This article was written by Michael Haupert
This article was published in the Baseball’s 19th Century Winter Meetings: 1857-1900
The first season of the National League ended on a bittersweet note. While the league crowned Chicago its inaugural champion and all eight franchises remained solvent through the season, the magnates went into their first postseason meeting with a major concern: Two franchises had failed to finish their schedule, and dealing with the issue threatened the very foundation of the league.
The directors1 gathered at the Kennard House in Cleveland on December 6, 1876, for three days of what the Chicago Tribune called “the most important event in base-ball since the formation of the National League.”2 In the absence of President Morgan Bulkeley, Charles Chase (Louisville) acted as president pro tem. The first item of business was routine: The secretary submitted the official record of games won and lost during the league’s inaugural season, which saw Chicago capture the championship pennant. Of equal importance, the champion White Stockings excelled at the box office as well, ending the season with a tidy profit of just over $37,000.3
The National League ran a lean office in 1876. The entire budget was just a shade over $800, with fully half of that going for the salary of the secretary-treasurer, Nicholas Young. The league was able to maintain this budget in part because umpires were paid directly by the teams, and other than the league president and secretary, the expenses of the directors meetings were borne by individual clubs. The three primary sources of income for the league were annual fees of $100 per team, revenue paid by A.G. Spalding for the privilege of supplying the league with an official guidebook, and the occasional fine.4
Among other issues the league needed to address was the election of a new president. Bulkeley’s absence was neither unusual nor unexpected. He had submitted his resignation before the meetings began. Since his election as the league’s first president earlier in the year, he had been little more than a figurehead. The real power was wielded by William Hulbert. When Bulkeley agreed to accept the presidency, he did so with the understanding that he would serve only one year. As a member of the Hartford Common Council and the Board of Aldermen, his political career was blossoming, and along with his longtime interest in harness racing, it left him little time for baseball.5 His election had been a shrewd political move and a necessary compromise to get the Eastern teams aboard.
Before attending to the election of a new president, the league chose a new board of directors, using the same method it had used to create the original board: drawing names from a hat. The new board comprised Charles H. Porter (Boston), Chase (Louisville), Bulkeley (Hartford), Hulbert (Chicago), and Charles Fowle (St. Louis). After accepting the resignation of Bulkeley, Hulbert nominated Nicholas Apollonio (Boston) as president. Apollonio withdrew, however, indicating that he was unsure how much longer he would still be involved with the team.6 Indeed, he was already in the process of selling the team to Art Soden, a fact that Hulbert almost certainly knew. The deal would close before the year was out. Hulbert was then unanimously elected to the position, and would hold it until his death in 1882.
By far the most pressing issue of the meetings was the expulsion of the Mutual and Athletic clubs. It could be argued that this was the watershed moment for the existence of the league. Neither team completed its schedule, each skipping its final trip west, in violation of the league constitution. To start the proceedings, Fowle moved to amend the secretary’s report of the final standings to reflect that each unplayed game be forfeited to the home team by a score of 9-0. This motion would not have any impact on the league champion, but it would push St. Louis past Hartford into second place. The motion failed, however.7 While the final standings remained unaltered, the composition of the league would not.
In 1876 the National League operated its league schedule as its predecessor had, leaving the specifics of the schedule to individual teams. Teams were expected to play a set number of games against each other on a home-and-home basis, but the dates of the games were negotiated individually.8
Dropping the Mutuals and Athletics presented a double-edged sword to the league. On the one hand, the league had made a show of establishing a constitution that it swore to uphold, and Article 12 specifically required that teams play their schedule or face expulsion. Failure to expel the teams would indicate that the league, like its predecessor National Association, was weak and not serious about its proposed reforms. On the other hand, Brooklyn9 and Philadelphia represented the anchors of the Eastern half of the league, and were the two largest markets in the entire league. Expelling them would support the contention that Hulbert was serious about upholding the league constitution, but at the risk of economic devastation.
