Major League Baseball Teams
The number of major league baseball teams has increased from sixteen to thirty since the cornerstone National Agreement was signed in 1903. Franchises have been created, moved, sold and even renamed over the years. You may know them now, but do you know where they came from?
AL East | AL Central | AL West
NL East | NL Central | NL West
Former National League
Federal League | American Association
Players League | Union Association
Baltimore OriolesFirst Season: 1901 (Milwaukee Brewers)
SS Cal Ripken, Jr.
P Jim Palmer
MGR Earl Weaver
OF Vladimir Guerrero
1B George Sisler
The Orioles are one of the original members of the American League, having moved from Milwaukee to St. Louis to their current city in Baltimore. This storied franchise has rostered 36 Hall of Famers, including Cal Ripken, Jr., who redefined "iron man," and spirited manager, Earl Weaver. Between 1966 and 1983 the team won six American League pennants and all three of the franchise's World Series titles.
Boston Red SoxFirst Season: 1901 (Boston Americans)
OF Ted Williams
OF Tris Speaker
OF Manny Ramirez
P Babe Ruth
P Pedro Martinez
The Red Sox are most notoriously known for their 86 years of World Series disappointment after trading away Babe Ruth. But what is often overlooked is that this franchise won the first official World Series in 1903 on the arm of Cy Young, saw the last .400 hitter in Ted Williams, and gave us the last Triple Crown winner in Carl Yastrzemski.
New York YankeesFirst Season: 1901 (Baltimore Orioles)
OF Mickey Mantle
SS Derek Jeter
P Whitey Ford
OF Joe DiMaggio
1B Lou Gehrig and OF Babe Ruth
The Yankees have set the benchmark by which all other major league baseball teams are measured. They boast 27 World Series championships, by far the most of any franchise, and have had 54 Hall of Fame players or managers wear the famous pin-stripes over the years, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.
Tampa Bay RaysFirst Season: 1998 (Tampa Bay Devil Rays)
3B Evan Longoria
P David Price
OF Carl Crawford
P Scott Kazmir
OF B.J. Upton
Fans of the Rays had to be wondering if the franchise was actually even fielding major league baseball teams early on. But after managing only one 70-win season during the young franchise's first ten years, they have since made multiple post-season appearances and played in a World Series under the management of Joe Maddon and with superstars like Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford.
Toronto Blue JaysFirst Season: 1977 (Toronto Blue Jays)
OF Vernon Wells
P Roy Halladay
OF Jose Bautista
DH Frank Thomas
3B Scott Rolen
The Blue Jays enjoyed a run of success during the late-1980's and early-1990's when they made four post-season appearances in five years. They capped off that stretch with back-to-back World Series championships in 1992 and 1993, highlighted by Joe Carter's walk-off series-winner against the Phillies.
Chicago White SoxFirst Season: 1901 (Chicago White Sox)
1B Paul Konerko
SS Luke Appling
P Ed Walsh
OF Shoeless Joe Jackson
DH Jim Thome
The White Sox were the champions of the American League in its inaugural season of 1901 and were World Series champs in 1906 and 1917. But after the gambling scandal of the "Black Sox" in 1919, the franchise only made the playoffs two more times during the 20th century. 86 years later in 2005 they were finally able to bring a title back to the south side of Chicago.
Cleveland IndiansFirst Season: 1901 (Cleveland Blues)
P C.C. Sabathia
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
P Cliff Lee
SS Lou Boudreau
2B Nap Lajoie
The Cleveland Indians have had several eras of success over the years. In 1920 they won the World Series on the bat of Tris Speaker and the arm of Stanley Coveleski. They took the title again in 1948 behind the Hall of Fame arms of Bob Feller and Bob Lemon and the hitting of shortstop Lou Boudreau. Though they failed to win another championship, the team won two American League pennants and went to five straight playoffs to close out the 1900's.
Detroit TigersFirst Season: 1901 (Detroit Tigers)
OF Ty Cobb
OF Al Kaline
SS Alan Trammell
P Justin Verlander
OF Curtis Granderson
The Detroit Tigers' major league baseball teams have given us some of the greatest hitters of all time, from the sweet swings of Ty Cobb and Charlie Gehringer to the power of Hank Greenberg and Al Kaline. Despite a rough start, losing three straight World Series in the early 1900's, Tiger fans have still enjoyed four championships and another seven American League pennants.
Kansas City RoyalsFirst Season: 1969 (Kansas City Royals)
3B George Brett
OF Bo Jackson
P Zack Greinke
1B Eric Hosmer
P Joakim Soria
Kansas City began having success shortly after entering the American League, and from 1976 to 1985 the team won six division titles, two pennants and a World Series championship behind the clutch bat of George Brett. Though the franchise has struggled over the past 25 years, the Royals have still given baseball some of its most talented ballplayers, including Bo Jackson and Carlos Beltran.
Minnesota TwinsFirst Season: 1901 (Washington Senators)
1B Harmon Killebrew
OF Torii Hunter
P Walter Johnson
C Joe Mauer
P Johan Santana
The Minnesota Twins were one of the original American League baseball teams, known then as the Washington Senators. They won their first of World Series in 1924 with one of the greatest pitchers of all time, Walter Johnson. After moving to Minnesota, Kirby Puckett then led the franchise to two more titles.
