Saturday, February 23, 2008
The First Trade
While the Shomberg/McKinnon deal was the first trade between NL teams, it wasn't the first trade between major league clubs. Looking at David Ball's work on 19th century player transactions, I noticed that the first trade between two major league teams most likely took place on November 12, 1886.
Ball wrote that on that date "(the) St. Louis Browns traded Hugh Nicol to Cincinnati for catcher Jack Boyle and $350. This was the first trade between major league teams, unless the transfer of Tim Keefe and Tom Esterbrook in exchange for two Metropolitans players is considered as such." Since the Keefe and Esterbrook transaction took place between two teams that had the same ownership, at the very least the St. Louis/Cincinnati deal was the first trade between two major league teams with independent management.