April 2014 Issue

1876 Season In Review

After a tumultuous six-year existence, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NA), folded following the 1875 season. The National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs (NL) was formed in Chicago, Illinois by businessman, and owner of the Chicago White Stockings, William Hulbert, for the purpose of replacing the NA, which he believed to have been corrupt, mismanaged, full of rowdy, drunken ballplayers, and under the influence of the gambling community. One of the new rules put into place by the new league was that all teams had to be located in cities that had a population of 75,000 or more. The initial NL season began with eight teams, and they were asked to play seventy games between April 22 and October 21. The NL is considered to be the first "major league", although it has been argued that the NA can make that claim.

Final Standings

American Association
New York Metropolitans7532.701-
Columbus Buckeyes6939.6396.5
Louisville Eclipse6840.6307.5
St. Louis Browns6740.6268
Cincinnati Red Stockings6841.6248
Baltimore Orioles6343.59411.5
Philadelphia Athletics6146.57014
Toledo Blue Stockings4658.44227.5
Brooklyn Atlantics4064.38533.5
Richmond Virginians1230.28630.5
Pittsburg Alleghenys3078.27845.5
Indianapolis Hoosiers2978.27146
Washington Nationals1251.19041

Statistical Leaders

National League
Batting AverageRoss BarnesChicago White Stockings.429
Home RunsGeorge HallPhiladelphia Athletics5
Runs Batted InDeacon WhiteChicago White Stockings60
WinsAlbert SpaldingChicago White Stockings47
Earned run averageGeorge BradleySt. Louis Brown Stockings1.23
StrikeoutsJim DevlinLouisville Grays122

Notable Events

2-FebChicagoWilliam Hulbert organized the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs, replacing the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, which had folded at the conclusion of the 1875 season. Morgan Bulkeley, the owner of the Hartford Dark Blues, is selected as the league's first President.
12-FebChicagoAfter he joined the Chicago White Stockings as a player, Albert Spalding announced his plan to open a sporting goods retail store in Chicago; known today as Spalding.
22-AprPhiladelphiaThe Boston Red Caps defeat the Philadelphia Athletics by the score of 6-5, in the first NL game. Joe Borden, pitching under the pseudonym Joe Josephs, is the winning pitcher, and Jim O'Rourke collected the league's first base hit.
25-AprLouisvilleIn the Chicago White Stockings' first game, Albert Spalding threw the NL's first shutout as Chicago defeated the Louisville Grays by the score of 4-0. Spalding threw another shutout in the White Stockings' second game, on April 25, also against Louisville.
2-MayCincinnatiRoss Barnes of the Chicago White Stockings hit the first NL home run, an inside-the-park home run off pitcher Cherokee Fisher of the Cincinnati Red Stockings.
13-MayHartfordThe New York Mutuals achieved a triple play in a loss to the Hartford Dark Blues.
25-MayPhiladelphiaThe game between the Philadelphia Athletics and Louisville Grays ended in a 2-2 tie, the first game to end in a tie in the NL and in major league history.
30-MayNew YorkIn a game between the Louisville Grays and the New York Mutuals, Louisville right fielder, George Bechtel, committed three of the nine errors that led to his team's defeat. Louisville's ownership suspected that he intentionally 'fixed' the game by intentionally committing errors to ensure a winning bet for himself and other gamblers. Management intercepted a wire dated June 10, in which Bechtel conspired to lose the game that day. Bechtel refused to resign when confronted with the evidence, so Louisville banished him from the team.
14-JunPhiladelphiaGeorge Hall and Ezra Sutton of the Philadelphia Athletics each hit three triples in a 20-5 victory against the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the only time teammates have accomplished this feat.
17-JunPhiladelphiaIn a 23-15 victory over the Cincinnati Red Stockings, George Hall of the Philadelphia Athletics becomes the first major league player to hit two home runs in a single game.
27-JunChicagoDavy Force of the Philadelphia Athletics collects six hits in six at bats in a 14-13 victory against the Chicago White Stockings and Albert Spalding. He is the first major leaguer to collect six hits in a nine-inning game.
15-JulSt. LouisGeorge Bradley of the St. Louis Brown Stockings pitches the first no-hitter in MLB history, a 2-0 victory against the Hartford Dark Blues. It is the second no-hitter recorded in professional play, after Joe Borden's on July 28, 1875.
25-JulChicagoCal McVey of the Chicago White Stockings collects six hits for the second consecutive nine-inning game. He has totaled 15 hits in the last three games, and 18 hits in the last four, both records. After collecting two more hits on July 27, and four more on July 29, McVey will have tied his own record with 18 hits in a four-game stretch.
4-AugLouisvilleTrailing the Chicago White Stockings with rain looming, the Louisville Grays stall the game by committing error after error until the umpire rules the game a forfeit. The game result would later be removed from the official league standings.
21-AugSt. LouisIn the ninth inning, and the score tied 6-6, of game between the Chicago White Stockings and the St. Louis Brown Stockings, a St. Louis batter hit the base-runner coming from third base with batted ball. The umpire ruled that the runner was allowed to score, so Chicago left the field in protest. The umpire then awarded the game to St. Louis.
5-SepNew YorkGeorge Bradley of the St. Louis Brown Stockings records his 16th shutout of the season in a 9-0 win over the New York Mutuals. This season total of 16 shutouts has since been tied, by Grover Cleveland Alexander, of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1916.
11-SepPhiladelphiaThe Philadelphia Athletics inform the league office that they will be unable to make their last western road trip due to financial trouble. The owner of the Athletics suggested that the Chicago White Stockings and the St. Louis Brown Stockings play additional games in Philadelphia, take a larger than normal portion of the gate receipts, so they raise enough money to finish their schedule, which was denied.
16-SepNew YorkThe New York Mutuals announce the league office that they will not make their final western road trip of the season due to lack of funds.
26-SepChicagoThe Chicago White Stockings clinch the first National League pennant with a 7-6 win over the Hartford Dark Blues.
23-OctChicagoThe Chicago Tribune published the year-end player statistics, one of which would be the newly created, batting average; the first known instance of this statistic being published.
10-DecClevelandDuring the NL's Winter Meetings, it was announced that William Hulbert was elected President of the league, and that the Philadelphia Athletics and the New York Mutuals were expelled for failure to complete their required schedule in the 1876 season.
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