National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs in 1881


The National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs (NL) was established in 1876 (147 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.

1881 was Season 6 of play for the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs (NL) and took place 142 years ago.


Major League

Season Length

April 30, 1881 to September 30, 1881

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 in Baseball (Thanks to Wikipedia)

  • January 11 – The first of a series of baseball games played on ice is played in Chicago. This will become a regular event in the Chicago area.
  • March 8 – The National League agrees on an 84-game schedule for the upcoming season. The owners are polled and pick the Chicago White Stockings as the pre-season favorite to win the pennant.
  • March 9 – The National League releases a list of 23 umpires approved to call league games.
  • April 11 – The Eastern Association is formed and includes the New York Metropolitans, The Washington Nationals and Brooklyn Atlantics, all teams that have regularly played competitively against National League teams.
  • April 27 – With pitcher George Bradley already out with pneumonia, the Detroit Wolverines lose their other hurler Bill Sweeney to a pulmonary hemorrhage. Neither pitcher will ever play a single game for the Wolverines.
  • May 14 – Charley Jones wins a judgement against the Boston Red Caps for his unpaid salary due from 1880 in an Ohio court. Cleveland law enforcement will take the money from the Red Caps share of gate receipts when Boston plays in Cleveland.
  • May 20 – Mike “King” Kelly scores the go-ahead run by cutting short the distance rounding the bases. Kelly doesn’t come close to touching third while the umpire is looking a different direction. Kelly then pulls off the hidden ball trick in the 9th inning to preserve the win for the Chicago White Stockings.
  • May 28 – A man is arrested for trying to bribe John Clapp of the Cleveland Blues to throw a game. Clapp will acquire the nickname “Honest John” because he went to the police after the bribe offer was made.
  • June 1 – Tommy Bond is released by the Boston Red Caps after starting the season 0–3. After averaging nearly 500 innings pitched per season over the last 7 years, Bond’s arm is no longer what it once was. Bond will never regain his once-dominating form.
  • June 18 – The Washington Nationals of the Eastern League disband, citing lack of interest after being rejected to join the National League.
  • June 20 – A new team is formed in Cincinnati after the demise of the previous Cincinnati Reds team. This new club will succeed and become the modern-day Cincinnati Reds.
  • June 25 – George Gore of the Chicago White Stockings sets a major league record by stealing 7 bases in one game. Billy Hamilton will tie this record in 1894.
  • September 3 – Lip Pike of the Worcester Ruby Legs makes 3 errors in the 9th inning which gives the Boston Red Caps 2 runs and a 3–2 victory. Worcester accuses Pike of throwing the game and immediately suspends him. Pike will only play in 1 more game in his career, in 1887.
  • September 10 – With the Troy Trojans trailing 7–4, the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the 9th, Roger Connor hits the first grand slam in National League history for an 8–7 victory.
  • September 12 – Chub Sullivan, who was captain of the Worcester Ruby Legs before falling ill in the spring, dies in Boston at the age of 25.
  • September 15 – Davy Force of the Buffalo Bisons turns 2 unassisted double plays, participates in 2 other double plays and starts a triple play for the Bisons. Despite his feat, Buffalo loses in 12 innings, 7–6 to the Worcester Ruby Legs.
  • September 16 – The Chicago White Stockings win their 2nd straight pennant with a 4–0 win over the Boston Red Caps.
  • September 25 – The National League announces that all 8 teams will return for the 1882 season. This is the first time that the major leagues have had the same teams in 2 consecutive seasons.
  • September 27 – The Troy Trojans lose to the champion Chicago White Stockings 10–8 in a heavy rain storm in front of 12 spectators, setting a record for the least attended game.
  • September 29 – The National League issues a list of 10 blacklisted players who will require unanimous league approval for reinstatement. The reason given for the blacklisting is “confirmed dissipation and general insubordination.”

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