Boston Nationals

From BR Bullpen

The Boston Nationals was one of the lesser names that was used to refer to the team later known as the Boston Braves during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Following the 1886 season, the team dropped the Red Stockings nickname. Officially the team was known as the Boston Base Ball Association, a name the team had used since its inception on January 20, 1871. It was around this time, that the press started to refer to the team as the Boston Beaneaters.

According to writer Harold Kaese, the team was referred to as the Nationals starting in 1876. The Nationals nickname pertained to the teams belonging to the National League. It was also used as a means of differentiating between teams in other leagues: (Union Association, American Association, Players League and American League). In addition to the Nationals and Beaneaters, the team was also known as the Bostons, Triumvirs (in reference to Boston's owners), and the Seleemen (after manager Frank Selee).

It should be pointed out that players and fans for the most part only referred to the team as Boston or in the team’s early days as the Red Stockings, and did not use the names such as the Beaneaters, Rustlers, etc. These were convenient names created by the press. After the team started to be known as the Braves during the 1912 season, newspapers and baseball cards continued to call the team the Nationals. It has been reported that the name was still being used as late as 1922, even though "Braves" had by then acquired official status and Indian imagery was used on the team's uniforms.


  • Harold Kaese” “Boston Braves, 1871-1953, © 1948, 1954 G.P. Putnam’s Sons; © 2004 Northeastern University Press
  • New York Times: BOSTON NATIONALS WHIP THE YANKEES; Fred Tenney's Team Routs Pitcher Quinn with Fusillade of Hits in Four Innings, Mar. 25, 1911
  • Des Moines Register, Boston Buys Northwestern Players, Aug. 19, 1912
  • Donald Hubbard: The Red Sox Before the Babe: Boston's Early Days in the American League, 1901-1914, McFarland, Oct 1, 2014
  • Reach's official American League Base Ball guide 1908