1860-1870: The Athletic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia were one of the dominant teams of the area. Philadelphia had been one of the first cities to have baseball games played by local amateurs. The Athletic Club first gained attention, when Harper’s Weekly chronicled a match between Athletic and Atlantic of Brooklyn for the amateur baseball championship in 1866. A famous Harper’s illustration shows the Athletic players in uniforms with the familiar blackletter “A” on front. As newspapers began covering baseball, they were referred to as the Philadelphia Athletics.
1871: With the growth of baseball, came the first professional league the National Association, naturally the Philadelphia Athletics would be one the formally amateur teams to join. Managed by Dick McBride, the Athletics were one of the National Association’s strongest teams that inaugural season. Leading the way was Third Baseman Levi Meyerle, who led the league with an incredible .492 average with four home runs and 40 RBI in 28 games. Philadelphia had the best hitting team in the league, with Ned Cuthbert hitting three homers with 30 RBI, while Al Reach hit .353 with 34 Runs Batted In. Pitching was left to Dick McBride, who won 18 games as the Philadelphia Athletics won the league’s first championship with a record of 21-7.
1872: As the baseball continued to grow, the National Association began playing a fuller schedule. The Philadelphia Athletics played fewer games than the rest of the league, but continued to be one of the stronger teams, posting the second highest win percentage with a record of 30-14. Cap Anson was the Athletics leading hitter, with a .415 average as Dick McBride continued to serve as manager and pitcher.
1873: Cap Anson continued to develop into the best player of the 19th Century, posting a batting average of .398 with 36 RBI, while Wes Fisler drove in 41 runs, with Cherokee Fisher knocking home 37. However, the offense was not enough to lift the Philadelphia Athletics beyond fifth place, as they finished with a record of 28-23.
1874: Pitcher-Manager Dick McBride has his finest season, with an ERA of 1.64, pitching every inning of every game to lead the Philadelphia Athletics to a third place finish at 33-22. The Athletics leading hitter was John McMullin who had a .346 average with two home runs and 32 RBI, while Cap Anson hit .335 with 37 Runs Batted In.
1875: The Philadelphia Athletics remained one of the National Association’s best teams, finishing in second place with a record of 53-20. George Hall has a big season, batting .299 with four home runs and a team best 62 RBI, while Cap Anson took over as manager in the middle of the season, posting an average of .325 with 58 RBI. It would be the final season of the National Association, as the ownership of the Chicago White Stockings sought to create a league with more structure.
1876: The Philadelphia Athletics would join the new more structured National League, but took a big blow when they lost Cap Anson to the Chicago White Stockings. A strong contender in the National Association, the Athletics struggled in the new league posting a record of 14-45 and finishing seventh among the eight teams in the National League’s first year. Levi Meyerle, who hit .340 was Philadelphia’s top hitter, while Lon Knight, posted a record of 10-22 with an ERA of 2.62. Financially troubled the Athletics refused to take part in a Western road trip leading to the expulsion from the National League and eventually the folding of the franchise.
©MMVI Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, statistics, logos, and team names are property of Major League Baseball. This site is not affiliated with the Philadelphia Athletics or Major League Baseball. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on July 19, 2016. Last updated on July 19, 2016 at 11:05 pm ET.