National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs in 1876


The National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs (NL) was established in 1876 (148 years ago) when a number of its teams broke away from the NA. The National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs (NL) was formed in Chicago, Illinois, by businessman and owner of the Chicago Base Ball Club (now known as the Chicago Cubs), 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.

1876 was Season 1 of play for the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs (NL) and took place 148 years ago.


Major League

Season Length

April 22, 1876 to October 21, 1876

Season Champion

Chicago White Stockings

# of Teams


Season Standings

Season Playoffs

There were no championship playoffs as the top team with the most wins at end of season was declared league champion for the season.

Events (thanks to Wikipedia)

February 2ChicagoWilliam 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 franchise, is selected as the league’s first President.
February 12ChicagoAfter he joined the Chicago Club as a player, Albert Spalding announced his plan to open a sporting goods retail store in Chicago; known today as Spalding.
April 22PhiladelphiaAthletic ParkThe Bostons defeat the 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.
April 25LouisvilleLouisville Baseball ParkIn Chicago‘s first National League game, Albert Spalding threw the NL’s first shutout as Chicago defeated Louisville by the score of 4–0. Spalding threw another shutout in the Chicagos’ second game, on April 25, also against Louisville.
May 2CincinnatiAvenue GroundsRoss Barnes of the Chicagos hit the first NL home run, an inside-the-park home run off pitcher Cherokee Fisher of Cincinnati.
May 13HartfordHartford Ball Club GroundsThe New York Mutuals achieved a triple play in a loss to Hartford.
May 25PhiladelphiaJefferson Street GroundsThe game between Athletic and Louisville ended in a 2–2 tie, the first game to end in a tie in the NL and in major league history.
May 30New YorkUnion GroundsIn a game between Louisville and Mutual, 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.
June 14PhiladelphiaJefferson Street GroundsGeorge Hall and Ezra Sutton of Athletic each hit three triples in a 20–5 victory against Cincinnati, the only time teammates have accomplished this feat.
June 17PhiladelphiaJefferson Street GroundsIn a 23–15 victory over CincinnatiGeorge Hall of Athletic becomes the first major league player to hit two home runs in a single game.
June 27Chicago23rd Street GroundsDavy Force of Athletic collects six hits in six at bats in a 14–13 victory against Chicago and Albert Spalding. He is the first major leaguer to collect six hits in a nine-inning game.
July 15St. LouisGrand Avenue ParkGeorge Bradley of St. Louis pitches the first no-hitter in MLB history, a 2–0 victory against Hartford. It is the second no-hitter recorded in professional play, after Joe Borden‘s on July 28, 1875.
July 25Chicago23rd Street GroundsCal McVey of the Chicagos 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.
August 4LouisvilleLouisville Baseball ParkTrailing Chicago with rain looming, the Louisvilles 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.
August 21St. LouisGrand Avenue ParkIn the ninth inning, and the score tied 6–6, of a game between Chicago and St. Louis, 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.
September 5New YorkUnion GroundsGeorge Bradley of St. Louis records his 16th shutout of the season in a 9–0 win over Mutual. This season total of 16 shutouts has since been tied, by Grover Cleveland Alexander, of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1916.
September 11PhiladelphiaThe Philadelphia Athletic Club informs the league office that it will be unable to make its last western road trip due to financial trouble. The owner of the Athletics suggested that the Chicago and St. Louis Clubs 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.
September 16New YorkThe Mutual Club of New York announces to the league office that it will not make its final western road trip of the season due to lack of funds.
September 26Chicago23rd Street GroundsThe Chicago Club clinches the first National League pennant with a 7–6 win over Hartford.
October 23ChicagoThe 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.
December 10ClevelandDuring 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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