From SABR member Craig B. Waff at Our Game on November 25, 2011:
This match will create unusual interest, as it will decide which Club is entitled to the distinction of being perhaps the “first nine in America.”1—Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 13, 1860
The Atlantics now wear the “belt,” and this contest will be a regular battle for the championship.2—Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 16, 1860
The above quotations were part of the buildup to a series of games in the summer of 1860 that many at the time considered would definitively determine the first true “champion” among the senior clubs in the Greater New York City region. Such a determination would, alas, not come to pass, as will be related later in this essay, but it is perhaps worthwhile to explore how the concept of a champion, or top-ranked, team evolved in the early history of the game.
The idea of designating a “champion” team was not even considered by the earliest ball players in the 1840s and the early 1850s, who envisioned the game as being played primarily for physical exercise.
Read the full article here: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2011/11/25/atlantics-and-excelsiors-compete-for-the-championship-1860/
Originally published: December 2, 2011. Last Updated: December 2, 2011.