The Philadelphia Athletics were a professional baseball team, one of six charter members of the American Association, a 19th-century major league, which began play in 1882 as a rival to the National League. The other teams were the Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Red Stockings, Eclipse of Louisville, Pittsburgh Alleghenys, and St. Louis Brown Stockings. The team took its name from a previous team, which played in the National Association from 1871 through 1875 and in the National League in 1876.
Over the nine years of their existence, the Athletics were a successful club on the field, winning 633 games and losing 564, for a winning percentage of .529. The team won the AA pennant in 1883, finishing one game ahead of the St. Louis team. That same year, however, the National League set up its own team in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Quakers (later Phillies). The Quakers finished last in 1883, but soon improved on the field and at the gate.
Their home games were played at Oakdale Park in 1882, and at the Jefferson Street Grounds from 1883 to 1890. In addition, games were also occasionally played at Gloucester Point Grounds. They had eight different managers, with co-owner Bill Sharsig having the longest tenure.
Notable players for the Athletics included future Baseball Hall of Fame member Wilbert Robinson and Al Atkinson. Atkinson is one of the few pitchers to throw more than one no-hitter, and he threw them both for the Athletics, on May 24, 1884 and May 1, 1886. In the first no-hitter Atkinson beaned leadoff hitter Ed Swartwood and then retired 27 batters in a row. In 1888 the Athletics had two no-hitters within a week, with Ed Seward throwing one on July 26 and Gus Weyhing on July 31.