National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs in 1887


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.

1887 was Season 12 of play for the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs (NL) and took place 137 years ago.


Major League

Season Length

 April 28, 1887 to October 8, 1887

Season Champion

Detroit Wolverines

# 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.

World Series

The 1887 World Series was the fourth post-season championship series between the Detroit Wolverines of the National League and the St. Louis Browns of the American Association in nine cities (St. Louis, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Brooklyn, New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, and Baltimore). The series was played as follows:

Game 1 – October 10, St. Louis – St-Louis won 6–1.

Game 2 – October 11, St. Louis – Detroit won 5–3.

Game 3 – October 12, Detroit – Detroit won 2–1 (13 innings).

Game 4 – October 13, Pittsburgh– Detroit won 8–0.

Game 5 – October 14, Brooklyn – St-Louis won 5–2.

Game 6 – October 16, New York– Detroit won 9–0.

Game 7 – October 17, Philadelphia– Detroit won 3–1.

Game 8 – October 18, Boston– Detroit won 9–2.

Game 9 – October 19, Philadelphia – Detroit won 4–2.

Game 10 – October 21 (morning), Washington– St-Louis won 11–4.

Game 11 – October 21 (afternoon), Baltimore – Detroit won 13–3.

Game 12 – October 22, New York – St-Louis won 5–1 (7 innings).

Game 13 – October 24, Detroit – Detroit won 6–3.

Game 14 – October 25, Chicago– St-Louis won 4–3.

Game 15 – October 26, St. Louis – St-Louis won.

The Detroit Wolverines won the 1887 World Series, 10 Games to 5.

Events in Baseball (Thanks to Wikipedia)

Notable Seasons
  • St. Louis Browns left fielder Tip O’Neill led the AA in batting average (.435), on-base percentage (.490), slugging percentage (.691), adjusted OPS+ (213), hits (225), home runs (14), total bases (357), runs scored (167), and runs batted in (123).
  • Baltimore Orioles pitcher Matt Kilroy had a win–loss record of 46–19 and led the AA in innings pitched (589.1), wins (46), and shutouts (6). He was second in the AA in earned run average (3.07) and strikeouts (217). He was fourth in the AA in adjusted ERA+ (133).
  • January 18 – The Kansas City Cowboys are admitted to the Western League. Though this incarnation of the franchise folds after one season, three other teams based in Kansas City would also use the Cowboys moniker, the last appearing in the Union Association in 1889.
  • February 8 – Albert Spalding of the Chicago White Stockings meets with star player Mike “King” Kelly for contract talks. Kelly wants his $375 bonus for good behavior during the 1886 season. Spalding not only refuses the bonus, but also refuses to refund $225 in fines levied against Kelly for drinking. Spalding has already sold all 3 starting outfielders from the defending champion White Stockings and is aggressively looking to rid his team of drinkers.
  • February 8 – The St. Louis Maroons are sold to a group in Indianapolis for $12,000. The team will play the 1887 season as the Indianapolis Hoosiers.
  • February 9 – In order to make room the Pittsburgh Alleghenys and keep the league structure at 8 teams, the National League buys out the Kansas City Cowboys for $6,000.
  • February 14 – James Billings, an owner of the Boston Beaneaters, reaches a contract agreement with Mike “King” Kelly that will pay him $2,000 per season as well as a $3,000 bonus if the Beaneaters can purchase his reserve rights from the Chicago White Stockings.
  • February 16 – Mike “King” Kelly is sold to the Boston Beaneaters for $10,000, more than double the price ever paid for any player. Kelly becomes commonly known during that time as “$10,000 Kelly” because of the sale.
  • February 20 – John Montgomery Ward, president of The Brotherhood of Professional Baseball Players speaks out against the increasing pattern of player-selling. The Brotherhood will later start the rival Players’ League in 1890.
  • October 8 – The New York Metropolitans franchise is sold to Brooklyn Grays owner Charlie Byrne for $15,000.
  • October 8 – The Philadelphia Quakers defeat the New York Giants 6–3 and end the season with 16 wins and 1 tie in their final 17 games to finish in 2nd place in the National League.
  • October 9 – Tip O’Neill of the St. Louis Browns finishes the season as the American Association leader in doubles, triples, and home runs, a feat which has never been duplicated.
  • October 9 – Guy Hecker, star pitcher and hitter of the Louisville Colonels who plays other positions when not pitching, sets a defensive record for first basemen by recording zero fielding chances in a 9-inning game.
  • October 10 – The St. Louis Browns win the first game of the best of 15 World’s Series with a 6–1 win over the Detroit Wolverines.
  • October 11 – The Wolverines take Game 2 by the score of 5–3.
  • October 12 – Detroit wins Game 3 in 13 innings 2–1.
  • October 13 – Lady Baldwin pitches a 2-hitter in leading Detroit to an 8–0 victory.
  • October 14 – The Browns win Game 5 by the score of 5–2 and now trail in the series 3 games to 2.
  • October 15 – Detroit wins 9–0 in Game 6.
  • October 17 – The Wolverines beat St. Louis 3–1 and go up 5 games to 2 in the series.
  • October 18 – Detroit wins again in Game 8 by the score of 9–2.
  • October 19 – The Detroit Wolverines increase their series lead to 7 games to 2 with a 4–2 win over the St. Louis Browns.
  • October 21 – After a rainout the day before, the Browns pull off a triple play in an 11–4 morning victory over Detroit.
  • October 21 – The Detroit Wolverines win the series with a 13–3 afternoon win over the St. Louis Browns. Even though the Wolverines have won the series, the remaining 4 games will be played as they have previously been scheduled in various cities.
  • October 26 – The Browns win the final game of the series, but Detroit wins the series 10 games to 5.
  • October 27 – The Brotherhood of Professional Base-Ball Players agree to not sign contracts until an agreement has been reached with club owners regarding salary caps and the reserve rule.
  • November 2 – The Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association are sold to a syndicate headed by Henry C. Pennypacker. The three longtime partners, Sharsig, Simmons, and Mason, still hold a sizable block of stock.
  • November 14 – The Cleveland Blues announce new uniforms for the 1888 season. The web-like pattern on the uniform will inspire the nickname “Spiders” which the club officially adopts.
  • November 16 – The joint rules committee drops the 4-strike experiment from 1887 and returns to the standard 3-strike rule. The committee also drops the base on balls as counting for a hit in official statistics.
  • November 17 – The club owners officially recognize the Brotherhood of Professional Base-Ball Players by meeting with John Montgomery WardNed Hanlon, and Dan Brouthers.
  • November 21 – In the American Association, the St. Louis Browns announce a trade that ships Bill Gleason and Curt Welch to the Philadelphia Athletics in exchange for Fred MannChippy McGarr, and Jocko Milligan, plus $3,000. This is the first of a significant number of trades or sales in the majors, mostly to the Brooklyn Grays.
  • November 24 – George Hancock invents an indoor baseball game that would become known as softball in Chicago.
  • December 2 – The International League disbands, as the Syracuse, Toronto, Hamilton, and Buffalo teams split off to form the International Association, while Newark, Jersey City, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton, become the nucleus of the Central League.
  • December 8 – The American Association agrees to increase ticket prices to .50¢ for the 1888 season. The AA will revert to the original .25¢ fee in August after suffering attendance and revenue losses through the season.

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