Early Baseball Milestones

What are your baseball origins? Where did you play your first game? Baseball traces its roots through the annals of history, well before the founding of Major League Baseball. This chronology, from Protoball (an extensive gathering of early materials documenting the origins of baseball), records the order of events related to the development of baseball starting in 2500 B.C. Enjoy, and share with us your own baseball milestones.

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  • 1826 - Christian Visitor to Indiana Commune Unimpressed with Sunday Ballplaying There

    1826.1

    "Monday [June] 26th. I breakfasted at this place. In Harmony there are about 900 souls. They make no pretensions to religion . . . . I shall only add, that Sunday is a holiday, they have two public balls a week, one every Tuesday and every Saturday night, that the men played ball all yesterday afternoon, that their cornfields and vineyards are overrun with weeds, their school children are half of the time out of school."

    "Extract from the Correspondence of a Young Gentleman Traveling in he Western States," American Advocate, September 9, 1826. The location was New Harmony IN, a settlement organized by the utopian thinker Robert Owen in 1824. New Harmony is near the southern tip of IN, and is on the Wabash River, about 130 miles east of St. Louis and about 120 miles east of Louisville KY. Accessed by subscription search May 20, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1826 - Ballplaying Said Documented in Troy Michigan on Nation's 50th

    1826.2

    "Troy, a small hamlet in Southwestern Michigan, has documentary proof that a game was played there thirteen years before 1839 . . . . [T]he lineups of the two teams contesting in the game at Troy in 1826 are contained n a history of Oakland County."

    The Sporting News, November 14, 1940. Posted by Tim Wiles on the 19CBB listserve on November 18, 2009. Tim enlisted Peter Morris in an effort to find confirmatory details. The result:

    Under the heading "A fourth of July in 1826 [the Nation's 50th birthday, and the day that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died] is an account of the festivities, including a fusillade, patriotic readings, a dinner of pork and beans and bread and pumpkin pies, and "[f]ollowing this was the burning of more powder [cannon volleys?], and a game of base-ball, in which [19 names listed] and other participated." Peter determined that two of the players had sons who played for the Franklin Club in later years.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1827 - Brown U Student Reports "Play at Ball"

    1827.1

    Brown College (Providence, RI) student Williams Latham notes in his diary: "We had a great play at ball today noon [March 22]." On April 9: "We this morning . . . have been playing ball, But I have never received so much pleasure from it here as I have in Bridgewater They do not have more than 6 or 7 on a side, so that a great deal of time is spent in running after the ball, neither do they throw so fair ball, They are afraid the fellow in the middle will hit it with his bat-stick."

    Latham, Williams, The Diary of Williams Latham, 1823 - 1827, quoted in W. C. Bronson, The History of Brown University 1764 - 1914 [Providence, Brown University, 1914], p. 245. Per Henderson ref # 101. Query; "The fellow in the middle?"

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1827 - Story Places Baseball in Rochester NY

    1827.2

    Samuel Hopkins Adams, "Baseball in Mumford's Pasture Lot," Grandfather Stories (Random House, New York, 1947), pp. 143 - 156. Full text is unavailable via Google Books as of 12/4/2008.

    This story, evidently set in 1880 in Rochester, involves three boys who convince their grandfather to attend a Rochester-Buffalo game. The grandfather contrasts the game to that which he had played in 1827. He describes intramural play among the 50 members of a local club, with teams of 12 to 15 players per side, a three-out-side-out rule, plugging, a bound rule, and strict knuckles-below-knees pitching. He also recalls attributes that we do not see elsewhere in descriptions of early ballplaying: a requirement that each baseman keep a foot on his base until the ball is hit, a seven-run homer when the ball went into a sumac thicket and the runners re-circled the bases, coin-flips to provide "arbitrament" for disputed plays, and the team with the fewest runs in an inning being replaced by a third team for the next inning ["three-old-cat gone crazy," says one of the boys]. The grandfather's reflection does not comment on the use of stakes instead of bases, the name used for the old game, the relative size or weight of the ball, or the lack of foul ground - in fact he says that out could be made on fouls.

    Adams' use of a frame-within-a-frame device is interesting to baseball history buffs, but the authenticity of the recollected game is hard to judge in a work of fiction. Mumford's lot was in fact an early Rochester ballplaying venue, and Thurlow Weed [#1825c.1] wrote of club play in that period. Priscilla Astifan has been looking into Adams' expertise on early Rochester baseball. See #1828c.3 for another reference to Adams' interest in baseball. Caveat: We welcome input on the essential nature of this story. Fiction? Fictionalized memoir? Historical novel?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1827 - First Oxford-Cambridge Cricket Match Held

    1827.3

    Per Stephen Green, interview at Lords. Also noted in John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 21. Ford does not give a citation for this account.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1827 - Poisoned Ball Listed in French Manual of Games

    1827.4

    Celnart, Elizabeth, Manuel complet des jeux de societe (Complete manual of social games) [Paris, Roret], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 192. The material on "la balle empoisonee" is reported as "virtually identical" to that of the 1810 Les Jeux des juenes garcons, above at 1810. Note: Are any other safe-haven games listed? Other batting games?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1827 - Science of Trap Construction Revealed

    1827.5

    Paris, J. A., Philosophy in Sport Made Science in Earnest, Being an Attempt to Illustrate the First Principles of Natural Philosophy by the Aid of the Popular Toys and Sports of Youth [London, Longman], 3 volumes, per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 192. Block notes that detailed illustrations of the trap are included, but mentions no other games.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1827 - A Tip for Good Health: Cricket for the Blokes, Bass-ball for the Lasses

    1827.6

    "With the same intention [that is children's health], the games of cricket, prison bars, foot ball, &c. will be useful, as children grow up, and are strong enough to endure such exercise.

    "With regard to girls, these amusements may be advantageously supplanted by bass-bal, battledore and shuttlecock, and similar and playful pursuits."

    William Newnham, The Principles of Physical, Intellectual, Moral, and Religious Education, Volume 1 (London, 1827), page 123. Uncovered and provided by Mark Aubrey, email of 1/30/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1827 - NY Boy Celebrates Releasement from School By Playing Ball

    1827.7

    "In consequence of a dismission from school this afternoon, I play at ball . . . and perhaps you will say that I might have been better employed . . . If so are your thoughts, I can tell you, that you are much mistaken. If you have ever been confined to a study where every exertion of intellect was required, for any length of time, you must, upon releasement therefrom, have felt the pleasure of relaxation."

    Nathaniel Moore, "Diaries 1827-1828," Manuscript Division, New York Public Library, 106-L-1, May 26, 1827. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 26. Tom notes that Moore was a student at Clinton Academy in East Hampton, Long Island at the time.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1827 - Lithograph Shows Ballplaying in City Hall Park, NY

    1827.8

    John Thorn [emails of 9/1/2009] has unearthed an engraving of City Hall Park that depicts a ball game in progress in the distance. My squint shows me pitcher, batsman, a close-in catcher, two distant fielders and three spectators (two seated). Old cat? Single wicket cricket? Scrub base ball?

    The lithograph, titled "The Park, 1827," is published as the frontispiece Valentine's Manual for the Corporation of the City of New York (1855). For a wee image, try a Google Web search ("the park, 1827/McSpedon").

