The Token Ring protocol was invented by IBM. IBM had defined many communications protocols prior to designing the Token Ring. For IBM's earlier protocols, the most significant bit in each byte was transmitted first This sometimes is call "big endian" order.
IBM did not want to change this practice for the Token Ring protocol. However, IBM also wanted to submit its Token Ring specification to the IEEE.
In its 802.3 standard, the IEEE had specified that the bytes in an Ethernet frame were to be transmitted with the least significant bit first. This was especially important for addresses:
The first (leftmost) destination address bit that is transmitted must indicate whether it is an individual address (0) or a group ...