1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings have gone down in baseball history as the only team to finish undefeated for the entire season.
Also, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first team to have all paid players on its roster. The team was established in July 23, 1866 inside of a law office and had a constitution, by-laws and officer elections. Alfred T. Goshorn was the first president. Also, George B. Ellard was a founding member that also was part of the Union Cricket Club. That was key to later success for the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings.
Early Red Stockings
In 1866, Harry Wright came to Cincinnati from New York and accepted the job as “club pro” at the Union Cricket Club and in 1867, he moved over to the baseball side to work with the Cincinnati Red Stockings. It was a loose form of what is known as manager.
In 1868, he formed an all-local team of players to play competitive games. They went 16-1 with their only loss coming to the Washington Nationals. It became a focal point after the “bad loss” to Washington to fine ways to avoid losing, More instruction was given to players than ever before on the points of improving each players game.
A recruitment process was underway with unknown funding to bring in the best players with a financial incentive. Fred Waterman and John Hatfield came over from the New York Mutuals, pitcher Asa Brainard was extracted from the Brooklyn Excelsiors, from the Philadelphia area came catcher Doug Allison. They got one local player from the Buckeye Club and that was Charlie Gould to play first base. Harry Wright stayed to pitch and share second base with Brainard, Three outfielders that were already members of the 1867 squad remained along with the shortstop. the team won 43 games in all that year.
1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings
This became the first professional team. The team consisted of ten players and all were on a salary for eight months. This was from March 15- to -November 15. Harry Wright organized the team and he played center field and his younger brother, George Wright was the shortstop and likely the best player on the team.
Opening game saw them win 45-9 over the Great Westerns of Cincinnati. They traveled to the east coast to play and west coast for games. They were the first known team to play games on both coasts in the same season. Games were in San Francisco and Boston. Upon the conclusion on November 6 against the New York Mutuals and a 17-8 win they concluded with 57 wins and no losses.
Cincinnati Red Stockings 1870 and After
With the same players returning, The 1870 team won 24 games in a row until the Brooklyn Atlantic defeated them in eleven innings on June 14 before a crowd of 20,000 at the Capitoline Grounds. Bob Ferguson scored the winning run in the 11th inning on a hit by pitcher George Zettlein.
Even though the team continued to win, the home crowd dwindled after the loss and and things began to go downhill from there..The Executive Board now led by President A.P.C. Bonte recommended on November 21, 1870, that the club not employ a nine for 1871, as it had become too expensive.
Ten men composed the 1869 team and the First Nine returned for 1870 in the same roles.
Asa Brainard, Pitcher
Doug Allison, Catcher
Charlie Gould, First Base
Charlie Sweasy, Second Base
Fred Waterman, Third Base
George Wright, Shortstop
Andy Leonard, Left Field
Harry Wright, Center Field/Manager
Cal McVey, Right Field
Dick Hurley, substitute
For more on this topic, get the book by Reds historian titled, “The First Boys of Summer”
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