Albert Spalding

Albert Goodwill Spalding had started playing professional baseball for the NABBP Boston Red Stockings in 1871. He had joined the National League Chicago White Stockings in 1876. He was one of the first pitchers to use a glove to protect his catching hand. He retired as a player at the age of 27, after the 1877 season and became the President of the White Stockings.

Spalding was a wealthy man. He had started a sporting good stores with his brother Walter in 1874 in Chicago and the business had grown rapidly. The Spaldings expanded into manufacturers and distributors of all kinds of sporting equipment.

After publishing the first official rules guide, in 1888 Spalding put together a group of professional players to promote the game of baseball and the Spalding sporting goods around the world. The tour began across the western United States, stopped in Hawaii, without playing games, and then reached New Zealand, Australia, Ceylon, Egypt, Italy, France and England. By the time Spalding embarked on his tour, baseball had already reached Cuba (1868), Australia (1869) and Japan (1872).

Albert Goodwill Spalding
Albert Goodwill Spalding

One of the players who participated in the tour was John Montgomery Ward. He convinced Spalding that the game of baseball originated in the American Continent.

In 1874 Spalding had written a letter to the Daily News to support the idea by Henry Chadwik, a Briton who had emigrated to the US at the age of 13, that the game of baseball had originated from the British game know as rounders.

Spalding supported Chadwik to negate what A.H Sedgwik had published on The Nation in 1869: baseball had originated from cricket.

Spalding wrote an article in the Cosmopolitan stating that baseball differed too much from both rounders and cricket. He founded similarity in the French game called tecque, but tended to believe that the origin of baseball was in the cat games (cat is another way to name a ball).

"An ingenious american lad," according to Spalding, had the idea to move "the thrower" in the middle of the action.

In 1904 Spalding reinforced his idea stating that Town Ball derived from the cat games.