1875 Philadelphia Centennials

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1875 NA Philadelphia Centennials / Franchise: Philadelphia Centennials / BR Team Page[edit]

Officially known as: the Centennial Base Ball Club

Record: 2-12, Finished 11th in National Association

Managed by Bill Craver

Ballpark: Centennial Grounds (Apr. 21-May 24, 1875)

History, Comments, Contributions[edit]

The Philadelphia Centennials was the City of Brotherly Love’s 3rd entry in the National Association. The club was formed in 1875 when Philadelphia Athletics’ manager Elias Hayhurst announced that he was leaving the team and was forming a new ball club to rival both the Athletics and Philadelphia Pearls . It has been said that this was Hayhurst’s only real mistake in all his years in Philadelphia. It was thought that the Centennials formation was due to the baseball rivalry that the Athletics and Philadelphia Pearls or possibly the financial success of the Pearls. Whatever it was, it was believed that it was a mistake for there to be three baseball teams in Philadelphia; At least in hindsight. Hayhurst would call the team the Centennials, most likely due to the upcoming centennial celebrations of America’s independence. The team would play its games at Centennial Grounds. Over the next several weeks, Hayhurst would make some mistakes concerning the team. 1) The team was mostly made up of local amateurs and semi-professionals. There were only four experienced professionals: George Bechtel, John Radcliff (who had been suspended for one game the previous year for throwing a game), Bill Craver and Fred Treacey. 2) Radcliff and Craver didn’t exactly have upstanding reputations, while Tracey was a member of the Chicago White Stockings, while a part of the Pearls. 3) Trying to add a new team to an already-crowded market, especially one that was still recovering from the panic that hit the city two years ago. Nevertheless, the Centennials would not this deter them.

The Centennials would open the 1875 season in a 7-5 loss at home to the Pearls. The Centennials would lose their first four games, before defeating the New Haven Elm Citys in New Haven 12-5. The team’s second win would come at the Athletics. By the end of May, the team folded shop with a 2-12 record. During the Centennials short-lived season, they would play only 5 teams: Boston Red Stockings, New York Mutuals, Hartford Dark Blues, the Elm Citys as well as both Philadelphia teams. All of the Centennials wins came on the road.

It should be noted that this was not the last time that would have three teams at one time. The city would have 3 teams at least two more times: 1884 and 1890.


  • Peter Filichia: Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebrations of All 273 Major League and Negro League Ballparks Past and Present, Addison Wesley Publishing Company, 1993.
  • John Shiffert: Base Ball in Philadelphia: A History of the Early Game, 1831-1900, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2006.