by Tom Knuppel


Teams That are Now Defunct


Throughout baseball history, teams have come and gone. We know of the recent ones in our lifetime. However, long before that there were hundreds of teams that played and disbanded in the early days of professional baseball. Let’s take a look at many of those but not all of those played and became defunct by 1950.

If you are interested in others,let me know at


Wilmington Quicksteps

  This club began in 1883 when the Inter-State Association was founded and a charter was made in Wilmington Delaware to put together a team to be known as the Wilmington Quicksteps or also known by many as the Quickstep Club of Wilmington. They began play in 1884 in the Eastern League. 

   By August, they were 50-12 and very good with 400 average attendance daily.  In fact, they have sewn up their league easily. Many top professional traveling teams would stop in Wilmington to play the Quicksteps.Two of the pro teams were defeated. The manager of the team was Joe Simmons. After easily winning the Eastern League, they were persuaded to leave and join the Union Association to replace a folded team.

   Success wasn’t as easy in this league and the players thought more highly of themselves. After winning their first game 4-3 over Washington on August 18, it was all downhill for the Quicksteps, as many players no longer felt bound by their contracts and signed for more money with other teams in their new league. Shortstop and team captain Oyster Burns jumped to the Baltimore Monumentals for $900 a month, followed by outfielder Dennis Casey for $700 a month, while Catcher Andy Cusick jumped to the Philadelphia Phillies for $375 a month; each had been making about $150 a month in Wilmington.

   On September 21, 1884, Joe Simmons pulled his team off the field when he realized he didn’t have the gate fee of $60 to pay the Kansas City Cowboys as the attendance at the game was zero. 

Th team played their home games in Union Street Park in Wilmington, Delaware.

The ballpark was located on the southwest corner of Union Street and Front Street (now Lancaster Avenue), which at the time was just outside the city limits.The ballpark’s life extended well beyond 1884, hosting minor league games until the 1910s.


2. Altoona Mountain Citys


   They played baseball in the Union association for about six weeks in Altoona, Pennsylvania. They started with a 6-25 record. The team had several alternate name such as The Ottawas. The Altoona Pride,The Famous Altoonas and by the end of the season they became the Altoona Unfortunates.  

   The manager of the team was Ed Curtis and their home was in Columbia Park which was also sometimes called Fourth Avenue Grounds, was located at Lower Sixth Street, Fourth Avenue, and Mill Run Road.The co-owners of the team wee Arthur Dively and william Ritz. 

   The team began the season playing the top two teams in the league which were the St Louis Maroons and the Cincinnati Outlaw Reds. They began the season with no wins in eleven games. They gave up 92 runs and made 53 errors in those games. After winning their first game on May 10, the team went 5-8 before folding on May 31, 1884. Attendance ranged from 200 to 1000 on weekends. 


3. Kansas City Cowboys


    The Cowboys were only a team for one season. They took over for Altoona when they folded. They began by acquiring the same schedule and just played the games in their place. This team had no official nickname but the local press called them the Unions, since they were in the Union Association and the press of other cities referred to them as the Kaycees. Since took over for the Altoona team they got their win-loss record and finished last in an eight team league.

     Only the St Louis Maroons and Kansas City team made a profit that season. All the rest lost money. That caused the Union Association to dissolve. 

    Matthew Porter was the manager in Kansas City and played their games at Athletic Park which is located in the vicinity of Southwest Boulevard and Summit Street. The site today is occupied by various commercial businesses.


4. Baltimore Monumentals


This team finished in fourth place in the one year of the Union Association. Their record was 58-47 and they were managed by Bill Henderson, The Monumentals had some very good player in the league which included Emmett Seery, the left fielder that hit .311 for the season and pitcher Bill Sweeney who  was 40-21 on the year with a 2.54 ERA and 58 complete games. 

   The home games were played at the BelAir Lot. It was across Forrest Street from the Belair Market, and another of its boundaries was Low Street. Baltimore had more statues and monuments per capita than any other city in the United States in 1884.Therefore, they were named the Monumentals.


