It was 18-71 and
baseball was just taking off in this part of the country. Rockford
was put on the map by a men's team called the Rockford Forest City Baseball
club. One stand out player helped launch the team into the national spotlight
when they took on the Washington Nationals.
Village Museum Curator of Education Mark Herman says, "The day before they
came to Rockford, they'd beaten a team in Chicago 49-to-3. They
came to Rockford
and they were undefeated. Albert Spalding pitched against them and Rockford won 29 to 23 and
it made national headlines...that this 16 year old kid had beaten the best
baseball team in the country."
That kid was Albert
Goodwill Spalding. "He was raised
here in Rockford.
He was born in Byron. He started pitching for this team when he was 16 years
out of high school to play baseball. "He was the first professional pitcher
in history to win 200 games. He's in the Hall of Fame."
The Rockford Forest
City's finished it's one and only
season at Fairgrounds
Park in last place
.Spalding was recruited by the Boston Red Stockings.
happened and it was because of baseball. Rockford
really became known .It was the first big thing that happened to Rockford right after the
Spalding went on to become co-founder of
Spalding Sporting Goods.