Joseph Emley Borden
a.k.a. Joseph Emley Josephs in 1875
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 140 lb.
- Debut July 24, 1875
- Final Game July 19, 1876
- Born May 9, 1854 in Jacobstown, NJ USA
- Died October 14, 1929 in Yeadon, PA USA
Joe Borden won the first game in National League history, playing for the Boston Red Caps in 1876. He also threw the first professional no-hitter on July 28, 1875, while with the Philadelphia Whites of the National Association. He had joined the team late in the season after their regular pitcher, Cherokee Fisher, had been dismissed for "drunkenness and general misbehavior." He pitched under the pseudonym Joe Josephs at the time, because he did not want his well-to-do family to know he was playing baseball professionally. His no-hitter came after he had lost his first two starts without impressing anyone, as he was described as having speed but little else. He went on to throw a 4-0 shutout of the Chicago White Stockings in his third start, allowing no hits. There were only 500 spectators present at the Jefferson Street Grounds for the historic contest, the result of threatening weather. His no-hit game was the only one in the five-year history of the NA.
The book The Boston Braves 1871-1953 claims that Borden was signed by Boston after the team was impressed by him in 1875. They paid him $2,000/year for a three-year contract, and the salary was so high for the times that baseball writers took to calling him "Josephus the Phenomenal". When he could not pitch as well as the team wanted, he was turned into a groundskeeper and fix-it man. Finally, the team paid him a flat sum to end his contract.
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (1876)