Sunday, October 23, 2005
William Hulbert Born
Although the first President of the National League was technically Morgan Bulkeley, he would go on to a career in politics and served the role for just a year largely as figurehead before he was replaced by William Hulbert. It is Hulbert who truly made the post his own and he is arguably one of the ten most important figures in the history of baseball. When Hulbert took over the National League it was beset with problems including gambling, franchises folding and drunkenness and rowdiness among the players and fans. Hulbert tackled these problems head on, sometimes less ethically than others (to eliminate at least some of the need for the kind of players who would show up six sheets to the wind Hulbert led raids on other leagues). He set up a regular schedule (and kicked two teams out of the league for a failure to follow it) and in his first year uncovered a game-fixing scandal. He also banned alcohol from ballparks. Hulbert died in 1882, having left the state of professional baseball miles ahead of where it was when he entered it.