Hulbert had already taken steps to mitigate the damage from the likely expulsion of the Mutual club. Bulkeley’s Hartford franchise would move to Brooklyn for the 1877 season and play its home games at the Union Grounds, while retaining the name Hartford. The Union Grounds had been home to the Mutual ball club of Brooklyn.
Talk of expulsion had already begun two weeks before the meetings. Hulbert wrote to Apollonio, pressing the importance of upholding the league constitution. “First, every club shall play ten games with every other and no club shall employ a man expelled from another club. These are two things that are the corner stone of the league. I know of no other possible use for a combination of clubs except to enforce these two things.”10
The trouble began toward the end of the season, when both the Athletics and Mutuals refused to complete their schedules. Neither was willing to make their second (and final) Western swing. Athletic owner Thompson told Chicago and St. Louis he could not afford a trip west, but offered to host Chicago to complete the schedule. He claimed the centennial celebration had sapped home fans, as had injuries to his club, and his paying off an existing debt had left him broke and unable to swing another road trip west. Thompson offered 80 percent of the gate to Chicago and St. Louis if they would come east. Both clubs refused the offer.11
When William Cammeyer of Brooklyn contacted Hulbert and told him he could not afford to come west for his league games in late 1876, Hulbert and Fowle (St. Louis) agreed to each guarantee $400 to Cammeyer if he would bring the Mutual west for two games in Chicago and three in St. Louis. Cammeyer rejected the overture, claiming a trip west was not possible.12
In order to maintain credibility and uphold the league’s reputation, the constitution needed to be enforced, making expulsion necessary. Hulbert had a secondary reason for dumping the Athletic. He had signed ace pitcher George Bradley from St. Louis for the 1877 season, but Bradley had previously signed with the Athletic. If they were gone, Bradley would be a Chicago man.13 If they were not, an ugly contract fight was likely to result.
Cammeyer agreed to leave the league without appeal. He did so, however, having already arranged to lease his Union Grounds to the Hartford club for the 1877 season,14 so his main reason for being involved with baseball — profits — was to be preserved.
Josiah L. Keck of Cincinnati moved that Thompson be allowed to speak in defense of the Athletics, and he submitted a written statement. A. G. Mills then called for the reading of the communication from the four Western clubs requesting the ouster of the two Eastern clubs, and moved to adopt their request, which carried. Harry Wright moved that when the vote upon expulsion was taken it be a voice vote, which also carried.
The four Western clubs then formally presented a recommendation to expel Mutual and Athletic from the league for failure to complete their league schedules, according to Article XII: Section 1. “Whereas, the League having adopted the resolution of the Board of Directors of 1876, as follows: Resolved, that the Athletic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia, Pa., and the Mutual Base Ball Club of Brooklyn, N.Y., have forfeited their membership in this League; therefore, Be it resolved, that, in accordance with the adoption of said resolution, the Athletic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia, Pa., and the Mutual Base Ball Club of Brooklyn, N.Y., be and the same are, herby expelled from this League.”15
And just like that, the league was dramatically altered. Its membership was dropped from eight to six clubs, and the two largest cities were expelled — in name, if not circumstance.
The League made several changes to its constitution and playing rules in response to the expulsion. The delegates added a new paragraph to Article XI to address the status of players under contract to expelled teams. Upon expulsion, “… at any time before the expiration of the period covered by [the] contract, then, immediately … the mutual contract obligations of the parties hereto shall at once cease and terminate.” And Article XIII added a section reemphasizing the schedule requirements for each club. The existing section 2 (which was originally in Article XII) specified that “each club shall be entitled to have five of its games with every other club played on its own grounds.”
The new section 3 required that each club “play the following number of games with every other club: If six or seven clubs be members of the League on the first day of the championship season, twelve games; if eight or nine clubs, ten games; if ten clubs, eight games: Provided however, That if any game be prevented by rain, or if a tie or drawn game be played, the visiting club shall not be required to extend its stay, or to again visit such city for the sole purpose of playing off such tie or drawn game or game prevented by rain.”
