First Baseball Game
1871 was the inaugural season of the newly formed, and first professional baseball - The National Association. On May 4, the first game was played between the Ft. Wayne Kekiongas and Cleveland Forest Citys
On May 4, 1871 the Forest City Club from Cleveland and the Kekionga Club from Ft. Wayne staged the first professional baseball game. Given their lackluster history of less than stellar play in the amateur ranks, Ft. Wayne was a surprise entry into the new professional league. (Although the barrier of entry into the league was a meager $10 entry fee.) A lopsided, blowout victory by Cleveland was predicted by most but shockingly, Fort Wayne came away with a 2-0 shut out in what a newspaper correspondent wrote was "the finest game on record in this country."

The low score was unprecedented among top-level clubs. It was common at that time for teams to score 20+ runs in a game. Also note that were no errors by Cleveland and only three by Fort Wayne - also quite the feat in those days of bare hands and poor field conditions. The play-by-play of this historic game follows. The information was gathered by Bob Tiemann, who graciously donated it to our source retrosheet.org

Starting Lineups

Cleveland Forest City
1. Deacon White, c
2. Gene Kimball, 2b
3. Charlie Pabor, lf
4. Art Allison, cf
5. Elmer White, rf
6. Al Pratt, p
7. Ezra Sutton, 3b
8. Jim Carleton, 1b
9. John Bass, ss
Ft. Wayne Kekionga
1. Frank Sellman, 3b
2. Bobby Mathews, p
3. Jim Foran, 1b
4. Wally Goldsmith, ss
5. Bill Lennon, c
6. Tom Carey, 2b
7. Ed Mincher, lf
8. Joe McDermott, cf
9. Bill Kelly, rf

