Executives: Morgan Bulkeley

I want a ‘stache like that.

A slight twist from the Hall of Fame series, this series includes executives, mainly from the Hall of Fame (if you know some that aren’t in the Hall but deserve to get a shoutout, shoot me an email), whereas the Hall series is strictly players (yeah, that isn’t exactly fair, but I kind of wanted to separate them and make sure they got special attention). Anyway, these are the same type of mini-bios. Baseball is more than just players, okay.

Morgan Gardner Bulkeley was born December 26, 1837 in East Haddam, Connecticut into a family descendant from the Mayflower. His father was a prominent member of the Connecticut Republican Party, which would serve his son well later, and the founder of the Aetna Life Insurance Company. The elder Bulkeley wouldn’t let his son bask in the family wealth, however, and made him sweep the floors for a dollar a day. Later, the younger Bulkeley would go work for H.P. Morgan and Company as a salesman and errand boy. When the Civil War broke out, he enlisted in the Union Army. After the Civil War, he came back to work for H.P. Morgan, but his father died in 1872, leading to the younger Bulkeley returning to Hartford to form the United Bank of Hartford.

Two years later, he came into contact with baseball and formed the Hartford Blues as part of the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NAPBB). In 1876, the NAPBB was replaced by the National League, and Hartford became a charter member and Bulkeley became the first President of the National League. He didn’t last long in the position as William Hulbert replaced him a year later. As President, Bulkeley targeted illegal gambling and drinking, trying to improve baseball’s image, but he left because of his desire to get into politics.

First, he served on the Board of Alderman in Hartford and became the third president of Aetna. In 1880, he ran for both the gubernatorial seat of Connecticut and the mayorial seat of Hartford. He lost the governor’s race but won the mayorial race, but after serving as mayor for eight years, he ran and won the governor’s race. He actually had fewer votes than the other major competitor, but neither got the required 50%. The legislature took it from there, and the largely Republican legislature made Bulkeley the governor. A weird incident left him in as governor in 1890 even though he didn’t run. After serving the term anyway, he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1905 and won.

Just in case you think he had nothing else to do with baseball, he was part of the Mills Commission that decided Abner Doubleday was the inventor of baseball (maybe we should just leave his legacy as his presidency and his politics). Connecticut later honored Bulkeley by naming a bridge after him, and as odd as this sounds, they had a birthday party for the bridge this past October. In 1937, he was further cemented into baseball lore when he was elected into the Hall of Fame.

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