1969 not only marked the 100th anniversary of the original Cincinnati Red Stockings being the first fully professional baseball team, but it also marked the first year of divisional play in Major League Baseball. The Reds (along with the Atlanta Braves) were placed in the NL West division, despite being located further east than the 2 westernmost teams in the NL East division, the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. This was because the New York Mets wanted to be in the same division as the reigning power in the NL, which were the Cardinals at the time (to compensate for playing against the Dodgers and Giants fewer times each season). The Cubs consequently demanded to be in the NL East as well in order to continue playing in the same division as the Cardinals, one of the Cubs' biggest rivals. A side effect of this alignment is that it set the stage for what is considered one of the greatest pennant races - and comebacks in such a race - in MLB history (see 1969 New York Mets season for more info).