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1827 - Baltimore MD Bans Ballplaying on Sundays and within City Limits

    1827.9

    "CITY OF BALTIMORE. 36. AN ORDINANCE to restrain evil practices therein mentioned. . . .[Sec. 3] it shall not be lawful for any person to play at bandy or ball, to fly a kite or throw a stone or any other missile in . . . any street, lane, or alley opened for public use within the limits of the city." Section 7 covers Sabbath play, again including ball, and adding "pitching quoits or money. The penalty was $1.00. The ordinance is dated March 2, 1827.

    BaltimoreGazette and Daily Advertiser, March 13, 1827, page 3. Posted to the 19CBB listserve November 2009 by George Thompson. Note: One type of ballplaying that was banned was that described by young John Oliver at entry #1825c.4, above.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1828 - Boy's Own Book [London] Describes "Rounders," Stoolball, Feeder

    1828.1

    The Boy's Own Book is published in London and contains a set of rules for "stool-ball," [p. 26], "trap, bat, and ball," [p. 27], "northern-spell," [p. 28], "rounders," [p.28], and "feeder" [p. 29]. The rounders entry states: "this is a favorite game with bat and ball, especially in the west of England." The entry for feeder, in its entirety: "This game is played with three bases only, and a player takes the place of feeder, who remains so until he puts one of the other players out, by catching his ball or striking him while running from base to base, as at Rounders; the one who is put out taking the place of feeder to the others, and thus the game goes on. There are no sides at this game." The entry for northern spell describes a game without running or fielding, in which the object is to hit the ball farthest - "this pastime possesses but little variety, and is by no means so amusing to the bystanders as Trapball."

    Clarke, W., Boy's Own Book [London, Vizetelly Branston], second edition. This book is reportedly still available [Appleton Books, 1996], according to Tim Wiles at the Giamatti Research Library. Note: Altherr uses a reference to an 1829 US version: The Boy's Own Book [Munroe and Francis, Boston, 1829], pp. 18-19, per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 65. David Block, page 192-193, describes the wide popularity of this text in England and the US, running through many editions through the 1880s, and also identifies this book as Henderson's key evidence in his refutation of the Doubleday theory of baseball's origin 11 years later. [XXX Keyboard full text here.]

    For Text:David Block carries more than a page of text, and the field diagram, in Appendix 7, pages 279-238, of Baseball Before We Knew It.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1828 - Trap Ball Scam Reported!

    1828.10

    "Two young lads were taken before the police of Glasgow about the 1st of May, for breaking a pane in a shop keeper's window in playing trap ball. Upon being questioned, they stated that they were employed by a glazier to break glass for him at the rate of a penny a pane, and that several other boys were in the same business. The glazier was of course taken into custody."

    RochesterDaily Advertiser, June 24, 1828. Submitted by Priscilla Astifan. Note: Should we assume that the event happened in Glasgow Scotland and that the account was taken from a newspaper there?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1828 - Ballplaying Boys in NYC Perturb the Congregations in Church

    1828.11

    A "mob of boys, constantly engaged in playing ball [so that] . . . on the Sabbath, while Congregations are in Church, there is more noise and clamour in the vicinity than on any other day [from this] squad of loungers, commencing their daily potations and smoking."

    Commercial Advertiser (NY), January 28, 1828, page 2, column 4. Contributed by George Thompson, email of January 9, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1828 - Police Nine 1, Men and Boy Sabbath-Breakers 0

    1828.12

    It is reported that Alderman Peters of NY's Ninth Ward, "together with High Constable Hays, at the head of eight or ten of the peace Officers . . . arrest a number of men and boys for breaking the Sabbath by playing ball in a vacant lot.:

    New York Evening Post, December 22, 1828, page 2, column 2: and Commercial Advertiser, December 23, 1828, page 2, columns 2-3. Contributed by George Thompson, email of January 9, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1828 - In Christian Story, a Young Girl Chooses Batting Over Tatting

    1828.13

    A very strict school mistress scolds the title character: "You can't say three times three without missing; you'd rather play at bass-ball, or hunt the hedges for wild flowers, than mend your stockings."

    A.M.H. [only initials are given], "The Gipsey Girl," in The Amulet, Or Christian and Literary Remembrancer (W. Baynes and Son, London, 1828), pp 91-104. This short moral tale is set in England, and the girl is described as being eight or nine years old. Accessed 2/4/10 via Google Books search ("amulet or christian" 1828).

    Reported by Tom Altherr, "Some Findings on Bass Ball," Originals, February 2010. This story was reprinted as "The Gipsy Girl," in The Cabinet Annual: A Christmas and New Year's Gift for 1855 (E. H. Butler, Philadelphia, 1855) page 93ff: Provided by David Block, email of 2/27/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1828 - Portsmouth NH Reminder: No Ballplaying, Betting in Public Places

    1828.14

    A newspaper article reminded all not to "in any street, lane, alley, or other public place [within a mile of the court house] throw any stones, bricks, snow-balls or dirt, or play at ball or any other game in which ball is used; or play at game whatsoever for money; or smoke any pipe, or cigar."

    "Notice," New-Hampshire Gazette, July 14, 1828. Accessed via subscription search May 5, 2009. Query: this is not a new ordinance; can we find the original date for this language, in Section 4 of the police by-laws? How does it relate to the Portsmouth ban on cricket in entry #1795.1 above?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1828 - Portland Newspaper Reports Boys Playing at "Bat-and-Ball."

    1828.2

    Anderson, Will, Was Baseball Really Invented in Maine? [private printing, Portland, 1992], p. 1. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 70. Note: can we obtain the text?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1828 - Cricket Allows Species of Round-Arm Bowling

    1828.6

    Says Ford: "Compromise reached permitting round-arm bowling to the level of the elbow." John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 21. Ford does not give a citation for this account.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1828 - Ballplaying in Pawtucket RI

    1828.7

    [Note: Need to recover lost attachment submitted by John Thorn, 7/23/2005 see 1828 folder.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1828 - View of NYC Ballplayers "A Worse Menace Than Traffic"

    1828.8

    "Let anyone visit Washington Parade, and he will find large groups of men and boys playing ball and filling the air with shouts and yells."

    Evening Posteditorial no date given. This quote comes from Berger, Meyer, "In the Ball Park Every Man's a King," New YorkTimes, April 14, 1935. Submitted by John Thorn, fall 2005.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1828 - Mitford Story Centers on Cricket, Touches on Juvenile Baseball

    1828.9

    "Then comes a sun burnt gipsy of six . . . . her longing eyes fixed on a game of baseball at the corner of the green till she reaches the cottage door . . . . So the world wags until ten; then the little damsel gets admission to the charity school, her thoughts now fixed on button-holes and spelling-books those ensigns of promotion; despising dirt and baseball, and all their joys."

    From "Jack Hatch," taken from the Village Sketches of Mary Russell Mitford, The Albion: A Journal of News, Politics, and Literature September 9 1828, volume 7, page 65.

    Submitted by Bill Wagner 6/4/2006 and by David Ball 6/4/2006. David explains further: "The title character is first introduced as a cricketer, 'Jack Hatch the best cricketer in the parish, in the county, in the country!' The narrator hears tell of this wonder, who turns out to be a paragon of all the skills but is never able to meet him in person, finally hearing that he has died. Mitford treats cricket (with tongue admittedly somewhat in cheek) as an epic contest in which the honor of two communities is at stake. In the opening, very loosely connected section, on the other hand, baseball is described as a child's game, to be put away early in life."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1828 - Author Carried Now-Lost 1828 Clipping of Ball Game in Rochester

    1828c.3

    "Your article on baseball's origins reminded me of an evening spent in Cooperstown with the author Samuel Hopkins Adams more than 30 years ago. Over a drink we discussed briefly the folk tale about the "invention" of baseball in this village in 1839.

