When was the mlb founded? While the National League is the oldest continually running professional baseball league, it was not the first one to come about. What came to be known as the MLB began on this day in 1871, when the National Association was incorporated.
It seems as though the MLB always existed in one way or another. Baseball became a part of the country’s identity early on, and references to the game can be found dating back into the 18th century. Who knows what kind of talent existed back then in the town leagues or informal gatherings to play the game?
Eventually, the Cincinnati Reds became the first professional team, setting the stage for other teams to copy that model. When enough of those teams came into being, it made sense that they would form their own league. As such, on this day in 1871, the first professional baseball league, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players came into being.
The league seemed to be a great idea. For a $10 entry fee, teams could join the National Association, joining the ranks of what became the first Major League. The league would go on to have some success in its first season, with fans and pundits alike becoming fans.
Unfortunately, there were issues that quickly came to the surface. Teams would join in order to lure top teams to their parks, but then drop out before needing to go on a road trip. Harry Wright’s Boston entry dominated the league. The league also lacked a central office, making it virtually impossible to police the action.
Eventually, the stronger teams grew frustrated with the NA. The league survived until 1875, when the top six teams, led by William Hulbert, decided that it was time to form their own league. Joined by the Reds and the Louisville Grays, the eight teams formed the National League. That spelled the end of the NA, as the first league petered out.
The true stature of the National Association has been a cause of debate for some time as well. For years, the MLB refused to recognize it as a true major league. However, as it included six of the first eight teams in the National League, and many of the top players from that time, the NA is certainly deserving of that status.
Professional baseball truly came into being on this day in 1871. With stronger leadership and higher standards, the National Association may have even survived to this day.
The NL and the AL acted as independent organizations from their founding in the 19th century. The two leagues engaged in what was known as the “baseball war” in the years prior to the merger, as the Midwest-based AL moved its teams into the established NL domain of the East Coast and wooed away star players from NL squads. The leagues established a truce in 1903 that resulted in the creation of the World Series, which matched the annual winners of each league to determine a national champion, as well as the National Commission, a three-man governing body that oversaw Major League Baseball but was replaced by a single commissioner of baseball in 1921.
National League of baseball is founded
On February 2, 1876, the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, which comes to be more commonly known as the National League (NL), is formed. The American League (AL) was established in 1901 and in 1903, the first World Series was held.
The first official game of baseball in the United States took place in June 1846 in Hoboken, New Jersey. In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings became America’s first professional baseball club. In 1871, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players was established as the sport’s first “major league.” Five years later, in 1876, Chicago businessman William Hulbert formed the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs to replace the National Association, which he believed was mismanaged and corrupt.
The National League had eight original members: 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 the St. Louis Brown Stockings.
In 1901, the National League’s rival, the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, was founded. Starting in 1903, the best team from each league began competing against each other in the World Series. Various teams switched in and out of the National League over the years, but it remained an eight-team league for many decades until 1962, when the New York Mets and Houston Colt .45s (later renamed the Houston Astros) joined the league.
In 1969, two more teams were added: the San Diego Padres and the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals). Also that year, the league was split into an East and West division of six teams each. The Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins became part of the National League in 1993, followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998. In 1994, the league was reorganized to include a Central division, along with the East and West groups.
In 1997, Major League Baseball introduced inter-league play, in which each NL team played a series of regular-season games against AL teams of the same division. (In 2002, the rules were changed to allow AL/NL teams from non-corresponding divisions to compete against each other.)
A Brief History of Professional Baseball’s Major Leagues: Part One
With a new season ahead of us, it seemed like a good time to look back at the origins of the game as an organized sport. Typically we tell the story of the game in terms of specific players and teams, but the organizing structures, the clubs and leagues of pro baseball’s early years, formed a sort of scaffolding on which the professional game would be built
The National Association of Base Ball Players was founded in 1857 to foster the game as an amateur sport and to define a common set of rules for the game. Some of the more serious and well financed clubs wanted to take the game to a professional level, so they formed the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players in 1871. The Association, as it was often called, had a membership fee of $10 per club.
The National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NA for short) was formed and operated from 1871-1875. It is believed to be the first professional sports league in North America, although Major League Baseball does not recognize it as a major league. The organization’s members were clubs, and not players as the title may suggest.
