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Albert Spalding
Birth: Sep. 2, 1850
Byron
Ogle County
Illinois, USA
Death: Sep. 9, 1915
San Diego
San Diego County
California, USA

Early Major League Baseball Player, Manager, and Executive, and Sporting Goods Store Co-Founder. He was a pitcher who played for the Boston Red Stockings from 1871 to 1875 and the Chicago White Stockings from 1876 to 1878. The premier pitcher of the 1870s, he led the league in victories for each of his six full seasons as a professional and was his team's only pitcher during those years. Born in Byron, Illinois he joined the Rockford Pioneers youth team at the age of 15 and later joined several other baseball teams. In the autumn of 1867 he accepted a $40 per week contract, nominally as a clerk, but really to play professionally for the Chicago Excelsiors, not an uncommon arrangement used to circumvent the rules of the time, which forbade the hiring of professional players. After the formation of baseball's first professional organization, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (which became known as the National Association, the Association, or NA) in 1871, he joined the Boston Red Stockings (precursor club to the modern Atlanta Braves) and won 206 games while losing only 53 as a pitcher and batting .323 as a hitter during his 5 years with them, while winning the National Association pennant in each of those years. In 1876 he joined the Chicago White Stockings (now known as the Chicago Cubs), after being convinced by its owner, William Hulbert, to return to his native roots. That year, he won 47 games as the prime pitcher for the Chicago White Stockings and led them to win the first-ever National League pennant by a wide margin. Additionally, he served as the team's manager. The following year, he began to use a glove to protect his catching hand. Other baseball players had used gloves previously, but never had a star like Spalding used one before. He retired from playing baseball in 1878 at the age of 27, although he continued as a major force as president and part owner of the White Stockings and a major influence on the National League. During his playing career, he accumulated a pitching record of 252 wins and 65 losses, with an earned run average of 2.14. His .796 career winning percentage (from an era when teams played about once or twice a week) is the highest ever achieved by a baseball pitcher. As a hitter, he accumulated a batting average of .313 with 613 career hits and 338 career runs batted in. In the months after signing for Chicago, he and Hulbert organized the National League by enlisting the four major teams in the East and the three other top teams in what was then considered to be the West. Joining Chicago initially were the leading teams from Cincinnati, Ohio, Louisville, Kentucky, and Indianapolis, Indiana. The owners of these western clubs accompanied Hulbert and Spalding to New York City, New York where they secretly met with owners from New York, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Hartford, Connecticut, and Boston, Massachusetts. Each signed the league's constitution, and the National League was officially born. Although the National Association held on for a few more seasons, it was no longer recognized as the premier organization for professional baseball. Gradually, it faded out of existence and was replaced by myriad minor leagues and associations around the country. In 1874 he and his brother Walter began a sporting goods store in Chicago, Illinois which grew rapidly (14 stores by 1901) and expanded into a manufacturer and distributor of all kinds of sporting equipment. The company soon became synonymous with sporting goods and is still a going concern. He published the first official rules guide for baseball, in which he stated that only Spalding balls could be used (previously, the quality of the balls used had been subpar). He also founded the "Baseball Guide," which at the time was the most widely read baseball publication. From 1882 until 1902 he was the owner of the Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball team. In 1888 to 1889 he took a group of major league players around the world to promote baseball and his sporting goods, becoming the first-ever world baseball tour. Playing across the western US, the tour made stops in Hawaii (although no game was played), New Zealand, Australia, Ceylon (now Sir Lanka), Egypt, Italy, France, and England, before returning home to grand receptions in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. In 1900 he was appointed by US President William McKinley as the US Commissioner at that year's Summer Olympic Games in Paris, France. That same year, he moved to San Diego, California and became a prominent member and supporter of the Theosophical community Lomaland, which was being developed on Point Loma by social worker Katherine Wescott Tingley. He died in San Diego at the age of 65. In 1939 he was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame as one of its first inductees. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Burial:
Cremated
Specifically: Ashes Scattered over Point Loma, California
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Ron Moody
Record added: Oct 19, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 5860637
Albert Spalding
Added by: Frank Russo
 
Albert Spalding
Added by: Ron Moody
 
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Rest in heavenly peace, Albert.
- Patrick Flahive
 Added: Jul. 29, 2014

- Patrick Flahive
 Added: Jul. 29, 2014
Thank you for your contributions to the beginnings of Major League Baseball. May you rest in peace.
- William Bjornstad
 Added: Apr. 22, 2014
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