First Season: 1962 (Houston Colt .45's)
2B Craig Biggio
P Nolan Ryan
1B Jeff Bagwell
P Roy Oswalt
OF Lance Berkman
For years the most famous things about the Houston Astros were their iconic stadium, the Astrodome, and their historically ugly uniforms. The team made a few playoff appearances in the 1980's behind stellar pitchers like Nolan Ryan and Mike Scott. The the franchise put together its best major league baseball teams between 1995 and 2005 as the fantastic duo of Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio led the team to four division titles in five years. As their careers came to a close they were able to be a part of a pennant-winner and play in the franchise's only World Series alongside the next generation's slugger, Lance Berkman.
Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimFirst Season: 1961 (Los Angeles Angels)
OF Vladimir Guerrero
OF Tim Salmon
MGR Mike Scioscia
OF Garret Anderson
P Francisco Rodriguez
The Angels joined the American League in 1961 as the Los Angeles Angels. Since then the franchise has incorporated just about every location on a geographic level possible, from city to suburb to state to a combination. On the field, the team struggled to find for much of its first 40 years, reaching the playoffs only three times. But the new millennium brought the franchise's first World Series title as stars like Tim Salmon, Troy Glaus, and Garret Anderson laid a foundation for success.
Oakland AthleticsFirst Season: 1901 (Philadelphia Athletics)
P Dennis Eckersley
OF Rickey Henderson
P Rollie Fingers
MGR Connie Mack
The Athletics franchise is one of the most successful major league baseball teams in history, boasting nine World Series titles, one of the greatest managers of all time in Connie Mack, and an assortment of iconic mustaches from Rollie Fingers, Jim "Catfish" Hunter, and Dennis Eckersley. After 54 seasons in Philadelphia, the team made a brief stop in Kansas City (1955-67) before settling in Oakland.
Seattle MarinersFirst Season: 1977 (Seattle Mariners)
OF Ken Griffey, Jr.
OF Ichiro Suzuki
P Felix Hernandez
OF Raul Ibanez
3B/DH Edgar Martinez
What the Seattle Mariners franchise has lacked in postseason success, it has made up for by producing some of the greatest individual baseball players of a generation. In the 1990's the team experienced its finest years behind the sweet swings of Ken Griffey, Jr., Edgar Martinez, and young Alex Rodriguez and the blazing fastball of Randy Johnson. In 2001 they brought over the top Japanese player, Ichiro Suzuki, who immediately won the league MVP award and established himself as one of the greatest pure hitters the game has ever seen with ten consecutive 200-hit seasons.
Texas RangersFirst Season: 1961 (Washington Senators)
C Ivan Rodriguez
P Nolan Ryan
SS Michael Young
OF Josh Hamilton
P Gaylord Perry
The Texas Rangers are one of the major league baseball teams that began its existence as the Washington Senators, this time starting as an expansion team in 1961. After struggling to only ten winning seasons in the franchise's first 35 years, the Rangers now have five division titles and two American League pennants to their credit thanks to players like Ivan Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez in the 1990's and the latest crop of stars like Michael Young, Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton.
First Season: 1876 (Boston Red Stockings)
OF Hank Aaron
P John Smoltz
P Kid Nichols
3B Eddie Mathews
P Warren Spahn
The Braves franchise began in Boston as the Red Stockings in the inaugural season for the National League, sporting many of the players from the dominant team of the National Association and even the Wright brothers from the famous first all-professional team--the Cincinnati Red Stockings. The team moved from Boston to Milwaukee, where greats Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews gave the franchise its second World Series title. They returned to prominence as the one of the most dominant baseball teams of the 1990's, putting together a stretch of 14 consecutive division titles, five pennants and a World Series championship from 1991 to 2005. Those teams were anchored by an all-time caliber pitching rotation that included Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz.
First Season: 1993 (Florida Marlins)
OF Mike Stanton
SS Hanley Ramirez
P Ricky Nolasco
2B Dan Uggla
P Josh Johnson
In their short history, the Marlins still have won no division titles (see Atlanta Braves) but have managed two World Series championships. They have produced talented hitters, such as Miguel Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez, and dynamic pitchers, like Dontrelle Willis and Josh Beckett, in the franchise's short history.
New York MetsFirst Season: 1962 (New York Mets)
3B David Wright
C Mike Piazza
SS Jose Reyes
P Dwight Gooden
1B Carlos Delgado
The New York Mets became the first expansion franchise to win the World Series when in 1969 they pulled off a miracle, turning seven years of bad major league baseball teams around in one amazing season, led by the strong starting pitching of Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman. The next generation, including young phenom Dwight Gooden, set a franchise record with 108 wins in 1986 and brought home the team's other title.
First Season: 1883 (Philadelphia Quakers)
2B Chase Utley
P Robin Roberts
P Grover Cleveland Alexander
1B Ryan Howard
OF Richie Ashburn
The Philadelphia Phillies franchise struggled for many years, playing post-season baseball only twice from 1883 to 1975 and losing both of those World Series. But behind the leadership of 3-time MVP Mike Schmidt and 4-time Cy Young winner Steve Carlton the Phillies won 5 division titles, 2 pennants and a World Series championship between 1976 and 1983. They then won back-to-back pennants and the franchise's second World Series title in the late 2000's with a potent offense that featured Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.
First Season: 1969 (Montreal Expos)
3B Ryan Zimmerman
P Stephen Strasburg
OF Alfonso Soriano
OF Jayson Werth
OF Bryce Harper
Talk about a franchise that can't get a break. When the Nationals were back in Montreal, their two most successful years just happened to coincide with two seasons shortened by labor disputes. One of the most promising major league baseball teams the franchise ever fielded was leading their division in 1994 when the strike canceled post-season play, keeping future stars like Pedro Martinez, Larry Walker and Moises Alou from giving the Expos a chance at their first trip to the World Series.
