Writers have long posited the American League East is the toughest division in MLB; during its 46-year presence, an East division team has gone to play at the World Series 25 times, and 14 of these teams have been crowned World Series winners. Since the 1995 year once the wild-card playoff berth was introduced, the AL East has produced the wild-card group for the American League in 13 out of the 17 years (the West branch three, and the Central branch just one).
When the Major Leagues split into branches for the 1969 season, the American League, unlike the National League, split its 12 teams strictly on geography. The six groups situated in the Eastern Time Zone were put at the East division, and another six were placed in the West branch.
In September 1971, American League owners approved the move of the second Washington Senators franchise to Arlington, Texas to become the Texas Rangers. The owners then debated whether the Chicago White Sox or Milwaukee Brewers should proceed to the East branch for 1972, with the Rangers moving to the West. The White Sox requested that they are transferred to the East, stating they were an original American League franchise and wanted to play games against other old-line A.L. teams, five of which were in the East.
The Oakland Athletics objected to moving the White Sox to the East; owner Charlie Finley was a Chicago native who desired to continue to make three trips per season with his team into the Windy City. The Minnesota Twins went a step farther and flocked to switching either the White Sox or Brewers. The Twins wanted to keep nearby Chicago and Milwaukee as division competitions, mentioning the National League’s lack of geographic accuracy in forming its divisions as a reason why the Rangers should not have been shifted from the East. The Twins also noted that the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys played in the NFC East.
The White Sox’ pleas fell on deaf ears, along with the Brewers, who began as the Seattle Pilots in 1969, were moved into the East.
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