William Hulbert

William Ambrose Hulbert was president of the Chicago White Stockings, founder of the National League, and its second president. He was a big man, standing more than six feet tall and weighing over 200 pounds. An energetic and honest businessman and an enthusiastic civic booster, he often proclaimed that he would prefer to be a lamppost in Chicago than a millionaire anywhere else. Hulbert was born on October 23, 1832, in Burlington Flats, New York, just a stone’s throw from Cooperstown, but it would take him more than a century and a half to get there. At the time of his death on April 10, 1882 he was lauded as the savior of baseball, an industry he had revolutionized.

William Hulbert was the eldest of three brothers. He and his parents, Eri Baker Hulbert and Mary Louisa Walker Hulbert, were all born in Burlington Flats, a small farming community in upstate New York. His brothers, Eri Baker II (born in 1841), and George Henry (1844) were both born in Chicago.

Hulbert’s business acumen likely came from his mother’s side of the family. Mary Walker came from a family of affluent businessmen. Her father was a successful New York farmer. Her brothers Charles and George were successful and well-known businessmen. Charles financed the business that Eri Hulbert ran in Chicago. George developed the Morgan Park neighborhood in Chicago and was a railroad executive and philanthropist who was especially generous to the University of Chicago.

Eri Hulbert, on the other hand, had a turbulent business career. Unable to support his family in Burlington Flats, so in 1837 he moved the family to Chicago and became the proprietor of a grocery store financed by his brother-in-law.

Things went well for the Hulberts for a few years, but in 1841, in what would become a recurring pattern, Eri fell on hard financial times. A disagreement over finances caused his brother-in-law to break up the partnership in January of that year, forcing Eri and his family out of the store. To make matters worse, Eri had invested heavily in Illinois and Michigan canal bonds, which failed that year, leaving the family destitute.

Recovery came quickly. Later that year, with the financial backing of friends, Eri built a block of stores, including a grocery that he ran, and for a while, the family’s fortunes improved. It was here where William gained his first business experience. In his youth, however, William was not yet the driven and focused businessman he would become. His shenanigans, fueled by alcohol, worried his parents so much that they made plans to send him away to school if for no other reason than to get him away from the bad influence of his friends.

Disaster struck the family again in 1849 when the entire block of buildings owned by Hulbert burned to the ground. No lives were lost, but the family was wiped out financially.

Despite this setback, William’s parents were determined to send him off to school. Eri was able to revive the grocery business; the family took in boarders and cut corners to afford the tuition at the Beloit Normal School, where William enrolled in January of 1851. He proved to be a poor student, and was expelled before completing his second term.

After returning from Beloit, William worked for another grocer, J.H. Dunham & Co. While this would be the beginning of an upswing in William’s business fortune, his father’s fortunes began to sink once again. Eri Hulbert left his family behind to seek opportunities in California in the spring of 1852, but he died during the journey west. Mary sold all the family belongings and moved back to Burlington Flats with her two younger sons. William stayed in Chicago and took over the family grocery business.

William married Jennie Murray on October 23, 1860. Their only child, William Jr., was born four years later. After the wedding, his mother returned to Chicago and moved in with William and Jennie. Domestic tranquility was not immediate however, as William, despite his business success, continued to battle the demon rum. It was only after driving his own family to the brink of bankruptcy and committing himself into a Boston inebriate asylum that he was able to get his life under control.

Eventually he branched out to commodity dealing and obtained a position on the Chicago Board of Trade. He was joined by his brother George who collaborated with him in a grain dealership and joined the Board. They dabbled in groceries, coal and real estate, establishing a reputation as successful businessmen.

The National Association

By 1870 Chicago was a budding metropolis. A group of businessmen set about recruiting players for a team they planned to enter into the new National Association of Professional Baseball Players, believing it would be good for Chicago business. William Hulbert joined the effort and purchased of three shares of the White Stocking Ball Club, which joined the league for its inaugural season in 1871.

The White Stockings were an immediate success, sporting a 19-9 record, good for second place. Chicago was led by pitcher George “the Charmer” Zettlein, a native of Williamsburg, NY, who went 18-9 record, pitching all but 10 innings of the season for the White Stockings. The Chicago sporting public became obsessed with the team as a symbol of civic pride and prestige, and the future seemed bright.