First Season: 1876 (Chicago White Stockings)
OF Andre Dawson
P Greg Maddux
1B Cap Anson
P Carlos Zambrano
P Lee Smith
The Chicago Cubs were a dominant presence during the early years of the National League, winning back-to-back World Series in 1907 and 1908 with the famous Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance double-play combination. They won another seven pennants over the next 30 years, but failed to bring another title back to Chicago's west side. Since then the team has produced greats like Ernie Banks and Ryne Sandberg, but fans are still waiting to end the Curse of the Billy Goat.
First Season: 1882 (Cincinnati Red Stockings)
1B Joey Votto
SS Barry Larkin
OF Pete Rose
2B Brandon Phillips
2B Joe Morgan
Cincinnati has been home to some of the most successful major league baseball teams in the major leagues over the years, winning five World Series and nine National League pennants. The Reds were at their best in the 1970's as they constructed the "Big Red Machine" with the likes of Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Dave Concepcion, George Foster, and Pete Rose under the management of Sparky Anderson.
First Season: 1969 (Seattle Pilots)
SS Robin Yount
P Zack Greinke
1B Prince Fielder
OF Ryan Braun
P Ben Sheets
After one season in Seattle the franchise moved to Milwaukee in 1970. The Brewers are still looking for their first World Series title, but they did win back-to-back division titles and the franchise's only pennant in 1981 and 1982 with Paul Molitor and Robin Yount. The team returned to the playoffs in the 2000's on the bats of superstars like Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder.
First Season: 1882 (Pittsburgh Alleghenys)
P Pud Galvin
2B Freddy Sanchez
OF Paul Waner
OF Xavier Nady
SS Honus Wagner
After moving from the American Association to the National League in 1887 the Pittsburgh franchise became one of the better major league baseball teams of the early 1900's, playing in the first World Series in 1903 and winning their first title in 1909 on the strength of their star shortstop, Honus Wagner. The unforgettable Roberto Clemente and the "family" of the 1970's, including Willie Stargell and Dave Parker, brought the franchise back to prominence, making six playoff appearances and winning two World Series titles during the decade.
St. Louis Cardinals
First Season: 1882 (St. Louis Brown Stockings)
OF Stan Musial
SS Ozzie Smith
2B Rogers Hornsby
P Bob Gibson
1B Albert Pujols
The St. Louis Browns were one of the most successful major league baseball teams in the American Association, but after moving to the National League in 1892 the team struggled. Rogers Hornsby helped get the franchise going in the right direction, and from 1926 to 1946 the Cardinals won nine pennants and six World Series championships with players like Frankie Frisch, Dizzy Dean, Johnny Mize and Stan Musial. Bob Gibson led the team to another two titles in the 1960's, and Albert Pujols led the team to two more after the turn of the century. This impressive resume gives the Cardinals a legitimate claim as the most successful National League team of all time.
First Season: 1998 (Arizona Diamondbacks)
OF Justin Upton
P Dan Haren
P Randy Johnson
OF Adam Dunn
OF Chris Young
Even though the Diamondbacks are one of the newest major league baseball teams, they have been a successful organization almost from the beginning. They won their division in three of the franchise's first five years and took home a World Series title, defeating the three-time defending champion New York Yankees in one of the most thrilling Fall Classics ever in 2001.
First Season: 1993 (Colorado Rockies)
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Andres Galarraga
1B Todd Helton
P Ubaldo Jimenez
OF Matt Holliday
The Colorado Rockies may not be producing any Hall of Fame pitchers at Coors Field, but the franchise has wielded some of the most dangerous hitters of a generation. Todd Helton, Larry Walker, Dante Bichette, Andres Galarraga and Dante Bichette terrorized National League pitchers during the 1990's and early 2000's, while Matt Holliday and Troy Tulowitzki led the franchise to its first pennant and World Series appearance in 2007.
Los Angeles Dodgers
First Season: 1884 (Brooklyn Atlantics)
P Sandy Koufax
2B Jackie Robinson
OF Duke Snider
OF Matt Kemp
P Clayton Kershaw
The Dodgers baseball teams have been some of the most successful in National League history, boasting 22 pennants and six World Series titles and making history with the signing of Jackie Robinson in 1947. The franchise's heyday came in the 1950's and 1960's when the Dodgers finally won a championship in their eighth World Series appearance, moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958, and won three more Fall Classics. Pitchers like Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale and hitters like Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider and Roy Campanella helped turn the franchise into a perennial contender.
San Diego Padres
First Season: 1969 (San Diego Padres)
P Trevor Hoffman
1B Adrian Gonzalez
P Heath Bell
P Jake Peavy
P Chris Young
The Padres franchise has seen limited post-season success, but they have produced some of the game's best players over the years. Tony Gwynn, arguably the best pure hitter of his generation, led the team to its two National League pennants and World Series appearances. Dave Winfield became one of the great all-around athletes to play the game, and closer Trevor Hoffman retired as the all-time career saves leader.
San Francisco Giants
First Season: 1883 (New York Gothams)
OF Willie Mays
P Tim Lincecum
3B Pablo Sandoval
P Christy Mathewson
C Buster Posey
The Giants have been one of the most successful and consistent major league baseball teams since joining the National League in 1883. All-time greats like Willie Mays, Christy Mathewson, and Mel Ott helped the franchise win five World Series titles and 17 pennants while in New York. The team then won their first championship since moving to San Francisco when they beat the Texas Rangers in 2010.