    "Even then we knew that the attribution to Abner Doubleday was a myth. Sam Adams capped the discussion by pulling from his wallet a clipping culled from a Rochester newspaper dated 1828 that described in some detail the baseball game that had been played that week in Rochester." Note: Priscilla Astifan has looked hard for such an article, and it resists finding.

    Letter from Frederick L. Rath, Jr, to the Editor of the New York Times, October 5, 1990. Note: other accounts use different dates for this story.

    Adams' biography also notes the author's doubts about the Doubleday theory: asked in 1955 about his novel Grandfather Stories, which places baseball in Rochester in 1827 [sic], he retorted "'I am perfectly willing to concede that Cooperstown is the home of the ice cream soda, the movies and the atom bomb, and that General Doubleday wrote Shakespeare. But," and he read a newspaper account of the [1828?] Rochester game." Samuel V. Kennedy, Samuel Hopkins Adams and the Business of Writing (Syracuse University Press, 1999), page 284. Submitted by Priscilla Astifan, 1/14/2008 email.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1828 - NH Man Recalls Boyhood Habit of Playing Ball

    1828c.4

    Cyrus Bradley, born in 1818 in rural NH, refers in 1835 to his boyhood habit of playing ball.

    "Journal of Cyrus P. Bradley," Ohio Archeological and Historical Society, Volume XV [1906], page 210. Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1828 - Vermont Schoolboy Recalls Playing Goal, With Elm Trees as Goals

    1828c.5

    "The big boys had great times playing goal, and other noisy and running games, and the elm trees by our yard were the goals . . . "

    History of Samuel Paine, Jr., 1778-1861 and His Wife Pamela (Chase) Paine, 1780-1856, of Randolph VT and Their Ancestors and Descendants, compiled and edited by their grandson Albert Prescott Paine, 1923. Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1829 - Round Ball Played in MA

    1829.2

    From a letter to the Mills Commission: "Mr. Lawrence considers Round Ball and Four Old Cat one and the same game; the Old Cat game merely being the they could do when there were not more than a dozen players, all told. . . . Mr. Lawrence says, as a boy, he played Round Ball in 1829. So far as Mr. Lawrence's argument goes for Round Ball being the father of Base Ball it is all well enough, but there are two things that cannot be accounted for; the conception of the foul ball, and the abolishment of the rules that a player could be put out by being hit by a thrown ball. No one remembers the case of a player being injured by being hit by a thrown ball, so that cannot be the reason for that change. The foul rule made the greatest skill of the Massachusetts game count for nothing - the batting skill - the back handed and slide batting. Mr. Stoddard told me that there were 9 of the 14 Upton batters who never batted ahead."

    Henry Sargent Letter to the Mills Commission, June 25, 1905.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1829 - Small Cambridge MA Schoolground Crimps Base and Cricket Play

    1829.3

    14 year old Charles Henry Dana, later the author of Two Years Before the Mast and a leading abolitionist, found the playing grounds at his new Cambridge school too small. "[N]one of the favorite games of foot-ball, hand-ball, base or cricket could be played in the grounds with any satisfaction, for the ball would be constantly flying over the fence, beyond which he boys could not go without asking special leave. This was a damper on the more ranging & athletic exercises."

    Robert Metdorf, ed., An Autobiographical Sketch (1815-1842) (Shoe String Press, Hamden CT, 1953), pages 51-52. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 38. The text of the autobiography is unavailable via Google Books as of 11/16/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1829 - In Upstate NY, A Teen's Death on the Ballfield

    1829.4

    "As a number of the students at Fairfield academy were amusing themselves with a game of ball, on the 19th inst., a young man by the name of Philo Petrie, . . . of the town of Little Falls, was hit on the side of his head be a ball club and died almost instantly. He was about 17 years old."

    New-York Spectator, October 30, 1829, page 2, column 5; taken from the Herkimer Herald. Posted by George Thompson to the 19CBB listserve on January 3, 2010. The Jamestown [NY] Journal reran the piece on November 4, 1829: accessed via subscription search on 2/17/2009. Fairfield NY is about 15 miles east of Utica in Central New York, and about 10 miles north of Herkimer and Little Falls.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1829 - Town Ball Takes Off in Philadelphia

    1829.5

    "Town ball was pioneered in Philadelphia in the late 1820s by a group of young rope makers who were first heard from in 1829, while playing at 18th and Race Streets."

    William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning (McFarland, 2009), page 114. Ryczek cites a 2006 email from Richard Hershberger as the source of the location of the game. In 1831 two organized groups, which later merged, played town ball: for a succinct history of the origins of Philadelphia town ball, see Richard Hershberger, "A Reconstruction of Philadelphia Town Ball," Base Ball, volume 1 number 2 (Fall 2007), pp 28-29.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1829 - Bat and Ball Can't Compete with Organ-Grinding

    1829.6

    Rhapsodizing about old organ-ground music, a father writes: "Oh! It makes me feel young again to hear it - for I cannot forget how I used to throw down my books and slate - yes, my very bat and ball, and scamper off to hear it."

    "The Grinding Organ," in Ladies Magazine (Putnam and Hunt, Boston, 1829), page 379. Posted to the 19CBB listserve February 17, 2010, by Hugh MacDougall. Accessed 2/18/2010 via Google Books search ("swiss or savoyard" "bonny doon"). Query: It would be useful to know when and where the author's youth was spent; Hugh points out that the reference to "muster day" implies that writer is likely depicting New England practices. If the "father" was in his thirties [pure conjecture] he is here reflecting on bat and ball play from the 1800-1810 period.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1829 - While Playing Peacefully, "Wisdom Stole His Bat and Ball"

    1829.7

    The poem "Childhood and His Visitors," evidently first printed [anonymously] in 1829 and appearing in many other places in the ensuing decades, turns on the line "Then Wisdom stole his bat and ball" which signifies the moment when childhood ends and manhood begins. Wisdom then, the verse continues, "taught him . . . why no toy may last forever." One interpretation may be that Childhood was using his bat and ball while "hard at play/Upon a bank of blushing flowers:/ Happy - he knew not whence or why" when Wisdom finally paid her visit. Thus, an image of bat and ball symbolizes immaturity.

    The poem was referenced by Hugh MacDougall in a positing to the 19CBB listserve on 2/17/2010.

    A possible initial source is The Casket, a Miscellany, Consisting of Unpublished Poems (John Murray, London, 1829), pages 21-23. Accessed 2/19/2010 via Google Books search ("the casket a miscellany"). In 1865 the piece, dated 1829, appears in The Poems of Winthrop Mackworth Praed, Volume I (Widdleton, New York, 1865), pages 370-372. Accessed 2/19/2010 via Google Books search ("bat and ball" 1865 widdleton). Assuming that Praed was the actual author, as his wife thought, the poem had appeared during the year when, at age 27, the young Romantic turned away from thoughts of blushing flowers and toward a career as a British lawyer and Tory politician.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1829 - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Plays Ball as a Harvard student.