5. Providence Grays


     This team played in Providence, Rhode Island from 1878- until 1885 in the National League,\. They won in 1879 and 1884 and then went on to win the first ever World Series in 1884 by defeating the New York Metropolitans. 

   They played there home games at Messer Street Grounds and the park opened to the public on May 1, 1878. The following account from the Providence Morning Star provides a very detailed description of the park:


“The large grandstand held twelve hundred people, among them hundreds of ladies. The long semi-circular tiers of seats were black with men and boys, and hundreds were standing, unable to get seats. The commodious space for carriages was completely filled, and one or two May Day riding parties also graced that part of the grounds…Two registering turnstiles gates admit the patrons to the grounds, and as each ticket holder passes through the gate he steps on a raised platform, and by a mechanical arrangement is registered, and only one person can pass through the gate at a time. Near the gate are two ticket offices, and a large entrance through which the crowd can pass at the end of the game. At the southeast corner there is a large gate to admit carriages to the park. The ground, which contains nearly six acres of land, is enclosed by a fence twelve feet high. The diamond is as level as constant rolling by heavy stone and iron rollers can make it. Inside of the base lines is turfed, except a space nine feet in width, reaching from the pitcher’s position to the home plate. Twenty-two feet are sodded outside of the diamond. Paths leading to and from the bases have been rolled hard, and the out-field is sown with grass seed. The grand stand which will seat nearly 1200 people, is 151 x 40 feet (12 m), and in the rear is raised 34 feet (10 m). The stand is reached by steps at both ends. It will be covered by canvass, requiring nearly 7,000 feet (2,100 m). Seats are arranged in a circle at the eastern and western sides of the field. A platform 60 x 8 feet (2.4 m) has been erected for the reporters, scorers and invited guests, seating nearly 60 persons. Under the grand stand for the visiting and local clubs are rooms 20 feet (6.1 m) square and fitted up with wardrobes, dressing rooms 20 feet (6.1 m) square, a wash room supplied with Pawtucket water, closet, etc. The Western Union Telegraph Company have a room 8 x 10 feet (3.0 m). There is a stockholders’ room 20 feet (6.1 m) square, and a refreshment saloon 40 x 20 to be managed by caterer Ardoene. A fence with gateways has been erected in front of the club rooms, thereby preventing the crowd from having any talk with the players. The grounds are without doubt as fine as any in the country, and Harry Wright said yesterday, ‘They are beautiful.”


Benjamin Douglas became the general manager when the team was formed on January 16,1878. The president was  Henry Root and on January 18th they applied to enter the National League. They were accepted on February 6th.

   On April 10, Root took over ownership of the team, fired Douglas for incompetence and insubordination, and hired Tom York to replace Carey as captain. On May 30, the Providence Base Ball Association was incorporated by the Rhode Island General Assembly.

   The star pitcher for the Grays was “Old Hoss” Radbourn as he went on to win 60 games in 1884 and succeeded in winning the newly minted World Series over the New York Metropolitans. After the conclusion of the season in 1884, The Grays disbanded due to financial constraints. 


6. Chicago Whales


   This team has one of the more interesting stories of any defunct team. They began play in Chicag0 in 1913  in the Federal League. In 1915, they won their division by decimal points over the St Louis Maroons.

     They began without a nickname but when Burt Keeley became manager, they were given the name as Chicago Keeleys. They finished in fourth place 17.5 games behind the leader. After that season, the Federal League had visions of grandeur and wanted to be part of the major league. Chicago already had the Cubs and White Sox in the city.

    Chicago businessman James Gilmore became president of the Federal league and he sought investment owners of stature for many of the other teams in the league. It was in 1914 that the team became the Chicago Federals to keep them separate of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox.Majority owner Charles Weegham in 1914 decided to build a new stadium for his team. Weegham failed to purchase the St Louis Cardinals in 1911 and turned his money towards Chicago. It was name Weegham Park. 

