Joseph Emley Borden

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Joseph Emley Borden
Baseball • West Chester

Joseph Emley Borden, (1854 –1929), aka Joe Josephs, nicknamed "Josephus the Phenomenal", was a starting pitcher in professional baseball for two seasons.

Born in the Jacobstown section of North Hanover Township, New Jersey, he was playing for a Philadelphia amateur team when he was discovered by the Philadelphia White Stockings of the National Association (NA) in 1875. The White Stockings needed a replacement for a recently released pitcher, and were awaiting the arrival of a replacement. During his short, seven-game stint with the team, he posted a 2–4 win–loss record, both victories recorded as shutouts. On July 28 of that season, he threw the first no-hitter in professional baseball history.

When the NA folded after the 1875 season, Borden signed a three-year contract with the Boston Red Caps. On April 22, 1876, Borden and the Red Caps were victorious in the first National League (NL) game ever played.

Known for having an eccentric personality, he played under different surnames, such as Josephs and Nedrob, so as to disguise his involvement in baseball; his prominent family would have disapproved had they known. After he was released from the Red Caps as a player during the first season of his contract, he worked for a short period of time as their grounds keeper until he and the owner agreed to a buyout of the remainder of his contract.

It was mistakenly claimed that he died in 1889, in the Johnstown Flood. His official death date is recognized as occurring in 1929 when he was 75 years of age and he is buried at Oaklands Cemetery, West Chester.

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