Bulkeley was elected to the Hall of Fame because he was the first president of the
National League. Actually, it was William Hulbert who had the foresight and determination
to create a strong league to replace the National Association, but Hulbert was from
Chicago and the politics of the situation called for an Easterner to provide titular
leadership for the new league. Insisting he could only serve for a year, Bulkeley
accepted the position. He had been the principal backer of the Hartford team in the
National Association, and continued to own the city's team during the National League's
first season in 1876. He had no connection with baseball after 1876, a casual fan
more interested in sulky races than pennant races (he was a member of the National
Trotting Association for 30 years). Hulbert slipped into the president's chair the
next year and directed the new league to its success. In 1937, when a Cooperstown
committee decided whom to install for the 1939 opening ceremonies, an obvious choice
was Ban Johnson, founder and president of the American League. It was necessary to
equally represent the National League; thus Morgan Bulkeley, seemingly the logical
counterpart of Johnson, was inducted.
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Bulkeley's father had founded the Aetna Insurance
Company, and when he died, Morgan gave up a prosperous merchandising business in
New York to run Aetna. After his brief fling with baseball, he entered politics and
served as alderman in Hartford before becoming a four-term mayor of the city starting
in 1880. He next became governor of Connecticut, holding that office through a series
of stormy administrations. A Republican, he was locked out of his office in the State
Capitol by a Democratic legislature and became known as "The Crowbar Governor" when
he pried the door open.
Bulkeley was elected to the United States Senate in 1904
and served one term, notable for his conflicts with President Theodore Roosevelt.
He continued to direct the Aetna Insurance company, which became the nation's largest
under his leadership, until his death at 84.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»February 9, 1916:
The NL celebrates its 40th anniversary with a Waldorf-Astoria banquet. The NL's first president, Morgan G. Bulkeley, is present. The chief speaker is former president William H. Taft.
»November 7, 1922:
Morgan G. Bulkeley, first president of the National League and later governor of Connecticut and U.S. senator, dies. As president of the Hartford club, he presided over the NL's first meeting and headed the league for one year.