Rather Sporting

Albert Spalding created some serious fun for all of us!!!!!!!

As I prepare my weekly posts, I love to find a topic I know little about, go internet and history digging, and come out way smarter than when I started.  (my lovely wife Jackie reminds me just how many things can make me “way smarter”, but I’ll leave that to another post). Driving around my neighborhood over the holidays. I noticed a bunch of kids playing ball. As a kid, I loved my sports, especially football, basketball and baseball. I found out that on this day, back in 1876, is when Albert Spaulding actually founded the Spalding company.,  I remember having Spaulding gloves and bats!  At the time, Albert was a pitcher and manager of an early professional baseball team in Chicago called the Chicago White Stockings. His company, the A.G. Spalding & Brothers sporting goods company, standardized early baseballs and developed the modern baseball bat, a derivation of the cricket bat, along with all sorts of sports play equipment.  Here’s some history about Spaulding and his companies, and how a small company grew throughout the years, and remains a strong brand still today.  Thanks to Google, YouTube and Wikipedia for the info.  Enjoy!

Albert Spalding (1850–1915) was an American athlete, sports executive, and entrepreneur, best known for his contributions to the world of baseball. As a professional baseball player, primarily a pitcher, he played for the Boston Red Stockings, Chicago White Stockings, and later for the Buffalo Bisons.  In 1876, Spalding founded his sporting goods company, and became one of the leading manufacturers of sports equipment, particularly baseballs and baseball gloves.

The Spalding “League Ball” was adopted by the National League and used by the league beginning in 1880, as well as by the American Association of Professional Base Ball Clubs for the seasons of 1892–1896. It sold for $1.50.  – HOW a baseball is made.

In 1888-1889, Spalding organized a world baseball tour known as the “Spalding World Tour.” The tour featured a team of baseball players from the United States, including Spalding, traveling around the world, and playing exhibition games to promote the sport. The tour helped popularize baseball internationally.

In 1892 Spalding created the Spalding Athletic Library, which sold sports and exercise books through its American Sports Publishing Company, also founded that year. The first book published was Life and Battles of James J. Corbett. See sample book. The Spalding Athletic Library covered a variety of sports, exercises, and organizations. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper stated regarding this collection, “devoted to all athletics pastimes, indoor and outdoor, and is the recognized American cyclopedia of sport”.  (they didn’t miss much…) 1892 – 1941 these are still collectibles today!

Spalding developed its first basketball in 1894 based on the design of a baseball, and is currently a leading producer. How it’s made. As their business grew, A.G. Spalding & Brothers purchased the Lamb Knitting Machine Company of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, and renamed it the Lamb Manufacturing Company.. Spalding chose Chicopee because it was the home of the Overman Wheel Company and acted as their distributor in the Western US.

In 1899 Spalding sold its bicycle division to a massive trust called the American Bicycle Company which controlled 65% of the bicycle business in the US.
In the early 1900’s Spalding was selling dumbbellsIndian clubs, and punching bags and a wide variety of sports-related items, including clothing (athletic shirts, belts, pads, hats, jackets, jerseys, pants, shoes, and swimming suits), barbells, fencing blades and foils, golf clubs, guy robes, measuring tapes, pulleys and weights, rowing machines, and track equipment – discus, hurdles, hammers, javelins, poles for vaulting, shotputs, and stop watches, and whistles. It’s cool how 100 years later, many of these items still carry the Spaulding brand name.

During World War II, the company joined five other firms to form the New England Small Arms Corporation to help support the war effort, manufacturing the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifles.

From the early 1930s through the mid-1940s Spalding produced the official game pucks for the National Hockey League. Spalding also produced the well-known “Spaldeen” high-bounce rubber ball, said to be a re-use of defective tennis ball cores, sold to city children beginning in 1949. You can still buy these Spalding High Bounce balls today!

In baseball, Spalding manufactured the official ball of the Major Leagues through the 1976 season, using the Reach brand on American League balls and the Spalding trademark on the National League’s. Since 1977 the official ball has been made by Rawlings.

In 2003, Spalding became a division of the Russell Corporation, exclusive of its golf operations (which included the Top-Flite, Ben Hogan and Strata brands), which were eventually bought by the Callaway Golf Company later the same year.

Spalding produced a mail-order catalog that provided a description, price, and picture of their sports equipment, sports books, and exercise books. A couple of examples are “How to Play Golf” for 25 cents, “How to Play Basketball” at 10 cents, and “How to Train for Bicycling” at 10 cents. – See one of the original catalogs

Spalding served as the president of the Chicago White Stockings and later became the president of the NL. In 1902, he was appointed as the first chairman of the National Commission, a position similar to the modern role of the Commissioner of Baseball.  Spalding was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939 as a pioneer/executive. His contributions to the early development and popularization of baseball played a significant role in the history of the sport.

It’s amazing what this one man could accomplish in his lifetime!




Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!


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