National League Central

National League Central
NL Central
League National League
Sport Major League Baseball
Founded 1994
No. of teams 6
Most recent champion(s) Milwaukee Brewers (1st title)
Most titles St. Louis Cardinals (8)

The National League Central Division is one of Major League Baseball's six divisions. This division was created in 1994, by moving two teams from the Western Division (the Cincinnati Reds and the Houston Astros) and three teams from the Eastern Division (the Chicago Cubs, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the St. Louis Cardinals) of the National League. In 1998, the Central Division became the largest division in Major League Baseball when the Milwaukee Brewers were moved in from the American League.

This division has been dominated by the St. Louis Cardinals, who have accounted for eight of the seventeen division championships, plus two "wild cards." Aside from the Cardinals, the Houston Astros have the next most division championships with four, as well as two wild card wins. The Chicago Cubs are next with three division titles as well as one wild card.

The Milwaukee Brewers are the current National League Central Division Champions.


Current members

Division lineups

Time period Lineup Changes from previous setup
1994-1997 Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals Creation of division due to the 1994 realignment into three divisions (with Chicago, Pittsburgh and St. Louis from NL East, and Cincinnati and Houston from NL West)
1998-present Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals Milwaukee switched leagues due to the 1998 expansion, moving in from AL Central Division

NL Central Division regular season champions

  • Team names link to the season in which each team played
Year Winner Record % Playoffs
1995 Cincinnati Reds 85–59 .590 Lost NLCS to Atlanta, 4–0
1996 St. Louis Cardinals 88–74 .543 Lost NLCS to Atlanta, 4–3
1997 Houston Astros 84–78 .519 Lost NLDS to Atlanta, 3–0
1998 Houston Astros 102–60 .630 Lost NLDS to San Diego, 3–1
1999 Houston Astros 97–65 .599 Lost NLDS to Atlanta, 3–1
2000 St. Louis Cardinals 95–67 .586 Lost NLCS to New York, 4–1
2001 Houston Astros & St. Louis Cardinals 93–69 .574 Lost NLDS to Atlanta, 3–0/Lost NLDS to Arizona, 3-2
2002 St. Louis Cardinals 97–65 .599 Lost NLCS to San Francisco, 4–1
2003 Chicago Cubs 88–74 .543 Lost NLCS to Florida, 4–3
2004 St. Louis Cardinals 105–57 .648 Lost World Series to Boston, 4–0
2005 St. Louis Cardinals 100–62 .617 Lost NLCS to Houston, 4–2
2006 St. Louis Cardinals 83–78 .516 Won World Series over Detroit, 4–1
2007 Chicago Cubs 85–77 .525 Lost NLDS to Arizona, 3–0
2008 Chicago Cubs 97–64 .602 Lost NLDS to Los Angeles, 3–0/ Philadelphia, 3–0
2009 St. Louis Cardinals 91–71 .562 Lost NLDS to Los Angeles, 3–0
2010 Cincinnati Reds 91–71 .562 Lost NLDS to Philadelphia, 3–0
2011 Milwaukee Brewers 96–66 .593 Lost NLCS to St. Louis, 4-2

§ - Due to the 1994 Major League Baseball strike on August 12, no official winner was awarded. Cincinnati was leading at the time of the strike.
† - The Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals finished the 2001 season tied for first place with identical records and both teams were awarded division championships.[1] Then for the purpose of playoff seeding, the Astros received the NL Central slot and the Cardinals received the Wild Card seeding. 2001 is considered by the MLB administrators to be the first shared divisional championship in MLB history.[2]

National League Championships

The division has produced four National League Pennant winners: St. Louis in 2004, 2006, and 2011, and Houston in 2005. In both 2004 and 2005 the American League Champions swept the World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals won the 2006 World Series in five games and the 2011 World Series in seven games.

Wild-card winners

The wild card was first introduced in 1994 and is the team in each league with the best record that did not win its division. The system, however, was not implemented until 1995, as a player strike prematurely ended the 1994 season. Since its implementation, five NL Central teams have won the wild card.

Year Winner Record % GB Playoffs
1998 Chicago Cubs* 90-73 .552 12.5 Lost NLDS to Atlanta, 3-0
2001 St. Louis Cardinals 93-69 .574 0 Lost NLDS to Arizona, 3-2
2004 Houston Astros 92-70 .568 13 Lost NLCS to St. Louis, 4-3
2005 Houston Astros 89-73 .549 11 Lost World Series to Chicago White Sox, 4-0
2008 Milwaukee Brewers 90-72 .556 7.5 Lost NLDS to Philadelphia, 3-1
2011 St Louis Cardinals 90-72 .556 6 Won World Series over Texas, 4-3

* - Defeated the San Francisco Giants in a one game playoff for the Wild Card, 5-3.

† - finished with the same record as the Houston Astros, but Houston won the season series vs. the Cardinals that year, and were given the higher seed in the playoffs.

NL Central titles won by team

Team Number of
Championship(s) Won
Years Won
St. Louis Cardinals 8 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009
Houston Astros 4 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001
Chicago Cubs 3 2003, 2007, 2008
Cincinnati Reds 2 1995, 2010
Milwaukee Brewers 1 2011
Pittsburgh Pirates 0 --

See also


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