National Association of Base Ball Players


NABBP ‘Logo’

The National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP) was the first-ever Baseball league that operated in the mid to late 19th century. In truth it was the first organization to govern any team sport in North America, including Baseball. Note: The sport of Baseball was spelled with two words (‘Base Ball’) in the 19th century.

The first convention of sixteen New York City area clubs in 1857 (167 years ago) effectively ended the Knickerbocker era, during which the rules of the game were largely at the discretion of individual clubs. The NABBP adopted Convention Rules that governed itself as an organization, playing of games, including establishing standards for official scoring, “match” play, a championship, amateurism, and the integrity of the contest to combat hippodroming. Following societal trends in effect at the time, we see acceptance of professionalism during the  1869 season (155 years ago).

The NABBP was founded in 1857 and continued play through to the 1870 season. It ran a haphazard schedule and club 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 a stronger league. The last convention, held in early 1871 (153 years ago), with hundreds of members represented by state associations, provoked the establishment of separate professional and amateur associations.

The strongest clubs of the NABBP established a new professional side named the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players and was the first-ever professional sports league. The amateur clubs of the NABBP adopted National Association of Amateur Base Ball Players as its name to organize non-professional club play. FanSeeStats does not track amateur leagues unless they play a direct role in developing Elite or Major Leagues.

FanSeeStats classifies the NABBP as a Proto-League as some of its clubs attracted the best players of their time, helped create the first professional athletes, and went on to organize an Elite League, the predecessor of the Major Leagues we have today.



Seasons Summary

Individual seasons are not tracked on for Proto-Leagues as the integrity of each season is questionable with fluid team membership and haphazard scheduling. To see Season Standings for the NABBP please visit Retroseasons.

1857Brooklyn Atlantic
1858New York Mutual
1859Brooklyn Atlantic
1860Brooklyn Atlantic
1861Brooklyn Atlantic
1862Brooklyn Ekford
1863Brooklyn Ekford
1864Brooklyn Atlantic
1865Brooklyn Atlantic
1866Brooklyn Atlantic
1867Morrisania Union
1868New York Mutual
1869Brooklyn Atlantic
1870Chicago White Stockings
National Association of Base Ball Players Seasons Summary

League Championship Summary

# of seasons: 14

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

Team# of League Championships
Brooklyn Atlantic8 (1857, 1859-1861, 1864-1866, 1869)
New York Mutual2 (1858, 1868)
Brooklyn Ekford2 (1862-1863)
Morrisania Union1 (1867)
Chicago White Stockings1 (1870)
National Association of Base Ball Players League Championship Summary

League Dissolution & Legacy

Early in 1871 (153 years ago) the NABBP folded when the majority of its biggest clubs decided to form a new, professional-only league. These clubs where the Chicago White Stockings, Cleveland Forest Citys, New York Mutuals, Philadelphia Athletics, Rockford Forest Citys, and Washington Olympics who would go on to form the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players.

Future Features