Former Baseball Teams
These franchises fielded major league baseball teams years ago, but for one reason or another they folded.
NATIONAL LEAGUE (1876 - 1900)There were several franchises that got their start as major league baseball teams in the National League but didn't make it out of the 19th century, including six of the original eight franchises from 1876. These are the former Senior Circuit members that are a part of its rich history.
Buffalo Bisons1879 - 1885
P Pud Galvin
The Bisons of the National League were a solid team anchored by future Hall of Famers Pud Galvin and Dan Brouthers, and the franchise provided some historical moments in its brief time as one of the major league baseball teams. In 1882 they signed a 34-year-old pitcher, Hugh "One Arm" Daily, who was the first one-armed player in major league history, and in 1884 the team began introducing protective chest gear for catchers. The team was bought by the Detroit Wolverines owner in order to secure the "Big Four" (1B Dan Brouthers, 3B Deacon White, SS Jack Rowe, OF Hardy Richardson) and dissolved into their roster after the 1885 season.
Cincinnati Reds1876 - 1880
As charter members of the National League the early version of the Cincinnati Reds (not related to the modern franchise) was actually terrible in its first couple years of existence, finishing last with 9-56 and 15-42 records. Their best year came in 1878 when they brought back Cal McVey, one of the original National Association Red Stockings, and future Hall of Famer Mike "King" Kelly entered the major leagues as a 20-year-old with the team.
Cleveland Blues1879 - 1884
Cleveland Blues (1879)
The Cleveland Blues never managed better than a third place finish during their short time in the National League. They were one of the many major league baseball teams that rostered Hugh "One Arm" Daily, who threw a no-hitter in a 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Quakers in 1883.
Detroit Wolverines1881 - 1888
Detroit Wolverines (1882)
Detroit Wolverines (1887)
OF Sam Thompson
The Wolverines struggled to play winning baseball during the franchise's first five years. They hit a particularly low point in early September 1883 when they were outscored 65-12 during a four-game stretch, capped off by giving up a major league record 18 runs in a single inning against the Chicago White Stockings. The franchise turned around, however, when their owner purchased the talented Buffalo Bisons team after the 1885 season. The "Big Four" (Brouthers, White, Rowe, Richardson) as well as home-grown outfielder Sam Thompson helped bring the team their only National League pennant in 1887. But the high salaries of those players brought the team down financially and it disbanded after the 1888 season.
Hartford Dark Blues1876 - 1877 (also played as Brooklyn Hartfords)
Hartford Dark Blues (1876)
The Dark Blues were original members of the National League that finished in second place (47-21) in their first year behind a strong pitching staff of 30-game winner Tommy Bond and future Hall of Famer Candy Cummings. On September 9, 1876 Cummings amazingly won back-to-back games against the Cincinnati Reds in one day, 14-4 and 8-4! The franchise moved to Brooklyn in 1877 and lost their best players, but they still managed a winning record (31-27) and a third place finish behind outfielder John Cassidy.
The Indianapolis Blues were an offensively challenged team during their only year in the National League in 1878, finishing last in team average (.236) despite outfielder Orator Shafer hitting .338 and being among the league leaders in doubles (19) and slugging percentage (.455). The team finished fifth with a 24-36 record and folded after the season.
Kansas City Cowboys1886
The Cowboys were a short-lived franchise that joined the National League in 1886, finished in next-to-last place with a 30-91 record and closed up shop during the off-season. As a testimony to the team's futility, they had no one hit over .280 and no pitchers with an ERA under 4.49!
Louisville Grays1876 - 1877
P Jim Devlin
The Louisville Grays, one of the charter major league baseball teams of the National League, brought baseball scandals to a more prominent level with their "Jekyll and Hyde" 1877 season. After dominating through the early part of August the team hit a late-summer swoon that saw them lose ten of twelve games and fall out of the league's top position. Though they won six of seven games to finish the season, they couldn't recover and the Boston Red Stockings took the pennant. An investigation into the suspicious collapse would uncover telegrams that implicated three players--George Hall, Jim Devlin, and Al Nichols--who also ratted out Bill Craver. The players were expelled from the league, and the team's directors opted bow to financial pressures and fold.
OF Abner Dalrymple
The Grays joined the National League for one year after a strong performance in the League Alliance, the original minor league, in 1877. Unfortunately, the team's success did not translate and they finished last in the league with a 15-45 record, winning consecutive games only three times all year. Despite their struggles, pitcher Sam Weaver posted a stellar 1.95 ERA (yet led the league with 31 losses!) and 20-year-old outfielder Abner Dalrymple hit .354, jump-starting what would become a 12-year career.
New York Mutuals1876
New York Mutuals (1870)
The Mutuals had a long history as they entered the 1876 season as a charter member of the National League, having been a club since 1857 playing at the historic Elysian Fields of Hoboken and Brooklyn's Union Grounds. But the team struggled both on the field and in the pocketbooks, which led them to abandon their late-season road trips and play only one game after mid-September. This got them expelled from the league and the franchise closed up shop. Oddly enough, two of its players--Al Nichols and Bill Craver--would also be expelled after the following year for throwing games with the Louisville Grays.
Philadelphia Athletics (1874)
Philadelphia Athletics (1875)
The Philadelphia Athletics were another of the tradition-rich baseball teams that chartered the National League in 1876, having one the first National Association pennant in 1871. But without star third baseman Cap Anson, who had left for the Chicago White Stockings, the team was dreadful and, like the New York Mutuals, did not fulfill their late-season road games and financial pressures mounted. They were expelled from the league, and the franchise folded after the 1876 season.
