True West
SIx Guns Sluggers Image Credit: True West
SIx Guns Sluggers Image Credit: True West

Six Guns & Sluggers

HOW 150 YEARS AGO BASEBALL’S CINCINNATI RED STOCKINGS INVADED THE WEST BY RAIL AND SEEDED THE NATIONAL PASTIME ACROSS THE WESTERN FRONTIER.

Jeff Orens

Two sesquicentennial anniversaries in 2019 will commemorate landmark events in the history of the American West. When gold and silver spikes were gently tapped into place in a ceremonial laurelwood rail tie at Promontory Summit in Utah Territory to symbolize the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad on May 10, 1869, it opened the West as never before. Earlier in the year, the Red Stockings of Cincinnati became the first all-salaried, professional team in the fledgling sport of baseball. Undefeated as the year progressed, the Red Stockings rode these rails in mid-September to introduce professional ball beyond the Mississippi. The West offered opportunity and adventure, attracting people from around the world who flocked to the California gold rush of ’49 and the Comstock silver lode in ’59. Now, in 1869, these professionals came west to demonstrate their wealth of baseball riches to overmatched but eager ball clubs with a hankering to be part of the Red Stockings’ historic season.

There was never a team like the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. They attracted an array of astonishing baseball talent that registered the only undefeated season in professional baseball history. Their centerfielder/manager, Harry Wright was an astute baseball mind, inventing now well-accepted teamwork technique


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