The National Association of Professional Baseball Players is formed in New York at a convention called together by Henry Chadwick. The meeting is held at Collier’s Saloon on the corner of 13th street and Broadway. Playing rules will be the same as the amateur players’ with the exception of player compensation. Each club will play 5 games with the other clubs and the winner of 3 will have won that championship series. The league championship will be awarded to the team winning the most series against the other teams and not on a total wins or percentage basis as would be done in later years. Teams represented at the convention are: Athletics of Philadelphia‚ Boston Red Stockings (who hired Harry Wright to represent them after the Cincinnati Reds disbanded)‚ Chicago White Stockings‚ Eckford of Brooklyn‚ Forest City of Cleveland‚ Forest Citys of Rockford‚ IL‚ Mutuals of New York‚ Nationals of Washington‚ DC‚ Olympics of Washington‚ and the Union Club of Troy‚ NY‚ known as the Haymakers. Teams not present but playing matches in the first season of the National Association are the Atlantics of Brooklyn and the Kekiongas of Fort Wayne‚ IN.
The Mutual club of New York leaves on the steamer General Barnes for Savannah‚ Georgia. where they will start their southern tour with a game on April 10.
The Athletics of Philadelphia play their first practice game against a strong‚ picked nine. This is the first game at the new grounds at 25th and Jefferson‚ where professional baseball will be played for 21 years.
The new ball grounds in Chicago‚ located at Randolph and Michigan on the lakefront‚ are opened as the White Stockings and a picked 9 play before 1‚500 people. The New York Clipper says: “They will have accommodations on their grounds to seat 6‚500 people. With the single exception of being somewhat narrow‚ they will have one of the finest ballparks in the country.”
The visiting Boston Reds demolish the Brooklyn Atlantics 25-0 in the worst defeat in the history of the Brooklyn club.
In Chicago‚ Ezra Sutton hits the National Association‘s first homer‚ off Chicago’s George Zettlein‚ connecting in the 4th inning with a blast over the center fielder’s head. In the 7th‚ Sutton‚ playing for Cleveland Forest Citys‚ connects again‚ but Chicago wins‚ 14-12.
The first professional game ever played in Boston is played between the Red Stockings and the visiting Haymakers before 5‚000. Boston has Harry Wright playing SS in place of his injured brother George. George will miss half the games played by the Reds‚ severely hampering their pennant chances. Troy wins 29-14‚ making 24 hits to Boston’s 13. None are for four bases. The Boston Evening Journal notes the pivotal 7th inning: “The Haymakers now went to the bat‚ and by some heavy hitting‚ assisted materially by the fielding errors of the Bostons‚ scored eleven runs‚ but two or three being earned.”
The heavily favored Mutuals are soundly defeated by the Haymakers of Troy‚ in Brooklyn‚ 25-10. Lipman Pike‚ the Troy 2B‚ collects 6 hits.
The eagerly awaited series opens between the White Stockings and the Mutuals before 10‚000 at the Union Grounds in Brooklyn. Five of the old Eckfords play for Chicago while 5 of last year’s Atlantics play for the Mutuals. Fielding decides the game‚ as Chicago makes 19 errors to 7 for the Mutuals. New York wins 8-5.
Former Civil War General Abner Doubleday‚ now a Colonel in command of the 24th U.S. Infantry’s “Colored Regiment”‚ Fort McKavett‚ TX addresses a request to General E.D. Townsend‚ Adjutant General‚ U.S. Army‚ Washington‚ D.C.: “I have the honor to apply for permission to purchase for the Regimental Library a few portraits of distinguished generals‚ Battle pictures‚ and some of Rogers groups of Statuary particularly those relative to the actions of the Colored population of the south. This being a colored regiment ornaments of this kind seem very appropriate. I would also like to purchase baseball implements for the amusement of the men and a Magic Lantern for the same purpose. The fund is ample and I think these expenditures would add to the happiness of the men.”