Providence Grays1878 - 1885
Providence Grays (1879)
Providence Grays (1884)
The Providence Grays were one of the strongest major league baseball teams in the early years of the National League, winning two pennants and defeating the American Association champions, the New York Mutuals, in 1884 in a "Championship of the United States." Many historic baseball moments came thanks to the Grays, the first of which was outfielder Paul Hines' Triple Crown feat in 1878 (4 HR, 50 RBI, and .358 AVG). 1884 saw future Hall of Fame pitcher Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn win an astounding 59 games--a record that still stands and likely will never be broken. Finally, in 1885 shortstop Arthur Irwin broke two fingers and fashioned a glove (the "Irwin Glove") to protect his hand so he could continue to play, initiating the development of fielding gloves.
St. Louis Brown Stockings1876 - 1877
St. Louis Brown Stockings (1876)
The Brown Stockings were one of the original major league baseball teams of the National League and put together a solid first season, finishing third with a 45-19 record and seeing the first no-hitter in major league history thrown by pitcher George Bradley. But the team declined in its second year and was brought down in the off-season after signing two of the four Louisville Grays players that were expelled for throwing games.
Syracuse Stars (1877)
After coming over from the minor league International Association alongside the Buffalo Bisons in 1879, the Stars did not enjoy the same success at the major league level as their in-state counterparts. Despite a promising 11-8 start, the team managed only a poor 22-48 record and couldn't finish their schedule after early September, officially disbanding at the season's end.
Troy Trojans1879 - 1882
The Trojans saw five future Hall of Famers start their careers with the franchise in its short tenure as a major league club--Dan Brouthers, Roger Connor, Buck Ewing, Time Keefe, and Mickey Welch. Unfortunately, it was a few years before those players would hit their stride, so the franchise was unable to field a winning ballclub in four years and folded after the 1882 season.
Washington Nationals1886 - 1889
Washington Nationals (1888)
The Washington Nationals found it difficult to get out of the bottom of the National League standings during their four-year existence, finishing better than last only once. The franchise did, however, kick off the career of a young catcher who would one day set the standard for major league managers--Connie Mack.
Worcester Ruby Legs1880 - 1882
The Ruby Legs didn't produce a winning season during three years in the National League. The franchise is most noteworthy for pitcher Lee Richmond's first perfect game in major league history on June 12, 1880 and getting the Cincinnati Reds kicked out of the league after the 1880 season for rules violations.
FEDERAL LEAGUE (1914 - 1915)
The Federal League formed in 1913 as an alternative to the two established major leagues and their reserve clause. Salaries increased as some players signed with the new higher-paying major league baseball teams, so the three leagues worked out a buy-out "deal" and the Federal League folded after the 1915 season.
However, not all of the owners were not happy with the uneven compensation and the Baltimore franchise sued the National League. This brought about the landmark lawsuit that ruled Major League Baseball is a game not affected by the Sherman Antitrust Act as interstate commerce.
1914 - 1915
The Baltimore Terrapins played sever significant but infamous roles in baseball history. Though they played host to the first game in Federal League history, defeating the Buffalo Buffeds 3-2 on April 13, 1914, their most lasting legacy comes from their lawsuit against the National League (and American League as well as some Federal League executives). The team also, in an effort to improve on their third place finish in 1914, signed future Hall of Fame pitcher Chief Bender from the National League's Philadelphia Athletics after his 11th consecutive sub-3.00 ERA season. But in 1915, Bender went 4-16 for the Terrapins, the Terrapins collapsed to a 47-107 record, and the first Connie Mack dynasty in Philadelphia was effectively ended. That would qualify as a "lose-lose-lose" situation.
1914 - 1915
Tip Tops Logo
The most significant thing about the Brooklyn Tip-Tops is that they were named after owner Robert Ward's bakery. Seriously. The Tip Top Bakery. Had the Federal League lasted another year, the team had plans to play the first night baseball games ever in 1916. But, alas, the league folded and they are known as the confectionery franchise instead.
1914 - 1915 (also played as Buffalo Buf-Feds)
2B Baldy Louden
P Gene Krapp
1B Hal Chase
P Al Schulz
The Blues were a fairly unspectacular franchise, although they did roster Hal Chase, the former Chicago White Sox and New York Highlander hothead, who went on to win the National League batting title in 1916 with the Reds. The team also had the bright idea of selling preferred shares of stock to the public for $10 per share. Can't imagine that turned out well.
1914 - 1915 (also played as Chicago Chi-Feds)
Never mind why a Midwestern city chose a large ocean animal as their mascot, the Chicago Whales franchise was one of the more successful major league baseball teams of the Federal League. More importantly was the ballpark, Weeghman Park, their owner built for the team. As part of the buy-out agreement and disbanding of the league, he was allowed to buy into the Chicago Cubs franchise. The Cubs still play in that ballpark today. We know it as Wrigley Field.
Kansas City Packers
1914 - 1915
1B George Stovall
The Packers played the ultimate role of Federal League spoiler. During the final week of the 1914 season the team swept a double-header against the Chicago Chi-Feds, allowing the surging Indianapolis Hoosiers to move into first place and claim the league's first title. Then in 1915 they took two of four games against the St. Louis Terriers (87-67) to end the season, allowing the Chicago Whales (86-66) to win the championship by less than .001 in winning percentage.
