Spalding was founded in 1876 when Albert Spaldingwas a pitcher and the manager of a baseball team in Chicago, the Chicago White Stockings. The company standardized early baseballs and developed the modern baseball batwith the bulge at its apex. In 1892, Spalding acquired Wright & Ditson andA. J. Reach, both rival sporting goods companies.
In 1893, A.G. Spalding & Brothers purchased the Lamb Knitting Machine Company located in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts and renamed it the Lamb Manufacturing Company. It used this purchase to consolidate its skate manufactory from Newark and its gymnasium goods manufactory from Philadelphia to the Chicopee plant. Lamb, primarily engaged in manufacturing knitting machines, rifles, and egg-beaters, had been fulfilling a contract since 1890 to produce the Credenda bicycle wheel for Spalding. Spalding chose Chicopee because it was the home of the Overman Wheel Company, Spalding acted as their distributor in the Western USA, and Overman contracted with Lamb to make wheels for its lower-end products.
The Spalding League Ballwas adopted by the National League and American Association of Professional Base Ball Clubs for the seasons of 1892-1896 and used by the National League since 1880. It was manufactured by A. G. Spalding & Bros., Chicago, New York & Philadelphia and sold for $1.50 in 1896.
Spalding produced the well-known "Spaldeen" high-bounce rubber ball, said to be a re-use of defective tennis ball cores, that was sold to city children from 1949. 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 National League balls
Spalding developed its first basketball in 1894and is currently a leading producer. Since 1983, it has been the Official ball supplier to the NBA. The company also provides the official ball of the Arena Football League, an indoor American football league. The company was also one of the first to use high profile athletes to endorse its products when tennis player Pancho Gonzaleswas signed to an exclusive endorsement contract in 1951.
In addition to the NBA, Spalding is a proud partner of over 55 leagues and federations worldwide. Fans of the sport everywhere can count on Spalding to produce cutting edge technology to keep the game evolving.