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MLB History

Major League Baseball is a professional baseball organization that is the oldest of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams now play in the American League and National League, with 15 teams in each league. The AL and NL operated as separate legal entities from 1901. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities since 1903, in 2000 the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball. Baseball's first professional team was founded in Cincinnati in 1869. The period before 1920 in baseball was known as the dead-ball era; players rarely hit home runs during this time. The sport rose in popularity in the 1920s, and survived potential downturns during the Great Depression and World War II. Shortly after the war, baseball's color barrier was broken by Jackie Robinson. The 1950s and 1960s were a time of expansion for the AL and NL, then new stadiums and artificial turf surfaces began to change the game in the 1970s and 1980s.  Home runs dominated the game during the 1990s, and media reports began to discuss the use of anabolic steroids among Major League players in the mid-2000s. In 2006, an investigation produced the Mitchell Report, which implicated many players in the use of performance-enhancing substances, including at least one player from each team. Today, MLB is composed of thirty teams: twenty-nine in the United States and one in Canada.  Teams play 162 games each season and five teams in each league advance to a four-round postseason tournament that culminates in the World Series, a best-of-seven championship series between the two league champions that dates to 1903.


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