1914 - 1915 (also played as Indianapolis Hoosiers)
After winning the Federal League's inaugural season title as the Indianapolis Hoosiers, the team moved to Newark as the league attempted to strengthen its presence in the vast New York City market. The franchise featured a
1914 - 1915 (also played as Pittsburgh Stogies)
The Rebels opened the 1914 season as the Pittsburgh Stogies. But they fired manager Doc Gessler after a 3-8 start, hired manager Rebel Oakes, and renamed the team after their new skipper. In 1915 the team was part of one of the closest pennant races in history (three major league baseball teams within one game of each other!), losing three out of four games in back-to-back double-headers to the Chicago Whales to drop out of first place by a half game on the final day of the season.
St. Louis Terriers
1914 - 1915
St. Louis Terriers
St. Louis Terriers
The Terriers had a poor inaugural season under manager and future Hall of Famer Mordecai Brown in 1914. But after he was traded to Brooklyn in the off-season, the team improved and became part of the thrilling 1915 pennant race, losing out to the Chicago Whales on the final day of the season by .001 in winning percentage after splitting two double-headers against Kansas City to finish the season.
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION (1882 - 1891)
The American Association provided an alternative to the straight-laced National League as it allowed alcohol sales and even became known as the "beer and whiskey league." Competition between the two leagues was fierce, both for major league players and major league baseball teams. It finally folded after the short-lived Players League siphoned off talent in 1890 and the National League absorbed its strongest teams after the 1891 season.
1882 - 1899
(played in the National League 1892 - 1899)
Baltimore Orioles (1885)
Baltimore Orioles (1894)
Baltimore Orioles (1895)
Baltimore Orioles (1899)
The Baltimore Orioles franchise of the American Association didn't have a lot of success, posting only four winning seasons before moving to the National League. But the franchise did win three consecutive pennants in the Senior Circuit from 1894 to 1896 with a roster stacked with future Hall of Famers, including Willie Keeler and Hughie Jennings.
1890 - 1891
(played in the Players League in 1890)
Boston Reds (1890)
Congress Street Grounds
The Boston Reds were one of the more successful major league baseball teams during the franchise's short existence. They won the Players League pennant in 1890, then jumped to the American Association for the 1891 season and won the pennant again. Despite its success and boasting a roster with future Hall of Famers like Mike "King" Kelly and Dan Brouthers, the team saw its players dispersed among the National League teams when the American Association disbanded.
Brooklyn Gladiators (1890)
The Gladiators were one of three major league baseball teams in Brooklyn during the 1890 season. The Bridegrooms of the National League and the Ward's Wonders of the Players League dominated the baseball scene, leaving this last-place team and its players with no fans and no future.
Cincinnati Kelly's Killers
Cincinnati Kelly's Killers
The Kelly's Killers fought an uphill battle during their only season as a franchise, competing with the National League's Cincinnati Reds for the city's baseball interest and dealing with Cincinnati's "blue law" that got players periodically thrown in jail for playing baseball on Sundays. The team didn't even finish their schedule (the Brewers stepped in and played their remaining games), and their future Hall of Famer, Mike "King" Kelly, ended up finishing the season playing for the National League's Boston Beaneaters!
1887 - 1899
(played in the National League 1889 - 1899 as Cleveland Spiders)
Cleveland Blues (1888)
Cleveland Blues (1888)
Cleveland Spiders (1895)
The Blues were terrible both years in the American Association, including finishing dead last in their first year. The team eventually moved to the National League as the Cleveland Spiders and put together a good run behind future Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young. But, amazingly enough, the franchise finished worse than it started. In 1899 their owner moved all of the team's stars to his other team in St. Louis and the Spiders suffered through a historically bad season. They were so bad no one would come to the games, and teams eventually refused to travel to play them. They ended up playing only 42 home games and 112 road games and only won 20 games on the season. They are known as one of the worst (if not
theworst) major league baseball teams of all time.
1883 - 1884
The Buckeyes made a big improvement during their short tenure as one of the major league baseball teams, jumping from 32 wins in 1883 to 69 wins and a second place finish in 1884. The franchise also rostered Ed Dundon--the first deaf baseball player in major league history.
1889 - 1891
The second Columbus franchise had a pretty quiet existence. They managed a second place finish in 1890 on the strength of a 12-2 finish, 30-game winner Hank Gastright and league RBI leader (with 113) Spud Johnson.
The Hoosiers managed a dreadful one-year tenure in the American Association that saw their 18-year-old rookie pitcher Larry McKeon lose 41 games.
Kansas City Cowboys
1888 - 1889
Kansas City Cowboys (1888)
OF Billy Hamilton
The Kansas City Cowboys struggled to produce a contender in the American Association, but they did see pitcher Henry Porter throw a no-hitter in 1888 and future Hall of Famer Billy Hamilton lead the league in steals with 111 in 1889.
1882 - 1899 (also played as Louisville Eclipse)
(played in National League 1892 - 1899)
OF Pete Browning
Louisville Colonels (1897)
The Colonels, who played as the Louisville Eclipse in their first years in the Association, were an up-and-down team. After finishing in second place their first year, the team struggled through the rest of the 1880's and became the first major league team to lose 100 games in a season in 1889. Then in 1890 they turned around and won the pennant! They made the transition to the National League after the American Association folded, but the franchise was eliminated after the 1899 season. Most note-worthy was the 23-year-old shortstop they signed in 1897...future Hall of Famer Honus Wagner.
The Milwaukee Brewers spent most of the 1891 season as members of the minor league Western Association. But when the Cincinnati Kelly's Killers couldn't finish their schedule the American Association recruited the Brewers to play the remaining 36 games. Not surprisingly, they were not one of the major league baseball teams selected to move to the National League and returned to the minors with the Western League.