The White Stockings were not able to follow up on that start however, as the club was laid low, along with the rest of the city, by the Great Fire, which destroyed more than three square miles of Chicago, including Lake Park, shortly before the conclusion of the season. Along with the loss of the ball grounds they had rented, the White Stockings lost all their equipment, and were able to finish the season only due to the charity of the rest of the league. Chicago did not field a team again until 1874.

A new park was constructed at 23rd Street and leased by the White Stockings when they returned to the league. Their final two years in the National Association were not as successful. They finished both seasons in the middle of the pack with losing records. This did not settle well with Hulbert, who had been elected team Secretary following the 1874 season.

The 1875 White Stockings that Hulbert helped assemble featured a pair of young players who would go on to notoriety. Jim Devlin made his professional debut, posted an inauspicious 7-16 record. Two years later Devlin received a lifetime expulsion for throwing games as one of the infamous “Louisville Four.” Dick Higham spent his only season in Chicago in 1875. Later as an umpire he was expelled from baseball, becoming the only umpire in National League history to suffer such ignominy.

In July the White Stocking’s board of directors received a letter from Albert Spalding offering his services as manager of the club for 1876. Years later Spalding claimed that Hulbert initially approached him after being offered the club presidency following the 1874 season, saying he would accept only if Spalding joined the Chicago club for 1876. The board instructed Hulbert to visit Boston and attempt to sign Spalding. They further authorized him to engage any other players for the season of 1876 that he and Spalding felt worthy.

Hulbert’s trip proved successful. He signed Spalding for 1876 for $4000 plus 25% of net profits from gate receipts and a special sub-contract giving him 30% of the net profits arriving from the business of the Association for the year. The board agreed that this sub contract should be kept secret from all persons outside the board of directors under all circumstances. Later that fall they elected Spalding to board membership and made him club secretary. Spalding’s total income for 1876 was $6,902.86. It took another thirty years before any ballplayer earned more for a single season of work.

Hulbert also announced the signing of Ross Barnes, Cal McVey, James “Deacon” White, John Peters, Adrian Anson, and Ezra Sutton. Sutton later reneged on the deal and returned to Philadelphia, but the rest of the players joined holdovers John Glenn, Paul Hines, Oscar Bielaski, to form the nucleus of a championship team.

By 1875, however, the National Association was in trouble. It was weak and unable to control player jumping, rowdy behavior and gambling. The integrity of the games was so low that on occasion law enforcement officials were compelled to post signs at ballparks announcing that games played between the competing teams should not be trusted. These problems caused attendance to decline each ear of the league’s existence. The time was ripe for a stronger centrally governed league.

Hulbert was never comfortable with the National Association. As a businessman, he recognized its many faults and as a proud Chicagoan, he believed that Midwestern teams, his White Stockings in particular, were slighted by the eastern dominated league. He grew increasingly frustrated by the constant revolving of players between teams. Whenever Chicago signed a good player, he was certain to be stolen away by an eastern club as occurred in 1874 when five members of his squad, including Davy Force and Levi Meyerle, the team’s top two hitters, were signed by Philadelphia teams for the 1875 season.

The National League

A growing urban population with increasing income and leisure time demanded more entertainment, and baseball was well positioned to satisfy this demand. It was popular with a broad cross-section of society, a familiar game played by many since youth, accessible to all walks of life. The expanding mass transit networks in larger cities enabled people to congregate cheaply and easily at centrally located ballparks. Hulbert recognized this. He also understood that in its current format, professional baseball could not survive. In order to fulfill the demand and fill the coffers of savvy businessmen, baseball would have to be reorganized.

While he eventually came to be seen as architect of the National League, Hulbert was not without help. He was assisted by Albert Spalding, Harry Wright and Lewis Meacham. Each brought a different and important set of skills to the table. Spalding was the superstar player whose association with the new league would bring it instant credibility. Wright used his reputation and interest to reform the game. He was a critical ally in convincing eastern teams to buy into Hulbert’s reorganization plan. Meacham, an editor for the Chicago Tribune, served as Hulbert’s de facto public relations man and occasional team emissary.