    1829c.1

    Krout, John A, Annals of American Sport [Yale University Press, New Haven, 1929], p. 115. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 49. Richard Hershberger, posting to 19CBB on 10/8/2007, found an earlier source - Caylor, O. P., "Early Baseball Days," Washington Post, April 11, 1896. John Thorn reports [email of 2/15/2008] that Holmes biographies do not mention his sporting interests. Note: We still need the original source for the famous Harvard story. Holmes graduated in 1829; the date of play is unconfirmed. See entry #1824.6 above on Holmes' reference to prep school baseball at Phillips Academy. Small Puzzle: Harvard's 19th Century playing field was "Holmes Field;" was it named for this Holmes? Harvard is in Cambridge MA.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - Children's Amusements Describes Bat/Ball Play for Brits and Yanks

    1830.1

    The book Children's Amusements, published in Oxford (England) and New York, contains an illustration of ball playing (page 9) and this text (page 10): "Playing ball is much practised by school boys and is an excellent exercise to unbend the mind, and restore to the body that elasticity and spring which the close application to sedentary employment in their studies within doors, has a tendency to clog, dull or blunt. But, when practised as is the common method, with a club or bat great care is necessary, as sometimes sad accidents have happened, by its slipping from the hand, or hitting some of their fellows. We would therefore, recommend Fives as a safer play in which the club is not used and which is equally good for exercise. The writer of this, beside other sad hurts which he has been witness of in the use of clubs, knew a youth who had his skull broke badly with one, and it nearly cost him his life."

    Children's Amusements, [New York, Samuel Wood, 1820], p. 9. Note: we need to sort out the #1820.1 and #1830.1 entries for this title.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1830 - Australia's First Recorded Cricket Match Played

    1830.14

    The Sydney Gazette [date not supplied] reported on a match between a military club and the Australia Cricket Club, comprising native-born members. They played at "the Racecourse" at Sydney's Hyde Park, attracted as many as 200 spectators, and set stakes of £20 per side.

    Egan, Jack, The Story of Cricket in Australia (ABC Books, 1987), page 12.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - NYS Squirrel Hunters Stop for Ballplaying

    1830.17

    From an account that appeared 53 later, involving a 25-year-old who lived about 20 miles south of Buffalo NY:

    "Mr. Wickham had a great taste for hunting, and he relates the incidents of a squirrel hunt that took place in Collins in 1830. Two sides were chosen, consisting of eight hunters on a side, and the party that scored the most points by producing the tails of the game secured, were declared the victors. . . . About 4 o'clock P.M. the hunters came in and the scores counted up and it was found that Timothy Clark's side were victorious by over one hundred counts and the day's sport wound up by an old fashioned game of .base ball, in which Timothy Clark's men again came off victorious."

    Erasmus Briggs, History of the Original Town of Concord, Being the Present Towns of Concord, Collins, N. Collins, and Sardinia Erie County New York (Rochester, Union and Advertiser Company's Print, 1883), page 526. Submitted by David Nevard, 2/22/07.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - At PA Ballfield, Man Asks English Question, Receives American Answer

    1830.18

    "I have spent an hour in a beautiful grove in this borough [West Chester PA] witnessing the sports of its denizens. All attorneys, editors, physicians, were engaged in playing ball, while the Judge of the County was seated calmly by, preserving an account of the game! I asked a very respectable gentleman to whom I had been introduced, who were the principal men in the town present; and he answered, that there were no principal men in the town all were equalized, or attained no superiority save that of exertions fro the public weal . . ."Adams Sentinel (Gettysburg PA; August 10, 1830), page 7, as taken from the Philadelphia Inquirer. Posted to 19CBB in October 2008 by John Thorn.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1830 - Proud Father Lauds Son's Ballplaying Prowess

    1830.25

    "My son Roger is a rare lad . . . He can run like a deer, jump like a catamount, wrastle like a bear . . . . He can pitch quates like all creations, he can play ball like a cat o' nine tails, and throw a stone where you could never see it again."

    "Parental Partiality. My Son Roger," Salem [MA] Gazette, May 7, 1830. Taken from the New York Constitution. Accessed via subscription search, April 9, 2009. Roger is described as 19 years old. Query: Any chance of discovering the name and residence of the author?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - Union General Joseph Hooker Plays Baseball as a Boy

    1830.3

    Hooker is recalled as having been enthusiastic about baseball in about 1830. [Note: Hooker was about 16 then.] "[H]e enjoyed and was active in all boyish sorts. At baseball, then a very different game from now [1895], he was very expert; catching was his forte. He would take a ball from almost in front of the bat, so eager, active, and dexterous were his movements."

    Franklin Bonney, "Memoir of Joseph Hooker," Springfield Republican, May 8 1895. From Henderson text at pp. 147-148.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - School Boys Play Base Ball Regularly at Portsmouth NH Grammar School

    1830.4

    Letter from J. A. Mendum to Albert Spalding, My 17, 1905.. From Henderson, pp. 149-150, no ref given. John Thorn on 3/4/2006 notes that the letter included a clip from the New Hampshire Gazette titled "Origin of Baseball. Mr. Mendum Played the Game in Portsmouth in 1830." XXX request scan from John Thorn

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - Baseball-like Scene Reappears in Children's Book

    1830c.10

    Sports of Childhood [Northampton MA, E. Turner], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 193. Coverage of trap-ball is accompanied by the same base-ball like scene found earlier in Remarks on Children's Play (#1811.4, above).

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - Thoreau Associates "Fast Day" with Base-Ball Played in Russet Fields

    1830c.2

    "April 10 [1856]. Fast-Day. . . . . I associate this day, when I can remember it, with games of baseball played over beyond the hills in the russet fields toward Sleepy Hollow, where the snow was just melted and dried up.

    Submitted by David Nevard. On 8/2/2005, George Thompson submitted the following reference: Torrey, Bradford, Journal of Henry David Thoreau vol. 8, page 270. He notes that Princeton University Press is publishing a new edition, but isn't up to 1856 yet.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1830 - Plymouth MA Boys Play Round Ball, Other Ballgames

    1830c.26

    Writing about 70 years later, William Davis considers the range of pastimes in his boyhood: "After the hoop came, as now, the ball games, skip, one old cat, two old cat, hit or miss, and round ball. We made our own balls, winding yarn over a core of India rubber, until the right size was reached, and then working a loop stitch all around it with good, tightly spun twine. Attempts were occasionally made to lay ball in the streets, but the by-laws of the town forbidding it were rigidly enforced."

    William T. Davis, Plymouth Memories of an Octogenarian (Memorial Press, Plymouth MA, 1906), page 104. Accessed 2/5/10 via Google Books search (plymouth octogenarian). Plymouth MA is about 35 miles SE of Boston on Cape Cod Bay. Query: do we know the nature of the ball games of "skip" and "hit or miss?"

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - Lenox Academy Students Play Wicket

    1830c.27

    Recalling a genial local sheriff, the author writes: "We well remember the urbanity of his manner as he passed the students of Lenox Academy, always bowing to them and greeting them with a pleasant salutation, which tended to increase their self-respect . . . .As he drove by us when we were playing 'wicket' - the game of ball them fashionable - he did not drive his stylish horse and gig over our wickets, as many took a malicious pleasure in doing, but turned aside, with a pleasant smile . . . ."

