Albert Spalding began his association with Major League baseball in 1871. As a pitcher, Spalding won 252 career games and established the record for career winning percentage that still stands.
He continued his career as a manager and executive and was the co-founder of Spalding Sporting Goods. Spalding is credited with being the first well-known player to use a fielding glove in 1877.
After retiring, Spalding served as president of the White Stockings. In 1888 he came up with an idea of his “round-the-world” baseball tour.
He paid for the players’ expenses and gave them $50 per week. Future Hall of Famers Cap Anson, Ned Hanlon, and John Montgomery Ward joined the trip.
Forty-eight men were in the party that played in Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, Egypt, Italy, France and throughout the United Kingdom.
According to the Hall of Fame’s website, Spalding remarked, “The welcome given our party on the return home by devotees of the game at New York was one of the great events of the remarkable tour.”
Later with William Hulbert, Spalding organized the National League. In 1905 he called for the commission that investigated the origins of baseball. The Mills Commission incorrectly credited Abner Doubleday with creating the game.
Spalding is widely credited with writing the first set of official baseball rules. A titan in the game’s early days, Spalding was posthumously elected to the Hall of Fame in 1939.
In the collection is an autographed page taken from Albert Goodwill Spalding’s book, “America’s National Game”. It is signed, “To Mr. Wm. L Veeck with compliments of AG Spalding, New York, Oct. 21, 1911”.
The man it’s inscribed to is Bill Veeck Sr., father of the Hall of Fame owner who bears his name. Veeck Sr., a Chicago sportwriter who would later become president of the Chicago Cubs. Four years after receiving the book, the elder Veeck would see the birth of his namesake and future Hall of Fame owner.