Brooklyn's debut into the National League in 1890 began on a positive note as the team nicknamed the "Bridegrooms" won the championship with an 86-43 record. It was the first of 21 National League pennants that the Dodgers would win during the next 100 years.
The moniker "Bridegrooms" was attached to Manager William "Gunner" McGunnigle's 1890 ballclub because seven of the players got married around the same time in 1888. Despite the success of the Bridegrooms, McGunnigle didn't last past the initial year and the team paraded through six different managers before the end of the decade. The skippers included John Montgomery Ward (1891-92), Dave Foutz (1893-96), William Barnie (1897-98), Mike Griffin (1898), Charles H. Ebbets (1898) and Ned Hanlon (1899-1905).
The term "Trolley Dodgers" was attached to the Brooklyn ballclub due to the complex maze of trolley cars that weaved its way through the borough of Brooklyn. The name was then shortened to just "Dodgers." During the 1890s, other popular nicknames were Ward's Wonders, Foutz's Fillies and Hanlon's Superbas.
Baseball was not new to Brooklyn, which had fielded a team as early as 1849. Charles Byrne, president of the Brooklyn club which started in the Interstate League and moved into the American Association, built Washington Park on the approximate site where George Washington's Continental Army had fought the battle of Long Island. The Dodgers of 1890 transferred to the National League from the American Association, where they had won the 1889 pennant.
Under Hanlon, who joined the Dodgers from Baltimore, the team brought stars to Brooklyn including "Wee" Willie Keeler, Hughie Jennings and Joe Kelley. Sportswriters dubbed the team "Hanlon's Superbas" because of a popular Broadway troupe of the same name. Brooklyn won the 1899 title under Hanlon, the first of two consecutive pennant winners.
Brooklyn-born Keeler, famous for saying "I hit 'em where they ain't," had great bat control and was an adroit bunter. He compiled a .345 career batting average, fifth best all-time in baseball. The 5-foot-4 Hall of Famer had a league-leading 140 runs scored in 1899. First decade stars also included pitcher William "Brickyard" Kennedy, who won 176 games; pitcher Tom Lovett, who won 30 games in 1890 (the only Dodger pitcher to record 30 wins in one season); outfielder Tommy "Oyster" Burns, who batted .300 from 1890-95 and led the league with 128 RBI in 1890; Mike Griffin, who batted over .300 in an eight-year period (1891-98) before managing; first baseman Dan Brouthers, who was the club's first batting champion with a .335 average in 1892; shortstop Tommy Corcoran, who batted .300 with 173 hits in 1894; and first baseman Candy LaChance, who hit .290 for six seasons (1893-98).