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"A pitcher needs two pitches, one they're looking for and one to cross them up."
--Warren Spahn


1870 Baseball Season

By Patrick Mondout

The championship of the 1870 season was not without controversy. The Mutuals of New York, the reigning champions, split a pair of games with the Chicago White Stockings leading to a third and deciding match. New York was leading 13-12 in the deciding game of its series with the White Stockings when Mutual left the field in protest. Officials decided to revert the score to the end of the last completed inning and awarded the game, and thus the championship, to Chicago. The Mutuals, however, declared themselves champions for the year. 

At a glance...
(Pro Teams/Pro Games Only)
Team W L T %
Mutual (New York) 29 15 3 .649
Red Stocking (Cincinnati) 27 6 1 .809
Athletic (Philadelphia) 26 11 1 .697
White Stocking (Chicago) 22 7 0 .759
Atlantic (Brooklyn) 20 16 0 .556
Union (Troy, NY) 11 13 1 .460
Olympic (Washington) 10 18 0 .357
Forest City (Rockford, IL) 10 13 1 .438
Forest City (Cleveland) 9 15 0 .375
Union (Morrisania, NY) 7 18 0 .280
National (Washington) 2 9 0 .182
Eckford (Brooklyn) 2 12 1 .167
Maryland (Baltimore) 2 14 0 .125
Tri Mountain (Boston) 0 4 0 .000
Riverside (Portsmouth, OH) 0 6 0 .000
(Amateur Teams/Amateur Games Only)
Team W L T % RS RA
Lone Star (New Orleans, LA) 32 17 0 .653 1369 837
Harvard (Cambridge, MA) 31 11 0 .738 1142 611
Star (Brooklyn, NY) 24 9 0 .727 726 281
Mansfield (Middleton, CT) 21 13 0 .606 875 779
Indianapolis (Indianapolis, IN) 17 10 0 .630 889 625
Resolute (Elizabeth, NJ) 14 11 0 .560 518 497
Southern (New Orleans, LA) 13 8 0 .619 582 521
Aetna (Chicago, IL) 12 4 0 .750 425 312
Amateur (Newark, NJ) 12 8 0 .600 538 356
Expert (Philadelphia, PA) 11 9 0 .550 606 412
Athletic (Brooklyn, NY) 11 11 0 .500 532 416
Eagle (San Francisco, CA) 10 1 0 .909 404 236
Kaw Valley (Lawrence, KS) 10 3 0 .7869 448 284
Washington (New Orleans, LA) 10 5 0 .667 425 415
Cornell (Ithaca, NY) 9 2 0 .818 417 192
Osceola (Pittsburgh, PA) 9 3 0 .750 318 227
Trenton (Trenton, NJ) 9 5 0 .643 450 299
R.E. Lee (New Orleans, LA) 9 8 0 .529 359 266
Pastime (Baltimore, MD) 9 22 1 .297 516 652
Lone Star (Catskill, NY) 8 4 0 .667 414 378
Mutual (Meadville, PA) 7 7 0 .500 486 356
Social (New York, NY) 6 2 0 .750 252 191
Live Oak (Cincinnati, OH) 6 4 0 .600 196 221
Kekionga (Fort Wayne, IN) 6 6 0 .500 236 335
Lowell (Lowell, MA) 6 13 0 .316 358 425
NABBP Membership
CLUBS 15 (pro)/500+ (amateur)
13 (pro)/300+ (amateur)
Notable new cities include:
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Oakland, California
Sacramento, California
(Pro in bold)
(District of Columbia)
New Hampshire
New York
New Jersey
Rhode Island
South Carolina
West Virginia
CONVENTION December, 1869
CHAMPION Chicago White Stockings

When looking at the "standings" for the 1870 season on the right, please note that such a listing would have been a novelty at the time and would not have had any meaningful relevance as the championship was not determined by such a listing. It is worth considering that once such standings did matter, it was only the total number of victories (and losses if there was a tie for the most victories), and not winning percentage that determined the winner.

See also: National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, Other Defunct Leagues.

Also note that the Lone Stars of New Orleans were by no means one of the better amateur teams. Virtually every one of their victories were against even more obscure opponents (their first twelve victories were against other New Orleans' teams) and they were throttled every time they took on the "real" club.

