Major League Baseball drew 8,742,577 fans to Interleague games this season, marking the third highest total in the 16-year history of Interleague Play, it was announced today. The average attendance at MLB’s 252 Interleague games, 34,693, is 15.8 percent higher than this season’s current intraleague average of 29,957.
MLB’s 2012 Interleague total ranks behind only 2008 (8,932,384) and 2007 (8,795,939). The 2012 Interleague average of 34,693 per game is the third best of all-time, behind only 2008 (35,587) and 2007 (34,905). Since its inception in 1997, Interleague Play has drawn 12.1 percent more fans than intraleague games. Interleague Play has averaged 33,374 fans, while intraleague games have averaged 29,779 fans during the same span.
A total of 1,637,954 fans visited ballparks this weekend, marking the fourth weekend of the year – and the third straight – that attendance has eclipsed the 1.6 million mark. The last time that a season had four weekends of more than 1.6 million before the end of June was in 2008. The last time that a season had three consecutive weekends of more than 1.6 million before the end of June was in the record-setting 2007 season.
Through yesterday’s games, Major League Baseball has drawn 33,486,813 fans this season, averaging 31,064 fans per game across 1,078 dates. MLB’s 2012 attendance is currently running 8.1 percent ahead of the total through the same number of dates in the 2011 season. The last eight years represent the eight best-attended individual seasons in baseball history, including four successive record seasons from 2004-2007.
Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said: “Major League Baseball is enjoying a remarkable first half of the season. With strong competitive balance, historic milestones, five no-hitters, and outstanding performances from our game’s young players, our attendance is a reflection of the great momentum we have as we approach the All-Star Game.”
American League Clubs posted a 142-110 (.563) record in Interleague Play, marking the ninth straight year that the A.L. has won the season-series and the 12th time in 16 years. The A.L. extended its all-time lead to 2,081-1,883 (.525). The A.L. posted a .258 batting average with 1,142 runs scored, 279 home runs and a 3.78 ERA in this year’s Interleague games, compared to the N.L.’s .251 batting average, 1,034 runs scored, 232 home runs and a 4.24 ERA.
The Texas Rangers set the pace with a 14-4 (.778) record in Interleague Play. The Arizona Diamondbacks posted the National League’s best mark at 9-6 (.600). A.L. West Clubs posted the best record by division with a 44-28 record (.611). The Rangers hit an MLB-best .287 in Interleague Play; the Toronto Blue Jays led with 98 runs scored; the New York Yankees led with 33 home runs; and the Detroit Tigers led with a 2.68 ERA.
The Yankees continue to have MLB’s best all-time Interleague record at 170-112 (.603), followed by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (164-120, .577) and the Chicago White Sox (163-120, .576). The St. Louis Cardinals, who went 8-7 in Interleague Play this year, have the N.L.’s best all-time Interleague record at 125-110 (.532), followed by the Atlanta Braves (137-122, .529).
The 2012 offensive Interleague leaders included Carlos Beltran of the Cardinals with a .421 batting average (min.: 50 AB); rookie Mike Trout of the Angels with 30 hits; Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays and Trevor Plouffe of the Minnesota Twins with nine home runs apiece; and Mark Trumbo of the Angels with 20 RBI. On the mound, A.J. Burnett of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals and Justin Verlander of the Tigers tied for the lead with four wins, all with perfect 4-0 records. Rangers southpaw Matt Harrison posted an MLB-best 0.33 ERA (min.: 18.0 IP), while Tyler Clippard of the Nationals and Rafael Soriano of the Yankees tied for the lead with seven saves.
Interleague Play’s all-time statistical leaders include Nick Markakis of the Baltimore Orioles with a .353 batting average (min.: 400 AB); Derek Jeter of the Yankees with 345 hits; Jim Thome of the Philadelphia Phillies with 64 home runs; Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees with 198 RBI; Mark Buehrle of the Miami Marlins with 25 wins; Verlander with a 2.64 ERA (min.: 150 IP); and Mariano Rivera of the Yankees with 68 saves.