Then again in section 4, “each club shall be entitled to have half of the championship series of games with every other club played on its own grounds.” And to further protect against a repeat of the 1876 fiasco, section 5 required that “all games shall be arranged for in writing, and so as to complete the championship series before the expiration of the championship season. Each agreement to play shall provide for an equal number of return games and specify dates for each game covered by the agreement, which dates shall subsequently be changed only by the written consent of the parties to such agreement.” And a new section 6 specified that any forfeited games would be counted as a 9-0 victory.16
Two new sections were added to Article 5, addressing teams refusing to play games. The first provided for the immediate expulsion of any team failing to play a scheduled game, and the prohibition of any league team from playing the offending team under penalty of expulsion themselves. The second specified how the club against whom the opponent refused to play should handle the incident.
“The club not in default shall at once notify the Secretary of the League by writing or telegraph of the default of the other club, stating the particulars of such default, and upon the receipt of such notice the Secretary shall at once notify all League clubs, and the club in default, of the forfeiture of membership of such club, stating in such notice the nature of the default, and referring to the Section of this Article under which such forfeiture of membership was incurred.”17
Management also took the opportunity to revise the constitution to put the squeeze on players, adding a clause specifically prohibiting any league club from playing any other club that employed a player expelled by the National League or even released by his team “on account of disagreement between such player and his club.” Another clause was added compelling the board to “consider any complaint preferred by a club against a player of another club for conduct in violation of any provision of this Constitution or prejudicial to the good repute of the game of base ball, and shall have power to require the club to which such player may belong to discipline him, and upon repetition of such offense, to expel him.”
In essence, what the league had done was create a structure that allowed any owner to accuse any player of virtually any offense, and then require the player to prove his innocence.18
The league refined the wording of other clauses in the constitution in favor of the clubs, such as: “[A]ny player who shall conspire with any person against the interest of his club, or by any conduct manifest a deposition to obstruct the management of his club, may be expelled.” And importantly, this clause continued, “[T]he club is entitled to the best services of the player, and if any player becomes indifferent or careless in his play, or from any cause becomes unable to render service satisfactory to his club, it may, at its option, refuse to pay salary for such time, or may cancel the contract of said player.”19
Combined with the earlier noted clause that de facto assumed the players guilty until proven innocent, the league now had near total control over the players. Only the imposition of the reserve clause, still 10 years down the road, remained to complete the monopolization of the labor market.
In one final insult, the Board established a $30 down payment for each player for his uniform, for which the player was responsible for cleaning and mending. And just to make sure there was no mistake about who was in charge, players henceforth would be docked 50 cents from their pay for room and board for each day the team spent on the road.20
Next, the owners turned to finances, laying out a new system for ensuring revenue sharing. For the 1877 season the home team was to give the visiting team 15 cents for each admission to the ballpark. Persons to be counted toward the 15 cents included anyone admitted to the grounds who was still there when the game began, except for players, policemen in uniform, and 10 other persons. A game would count for these purposes as long as at least one full inning was completed. Official counts were to be determined by the count of “self-registering turnstiles, the keys of which shall be delivered to the agent of the visiting club before the opening of the grounds for each game, and such agent of the visiting club shall also have the right to affix a seal to the register or box of such turnstile.”21
The system of having the home team pay the umpire on a game-by-game basis did not change for 1877, but the method of selecting umpires was changed. Prior to March 1 each year, every club was to send the Secretary the names of at least five persons of good repute who were competent to serve as umpires. They were to reside in or in the immediate vicinity of the home city of the club. The list was to be forwarded to each other club and the three persons on each list receiving the most votes from the other clubs would then comprise the official list of league umpires. On the day of the game, at least three hours before its scheduled beginning, “the manager of the visiting club shall, in the presence of the manager of the home club, draw one of the three names of gentlemen so designated for that city, who shall immediately be notified by the manager of the home club to act as umpire for the game in question. In case of inability of either or all of such three gentlemen to act as umpire, the captains of the contesting nines shall, by lot, choose an umpire.”22