One of Meacham’s first jobs was to set the table for Hulbert’s brash plan to create a new league. In an October 24, 1875 Chicago Tribune article Meacham listed the ills of the NA and then laid out a set of principles for addressing them. In order to combat the drunkenness, gambling, rowdy behavior and lackadaisical business organization that tormented baseball, Meacham, speaking with Hulbert’s approval called for reorganization of the business side of the league. He proposed that only financially capable clubs, willing to make a large financial deposit be admitted to the league. Furthermore, he argued, there should be no more than one team per city and no teams from cities with populations less than 100,000. These were radical proposals indeed, which if acted upon, would have immediately eliminated more than half the existing NA franchises.

In his effort to form a new league, Hulbert advocated a radical plan for how teams should be organized, by making a distinction between the terms “club” and “team.” Prior to his efforts, leagues were associations of clubs, made up of players. The new league was to be comprised of teams, professionally run by businessmen, employing players to produce a product at a profit. Going forward, they would exist to manage the sports’ business. They would form leagues and leave the players to concentrate on playing ball, for which they would receive a salary.

The concept of the National League may have begun with Hulbert’s plans during the 1875 season, but the first concrete step was taken on December 16th that year when he convened a secret meeting in Louisville with representatives of the St. Louis, Chicago, Louisville, and Cincinnati clubs. Hulbert was able to woo the westerners by appealing to their sense of resentment over their poor treatment by the eastern clubs.

The next step was to recruit the targeted eastern clubs. This was a more delicate process but it was handled masterfully by Hulbert. He needed to convince four eastern clubs to join the league both for geographic balance and for marketing reasons. This would be tricky because unlike the western teams, the eastern clubs did not have a chip on their shoulder. The NA had worked well for them so they weren’t necessarily looking to go in a new direction. Hulbert had to keep his intentions a secret. He didn’t want the press to catch wind of his scheme lest they whip up a frenzy of discontent.

A secret meeting was held on Feb 2, 1876 in Manhattan’s Grand Central Hotel with G. W. Thompson of the Philadelphia Athletics, Boston’s Nicholas Apollonio, Morgan Bulkeley from Hartford Club, and William H. Cammeyer of Brooklyn. The western franchises: Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville and St. Louis were all represented by Hulbert and Charles Fowle. They were empowered by the western clubs to close the deal on the formation of a new league.

Hulbert conferred with each of the easterners privately before he met with the group. Dramatic accounts of the meeting have Hulbert locking the door and telling the assemblage “Gentlemen, you have no occasion for uneasiness. I have locked that door simply to prevent any intrusions from without, and incidentally to make it impossible for any of you to go out until I have finished what I have to say to you, which I promise shall not take an hour.” The story goes on to say that Hulbert mesmerized the gathered moguls and used his peerless salesmanship to convince everyone of his case, and then with a flourish, he produced an already completed league constitution, which was enthusiastically signed by everyone. What was accomplished at the meeting was fairly well understood. That it was done behind closed doors with a dramatic sales pitch was described in Spalding’s later recollections of the meeting – which he did not attend.

Hulbert appealed to the owners, businessmen all, by using some simple economic logic. If the businessmen ran the teams and the players concentrated on playing ball, each party could concentrate on doing what they did best and everyone would be better off. The geographic exclusivity he promised to each club appealed to the owners as well. Establishing the NL as the premier professional league, with entry strictly controlled by the monopolists themselves, appealed to their pocketbooks. If the new league was recognized as the premier assemblage of baseball talent then it would be able to attract a greater percentage of the better players, and with no equals to bid them away, it would lower the payroll burden, leaving a larger percentage of the revenues for the owners.

Hulbert impressed upon those assembled that reforms were needed. Among them were the abolition of gambling, an end to revolving (the practice of players jumping teams), a ban on alcohol at the ballpark, and no more Sunday ball. The latter item was the toughest sell, because Sunday games were often the best attended. Hulbert convinced his brethren that while a great deal of money could be realized in the short run by playing on Sunday, honoring the Sabbath would carry with it valuable moral cache, which would result in greater long run profits. It was an investment in public confidence.

