William Hulbert

League President
  • Card series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

William Ambrose Hulbert (1832-1882) was Chicago through and through: “I’d rather be a lamppost in Chicago than a millionaire in any other city.” President of the White Stockings, Hulbert joined Al Spalding in founding the “senior circuit” NL in 1876. Repulsed by misbehavior of players and intrigue by “Eastern” owners, Hulbert worked hard to bring order and integrity to the game. Morgan Bulkeley served as first NL leader for one year before Hulbert took over the office until his death. He gave the NL authority to set schedules and hire umpires, wresting real control when he ousted the NY and Philadelphia franchises in a show of strength that solidified his leadership.

  • Made the first serious moves to deal with the scourge of gambling, banning 4 Louisville players for life
  • His ban of Cincinnati for beer-selling led to the formation of rival American Assoc in ‘82
  • Although Spalding called him the “man who saved the game!” Hulbert was denied a plaque in Cooperstown for nearly 60 years
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1995

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