Washington Nationals (NA)

Washington Nationals (NA)

The Washington Nationals of 1859–1872 were the first important baseball club in the nation's capital, who played part of one season in the National Association, the first professional league. So they are considered a major league team by those who count the NA as a major league. Several baseball clubs in Washington have used the historic name "Nationals".


The 1872 Nationals home games were played at Nationals Grounds in Washington, D.C.. They lost all 11 games before going out of business.

The manager was 21-year-old Joe Miller, a native of Germany. Their top hitter was second baseman Holly Hollingshead, who went 15-for-44, a batting average of .341.


The 1875 NA rendition fared better, as they won 5 games and lost 23. Hollingshead was again their top hitting regular, though with a much lower batting average of .247. He was also one of the club's managers, along with Bill Parks.

The Washingtons went out of business in St. Louis, Missouri, after playing the local Red Stockings on July 3 and July 4. Next day the players announced by telegraph that a club official had absconded with the funds but (Ryczek 1992: 194) concludes that "the tale had been planted by the players in an effort to find enough good samaritans to foot the bill for the trip home". The club probably failed by "unappealing play" and consequent receipts too small to support travel. On the final trip, they lost two in Philadelphia and five of six in St. Louis. The final game was a 12-5 victory but the two local teams outscored Washington 42-5 in the first five games, which must have been repelling. [Independence Day or July 4 was a vital date for all ballclubs that played for paying customers. In 1875, it fell on Sunday, when many people resisted commercial baseball and most locales outlawed it. The Red Stockings - Washington game was the only NA game played that day. The Brown Stockings and White Stockings played on Saturday in Chicago and on Monday in St. Louis.]



*Baseball-Reference. [http://baseball-reference.com/teams/NAT/ "Washington Nationals Team Index" (1872)] . Retrieved 06-09-12.
*Baseball-Reference. [http://baseball-reference.com/teams/WNT/ "Washington Nationals Team Index" (1875)] . Retrieved 2006-09-12.
*Retrosheet. [http://retrosheet.org/boxesetc/Y_1875.htm "The 1875 Season"] . Retrieved 2006-09-12. (portal to detail data on each competing team)
*Ryczek, William (1992). "Blackguards and Red Stockings: A History of Baseball's National Association 1871-1875". 2nd printing 1999, Wallingford CT: Colebrook Press. ISBN 0-9673718-0-5.
*Wright, Marshall (2000). "The National Association of Base Ball Players, 1857-1870". Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. ISBN 0-7864-0779-4

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