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Timeline of American and National League Baseball for the Year In Review section. Project expanded to include the National League (1900-1876), Federal League (1915-1914), Players League (1890), Union Association (1884) and American Association (1891-1882).

MLB Timeline by Michael Aubrecht
Written for's Year In Review section.
Sources: Baseball-Almanac, The Baseball Timeline, The Baseball Library, The Baseball Chronicle,,

Off the field…

When their demand that only union men be employed was refused, members of the Western Federation of Miners dynamited the $250,000 mill of the Bunker Hill Company at Wardner, Idaho, destroying it completely. President William S. McKinley responded by sending in hundreds of black soldiers from Brownsville, Texas with orders to round up the thousands of miners and confine them in specially built cages called "bullpens".

In the National League…

The largest baseball crowd ever to date (24,000+) turned out at the West Side Grounds to watch the Chicago Orphans play the visiting St. Louis Perfectos. The home team Orphans won the contest 4-0 despite a poor showing by pitcher James Callahan who allowed 12 hits.

A motion to change the name of the Western League to the American League was successfully introduced by W.F.C. Golt of Indianapolis.

On October 8th, three teams played in a single double header at Chicago. Game one pitted the hometown Orphans against the Cleveland Spiders as Jake Taylor tossed his first shut out and 39th complete game of the season en route to a 13-0 Chicago victory. Game two matched the winners against the Louisville Colonels and ended with another 7-3 Chicago decision, after the game was called due to darkness after only 5 innings.

Off the Field…

The Spanish-American War began after the U.S. Battleship Maine was sunk in Havana Harbor. The loss of the vessel was tremendous shock to the United States since it represented the state of the art of naval shipbuilding in the United States. "Remember the Maine" became the battle cry of the United States Military Forces in 1898 and on April 25th, the U.S. formally declared war against Spain. Marines and other troops, including Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, helped defeat Spanish forces in the Americas and a treaty was signed in December that gave claims of Puerto Rico, Cuba, Guam and the Philippines to the U.S.

In the National League…

On April 16th, a crowd of approximately 100 people (out of 4000) was injured after a fire broke out (from a lit cigar) in the grandstands of Sportsman Park in St. Louis during a game between the Browns and visiting Chicago Orphans. In a half-hours time, the entire bleachers and left field stands were completely destroyed.

Pitcher Bill Duggleby of the Philadelphia Phillies, came to bat for the first time in his major league career and hit a grand slam off the New York Giants. Although Bobby Bonds matched the feat during his first game in 1968, Duggleby still remains as the only player ever to accomplish it with a first at-bat.

On July 5th, Lizzie Arlington became the first woman ever to play in an organized baseball game after pitching a single inning for Reading in the Eastern League. Atlantic League president Ed Barrow later hired her to participate in exhibition games around the country.

Off the Field…

Bram Stoker's groundbreaking horror novel "DRACULA" was published. Although not the first vampire tale, Stoker's version became the blueprint for all those that have followed. DRACULA was seven long years in the writing, from first notes to finished book and it sold reasonably well when it was published, even though the critics were not so generous. A popular bestseller in Victorian England, Stoker's hypnotic tale of the bloodthirsty Count Dracula, whose nocturnal feedings are symbolic of an evil both old and new, still endures as the greatest story of suspense and horror ever written to date.

In the National League…

The Chicago Colts set a major league record after scoring 36 runs on 30 hits against the Louisville Colonels on June 29th.

On June 18th, Chicago's player/manager Cap Anson became the first major league player to reach 3,000 hits after tapping a single off the Baltimore Orioles for a 6-3 win.

Philadelphia's rookie sensation Napoleon Lajoie hit .361 and led the National League with 9 homeruns and a .569 slugging average.

