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1884 World Series Champion Providence Grays

The Providence Grays was a team name used by several major and minor league baseball teams based in Providence, Rhode Island .

Major league Grays[]

The major league Grays were a member of the National League for eight seasons from 1878-1885. They won two league pennants, the first in 1879 and the second in 1884, when they also won a World Series championship against the American Association New York Metropolitans, sweeping the Metropolitans in a best of five series that pre-dated the modern World Series. Because this series was the first such post-season competition, many consider the 1884 Grays to have been the first world champions of baseball.

Season Record

Year Record
1878 - 33-27
1879 - 59-25
1880 - 52-32
1881 - 47-37
1882 - 52-32
1883 - 58-40
1884 - 84-28 * Won World Series
1885 - 53-57

The team played at the Messer Street Grounds in the Olneyville neighborhood. One of the leading players from that 1879 pennant winner was Hall of Famer John Montgomery Ward, while the 1884 team was led by fellow Hall of Famer Old Hoss Radbourn who won a record 59 games in a single season.

The team may have been the first Major League Baseball team to field an African-American baseball player, William Edward White, a Brown University player who played one game for the Grays on June 21, 1879. Evidence is strong but not conclusive: Peter Morris of the Society for American Baseball Research has researched this issue, as reported by the Wall Street Journal on January 30, 2004.

Another memorable highlight of the Grays' short existence was the second perfect game in MLB history, pitched by John Montgomery Ward on June 17, 1880. Grays pitcher Charlie Sweeney struck out 19 batters in a nine-inning game on June 7, 1884, a record that would stand until broken by Roger Clemens 102 years later.

Minor league and amateur Grays[]

The minor league Providence Grays were members of the Eastern League from 1891 to 1929. Babe Ruth played for the Grays in 1914.

The amateur Providence Grays Vintage Base Ball Club has played in East Providence, Rhode Island, since 1998 while traveling around the Northeast for road games. The modern Grays were founded by Tim Norton and the team is strongly devoted to absolute authenticity in demonstrating the 19th Century game. The Bristol Blues, The Cornish Game Hens of Providence and the Coventry Citizens formed after the Grays and there are well over 200 vintage teams in the United States.

External links[]