    J. E. A. Smith, The History of Pittsfield From the Year 1800 to the Year 1876 (C. W. Bryan & Co., Springfield MA, 1876), pp 401-402. Accessed 2/5/10 via Google Books search (history pittsfield 1876). Lenox Academy was in Lenox MA, about 7 miles S of Pittsfield, and about 35 miles SE of Albany NY. Caveat: It is difficult to estimate a date for this anecdote. The gentleman, Major Brown, lived in Pittsfield from 1812 to 1838. As the event seems to be the author's personal recollection, verifying if and when he attended the Lenox Academy may narrow the range of possibilities.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - Boston MA Gent Recalls Old Game of "Massachusetts Run-Around"

    1830c.7

    T. King wrote to the Mills Commission in 1905. "Just a word in regard to the old game of Massachusetts Run-around. We always pronounced the name as if it were run-round without the "a," but I presume, technically that should be incorporated.

    "This was the old time game which I played between 44 and 50 years ago [1855-1861 - LM.], and which I heard my father speak of as playing 35 to 40 years before that, carrying it back to the vicinity of 1830." [Actually, the arithmetic implies the vicinity of 1820.] Note: can we establish the age of King's father at King's birth?

    T. King, Letter to the Mills Commission, November 24, 1905.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - Chapbook Illustrates Trap-ball

    1830c.8

    Juvenile Pastimes in Verse [New York, Mahlon Day], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 193. The book describes "several popular games," including trap-ball, with poetry and woodcuts.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - Indoor Batsman Reappears in Publication

    1830c.9

    My Father [New York, Mahlon Day], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 193. The picture from Good Examples (#1823.3, above) is included without accompanying test.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - In MO, the Slowly Migrating Mormons Play Ball

    1830s.11

    "Ball was a favorite sport with the men, and the Prophet frequently took a hand in the sport."

    John Doyle Lee, Confessions of John D. Lee: Mormonism Unveiled [1877], Chapter 8.

    Submitted by John Thorn, 8/17/2004 supplemented 2/22/2006. Note: Are we sure that "1830s" is the right date here? The text may imply a later date.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - Wicket Ball in Buffalo NY

    1830s.12

    "[The Indians] would lounge on the steps of the 'Old First Church,' where they could look at our young men playing wicket ball in from of the church: (no fences there then), and this was a favorite ball ground."

    Samuel M. Welch, Home History: Recollections of Buffalo During the Decade from 1830 to 1840, or Fifty Years Since [P. Paul and bro., Buffalo, 1890], page 112. Submitted by John Thorn 9/13/2006.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - "Baseball" Found in Several Works by Mary Russell Mitford

    1830s.13

    Submitted by Hugh MacDougall, Cooperstown12/6/2006:

    "Everyone knows of Jane Austen's use of the term baseball in her novel Northanger Abbey [see item #1798.1]. I recently came across, online, an 1841 anthology of works by the English essayist Mary Russell Mitford (1787-1865). A search revealed five uses of the work "baseball." What is intriguing is that every reference seems to assume that "baseball" whatever it is is a familiar rough and tumble game played by girls (and apparently girls only) between the ages of 6 and 10 or so..

    "Mary Mitford seems to have a pretty good idea of what the girls are playing, when they play at "baseball" but it seems to have little or nothing to do with the sport we now call by that name. Does anyone know what it was?

    The "baseball" usages:

    [] "The Tenants of Beechgrove:" "But better than playing with her doll, better even than baseball, or sliding and romping, does she like to creep of an evening to her father's knee:

    [] "Jack Hatch" see item #1828.9 above for two references.

    [] "Our Village [introduction]": " . . . Master Andrew's four fair-haired girls who are scrambling and squabbling at baseball on the other." (See item #1824.3 above.)

    [] Belford Regis: "What can be prettier than this, unless it be the fellow-group of girls . . . who are laughing and screaming round the great oak; then darting to and fro, in a game compounded of hide-and-seek and baseball. Now tossing the ball high, high amidst the branches; now flinging it low along the common, bowling as it were, almost within reach of the cricketers; now pursuing, now retreating, jumping shouting, bawling almost shrieking with ecstasy; whilst one sunburnt black-eyed gipsy throws forth her laughing face from behind the trunk of an old oak, and then flings a newer and gayer ball fortunate purchase of some hoarded sixpence among her happy playmates.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - In Buffalo NY, Balls Formed from Fish Noses

    1830s.15

    Writing over 50 years later, Samuel Welch recalled"

    "the fish I bought as a small boy at that time [1830-1840], at one cent per pound, mainly to get its noses for cores for our balls, to make them bound, to play the present National Game."

    Welch also recalls the local enthusiasm for ballplaying: "the boys, who must have their fun, did not always 'Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy,' but world make a holiday of it by a vigorous game of ball, in some secluded spot in the suburbs of the town."

    Welch, Samuel L., Home History. Recollections of Buffalo during the Decade from 1830 to 1840, or Fifty Years Since (Peter Paul and Brother, Buffalo, 1891), page 353 and page 220, respectively.. Text unavailable via Google Books as of 11/16/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - Future President Plays Town Ball, Joins Hopping Contests

    1830s.16

    James Gurley knew Abraham Lincoln from 1834, when Lincoln was 25. In 1866 he gave an informal interview to William Herndon, the late President's biographer and former law partner in Springfield IL. His 1866 recollection:

    "We played the old-fashioned game of town ball - jumped - ran - fought and danced. Lincoln played town ball - he hopped well - in 3 hops he would go 40.2 [feet?] on a dead level. . . . He was a good player - could catch a ball." Source - a limited online version of the 1997 book edited by Douglas L Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, Herndon's Informants (U of Illinois Press, 1997 or 1998). Posted to 19CBB on 12/11/2007 by Richard Hershberger. Richard notes that the index to the book promises several other references to Lincoln's ballplaying but [Jan. 2008] reports that the ones he has found are unspecific.. Note: can we chase this book down and collect those references?

    The previous Protoball entry listed as #1840s.16: "He [Abraham Lincoln in the 1840s] joined with gusto in outdoor sports foot-races, jumping and hopping contests, town ball, wrestling"

    Beveridge, Albert J., Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1858. [Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1928]. Volume I, page 298. .The author provides source for this info as: "James Gourley's" statement, later established as 1866. Weik MSS. Per John Thorn, 7/9/04.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - NH Lad Had Happy Games of Ball

    1830s.19

    "I had many happy hours with the village boys in games of ball and I spy. " A. Andrews, ed., Christopher C. Andrews: Recollections: 1829-1922 (Arthur H. Clark, Cleveland, 1928), page 25. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 30. Tom notes that Andrews lived in the Upper Village of Hillsboro NH. Hillsboro NH is about 25 miles NW of Manchester NH. The text of the Andrews book is not accessible via Google Books as of 11/15/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - In GA, Men Played Fives, Schoolboys Played Base and Town Ball

    1830s.20

    "Men as well as boys played the competitive games of 'Long Bullets' and 'Fives,' the latter played against a battery built by nailing planks to twenty-foot poles set to make the [p31/32] 'battery' at least fifty feet wide. The school boys played 'base,' 'bull-pen,' 'town ball' and 'shinny' too." Jessie Pearl Rice, J. L. M. Curry: Southerner, Statesman, and Educator (King's Crown Press, New York, 1949), pages 6-7.

    Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), pages 31-32. The full text of the Rice biography is unavailable via Google Books as of 11/15/2008. Long-bullets involved distance throwing. Fives is a team game resembling one-wall hand-ball. Curry's school was in Lincoln County GA, about 30 miles NE of Augusta.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - Future OH Senator Has No Interest in Playing Ball

    1830s.21

    "Notwithstanding his studious habits as a boy [Clement Vallandigham] was fond of out-door sports, although never very fond of what the youngsters call playing. He much preferred going out gunning or fusing, to playing ball, or any of the other games so eagerly pursued as a general thing, by boys."