     At the start of the 1915 season, The renamed themselves the Chicago Whales. The hat was a large C with a whale in the middle of it. The team disbanded in 1915 and Weegham became a part owner of the Chicago Cubs. He moved his team into his park and they played there until  1920. Weegham was forced out as a Cubs owner due to financial issues and in 1920 the steel and concrete stadium was known as Wrigley Field. It is the only Federal League ballpark still being used today. Many Whales players had American and National League experience, including manager Joe Tinker, Dutch Willing, Mordecai Brown, and Rollie Zeider.

As the Federals, they played the first game at Wrigley Field on April 23, 1914.


7. Brooklyn Bridegrooms

   On October 29,1887, the Brooklyn Grays became the Brooklyn Bridegrooms when Jim Donahue purchased the team for $25,000 from the New York Metropolitans to play in the American Association.. On the same day, Donahue also purchased players : Bill Fagan, Frank Hankinson, Bill Holbert, Al Mays, Darby O’Brien and Paul Radford were purchased by the Bridegrooms from the New York Metropolitans. Then in November he bought more players from the St Louis Band in 1888, he purchased a plethora of players from the newly defunct Kansas City Cowboys.

In 1888, the Bridegrooms finished in second place 6.5 games behind the first place St. Louis Browns. The name Bridegrooms was given because at the time of formation, many of the players were getting married.  The Bridegrooms played in the 1889 World Series representing the American Association against the New York Giants, champions of the National League. The Giants won the series, 6 games to 3. This series would be the first meeting between the two teams. It was after the 1899 season they became the Brookly Suprbas. 


8. Philadelphia Keystones


   The team was also known as the Keystone Club of Philadelphia. Tom Pratt, a former player, was the owner. The team began play in 1884 in the Union Association. In their first year, they finished eighth in a twelve team league with a paltry 21-46 record under the management of catcher Fergy Malone.

    The organization ceased operations on August 7,1884 like most of the other teams in the Union Association. The team became defunct.   


9 All Cubans


The All Cubans team was organized by Abel Linares and managed by Tinti Molina. The players were all Cuban born players and toured the
United States in 1899 and again from 1902 to 1905. In the tour, they primarily played against semi pro teams and Negro league teams. Linares tells the story of arriving in the USA with 12 players and $25. They had so little money when the tour ended in New York that they couldn’t pay to send them all home. Two players had to stay and wait for money to be sent from Cuba for them to get home. 


On July 28,1899 the All Cubans got their first win. It was against a semi pro team from Weehawken, NJ. by the score of 12-4. On July 31, they followed that up with a loss to the West New York Field Club 8-5 with 1900 people in the stands. Another win came at the hands of the Mountain AC team 9-3.

Perhaps the most famous game in the history of the All Cubans was against the Cuban X-Giants (they had no Cubans on the squad), a top Negro League team with a 7-3 victory. 

The tour of 1902-05 was different for the first time they allowed black Cubans to play. 

. In 1903, there were reports the team had run into trouble in Florida because it was carrying three black players.These teams continued to play successfully against independent white semi-pro teams and Negro League teams, such as the Cuban X-Giants and the Philadelphia Giants.


10. Pittsburgh Crawfords


The Crawfords played in Pittsburgh from 1932-1938. They were a professional team that played in the Negro league in Pittsburgh, PA. Originally, they were first known as the Crawford colored Giants. They were named after the Crawford Bath House, which was a recreation center in the Crawford Neighborhood in the Hill District within the city.

Their games were played at Greenlee Field which was located at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and Junilla Street in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Greenlee Field was 375 in right field. 345 feet in left field and 500 feet in straight away center. The backstop is 60 feet from the plate and the foul territory off the sides from first and third were 25 feet. It was a big ballpark. 

In 1933, Gus Greenlee bought the team and had the stadium built and named after himself and they became one of the strongest teams around. as the major African-American leagues of the 1920s, the Negro National League and the Eastern Colored League, had fallen apart under pressures of the Great Depression. By late that year, Greenlee signed many of the top African-American stars to his team, most notably Satchel Paige. The next year, in 1932, Greenlee hired Hall of Fame player Oscar Charleston as playing manager, and added Hall of Famers Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson, and Cool Papa Bell, along with other notable players such as William Bell, Jimmie Crutchfield, Rap Dixon, Sam Bankhead, and Ted Radcliffe. Playing as an independent club, the Crawfords immediately established themselves as perhaps the best black team in the United States.

In 1938, white members of the board forced Greenlee to not hire blacks for jobs as ticket takers and ushers. He sold the team in 1938. They demolished the stadium and moved for one year to Toledo and the next season to Indianapolis before shutting down forever. 


11. Covington Blue Sox


   This team originated in Covington, Kentucky. They played in the short lived Federal League and were also known as the Covington Federal or Covington Colonels in the newspaper clippings. Baseball of the amateur variety had been around Covington for quite some time.

   The amateur team hosted a professional exhibition contest between the Philadelphia Athletics and the Hartford Dark Blues on September 21, 1875. It was a popular and successful venture with 800 in attendance. 

   It was in late 1912 or early 1913, that the Covington city leaders attempted to garner a team in the Class D Blue Grass League. They were blocked by the Cincinnati Reds that were a mere five miles away across the river. However, they were accepted into the maverick Federal League instead. 

   The next step involved the city raising money. They got $13,500 and they used $6000 to build a new ballpark and was built to hold 6,000 fans. The ballpark was bounded by East 2nd Street, East 3rd Street, Madison Avenue and Scott Boulevard.the park was built with small dimensions, possibly the smallest ever built for any pro baseball It had a distance of just 194 feet down the right-field line, 267 feet to dead center, and 218 feet down the left-field line.Pro ballparks had a required minimum of 325 feet down the foul lines. Construction did not begin until a month before opening day.


The home opener was a sellout and many were turned away on May 9. The mayor proclaimed ita half-holiday and all the city offices were closed. The Blue Sox pitcher Walt Justis  shut out the St. Louis Terriers for the win.However, the city wasn’t large enough to sustain the attendance and average plateaued to 650 per game.The league voted to move the team to Kansas City, where it was renamed the Packers. The owners of the Covington team yielded their rights to their creditors.


12. Cincinnati Outlaw Reds


      This team began in 1886 in the Union Association and finished in second place with 69 wins. They were only one of a few that played a full schedule and didn’t quit before the year was over. 

    They only had two pitchers on the rosters and they were George Bradley and Jim Mc Cormick. The best player on the squad and the one that had the best career was infielder Jack Glasscock. The team cease to exist more than one season due to the Union Association folding. 

13. Pittsburgh Rebels

   This team joined the Union Association in 1913 and played their games at Exposition Park, which was on the north side of  the Allegheny River.  Later after many decades, this became the spot where they built Three Rivers Stadium. The Union League folded after one season and they joined the Federal league. The Pittsburgh team had some good players that eventually became players in the National and American League. 

   The 1914 version had more issues in the Federal League and couldn’t sustain revenue and the team had to cease to exist after the 1914 season.


14. Atlanta Black Crackers 

     This team began as a collection of black college students that were named the Atlanta Cubs in 1919. They changed their name due to many of the fans referring to them as Black Crackers. There was already a team in Atlanta known as the Crackers and it was an all white squad. 

    The Black Crackers joined the Negro Southern League in 1920. The league was more popular in the north than the south, therefore, attendance wasn’t particularly good. They hung around until the mid 1920’s but due to the popularity of the Birmingham Barons  and the Memphis Red Sox in the Negro National League, the Black Crackers began to cease operations in 1936,


15. Troy Trojans

     For four years the Trojans were a major league team and that was from 1879-1882. They played their home contests at Putnam Grounds and Haymaker Grounds in the city of Troy in the state of New York. 

    Roger Connor is credited with hitting the very first grand slam ever in major league history. The Trojans and the Worcester National League team were expelled from the league before the completion of the season in 1882. The team had won 131 games and lost 194. They were just a bad baseball team. They were kicked out for being too small and too few attendance for the ambitious league. 

They had six in attendance on September 28, 1883 when they played Worcester and the following game saw them have one paid attendee. On their team were three future Hall of Famers in Mickey Welch, Buck Ewing and Roger Connor.  


17. Minneapolis Millers

In 1864, the Northwestern League was formed and the Minneapolis Millers was one od the first teams to join it. That league failed and it was replaced by the Western League and the Millers were part of it. That league had financial issues and folded. In 1884, a new western League was formed by Ban Johnson and Charles Comiskey. Minneapolis continued to play in 1900 but the league changed their name and approach to the American League and looked to boot out the smaller markets in favor of the larger cities.  

   A different version of the Millers took part around 1902 in the American Association. This franchise seemed to go in and out for years but the Millers are not around anymore. It is unsure if the present day Minnesota Twins have any connection to the old Minneapolis Millers roots. 

18. Louisville Black Caps

This team was in existence from 1930-1932 in the Negro National Laegue. They were based in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1931 they were known as the Louisville white Sox and in 1932, they Were part of the Southern League where they played for five months as the Black Caps and folded due to low attendance with about six weeks left in the season. 

19. Dayton Marcos

      This team began as an independent before the Negro Leagues really were in existence.The team was young black men that played in the Ohio-Indiana League in the early 1900’s. The team was formed by real estate agent Moses Moore. He was owner of the Marcos Hotel and apparently named the team after his business venture. The team was originally formed to provide entertainment at  Dahomey Park. This was the first black owned and operated amusement park in the United States.

    They began play at West Side Park and then moved to Westwood Park to make it closer to the amusement area.  The local newspaper referred to them as Moses Morre’s Marcos. 

   In 1913, there was a catastrophic flood and star pitcher ill Sloan took over a boat and saved as many as 300 Daytonians. 

20. St Louis Terriers

    This team played in 1914 and 1915 in the Federal League.  Phil Ball owned the team . He was an ice magnate and later owned the st. Louis Browns. The team played their games at Hanlan’s Park It was surrounded by Grand Avenue on the west and Laclede Avenue on the north in St, Louis Missouri. 

   In 1914, they finished in last place and then the following year they finished one game out of first place. It was then the Federal League folded after pressure from the American and National leagues. 

21. Buffalo Blues

This team played in the Federal League in 1913 and the newspapers referred to this team as BufFeds. They played in the major leagues in 1913 and 1914 and then discontinued operations. 

   They played their home contests at Internationals Fair Association Grounds. The fairgrounds property was originally a large block bounded by Northland Avenue (north); Humboldt Parkway (east); Ferry Street (south); Dupont Street, and Jefferson Avenue (west). The grounds included a horse race track and grandstand, and a bicycle track within the horserace rack.     William E Robertson was President of the league and manager of concessions at Griffith Stadium. 


22. Brooklyn Tip Tops

This team in Brooklyn, New York was in the short lived Federal League in 1914 and 1915. They were owned by Robert Ward, owner of Ward Baking company that made Tip Top bread.. Had this team succeeded, it is likely they would have played the first night games as they had made plans a year in advance of introducing the games. 

23. St Louis Maroons

  Henry Lucas formed the Maroons in 1884 and they played in the Union Association. They were as near a major league team as any for the time period. One year was it for the Union Association and the Maroons became part of the Nationals League.

   The Maroons debuted on April 20,1884 at the Union base Ball Park and later became known as Lucas Park. The ballpark was bounded by Jefferson Avenue (west, first base); Howard Street (north, third base); 25th Street (east, left field); and Cass Avenue (south, right field). Mullanphy Street now cuts through what was once right and center field.


There are many more teams that have gone defunct over the previous seasons. Most of them came during the Union Association era and the Federal league time. The Federal League is an interesting case to read as they were successful but got pressured by the National and American Leagues to have their teams joined them. This was necessary because top players were jumping around from team to team looking for more money.Hope you enjoyed the defunct article. There are likely another 60-80 teams that could be included at KnupSports. 


26. Cleveland Spiders

27. Homestead Grays

28. Jacksonville Red Caps

29. Bachrach Giants

30. Washington Potomacs