American Association of Base Ball Clubs


The American Association of Base Ball Clubs (AA)  was a professional baseball league that operated in the late 19th century. It was founded as a competitor to the National League (NL), by offering cheaper ticket prices, Sunday games, and alcoholic beverages to its patrons. Note: The sport of Baseball was spelled with two words (‘Base Ball’) in the 19th century.

The AA was founded in 1882 and continued play to the 1891 season.  The AA distinguished itself in several ways from what it considered to be the puritanical National League (NL). The new league established teams in cities the NL looked down on including Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville and St. Louis, with the inherent implication of lower morality or social standards in those cities. The NL at that time prohibited the sale of alcohol on its grounds, while the AA had no such restrictions, especially as several of its teams were backed by breweries and distilleries which was looked down upon by the NL.

Beginning in 1884 and continuing through to the 1891 season, the champion of the AA met the champion of the NL in an early version of the World Series. These early Series were less organized than the modern version, with as few as three games played and as many as fifteen. The NL won four of these Series, while the AA won only one, and two ended in disputed ties.

FanSeeStats classifies the American Association as a Rival League as it was a Big Sports league that competed against the Major Sports Leagues and eventually folded or became absorbed into the Big Leagues.


Rival League

Seasons Summary

YearChampion# of Teams
1882Cincinnati Red Stockings6
1883Philadelphia Athletics8
1884New York Metropolitans13
1885St. Louis Browns8
1886St. Louis Browns8
1887St. Louis Browns8
1888St. Louis Browns8
1889Brooklyn Bridegrooms8
1890Louisville Colonels9
1891Boston Reds9
American Association of Base Ball Clubs Seasons Summary

League Championship Summary

# of seasons: 10

List of teams who won championships sorted by number of championships.

Team# of League Championships
St. Louis Browns4 (1885-1888)
Cincinnati Red Stockings1 (1882)
Philadelphia Athletics1 (1883)
New York Metropolitans1 (1884)
Brooklyn Bridegrooms1 (1889)
Louisville Colonels1 (1890)
Boston Reds1 (1891)
American Association of Base Ball Clubs Championship Summary

League Dissolution & League Legacy

After ten seasons, the AA folded in 1891 (133 years ago) but it left a legacy with the teams that moved over to the NL. The Pittsburgh Pirates moved to the NL for the 1887 season, the Brooklyn Bridegrooms/Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds moved to the NL for the 1890 season, and the St. Louis Browns/Cardinals moved to the NL for the 1892 season after the AA folded. The AA demonstrated some on-field dominance when it twice won and twice ‘tied’ the World Series that was played against the stronger NL between 1884 and 1890.

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