Cincinnati Red Stockings The Cincinnati Red Stockings were America's first professional baseball team in 1869. They are the oldest team still playing in the major leagues.
They were founded by John H. Patterson and William H. "King" Carner, who had both played for the New York Mutuals/Giants. The Red Stockings played their home games at Forest Park in Cincinnati. They were managed by George Wright and coached by Mike Downey and Joe Kelley. The club earned its name when it wore red stockings as pants instead of breeches during games (the term "breeches" was then used to describe underwear).
The team started out strong, winning its first eight games before losing to Brooklyn on May 20, 1869. From 1869 to 1870, they went 33-3-1, including a league-best 1.8 points per game, to win the National League flag. After the season, the team disbanded after three seasons because of financial problems. However, they continued to play exhibition games into 1873.
In 1875, the Red Stockings reformed with former Boston Red Sox player Charles Radcliff at the helm.
1869. The Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first publicly compensated team and hence the first professional team. They entered the National League with eight other teams.
1869-70. The Red Stockings won their first seven games before losing to the Chicago White Stockings in a tie game. The club then lost all three matches against them this year, including the tie game, so they received no money for these games. After their first season, the team's owner, William Hulbert, fired manager George Wright and replaced him with John Montgomery, who had managed the White Stockings the previous season. Wright later took charge of the Baltimore Orioles.
Cincinnati did not play again until 1872 when they once more took part in the National Association, now the major league. That season, they finished second behind the Chicago White Stockings and earned $10,000 (about $150,000 in today's dollars). The next year, the National Association merged with another league to form the new National League. The Red Stockings went back to school for one more season before declaring bankruptcy.
While playing in the National Association, a former Cincinnati player, Albert G. Spalding, proposed that a club be formed to play in the newly established National League.
Cincinnati, where the first openly professional baseball club was created, was the birthplace of this innovative technique. The present Reds franchise was founded in 1881, although its roots can be traced back four years after the Civil War. In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings became baseball's first professional club. They are remembered for their excellence on the field and their aggressive marketing campaign that included women's dresses made from their stockings.
In 1882, the St. Louis Browns joined the National League. They were the first major league team from a non-baseball city. However, they played only one season before moving to New York City where they changed their name to the Yankees.
The Reds have won five National League pennants but have never managed to capture the World Series title. They are still looking for their first championship.
Their closest call came in 1990 when they lost the NL Championship Series to San Diego 4 games to 3. The loss prevented them from playing in October 1991 when it was discovered that they would not be able to afford the $1 million price tag for postseason play. At the time, this was considered a very serious matter because it meant that the team might have to suspend its season.
However, thanks to an agreement between the National League and the Major League Baseball Players Association, the Reds were allowed to continue playing while a solution was sought to their financial problem.
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 of Base Ball Players was established on April 13, 1857.
The American Association was founded on May 30, 1871, by former Red Stockings owner John Hart. He originally planned to call his team the Baltimore Canaries, but changed the name before the season started after learning that a canary singing contest was scheduled to take place at the same time his team was playing ball. The winner of the contest would get the right to use the "Canary" name. Bartolome Botta created the original logo for the league. It shows a bird with its wings spread out as if in flight. Above the bird is a circle with six points inside it; this is meant to represent the six teams who played in 1871. In 1872, eight more teams joined the league, making it an official major league. In 1873, the league renamed itself the American Association.
In 1890, the National League and American Association merged to form what is now known as the National League Division Series. This series is used to determine which team will play in the NL Championship Series.