The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League (NL), is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball, and the world's oldest current professional team sports league. Founded on February 2, 1876, to replace the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, it is sometimes called the Senior Circuit. Since 1903, at the end of every season, the National League champion plays in the World Series against the American League champion.
For the first 96 years, National League teams faced their American League counterparts only in exhibition games or in the World Series. Beginning in 1997, interleague games have been played during the regular season and count in the standings. As part of the agreement instituting interleague play, the designated-hitter rule is used only in games where the American League team is the home team.