What Are The Oldest Baseball Teams?

What Are The Oldest Baseball Teams

Baseball has been around since the mid-1800s, and legends like Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, and Lou Gehrig have kept the game alive for centuries. But how long have most baseball teams been around? Read on to learn which baseball teams have been around the longest and their impact on the great American sport.

The Oldest Baseball Teams in the MLB

The oldest baseball teams in MLB history are as follows:

  • Atlanta Braves (1871)
  • Chicago Cubs (1873)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates (1881)
  • St. Louis Cardinals (1882)

Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves are the oldest team in MLB history, having been around since 1871 and even outliving the MLB itself, which was founded in 1876 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Over the years, the Braves have been known by many names: the Boston Red Stockings, Boston Red Caps, Boston Beaneaters, Boston Doves, Boston Rustlers, Boston Braves, Boston Bees, and Milwaukee Braves.

The Atlanta Braves began their illustrious baseball history as the Boston Red Stockings, one of eight National League charter teams. They won the first National League matchup on April 22nd, 1876. They stayed in Boston, changing their name many times, until finally moving to Milwaukee and settling on the name Braves in 1953. Then, 13 years later (in 1966), they moved to Atlanta and became the Atlanta Braves that their fans know and love today.

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs were also founded in 1871 but were then called the Chicago White Stockings. Though this ties them with the Braves for MLB’s oldest team, they are often considered second-oldest because they did not participate in any games until two years after their founding due to the Great Chicago Fire.

Chicago started out playing for the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NAPBBP) until officially joining the newly formed National League in 1876. At present, the Cubs play for the American League, founded in 1901, and are the oldest team in the league.

Throughout their many years, the Cubs have undergone multiple name changes. Although they always stayed in Chicago, the Cubs experimented with several new mascots, such as the Chicago Colts and the Chicago Orphans, until settling with the Chicago Cubs in 1907.

The Pittsburgh Pirates

Another one of the original teams of the American Association was the Pittsburgh Pirates, established in 1881 as Allegheny. While they were officially established before the St. Louis Cardinals, they did not begin play in the MLB until 1882. 

In 1887, the Pirates left the American Association and joined the National League. They played in the 1903 World Series and lost, but came back swinging in 1909 to win the World Series. The Pirates have won the World Series five times over their history. However, they have been struggling recently, becoming the only team with 20 consecutive seasons with a losing record from 1993 to 2012.

Surprisingly, the Pirates are one of the only ancient MLB teams who have not gone by a name with the word Stockings. They started out as Allegheny, then shifted to the Pittsburgh Alleghenys before finally deciding on the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1891.

St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals are the fourth-oldest MLB team, having been founded in 1882. They joined the National League the same year but were then known as the St. Louis Brown Stockings. Although multiple teams had ties to St. Louis before the Brown Stockings, they experienced drama with both players and the MLB as a whole, which caused these teams to be expelled from the National League.

Chris von der Ahe is considered the founder of the St. Louis Cardinals. He bought and organized the team in 1882. Additionally, he was the first to place a team in the American Association as a challenger to the eight teams in the National League. His foresight and leadership paid off. The St. Louis Cardinals are one of the most successful teams in MLB history, having won the second-most World Series titles of any team (11).

The St. Louis Cardinals have also had many names over the years, although not nearly as many as the Atlanta Braves. After beginning as the St. Louis Brown Stockings, the Cardinals became the St. Louis Browns. Then, they shifted to the St. Louis Perfectos until finally settling with being Cardinals in 1900.


What is the oldest baseball team?

The Atlanta Braves are the oldest active baseball team. They were established as a charter team in 1871, even before the MLB was established five years later. While the Chicago Cubs were also founded in 1871, they did not play an actual game until 1873 because of the Great Chicago Fire.