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Al Nichols

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Alfred Henry Nichols born Alfred Henry Williams

  • Bats Unknown, Throws Unknown
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 180 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

Al Nichols was a key figure in the first major scandal to shake the National League. In August-September 1877 the seemingly pennant-bound Louisville Grays lost seven straight games during a disastrous late-season road trip. The losing streak featured uncharacteristic "bonehead" plays and poor pitching. The Grays relinquished their lead and eventually finished second, trailing Boston by three games. Meanwhile, certain Grays were seen around town donning fancy new jewelry and ostentatiously dining at exclusively top restaurants.

This suspicion increased as the players performed very well in post-season exhibition matches. The team vice president Charles Chase, who had earlier received but disregarded telegrams informing him that gamblers were betting against the Grays in certain games, began an investigation. At the end of the season, suspicion arose that players were being paid to intentionally lose games. Chase demanded that his players allow him to inspect their papers. On October 26, Chase confronted George Hall and Jim Devlin with charges that they threw road games in August and September. Both admitted to throwing non-league games and implicated teammates Nichols and Bill Craver. Admitting his involvement, he was expelled from the club. On December 2 at the League Board of Directors meeting, William Hulbert, the president of the National League, decided to make a stand against gambling. He immediately banned Devlin, Hall, Nichols and Craver for life. Nichols never suited up again.

[edit] Further reading

The Louisville Grays Scandal of 1877: The Taint of Gambling at the Dawn of the National League

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