Spalding, Albert Goodwill

Spalding, Albert Goodwill, 1849–1915, American baseball player and business executive, b. Byron, Ill. He played as an amateur for the Rockford, Ill., Forest Citys (1866–68) and then was paid unofficially with the Chicago Excelsiors (1868–70). With the formation of the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, he went to the Boston Red Stockings (1871–75), then joined the National League's Chicago White Stockings (1876–78), where he was also manager (1876–77). A pitcher, Spalding led the White Stockings to the first National League pennant in 1876. In 1877 he began using a glove on the field; not coincidentally, the sporting goods store he started (1876) with his brother sold baseball gloves. A. G. Spalding & Bros. became a major manufacturer and distributor of sports equipment, and produced balls for the major leagues until 1976. After retiring as a player, Spalding was president and part-owner of the White Stockings. In 1888–89 he took major league players on a world tour to promote baseball and his sporting goods company. He wrote America's National Game (1911).

See P. Levine, A. G. Spalding and the Rise of Baseball (1985); M. Lamster, Spalding's World Tour (2006).

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