The league accepted a proposition from L.H. Mahn of Boston to furnish a uniform ball for the league to use in all its games. The directors had a sample of the baseball to examine. They ordered that the secretary inspect and stamp all balls to be furnished to the league clubs for use in official games, and no baseballs other than those so provided by the league were to be used. Mahn was given specifications for the weight, size, and composition of the ball, and instructed to create a harder and livelier one for the 1877 season.23
Partly out of concern for the size of the league, the Board made a provision for expansion by creating an entire new Article XII to address the details. “As a token of good will and friendship for all base ball clubs not members of this League, and with a view of stimulating a proper rivalry among such clubs and of advancing public interest in the game of base ball, it is hereby declared that any club whose organization and conduct are not inconsistent with the objects of this League as expressed in Article II of its Constitution, and which shall have won from other clubs, during an entire playing season, the greatest number of games played under the rules of this League, in series so arranged as to afford a fair test of merit, shall, if otherwise compatible with the Constitution of this League, be eligible to membership in this League.”24
Other, minor changes fixed the order of business for future league meetings, added a provision to allow a club to petition for league membership at any time during the year, and added flowery language to raise the profile of the league by declaring its intention to “make base ball playing respectable and honorable … [and] protect and promote the mutual interests of professional base ball clubs and professional base ball players.”25
In a nod to addressing the scheduling issue that had resulted in the expulsion of two teams, the league named Hulbert and Wright as the scheduling committee. Hulbert was to be in charge of writing the Western schedule, and Wright the Eastern, with the two collaborating to arrange and submit a schedule for games between the East and West. Once written, the schedule would then be submitted to all clubs for their approval. While seemingly a minor issue at the time, such league-created scheduling would become a bedrock upon which the stability of leagues has been built ever since.
In order to express its appreciation to Nicholas Young for his labors as League secretary, the Board issued a statement of “its high appreciation of the faithful and efficient manner in which he has discharged the duties of his office during the initial year of the League.” In a more practical gesture, they reelected him to the position with a hefty 25 percent salary increase, to $500.26
The Board entertained a series of player appeals, all of which were either dismissed or settled in favor of the owners, setting a pattern of one-sided behavior that would persist for nearly a century.
In the first appeal, James Devlin petitioned for his release from the Louisville club, on the ground that the club had failed to comply with the conditions of his contract. Louisville owner Charles Chase presented a counter-statement, after which a motion was made that Devlin be granted leave to withdraw his appeal. The motion carried, Devlin slunk away and withdrew the appeal, and did not present it again.27
Bob Ferguson, Hartford’s player-manager, called for the reading of charges proffered by him against Tommy Bond, but the Board refused. Ferguson was asking the league to expel Bond. His complaint stemmed from an incident late in the season when Bond, Hartford’s star pitcher, accused Ferguson of throwing a game against Boston. Team (and at the time League) President Morgan Bulkeley backed Ferguson in his denial of the charge, going so far as to offer a $1,300 reward to anyone who could provide proof of the accusation. The reward was never claimed, and the damage was done. Despite issuing a retraction, Bond found himself persona non grata, and was suspended for the final 20 games of the season.28 Bond was released by Hartford, but returned in 1877 with Boston, remaining active as both a player and an umpire for another 10 years.
The final player-initiated hearing was brought by Cap Anson, Joe Battin, and George Bradley, who presented a written request to the board for their release from “engagements with the Athletic club for reasons stated.” Each had signed or verbally agreed after the 1876 season to play for the Athletic in 1877, and now sought their release given that the team would no longer be playing in the National League.29 The Board members demurred, deciding that they had no jurisdiction and directed the secretary to direct the matter to the League. The players appealed, but were denied a second time. They were ultimately freed from their obligations when the Board amended the constitution to create the new rule that freed players from the contracts of expelled teams. All three played in 1877: Anson and Bradley for Chicago, and Battin for St. Louis.
