’s evolution. After a cluster of eight teams were introduced in 1901, MLB experienced a 60-year gap before introducing a new club. While MLB was coasting largely unchallenged during the first half of the 20th century, the possibility of a new league led to the institution of franchises in new markets around the country.

    Introducing new teams has caused the expansion of divisions and playoff formats. Recent additions continue to show MLB’s willingness to continue to break into new markets—particularly in areas where baseball has long been popular (Florida and Arizona, for example).

    There are quirks to be found looking back at this baseball timeline. Some teams’ ages can be identified by the classic color schemes of their uniforms (teal and purple were rarely ever seen on a baseball diamond through much of the 1900s). Strangely, though, while talk of expansion is always on the minds of baseball fans, no new teams have been added in the 21st century (although there are rumblings of a combined Tampa/Montreal franchise to come).

    Click through to find out the history of each team, from the youngest of the bunch to the elder statesmen of MLB.

    You may also like: MLB history from the year you were born

  • #30. Tampa Bay Rays

    - Year founded: 1998
    - Division: AL East
    - Overall record: 1,599-1,813-0

    The Rays, despite being one of the youngest teams in baseball, have had quite a rollercoaster history. It took Tampa Bay over a decade until it reached the postseason where the Rays fell in the 2008 World Series. A majority of years have been marked by shoddy play in a stadium not optimal for baseball (recent rumors have them splitting time in Florida and Montreal in the future), but Tampa has been at the cutting edge of baseball trends, too. Last year, the Rays introduced the idea of an opener—a relief pitcher starting a game—and their outside-the-box thinking has them overcoming their small-market restraints to challenge the American League’s best this season.

  • #29. Arizona Diamondbacks

    - Year founded: 1998
    - Division: NL West
    - Overall record: 1,684-1,729-0

    The Diamondbacks had one of the quickest ascents in baseball history, winning a division title in only their second year. By 2001, they were World Series champions, taking an epic seven-game series from the New York Yankees. Luis Gonzalez provided the walk-off hit off Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera for the Diamondbacks’ only title.

  • #28. Miami Marlins

    - Year founded: 1993
    - Division: NL East
    - Overall record: 1,936-2,217-0

    Entering MLB as the Florida Marlins, these 1993 newbies achieved success much quicker than expected. By 1997 the Marlins were world champions then won a second title in 2003. Sustained success, however, has been hard to come by. After trading Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton prior to the 2018 season, the Marlins are in the midst of another rebuild (this one helmed by former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, now an owner of the South Florida franchise).

  • #27. Colorado Rockies

    - Year founded: 1993
    - Division: NL West
    - Overall record: 1,965-2,198-0

    The Colorado Rockies have used the benefits of the Rocky Mountain air to send balls out of Coors Field at an astronomical rate, but they are still searching for their first championship. One pitfall of playing at a higher elevation is that while the ball flies off the bat, pitchers have been known to struggle in Denver.

  • #26. Seattle Mariners

    - Year founded: 1977
    - Division: AL West
    - Overall record: 3,162-3,530-2

    The Mariners have been defined by some of baseball’s greats, namely Ken Griffey Jr. and Ichiro Suzuki. Griffey became a household name in the 1990s with his picturesque swing and jovial approach to baseball, and was followed by Ichiro, who not only broke barriers for Japanese players, but proved to be one of the game’s greatest hitters (his 262 hits in 2004 is the single-season record).

  • #25. Toronto Blue Jays

    - Year founded: 1977
    - Division: AL East
    - Overall record: 3,320-3,371-3

    The Blue Jays won consecutive World Series titles in 1992 and 1993, but Canada’s only MLB team has made just two postseason appearances since. When Toronto captured the 2015 division title, fans created a raucous atmosphere inside the Rogers Centre—not unlike how locals celebrated the NBA’s Raptors during their recent championship run. Itching for a return to greatness, the Blue Jays are banking their future on young superstars like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who hit 91 home runs in this summer’s Home Run Derby.

  • #24. San Diego Padres

    - Year founded: 1969
    - Division: NL West
    - Overall record: 3,684-4,302-2

    The Padres are the only MLB team to have never thrown a no-hitter. They have also never won a World Series, but their 50 years of history are not without a few bright spots. Tony Gwynn, one of baseball’s most revered hitters, played his entire 20-year career in San Diego, and won eight batting titles.

  • #23. Milwaukee Brewers

    - Year founded: 1969
    - Division: NL Central
    - Overall record: 3,832-4,148-4

    Although Wisconsin might not be traditionally thought of as a baseball-crazed state, summers in Milwaukee are known for brats, beer, and Brewers baseball. The Brewers, who followed in the footsteps of the Milwaukee Braves, have rewarded fans with one trip to the World Series in 1982 and are looking for a return this season. Leading the way is Christian Yelich, the 2018 MVP who led the majors in home runs at the All-Star break.

  • #22. Kansas City Royals

    - Year founded: 1969
    - Division: AL Central
    - Overall record: 3,844-4,127-2

    Before the Royals’ birth in 1969, Kansas City hosted the A’s for 13 seasons. While the A’s never won a championship in the Midwest, the Royals have two World Series titles to their credit, the most recent coming in 2015. Their home ballpark, Kauffman Stadium, is known for its picturesque views that include waterfalls beyond the outfield fence.

  • #21. Washington Nationals

    - Year founded: 1969
    - Division: NL East
    - Overall record: 3,889-4,085-4

    Formerly the Montreal Expos, the Nationals franchise has also played home games in Puerto Rico. Today, they are firmly entrenched in the nation’s capital, and have been among the premier teams in the National League East. However, playoff success has not come easy and the Nationals lost their star slugger Bryce Harper to the Philadelphia Phillies last offseason.

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