Albert Goodwill Spalding was born in Byron, Illinois, in 1850. Spalding’s talent for baseball became apparent from a young age and he was only 22 when he debuted in the top American league, the NA (National Association). Along with his outstanding athletic achievements Spalding also displayed a remarkable entrepreneurial spirit as a young man: his deep-rooted passion for baseball led him to take part in the creation of the current National League (NL) in 1876, introducing rules and standards which, to this day, are still part of modern baseball.
Spalding made his own personal contribution to this wave of innovations by creating the first official National league baseball ball in the small shop his family had recently opened in Chicago.
With just 800 dollars as his initial investments, and only five years from his debut, Albert Goodwill founded Spalding. As well as the famous baseball ball the company made significant changes to the equipment used in the sport: gloves, footwear with cleats and uniforms, all designed to improve performance.
Spalding’s pioneering spirit also led him to aim for technical excellence and innovation in other sports equipment: between 1880 and 1898 Spalding’s company set an enviable amount of records: it created the first tennis, football and golf ball in the U.S. and the very first basketball ball in the world.
The first Spalding Shop was opened in 1885 in New York's most prestigious street: Fifth Avenue. A symbolic men’s only store, born to provide the young up-and-coming East Coast college students will all the support they needed. Spalding took its full name from this exclusive shop: A.G. Spalding & Bros., 520 Fifth Avenue, NY.
The company was personally run by Albert Goodwill until the early 20th century, when Spalding & Bros. had 14 stores, some of which overseas.
Spalding’s success has spanned more than 135 years, during which time it has evolved and changed in order to keep up with, if not be ahead of, the times. In addition to its sports range it has developed a line of smart accessories and leather goods aimed at a different target group - not just sports enthusiasts – and still fully embraces Spalding's philosophy. Its founder’s spirit has remained intact no matter the product: from bags to stationery, from watches to wallets: finely crafted leather, an unmistakeable attention to detail, a taste of vintage America during the golden years, beautifully redesigned and updated.