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Exhibition Baseball Americana

First Nine of the Cincinnati Red Stockings. Chromolithograph. Cincinnati: Tuchfarber, Walkley & Moellmann, 1869. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (015.00.00)

Turning Professional

Baseball’s transition from a partially amateur to an openly professional game was sealed in 1869. The Cincinnati Red Stockings boasted the country’s first fully salaried starting nine and swept through their season schedule undefeated. The team’s success, celebrated in this ornate portrait print, quickly convinced other owners to stock their clubs exclusively with paid players, and amateurs were soon banned outright from playing in the major leagues.