Off the Field…

The first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens, Greece as young men and women converged from all over the world to compete in various sports and represent their country. Frenchman, Baron Pierre de Coubertin believed that international competitions between amateur athletes would help promote friendly relationships between people from different countries and he assembled 79 delegates from 12 countries to attend the international congress for the re-establishment of the Olympic Games. The first competition held was the first heat of the 100m which was won by Francis Lane (USA), in a time of 12.5 sec. Unlike today, the original Olympic medals were all silver and only awarded to the top winner of an event.

In the National League…

On July 12th, Ed Delahanty of the Philadelphia Phillies hit four inside-the-park homers (for seven RBIs) off Bill Terry of the Chicago Colts. Despite the standout performance, Delahanty and his teammates still fell 9-8.

The Baltimore Orioles (90-29), winners of three consecutive pennants, met the second-place Cleveland Spiders (80-48) for a classic rematch of the Temple Cup. The defending champion Spiders were swept the playoffs 7-1, 7-2, 6-2 and 5-0.

In December, Princeton University's Professor Charles E. Hinton introduced baseball's first automated pitching machine.

Off the Field…

English novelist, journalist, sociologist, and historian H.G. Wells published his first novel, "THE TIME MACHINE", a parody of English class division and a satirical warning that human progress was not inevitable. In the story, the "Time Traveler" landed in the year 802701 to find two types of people: the Eloi, a weak species, who lived above ground, and the Morlocks, a carnivorous group of creatures that lived below. Much of the realism of the story was achieved by carefully studied technical details and was based on the basic principles regarding time as the fourth dimension.

In the National League…

Before a game with the visiting Cleveland Spiders, the entire Chicago Colts team was arrested for "inciting, aiding and abetting the forming of a noisy crowd on a Sunday". Reverend W.W. Clark and the "Sunday Observance League" had protested the concept of baseball on Sunday and instigated the police action. After owner Jim Hart posted bail, 10,000 fans remained to watch the "wanted men" beat the visitors 13-4.

On February 6th, George Herman "Babe" Ruth was born in Baltimore, Maryland.

In the Temple Cup (prelude to the World Series) the Baltimore Orioles (87-43) met the Cleveland Spiders (84-46) with the Spiders winning the title in five games thanks to the arm of an "up-and-comer" named Cy Young.

Off the Field…

Thomas Edison's corporation established the first motion-picture studio, featuring his newest invention, "The Kinetograph". Soon after, the first peephole Kinetoscope parlor opened at 1155 Broadway in New York City where spectators could watch Edison's short films for 25 cents. A few years later, people watched movies in theaters on big movie screens using a modern projector approach. To this day, the motion picture is still considered one of Edison's Top 3 contributions to society along with his electric light system and the phonograph.

In the National League…

On May 30th, Boston Beaneater Bob Lowe became the first player ever to hit four homeruns in a single game. All four were hit over the wall off Cincinnati's Elton Chamberlain as Boston went on to a 20-11 victory. Teammate Hugh Duffy capped off a phenomenal season (under modern rules) after posting a .440 batting average, a .690 slugging average, 18 homers, 145 RBIs, 15 triples and 51 doubles. Unfortunately his team finished in 3rd place behind the Baltimore Orioles and New York Giants.

In a game between Princeton and Yale, George Case and Dutch Carter invented the squeeze play eight years before it debuted in the major leagues.

The Philadelphia Phillies outfield finished the season with a cumulative .400 batting average - the best ever from a single team. Sam Thompson hit .404, Ed Delahanty posted an even .400 and Billy Hamilton followed close behind with a .399. The next best outfield came from the Detroit Tigers in 1925 who combined for a .380 average.

Off the Field…

A group of unemployed American workers nicknamed "Coxey's Army" marched on Washington D.C. to protest the unemployment caused by the "Panic of 1893" and to lobby for the government to create jobs building roads and other public works improvements. Led by the populist reformer Jacob Coxey, it was the first significant popular protest at the capital city in U.S. history, and spawned the expression "Enough food to feed an Army".

