If you thought that today’s professional baseball league began in New York, you wouldn’t be alone, but you’d be wrong. The first fully professional team, the Red Stockings, actually hailed from Cincinnati, Ohio. Though the game had been played around the country for years, the Cincinnati team was the first to put all its players under contract in 1869. Under the leadership of captain Harry Wright, “the Red Stockings went 57-0 to record the only undefeated season in baseball history and drew an estimated 200,000 spectators,” according to the site, 1869 Cincinnati Reds.
The team lives on today as one of several vintage clubs using rules that date back to the Civil War, old-timey uniforms and knicknames like Ice Wagon, Slide Rule and One Sock. The tradition stretches across the country. Ohio alone fields a full 24 teams.
Whether you’re catching a modern day game, complete with gloves and high-stakes trades, or in the mood for something a little more nostalgic, these sheet music covers will help you celebrate the sport.
And listen to Arthur Collins performing “That Baseball Rag” in 1913, over at the Library of Congress’ Jukebox.
“Brooklyn fits the Dodgers like a glove,” goes the 1957 song: