Monday, April 22

The white elephants

Breaking the color line in 1874!
Did you know that on Saturday, April 22, 1876, the Philadelphia Athletics played in the first game in the history of Major League Baseball, losing to the Boston Red Caps: 6–5.

What? You haven't heard of the Philadelphia Athletics?

Well, the team did have its share of ups and downs and moved around a bit. You might know them now as the Oakland Athletics, or the Oakland A's. (Think of the apostrophe as a contraction, not a possessive.)

The evolution of baseball is difficult to trace. (The story that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1839 has been debunked by sports historians.)

 A 1344 French manuscript contains an illustration of clerics playing a game similar to baseball. The first known American reference to baseball appears in a 1791 Pittsfield, Mass., town bylaw prohibiting the playing of the game near the town's new meeting house.

By the early 1830s, there were reports of a variety of bat-and-ball games recognizable as early forms of baseball being played around North America.

Philadelphia had amateur base ball teams since at least the early 1830s. In 1860 an amateur club was formed in Philadelphia, simply named "Athletic Base Ball Club."

From there it morphed*:

  • 1860-1871: Athletic Base Ball Club/Philadelphia Athletics (it became professional in the late 1860s)
  • 1871-1875: Philadelphia Athletics (National Association of Professional Base Ball Players)
  • 1876-1876: Philadelphia Athletics (National League)
  • 1882-1890: Philadelphia Athletics (American Association)
  • 1890–1891: Philadelphia Quakers/Athletics (Players League/American Association)
  • 1901-1954: Philadelphia Athletics (American League)
  • 1955-1968: Kansas City Athletics (American League)
  • 1968-: Oakland Athletics (American League)

Good grief, you need a score sheet just for that!

Oh, and the Boston Red Caps?

The Red Caps became the Beaneaters (snicker) in 1883, and the Braves in 1912. They moved to Milwaukee in 1953, and finally, Atlanta, in 1966.

*All mistakes are Momma's, not my own.


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