In the National League…

The National League owners established a new post-season contest for a best-of-seven playoff series known as the Temple Cup (named after Pittsburgh Pirates president Chase Temple). It was determined that the winning team would be awarded a two-foot tall silver cup valued at $800 dollars after winning the series a minimum of three times.

The pitcher's mound was moved to 60 feet, (+6 inches after an error on the handwritten instructions) in response to the alleged speed of Amos Rusie "The Hoosier Thunderbolt". A distance of 93 feet between the bases was also proposed along with a 12x4 inch slab of rubber to replace the pitcher's box.

On August 16th, Bill Hawk of the Baltimore Orioles became the first pitcher ever to toss a no-hitter (over the Washington Senators) from the new 60 foot, 6 inch mound distance.

Off the Field…

Owner Andrew Carnegie and plant manager Henry Clay Frick decided to break the steelworkers union at the Carnegie Steel Company plant in Homestead, Pennsylvania. Without warning, they locked out the steelworkers and hired 300 armed guards from the Pinkerton National Detective Agency to protect the non-union strikebreakers. When the Pinkertons arrived on barges, armed steelworkers attacked and defeated them in a bloody battle. Later, the state militia was called in to support Carnegie and ended both the labor conflict and the union.

In the National League…

Wilbert Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles set a major league record after tallying 7-hits in 7-at -bats as his team topped the St. Louis Browns 25-4. Robinson also set a second record after driving in 11 runs with 6 singles and a double.

Due to the expanded number of teams, the season was split into two sections with the first concluding on July 15th and the second ending in October. The schedule consisted of 140-154 games with the addition of Sunday baseball, which was allowed for the first time in the National League.

The Boston Beaneaters defeated the Cleveland Spiders for the World Championship title. Team president Arthur Soden divided the $1000 purse between his 13 players with each receiving $76.92 (or $12.82 per game).

Off the Field…

America's most famous concert venue; Carnegie Hall opened in New York with guest conductor Peter Illich Tchaikovsky on the podium. Inside, the elegant and breathtaking 2,800-seat auditorium still remains as one of the worlds finest. For over 100 years, the hall has attracted the world's leading orchestras and solo or group performers including Bernstein, Ellington, Fitzgerald, Garland, Sinatra, Dylan, and the Beatles among thousands of others.

In the National League…

At 20 years old, Amos Rusie of the New York Giants became the youngest pitcher ever to toss a no-hitter after blanking the Brooklyn Trolley-Dodgers 6-0 on July 31st.

The Boston Beaneaters won the National League Pennant, while their cross-town rival Reds took the American Association title. For undisclosed reasons, the NL champs declined an invitation for a playoff resulting in no baseball Championship for the first time since 1883.

In the American Association…

Shortstop John J. McGraw debuted for the Baltimore Orioles on August 26th as the "Blackbirds" defeated the Columbus Buckeyes 6-5.

Ted Breitenstein of the St. Louis Browns became the first pitcher ever to debut with a no-hitter after shutting out the Louisville Colonels 8-0 on October 4th.

The American Associated folded in December leaving the Baltimore Orioles, St. Louis Browns, Louisville Colonels and Washington Senators to be absorbed into the National League the following season.

Off the Field…

Due to a growing concern nationwide over economic power in large corporations, the U.S. Congress passed the first measure to prohibit trusts called the "Sherman Antitrust Act". The act, based on the constitutional power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce, declared illegal every contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of interstate and foreign trade. A fine of $5,000 and imprisonment for one year was set as the maximum penalties for violating the law.

In the National League…

On Labor Day, the Pittsburgh Alleghenys were swept in a rare triple-header by the home team Brooklyn Bridegrooms 10-9, 3-2 and 8-4. The trio of winning pitchers included Bob Caruthers, Tom Lovett and Adonis Terry.

New York Giants slugger Mike Tiernan became the first player ever to hit a homerun from one ballpark into another after launching a 13th-inning blast off the Boston Beaneaters' "Kid" Nichols that traveled over the centerfield wall at the Polo Grounds into the adjacent Brotherhood Park.

In the American Association…

The Brooklyn Bridegrooms and Cincinnati Reds moved from the American Association to the National League who had also dropped the Washington Senators. The AA's Kansas City franchise folded, but the Rochester Hop Bitters, Syracuse Stars, Toledo Maumees and Brooklyn Gladiators were added in their place.

Ledell "Cannonball" Titcomb tossed a 7-0 no-hitter against the Syracuse Stars on September 15th.

In the Players League…

The newly developed Players League debuted with 8 teams (Boston, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, New York Philadelphia and Pittsburgh) as the Buffalo Bisons recorded the greatest opening day winning margin with a 23-2 victory over the Cleveland Infants.

The short-lived Players League folded in December returning all of their players to their original teams. The Pittsburgh franchise deviated from the agreement though and signed second baseman Louis Bierbauer who had originally belonged to the Philadelphia Phillies. After being accused in the papers of being "Pirates" the team adopted the nickname and refused to return Bierbauer to their cross-state rivals.

Off the Field…

On June 1st, Americans awoke to the news that Johnstown, Pennsylvania had been devastated by the worst flood in U.S. history. Over 2,200 were dead, with many more homeless. Johnstown was a steel company town with a population of 30,000. It had grown quickly into an industrious community known for the quality of its steel. After a night of heavy rains, the South Fork Dam that protected the city collapsed, sending 20 million tons of water crashing down the narrow valley. Filled with huge chunks of debris, the wall of floodwater grew at times to 60 feet high, tearing downhill at 40 miles per hour, leveling everything in its path.

In the National League…

John T. Brush approved a new salary classification plan based on rating players personal habits from A to E. Class "A" players received $2500 dollars while a Class "E" player was paid $1500 dollars and expected to help clean the clubhouse. The Brotherhood of Professional Baseball Players was displeased with the policy, but managed to avert a strike by proposing the development of a third league.

William Hoy of the Washington Senators became the first outfielder ever to throw out three runners at the plate in a single game. Both deaf and mute from the age of three, Hoy played 14 years in the majors while hitting .288 with 40 home runs and 726 RBIs. In 1901, he also became the first player ever to hit 2 grand slams in a single game.

On October 29th, the New York Giants defeated the Brooklyn Trolley-Dodgers in an early 9-game version of the "Subway Series" world championship.

In the American Association…

The Louisville Colonels set an unwanted major league record on June 22nd after suffering their 26th consecutive loss.

The Brooklyn Bridegrooms won the AA pennant after defeating the Columbus Buckeyes 6-1 on October 14th.

Montgomery Ward organized a third league known as the "Players League" consisting of the Boston Reds, Brooklyn Wonders, Buffalo Bisons, Chicago Pirates, Cleveland Infants, New York Giants (2), Philadelphia Quakers and Pittsburgh Burghers. It was determined that all players moving into the new league for it's 1890 inaugural season would receive three-year contracts with guaranteed 1888 salaries for the first year and no subsequent pay-cuts.

Off the Field…

Serial killer "Jack the Ripper" mutilated a number of prostitutes in the East End of London in 1888, setting off a mass hysteria throughout the city. The name "Jack the Ripper" originated from a letter apparently written by someone claiming to be the killer at the time of the murders. All five women were brutally slain within a one-mile area radius of each other in the districts of Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Aldgate, and the City of London proper. Despite one of the most intensive manhunts ever conducted by Scotland Yard detectives, "The Ripper" was never actually caught, although there were several suspects.

In the National League…

Charles Ferguson, a standout pitcher with the Philadelphia Quakers died on April 29th 12 days after his 25th birthday. Ferguson had been a 30-game winner in 1886 and a 20-game winner in each of his three other major league seasons.

On July 13th, Harry Staley and Pud Galvin of the Pittsburgh Alleghenys became the first pitchers ever to combine for a double-header shutout after blanking Boston 4-0 and 6-0 on July 13th.

The National League champion New York Giants defeated the American Association's St. Louis Browns (4-time AA pennant winners) in an eight-game Championship series. Each player earned a $200 bonus plus an additional $128 from to following benefit games. St. Louis owner Chris Von Der Ahe kept the Browns $1200 pennant purse while referring to his players as "chumps" in the papers. As a result, the team had now played in 27 post-season games (over 2 seasons) without ever receiving a dime.

In the American Association…

American Association umpire John Gaffney changed the system for game calling after moving out from behind the plate - to behind the pitcher when a runner was on base.

Cincinnati Red Stocking fans were able to follow the game using the first ever baseball scorecard.

Perhaps the most famous baseball poem ever written "Casey at the Bat" was published in the San Francisco Examiner. 25-year-old author Ernest L. Thayer was paid $5 for his efforts and was simply credited as "Phin".

Off the Field…

English author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first Sherlock Holmes story "A Study in Scarlet" was published. Doyle's brilliant and theatrical hero solved all of his extraordinarily complex cases through what he called "ingenious deductive reasoning". His companion, Dr. Watson, narrated the stories and both characters helped to redefine the mystery novel. Doyle later abandoned his medical practice in 1890 and devoted his time to writing. Other works of the great detective included The Sign of the Four (1890), The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902), The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1905), His Last Bow (1917), and The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes, (1927).

In the National League…

On April 16th, Mike Griffin of the Baltimore Orioles became the first player ever to homer in his first major league at-bat.

The Philadelphia Quakers finished off their 1887 season with an unprecedented 16 consecutive wins.

Detroit Wolverines owner Frederick Stearnes challenged AA St. Louis owner Chris Von Der Ahe to a best-of-15 Championship series. The Wolverines prevailed winning 8 games. Despite appearing in 16 post-season games, the Browns receive nothing for their efforts as Von Der Ahe refused to share his profits.

In the American Association…

Philadelphia Athletics pitcher Fred Chapman became the youngest player ever to take the mound in the major leagues after working five innings against the Cleveland Spiders at the age of 14.

St. Louis Browns first baseman/manager Charles Comiskey became the first baseball player ever paid to endorse a product after lending his name and likeness to Menell's Penetrating Oil.

Thomas Ramsey of the Louisville Colonels introduced the "knuckleball" pitch, which helped him to fan 17 batters in a single game - twice.

Off the Field…

A bombing at Haymarket Square in Chicago killed seven policemen and injured many others. The attack occurred during a demonstration for an 8-hour workday that was organized by eight alleged anarchists who were later arrested and accused of the crime. Following a speedy trial, three were imprisoned; one committed suicide and four others were hanged. In 1893, Illinois Governor John P. Altgeld pardoned the three survivors after accusations of an unfair trial surfaced.

In the National League…

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Matt Kilroy posted 513 strikeouts in 68 games but still finished the season with a 29-34 record and a last-place team.

Pitcher Jim McCormick of the Chicago White Stockings topped the New York Giants 7-3 on July 1st for his 16th consecutive win.

"The Bible of Baseball" aka The Sporting News was established in St. Louis Missouri.

In the American Association…

Guy Hecker of the Louisville Colonels became the first player ever to lead a league in both hitting and pitching after completing the '86 season with 52 wins and a .341 average.

The AA Champion St. Louis Browns took on the NL Champion Chicago White Stockings and beat them in 6 games for the Championship title.

Tip O'Neil of the Browns became the first player ever to hit two round-trippers in championship play after knocking two inside-the-park homers en route to a 12-0 massacre over Chicago.

