View Full Version : Today is the 139th Anniversary of the 1st Pro League Game

05-04-2010, 10:36 AM
In checking for something else on today's date, I happened to notice that today is the 139th anniversary of the first game played in a professional league, the National Association of Baseball Players. The Fort Wayne Kekiongas beat Cleveland Forest Citys 2-0 with Deacon Jim White getting the first hit, a double. Attendance for the Thursday opener was just 200, a fact bemoaned by many of the posters on ForestCitysZone down at the corner tavern.

White later played three seasons for the 1878-1880 Reds, batting .318 during that time. He had a 20 year career.


05-04-2010, 02:40 PM
Here's a recounting of this historic game from Retrosheet:


BTW, this strikes me as an unusual low scoring game (2-0) for the time. Weren't they still have like 27-15 games and such then?

05-04-2010, 07:47 PM
Here's a little more that I came across about the Deacon White and the first game:

The National Association was formed in 1871. Loose in organization though it was, it must be considered the first professional league. When the Forest Cities played the Kekiongas of Fort Wayne, at Fort Wayne, May 4, 1871, White was given the opportunity to lay claim to a number of "firsts.” He became the first man to come to bat in a major league game; he made the first base hit, the first extra-base hit, a double, and also gained the dubious distinction of being the first major leaguer to be extinguished in a double play. White was 3 for 4 that day and handled 9 fielding chances, but his team lost to Fort Wayne, 2-0.

This is an excerpt from a piece at SABR about Deacon White (including his time in Cincinnati