The Gothams were founded in 1883 during the heart of the baseball war between the rival Border Association and Century League. The Border circuit had a club in New York while the Federals did not. James Darrow was the club's original owner and convinced his friends and political cronies, Charles and Miles Bigsby, to refurbish their harness racing track into a baseball stadium. That the Bigsby Oval was located directly across the street from the home of the Border Association's New York Stars was the icing on the cake. Still, a club founded largely out of spite turned out to be a pretty good product on the field. Stumbling in their first two seasons, the Gothams found their footing and became one of the Century League's top teams for the balance of the 1880s. In the 90s, they took their winning ways into the newly founded FABL winning three pennants and three World Championships, including the very first one in 1893 (and following up in 1895 and '96). Though real success was harder to come by in the 20th century, by the late 1920s the Gothams were again in the pennant mix in the Federal Association. 

TRIVIA: Bigsby Oval, the team's home park, was originally built as a harness-racing venue. When the Gothams became successful, the politically-connected Bigsby family sought and received permission to expand the eastern and western seating areas over Riverside Drive and Broadway, respectively, creating "tunnels" on the streets below in order to add seating capacity to a park originally built in 1876.