New York Metropolitans
1883 - 1887
New York Metropolitans
SS Paul Radford
The Metropolitans had a lot of success early on thanks in large part to the pitching of future Hall of Famer Tim Keefe. In the team's first season he pitched an astounding 68 complete games, won 41 of them, and logged 619 innings! The next year the team won the American Association pennant and faced off against the Providence Greys of the National League in a three-game post-season championship series, though they lost 2-1. The franchise went downhill the following year as their manager and best players shifted over to the National League's New York team, the Giants (formerly the Gothams). They finished next-to-last for three years before being purchased and dissolved by the Brooklyn Dodgers.
1890 - 1891 (also played as the Philadelphia Quakers)
(played in the Players League in 1890)
The Athletics began in the Players League in 1890 as the Quakers and were often called "Buffinton's Beauties" after one of their managers, Charlie Buffinton. When that league folded they moved to the American Association for its final year and finished in fifth place, but the team was disbanded during the consolidation of the leagues. The franchise's major contribution to the record books may be pitcher Bert Cunningham's five wild pitches in one inning in 1890, which went unmatched until Rick Ankiel of the St. Louis Cardinals melted down in the 2000 playoffs.
1882 - 1890
C Wilbert Robinson
An original member of the American Association, the Athletics won the pennant in year 1883 behind 30-game winner Bobby Mathews. They also rostered future Hall of Fame catcher Wilbert Robinson, but the franchise couldn't withstand the effects of the Players League in 1890 and folded after the season.
The Virginians were members of the minor Eastern League during 1884, but accepted an invitation to play in the American Association when the Washington Statesmen didn't finish their season schedule. They ended the season with a 12-30 record and were one of the major league baseball teams contracted when the league reduced to eight teams. They returned to the Eastern League before folding after 1885.
The Broncos were brought in from the International Association as one of the replacements for the major league baseball teams that were leaving the American Association for the National League. They placed fifth with a 63-63 record in their only season before returning to the minor leagues with the Eastern Association.
The Syracuse Stars were another minor league team that was invited to play in the American Association amid the exodus of the other major league baseball teams. They played one season in 1890 and finished in seventh place with a 55-72 record, but had to fold after the season due to financial losses.
Toledo Blue Stockings
Toledo Blue Stockings
Toledo Blue Stockings
Toledo Blue Stockings
C Fleet Walker
Even though this franchise from the minor Northwestern League spent only one mediocre year in the American Association, the Blue Stockings are one of the more important major league baseball teams in history. Most people know of Jackie Robinson's color-barrier-breaking legacy, but 63 years earlier an African-American catcher by the name of Moses Fleetwood Walker made his major league debut. Since catchers weren't wearing protective gear and his teammates weren't exactly cooperative, he suffered through injuries and eventually saw his season end early. But "Fleet" (along with his brother, Welday, later) made history that season. Like most other former minor league teams, Toledo returned to the minors for their final season in 1885.
The Maumees came from the minor International Association to join the American Association for the 1890 season and produced a respectable 68-64 record. There wasn't much of note about their one major league season, but pitcher "Long John" (or "Egyptian") Healy had the best year of his statistically "unlucky" career with them.
1891 - 1899
(played in National League 1892 - 1899 as Washington Senators)
The Washington Statesmen played poorly in their only year in the American Association, going 44-91 and working through four different managers. When the American Association folded after the 1891 season the team joined the National League for eight unsuccessful seasons. The franchise fielded losing baseball teams every year of its 10-year existence.
This Washington Nationals franchise lasted only 63 games during their only season in the American Association before folding and being replaced by the Richmond Virginians. Of their eight regular position players, five hit below .200 and the team produced only six home runs.
PLAYERS LEAGUE (1890)
The Players League came out of baseball's first union, the Brotherhood of Professional Base-Ball Players, and wrecked havoc on the two other major leagues of the day. Many members of the union, including some of the best players, left the National League to form this third league, but there simply wasn't enough money to keep it going for more than one year. It weakened, and essentially brought down, the American Association but also left behind one of the great baseball stadiums of all time, the Polo Grounds.
1890 - 1891
(played in the American Association in 1891)
Boston Reds (1890)
Congress Street Grounds
The Boston Reds were the Players League pennant-winner behind future Hall of Famers Mike "King" Kelly and Dan Brouthers. They then followed that up with another pennant in the American Association to finish up their short run among the major league baseball teams.
Brooklyn Ward's Wonders
SS Monte Ward
The Ward's Wonders, who were named after their future Hall of Fame shortstop and manager John Montgomery "Monte" Ward, finished in second place in the Players League. The team also featured star first baseman Dave Orr and 30-game winner Gus Weyhing, both of whom they had lured from the American Association.
OF Dummy Hoy
While this version of the Bisons didn't fare well on the field, finishing in last place in the Players League with a 36-96 record, they did field an interesting roster. Future Hall of Fame manager Connie Mack was part owner of the team and played catcher. William Ellsworth "Dummy" Hoy, probably the greatest deaf player of all time, brought his stellar speed and center field play over from the National League.
In order to compete with the Chicago White Stockings of the National League for fan support the Pirates convinced three of the White Stockings' best offensive players (future Hall of Fame outfielder Hugh Duffy, heavy hitting outfielder Jimmy Ryan, and young catcher Duke Farrell) to switch leagues. They were one of the better major league baseball teams in the Players League, and pitcher Silver King produced the league's only no-hitter.
The Infants, though they only went 55-75 and finished next-to-last in the Players League, led the league in hitting (.285) behind the stellar bats of outfielder Pete Browning and first baseman Henry Larkin.
