Today, April 17th, in 1869, the first professional baseball game was played in Cincinnati
The 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first all-professional team in baseball history. They had ten players, all of whom were under contract to play exclusively for Cincinnati from March 15 through November 15. Their center fielder and manager was Harry Wright, an English born cricket player who came to the United States to serve as the club pro for the Cincinnati Cricket Club.
But Wright soon fell in love with baseball, the American cousin of Cricket, and began playing the game almost full-time in 1866 for a local club founded by the members of a Cincinnati law firm, Tilden, Sherman and Moulton. That squad was a member of the National Association of Professional Base Ball (NAPBB) clubs, a loosely affiliated group of amateur baseball teams that had an annual convention in New York City to further refine the rules of the game.
The Red Stockings played just four games in 1866, posting a 2-2 record. Over the next two seasons, however, they became one of the best teams in the land, posting records of 17-1 and 37-7 in 1867 and 1868, respectively. During its first three seasons, Cincinnati held itself out as a squad made up of exclusively amateur players, although some claim that Wright and a few other players may have been paid secretly.