The Cincinnati Red Stockings were America's first professional baseball team in 1869. They are also considered to be the first modern major league ball club because they played against other established teams instead of local amateur clubs.
Cincinnati was not the first city to have a baseball team, but it was the first major league team. The National League began play in 1876 with eight teams, including the Red Stockings who had been renamed that year. The NL expanded to include nine teams in 1877, thus officially making it the first major league. The Red Stockings finished last in their division that season with a record of 44-70; however, since no winner was declared, both Cincinnati and Louisville are credited with one win each.
There is some debate as to whether or not the Red Stockings roster actually made it into the locker room before they played their first game. An article published in Baseball Magazine in 1969 suggests that an unnamed member of the Red Stockings team was still alive in 1869 and could provide information about the team. This person, who was said to be in his 90s at the time of publication, did not respond to letters requesting comment from the magazine.
1869. As the first publicly compensated club, the Cincinnati Red Stockings are considered the first professional team. The National League of 1876 is the first major league that allows its members to employ players as consultants.
1879. The first World Series was played between the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies. The Reds won the series 4 games to 3. It has been said that this Series put an end to the era of minor league baseball, but this is not true. Minor league teams have always been a part of baseball, and today there are hundreds of them in both the United States and Canada.
1901. The American League is founded by former Red Stockings owners who wanted to keep their talent out from under the NL's nose. The two leagues compete head-to-head for several years before merging in 1903. The AL wins this year's World Series over the NL 7 to 5.
1914. Babe Ruth makes his debut with the New York Yankees. He plays first base and hits number three in the order. Over the next ten seasons, he will become one of the most famous figures in sports history.
1939. The first All-Star Game is played at Chicago's Wrigley Field.
See 1969 in baseball for details on the whole season. The 1969 Major League Baseball season marked the 100th anniversary of professional baseball, commemorating the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first professional traveling baseball club. They began playing in 1869 and ended in 1870 with no record of any games being played.
The Montreal Expos were a major league baseball team that played from 1969 to 2004 in Montreal and Washington, D.C. The team was founded as the Baltimore Orioles, but moved to Montreal before the start of their only season. They were renamed after Canadian investors purchased the team from the Maryland Orioles co-ownership agreement between Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National League (NL). The Canadian government refused to allow American military bases to be built in Canada at the time, so MLB decided to keep the franchise in Montreal instead. The last game played by the Orioles was on September 25, 1969, when they lost to the San Diego Padres 7-6 in 11 innings. It was then announced that the next day the team would move to Washington, D.C., where they would become the inaugural season's expansion Washington Senators.
In 1970, the Minnesota Twins joined the American League (AL), leaving the NL without an immediate replacement.
The Boston Red Stockings (now the Atlanta Braves), Chicago White Stockings (now the Chicago Cubs), Cincinnati Red Stockings, Hartford Dark Blues, Louisville Grays, Mutual of New York, Philadelphia Athletics, and St. Louis Brown Stockings were the first members of the National League. The National Association had eight teams in its first season of 1871: Baltimore Orioles, Cambridge/Charleston Clams, Delaware Blue Horseshoes, Georgetown Green Frogs, Hercules Blackbirds, Johnstown Johnny-Eddies, New Bedford Whalers.
In 1876, the National League expanded to nine teams with the addition of Brooklyn Atlantics, Cleveland Infants, Detroit Wolverines, Indianapolis Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates, Syracuse Stars, Washington Nationals, and Wisconsin Whitesox. In 1877, the National League again expanded to 10 teams with the addition of Nebraska Cornhuskers. In 1978, the National League again expanded to 12 teams with the addition of Miami Marlins. In 1992, the American League expanded to two divisions with the addition of Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays. In 1994, both leagues expanded to three divisions with the addition of San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners. In 1997, both leagues expanded to four divisions with the addition of Colorado Rockies and Vancouver Canadians. In 1998, both leagues expanded to five divisions with the addition of Florida Marlins and Milwaukee Brewers. In 1999, both leagues expanded to six divisions with the addition of Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A's.
The first professional baseball teams and leagues were established in the late 1800s, with many centered in Washington, D.C. Many of the early teams had the titles "Nationals" and "Senators," although they were unrelated organizations. From 1901 until 1971, Washington was home to a major league baseball franchise. During this time, the Senators were the only National League team in Washington, as the Boston Braves left for Atlanta in 1913 to become that league's first powerhouse team.
In 1972, the Senators moved to Texas and were renamed the Texas Rangers. The Baltimore Orioles joined the American League in 1953 and have been competing there ever since. However, before the Orioles played a game, they moved to Seattle and became the Seattle Mariners. The M's have been very successful over the years, winning four World Series titles - 1995, 1999, 2000, and 2001. In 2005, they became the first American League team to win 100 games since the Yankees in 2004.
A unique aspect about the first Major League Baseball team is that there are two types of franchises currently active in the MLB. There are twelve cities with historical ties to the original Washington Senators/Texas Senators/Baltimore Senators that still have an official minor league club play within their borders. These cities include Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis.
The Boston Red Sox The Boston Red Sox are a founding member of Major League Baseball's American League and one of four American League clubs (the others are the White Sox, Indians, and Tigers) that currently play in their original city. They have won more World Series than any other American League team, including seven out of eight from 1912 to 1915 and again in 1918.
The Red Sox were founded in 1901 by Charles A. Stoneham in response to the American League's decision to exclude all former members of the National League from membership. Stoneham originally planned to call his club the "New York Americans", but when that name was deemed inappropriate by league officials he changed it to the "Boston Beaneaters" (after Beantown's most famous industry) before settling on the "Red Sox". After two seasons playing at Boston's Sportsman's Park, owner Harry Frazee sold the team to John I. Taylor and William H. Shea who moved them to Fenway Park, where they have played since 1927. The Red Sox have been affiliated with only one major league team after the Chicago White Sox left town in 1955, as part of a deal that brought them Joe McCarthy; although they did have a brief tenure with the New York Yankees in 2001, as well as several other less-than-one-year stints with other teams.