|Sport||Negro league baseball|
|No. of teams||~18|
|Most titles||Kansas City Monarchs (8)|
|Classification||Major league (until ~1950)|
|Declined to minor league status after integration around 1950|
The Negro American League was one of the several Negro leagues created during the time organized American baseball was segregated. The league was established in 1937, and disbanded after its 1962 season.
Major league prior to 1950; minor league after 1950.
From 1939 through 1942 and 1944 through 1947, the team in first place at the end of the season was declared the Pennant winner. Due to the unorthodox nature of the schedule (and little incentive to enforce it), some teams frequently played many more games than others did in any given season. For example, the 1937 season featured Kansas City being first place with a 52-19-1 record (.732). However, they still competed in a Championship Series, albeit against the third place team in the Chicago American Giants (36-24-1), who played less games than the 2nd place Cincinnati Tigers (35-18-1) but had one more win.
This led to some disputed championships and two teams claiming the title. Generally, the team with the best winning percentage (with some minimum number of games played) was awarded the Pennant, but other times it was the team with the most victories. The "games behind" method of recording standings was uncommon in most black leagues. From 1942 until 1948, the pennant winner (as determined by record or by postseason series victory) went on to the Negro World Series.
|1937||Kansas City Monarchs (1)||Andy Cooper|||
|1938||Memphis Red Sox (1)||Ted Radcliffe|||
|1939||Kansas City Monarchs (2)||Andy Cooper|||
|1940||Kansas City Monarchs (3)||Andy Cooper|||
|1941||Kansas City Monarchs (4)||Newt Allen|||
|1942||Kansas City Monarchs (5)||Frank Duncan|||
|1943||Birmingham Black Barons (1)||Winfield Welch|||
|1944||Birmingham Black Barons (2)||Winfield Welch|||
|1945||Cleveland Buckeyes (1)||Quincy Trouppe|||
|1946||Kansas City Monarchs (6)||Frank Duncan|||
|1947||Cleveland Buckeyes (2)||Quincy Trouppe|||
|1948||Birmingham Black Barons (3)||Piper Davis|||
† – Pennant was decided via a split-season schedule with the winner of the first half of the season playing the winner of the second half of the season.
On numerous occasions, the NAL split the season into two halves. The winner of the first half played the winner of the second half for the league Pennant. As mentioned above, disputes also occurred in the split season finishes. Five times a League Championship Series was played, with varying games needed to win the Series; the 1938 series ended prematurely because of problems with finding a suitable venue for the rest of the series.
|Year||Winning team||Games||Losing team||Reference|
|1937||Kansas City Monarchs (1, 1–0)||5–1–(1)T||Chicago American Giants (1, 0–1)|||
|1938||Memphis Red Sox||2–0||Atlanta Black Crackers|||
|1939||Kansas City Monarchs (2, 2–0)||4–1–(1)T||St. Louis Stars|||
|1943||Birmingham Black Barons (1, 1–0)||3–2||Chicago American Giants (2, 0–2)|||
|1948||Birmingham Black Barons (2, 2–0)||4–3–(1)T||Kansas City Monarchs (3, 2–1)|||
Main article: Negro World Series
For the duration of the league, a Negro World Series took place seven times, from 1942 through 1948. The NAL Pennant winner met the champion of the rival Negro National League. Five out of the seven years, the Negro American League team (below in bold) succumbed.