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Meet Troy’s Ghastly MLB Team From the 1800s—That Featured Five Future Hall of Famers

In the 1800s, the Collar City had a National League team with future superstars such as Buck Ewing and Roger Connor on its roster.

One of the future Hall of Famers that played for Troy, pitcher Tim Keefe. (Heritage Auctions, ha.com)

Here in the Capital Region, we’ve had our fair share of baseball teams throughout the years—mostly minor league ball clubs and some better than others. The Albany-Colonie Yankees, for instance, had some kid named Derek Jeter on its roster for a hot minute in the early ’90s.

But back in the late 1800s, when baseball was still a fledgling sport (and business) in America, we had an actual major league team: the Troy Trojans of the National League (NL), who played—abominably, we might add—from 1879-1882 at a ballpark that is now Riverfront Park. “The Troy club never won as many games as they lost in any season yet developed young players who would star for other clubs for years to come,” says John Thorn, the official baseball historian for Major League Baseball. Those future superstars included Buck Ewing, Dan Brouthers, Tim Keefe, Mickey Welch and Roger Connor, all of whom were eventually enshrined at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Connor even recorded baseball’s first grand slam!

Alas, the team was so putrid it was expelled from the NL following its 1882 campaign, during which it garnered the dubious historical note of having played one of the least-attended games in professional sports history (just six fans were in attendance). Hindsight, we guess, isn’t actually 20-20.

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Will Levith

Will Levith is Editorial Director at Saratoga Living and Capital Region Living magazine. He's a native Saratogian and graduate of Saratoga Springs High School. His work has been published by Esquire, Playboy, Condé Nast Traveler, Men's Health, RealClearLife and many others. He lives in Troy with his wife, Laura, and dog, Esopus.

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