From SABR member Bill Ryczek at The National Pastime Museum on March 28, 2014:
Before baseball had leagues, and before there was even an effective method of determining a champion, the 1869 Red Stockings of Cincinnati were the most famous team. Captained by the estimable Harry Wright and bolstered by a number of high-salaried imports, the Red Stockings toured the East and shocked the baseball world by beating every one of the powerful New York and Philadelphia nines. After returning to Cincinnati, they went in the opposite direction, traveling to California on the recently completed transcontinental railroad. Baseball was relatively new on the West Coast, and the Red Stockings defeated the local clubs easily.
When the season ended, the Red Stockings had won 57 games, lost none, and tied one, a contested affair in which their opponents, the Haymakers of Troy, walked off the field after a dispute with the umpire. There had been undefeated teams in previous seasons, but none had played anywhere near 58 games.
The Red Stockings began the 1870 season with another 23 victories, stretching their winning streak (excluding the disputed tie) to 80 games. As they had the previous year, the club left Cincinnati for a long road trip that would begin on May 31 in Cleveland and end on June 28 in Washington, D.C. On June 14, the Cincinnati nine would face the famed Atlantics of Brooklyn, the dominant club of the previous decade. On their 1869 tour, the Red Stockings had defeated the Atlantics by the one-sided score of 32–10.
Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/though-beaten-not-disgraced
Originally published: March 28, 2014. Last Updated: March 28, 2014.