American League Champions Logos

The American League Championship is awarded to the team who wins the American League Championship Series, a best of 7 series held between the surviving teams at the end an annual playoff tournament which follows the 162 game regular season. Winning teams are presented the William Harridge Award. As American League Champion a team immediately moves on to play the National League Champion for Major League Baseball's World Series Championship.

From their first season in 1901 through 1968 the AL champion was simply the team that finished first in the league in the regular season, no playoff was held. The league split into two divisions in 1969 which pitted the AL East and AL West division champions against each other in a best of 5 playoff series (expanded to best of 7 starting in 1985). In 1994 the AL Central Division was added which, along with a Wildcard team, created an extra round of playoffs - a best of 5 known as the ALDS. In 2012 a second wildcard team was added to the AL Playoffs which made necessary the addition of a third round of league playoffs, a single game between the two wildcard teams.