Wednesday, June 12, 2013
The origin of Interleague play
On June 12, 1997, after 126 years of major league play, the first interleague game in history is played when the San Francisco Giants defeat the Texas Rangers, 4-3, at the Ballpark in Texas.
Glenallen Hill becomes the National League's first regular season designated hitter.
Interleague play was discussed much earlier than the 90’s, in the 1930’s the NFL was doing an interleague schedule and MLB owners proposed the idea then, but nothing came from it.
In the 1950’s major league owners considered a proposal to play 28 games of interleague play within the then 154-game schedule. The proposal was not adopted, however, the current system of interleague play shares many of the elements brought up in this proposal. The concept of interleague play was brought up again in 1970, but was not adopted until 1997, a few years after the 1994 players’ strike, in an effort to renew the public’s interest in Major League Baseball.
Since then interleague play has become a fan favorite around the country when cross town or cross city rival teams get to play each other, such as the Giants and A’s, White Sox and Cubs, Yankees and Mets.
The American League holds a slight edge on the all-time record in interleague games as they have won 2,142 games compared to the National League winning 1,940 games, that includes the 61 games the American League has won, and the 57 games the National League has won in 2013 interleague play as of May 31.