Play by Play

Top of the 1st
Cleveland Batting
  1. Deacon White doubles;
  2. Gene Kimball lines into a double play (Tom Carey unassisted) [Deacon White out at second];
    2 outs
  3. Charlie Pabor pops out to Bill Lennon in foul territory;
    3 outs
0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.
Forest Cities 0, Kekiongas 0.
Bottom of the 1st
Ft. Wayne Batting
  1. Frank Selman pops out to Deacon White in foul territory;
    1 out
  2. Bobby Mathews pops out to Deacon White in foul territory; Caught on one bounce;
    2 outs
  3. Jim Foran singles;
  4. Wally Goldsmith pops out to Deacon White in foul territory;
    3 outs
0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.
Forest Cities 0, Kekiongas 0.
Top of the 2nd
Cleveland Batting
  1. Art Allison strikes out [Art Allison to first (error by Bill Lennon)];
  2. Elmer White strikes out while Art Allison stole second;
    1 outs
  3. Al Pratt pops out to Jim Foran in foul territory;
    2 outs
  4. Ezra Sutton flies out to Bill Kelly;
    3 outs
0 R, 0 H, 1 E, 1 LOB.
Forest Cities 0, Kekiongas 0.
Bottom of the 2nd
Ft. Wayne Batting
  1. Bill Lennon doubles to left field;
  2. Tom Carey flies out to Art Allison;
    1 out
  3. Ed Mincher pops out to Gene Kimball;
    2 outs
  4. Joe McDermott singles [Bill Lennon scores];
  5. Bill Kelly pops out to Deacon White in foul territory;
    3 outs
1 R, 2 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.
Forest Cities 0, Kekiongas 1.
Top of the 3rd
Cleveland Batting
  1. Jim Carleton strikes out;
    1 out
  2. John Bass flies out to Bill Kelly;
    2 outs
  3. Deacon White pops out to Bill Lennon in foul territory;
    3 outs
0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.
Forest Cities 0, Kekiongas 1.
Bottom of the 3rd
Ft. Wayne Batting
  1. Frank Selman pops out to Deacon White in foul territory;Caught on one bounce;
    1 out
  2. Bobby Mathews pops out to Deacon White in foul territory;
    2 outs
  3. Jim Foran flies to Elmer White in foul territory;
    3 outs
0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.
Forest Cities 0, Kekiongas 1.
Top of the 4th
Cleveland Batting
  1. Gene Kimball pops out to Frank Selman;
    1 out
  2. Charlie Pabor pops out to Frank Selman;
    2 outs
  3. Art Allison pops out to Bill Lennon in foul territory;
    3 outs
0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.
Forest Cities 0, Kekiongas 1.
Bottom of the 4th
Ft. Wayne Batting
  1. Wally Goldsmith walks;
  2. Bill Lennon pops out to Deacon White in foul territory;
    1 out
  3. Tom Carey forced Wally Goldsmith (John Bass to Gene Kimball) [Tom Carey to first];
    2 outs
  4. Deacon White allows a passed ball [Tom Carey to second];
  5. Ed Mincher pops out to Al Pratt;
    3 outs
0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.
Forest Cities 0, Kekiongas 1.
Top of the 5th
Cleveland Batting
  1. Elmer White strikes out;
    1 out
  2. Al Pratt walks;
  3. Ezra Sutton singles [Al Pratt to third];
  4. Ezra Sutton picked off at first (Tom Carey unassisted); Out at 1st after foul;
    2 outs
  5. Jim Carleton flies out to Ed Mincher;
    3 outs
0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.
Forest Cities 0, Kekiongas 1.
Bottom of the 5th
Ft. Wayne Batting
  1. Joe McDermott grounds out (Gene Kimball to Jim Carleton);
    1 out
  2. Bill Kelly singles;
  3. Deacon White allows a passed ball [Bill Kelly to second];
  4. Deacon White allows a passed ball [Bill Kelly to third];
  5. Frank Selman grounds out (Jim Carleton unassisted) [Bill Kelly scores];
    2 outs
  6. Bobby Mathews pops out to Deacon White in foul territory; Caught on one bounce.
    3 outs
1 R, 1 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.
Forest Cities 0, Kekiongas 2.
Top of the 6th
Cleveland Batting
  1. John Bass flies out to Ed Mincher;
    1 out
  2. Deacon White reaches on an error by Wally Goldsmith [Deacon White to first];
  3. Gene Kimball pops out to Jim Foran;
    2 outs
  4. Bill Lennon allows a passed ball [Deacon White to second];
  5. Charlie Pabor pops out to Bobby Mathews;
    3 outs
0 R, 0 H, 1 E, 1 LOB.
Forest Cities 0, Kekiongas 2.
Bottom of the 6th
Ft. Wayne Batting
  1. Jim Foran pops out to Gene Kimball;
    1 out
  2. Wally Goldsmith pops out to Deacon White in foul territory;
    2 outs
  3. Bill Lennon pops out to John Bass;
    3 outs
0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.
Forest Cities 0, Kekiongas 2.
Top of the 7th
Cleveland Batting
  1. Art Allison singles to shortstop;
  2. Elmer White strikes out;
    1 out
  3. Art Allison is caught stealing second (Bill Lennon to Tom Carey);
    2 outs
  4. Al Pratt pops out to Tom Carey;
    3 outs
0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.
Forest Cities 0, Kekiongas 2.
Bottom of the 7th
Ft. Wayne Batting
  1. Tom Carey grounds out (Al Pratt to Jim Carleton);
    1 out
  2. Ed Mincher grounds out (Ezra Sutton to Jim Carleton);
    2 outs
  3. Joe McDermott grounds out (John Bass to Jim Carleton);
    3 outs
0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.
Forest Cities 0, Kekiongas 2.
Top of the 8th
Cleveland Batting
  1. Ezra Sutton pops out to Bill Lennon in foul territory;
    1 out
  2. Jim Carleton grounds out (Frank Selman to Jim Foran);
    2 outs
  3. John Bass pops out to Wally Goldsmith;
    3 outs
0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.
Forest Cities 0, Kekiongas 2.
Bottom of the 8th
Ft. Wayne Batting
  1. Bill Kelly flies out to Art Allison;
    1 out
  2. Frank Selman pops out to Gene Kimball;
    2 outs
  3. Bobby Mathews grounds out (John Bass to Jim Carleton);
    3 outs
0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.
Forest Cities 0, Kekiongas 2.
Top of the 9th
Cleveland Batting
  1. Deacon White singles to center field (Joe McDermott to Tom Carey) [Deacon White out at second];
    1 out
  2. Gene Kimball pops out to Bill Lennon in foul territory;
    2 outs
  3. Charlie Pabor reaches on an error by Joe McDermott [Charlie Pabor to first];
  4. Art Allison strikes out;
    3 outs
0 R, 1 H, 1 E, 1 LOB.
Forest Cities 0, Kekiongas 2.
Bottom of the 9th
Ft. Wayne Batting
  1. Jim Foran grounds out (Al Pratt to Jim Carlton);
    1 out
  2. W Goldsmith grounds out (Al Pratt to Jim Carlton);
    2 outs
  3. Bill Lennon grounds out (John Bass to Jim Carlton);
    3 outs
0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.
Forest Cities 0, Kekiongas 2.

Game Box Score

View the boxscore in the format it would have appeared in newspapers of that era.