The meeting concluded with several revisions to the playing rules. Many rules were tweaked, the most substantial being the fair-foul batting issue, which was controversial and ultimately changed the game significantly. In the week before the meeting, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat opined that “the abolition of the fair-foul business is a question which will also excite a great deal of attention … [and] if some result can be arrived at by which the nuisance is abated, the League Directors will assuredly have the thanks of the fraternity.”30
They reported that several solutions had been floated, including moving the batter’s box back so that the “line of the front boundary shall be on a line with the center of the home plate … [or] drawing a line at a given distance in front of the home plate from one foul line to the other, and deciding as foul balls all which strike behind said line.”31 Ultimately, neither of those solutions were pursued. In fact, the batter’s box was actually moved forward by one foot so that it was equidistant forward and aft from the center of home plate.
Instead, a new definition of fair and foul balls was written, one that is still in use to this day. The rule change defined a fair ball as one “batted directly to the ground that bound or roll within the foul lines between home and first or home and third base, without first touching the person of a player … [and designated as foul] all balls batted directly to the ground that bound or roll outside the foul lines between home and first or home and third bases, without first touching the person of a player … In either of these cases the first point of contact between the batted ball and the ground shall not be regarded.”32
An entire section describing the required characteristics of the acceptable ball was eliminated and instead replaced with a single sentence, made possible because the League adopted an official ball. The rule now read that “no ball shall be played with in any championship game unless it is furnished by the Secretary of the League.”
The option for team captains to determine who would bat first was eliminated in favor of the rule that the home team would bat first. Substitutions were tightened by prohibiting a player from being replaced after the start of the second inning (previously fourth inning) for reason other than illness or injury, and the judgement of the umpire regarding rain was removed for a simple rule. When rain began, if it continued after five minutes the umpire would note the time, and at the request of the captains, suspend play. Should it continue to rain for 30 minutes the game would be terminated. Umpires were also instructed not to call a “ball” or “strike” until after the ball passed home base.
While speeding up play was not discussed as a specific goal, several rules changes were made with the explicit or added effect of speeding up play, foreshadowing a trend that would become a major discussion item more than a century later. Batters were required to take their position in the box within one minute of the umpire calling for him, down from three. The penalty for dawdling was to be declared out.
Umpires were also restricted to calling time “only for valid reasons, and were not empowered to do so for “trivial causes at the request of a player.”33 In addition, teams were restricted in their ability to argue, call time, or otherwise waste the time of the umpire because only the captain or his designate was allowed to converse with the umpire for any reason. Violators were to be subject to “an immediate reprimand by the umpire.” 34 Finally, baserunners were instructed to run, not walk, back to the base where they began whenever required to do so.
Two modern changes were made to the rules regarding baserunning. Runners were now required to run behind a fielder in the basepath who was legally attempting to field a ball, and batters were required to run in the basepath (defined as extending from the foul line to three feet to its right) from the batter’s box to first base, or be declared out.
An entire new article on scoring was created, which included instructions for recording the outcomes of the game, and set up the box score largely as we see it today. The new rule specified that the first column after name and position list at-bats (not to include bases on balls), then runs, hits (with a lengthy definition of what entails a hit), total bases (also defined in great detail), followed by putouts (including the designation for awarding the putout to the catcher when a batter struck out), and, finally, assists (explicitly defined).
Following the conclusion of the meetings the League released the following self-aggrandizing propaganda, which said little about the substance of the meetings themselves, but reaffirmed what Hulbert set out to accomplish the year before, and would ultimately succeed in doing: establish a league that was superior to all others, in theory, if not in fact.
To The Public.
At the close of the first year of its existence, the clubs composing “The National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs,” desire to express their thanks to the public for the support and encouragement accorded the League and to submit a statement regarding the principles which it has sought to enforce, and which shall guide its conduct in the future.
