Albertson: The City Series: A Philadelphia baseball tradition

From SABR member Matt Albertson at Sports Talk Philly on September 16, 2017:

The Oakland Athletics will make a rare trip to Philadelphia for a three game series from September 15-17. No doubt that the overwhelming majority of fans at Citizens Bank Park will be more excited to receive a Rhys Lightning t-shirt during that series, but I’m thrilled for another reason: It will only be the fourth regular season series played between the Phillies and Athletics, and will serve as a faint reminder of the bygone City Series – exhibitions played between two Philadelphia major league clubs over the course of 71 years between 1883 and 1954. 

Philadelphia was a baseball crazed city ever since clubs began to form in the city during the 1860s, most notable of which was the Athletic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia. The Athletics were among the 12 first fully professional clubs in 1869, were the first champions of the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players in 1871 and joined the newly formed National League in 1876.

The A’s were expelled from the League that winter as a result of their refusal to go on a late-season western road trip. From 1877-1881, Major League Baseball was not played in America’s second largest metropolis but that changed in 1882, when the newly formed American Association placed a club in National League-less Philadelphia. Team proprietors needed name recognition to sell tickets and chose to name the club the Athletics. The National League quickly took note and established a club in Philadelphia – the Phillies were born.

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Originally published: September 18, 2017. Last Updated: September 18, 2017.