Off the Field…

The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York aboard the French ship ISERE. Later assembled on Ellis Island in New York Harbor, the 151-foot statue was a gift of international goodwill from the people of France to the people of the United States. She was completed and dedicated on October 28th, 1886 and was designated a National Monument on October 15th, 1924. The Statue was extensively restored in time for her spectacular centennial on July 4th, 1986 and today she is still considered THE universal symbol of political freedom and democracy.

In the National League…

The National League began its season with the founding franchise members including the Boston Beaneaters, Chicago White Stockings, Buffalo Bisons, Detroit Wolverines, New York Giants, Philadelphia Quakers and Providence Grays. After the Union Association folded, the Cleveland Spiders and St. Louis Unions merged into a new National League franchise named the St. Louis Maroons. At the conclusion of the season, the Bison and Grays dropped out and were replaced by the Washington Senators and Kansas City Cowboys.

Spring Training began as Cap Anson and his Chicago White Stockings traveled to Hot Springs, Arkansas to prepare for the upcoming season.

Art Irwin of the Providence Grays developed the first known fielder's glove after padding a buckskin glove to protect his two broken fingers.

In the American Association…

The AA leading St. Louis Browns and NL champion Chicago White Stockings went head-to-head for 6 Championship games (winning 3 each) resulting in a rare tie. Despite the forming of a special committee to determine a winner, both teams were declared champions and split the $1000 purse - $500 each.

Both the American Association and National League set a maximum pay cap at $2000 with no bonuses.

Off the Field…

Amusement Park promoter La Marcus Thompson built America's first modern roller coaster at Coney Island; Brooklyn, New York called "The Gravity Pleasure Switchback Railway". The groundbreaking ride incorporated a flat steel track nailed onto several layers of wooden planks. Two 45-foot towers were then connected with ramp that allowed the ride to reach a top speed of 6 miles per hour. The train cars had to be manually towed to the top of the hills at the beginning of both tracks and the patrons were required to get out at the end of the first track and climb stairs to the second hill to board the train again for a return trip. Despite the inconveniences, at only five cents per ride, the ticket profits repaid Thompson's original investment in less than three weeks.

In the National League…

The National League expanded its schedule to 112 games.

A rivalry was born in the "Big Apple" as the New York Giants and Brooklyn Trolley-Dodgers met for the first time in a major league ballgame on April 18th.

On June 27th, Larry Corcoran of the Chicago White Stockings became the first pitcher in major league history with 3 career no-hitters after blanking the Providence Grays 6-0.

In the American Association…

Decades before Jackie Robinson "officially" broke baseball's color barrier, Moses Fleetwood Walker played 46 major league games for the AA's Toledo Blue Stockings. Despite hitting .263, Walker tallied 37 errors, which led to his early release.

31 year-old rookie Sam Kimber (Brooklyn Trolley-Dodgers) tossed an 11-inning, no-hitter against the Toledo Blue Stockings on October 4th. Unfortunately, darkness came before someone could score and the game was called at a 0-0 tie.

In the Union Association…

Outfielder Harry Wheeler became the only player ever to appear with 5 separate teams during the same season. Wheelers 1884 resume included 5 games with the St. Louis Browns (in the AA) then on to the Union Association's Kansas City Unions (20 games), Chicago Browns (17), Pittsburgh Stoogies (17) and Baltimore Monumentals (17).

Philadelphia Keystones catcher Jack Clements became the first player ever to wear a chest protector in a major league game. Roger Bresnahan would later popularize the device.

Off the Field…

U.S. Congress created the Civil Service Commission to oversee the hiring for all Government civilian jobs. The service assisted in filling positions in a wide variety of professional, technical, clerical, craft and other occupations. Several years later, it underwent a complete reform by President Theodore Roosevelt who held the ideal that the Government should be the great arbiter of the conflicting economic forces in the Nation, especially between capital and labor, guaranteeing justice to each and dispensing favors to none.

In the National League…

The National League regulated stockings for the first time as Boston wore red, Buffalo; gray, Chicago; white, Cleveland; blue, Providence; light blue, Detroit; brown, Philadelphia; blue and white checks and New York; crimson and black.

Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn tossed an 8-0 no-hitter against the Cleveland Blues on July 25th. Radbourn was one of the most dominant pitchers of his day winning 31 in '82, 49 in '83 and an incredible 60 in '84 (including 26 out of the final 27).

Hugh Daily, a one armed pitcher for Cleveland, threw a 1-0 no-hitter against Philadelphia on September 13th. Known as "One Arm", Daily pitched 6 seasons in the major leagues compiling a 73-87 record.

In the American Association…

During the pre-season, the American Association and National League agreed to terms of peace including a promise not to raid players from each other's league.

The AA champion Philadelphia Athletics lost their first 8 post-season exhibition games resulting in the cancellation of a "World Series" against the NL pennant-winning Boston Beaneaters.

Off the Field…

Congress adopted the "Chinese Exclusion Act" which prohibited the immigration of Chinese laborers into the United States" for 10 years. It was the first major restriction on immigration in the U.S. and stated "Whereas, in the opinion of the Government of the United States, the coming of Chinese laborers to this country endangers the good order of certain localities within the territory."

In the National League…

For the first time, teams in the National League were permitted to wear colored uniforms. Although the league would not mandate what colors were used, they later determined all stocking colors for the following season.

The Chicago White Stockings set a major league record after scoring a 35-4 win over the Cleveland Blues. Outfielder-turned pitcher Dave Rowe surrendered 29 hits (including 10 doubles and 7 walks) in his only appearance on the mound.

In the American Association…

Ambidextrous Tony Mullane of the Louisville Eclipse pitched right AND left handed during a July 18th, 9-8 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

The Cincinnati Red Stockings executed a rare triple play - three times in the season - thanks to pitcher Will White who was on the mound for two of them.

In December, the American Association became the first league to hire full-time umpires.

Off the Field…

President James Garfield was assassinated by Charles J. Guiteau, who was angry because he didn't get a government job he felt he deserved. The Republican president had only served 199 days in office when he was shot in a Washington, D.C. train station. He died two months later and was replaced by Vice President Chester A. Arthur. Garfield had fought for civil service reform and believed that people should take a written exam to prove they could do a job.

In the National League…

Roger Conner of the Troy Trojans hit the first grand slam in major league history en route to an 8-7 win over the Worcester Ruby Legs.

On September 27th, 12 die-hard fans braved a rainstorm to watch their hometown hero Chicago White Stockings beat the Troy Trojans 10-8 as the smallest paying crowd in major league history.

A rival league known as the American Association was formed in St. Louis to compete against the Nationals in 1882.

Off the Field…

The game known as BINGO was introduced abroad and quickly became one of the most popular forms of entertainment. To play BINGO, which is a form of lottery, each player purchased one or more cards divided into numbered and blank squares. Randomly chosen numbers (usually up to 75 or 90) were called out by a "banker." The first player to achieve a card (or a line) in which all of the numbers have been called shouted "bingo" and collected all the proceeds from the purchased cards. Today, online BINGO has become a very popular legal form of gambling.

In the National League…

Charley Jones of the Boston Red Caps became the first player ever to hit 2 home runs in a single game.

On June 12th, John Lee Richmond of the Worcester Ruby Legs pitched the first perfect game in major league history defeating the visiting Cleveland Blues 1-0. It was also the first no-hitter to be tossed by a left-hander.

In October, the National League outlawed Sunday baseball and also banned the sale of beer at all games. Cincinnati reused to comply and was expelled from the league by NL president William Hulbert.

Off the Field…

American inventor Thomas Edison developed a high-resistance carbon-thread filament that burned steadily for more than 40 hours. Although not the first incandescent electric light, it was the first practical one because it used a small current and lasted a long time without burning out. Edison soon realized that widespread use of electric light bulbs would require an efficient system of delivering electricity so he developed the basis for circuits, fuses, insulating materials, and copper-wire networks that are still used in modern electrical systems today.

