Who Was Sports Icon Albert G. Spalding?
You may recognize the name Spalding from the NBA -- the sporting goods company's full-grain leather ball has been the official basketball of the league since 1973 -- but the man behind the ball was actually a sports legend in his own right. Albert Spalding started out as a baseball player, pitching for the Boston Red Stockings (now the Boston Red Sox) and the Chicago White Stockings (now the Chicago Cubs) from 1871-1878. With a win-loss record of 252-65, Spalding won the pennant six seasons in a row, and for each of those seasons was his team's only pitcher. During the 1876 season, Spalding opened A.G. Spalding & Bros. in Chicago. For the next 100 years, the company produced the official baseballs of the major league. As if being a massively successful player and businessman wasn't enough, Spalding was the owner of the White Stockings from 1882-1902, organized the first baseball world tour in 1888, and was the commissioner of the Summer Olympics in 1900. Despite his 1939 induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, today Spalding is best known for his contribution to another sport. In 1894, Dr. James Naismith, inventor of basketball, asked Spalding to create a ball for the sport. More than 120 years later, the Spalding name is nearly synonymous with the NBA. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.