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Boston Red Caps

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Boston Red Caps: (Apr. 22, 1876-Oct. 2, 1882)

[edit] Team History

When the National League was formed on Feb. 2, 1876 at the Grand Central Hotel in Manhattan, New York, the league consisted of 8 founding members. 6 were from the old National Association, while 2 were brand new teams. Of the 8 teams that inaugural year, two of those teams had the same nickname: The Boston Red Stockings and the Cincinnati Red Stockings. Officially the team would use this name until 1883. However, to avoid confusion between the two Red Stockings teams, particularly Boston’s first seven seasons in the National League, historians have given the nickname "Red Caps" to the Boston franchise.

Like the team's first season in the National Association, the 1876 season was one of uncertainty. This was due to the fact that over the off-season, most of the players left the Red Caps, including founding players Al Spalding, Ross Barnes, and Cal McVey. They along with catcher Deacon White jumped to the Chicago White Stockings, when White Stockings' President William Hulbert offered them better deals. But Wright still had veteran Red Caps' players in his brother George Wright, Andy Leonard, as well as Jim O'Rourke, Harry Schafer, and Jack Manning to go along with the newcomers, who included Harry and George's younger brother Sam Wright.

As with their first season in the National Association, the Red Caps did not win the inaugural pennant. The pennant instead went to the White Stockings. This gave Spalding and Barnes their fifth straight pennant, and McVey his fourth. The Red Caps however finished in fourth place, one slot lower than they had in 1871. During the off-season, Wright did as usual, his tinkering of the team to get better. It also saw the return of catcher Deacon White who now played first base. Wright's tinkering paid off. The Red Caps would then win the next two pennants, but were denied a third straight pennant by the Providence Grays, who were led by brother George. The team would decline over the next two seasons, producing back-to-back losing seasons.

During the off-season, Harry Wright left the team whether he was fired or resigned, is not known. What is known is that he would manage the Providence Grays for the next season. To replace Wright as manager, Red Caps owner Arthur Soden selected John Morrill to manage the team. Morrill would lead the team to a 45-39-1 record and a 3rd place finish in the standings. It was the team's first winning season since 1879. Prior to the start of the 1883 season, the team would drop the Red Stockings' name and would popularly be referred to as the Boston Beaneaters.


[edit] Further Reading

  • Peter Filichia: Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebrations of All 273 Major League and Negro League Ballparks Past and Present, Addison Wesley Publishing Company (March 1993)
  • Gary Caruso: The Braves Encyclopedia, Temple University Press, 1995
  • A History of the Boston Base Ball Club ...: A Concise and Accurate History of Base Ball from Its Inception, M.F. Quinn & Company, 1897
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