Officially Licensed By:
         
          
        
         
         

            

Major League Baseball

Major League Baseball (MLB) has been one of the most popular sports entities in the United States for its entire existence. The first recognized professional baseball team -- the Cincinnati Red Stockings -- was established in 1869, and the first official MLB game was played on April 22, 1876, at the Jefferson Street Grounds in Philadelphia. Also in 1876, the National League (N.L.) was founded, while the American League (A.L.) was established in 1901. Other major leagues whose records and statistics are included with those of the N.L. and A.L. are the long-defunct Union Association (1884), American Association (1882-91), Players League (1890) and Federal League (1914-15). From 1903 to 1960, the N.L. and A.L. consisted of eight teams each. The relocation and expansion era had actually begun in 1953 when the Boston Braves became the Milwaukee Braves. The next season, the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore to become the Orioles, and in 1955, the Philadelphia Athletics became the Kansas City Athletics. The most noteworthy moves came in 1958 when the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants moved across the country to become the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. A Dodgers player who had retired two years earlier was Jackie Robinson, who in 1947 had broken the color barrier and won the MLB Rookie of the Year award. From 1969, when MLB expanded into Canada to establish the Montreal Expos, to 1993, both the N.L. and A.L. consisted of East and West divisions. Since 1994, the leagues have had East, Central and West divisions. There are currently 30 teams in MLB, with 16 in the N.L. and 14 in the A.L. In 2013, the Houston Astros are slated to move from the N.L. Central Division to the A.L. West Division, which will even out the leagues at 15 teams each. Regular-season interleague play has been conducted since 1997, and the most recent expansion (Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays) occurred the next season. Teams now play 162 regular-season games each, followed by the Division Series, League Championship Series and World Series. Another high-profile MLB event is the annual All-Star Game, pitting representatives of the N.L. versus the A.L. since 1933. The Highland Mint produces a vast array of products licensed by MLB for all 30 teams. Included are PhotoMints, Coins, Coin Cards, Etched Acrylics, Ornaments, Keychains, and framed tickets, coins and lineup cards. Selected PhotoMints include game-used items, including pieces of jerseys, bases and on-deck circles. 



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