The Troy Trojans were a baseball team in the National League from 1879 to 1882. Over their four seasons of existence, the team compiled a record of 134 wins and 191 losses. They never came in higher than fourth in the league and never finished a season with a winning record. The team was often referred to as the Haymakers, because an earlier professional baseball team in the city had that moniker.
Troy was a thriving industrial city and a major player in the Industrial Revolution. Iron, steel, and textiles were its primary trades. This upstate New York city on the east bank of the Hudson River served as a major shipping port and railroad hub. Despite Troy's small size, its growth denoted its prosperity; between 1865 and 1880, Troy's population grew from 39,000 to 57,000. This rapid expansion gave the city enough momentum to be awarded a National League expansion team in 1878, to begin play in 1879.
The team's unquestionable star was Dan Brouthers, who played with the team in 1879 and 1880 at the start of his major league career. Dan was a hard-hitting first baseman who debuted with the team in 1879, but was sent back down to the minors due to his error-prone play at first base. He returned in 1880 for a solid season, then was traded to Buffalo before the start of the 1881 season. The team's star in their final year of existence was Buck Ewing, who would go on to have a stellar career elsewhere in the major leagues.
Troy entered the National League in 1879 under the guidance of manager Horace Phillips. Due to the team's poor play through most of the season, he was fired in August and replaced by Bob Ferguson, who would manage the team for the rest of its existence. The team finished the first season with 19 wins and 56 losses, coming in dead last in the eight team National League, 35.5 games behind pennant winner Providence.
In the 1879-1880 offseason, the Troy club found its rival. Both Albany and Worcester had applied for an expansion team to begin play in 1880; Troy heavily favored Albany because of the short travel distance compared to Worcester. Because Worcester had less than 75,000 people, the league had to be unanimous to bring in Worcester; even one dissenting vote would mean that Worcester would be unable to enter the league. Troy voted against Worcester, but the other owners agreed to count all people living in a four-mile radius around Worcester (the same exception that had caused Troy to gain a team). This brought their total over 75,000, and since they carried a majority, they were allowed entry into the league. Of course, after this, the Troy Trojans and Worcester Brown Stockings were the most hated of rivals.
In 1880, the franchise had its best year, behind the youthful slugging of Dan Brouthers. The team finished 41-42, their best season, finishing in fourth place 25.5 games back of the dominant Chicago White Stockings, who went 67-17.
Once the team traded away their slugger, they fell back in 1881, slipping to 39-45, coming in fifth only 17 games back of Chicago. That year, the team set a major league record for attendance. On September 22, 1881, in a rain-soaked game against the Chicago White Stockings, the Trojans drew a record low of only twelve fans. Despite the inclement weather, the game was played to completion with the Trojans defeating the White Stockings 10-8.
The final year for the team was 1882, and things seemed to be on the upswing with the presence of Buck Ewing, the best pre-1900 catcher in baseball. The team finished in seventh place at 35-48, 19.5 games behind Chicago, but with a young nucleus built around Ewing, the team seemed destined to move up in 1883.
It was not to be, however. The Trojans were disbanded after the 1882 season. Manufacturer John Day bought the rights to the defunct Troy ballclub and moved many of its players to his two New York ballclubs, the Metropolitans of the American Association, and the Gothams (better known as the Giants) of the National League. The players helped the Giants to become one of the premier teams in the National League.
Interestingly enough, when the club folded, the city of Troy (along with the city of Worcester, whose rival Worcester Brown Stockings were also contracted) received a letter signed by all of the owners in the National League promising that, when the financial problems that had forced the contraction were resolved, that a new team would be placed in Troy, New York. No major league baseball team has called Troy home since then. It's just another broken promise by major league baseball, I suppose.