A group of men in white baseball uniforms with red pinstripes and red baseball caps high-five each other while passing in lines moving in opposite directions.
The Philadelphia Phillies won their second consecutive pennant in 2009 and lost to the San Francisco Giants in the 2010 NLCS.

The National League pennant winner of a given Major League Baseball season is the team that wins the championship—the pennant—of MLB's National League (NL). This team receives the Warren C. Giles Trophy and the right to play in the World Series against the champion of the American League (AL). The current NL pennant winners are the Arizona Diamondbacks, who beat out the Philadelphia Phillies to win the NL pennant in October 2023.

The trophy is named for Warren Giles, the league president from 1951 to 1969, and is presented immediately after each NL Championship Series (NLCS) by Warren's son Bill Giles, the honorary league president and former owner of the Philadelphia Phillies.[1]

From 1876 through 1968, the pennant was awarded to the team with the best regular-season record. Beginning in 1969, the league was divided into East and West divisions, with the champions of each playing for the pennant in the League Championship Series (NLCS). Since 1995, there have been three divisions and a two-round playoff bracket which begins with two Division Series (NLDS).

The pennant has been awarded every year since 1876, except for 1994, when a players' strike forced the cancellation of the postseason.[2][3] Until 1969, the pennant was presented to the team with the best win–loss record at the end of the season.[4] In 1969, the league split into two divisions,[5] and the teams with the best records in each division played one another in the NLCS to determine the pennant winner. The format of the NLCS was changed from a best-of-five to a best-of-seven format for the 1985 postseason.[6] In 1995, an additional playoff series was added when MLB restructured the two divisions in each league into three.[7] As of 2010, the winners of the Eastern, Central, and Western Divisions, as well as one wild card team, play in the NL Division Series, a best-of-five playoff to determine the opponents who will play for the pennant.[8]

By pennants, the Los Angeles Dodgers (formerly the Brooklyn Dodgers; 24 pennants, 31 playoff appearances)[9] are the winningest team in NL history. The San Francisco Giants (formerly the New York Giants; 23 pennants, 27 playoff appearances)[10] are in second place, with the St. Louis Cardinals (19 pennants and 28 playoff appearances),[11] in third place, followed by the Atlanta Braves (18 pennants and 23 postseason appearances between their three home cities of Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Boston)[12] in fourth place and the Chicago Cubs (17 pennants and 20 playoff appearances as the Cubs and White Stockings) in fifth.[13] The Philadelphia Phillies were NL champions in back-to-back seasons in 2008 and 2009, becoming the first NL team to do so since the Braves in 1995 and 1996.[14] The Dodgers were also league champions in back-to-back seasons in 2017 and 2018. The modern World Series began in 1903, when the National League recognized the upstart American League, founded in 1901. There was an earlier "World's Championship Series" played between the pennant winners of the NL and the American Association 1884–1890; from 1894 to 1897 the NL's first- and second-place teams played a postseason series for the Temple Cup, which was considered to be the league championship. As of 2021, the Dodgers have the most modern-era World Series appearances at 21, followed by the San Francisco Giants with 20.

The team with the best record to win the NL pennant was the 1906 Cubs, who won 116 of 152 games during that season[15] and finished 20 games ahead of the New York Giants.[16] The best record by a pennant winner in the Championship Series era is 108–54, which was achieved by the Cincinnati Reds in 1975[17] and the New York Mets in 1986;[18] both of these teams went on to win the World Series.[2]

NL champions have gone on to win the World Series 51 times, most recently in 2021.[2] Pennant winners have also won the Temple Cup and the Chronicle-Telegraph Cup, two pre-World Series league championships, although second-place teams won three of the four Temple Cup meetings.[19][20] The largest margin of victory for a pennant winner, before the league split into two divisions in 1969, is 27+12 games; the Pittsburgh Pirates led the Brooklyn Superbas (now the Dodgers) by that margin on the final day of the 1902 season.[21]

The only currently existing National League franchise to have never won an NL pennant are the Milwaukee Brewers; however, they did win a pennant during their time in the American League.[22]

Key

Year Links to the corresponding "year in baseball" (1876–1900) or "Major League Baseball season" (1901–present) article
Team Links to the corresponding season in which each team played
Series Links to the corresponding "National League Championship Series" article
Record Regular season win–loss record
GA Games ahead of the second-place team (pre-NLCS era)
WW Wins by the winning team (NLCS era)
LW Wins by the losing team (NLCS era)
Ref Reference
Won World Series (1884–1890, 1892)
Won Temple Cup (1894–1897)
Won Chronicle-Telegraph Cup (1900)
Won World Series (1903–present)
E National League East division member (1969–present)
C National League Central division member (1995–present)
W National League West division member (1969–present)
Wild card team (1995–present)

Single table era (1876–1968)

Two rows of men in white baseball uniforms. Those in the back row wear dark baseball caps with "P" on them while the men in the front row wear white hats and have "BOSTON" on the chest of their uniforms.
The Pittsburgh Pirates (back row) won the National League pennant in 1903, and played in the first modern World Series in baseball history.
A single row of men in white baseball uniforms with high socks and white baseball caps standing on a baseball field; their uniforms read "NY" across the chest.
The New York Giants won their first World Series appearance in 1905 after their owner refused to take part in the 1904 World Series.[23]

League Championship Series era (1969–present)

See also: National League Championship Series and League Championship Series MVP Award

Three rows of men in various dark-colored suits; in the center, a gray-haired smiling man holds a white baseball jersey that reads "Bush" on the back in small red print with "06" in larger red print below it.
The 2006 St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series after capturing the National League pennant.
Two rows of men stand on a baseball field holding baseball caps over their hearts. A row of men in gray baseball uniforms and red caps are to the right of the image, while men in white baseball uniforms and blue caps are to the left. The stands are full with crowd members, and other people are standing in the outfield, seen in the background.
In 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers faced off in the National League championship series for the pennant; the Phillies won, four games to one.

Notes

NL pennants won by franchise

Three rows of men in white baseball uniforms and dark caps; the rear row is standing, the middle row is seated (with a man in a tweed suit in the middle), and the front row is seated on the floor. The baseball uniforms have a dark Old English-style "B" over the left breast.
The 19th century Baltimore Orioles team won three National League pennants, one of three defunct teams to have won the league.
Two rows of men: one row standing behind a second row seated on the ground. The men are wearing white baseball uniforms with "Detroit" across the chest and white baseball caps.
The Detroit Wolverines won their only pennant in 1887, followed by a victory in the World's Championship Series.
Italics represent a franchise that is defunct in Major League Baseball as of the 2023 season.
Team Pennants won Postseason appearances Ref
Los Angeles Dodgers[a] 24 37 [9]
San Francisco Giants[b] 23 27 [10]
St. Louis Cardinals[c] 19 32 [11]
Atlanta Braves[d] 18 29 [12]
Chicago Cubs[e] 17 21 [13]
Pittsburgh Pirates[f] 9 17 [172]
Philadelphia Phillies[h] 8 16 [173]
Cincinnati Reds[g] 9 16 [174]
New York Mets 5 10 [175]
Baltimore Orioles (NL)[i] 3 5 [176]
San Diego Padres 2 5 [177]
Miami Marlins 2 3 [178]
Providence Grays 2 5 [179]
Houston Astros[j] 1 9 [180]
Arizona Diamondbacks 2 7 [181]
Washington Nationals[k] 1 6 [182]
Colorado Rockies 1 5 [183]
Detroit Wolverines 1 2 [184]
Milwaukee Brewers[l] 0 5 [185]

Notes

See also

References

General

Inline citations

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