Major League Baseball evolved more than it was invented, but generally everyone agrees on 1869 as the date after which baseball was a truly professional pursuit. That was when the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first all-salaried baseball team. Prior to that teams paid some players, but not all, and majority professional teams would often play fully amateur clubs on the regular.
1869 was 150 years ago and, since people like numbers that are divisible by 5, 10, and 25, Major League Baseball is going to commemorate the occasion:
Major League Baseball Clubs will wear an MLB 150 patch on the right sleeve of their jerseys for the entire season in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first openly all-salaried professional baseball team – the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. All MLB Clubs will feature an MLB 150 patch on caps on Opening Day, March 28 . . . Throughout the season, MLB will create original content to pay tribute to its history while connecting it to the players and game today. The season-long recognition will extend across MLB media including MLB Network, MLB.com and MLB Social Media platforms.
Contrary to popular belief, the Cincinnati Reds are not, in fact, the direct descendants of the 1869 Red Stockings. That club didn’t last and, in reality, the Atlanta Braves have the closest claim to their history. The team that eventually became the Braves were founded as the Boston Red Stockings in 1871 by the guy who had started, and then folded, the Cincinnati version of the Red Stockings. Still, the Reds laid claim to that history long ago and the Braves have never seemed too hung up on claiming it. As such, the Reds are the individual team doing the most to commemorate 1869. Throwback uniforms and all kinds of fun stuff can be found at that link.
Just for the record: as a Braves fan I’m totally cool with the Reds laying claim to that history. Baseball and place go hand-in-hand and my view of it is that a team’s history is owned more by its fans than the business entity which owns the trademarks. The Braves moved cities twice and, as far as I’m concerned, can’t now claim some spiritual connection to Milwaukee or Boston, let alone that Red Stockings club that, same owner notwithstanding, has nothing to do with them. Legally and technically speaking that team had nothing to do with the current Reds either, but they do lay valid claim to the history of baseball in Cincinnati, so let your Redlegs flag fly, Reds folks.
Anyway, here’s that 150 patch the teams will be wearing: