Brooklyn Atlantics (1855-1875)
- Win-Loss Record: 293-189-9 (.606)
- Ballparks: Capitoline Grounds, Brownsville, Brooklyn (May 5, 1864-Oct. 9, 1872); Union Grounds, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (May 7, 1873-Oct. 9, 1875)
Brooklyn Atlantics (II): 40-60-5 (.390) (1884)
- Ballparks: Washington Park I (May 12, 1883-May 4, 1889) (2,000)
Beginnings in 1855
The name Brooklyn Atlantics goes back as far as 1855, when the Atlantic Baseball Club of Brooklyn, often called the Brooklyn Atlantics, was formed on August 14th. The team played between 1855 and 1870, and won several amateur championships. Famous players on the team included Dickey Pearce.
In an article in the October 28, 1893 edition of Sporting Life, Henry Chadwick recalled the 1855 Atlantic Club and published the box score of the very first game. He also gave details about what had happened to those players in later life.
The name "Atlantics" is derived from Atlantic Avenue, the main street in the city of Brooklyn, NY.
A Great Game in 1870
"One of the greatest games every played with the largest attendance in Brooklyn was the Atlantic-Cincinnati game on the Capitoline Grounds, on June 14, 1870. It created more excitement than any game that was ever played in this city. . . It was the first time an admission fee of 50 cents was charged at the Capitoline Grounds. . . The Cincinnatis had not lost a game from the Fall of 1868 up to the time they met the Atlantics . . . The Atlantics were the last to defeat them in 1868 and the first in 1870, and in this later game the Atlantics were victorious by the score of 8 to 7, in an 11-inning game . . . The army of people present were wild with delight and most of the Atlantic players were carried around the field on the shoulders of their friends. . . After the game the Atlantic players and their friends gathered at their headquarters downtown . . . It seemed more like a political mass-meeting. Speeches were made . . . The following evening the Atlantics were entertained at a banquet . . ." - Sporting Life, June 24, 1916, quoting the reminiscences of Jack Chapman, one of the Atlantics
1872-1875 in the National Association
The name was also used by a team in the National Association of Base Ball Players from 1872 to 1875. The 1875 edition of the team was particularly dreadful, finishing with a record of 2-42, a whopping 51 1/2 games behind the pennant-winning Boston Red Stockings, and the team never had winning season.
The team is infamous among baseball researchers for the number of players that appeared for the team about whom almost nothing is known. For example, as of 2019, there were 9 discrete Atlantics players for which a first name was missing, including a whopping 7 from the 1875 team; this accounted for nearly a quarter of all players in baseball history for which a first name was missing!
1884 in the American Association
In their one season when they were called the Brooklyn Atlantics in the major league American Association, in 1884, the team played in Washington Park, were managed by George Taylor and finished in ninth place (in a 13-team league). No player that played for the Brooklyn Atlantics has been inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame.
The Brooklyn Atlantics next played as the Brooklyn Grays from 1885 to 1887.
The Los Angeles Dodgers franchise can trace its roots back to the 1884 Brooklyn Atlantics, as the American Association club eventually joined the National League and became the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Sources and Further Reading
- "The Nameless", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, July/August 2019, p. 7.
- 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)
- Richard Hershberger: "Did New York Steal the Championship of 1867 from Philadelphia?", in Morris Levin, ed.: From Swampoodle to South Philly: Baseball in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley, The National Pastime, SABR, 2013, pp. 22-27.
- James L. Terry: Long Before the Dodgers: Baseball in Brooklyn, McFarland, Jefferson, NC 2002. ISBN 978-0-7864-1229-7
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