Board members were chosen by lot. The five names drawn from the hat were Bulkeley, Apollonio, Cammeyer, Fowle, and Charles E. Chase (Louisville). The dramatic version of the meeting also includes the detail that names were drawn from a hat, and it was decided that the first name drawn would be president of the league, and that is how Bulkeley became president. Another story has Hulbert nominating Bulkeley as an easterner to appease the eastern clubs. Like many legends, this one has a kernel of truth. The directors were chosen by lot. This was already predetermined by Article IV, section 1 of the league constitution, which had been written before the meetings and approved before the directors were chosen. According to the constitution the board would be determined by random drawing, and then the directors would elect a president from among their number. There is no specification that the first name drawn would be president. It is unlikely that Hulbert would have included such an item in the constitution, as it would have left the league presidency totally to chance. It is possible that he suggested Bulkeley for the honor on the strength of his name having been drawn first. Bulkeley had a sterling reputation as a businessman, but only marginal and shallow baseball experience and interest. For those very reasons, Hulbert was likely to have wanted him as president, for he would be a figurehead, while Hulbert could control the league from the background. Indeed, that is exactly what happened.

The meeting concluded with the resignation of the invited teams from the NA and their formal inclusion in the new NL. Nice and clean, no need to vote anyone out of a league. Just resign from the “offending” league and form a brand new one.

Hulbert supported a league wide requirement of 50-cent admissions because he felt lower prices cheapened the game. Higher admission fees allowed the teams to pay players higher wages, making them less likely to succumb to gamblers’ entreaties.

The success of the new league required that it attract the top talent. Hulbert claimed that eight was the most teams that could survive in an upper-echelon league given the quantity of available talent.

A more compelling reason for limiting the size of the league was to insure financially stable franchises. Identifying eight such clubs proved to be a vexing problem. During its first decade of existence 21 teams were members of the NL at one time or another.

Not surprisingly, the league was organized around the principles outlined the previous fall by Meacham in the Chicago Tribune. Membership was restricted to one team per city and mandated a minimum population of 75,000 (unless unanimously voted otherwise by the league – this is how Hartford gained admission). League teams were prohibited from hiring expelled players and under no circumstances could they play a game in another league city against anyone but the league team. The constitution provided for geographic exclusivity within a five-mile radius of the city. This idea, now the bulwark of any professional league, was Hulbert’s innovation.

Gambling was not tolerated by players or fans, nor was it allowed on the premises or any facilities owned by the member clubs. Teams were required to complete their season schedule. Both of these rules were to be enforced by the threat of expulsion.

Several newspapers spoke out against the new league, but for the most part the press was supportive because of Hulbert’s promise to address the problems of gambling, drinking, and corruption. The main opponent was Henry Chadwick, who launched repeated attacks against Hulbert and the National League. Chadwick was angry and embarrassed at being completely shut out of the process and was aghast at the way the league was created in virtual secrecy He would prove to be the main thorn in the NL’s side, but ultimately a harmless one.

For the first five years the league operated on a very small budget, with the president drawing no salary. The annual budget was under $1000, with nearly half of that going for the salary of the secretary-treasurer. Expenses were kept to a minimum by shifting some costs to the teams. For example, umpires were not an expense of the league. Their salary was the responsibility of the visiting club, and other than Hulbert and Young, the expenses of the directors meetings were met by individual clubs.

The first serious challenge for the league occurred toward the end of the inaugural season when Philadelphia and New York failed to complete their schedules. Neither was willing to make their second western swing. According to the league constitution, both were to be expelled. However, abandoning the two largest cities in the league was a risky move. Hulbert felt strongly that the integrity of the league must be upheld, and he began posturing for expulsion well before the league meeting in December. The league owners showed their resolve, backed Hulbert and unanimously voted to expel Philadelphia and New York.

At the same meeting, President Bulkeley resigned, citing his desire to focus on his political career. After the board formally accepted his resignation, Hulbert nominated Nicholas Apollonio as president. Apollonio refused, indicating that he was unsure he would still be involved with the team much longer. After Apollonio demurred, Hulbert was then unanimously elected to replace him.

After expelling New York and Philadelphia, the league attended to more mundane, but none-the-less important matters. They fixed a rate of 15 cents per person as the gate share for visiting teams in league contests, fixed umpire salaries at $5 per game, and required that each player make a $30 deposit on his uniform, launder and repair it at his own expense, and pay fifty cents per day for room and board while on road trips.

Besides getting the league off on the right foot, Hulbert also oversaw his own club. He was known as a hands-on executive, regularly attending to the needs of the patrons at Chicago’s home park by pitching in wherever necessary, even occasionally taking tickets. He often accompanied the team on road trips, spent money on creature comforts for the players, upgraded the clubhouse and hired the team’s first trainer during the offseason.

