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Today in Sports History: 3/15 – Cincinnati Red Stockings Become First MLB Team

Today in sports history (1869), the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first official team in the MLB. They were the first team to feature a whole team of paid professional players. The team was created in, you guessed it, Cincinnati at a local law office. It was a 10-man team who were to be paid for eight months.

On May 4th, the Red Stockings won their first professional game against Great Westerns of Cincinnati. They won 45-9. The Red Stocking would go on to have one of the greatest seasons in baseball history.

Cincinnati Red Stockings Sports History
Credit: Baseball Hall of Fame

Cincinnati Red Stockings Post a Perfect Season

In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings posted the first and only perfect season in baseball history. They won all 57 of their games while losing none. They were also the first baseball team to travel to both the East Coast and the West Coast in the same season. Many people thought this was how mid-westerners became attracted to baseball.

During the next season, the Red Stockings would lose 8-7 to the Brooklyn Athletics. This was Cincinnati’s first loss in 81 (!) games. In 1870, the executive board for the team recommended that the club not employ players for the 1871 season, due to financial restrictions. This led to players leaving the team, where three of them joined the Boston Red Stockings.

In regards to the history of the team, the Cincinnati Reds claim the team’s history, despite reorganization. Overall, in its four-year run from 1867, before all players were professionally paid, to 1970, the Red Stockings compiled a 193-14-1 record.

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