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Joe Borden

Joe Borden

It is April. It is 1876. It is a new league. It is a new season.

And, with the “Four Seceders” gone from the team, it is a new team as well.

Al Spalding and the others had left. The National League is formed. The Red Caps (formerly the Red Stockings and now known as the Atlanta Braves) continue in the new league.

How do you replace Al Spalding? You probably don’t but you try.

You hire Joe Borden to a three year contract. $2,000 a year. He played under the psuedonym of Joe Josephs. The sportswriters dubbed him “Josephus the Phenomenal”.

They weren’t being kind.He is a bust!! You just can’t compare to Spalding no matter how good you are. They end up asking him to be the groundskeeper so they would get something out of his salary. He is credited with the first no hitter but it has never been officially recognized as such.

The first game of the season was on April 22. Borden won the game. He went 11-12 for the season. Jack Manning was their best pitcher that season. He went 18-5 with a 2.14 ERA.

So, Joe Borden cut grass.

The Red Caps ended the season in fourth place with a record of 39-31. Their four consecutive seasons as the pennant winner was over.