On February 2, 1876, the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs (now known as the National League) was established with the main office based in New York thanks, in part, to Chicago businessman, William Hulbert.
Hulbert became owner of the Chicago team after the Chicago Fire destroyed their stadium. It took less than three years to revive the team. His efforts to sign talented players were slowed due to the high bids coming from east coast cities like New York.
In a meeting with other baseball owners, Hulbert at the Grand Central Hotel in New York City and pitched his idea to create closed-circuit league helped organize some established teams and has been kept in tact for almost 150 years.
The eight teams were the Boston Red Stockings (Atlanta Braves), Chicago White Stockings (Chicago Cubs), Cincinnati Red Stockings, Hartford Dark Blues, Louisville Grays, Mutual of New York, Philadelphia Athletics and the St. Louis Brown Stockings. The league would not expand until the New York Mets and Houston Colt .45s (Astros) became franchises in 1962. Slowly other teams started to move into the professional ranks and joined the league. In 1994, the league reorganized and split into the Eastern, Western and Central divisions.
In April 1876 the White Stockings became the first team to get a shutout when they beat the Grays 4-0. George Hall of the Philadelphia Athletics became the first batter to hit for the cycle (single, double, triple and home run in a game) on June 14.
The first season consisted of 70 games played between April and October.
The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs did not form until 1901. The first World Series game was played in 1903. Same division Inter-league play started in 1997 and teams started playing outside division inter-league games in 2002.
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