Previous Moscow Teams
Moscow has a rich tradition of Bloodbath, dating back to frequent appearances of the pre-MLB Mongol Horde. In 1547, Ivan the Terrible used his wealth to found an major-league franchise, the Moscow All-Tsars, which played in the Old-World League’s Eastern Division. As part of a MLB realignment in 1703, Peter the Great moved the club to St. Petersburg to compete in the league's then-Western Division.
After the departure of the All-Tsars, the city still was able to compete in the Sport of Kings. In 1812, a local club, the Moscow Fire, stunned the MLB establishment by winning the World Series against Napoleon Bonaparte’s vaunted Paris Égalité. The Moscovites employed the un-orthodox strategy of forfeiting just prior to the start of the match, beating Paris by the score of 9-0. The French were so impressed by the strategy that the Égalité employed it without success in 1871, 1914, and 1940.
Founding as Moscow Reds
In 1917, MLB suspended the St. Petersburg All-Tsars for sloppy play and for withdrawing from the year’s scheduled matches against the Berlin Blitz. Recognizing the importance of the Russian market, MLB quickly awarded Moscow with an expansion franchise on January 15, 1918. The team’s new owner, John Lenin, announced the first player draft a month later.
To promote the sport, the Moscow Reds staged a series of exhibitions around the country against the White Russians, a touring club consisting of players from the London Imperials, Washington Generals, and the disbanded Petrograd All-Tsars. The Reds countered the White Russians with the Molotov cocktail.
Glory Days of the Reds
Player-manager Joseph Stalin transformed the Moscow Reds into a powerhouse of the Old-World League. Despite sitting out the 1940 season, the team played many exciting matches against the Berlin Blitz and broke the Blitz’s winning streak in the 1943 World Series.
From 1945–1991, the Moscow Reds were the largest team in the MLB, with a farm system including minor-league affiliates in Warsaw, Budapest, and East Berlin. The team had perfected the running game of the 1940s and helped pioneer the passing game of the 1960s. Because of the superpower's dominance in this era, many fans of the sport lament that the Moscow Reds never played the much-anticipated head-to-head series with their rival Washington Generals. In 1962, the World Series was abruptly canceled after the Habana Revolution suspiciously threw a playoff series against the Washington Generals.
After losing to the Kabul Warlords in 1989, observers began to question the Moscow Reds’ reliance on old-school offense.
In response to mounting costs of players and equipment in the 1970s and 1980s, the owners of the Moscow Reds pushed for MLB to implement a salary cap. Negotiations with the Washington Generals and the Beijing Billion did not produce the desired savings. In 1989, the Moscow Reds dismantled its farm system; and in 1991, the Reds’ general manager, Mikhail Gorbachev, announced the sale of the team. The club’s non-Russian assets were spun off, and the club was eventually purchased by a group of oligarchs and organizatsiya headed by Vladimir Putin.
The new owners quickly moved to revamp the Reds and its stodgy image, renaming the team the Moscow Mob.
Current Status of the Team
The Moscow Mob is in a rebuilding phase. The team is adopting the “West Coast Offense” pioneered by the successful Calí Cartel and Las Vegas Sin. While remaining competitive with the Washington Generals, the new owners hope their focus on bank fraud and Internet pornography will create an exciting rivalry with the Bay Area Nerds.
Appearances in the World Series
World Series record: 2-2-1
- 1812. Victory over Paris Égalité (forfeit)
- 1917. Loss to Berlin Blitz (forfeit)
- 1941. Tie with Berlin Blitz
- 1943. Victory over Berlin Blitz
- 1945. Victory over Berlin Blitz
- 1989. Loss to Kabul Warlords (forfeit)