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The National League Western Division, or NL West, is one of the three divisions of Major League Baseball's National League. It was created in 1969 when the previously undivided National League expanded its membership to twelve teams, positioning half of them in an Eastern division and the other half in a Western division.

Contents

Inaugural season

The very first year of division play featured what are considered by many to be two of the greatest pennant races in baseball history. In the NL West, 6 teams vied for the first division title - with only the expansion, the San Diego Padres, failing to be major contenders late into the season. The remaining 5 teams were separated by as little as 1.5 games on August 18. This came after the Houston Astros had lost 20 of their first 24 games. Eventually, the Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers suffered late September collapses, and the Atlanta Braves ended up winning the division title in their next-to-last game.

Divisional membership

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Current members

Former members

Division Lineups

Time period Lineup Changes from previous setup
1969-1992 Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants Creation of division due to 1969 expansion
1993 Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants Colorado added in 1993 expansion
1994-1997 Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants Due to 1994 realignment, Atlanta moved to NL East and Cincinnati and Houston moved to newly-created NL Central
1998-present Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants Arizona added in 1998 expansion

Championships

Overall, the National League West has recorded a 27-30 record in the postseason. Division champions have compiled an overall mark of 29-36, winning sixteen National League pennants and six World Series. Wildcard winners from the division have recorded a record of 4-3, winning two pennants (2002 San Francisco Giants and 2007 Colorado Rockies) and no World Series titles.

NL West division champions

Prior to the establishment of a third division in both leagues in 1994, the winner of each division faced off in a Best-of-five (the series was lengthened in 1985 to a Best-of-seven set) series, dubbed the "League Championship Series" to determine the winner of the league pennant. This format was altered in 1994 (though not implemented until the following year due to a player strike starting August 12), with the addition of two further teams in each league's postseason. This has led to the creation of a "Division Series" round of the playoffs, in which two Best-of-five series' are conducted to determine the participants of the League Championship Series. As always, the winners of each league's pennant face off in the Best-of-seven World Series to determine the champion of Major League Baseball.

Year Winner Record % Playoffs
1969 Atlanta Braves 93-69 .574 Lost NLCS to New York, 3-0
1970 Cincinnati Reds 102-60 .630 Lost World Series to Baltimore, 4-1
1971 San Francisco Giants 90-72 .556 Lost NLCS to Pittsburgh, 3-1
1972 Cincinnati Reds 95-59 .617 Lost World Series to Oakland, 4-3
1973 Cincinnati Reds 99-63 .611 Lost NLCS to New York, 3-2
1974 Los Angeles Dodgers 102-60 .630 Lost World Series to Oakland, 4-1
1975 Cincinnati Reds 108-54 .667 Won World Series over Boston, 4-3
1976 Cincinnati Reds 102-60 .630 Won World Series over New York, 4-0
1977 Los Angeles Dodgers 98-64 .605 Lost World Series to New York, 4-2
1978 Los Angeles Dodgers 95-67 .586 Lost World Series to New York, 4-2
1979 Cincinnati Reds 90-71 .559 Lost NLCS to Pittsburgh, 3-0
1980 Houston Astros* 93-70 .571 Lost NLCS to Philadelphia Phillies, 3-2
1981 Los Angeles Dodgers 63-47 .573 Won World Series over New York, 4-2
1982 Atlanta Braves 89-73 .549 Lost NLCS to St. Louis, 3-0
1983 Los Angeles Dodgers 91-71 .562 Lost NLCS to Philadelphia, 3-1
1984 San Diego Padres 92-70 .568 Lost World Series to Detroit, 4-1
1985 Los Angeles Dodgers 95-67 .586 Lost NLCS to St. Louis, 4-2
1986 Houston Astros 96-66 .593 Lost NLCS to New York, 4-2
1987 San Francisco Giants 90-72 .556 Lost NLCS to St. Louis, 4-3
1988 Los Angeles Dodgers 94-67 .584 Won World Series over Oakland, 4-1
1989 San Francisco Giants 92-70 .568 Lost World Series to Oakland, 4-0
1990 Cincinnati Reds 91-71 .562 Won World Series over Oakland, 4-0
1991 Atlanta Braves 94-68 .580 Lost World Series to Minnesota, 4-3
1992 Atlanta Braves 98-64 .605 Lost World Series to Toronto, 4-2
1993 Atlanta Braves 104-58 .642 Lost NLCS to Philadelphia, 4-2
1994 (through August 11) Los Angeles Dodgers§ 58-56 .509 No Playoffs
1995 (starting April 25, 144 G) Los Angeles Dodgers 78-66 .542 Lost NLDS to Cincinnati, 3-0
1996 San Diego Padres 91-71 .562 Lost NLDS to St. Louis, 3-0
1997 San Francisco Giants 90-72 .556 Lost NLDS to Florida, 3-0
1998 San Diego Padres 98-64 .605 Lost World Series to New York, 4-0
1999 Arizona Diamondbacks 100-62 .617 Lost NLDS to New York, 3-1
2000 San Francisco Giants 97-65 .599 Lost NLDS to New York 3-1
2001 Arizona Diamondbacks 92-70 .568 Won World Series over New York, 4-3
2002 Arizona Diamondbacks 98-64 .605 Lost NLDS to St. Louis, 3-0
2003 San Francisco Giants 100-61 .621 Lost NLDS to Florida, 3-1
2004 Los Angeles Dodgers 93-69 .574 Lost NLDS to St. Louis, 3-1
2005 San Diego Padres 82-80 .506 Lost NLDS to St. Louis, 3-0
2006 San Diego Padres†† 88-74 .543 Lost NLDS to St. Louis, 3-1
2007 Arizona Diamondbacks 90-72 .556 Lost NLCS to Colorado, 4-0
2008 Los Angeles Dodgers 84-78 .519 Lost NLCS to Philadelphia, 4-1
2009 Los Angeles Dodgers 95-67 .586 Lost NLCS to Philadelphia, 4-1

* - Defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in a one game playoff for the division title, 7-1.
† - Due to the players' strike, the season was split. Los Angeles won the first half and defeated second-half champion Houston (61-49) in the postseason.
§ - Due to the players' strike starting August 12, no official winner was awarded. Los Angeles was leading at the strike.

†† - The San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers finished the 2006 season tied for first place with identical records. San Diego won the season series against Los Angeles and was awarded the tie-breaker; Los Angeles was awarded the wild-card berth. Had a team from another division won the wild card, a one-game playoff would have decided the division champion.

Wild-card winners produced

See List of National League Wild Card winners (since 1994)

The wild card is given to the team in each league with the best record that did not win its division and was first introduced in 1994. The system, however, was not implemented until the following season, as a player strike prematurely ended the 1994 season. Since its implementation, three different NL West teams have won the wild card, on six different occasions.

Year Winner Record % GB Playoffs
1995 Colorado Rockies 77-67 .535 1 Lost NLDS to Atlanta, 3-1
1996 Los Angeles Dodgers 90-72 .556 1 Lost NLDS to Atlanta, 3-0
2002 San Francisco Giants 95-66 .590 2.5 Lost World Series to Anaheim, 4-3
2006 Los Angeles Dodgers 88-74 .543 0 Lost NLDS to New York, 3-0
2007 Colorado Rockies 90-73* .552 0.5 Lost World Series to Boston, 4-0
2009 Colorado Rockies 92-70 .568 3 Lost NLDS to Philadelphia, 3-1

* The Colorado Rockies played the San Diego Padres in a wild card tie-breaker game after both teams finished the season with the same record, 89-73. The Rockies defeated the Padres, 9-8, in 13 innings. A wild card tie-breaker game is still considered part of the regular season, and thus, the Rockies' win made it their 90th victory of the season - a franchise record.

See also

NL West titles won by team

Team Number of Championships Won Last Year Won
Los Angeles Dodgers 11 2009
Cincinnati Reds 7 1990
San Francisco Giants 6 2003
San Diego Padres 5 2006
Atlanta Braves 5 1993
Arizona Diamondbacks 4 2007
Houston Astros 2 1986
Colorado Rockies 0 n/a

- Left division after 1993 season - Current Division Champion

References


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