    James L. Vallandigham, A Life of Clement L. Vallandigham (Turnbell Brothers, Baltimore, 1872), page 10. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 32. Clement Vallandigham was born in 1820 in Lisbon OH and grew up there. The biography, barren for our purposes was accessed 11/15/2008 via a "life of clement" Google Books search. Note: is it helpful to list activities that biographers say did not happen?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - Ballplaying Recurs in Abolitionist's Life

    1830s.22

    You may think of Thomas Wentworth Higginson [b. 1823] as a noted abolitionist, or as the mentor of Emily Dickinson, but he was also a ballplayer and sporting advocate [see also #1858.17]. Higginson's autobiography includes several glimpses of MA ballplaying:

    - at ten he knew many Harvard students - "their nicknames, their games, their individual haunts, we watched them at football and cricket [page 40]"

    - at his Cambridge school "there was perpetual playing of ball and fascinating running games [page 20]".

    - he and his friends "played baseball and football, and a modified cricket, and on Saturdays made our way to the tenpin alleys [page 36]".

    - once enrolled at Harvard College [Class of 1841] himself, he used "the heavy three-cornered bats and large balls of the game we called cricket [page 60]." Note: sounds a bit like wicket?

    - in his early thirties he was president of a cricket club [and a skating club and a gymnastics club] in Worcester MA. [Pages 194-195]

    Source: Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Cheerful Yesterdays (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1898). Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), pages 33-34. Accessed 11/16/2008 via Google Books search for "'cheerful yesterdays.'"

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - In South-Central Illinois, Teachers Joined in On Town Ball

    1830s.23

    "The bull pen, town ball, and drop the handkerchief were among the sports indulged in on the school grounds, and the teacher usually joined in with the sports."

    A. T. Strange, ed., Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, Volume 2 (Munsell, Chicago, 1918), page 792. Contributed by Jeff Kittel, January 31, 2010. Accessed 2/5/10 via Google Books search ("town ball and drop). Jeff's comments: "The author is talking about the history of education in Montgomery County, IL, which is located south of Springfield and NE of St. Louis. It's tough to date this. He speaks of '75 or 80 years ago,' so it's probably the 1830s and 1840s."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - Union Cricket Club Gains Strength in Philadelphia PA

    1830s.24

    "No city took to the sport [cricket] with more avidity than Philadelphia where the game had been played since the 1830s by the Union Club"

    William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning, McFarland, 2009), page 105. No source is cited. Ryczek goes on to say that Englishmen who moved to work in the city's wool industry was one root cause of cricket's success there.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - Wicket Played in The Western Reserve [OH]

    1830s.5

    "How far the Connecticut game of wicket has travelled I cannot say, but it is certain that when the Western Reserve region of Ohio was settled from Connecticut, the game was taken along. Our member [of the Connecticut Society of Colonial War], Profesor Thomas Day Seymour of Yale, tells me that wicket was a favorite game of the students at Western Reserve College then located at Hudson Ohio . . . . 'Up to 1861,' he says, 'the standard games at our college were wicket and baseball, with wicket well in the lead. This game was in no sense a revival. A proof of this is the fact that young men coming to college [from?] all over the Reserve were accustomed to the game at home.'" "The Game of Wicket and Some Old-Time Wicket Players," in George Dudley Seymour, Papers and Addresses of the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut, Volume II of the Proceedings of the Society, (n. p., 1909.) page 289. Provided by John Thorn, email of 1/29/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1830 - Players Drink Egg-Nog in Base Ball Intervals in Portsmouth NH

    1830s.6

    Brewster, Charles W., Rambles About Portsmouth, Second Series [Lewis Brewster, Portsmouth, 1869], p. 269. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 67.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1831 - Ball Club Forms in Philadelphia

    1831.1

    The Olympic Ball Club of Philadelphia unites with a group of ball players based in Camden, NJ

    Orem says, without citing a source, that "On the first day but four players appeared, so the game was "Cat Ball," called in some parts of New England at the time "Two Old Cat." [Orem, Preston D., Baseball (1845-1881)From the Newspaper Accounts (self-published, Altadena CA, 1961), page 4.]

    Constitution of the Olympic Ball Club of Philadelphia [private printing, 1838]. Parts reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 5-8.Note: Is it accurate to call this a "town ball" club? Sullivan dates it to 1837, while J. M. Ward [Ward's Base Ball Book, page 18] sets 1831 as the date of formation. The constitution was revised in 1837, but the Olympic Club merged with the Camden Town ball Club in 1833, and that event is regarded as the formation date of the Olympics. The story of the Olympics is covered in "Sporting Gossip," by "the Critic" in an unidentified photocopy found at the Giamatti Research Center at the HOF. What appears to be a continuation of this article is also at the HOF. It is "Evolution of Baseball from 1833 Up to the Present Time," by Horace S. Fogel, and appeared in The Philadelphia Daily Evening Telegraph, March 22-23, 1908.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1831 - "Base" and Cricket Listed in Book of US Pastimes

    1831.2

    Horatio Smith, Festivals, Games and Amusements, Ancient and Modern [New York, Harper], p 330. Per Henderson ref 146. David Block notes that its comment, "The games and amusements of New England are similar to other sections of the United States. The young men are expert in a variety of games at ball - such as cricket, base, cat, football, trap ball . . . ," is the first known book reference to the play of "base" ball in the US. [David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 193-194.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1831 - Should Boys Prefer Bats over Books?

    1831.3

    "Is it wonderful that the school-boy should so often prefer his ball-club to his book, and the rod of correction to his task."

    The Magazine of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge, Volume 2, Issue 1 [January 1831], page 31. Submitted by Bill Wagner 6/4/2006.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1831 - As His Mom Sobs Tenderly, NH Lad Rushes Out to Play Ball

    1831.4

    In Hanover NH, Henry Smith [later Henry Durant - he thought there were already too many Smiths] was about ten when his mother mistily told him he now had a new cousin, Pauline. "A new cousin. Huh! Was that all? And he hurtled out of the door to engage in a game of ball with [brother] William and the other boys"

    Florence M. Kingsley, The Life of Henry Fowle Durant: Founder of Wellesley College (The Century Co., New York, 1924), page 28. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 38. Incomplete access to text of the biography via Google Books search for "'fowle durant.'" Hanover NH is in the middle of nowhere.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1832 - Union Cricket Club of Philadelphia Forms

    1832.1

    Per John Thorn, 6/15/04: Source is Chadwick Scrapbooks, Volume 20. Note: According to a Harold Seymour note, J. M. Ward's Baseball [p. 18] sets a date of 1831 for the beginning of regular club play in Philadelphia.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1832 - Two NYC Clubs Play Base Ball

    1832.2

    "The history of the present style of playing Base Ball (which of late years has been much improved) was commenced by the Knickerbocker Club in 1845. There were two other clubs in the city that had an organization that date back as far as 1832, the members of one of which mostly resided in the first ward, the lower part of the city, the other in the upper part of the city (9th and 15th wards). Both of these clubs played in the old-fashioned way of throwing the ball and striking the runner, in order to put him out. To the Knickerbocker Club we are indebted for the present improved style of playing the game, and since their organization they have ever been foremost in altering or modifying the rules when in their judgment it would tend to make the game more scientific."

