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National League Championship Series
The National League Championship Series (NLCS) is a best-of-seven playoff and one of two League Championship Series comprising the penultimate round of Major League Baseball's (MLB) postseason. It is contested by the winners of the two National League (NL) Division Series. The winner of the NLCS wins the NL pennant and advances to the World Series, MLB's championship series, to play the winner of the American League's (AL) Championship Series. The NLCS began in 1969 as a best-of-five playoff and used this format until 1985, when it changed to its current best-of-seven format.
Prior to 1969, the National League champion (the "pennant winner") was determined by the best win-loss record at the end of the regular season. There were four ad hoc three-game playoff series due to ties under this formulation (in 1946, 1951, 1959, and 1962). (The American League had to resolve a tie in 1948, but used a single-game playoff.)
A structured postseason series began in 1969, when both the National and American Leagues were reorganized into two divisions each, East and West. The two division winners within each league played each other in a best-of-five series to determine who would advance to the World Series. In 1985, the format changed to best-of-seven.
The NLCS and ALCS, since the expansion to seven games, are always played in a 2–3–2 format: games 1, 2, 6, and 7 are played in the stadium of the team that has home field advantage, and games 3, 4, and 5 are played in the stadium of the team that does not. Home field advantage is given to the team that has the better record, except that the team that made the postseason as the Wild Card shall not get home field advantage. From 1969 to 1993, home field advantage was alternated between divisions each year regardless of regular season record and from 1995 to 1997 home field advantage was predetermined before the season.
In 1994, the league was restructured into three divisions, with the three division winners and a wild-card team advancing to a best-of-five postseason round, the now-permanent National League Division Series (NLDS). The winners of that round advance to the best-of-seven NLCS.
The Milwaukee Brewers, an American League team between 1969 and 1997, and the Houston Astros, a National League team between 1962 and 2012, are the only franchises to play in both the ALCS and NLCS. The Astros are the only team to have won both an NLCS (2005) and an ALCS (2017). The Astros made four NLCS appearances before moving to the AL in 2013. Every current National League franchise has appeared in the NLCS.
Most Valuable Player Award
A Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is given to the outstanding player in the ALCS. No MVP award is given for Division Series play.
Although the National League began its LCS MVP award in 1977, the American League did not begin its LCS MVP award until 1980. The winners are listed in several locations:
- in the below NLCS results table, in the "Series MVP" column
- in the article League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award
- on the MLB website
NLCS results (1969–present)
|wc||Denotes wild-card team (since 1995)|
|*||Denotes MVP did not play for winning team|
NLCS appearances by team
|Apps||Team||Wins||Losses||Win %||Most recent
|14||St. Louis Cardinals||7||7||.500||2013||2019||38||43||.469|
|13||Los Angeles Dodgers||7||6||.538||2018||2018||29||32||.475|
|8||New York Mets||5||3||.625||2015||2015||26||17||.605|
|7||San Francisco Giants||5||2||.714||2014||2014||24||15||.615|
|2||San Diego Padres||2||0||1.000||1998||1998||7||4||.636|
Years of appearance - NLCS
In the sortable table below, teams are ordered first by number of appearances, then by number of wins, and finally by year of first appearance. In the "Season(s)" column, bold years indicate winning NLCS appearances.
|5||Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates||Reds, 4–1||1970, 1972, 1975, 1979, 1990|
|5||Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies||Phillies, 3–2||1977, 1978, 1983, 2008, 2009|
|4||San Francisco Giants vs. St. Louis Cardinals||Giants, 3–1||1987, 2002, 2012, 2014|
|2||Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets||Tied, 1–1||1969, 1999|
|2||Atlanta Braves vs. St. Louis Cardinals||Tied, 1–1||1982, 1996|
|2||Atlanta Braves vs. Pittsburgh Pirates||Braves, 2–0||1991, 1992|
|2||Houston Astros vs. St. Louis Cardinals||Tied, 1–1||2004, 2005|
|2||New York Mets vs. St. Louis Cardinals||Tied, 1–1||2000, 2006|
|2||Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals||Cardinals, 2–0||1985, 2013|
|2||Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers||Tied, 1–1||2016, 2017|
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