The Louisville Grays Scandal of 1877: The Taint of Gambling at the Dawn of the National League
By the mid-1870s, gambling in baseball threatened the public's confidence in the sport and its very existence as a professional enterprise. Recognizing this, Chicago owner William A. Hulbert and seven of his colleagues formed the National League, dedicating it to such high-minded ideals as preventing contract jumping and, most importantly, eliminating gambling from the sport. Hulbert's new league was severely threatened in 1877 by a gambling scandal that rocked its foundation. In mid-season, the Louisville Grays were the league's hottest team, but a disastrous eastern road trip caused vice president Charles Chase to question the efforts of some of his players. Sure-handed infielders were making inexplicable errors, and pitcher Jim Devlin was suddenly not as sharp as he had been previously. Chase's investigation found Devlin, A.H. Nichols, W.H. Carver, and George Hall had "sold" games, and the four were banned from the league. This work focuses first on the formation of the National League and the changing nature of professional baseball in the 1870s. The early seasons of the league are covered, and the author gives a detailed account of the Grays' 1877 season and the evidence against the four players. Also fully explored are the impact of the Grays scandal and its lasting influence on the governance of the sport.
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The Founding of The National League
The 876 National League Season
The 877 National League SeasonPart One
The 877 National League SeasonPart
Aftermath of the Scandal
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Al Nichols Albert Spalding American League Anson Athletics August base ball Baseball Hall baseball’s betting Bill Craver Boston Red Caps Brooklyn casinos catcher championship Chase Chicago White Stockings Cincinnati club Cincinnati games Cincinnati Red Stockings club’s contract crooked play Dark Blues defeated di›erent e›ect e›orts exhibition game expelled fans Ferguson ﬁeld ﬁelder ﬁnal ﬁnally ﬁnd ﬁnished ﬁve ﬂy foul gamblers gambling George Hall Gerhardt grounds Haldeman Hall of Fame Harry Wright Hartford Daily Henry Chadwick home run Hulbert Indianapolis inﬁeld inﬂuence Jim Devlin July June Landis league’s Louis club Louisville club Louisville Courier-Journal Louisville Grays major league baseball manager McCloud McLain McVey National Association National League Nichols nine O’Rourke o›ered o‡ce o‡cial outﬁelder owners Philadelphia pitched pitcher players professional baseball road trip rules season September shortstop signed Snyder Steinbrenner telegram Tommy Bond umpire William Won Lost World Series York Clipper