Wes Fisler led the association with 85 hits and 139 total bases (only counting games involving two pro teams). Not bad for a guy who played 36 games. A modern player who played 162 games would have to have 383 hits to match his production! If the lack of meaningful statistics from 1870 troubles you, take consolation in the fact that they average score of the Red Stockings game was 37-9 and that comparisons to players from later years would be laughable in any case.

All Teams Extinct

If you are searching the standings for any teams that might still exist today, you're doing so in vain. The White Stockings did not survive the Great Chicago Fire (the Cubs debuted as the White Stockings in 1874), the Athletic of Philadelphia got kicked out of the National League in 1876 and have nothing to do with the later Philadelphia A's, and Cincinnati folded after the season ended, sold off all its assets, and the city did not field another pro team until the mid 1870s (which also got kicked out of the league).


As the 1870 NABBP is the real predecessor to the major leagues, we are providing partial rosters for that season:

Professional and Co-Operative Clubs of 1870
Philadelphia Athletics
C: Fergy Malone
P: Dick McBride
1B: Wes Fisler
2B: Al Reach
3B: Tom Pratt
SS: John Radcliffe
LF: George Bechtel
CF: John Sensenderfer
RF: Tom Berry
Brooklyn Atlantics
C: Bob Ferguson
P: George Zettlein
1B: Joe Start
2B: Lip Pike
3B: Charlie Smith
SS: Dickey Pearce
LF: Jack Chapman
CF George Hall
LF Jack McDonald
C: Doug Allison
P: Asa Brainard
1B: Charlie Gould
2B: Charlie Sweasy
3B: Fred Waterman
SS: George Wright
LF: Andy Leonard
CF: Harry Wright
RF: Cal McVey
Chicago White Stockings
C: Marshall King
P: Ed Pinkham
1B: Bub McAtee
2B: Jimmy Wood
3B: Levi Meyerle
SS: Ed Duffy
LF: Fred Treacey
CF: Ned Cuthbert
RF: Clipper Flynn
Charlie Hodes
Forest City (Rockford)
C: Scott Hastings
P: Al Spalding
1B: Joe Doyle
2B: Bob Addy
3B: Tom Foley
SS: Ross Barnes
LF: Fred Cone
CF: Joe Simmons
RF: Gat Stires
Eckfords of Brooklyn
C: Josh Snyder
P: Joe McDermott
1B: Andy Allison
2B: Martin Malone
3B: Ed Duffy
SS: Tom Devyr
LF: Coniglan
CF: Jim Snyder
RF: Dick Hunt
Nat Jewett
Troy Haymakers
C: Mike McGeary
P: John McMullin
1B: Cherokee Fisher
2B: Dick Woolverton
3B: Steve Bellan
SS: Dickie Flowers
LF: Steve King
CF: Tom York
RF: Jim Foran
Forest City (Cleveland)
C: Deacon White
P: Al Pratt
1B: Jim Carleton
2B: Gene Kimball
3B: Ezra Sutton
SS: James Ward
LF: George Heubel
CF: Art Allison
RF: Ed White
New York Mutuals
C: Charlie Mills
P: Rynie Wolters
1B: Everett Mills
2B: Marty Swandell
3B: Candy Nelson
SS: John Hatfield
LF: Dan Patterson
CF: Phonney Martin
RF: Dave Eggler
Washington Olympics
C: Ewell
P: Ed Leech
1B: Nick Young
2B: Andrew Gibney
3B: Philip Culp
SS: Davy Force
LF: Henry Burroughs
CF: Dick Hurley
RF: Val Robinson
Morrisania Unions
C: Dave Birdsall
P: Charlie Pabor
1B: Brown
2B: Dick Higham
3B: Ed Shelley
SS: John Bass
LF: Count Gedney
CF: Henry Austin
RF: John Kenney 
C: Bill Lennon
P: Bobby Mathews
1B: Tom Forker
2B: Charley Bearman
3B: Tom Carey
SS: Wally Goldsmith
LF: Tully Worthington
CF: Ed Mincher
RF: Mike Hooper
Washington Nationals
C: Nat Hicks
P: Hoy
1B: Hodges
2B: Dennis Coughlin
3B: Strong
SS: Pete Shreves
LF: John Hollingshead
CF: Sy Studley
RF: John Glenn
Tri Mountain (Boston)
C: Sullivan
P: Jackson
1B: Record
2B: Frank Barrows
3B: W. Pratt
SS: Freeman
LF: Kelley
CF: Putnam
RF: Sanderson
Plymouth Riverside
C: George Bunting
P: R.J. Fitzsimmons
1B: Milt Sears
2B: H.C. Galliker
3B: Davis
SS: Tom Haines
LF: Adkins
CF: Huddleston
RF: John Riley
Leading Amateur Nines of 1870 (below)
C: Archie Bush
P: Goodwin
1B: Barnes
2B: White
3B: John Reynolds
SS: Gardner Willard
LF: Thorpe
CF: James Wells
RF: William Eustis
Percy Austin
Nathaniel Smith
Pastime (Baltimore)
C: Williams
P: McDonald
1B: Lucas
2B: Buck
3B: Popplein
SS: Annan
LF: Livingston
CF: Bailey
RF: Chenewith
Brooklyn Stars
C: Herbert Jewell
P: Candy Cummings
1B: Packer
2B: E.P. Beavins
3B: Bob Manly
SS: Hy Dollard
LF: Fraley Rogers
CF: Herb Worth
RF: John Clyne
Nat Hicks
M.M. Rogers
Elizabeth Resolutes
C: Furrow
P: Hugh Campbell
1B: Michael Campbell
2B: Ritter
3B: Amory
SS: Greathead
LF: Beardsley
CF: Forsyth
RF: Laing
Middletown Mansfields
C: Selden Plumb
P: Cy Bentley
1B: Noble
2B: Furniss
3B: Jim Tipper
SS: George Fields
LF: Arnold
CF: Smith
RF: Douglas
Seth Plumb
H.A. Plumb
C: Bixby
P: Hopkinson
1B: F. Ketcham
2B: Sharpe
3B: E. Ketcham
SS: Morrison
LF: McDonald
CF: Parr
RF: Williams

Prior to 1883, a club's standing was determined by the number of games won, not by its winning percentage.
The source of the standings are from Marshall Wright's unequaled book, The National Association of Base Ball Players 1857-1870 (see bibliography below). As there were hundreds of teams, we only list all 16 professional teams and the top 25 amateurs for 1870.
We do not have access to complete NABBP records that would show all amateur teams that were members in 1869 or 1870, but we know it is over 500 for both years.

1. Oliver's Optics Magazine: Our Boys and Girls. February 13, 1869. page 109.

National Association of Base Ball Players sources/bibliography:
Baseball: The Early Years by Harold Seymour.
Baseball Before We Knew It: A Search For The Roots Of The Game by David Block.
Baseball in Blue and Gray: The National Pastime during the Civil War by George B. Kirsch.
Baseball (1845-1881): From the newspaper accounts by Preston D. Prem
But Didn't We Have Fun?: An Informal History of Baseball's Pioneer Era, 1843-1870 by Peter Morris
Early Innings: A Documentary History by Dean A. Sullivan
The National Association of Base Ball Players, 1857-1870 by Marshall D. Wright.
Playing for Keeps: A History of Early Baseball by Warren Goldstein.
When Johnny Came Sliding Home: The Post-Civil War Baseball Boom, 1865-1870 by William J. Ryczek

General Baseball History sources/bibliography:
Baseball: A History of America's Game
by Benjamin G. Rader.
Baseball: A Film By Ken Burns (PBS DVD)
The Formation, Sometimes Absorption and Mostly Inevitable Demise of 18 Professional Baseball Organizations, 1871 to Present by David Pietrusza.
The Great 19th Century Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball, 2nd Edition by David Nemec.
Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 by Dean A. Sullivan.
Middle Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1900-1948 by Dean A. Sullivan.
Late Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball 1945-1972 by Dean A. Sullivan
Past Time: Baseball as History by Jules Tygiel
America's National Game: Historic Facts Concerning the Beginning, Evolution, Development and Popularity of Baseball by Albert Spalding
Total Baseball: The Ultimate Baseball Encyclopedia by John Thorn, et al.


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--Patrick Mondout



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