The Expansion Era, 1958-1979
Baseball expanded in the 1960s and 1970s. The season was extended from 154 games to 162. Eight more teams were added, and each league was divided into eastern and western divisions. Baseball would expand beyond U.S. borders, granting franchises to Montreal and Toronto. A playoff system was inaugurated pitting the winner of each division against each other; the team that prevailed in the best-of-five-game playoff advancing to the World Series. Attendance jumped from 18.9 million in 1961 to more than 38.7 million in 1977. While home runs continued to fly out of ballparks, baseball became more of a pitcher’s game, with earned run averages shrinking as the period unfolded. It was the era of new stadiums, an influx of many Latino stars, competitive balance, and free agency. A new breed of players began to challenge the established practices and traditions. With the creation of the Major League Baseball Players Association, headed by Marvin Miller, labor relations would come to dominate the game.