National Association of Professional Base Ball Players


NA ‘Logo’

The National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NA), was the first-ever baseball league that operated in the late 19th century. Often known simply as the National Association, it was the first fully-professional sports league in all of sport, including Baseball. Note: The sport of Baseball was spelled with two words (‘Base Ball’) in the 19th century.

The NA was founded in 1871 and continued play through to the 1875 season. It incorporated several professional clubs from its predecessor the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP). The NA was fully professional unlike the NABBP but still ran a haphazard schedule and league roster with clubs coming and going in-season and between-seasons. While the league itself was not strong, it created just enough cohesion for some of the strongest clubs to want to establish an even stronger league.

FanSeeStats classifies the NA as an Elite League as it attracted top player talent, was home to some of the richest teams, and these teams went on to organize or enhance a Major League.


Elite League

Seasons Summary

YearChampion# of Teams
1871Philadelphia Athletics9
1872Boston Red Stockings11
1873Boston Red Stockings9
1874Boston Red Stockings8
1875Boston Red Stockings13
National Association of Professional Base Ball Players Seasons Summary

League Championship Summary

# of seasons: 5

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

Team# of League Championships
Boston Red Stockings4 (1872-1875)
Philadelphia Athletics1 (1871)
National Association of Professional Base Ball Players Championship Summary

League Dissolution & Legacy

Early in 1876 (148 years ago) the NA folded when six clubs decided to fix the problems with the league. These clubs were the Boston Red Stockings (later the Boston Braves, then the Milwaukee Braves, now the Atlanta Braves, not to be confused with the present-day Boston Red Sox of the later American League), Chicago White Stockings (now the Chicago Cubs, not to be confused with the current Chicago White Sox of the American League), Hartford Dark Blues, New York Mutual, Philadelphia Athletics, and St. Louis Brown Stockings who would go on to form the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs.

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