Click here to go to our Baseball home page!
BaseballChronology Entire Web
AS | Awards | Hall | Leaders | Leagues | Parks | People | Postseason | Seasons | Teams

"Why do I have to be an example to your kid? You be an example for your own kid."
--Bob Gibson, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher (in 1970 sounding like Charles Barkley)


Fort Wayne Kekiongas History

By Patrick Mondout

The Kekionga Base-Ball Club of Fort Wayne (or "Fort Wayne Kekiongas") were a short-lived franchise in the National Association (NA). The team represented Fort Wayne, Indiana and participated in the first ever Major League game.

At a glance...
Franchise Facts
Established 1868
Disbanded  1871
Located Fort Wayne, Indiana
Executives George Mayers
Year by Year Results
W L %
1871  7 12 .368
NABBP (1868-1870)
National Association (1871)
NA Titles (0)
Kekionga of Fort Wayne (1871)
Kekionga Base Ball Grounds (1871)
Top Performances

The team was founded as an amateur team in the old NABBP in 1868, but were never a very good team and it is remarkable that they should hold a relatively important sport in the history of the sport.

The 1870 team was a bit of a joke. They traveled from town to town getting whacked by the local nines and then went home, waited a week or so, and then sent out telegrams saying that they had "reorganized" before heading out for another beating. The March 10, 1871 Chicago Tribune therefore delighted in reporting that the Kekiongas had announced that they had "reorganized" and that they "now feel confident of holding their position among the first clubs of the country during the upcoming season."

The only notable requirement for a team to join the National Association was a $10 entry fee, and hence an obscure and soon-to-be-disbanded team from a small town managed to secure a permanent place in the history of the sport.

The team, which had been made up primarily of former members of the 1870 Maryland Club of Baltimore (C Bill Lennon, P Bobby Mathews, 3B Tom Carey, SS Wally Goldsmith, and CF Ed Mincher), started out strong enough. The Kekionga won the first ever major league game on May 4, 1871 against the Forest Citys of Cleveland. Unfortunately it was one of only seven victories the team would claim before dropping out of the NA.

Former Philadelphia Athletic Jim Foran was the hitting star on the team, leading the Kekionga in just about every offensive category. Despite only being 23 years old, he was never heard from again.

Those interested in the history of baseball in Fort Wayne should check out Chad Gramling's definitive book, Baseball in Fort Wayne and our page on a ballpark in Fort Wayne that was used by the 1902 Cleveland Blues (now known as the Indians).

National Association 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.
Blackguards and Red Stockings by William J. Ryczek
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

David Nemec, the tireless 19th Century Baseball researcher, has also written a novel called Early Dreams, which takes place during this era and features real-life characters such as Cap Anson, George Wright, and Henry Lucas.

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.


Share Your Memories!

Our sites have always been by you and about you. If you check our TV Forums or our Technology & Science forums, you'll find literally thousands of messages from fans of 1970s TV shows, survivors of hurricanes or aircraft accidents, etc. from all over the world sharing their memories, asking questions, making comments. Our baseball section is new, but don't let that stop you from sharing your memories of the first game you went to, your favorite player, a now-forgotten stadium, etc. Of course you can also ask questions, post trivia, tell the world what you think of Barry Bonds, or just read what others are saying.

--Patrick Mondout



The 1871 Kekiongas, featuring Bobby Mathews.

Kekiongas Collectibles!
Kekiongas Memorabilia!
Kekiongas cards!
Kekiongas Tickets!
Kekiongas Jerseys & Apparel!
Game Used Memorabilia!

Register on eBay for free today and start buying & selling with millions each week!

AS | Awards | Hall | Leaders | Leagues | Parks | People | Postseason | Seasons | Teams

Copyright 2004-2017, All Rights Reserved.
Use of this site is subject to our Terms of Service.
Privacy Statement

Logos and team names may be trademarks of their respective franchises or leagues. This site is not recognized, approved, sponsored by, or endorsed by Major League Baseball nor any sports league or team. Any marks, terms, or logos are used for editorial/identification purposes and are not claimed as belonging to this site or its owners.
Any statistical data provided courtesy of Retrosheet (see credits).