On April 22, 1876 — 141 years ago this Saturday — the Boston Red Stockings beat the Philadelphia Athletics, 6-5, in the first game ever played in the National League of Professional Base-Ball Clubs, the outfit that would ultimately become Major League Baseball.
The league grew from the ashes of the failed National Association. It got its start at a Feb. 2, 1876 meeting organized by Chicago owner W.A. Hulbert in which the NL’s original eight franchises agreed, among other things, to discourage the gambling that had been prominent at N.A. games, to “make base-ball playing respectable and honorable,” and to end the practice of forfeiting games by teams that had fallen out of the pennant race.