During a period of more than twenty years the practice and the fame of the American game of base ball has spread throughout the entire country, its popularity keeping full pace with its growth, the interest in the healthful and manly sport being greatly stimulated by the rivalry between the clubs contending for supremacy in skillful play.
As the game advanced in favor, the popular demand for superior skill in its exposition led necessarily to setting apart from other avocations, during the playing season, the entire time of exceptionally expert players, who were required to maintain their best physical condition for play, and to be prepared at any time to appear on the field to contend for the supremacy of their respective clubs. For such exclusive use of their time they were of course entitled to receive compensation from the clubs engaging their services, and hence arose what is known as “professional” base ball playing.
For several years past, however, various evils had crept into the management and exposition of the game under the different systems that had been devised for its governed.
With the game and the evils the public are alike familiar, and the elevation of the one an extirpation of the other, were the cardinal objects for which this League was formed a year ago, and for the accomplishment of which objects the League pledged its faith to the public.
In the fulfillment of this pledge the League has, by unanimous vote at its annual meeting, and in the face of strong considerations of pecuniary advantage in pursuing a different course, expelled the two clubs, which have, during the past season, violated the League compact, and here expresses its determination to enforce a similar penalty, so long as a club remains in the League, upon any club member that may defraud the League and the public of a game of ball that it shall have engaged to play.
For the extirpation of a kindred evil, that of dishonest play on the ball-field, the League has prescribed penalties of equal severity. The subscribing clubs do not believe that single playing member of their respective clubs has been guilty of such conduct during the past season, but knowing the proneness of ignorant or malicious persons to cry “fraud” without pretext and to serve personal ends, we make the following distinct propositions on this point to the public.
We claim for our players, First: That their reputation for integrity is as valuable to them as to men pursuing any other honorable calling; and second, That a ball player, whose every movement in a game of ball is watched by hundreds — perhaps thousands — of witnesses, should not be condemned for “dishonest play” in the absence of such evidence as would satisfy fair-minded men of the commission of a dishonest act. We hereby pledge ourselves to the public, individually and collectively, that, upon the production of such evidence in regard to any player belonging to either of our respective clubs in any game played during the last season, or that shall be played during the coming year, such player shall be instantly expelled from service and membership, and shall be forever debarred from playing in a League club. We not only offer this pledge to the public, but we earnestly request their cooperation in this matter, both to the end that they may be satisfied of our determination to purify the game, and to vindicate honorable clubs and players, who are justly sensitive under unfounded accusations of fraud.
In reference to another evil that has cast its shadow upon the game, that of gambling in its various forms, including the system known as pools, we can only say that, so far as our power extends to control such a matter, we have exercised it in banishing all such practices from our clubs, our grounds and the buildings under our control. We have also exerted, and shall continue to exert, our personal influence to discountenance the practice of gambling in all its bearings on the game; but the public is well aware that in base ball, as in politics, it is utterly beyond our control to prohibit the practice of gambling upon any subject by persons over whom we have no jurisdiction or influence whatever.
With reference to the attitude of the League toward clubs which are not its members, we desire to state that it is our wish to promote the prosperity of such clubs, and to see them attain a high degree of skill in play, and we earnestly desire their cooperation in our efforts to evaluate the game of base ball. To invite them as a class to join our League, under equal obligations with ourselves, would be to invite them to bear financial burdens that many of them would be unable or unwilling to assume, while to invite them to join us and at the same time deny them, or any of them, equal participation in our games or in any of the rights and privileges which we enjoy, would be a proposition unworthy of ourselves and disparaging and disrespectful to them. It seems to us, therefore, that the mutual interests of both classes are best served by independent organization.
We have, however, in evidence of our good will toward other clubs, adopted such regulations at our annual meeting, as seemed to us conducive to substantial advantages to other clubs, so far as legislation affecting clubs beyond our jurisdiction appeared proper to us.
In all changes made in our constitution and playing rules, we have aimed to make certainty of games and honest playing imperative, and at the same time have endeavored to enliven the game and enhance its attractiveness to the spectator.
