In early 1869, Harry Wright of the Cincinnati Base Ball Club made an anuncement to the sporting press: the Red Stockings would be the first all-professional club in the history of the game. The outcry could be heard in nearly every town in which the sport was played. Wright, however, paid little heed to their protests and went about his business of signing players. By the start of the season he had inked ten players to contracts, with salaries ranging from $600 to $1,400 annually. By June of 1870, the Red Stockings had compiled a 90-game winning streak and were recognized as the finest team in the game. How the Red Stockings were formed, who the players were, and why things came to an end are all fully covered in this detailed history.
Attorney Stephen D. Guschov has taught a Baseball and the Law course at the Massachusetts School of Law in Andover, and has written for Boston Baseball. He lives in Maitland, Florida.