Photo: Transcendental Graphics/ Getty Images
Professional baseball was born 150 years ago, when the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first team to pay all of its players a salary. Here, Hemispheres compares that team—whose pitchers threw underhand and fielders played without gloves—to the present-day Cincinnati Reds.
Feet from home plate to the pitcher’s rubber, which was on flat ground in 1869. Today, the distance is 60 feet, 6 inches, and the mound is 10 inches high.
Admission price, in cents, to watch a Red Stockings game in 1869. The lowest price for a ticket to the Reds’ 2019 home opener last month was $45.
Record of the 1869 Red Stockings, who toured the country playing both amateur and professional teams. The 2018 Reds won 10 more games—but lost 95.
Wright’s batting average in 1869. Second baseman Scooter Gennett led the 2018 Reds with an average of .310.
Estimated crowd at an August 26, 1869, Red Stockings home game, including 2,000 fans in temporary seating and others in carriages in the right-field foul ground. Today, Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park holds 42,271.
Length, in feet, of the giant bat presented to the Red Stockings by the Cincinnati Lumber Company, during their streak. Current Reds star Joey Votto’s signature Louisville Slugger is a much more manageable 34 inches long.
Approximate payroll of the 1869 Red Stockings. The Reds 2019 payroll is projected to come in around $120 million—and that’s one of the lowest in MLB.
Home runs hit by the Red Stockings’ George Wright in 1869, likely more than any other player that year, and mostly of the inside-the-park variety. In 2018, Eugenio Suárez led the Reds with 34 homers—all of which left the yard.
Teams in the present-day Vintage Base Ball Association, including one called the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings that plays its games by the same rules as its namesake. At press time, there’s no plan for the Reds, one of 30 current MLB teams, to take on their old-timey counterparts.