The arrangements thus far perfected for next year justify our belief that the playing season of 1877 will afford the finest exposition of the national game yet attained, and it shall be our aim to so conduct our games and the general affairs of the League as to deserve the support and approbation of the public.35
In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author also consulted:
“Do High Prices Pay?” Chicago Tribune, August 26, 1877: 7.
“Sporting Matters,” Chicago Tribune, December 6, 1874: 2.
“The Sporting World,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, December 10, 1876: 7.
Sullivan, Dean A., ed. Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997).
“William A. Hulbert, President of the Chicago Base Ball Club and of the National League,” Chicago Tribune, April 11, 1882: 6.
Barney, Robert Knight, and Frank Dallier. “William A. Hulbert, Civic Pride, and the Birth of the National League,” NINE, 2, no. 1 (Fall 1993): 40-58.
Dreifort, John E., ed. Baseball History from Outside the Lines (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001).
Frommer, Harvey, Primitive Baseball: The First Quarter-Century of the National Pastime (New York: Atheneum, 1988).
Haupert, Michael. “William Hulbert,” SABR BioProject, https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/d1d420b3.
Hulbert family papers, Chicago Historical Society.
Melville, Tom. “A League of His Own: William Hulbert and the Founding of the National League,” Chicago History, Fall 2000: 44-57.
Melville, Tom. Early Baseball and the Rise of the National League (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co., 2001).
Mills, Abraham G. papers and correspondence, National League, 1891-1926, series III folder, National Baseball Library.
Murphy, Kevin. Crowbar Governor: The Life and Times of Morgan Gardner Bulkeley (Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 2011).
Seymour, Harold. Baseball: The Early Years (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960).
Vincent, Ted. Mudville’s Revenge: The Rise and Fall of American Sport (New York: Seaview Books, 1981).
Voigt, David Q. American Baseball (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1966).
1 Present were Nicholas T. Apollonio and Harry Wright (Boston), Charles E. Chase and C.W. Johnstone (Louisville), W.A. Hulbert and A.G. Mills (Chicago), Robert Ferguson (Hartford), Charles Fowle (St. Louis), Josiah L. Keck (Cincinnati), and George W. Thompson (Athletic of Philadelphia).
2 Chicago Tribune, December 10, 1876: 7.
3 Chicago Cubs records, NUCMC MS 71-888, Chicago Historical Society, cash books 1875-76.
6 National League Meetings, Minutes, Conferences & Financial Ledgers, BA MSS 55, National Baseball Hall of Fame Library, Cooperstown, New York.
7 Ibid. Hereafter cited as National League Minutes.
8 Albert G. Spalding, Baseball: America’s National Game 1839-1915,(reprint ed. (San Francisco: Halo Books, 1991), 143.
9 Though they were known as the Mutual of New York, the club actually played its home games at the Union Grounds in Brooklyn.
10 Hulbert letter to Apollonio, November 22, 1876, Chicago Cubs Collection.
11 Michael Haupert, “William Hulbert and the Birth of the National League,” Baseball Research Journal 44 no. 1, Spring 2015: 83-92.
12 Chicago Tribune, September 24, 1876: 3.
13 Bradley did play in Chicago in 1877.
14 Neil W. MacDonald, The League That Lasted: 1876 and the Founding of the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co. Inc., 2004), 213.
15 National League Minutes.
19 “Pastimes,” Chicago Tribune, December 10, 1876: 7.
20 National League Minutes.
29 David L. Fleitz, Cap Anson: The Grand Old Man of Baseball (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co., 2005), 68-70.
30 “The Ball Field,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, December 3, 1876: 7.
32 National League Minutes.
34 Section 7 of Rule II of the playing rules had the following clause added: “The umpire shall suspend play only for a valid reason, and is not empowered to do so for trivial causes at the request of any player.”
35 “The Sporting World,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, December 10, 1876: 7.