Interleague Play: Like It or Not, Here Are the Facts

This week, we saw the kickoff of interleague play across Major League Baseball. Interleague play was introduced in 1997 with 214 games. Since then, the number of interleague games has increased to over 250 games per season. As I write this, the AL has 111 wins and the NL has 109 wins so far in 2011, so it has been a competitive year of interleague play.

Like it or not (truth be told, I'm not a huge fan), it's not going anywhere. Year after year, interleague play proves to be a successful tool to generate higher attendance across major league baseball. In 2010, average attendance for all 30 teams was 30,129, according to ESPN. Meanwhile, average attendance for interleague play was 33,256. That's an increase of almost 10% and if there's one thing that Bud Selig is good at, it's finding ways to generate excess revenue. Since interleague play is not going anywhere, I thought that I would take a closer look at some of the numbers behind interleague play.

- The American League leads the all-time interleague series by an overwhelming margin; 1914 wins and 1756 losses.

- The AL has turned in a better record than the NL in 10 of the 14 full seasons of interleague play.

- In the first year of interleague play, the NL won the season series 117-97

- The New York Yankees have been the best team in interleague play, boasting a .585 winning percentage (144-102). Four other teams have +.550 winning percentages in interleague play, all of them coming from the American League (Twins, Red Sox, White Sox and Angels)

- The Florida Marlins have the best interleague record among NL teams, with a .543 winning percentage (127-107)

- The Pittsburgh Pirates have been the worst interleague team, posting a dismal .372 winning percentage (73-123)

- Albert Pujols has the highest batting average in interleague play; .347 (minimum 300 ab's)

- Jim Thome is the interleague home run king with 57 HR

- Mark Buehrle and Jamie Moyer are tied for the most wins in interleague history with 23 wins each

- Derek Jeter is the interleague hit king with 321 hits

- Jim Thome owns the record for the most home runs in a single season of interleague play (2004 when he hit 11 HR)

- There have been four no-hitters in regular season interleague play history thrown by David Cone (1999, perfect game), a host of Astros pitchers (2003, Oswalt went down in the second inning, straining a groin, so Pete Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel and Billy Wagner pitched 8 hitless 'relief' innings), Justin Verlander (2007) and Edwin Jackson (2010).


  1. Carmona possibly hurt now. Should DH be used in all Interleague games?

  2. Get rid of the DH in these interleague games. Better yet, get rid of interleague play.


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