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.
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 William Harridge Trophy is awarded to the ALCS champion.
Most Valuable Player Award
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)
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