The new league proved a financial windfall for the White Stockings. The players earned more than $26,000 in combined salary and the stockholders took home a dividend of $91 a share. Fans flocked to the games to see the league champion White Stockings, led by Albert Spalding and his future Hall of Fame teammates Deacon White and Cap Anson.

Eighteen seventy-seven proved to be a busy and eventful year for Hulbert and the National League. The White Stockings were once again profitable, despite posting a losing record and tumbling to fifth place. As for league business, Hulbert endured a midseason team folding, a hippodroming (gambling) scandal and competition from a competitor league. His deft handling of each of these matters strengthened the league and raised his status among his peers.

In February the first competing league was formed when 18 teams gathered in Pittsburgh and formed the International Association of Professional Baseball Players (IA) to replace the NA. The IA wasn’t interested in going to war against the NL, for their franchises profited greatly from the exhibition games regularly scheduled with its members. Rather, the formation of the league was in response to the demand for baseball in the many forums ignored by the NL. The IA included teams from towns ranging in size from Auburn, New York, to St. Louis. Most of the clubs were run as cooperatives, and the players earned a share of the gate, not a salary.

While the NL paid more, the cooperative format of the IA offered players more control of their fate. The NL had to move slowly against this foe lest they force their hand and lose more players to the more labor friendly league. Touting higher pay and the ability of players to concentrate on playing ball as opposed to front office details worked to the NL’s advantage. Most ballplayers were not businessmen, and did not necessarily want to be. The more time spent in meetings meant the less time spent playing ball.

In an effort to preempt the International Association Hulbert proposed a League Alliance, a subordinate aggregation of teams affiliated with the National League. In exchange for $10 fees and promises to eschew raids on NL playing talent, alliance franchises received reciprocal respect for their player contracts and territorial rights. The International Association of Professional Base Ball Players was formed nonetheless, but was never a real threat. It was too large, scattered across a large geographic area, and financially shaky. Over the next few years as the NL increased the length of its schedule, exhibition games against the IA decreased making it a less attractive entity. By 1880, the IA was out of business.

In June of 1877 Si Keck, owner of the Cincinnati club, claimed he was losing money, so he disbanded the club and released all the players. For the next few weeks it was unclear whether a replacement would be found for the club. Hulbert signed two of their best players, Charlie Jones and Jimmy Hallinan. Eventually, J. Wayne Neff, a Cincinnati ice magnate, paid Keck’s debts and took over the franchise, organizing a new team to complete the schedule. He demanded that Hulbert return Hallinan and Jones. Hulbert initially refused, insisting that he had signed them legitimately, since Keck had disbanded his team. Recognizing the conflict of interest and potential public relations disaster of keeping the players, he finally reached a compromise with Neff, returning Jones but keeping Hallinan.

At the end of the season Hulbert presided over a crackdown on hippodroming, permanently banning Louisville players George Hall, James Devlin, Bill Craver and Al Nichols from the league for throwing games during the season. He used the situation to his fullest advantage, proving once again that the league was serious about upholding its constitution, and would not tolerate any behavior detrimental to the league, no matter who was involved.

After the tumultuous 1877 season, 1878 was given over to rebuilding. The White Stockings built a new ballpark, and Hulbert and Chadwick resolved their conflicts. The White Stockings turned another profit while improving slightly with a 30-30 record, good for a fourth place finish. .

Lakefront Park was constructed by the White Stockings in time for the 1878 season, hosting its first game on May 14. It was built in the same area along the lakeshore as Lake Park, which was lost in the 1871 fire. When the ball club was granted the right to build on the lakefront a conflict came up regarding use of the land. The ballpark was slated to be built in such a way as to cut this property in two, rendering it useless for other purposes. When the issue threatened to scuttle the new ballpark, Hulbert brokered a compromise with the city. The ballpark was moved south on the lakefront to leave sufficient space for other uses. Taking no chances, Hulbert showed up at the building site with a crew of workmen when construction began in March 1878 and quickly erected a fence around the entirety of the proposed park site, practicing a version of “possession is nine-tenths of the law.”

The White Stockings posted a winning record and a profit in 1879, but remained mired in fourth place. The highlight of the year, however, took place that fall at the league meetings in Buffalo.

NL owners frequently complained about high salaries in the first few years. For his part, Hulbert regularly pled with the owners to show salary restraint. In 1879 he became the first of many league officials to proclaim that in order for baseball to survive salaries would have to come down.

