Major League Baseball (MLB) is a beloved institution in American sports, with a rich history that dates back to the 19th century. The league's origins are rooted in two separate entities, the National League (NL) and the American League (AL), each with their own set of founding teams. This blog post will delve into the original eight teams from both leagues that laid the foundation for what MLB is today.
The National League's Founding Eight
The National League was established on February 2, 1876, marking the beginning of professional baseball. The league's original eight members were the Boston Red Stockings (now known as the Atlanta Braves), Chicago White Stockings (now the Chicago Cubs), Cincinnati Red Stockings, Hartford Dark Blues, Louisville Grays, Mutual of New York, Philadelphia Athletics, and the St. Louis Brown Stockings.
Among these, the Atlanta Braves hold the distinction of being the oldest continually operating team in North American sports. Originally known as the "Beaneaters" among other nicknames, they adopted the name "Braves" in 1912.
The American League's Inaugural Eight
Fast forward to 1901, the American League was founded as a rival to the National League. The original American League consisted of the Boston Americans, Chicago White Stockings, Cleveland Bluebirds, Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers, and Washington Senators.
These teams, along with their National League counterparts, played a crucial role in shaping the landscape of professional baseball in America. They set the stage for the first World Series held in 1903, marking the beginning of an annual tradition where the best team from each league competes for the championship.
Expansion and Evolution
From 1901 to 1960, both the American and National Leagues fielded eight teams each. However, the 1960s saw an expansion in MLB, adding eight more teams, including the first non-U.S. team, the Montreal Expos. Despite the changes and expansions over the years, the legacy of the original sixteen teams remains intact. They paved the way for the evolution of Major League Baseball, setting standards and traditions that continue to be upheld in the sport today.