|No. of teams||6|
|Yomiuri Giants (38)|
|Most titles||Yomiuri Giants (38)|
The Central League (セントラル・リーグ, Sentoraru Rīgu) or Ce League (セ・リーグ, Se Rīgu) is one of the two professional baseball leagues that constitute Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. The winner of the league championship plays against the winner of the Pacific League in the annual Japan Series. It currently consists of six teams from around the country. Unlike the Pacific League, designated hitters are not used during Central League home games.
The Central League was founded in 1949 with eight teams: four holdovers from the previous Japanese Baseball League — the Chunichi Dragons, the Hanshin Tigers, the Yomiuri Giants, and the Shochiku Robins (formerly the Taiyō Robins) — and four new teams — the Hiroshima Carp, the Kokutetsu Swallows, the Nishi Nippon Pirates, and the Taiyō Whales.
The Nishi Nippon Pirates existed for one season — they placed sixth in 1950, and the following season merged with the also Fukuoka-based Nishitetsu Clippers (a member of the Pacific League) to form the Nishitetsu Lions, who joined the Pacific League. This brought the number of Central League teams down to an ungainly arrangement of seven.
Ryuji Suzuki became president of the Central League in 1952.
In 1952, it was decided that any team ending the season with a winning percentage below .300 would be disbanded or merged with other teams. The Shochiku Robins fell into this category, and were merged with the Taiyō Whales to become the Taiyō Shochiku Robins in January 1953. This enabled the Central League to shrink to an even number of six teams.
Ryuji Suzuki retired as CL president in 1984 after 33 years at the post.
In 2007, a new Climax Series was introduced. This playoff series was inspired by the stepladder playoff used in the Pacific League for the top three teams of the league to determine which one progressed to the Japan Series. Under the previous system, there was no post-season playoff and the winner of the pennant automatically qualified for the Japan Series.
|Nagoya, Aichi||Nagoya Dome||Chunichi Shimbun|
|Nishinomiya, Hyōgo||Hanshin Koshien Stadium||Hanshin Electric Railway|
|Hiroshima Toyo Carp||広島東洋カープ
Hiroshima Tōyō Kāpu
|Hiroshima, Hiroshima||Mazda Stadium||Matsuda family|
(founding family of Mazda)
|Tokyo Yakult Swallows||東京ヤクルトスワローズ
Tōkyō Yakuruto Suwarōzu
|Shinjuku, Tokyo||Meiji Jingu Stadium||Yakult|
|Yokohama DeNA BayStars||横浜DeNAベイスターズ
Yokohama DeNA Beisutāzu
|Yokohama, Kanagawa||Yokohama Stadium||DeNA|
|Bunkyo, Tokyo||Tokyo Dome||Yomiuri Shimbun|
|Hiroshima Toyo Carp||9||6||10|
|Nishi Nippon Pirates||0||0||0|
Main article: Best Nine Award