New York Giants
The Players League version of the New York Giants built and played at Brotherhood Park, which would be renamed Polo Grounds when the National League's Giants moved in the next year. The team finished third and boasted a loaded line-up of future Hall of Famers like outfielder Jim O'Rourke, first baseman Roger Connor, catcher Buck Ewing and pitcher Tim Keefe.
1890 - 1891 (also played as the Philadelphia Athletics)
(played in the American Association in 1891)
The Philadelphia Quakers, also known as the Athletics, finished fifth in the Players League with a respectable 68-63 record. The team didn't fold after the season, however, as they went to the American Association to replace one of its folded major league baseball teams, the Athletics, for that league's final season.
Despite raiding the Pittsburgh Allegheny's roster for future Hall of Famers like first baseman Jake Beckley and pitcher Pud Galvin, the Burghers couldn't produce a winning team and finished 60-68 in the Players League.
UNION ASSOCIATION (1884)
The Union Association was the first ill-fated attempt to create a third competitive major league alongside the National League and American Association. Its president, Henry Lucas, was a millionaire from St. Louis and unwisely stacked the St. Louis Maroons with an unbalanced amount of talent. Many of its major league baseball teams were folding throughout the season, and the talent level just wasn't comparable to the other leagues. The "Onion League" disbanded after only one season, and its best team, the St. Louis franchise, lasted only two more unsuccessful years in the National League.
Altoona Mountain Citys
The Mountain Citys were one of the original eight major league baseball teams of the Union Association and the first to fold as poor attendance mounted after only 25 games. They began the year with an 11-game losing streak and finished their partial season at 6-19.
The Monumentals were one of the original eight major league baseball teams of the Union Association. They managed to last the entire season and compiled a third-place record of 58-47 behind their best hitter, outfielder Emmett Seery, and 40-game winner Bill Sweeney.
The Reds were one of the original eight major league baseball teams of the Union Association and were owned by former Cincinnati Red Stockings superstar George Wright. They finished in fourth place with a 58-51 record and were led by heavy-hitting outfielder Ed Crane and lefty strikeout artist Dupee Shaw.
Chicago Browns/Pittsburgh Stogies1884
The franchise was one of the original eight major league baseball teams of the Union Association, beginning as the Chicago Browns. After compiling a 34-39 record in Chicago the team disbanded and moved to the Steel City where they were renamed the Pittsburgh Stogies. They went 6-11 there before finally folding with a 41-50 record. The team featured one-arm fireballer Hugh Daily, who amazingly led the league in strikeouts with 483!
Cincinnati Outlaw Reds
The Outlaw Reds were one of the original eight major league baseball teams of the Union Association and were the main competition to the dominant St. Louis Maroons. They rostered one of the leagues more complete players in 20-year-old Dick Burns, who went 23-15 with a 2.46 ERA as a pitcher and played 44 games as an outfielder, hitting .306 with four home runs and a league-leading 12 triples.
Kansas City Cowboys
Kansas City's first professional baseball team entered the league in July as a replacement for the Altoona Mountain Citys. Although they were terrible on the field, finishing with a 16-63 record, the franchise drew fans to the games, finished the season and managed to turn a $7,000 profit!
The Brewers were one of the late-season replacements for the Union Association after the Wilmington Quicksteps disbanded, finishing with a record of 8-4. But in their short existence they produced a no-hitter from pitcher Ed Cushman and an 18-strikeout performance by pitcher Henry Porter.
The Keystones were one of the original eight major league baseball teams of the Union Associations, but had to fold in the early part of August with a losing record of 21-46. The franchise's most significant contribution to baseball, though, was a 19-year-old part-time catcher named Jack Clements, who would spend 17 years as the only regular left-handed catcher in baseball history!
St. Louis Maroons
1884 - 1889
(played in the National League 1885 - 1889)
(played as the Indianapolis Hoosiers 1887 - 1889)
The Maroons were one of the original eight major league baseball teams of the Union Association and ran away with the pennant behind the amazing offensive production of second baseman Fred Dunlap. He led the league in almost every major category, including average (.412), home runs (13), hits (185), on-base percentage (.448), slugging percentage (.621), and also finished second in doubles (39)! In the ultimate indictment of the league's talent level, Dunlap, who hit .300 twice in the National League prior to jumping to the Union Association, never produced another in five seasons afterward, and the team never put together a winning season in the National League.
St. Paul Apostles
1884 (also known as the White Caps or Saints)
St. Paul Apostles
The Apostles were one of the short-term late-season additions to the Union Association. Although they only went 2-6 in their short stint, they did get a complete game shutout by Jim Brown over the dominant Maroons in their first victory. But the Maroons got revenge as they lost their final game to them, 14-1.
The Nationals were one of the original eight major league baseball teams of the Union Association and one of the few that lasted the entire season. They lacked offensive punch (with a team slugging percentage of .284) and finished last among the beginning-to-end teams with a 45-65 record.
After dominating the minor Eastern League with a 50-12 record, the Quicksteps were invited into the Union Association as a late-season replacement for the Philadelphia Keystones. They won their first game 4-3, but players quickly realized they could make more money with the other major league baseball teams and bolted. The team disbanded in late September and was replaced by the Milwaukee Brewers.
So maybe you won't be able to remember every one of the major league baseball teams that have played over the years. There are a lot of them.
And we may never know why a team from the Windy City named their team the Whales or a group of grown men named their team the Infants.
But hopefully you have a better understanding of how we got the major league baseball teams we have now.