1876 Baseball Season Roster
- The National League debuts
- Chicago’s Anson, Spalding lead the pennant winners
- All-times bests: Ross Barnes’ .429 average, George Bradley’s 16 shutouts
Baseball almost as we know it debuted in 1876 when eight teams in New York, Boston, Hartford, Philadelphia, Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville and St. Louis formed the National League. Boston beat Philadelphia in the first game, April 22, which treated about 3,000 fans to 11 runs and 18 errors by fielders without gloves. Chicago, with future Hall of Famers Cap Anson (.380) and Al Spalding (47-12, 1.76 ERA) won 52 of 66 games and the pennant. Chicago’s Ross Barnes hit the first home run (an inside-the-parker) and led the league with an official .404 average, but in 1876 walks counted as hitless at-bats, or his average would have been .429. St. Louis’ George Bradley, who won 45 games with a 1.23 ERA, pitched a third of the league’s 47 shutouts – 16, a record equaled by Pete Alexander in 1916, but never topped.
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