In the National League…

Baseball's controversial reserve clause was introduced as NL owners debated the growing cost of players' salaries. All agreed to limit competitive pay and established fixed amounts. Under a secret agreement, five players from each team were designated as "off-limits" and not recruitable by other ballclubs.

Two standouts in the 1879 season were John O'Rourke of the Boston Red Caps who led all hitters with a .521 slugging average, 62 RBIs and John Montgomery Ward who led all pitchers with 47 wins, 239 strikeouts, .734 winning percentage and 1 save.

Off the Field…

Yellow Fever struck many cities in the south including Memphis, New Orleans and Mobile. Many citizens of infected areas were prevented from fleeing by strict quarantines adopted by nearby towns and cities. Despite the best efforts from doctors, nurses and volunteers, the number of infected persons rose dramatically from day to day. During the worst part of the epidemic, special health regulations were issued by the federal government to help prevent the spread of the disease. Unfortunately, over 13,000 people died in the lower Mississippi Valley alone before a proven vaccination was developed.

In the National League…

Against the Boston Red Caps, Paul Hines of the Providence Grays, made a shoestring catch in centerfield, then ran to touch third base for the first unassisted triple play in baseball history.

In July, John Montgomery Ward of the Providence Grays tossed a 3-0 shutout against the Indianapolis Hoosiers for his first major league start.

Cincinnati pitcher Will White and catcher James White became the first brothers to play together in the major leagues. Will went on to go 30-21 on the mound and James batted .314 at the plate.

Off the Field…

American inventor Thomas Edison patented a machine called "The Phonograph" that reproduced sound by means of a needle in contact with a grooved rotating disk. The original "record playing" instrument consisted of a spinning cylinder covered with indented paraffin above a thin plate carrying a needle. As the plate vibrated under the influence of noise, the needle made minute undulations in the soft material to reproduce the sound.

In the National League…

Syracuse Stars catcher Pete Hotaling became the first professional catcher to wear a mask. Harvard captain Fred Thayer originally designed the device to protect his teammate Jim Tyng.

The National League experienced its first scandal after accusations were reported by the Louisville Courier Journal of a fix involving their Louisville Grays. After compiling a 27-12 record, the Grays lost 8 in a row with Boston winning 13 out of 15 for the pennant. Despite a thorough investigation and several suspensions, the crime was never actually proven to have taken place.

Off the Field…

General George Armstrong Custer was killed along with 264 Union Calvary troopers after engaging the Sioux tribe at Little Big Horn. Not realizing the overwhelming numerical superiority of the Native Americans, the 7th Calvary had made a crucial tactical error by dividing their forces into three separate divisions. A Civil War hero, Custer had fought at the first battle of Bull Run, distinguished himself in both the Peninsular campaign as well as Gettysburg and was selected as the Union officer to receive the Confederate flag of truce at Appomattox Courthouse.

In the National League…

The National League of Professional Baseball was formed with an 8-team circuit consisting of the Boston Red Stockings, Chicago White Stockings, Cincinnati Red Legs, Hartford Dark Blues, Louisville Grays, Philadelphia Athletics, Brooklyn Mutuals and St. Louis Browns. All owners agreed to play a 70-game schedule between April 22 and October 21.

In April, the Chicago White Stockings debuted the first shutout in baseball history with a 4-0 effort over the Louisville Grays. On May 25th, the Philadelphia Athletics matched the Grays 2-2 for the first tie in major league history.

On June 14th, George Hall of the Philadelphia Athletics became the first player ever to hit for the cycle.

The White Stockings went on to win the first National League pennant after defeating the Hartford Dark Blues by 6 games. They finished the season 52-14 followed by Hartford, St. Louis, Boston, Louisville, New York, Philadelphia and Cincinnati.

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All essays researched and written by Michael Aubrecht.
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