SABR Digital Library: Boston’s First Nine: The 1871-75 Boston Red Stockings

The newest publication from the SABR Digital Library focuses on the first great dynasty in professional baseball:

Boston’s First Nine: The 1871-75 Boston Red Stockings
Edited by Bob LeMoine and Bill Nowlin
Associate editor: Len Levin

397 pages, 8.5″ x 11″
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-9438-1628-6, $9.99
ISBN (paperback): 978-1-9438-1629-3, $19.95

Before the Boston Red Sox and the Boston Braves, there were the Boston Red Stockings. They were “Boston’s First Nine” and 1871 through 1875, they won four consecutive pennants in the old National Association, considered by many to be baseball’s first major league. In this five-year period, the team only fielded 22 players — but, then again, these were the days of the “one-man rotation.” Who needed two pitchers, when one would do? And if that pitcher was Al Spalding, who won more than 50 games in back-to-back seasons of 1874 and 1875, that one pitcher was pretty good. Of the 22 players on the team, five of them are in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

These were different days. The game was played a little differently from today — but not that differently. Take some time and enjoy the work of 38 SABR members. Several are among our leading 19th-century baseball experts; others became enthralled digging into the early days of professional baseball in Boston. There are fascinating stories of the men who played the game, the games, the seasons, the tours of Canada and even England and Ireland, where they took on some of the better cricket players of the British Isles, and beat them, too.

Take a trip back to those glorious days of yesteryear, and see if you don’t become captivated as we were in learning about stories of baseball and life from more than 140 years ago. The book includes recaps of each season, 1871-75, informative articles about the team and front office, and player biographies.

Contributors include: Matt Albertson, David Arcidiacono, Andrew Arends, Charlie Bevis, Christopher J. Devine, Paul E. Doutrich, Brian Engelhardt, Charles F. Faber, Scott Fiesthumel, Terry D. Gottschall, Gerry Goulet, Donna L. Halper, Richard Hershberger, Joanne Hulbert, Jay Hurd, Bill Lamb, Bob LeMoine, Len Levin, Michael R. McAvoy, David McDonald, William McMahon, Eric Miklich, Peter Morris, David Nemec, Bill Nowlin, Mark Pestana, Mike Richard, Bob Ruzzo, William J. Ryczek, Mark Souder, David C. Southwick, Mark S. Sternman, John Thorn, Richard “Dixie” Tourangeau, Joe Williams, Jim Wohlenhaus, Gregory H. Wolf, and John Zinn.


SABR members, get this e-book for FREE!

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About the SABR Digital Library

For more than 40 years, SABR and its members have led the way in publishing the best baseball historical and statistical research. Our publications program is shifting to take advantage of new methods of publishing. Not only will we continue to publish new books like Can He Play? A Look At Baseball Scouts and Their Profession (released in December 2011); Opening Fenway Park in Style: The 1912 World Champion Red Sox (May 2012); Detroit Tigers 1984: What A Start! What A Finish! (December 2012); Sweet ’60: The 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates (April 2013); Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (July 2013); Thar’s Joy in Braveland: The 1957 Milwaukee Braves (May 2014); Detroit the Unconquerable: The 1935 Detroit Tigers (December 2014); Winning on the North Side: The 1929 Chicago Cubs (February 2015); Scandal on the South Side: The 1919 Chicago White Sox (June 2015); The Team That Time Won’t Forget: The 1951 New York Giants (December 2015); Nuclear Powered Baseball/The Simpsons (February 2016), Au jeu/Play Ball: The 50 Greatest Games in the History of the Montreal Expos (April 2016); and Cuban Baseball Legends (July 2016), which showcase the best efforts of SABR’s members, chapters and committees, but new technology makes it possible for us to bring out-of-print titles like Run, Rabbit, Run: The Hilarious and Mostly True Tales of Rabbit Maranville (February 2012), Great Hitting Pitchers (March 2012), Nineteenth Century Stars (August 2012); Batting (January 2013); The Fenway Project (September 2013); and ’75: The Red Sox Team That Saved Baseball (April 2015) back again.

Books will be available in digital formats as well as paperbacks produced by “print on demand” (POD).

SABR members will get discounted rates for all Digital Library publications, including many for free. If you’re not a member, click here to join SABR.

Stay tuned throughout the year for new (and old!) titles that we’ll be adding to the SABR Digital Library. To learn more about SABR Publications, contact Publications Editor Cecilia Tan at

Originally published: September 20, 2016. Last Updated: August 6, 2020.