America’s First Professional Baseball Team

The Cincinnati Red Stockings, America’s first major league baseball team.

With the return of spring, the nation’s thoughts naturally turn to baseball, America’s pastime.

The Cincinnati Base Ball Club, or simply Cincinnati Club, was established June 23, 1866 at a downtown law office, drawing up a constitution and by-laws and electing officers including  Alfred Goshorn President. A few years later Goshorn earned international fame as Director-General of the (U.S.) Centennial Exposition held 1876 in Philadelphia. Founding member George B. Ellard also led the Union Cricket Club, and the relationship between them proved decisive for the baseball club’s success.

After playing four matches that summer, Cincinnati joined the NABBP for 1867 and concluded an agreement to play at the Union Cricket Club grounds. George Ellard’s son says that “a great number of the cricket club members” joined and so “the team was greatly strengthened and interest in baseball gained a new impetus.” Plans for a new clubhouse and “more substantial” enclosing fence were approved in April and the commercial basis was approved in June: members of both clubs admitted free to all matches; otherwise “ten cents for home matches and twenty five cents for foreign matches. Ladies free.” (Ellard 23-27).

The team was soon nicknamed “Red Stockings” in reference to the main feature of the uniforms designed by Ellard; long stockings were then a novelty in team uniforms.

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In 1869, the Red Stockings posted a perfect 65-0 record, the only perfect season in professional baseball history. This was the first team to play on the East and West coasts in the same season. More than 2,000 people greeted the team when it arrived in San Francisco at 10:00 p.m. “They really helped nationalize the game and put Cincinnati on the map as a baseball town,” said Greg Rhodes, a Reds historian who wrote “The First Boys of Summer” (Road West Publishing Company, 1994), along with Enquirer reporter John Erardi, about the 1869-1870 Red Stockings.

From these humble beginnings, baseball rose to the prominence it has today. It’s reach has extended from Cincinnati to around the world. Today many players come from various countries and the sport is enjoyed in Japan, the Caribbean, and South America.

The author has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

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the good old days

The doors were never locked

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I grew up in the 50’s on a small dairy farm in southeastern Indiana.

Financially, times were hard, my dad and mom had purchased an extremely impoverished farm when I was three years old. We , along with my brother  who came along later, spent the next several years restoring it to a more productive state. The farm was so over grown with weeds that after living there for a while, dad had time to mow the weeds around the barn and lo and behold! He found a hog house no one knew was there.

The soil was totally depleted, the first year’s twelve acre corn crop yielded a whopping two hundred bushels of corn. Hard to live on that. Fortunately, about that same time, turkey raising came into fashion, the following year dad purchased and raised 1000 turkeys. The resulting turkey by-product increased the corn yield from 200 bushels to 1200 bushels on that very same field.

This was a time when neighbors were neighbors, we used each others farm equipment and tools like they were our own, if dad couldn’t find a tool or wrench, it was probably over at the neighbors. As a result, while picking up one our own tools he would return one of theirs.

Our doors were never locked, no one would break in and steal anything. In fact, if one happened to be away it was desired(it almost became a state law) that the neighbors had to stop by and check the house to make sure everything was OK.

Every one had a gun, we had several neatly stacked in the corner of the kitchen, an ample supply of ammunition, and fireworks) could be found in the cabinet drawer.

I started hunting with a 22 rifle when I was about 9, a rifle given to me for Christmas by my parents. Did I or any kid I know pick up or use a fire arm without permission of their parents, are you kidding? We would have gotten skun alive. Back in those days parental authority and respect meant something, and the only rights a child had were the rights his parents gave him.

 

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