Here’s a great image from our truly astounding Rhode Island Collection–one of thousands of photos which you can view at our online album, at http://www.provlib.org/ri_image/providence_library/index.html
This description of the Providence Grays is from Wikipedia:
In 1884, Providence was a major league baseball city. The Providence Grays played at the long-gone Messer Field in the Olneyville neighborhood, as one of the eight teams in the National League. They were led by ace pitcher Charles “Old Hoss” Radbourn (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charley_Radbourn),
who is still remembered for winning a record 59 games that year and leading the Grays to the pennant. When the team’s other pitcher defected to a rival league in July, it looked like the Grays’ season was over, but “Old Hoss” offered to pitch the rest of the team’s games. The Grays went on a twenty-game winning streak and blew past their hated rivals, the Boston Red Stockings.
When the season was over, the Grays had won the league title by five games. They then played the New York Metropolitans, champions of the rival American Association, in a three-game championship series, and won all three games. It wasn’t officially called the “World Series”, but the Grays became undisputed world champions.
The Providence Grays disbanded after the 1885 season. A minor league by the same name played in Providence from 1891 to 1929; at one time its roster included a promising young pitcher, Babe Ruth.