The reserve clause, known initially as the “Buffalo clause,” was the brainchild of Boston owner Art Soden. The emphasis at the meeting was to address player salaries and how to lower them. A two-part plan was proposed. Uniform player contracts were instituted and a reserve system was created.

Originally, the reserve was applied only to five players per roster, allowing the rest to shop their services elsewhere. In the early years, it was seen as a sign of honor by players to be reserved. Hulbert even advocated the idea that reservation was job security, and welcomed by the players. History has shown this was hardly the case. It would be nearly a century before the players would regain their bargaining power.

The 1880 season featured another team expulsion, this time the Cincinnati club. Cincinnati had been making a regular habit out of leasing their ballpark out for Sunday games. This was a constant source of irritation to Hulbert, who did not believe in Sunday ball. To make matters worse, beer was sold at those Sunday games – another Hulbert taboo flaunted by Cincinnati.

At the December 1880 meeting the league voted to formally reword the constitution to prevent the playing of any games at league parks on Sunday. This was clearly directed at Cincinnati. Shortly thereafter the club was expelled for failing to guarantee that it would observe the new constitution. They were replaced by Detroit, in a move that had actually been planned three months prior. In September, Hulbert had written Abraham Mills, working for the league office, mentioning a visit from William. G. Thompson, Detroit’s Mayor, lobbying for the inclusion of a Detroit club in the NL. He was impressed enough with Mayor Thompson that he told Mills to draft a resolution to be signed by the clubs pledging to prohibit Sunday games on the grounds of league clubs. Hulbert was sure such a resolution would not be amenable to Cincinnati.

Unlike other ostracized clubs, Cincinnati did not go away quietly. Instead, they became a force in the organization of the American Association (AA), the first serious competitor to the NL. The AA debuted in 1882, featuring Sunday ball, 25-cent admissions and booze at the ballpark. Hulbert was not around to fight this battle though.

In what was his final season at the helm, the Chicago players expressed their gratitude to Hulbert by presenting him with a gold watch-chain and locket at the beginning of the 1881 season. When the league reelected him president in December of that year, they showed their appreciation of his efforts with a gold headed cane and passed a resolution acknowledging that more than any other individual, he was due the credit for the success of the National League and its elevation to the top of the American sporting world. Hulbert, who was already ill, protested his reelection in vain. When the owners gathered the following spring in Rochester to adopt the 1882 schedule he was too ill to attend and Art Soden was elected president pro tem.

William Hulbert died at his home in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago on April 10, 1882. Just two days before his death he was making plans to go to his office at the ballpark, but cancelled due to the cold and rain. A few minutes before his death he remarked how well he felt for the first time in months, only to be felled by a heart attack that killed him almost instantly.

He is buried in Glenwood Cemetery in Chicago, not far from Wrigley Field now stands, in a modest grave. Nearby is a marble baseball shaped memorial stone presented by the National League shortly after his burial. The stone is engraved with the names of the teams in the league at the time of his death.

Hulbert was lauded in death and credited with saving baseball. “There is not in America a player, club, officer or patron of the game who will not feel that the loss is irreparable,” opined the Chicago Tribune in an April 11 obituary. The White Stockings board unanimously passed a resolution recognizing Hulbert alone as the creator of the National League. And in a black-bordered obituary published in the 1883 issue of the Spalding Guide, Henry Chadwick eulogized Hulbert, recognizing his “invaluable service rendered . . . in elevating [baseball’s] moral tone, and in extirpating the evils which at one time threatened to ruin it.”

Despite the glowing tributes to Hulbert and the proclamations that he would never be forgotten nor would the game ever be the same without him, he faded into obscurity. No trophy bore his name, no event was dedicated to him, and for a long time, no place could be found for him in the Hall of Fame. In 1965, Jim Hulbert, a third grader at Countryside School in Barrington, Illinois, wrote a letter to the Chicago American sports columnist, Warren Brown, asking what he could do to help get his great-great-uncle William A. Hulbert inducted into the Hall of Fame. Thirty years later it finally happened. It was a long time in coming, but his induction into baseball’s Hall of Fame was a fitting recognition for the father of the National League.



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Full Name

William Ambrose Hulbert


October 23, 1832 at Burlington Flats, NY (US)


April 10, 1882 at Chicago, IL (US)

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