From SABR member Skip Nipper at 262 Down Right on October 5, 2016:
Area amateur baseball had flourished since the end of the Civil War, and the “Nashvilles” were the premier local team. But with the expansion of professional ball clubs throughout the south, it was necessary to stock a club with players who played for pay.
Paying players moved a team a step closer to winning championships, which up to that time had been mythical (such as “the champions of Tennessee”) with no bearing on anything except for proper boasting at the local tavern and in newsprint. But as professional baseball was growing, challenges to championship caliber teams would necessitate an upgrade in the roster.
The only way, was to pay. Improving the quality of play would also bring a successful club to the attention to those who were considering forming a southern league, as there were moves to organize leagues across the country.
An article in the Nashville Daily American on October 9, 1884, described the formation of a professional baseball team for Nashville, the first for the city.
Read the full article here: https://262downright.com/2016/10/05/first-nashville-professional-games-in-1884/
Originally published: October 5, 2016. Last Updated: October 5, 2016.