1869 National Association of Base Ball Players

From BR Bullpen

History pretty much remembers the 1869 season in which the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first all-professional baseball team, and then proceeded to win an unprecedented 64 wins (including 7 exhibition) while scoring a combined 2809 runs against 656 (or an average score of 49-12). But what often gets overlooked is that the Red Stockings were not the only professional team that year.

On Wednesday December 9, 1868, at Metzerott Hall, in the city of Washington, DC the National Association of Base Ball Players held their annual meeting. After electing officers for the upcoming season, it was decided that after years of under-the-table paying by the various teams to players, the National Association would change its rules and allow for teams to start officially paying their players. This allowed for teams to declare for professionalism. Along with the Red Stockings, 11 other teams decided to go professional. These included: the Baltimore Marylands, Brooklyn Atlantics, Brooklyn Eckfords, Cleveland Forest Citys, New Jersey Irvingtons, New York Mutuals, Philadelphia Athletics, Philadelphia Keystones, Troy Haymakers, Washington Nationals, and Washington Olympics.

On paper it looked like it was a good idea. In reality it did not turn out so well. Of the 12 teams to start the season, Cleveland and Irvington played less than 10 games. As for the remaining 10 teams, only half managed to win at least 11 games. The Red Stockings posted a 19-0 record against the other 11 teams, however, due to the rules of the time, were not able to win the pennant that year, which went to the Atlantics despite finishing the season with a 15-6-1 (40-6-2) record. Even though five of the teams finished with a .500 record or better, it was decided that professionalism was a success and would continue for another season.

Team Win Loss Tie Pct.
Cincinnati Red Stockings 19 0 0 1.000
Brooklyn Atlantics 15 6 1 .705
Philadelphia Athletics 15 7 0 .682
Brooklyn Eckfords 15 8 0 .652
Troy Haymakers 12 8 1 .595
New York Mutuals 11 15 0 .423
Washington Olympics 9 12 0 .429
Baltimore Marylands 7 12 0 .368
Washington Nationals 4 12 0 .250
Philadelphia Keystones 3 17 0 .150
Cleveland Forest Citys 1 6 0 .143
New Jersey Irvingtons 0 8 0 .000


  • William J. Ryczek: When Johnny Came Sliding Home: The Post-Civil War Baseball Boom, 1865-1870, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 1998.
  • Marshall D. Wright: The National Association of Base Ball Players, 1857-1870, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2000.