Spalding, Al

Spalding, (Albert Goodwill) Al

(1850–1915) baseball player, executive, businessman; born in Byron, Ill. One of baseball's major promoters, he pitched for the Boston Red Stockings in baseball's first organized league, the National Association (1871–75). He was instrumental in founding the National League in 1876, the same year he won a league-leading 47 games as a right-handed pitcher for the Chicago White Stockings. He also managed the White Stockings (1876–77) and served as club president (1882–91). He played a leading role in the first visit of a U.S. baseball team to Britain (1874) and then in organizing a round-the-world tour of two baseball teams (1888–89). In 1875 he founded the sporting goods company, A. G. Spalding and Bros., which long was the sole supplier of baseballs used in the major leagues. In 1907 he almost singlehandedly created the myth that Abner Doubleday had "invented" baseball.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.