The Association was off to a rocky start due to domination by one club; the Boston Red Stockings, as well as interference by gamblers, poaching of players, inconsistent pay, and lack of any uniform schedule. Some clubs played in markets too small to support a professional franchise, so teams would come and go, frequently folding. A core group of clubs in the largest cities then formed the National league.
The National League began play in 1876 with eight charter franchises in Chicago, Boston, St Louis, Philadelphia, New York, Brooklyn, Cincinnati, and Louisville. The first six of these were members of the NAPBBP, while the latter two were independent clubs. They played a uniform schedule of 66 games, with Chicago winning a league-high 52 games.
After five seasons, only two of those original franchises — Boston and Chicago — were still in operation, although the league has survived to the present. After the inaugural season, the Mutuals of New York and the Philadelphia Athletics, teams located in the league’s two biggest markets, were expelled because they refused to travel to western cities to fulfill their schedule obligations. Six teams played the league’s schedule in 1877 and 1878.
Following the season in 1877, the Louisville Grays, St Louis Brown stockings, and Hartford Dark Blues were removed from the league due to a gambling scandal involving game fixing. The Milwaukee Grays, Indianapolis Blues and a club from Providence were promoted from smaller independent leagues to the National league. All three of those replacement franchises lasted just one season, folding after the 1878 campaign.
After the 1880 season, the Cincinnati Red Stockings were expelled because they played games on Sundays and sold alcoholic beverages at games, in violation of league rules. They would be replaced by a Detroit franchise the following season.
The two remaining franchises, the Chicago White Stockings (now the Cubs) and the Boston Red Stockings (later the Boston Beaneaters, Boston Braves and finally the Atlanta Braves) are still playing in the National League today. Their roots can be traced back to the National Association. There is some irony in the fact that teams that began in the national league as the Chicago White Stockings and Boston Red Stockings are the two oldest major league baseball franchises; the Cubs being the oldest to remain in one city.
Fifteen franchises would join the National League over the next several seasons, but just two of them would remain. The New York Gothams, later named the Giants, and the Philadelphia Quakers, who would become the Phillies, joined the circuit in 1883.
Quite often, a franchise would fail and another would be promoted from a smaller league, or a former franchise host city would take its place. The new teams had new franchise owners rather than franchise rights and player contracts being sold. The league managed to keep at least eight teams on board every season from 1879 through 1891.
23 franchises, excluding those that jumped from the American Association. played in the National League from 1876 to 1900, Just four of them were playing in the league by 1901. Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia Phillies, and New York Giants would join teams who came from the American Association.
The Detroit Wolverines played in the National League from 1881 through 1888. Owner Frederick Kimball Stearns was not afraid to spend money to acquire players. After the 1885 season, he acquired the Buffalo Bisons franchise in order to get their star players and the Buffalo franchise was shut down. The Detroit club won the pennant in 1887 with a record of 79-45, and defeated the St Louis Browns of the American Association 10 games to 5 in a best of 15 game postseason series.
The American Association began play in 1882 with six teams. The St Louis Brown Stockings (now the Cardinals), Cincinnati Red Stockings (now the Reds), Pittsburgh Alleghenys (now the Pirates), Louisville Grays, Baltimore Orioles, and Philadelphia Athletics were the charter franchises. All of those clubs continued to play professional baseball through at least 1890, with five of them playing until the turn of the century.
Unlike the more puritanical minded National League, the American Association had no qualms about playing games on Sundays nor selling alcohol at games, and were in fact referred to as “The Beer and Whiskey League.” They also sold tickets for just 25 cents while most National League clubs were charging twice as much.
Ladies were generally discouraged from attending baseball games due to the raucous crowds and foul language, particularly with the introduction of alcohol to the bill of fare. In 1883, American association owners decided to make Thursday a ladies’ day to attract women to the ball park.
The Brooklyn Atlantics, who would eventually become the Dodgers, joined the American Association in 1884, and the Washington Statesmen, who would become the Senators, joined in 1891. A dozen other franchises would come and go during the Association’s ten-year history. Clubs would often be located in cities where the National League had teams that did not take root.
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