After 6 innings of play at Troy‚ NY‚ the ball becomes ripped. The umpire decides that it is unfit and calls for another. The Kekiongas‚ winning at the time 6-3‚ refuse to allow another ball to be used and refuse to continue to the game. The umpire awards the game to the Haymakers‚ 9-0.
The Kekiongas visit Boston and are shut out by Al Spalding and the Reds 23-0. Ft. Wayne makes only one hit.
Forest City of Cleveland travels to Philadelphia‚ and while playing an exhibition game against the Experts of Philadelphia‚ their substitute C Elmer White‚ chasing a poorly thrown ball‚ runs into the fence and breaks his arm.
From the New York Sunday Mercury: Answers to Correspondents-“Of course a player can wear gloves if he likes. A half glove covering the palm of the hand and first joints of the fingers is excellent in saving the hand of the catcher and first baseman.”
The Philadelphia Athletics outlast the Troy Haymakers 49-33 with each team scoring in all 9 innings. The score is tied after 4 innings at 16 each‚ but Philadelphia scores 9 in the 5th to take the lead. For the Athletics‚ 4 players score 6 runs and P Dick McBride and John Radcliffe each score 7. The A’s get 36 hits to Troy’s 31.
At the start of a Mutuals-Haymakers game in Troy‚ NY‚ Captain Ferguson of the Mutes at first objects to the ball chosen for the game but finally consents. Troy then wallops the non-standard ball for a 37-16 win‚ with Steve King and Dickie Flowers collecting 6 hits each. Later‚ the Van Horn ball and the Ryan ball are found to each have the same amount of rubber but the former is “twice as lively.”
The Mutuals‚ after a fine start‚ lose their fifth game in a row‚ to Eckford‚ 7-0. Only 2 hits are allowed by La “Phonney” Martin.
The annual contest between Yale and Harvard results in a 22-19 victory for Harvard. Yale scores 4 runs in the top of the 9th to lead 19-17‚ only to have Harvard score 5 in the last half to win the game.
The first organized baseball game between a black team and a white team takes place in Chicago‚ when the black Uniques and the white Alerts square off. The Uniques win‚ 17-16.
The Olympics of Washington‚ at home‚ score 18 runs in the 6th and defeat Ft. Wayne‚ 32-12. Four players go to bat three times in the big inning-John Glenn‚ Andy Leonard‚ Asa Brainard and George Hall. Leonard scores 3 times.
At the Union Grounds in Brooklyn‚ 200 fans watch the Eckfords wallop the Atlantics‚ 38-14. Fifty one hits are made in the game‚ supposedly played with a Peck & Snyder “dead” ball.
The Boston Reds play the Kekiongas at Fort Wayne with the temperature reading 100 in the shade. Losing 8-6 after 5 innings‚ the Reds win the match 30-9. Al Spalding‚ Ross Barnes‚ and Fred Cone get 5 hits each.
The Haymakers of Troy defeat the Mutuals of Brooklyn‚ 9-7. to give them 3 wins and the season series over the Mutuals. The day is marred by the assault of Clipper Lynn‚ Troy’s 1B‚ by Dick Higham of the Mutes. Flynn says that Higham hit him in the face for no reason.
The Athletics win their 3rd game of the season against the Forest City of Cleveland club to win their season series. Levi Meyerle‘s home run highlights the 18-3 win.
As of today‚ the Athletics have the best record‚ 13-5. The total number of matches played by the 9 teams is 77.
In Troy‚ George Wright makes his first appearance in a championship game since he was injured here in May. His return doesn’t help Boston as they lose to the Haymakers‚ 13-12.
Five thousand people assemble on the Athletics grounds to see the Bostons trounce the home town A’s‚ 23-7.
The Eckfords of Brooklyn journey to Troy and defeat the Haymakers 10-7. Ned Connors‚ the Troy 1B‚ makes 20 putouts in the 9-inning game.
At the Union Grounds in Brooklyn‚ the Eckfords score 8 runs in the 9th with 2 out to edge the Troy Haymakers‚ 15-13. John McMullin‚ the Troy pitcher‚ helps with 10 wild pitches in the frame.
