Let's start off Cubs week at the beginning. In 1876 the White Stockings (later to be named the Cubs) were part of the National Association of Professional Baseball Players. The club's President, William Hulbert, felt that the NAPBP had too many teams and no real structure. He spearheaded the effort for the most successul and wealthiest teams to break out on their own. The other owners agreed so the teams in Cincinnati, St. Louis, Louisville, Hartford, New York, Boston and Philadelphia broke out on their own to form the National League.
The White Stockings started the first NL season with a win over Louisville. On the mound on that April afternoon was Al Spalding, the best pitcher in the game at the time. In the first ever National League White Stockings game, Al threw the first ever shut out, 4 - 0. Years later Spalding would go on to start a sporting goods company that you may have heard of.
While Spalding was the ace pitcher, the true star of the team was Cap Anson. Anson played for the White Stockings from their inception through 1897. He was the biggest name in baseball, probably the first true "star" of the game. His name was on candy, bats and other merchandise, and he attracted a crowd everywhere he went. He was known primarily for his bat, finishing his career with a .329 average. His birth name was Constantine but was nicknamed Cap because he always seemed to end up as the captain of every team he palyed for. He spent his entire career as a White Stocking and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.
The White Stockings went on the finish the 1876 season with a 52 - 14 record and the first ever National League pennant. Spalding alone was 47 - 13, winning all but five of Chicago's games.