    John Thorn added: The club from lower Manhattan evolves into the New York Club (see entry #1843.1) and later splits into the Knickerbockers and Gothams. The club from upper Manhattan evolves into the Washington Club (see entry #1843.2) which in turn gives way to the Gothams.

    William Wood, Manual of Physical Exercises. (Harper Bros., 1867), pp. 189-90. Per John Thorn, 6/15/04. Note: Wood provides no source. He was only about 13 years old in 1832, according to Fred E. Leonard, Pioneers of Modern Physical Training (Association Pres, New York, 1915), page 121. Text provided by John Thorn, 6/12/2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1832 - Mary's Book of Sports [New Haven CT] Has Drawing of "Playing at Ball"

    1832.3

    A miniature 8-page book shows four boys playing at ball. "What more boys at play! I should not think you could see at play. Oh, it is too late to play at ball, my lads. The sun has set. The birds have gone to roost. It is time for you to seek your homes."

    Mary's Book of Sports. With Beautiful Pictures [S. Babcock, New Haven CT, 1832].

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1832 - American Chapbook Reuses "Playing at Ball" Woodcut

    1832.4

    William Johnson; or, The Village Boy [New Haven, S. Babcock] per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 195. That woodcut, recycled from Mary's Book of Sports (1832, above) does not relate to the book's story

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1832 - Boston Spelling/Reading Book Describes Cricket and "Playing at Ball"

    1832.5

    The Child's Own Book [Boston, Munroe and Francis], four parts, per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 194. In part four, cricket play is treated in some detail, and a small woodcut of ball play has the caption, "This picture is intended to represent the Franklin school house in Boston. It is now recess time, and some lads are playing at ball on the green lawn before the portico of the brick building."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1832 - Reading Book Contains a Story, "Playing at Trap Ball"

    1832.6

    Trimmer, Sarah, Easy Lessons; or Leading Strings to Knowledge [Boston, Munroe and Francis], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 194

    1832.7 - Playing Ball on the Prairie

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1832 - Buffalo NY Council and "Playing at Ball"

    1832.8

    Nobody knows when baseball was first played in Buffalo. There is evidence to show it was played in some form at least as far back as 1832, the year the city was incorporated. Ordinance #19 of the first city charter reads as follows: 'The City Council shall have the authority to make laws regulating the rolling of hoops, flying of kites, playing at ball, or any other amusement having a tendency to annoy persons passing in the streets and sidewalks of the city, or to frighten teams of horses."

    Overfield, Joseph, 100 Seasons of Buffalo Baseball (Partner's Press, Kenmore NY, 1985), page 17.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1832 - Norwich CT Sets $2 Fine for Playing Ball

    1832.9

    "Be it ordained by the Mayor, Aldermen and Common Council of the city of Norwich . . . That if any person or persons should play at ball, cat ball, or sky ball, or at ball generally . . . in any of the public streets of said city, the person or persons so offending shall forfeit and pay . . . the sum of two dollars; and when any minor or apprentice shall be guilty of a violation of this by-law, the penalty may be recovered from the parent or guardian." The fine also applied to bowling, kite-flying, and hoops. Norwich Courier, Volume 11, Issue 8 (May 16, 1832), page 1. Provided by John Thorn, email of 1/14/2008. Note: "Sky ball?"

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1833 - Book on Flowers [Yes, Flowers] Shows Overhand Pitch

    1833.1

    Breck, Joseph, The Young Florist: or, Conversations on the Culture of Flowers and on Natural History [Boston, Russell and Odiorne], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 196. Inexplicably, notes Block, this book "contains a lovely engraving of boys playing baseball. The image depicts a pitcher throwing overhand to a batter, who holds a slightly crooked bat, with a catcher standing behind."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1833 - Letter to Student Refers to "That Beautiful game - Base Ball"

    1833.10

    "I suppose nowadays you play ball considerably. If I can judge by our condition up here, it is the time of year [March] to play ball. I think it was a great pity that we couldn't teach these lazy rascals to play that beautiful game - Base Ball."

    Letter from Charles C. Cain to William Butler at Nathaniel Hall, Nathanial [sic] County PA, as reported in a syndicated column by Grantland Rice on July 7, 1949. Posted to 19CBB by John Thorn on 11/5/2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1833 - MA Clergyman Notes "Usual" Fast Day Defections For Ballplaying

    1833.11

    As one of his several diary references to ballplaying [see also #1796.2 and #1806.4] Thomas Robbins D.D. in 1833 wrote this diary entry about Fast Day in Mattapoisett MA: "Fast. Meetings well attended . . . . A part of the people were off playing ball, according to their usual practice . . . . Am very much fatigued. The afternoon exercise was very long. Read."

    On December 28, 1829 at Stratford CT, he wrote: "Last week the boys played ball." On May 28, 1839 [what was Abner Graves doing that day?] at Mattapoisett he wrote "Very pleasant. Thermometer rose to 70 [degrees]. Some playing ball."

    Increase N. Tarbox, ed., Diary of Thomas Robbins, D.D. 1796-1854, Volume 2 (Beacon Press, Boston, 1887), pages 163, 302, and 527. Accessed 11/15/2008 via a Google Books "'robbins d. d.' diary" search. Searches of the text for cricket, wicket, and round-ball are unfruitful.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1833 - New Haven Book Portrays Ball Game with Curved Bat

    1833.2

    Olney, J., The Easy Reader; or Introduction to the National Preceptor [New Haven, Durrie and Peck], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 195. Block on this reader's woodcut: "Three of the players in the image are shown attempting to catch a fly ball, while a fourth holds a strange curved bat."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1833 - Creation Wars Begin! English Author Takes on Strutt Theories on the Origins of Cricket and "Bat-and-Ball"

    1833.3

    Maxwell, William, The Field Book: or, Sports and Pastimes of the British Islands [London, Effingham Wilson], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 195. In this book's short passage on cricket, Block reports, "the author issues a criticism of theories raised by the historian [was he really one? - LM] Joseph Strutt in Sports and Pastimes of the People of England, published in 1801 [see above - LM]. Maxwell scoffs at Strutt's comments that cricket originated from the ancient game of "club ball," and that the game of trap-ball predated both of these. Maxwell states that cricket is far older than Strutt acknowledged, and adds: 'The game of club-ball appears to be none other than the present, well-known bat-and-ball, which . . . was doubtless anterior to trap-ball. The trap, indeed, carries with it an air of refinement in the 'march of mechanism.' ' Maxwell suggests that a primitive rural game similar to tip-cat was actually the ancestor of cricket, a game that used a single stick for a wicket, another stick for a bat and a short three-inch stick for the ball. He is probably alluding the game of cat and dog, which other historians have credited as one of cricket's progenitors." Note: Does Maxwell adduce evidence, or merely assert his views?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1833 - Another CT Chapbook, Another Recycled Woodcut

    1833.4

    The Picture Exhibition [New Haven, S. Babcock], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 195. The reused woodcut is from Mary's Book of Sports see #1832.3 entry, above). Block does not mention any text relating to ball play.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1833 - Yes, Another Chapbook from Mister Babcock, with That Same Old Woodcut

    1833.5

    The Picture Reader; Designed as a First Reading Book, for Young Masters and Misses [New Haven, S, Babcock] per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 195. Again, the woodcut by Anderson from Mary's Book of Sports, [item #1832.3 above] and again, no indication of any text on ball play.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1833 - NY Chapbook: Jack Hall Will Play at Ball

    1833.6

    "Who'll play at Ball/ I, says Jack Hall,/ I am nimble and tall,/ I'll play at Ball./ Here is Jack Hall, With his Bat and Ball."

