On Sports Trivia this morning, we talked about the beginnings of Major League Baseball's National League, which was established in 1876 as The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, with eight teams:

Boston Red Stockings
Cincinatti RedStockings
Chicago White Stockings
Hartford Dark Blues
Louisville Grays
Mutual of New York
Philadelphia Athletics
St. Louis Brown Stockings.

Only two of those original 8 franchises are still active today, although one has moved, and both have changed their names. Our trivia question was, Who and where are those two teams today? The answer is: the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs.

If your brain works like mine, one question leads to others: If the Boston Red Stockings became the Atlanta Braves, where did the Boston Red Sox come from? If the Chicago White Stockings became the Cubs, why does Chicago still have White Sox? What happened to the other six teams?

If your brain works like mine, these questions must have answers before I can accomplish anything else today, so I did the research, and here's what I came up with:

  • Boston Red Stockings, after several name changes in the early 1900's, settled on the Boston Braves. In 1953 they moved to Milwaukee, and then to Atlanta in 1966. (Today's Boston Red Sox is one of the eight original American League franchises, founded in 1901.)
  • Chicago White Stockings became the Chicago Colts in 1890, then changed their name to the Cubs before the 1907 season. (When the American League formed in 1901, the Chicago franchise picked up the White Stockings name, shortening it to White Sox in 1904.)
  • Cincinatti Reds - Expelled from the league in 1880 when team president W. H. Kennett refused to sign onto a new rule set to go into effect with the 1881 season that would ban beer sales and Sunday games. The team tried to play an independent schedule, but folded. (Today's Cincinnatti Reds franchise was a charter member of the American Association in 1881, and jumped to the National League in 1890.)
  • Hartford Dark Blues - Moved to Brooklyn in 1877, then disbanded.
  • Louisville Grays - Folded following an 1877 game-fixing scandle involving pitcher Jim Devlin, left-fielder George Hall, shortstop Bill Craver and utility player Al Nichols.
  • Mutual of New York - Following the 1876 season, they were expelled from the league as punishment for refusing to make a late-season road trip. They were so far behind in the standings, team owners considered the road trip a waste of money.
  • Philadelphia Athletics - Following the 1876 season, they were also expelled from the league for refusing to make a late-season road trip, and for the same reason.
  • St. Louis Brown Stockings. - became collateral damage in the 1877 game-fixing scandal. Because they had signed Devlin and Hall for the 1878 season, the club was forced to resign from the league, then declared bankruptcy and folded.

The National League of Profrssional Baseball Clubs, down to just two teams by 1880, managed to sign and lose several teams over the next few seasons, but managed to stay afloat..

In 1883, the New York Gothams and Philadelphia Phillies joined the league. Both teams remain in the NL today. The Gothams became the Giants in 1885, and later moved to San Francisco, California in 1958.

One more bit: The Pittsburg Pirates joined the NL in 1887, and legend has it, the club became known as the Pirates because they built their player roster by "raiding" the rosters of teams belonging to the newly-formed American Association of Baseball Clubs.  Make a note of that...it may be a Sports Trivia question some day.




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