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First Professional Baseball Game: May 4, 1869

Cincinatti, OH

The first professional baseball game was played between the Cincinnati Red Stockings and the Cincinnati Great Westerns. An outdoor game like baseball became popular in the 1840s with the organization of the first baseball club, the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York City. In 1858, a National Association of Base Ball Players was formed. The original baseball clubs were local, social and amateur, but rivalry between clubs soon led to payments to recruit talented players. By 1868, the Association agreed to “recognize and govern” professional players. The Red Stockings took the field in 1869 as the first all-professional team, and the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players formed two years later.


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