Issue Date: September 24, 1969
City: Cincinnati, OH
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed, engraved
Color: Yellow, red, black and green
First Professional Baseball Team – Cincinnati Red Stockings
Americans began playing baseball in the early 1800s, as informal teams using local rules. By the mid 1800s, the sport was considered America’s “national pastime.” In 1869 the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first salaried team, making them baseball’s first professional baseball team. The highest salary was $1,400 for the season, which is equivalent to $145,000 in modern wages. They finished their first year with 65 wins and 0 losses, generating a profit of $1.39.
The team continued their winning streak until their 81st game, which they lost to the Brooklyn Atlantics 8-7. With the loss, fans quit going to games and the Cincinnati Gazette proclaimed, “baseball mania has run its course. It has no future as a professional endeavor.”
In 1870 the team moved to Boston, where they became the Boston Red Sox. It wasn’t long before Cincinnati had a new baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds.