Cincinnati Red Stockings and St. Louis Browns make the first recorded trade

Nov 15, 1886 | Transactions

On November 15, 1886 — Cincinnati Red Stockings and St. Louis Browns make the first recorded trade, the American Association’s Cincinnati Red Stockings deal rookie catcher Jack Boyle and $400 to the St. Louis Browns in exchange for outfielder Hugh Nicol. The transaction is the first recorded trade of reserved players in major league history.

While Boyle, who was nicknamed “Honest Jack,” went on to have a 13-year career, he, unfortunately, didn’t perform very well for the Browns. Between 1887-89, Boyle hit just .223/.274/.280, good for a 54 OPS+. He would soon go on to the Chicago Pirates in the Players League, back to the Browns, then the New York Giants and finally the Philadelphia Phillies before retiring in 1898.

As for the diminutive 5-foot-4 Nicol, while he hit only .215 in his first season with the Reds, he did set a then-Major League record with 138 stolen bases. Of course, steals were recorded a little differently back then — when runners took extra bases, like going from first to third on a single, it counted as a steal.

Unfortunately for the Red Stockings, Nicol’s steals weren’t enough and they would finish in second place to the Browns in 1887. The Browns would then lose their World Series-like exhibition series to the Detroit Wolverines of the National League, 10 games to five, with Boyle going 5-for-24 with 2 RBIs in the not-yet-Fall Classic.

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Read more about the players in this story:

Jack Boyle

Hugh Nicol


Learn More About the Teams in this story:

Cincinnati Red Stockings

St. Louis Browns


Other events that happened on this date:

November 15