In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings became baseball's first professional club. The moniker was abbreviated to the Reds, but it remained unrelated to communism—or excellent baseball—for the better part of the following six decades. According to Rhodes, fans frequently referred to the squad as the "Redlegs."
The term "red" in "Reds" refers to the team's color, which was originally red pants and a white uniform with red stripes on the sleeves and cap. In 1872, the club adopted black as its alternate uniform color.
The nickname "Redbirds" originated with the Louisville Eclipse, who were also known as the Eclipse Reds during that time. When the two teams met in 1879, the Louisville newspaper reported that "the eclipse of the Redbirds by the Redstocks is over, and the birds are free to resume their flight toward the east."
The term "communism" was used by many journalists at the time to describe both the National League and its players' union. They argued that these organizations were inconsistent with true professionalism because neither group had any ownership interest in their respective leagues.
The nickname "Rapschers" was first used by the Philadelphia Inquirer in reference to the Red Stockings/Reds.
1869. As the first publicly compensated club, the Cincinnati Red Stockings are considered the first professional team.
Before this time, players were usually from wealthy families and received payment in the form of food and lodging while being treated as temporary employees of the company. But even before this, there were individual players who were highly regarded such as John McGraw of the New York Giants who became one of the most successful managers in history. However, none of them were paid for their services.
But the idea of paying players is not new. In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings hired the first professional baseball player when they paid George Wright $10 a game for eight seasons. Before this, players were usually given food and lodging but weren't paid. There were also cases where players were given land or money after their contract expired but that's not really considered employment since they could have just said no to those offers and found other jobs.
By 1880, all major league teams had either signed contracts with players or traded for them so they could avoid hiring them directly which means they were willing to pay players.
The Red Stockings of Cincinnati After the Civil War, the first professional baseball teams were founded, beginning with the Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1869; additional clubs swiftly followed suit in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston. In 1871, these teams founded the National Association (NA), a professional league. The NA collapsed after one season, but was succeeded by the National League (NL) in 1876.
The NL was more successful than the NA, and by 1890 had become the most popular league in America. Baseball's modern era had begun. The NL underwent several changes over the next few years, but by 1898 it had finally settled on its current configuration: American League (AL) vs. NL. This arrangement lasted until 2001, when the AL decided to merge with their eight-team cousin to form an eighteen-team league. This merger ultimately failed, and today there are only two major leagues: the AL and the NL.
During this time period, other minor leagues also began to spring up around the country. Most were not successful, but two have survived to the present day: the American Association and the Federal League. The AA ceased operations in 1901, but was revived in 1953 and continues to play today across North America. The FL never really caught on, but some of its members now play in other countries. For example, the Icelandic Baseball League is made up of teams that were formerly part of the Florida Marlins, Houston Astros, and Milwaukee Brewers systems of the FL.