In Chicago‚ the amateur champions‚ the Star Club of Brooklyn‚ plays the amateur champions of the Northwest‚ the Aetnas of Chicago. The game is decided in the 9th‚ 4-3‚ when Star pitcher Candy Cummings drives in the winning run.
At the Union Grounds in Brooklyn‚ the Chicago White Stockings clinch the season’s series with a 6-4 victory over the Mutuals behind the speedy pitching of George Zettlein. This game gives the lie to the current rumors about the leading teams throwing games for gate-money purposes as the Whites could have insured a 5th and deciding game of the series played on their own grounds by losing today’s game.
The White Stockings journey to Philadelphia where they take the 2nd game out of the 3 played in their championship series. The final score‚ 6-3‚ marks the lowest score by the Athletics since they started playing professionally. Zettlein holds the Athletics to 4 hits.
The Forest City of Rockford club defeats the Mutuals‚ 14-4‚ in an exhibition game at the Union Grounds before just 300 spectators. Most of the public refuses to pay fifty cents unless the game is a meaningful “match” game.
At Boston‚ the Reds enter the 7th leading Cleveland‚ 8-2. Two innings later the game is called with the Reds winning‚ 31-10. Boston scores 12 in the 7th and 11 in the 8th.
With the NA race for the whip-pennant getting closer‚ Boston defeats the league-leading White Stockings for their first win in the 3 matches played. With the Whites leading 3-0 after 4 innings‚ Boston scores 6 in the 5th inning‚ highlighted by a HR over the LF fence by Charley Gould‚ off George Zettlein‚ with Dave Birdsall‚ McVey‚ and Spalding on the bases. It is the only grand slam hit this year; George Zettlein‚ the pitcher who serves up the slam‚ also served up the league’s first homer‚ to Cleveland’s Ezra Sutton on May 8 (as noted by David Vincent). The final score today is 6-3.
The Athletics visit Boston without their star pitcher Dick McBride‚ who misses the game because of illness. George Bechtel pitches and loses to Al Spalding at the Bostons‚ 17-14. Harry Wright‚ a .267 hitter‚ has 4 walks and 3 runs scored.
Between 500 and 800 spectators‚ the smallest crowd of the year on the Athletics grounds‚ see an exhibition game between Cleveland and Philadelphia. Listless play shows why exhibition games are losing favor as the visitors win 14-1 behind the 6-hit pitching of Al Pratt.
Boston loses to Chicago‚ 10-8‚ and loses the season’s series 4 games to one.
The Chicago Fire breaks out at 10 o’clock in the evening. As the Rockford club travels toward Chicago the next day‚ they see the glow of the fire‚ turn around and return home. Chicago loses its ballpark and all equipment in the fire. The Whites are leading in the pennant race and must defeat the Haymakers in their remaining 3 games to clinch.
The Athletics win the 3rd and deciding game of their series with visiting Troy by scoring 3 runs in the 9th inning to win‚ 15-13.
The Athletics defeat the Mutuals 21-7 before a large crowd in Philadelphia. This game puts the Athletics in the position of having only to defeat the homeless White Stockings on the 25th to clinch the whip-pennant‚ provided the Haymakers can win their series with Chicago.
In Troy‚ NY‚ the Chicago Whites meet the Haymakers for the first time this season. Chicago‚ playing a match for the first time since the 29th of September‚ wins the game 11-5. The White Stockings would lose their next game to Troy‚ 19-12‚ on the 23rd and the rest of the series would be rained out. Bad weather prevents the completion of the Troy-Chicago series before the November first official end of the season.
The final championship match for 1871 takes place on the Union Grounds in Brooklyn between the Athletics and the Chicago White Stockings. The Championship Committee decrees that today’s game will decide the winner of the pennant. Chicago‚ having played all of its games on the road since the fire‚ appears in an assorted array of uniforms. Theirs were all lost during the fire. The 4-1 victory by the Athletics gives them the championship for 1871. The final putout in the game is made by Nate Berkenstock‚ a 40-year-old retired amateur who appears in his only professional game. With a birth year of 1831‚ he is the oldest player to appear in a NA game.