    A Pleasing Toy for Girl or Boy [New York, Mahlon Day], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 196. This eight-page book of children's pastimes includes an illustration of trap-ball.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1833 - New Haven Chapbook Sports "Tiny" Woodcut on Ball Play

    1833.7

    Stories for Emma; or, Scripture Sketches [New Haven, S. Babcock], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 196. Block: "A chapbook that displays a tiny baseball woodcut on its front wrap."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1833 - Untitled Drawing of Ball Game [Wicket?] Appears in US Songbook

    1833.8

    Watts' Divine and Moral Songs - For the Use of Children [New York, Mahlon Day, 374 Pearl Street, 1836], page 15. Obtained from the "Origins of Baseball" file at the Giamatti Center in Cooperstown. David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 196, has found an 1833 edition.

    A drawing shows five children - a tosser, batter, two fielders, and boy waiting to bat. The bats are spoon-shaped. The wicket looks more like a cricket wicket than the long low bar in wicket. Is it wicket? Base-ball? Here's Block's commentary. " . . .an interesting woodcut portraying boys playing a slightly ambiguous bat-and-ball game that is possibly baseball . . . . A goal in the ground near the batter might be a wicket, but it more closely resembles an early baseball goal such as the one pictured in A Little Pretty Pocket-Book" (see #1744.2, above).

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1833 - A Morale Tale: "Lazy Lawrence" Won't Play Ball

    1833.9

    A children's reader includes a short cautionary story about an indolent lad who just sucked his thumb while "the rest were playing ball." An illustration shows several lads appearing to reach for a fly ball, while another holds a crooked bat, having perhaps hit the fly.

    Olney, J., The Easy Reader (Durrie and Peck, New Haven, 1833 - as noted in hand), pp. 59-60. From the Origins file at the Giamatti Center at the HOF. Note: our copy lacks page 60, onto which the story is continued.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1833 - America's First Interclub Ballgame, in Philadelphia

    1833c.12

    In Philadelphia PA, the Olympic Club and an unnamed club merged in 1833, but only after they had, apparently, played some games against one another. "Since . . . there weren't any other ball clubs, either formal or informal, anywhere else until at least 1842, this anonymous context would have to stand as the first ball game between two separate, organized club teams anywhere in the United States."

    John Shiffert, Base Ball in Philadelphia (McFarland, 2006), page 17. The game was a form of town ball.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1834 - Carver's The Book of Sports [Boston] describes "Base, or Goal Ball"

    1834.1

    Rules for "'Base' or 'Goal Ball'" are published in Boston, in The Book of Sports by Robin Carver. Carver's book copies the rules for rounders published in England's "The Boy's Own Book" (see #1828.1 entry, above). A line drawing of boys "Playing Ball" on Boston Common is included. David Block in Baseball Before We Knew It, page 196-197, reports that this is the "first time that the name "base ball" was associated with a diamond-shaped infield configuration." As for the name of the game, Carver explains: "This game is known under a variety of names. It is sometimes called 'round ball.' But I believe that 'base' or 'goal ball' are the names generally adopted in our country." The bases are "stones or stakes." According to Carver, runners ran clockwise around the bases. Note: Do we have other accounts of clockwise baserunning?

    Carver's Chapter 3 is called "Games with Balls." In an introductory paragraph, he explains that "The games with the bat and ball are numerous, but somewhat similar. I will mention some of them, which I believe to be the most popular with boys." [Page 37.] Other games describes are Fives, Nine-Holes, or Hat-Ball [a game with running/plugging but no batting], Catch-Ball [also a running/plugging game], Rackets, and Cricket.

    Carver, Robin, The Book of Sports [Boston, Lilly Wait Colman and Holden, 1834], pp 37-40. Per Henderson ref 31. Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825 - 1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], p.3ff

    For Text:David Block carries a full page of text, and the accompanying field diagram, in Appendix 7, page 281, of Baseball Before We Knew It.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1834 - Book on Farming Contains Ad for Carver Book

    1834.2

    Fessenden, Thomas G., The Complete Farmer and Rural Economist [Boston, Lilly Wait and Co.], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 197. The only ball playing in this book is an ad for Carver's The Book of Sports (#1834.1 entry, above), and includes the Boston Common woodcut.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1834 - US Chapbook in German Reprises 1832 Woodcut

    1834.3

    Deutsches A B C - und Bilder Buch fur Kinder (German ABC and picture book for children) [Cincinnati, Truman and Smith], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 197. The woodcut is lifted from Mary's Book of Sports (see #1832.3 entry above).

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1834 - Cricket Play Begins at Haverford College

    1834.5

    "The first cricket club of entirely native-born American youth was founded at Haverford College in PA. In a manuscript diary kept by an unknown student during the first two years of the existence of the college, under the date of 1834, occurs this entry: 'About this time a new game was introduced among the students called Cricket. The school was divided into several clubs or associations, each of which was provided with the necessary instruments for playing the game.'"

    John A. Lester, ed., , A Century of Philadelphia Cricket [UPenn Press, Philadelphia, 1951], page 11. Lester does not provide a source.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1834 - In Wicket, It's Hartford CT 146, Litchfield CT 126

    1834.6

    The contest took three "ins." "Thus, it appears that the 'Bantam Players' 'barked up the wrong tree.' The utmost harmony existed, and every one appeared to enjoy the sport."

    Connecticut Courant, volume 70, Issue 3618, page 3 [probably reprinted from the Hartford Times. Submitted by John Thorn 9/29/2006.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1834 - Magazine Cites "Principle Sports of the Day," One With "Rattllng" Ball-Clubs

    1834.7

    An article on what appear to be Scottish games refers to the "report of the guns or the rattle of the ball-clubs," and concludes that shooting guns and some form a game with a ball-club are "both the principle sports of the day."

    North American Magazine Volume 3, Issue 15, page 198. Submitted by Bill Wagner 6/4/2006. Note: It would be good to know more about this event. I think that the Caledonian games became popular in the US later in the century, and I don't recall that they typically include a batting game.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1834 - The First Baseball Fatality?

    1834.8

    "A young man named Geo. Goble, residing near Wilkes-barre PA, while playing ball, a few days since, accidentally received a blow from a ball club, from the effects of which he died in twenty four hours after."

    Rhode Island Republican, vol. 25, number 3 (March 26, 1834), page 3, column 2. Provided by Craig Waff, 8/29/2007 email. The identical story appeared in the New York Sun, March 19, 1834, page 3 - per EBay sale accessed 6/12/2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1835 - Boy's Book of Sports Describes "Base Ball" [Town Ball?].

    1835.1

    Boy's Book of Sports: A Description of The Exercises and Pastimes of Youth [New Haven, S. Babcock, 1839], pp. 11-12, per Henderson, ref 21. David Block, in Baseball Before We Knew It, page 197-198, points out that the first edition appeared 4 years before the edition that Henderson cited.

    In its section on "base ball," this book depicts bases in the form of a diamond, with a three-strike rule, plugging, and teams that take the field only after all its players are put out. The terms "innings" and "diamond" appear [Block thinks for the first time] and base running is switched to counter-clockwise.

    For Text: David Block carries a page of text, and the field diagram, in Appendix 7, pages 282-283, of Baseball Before We Knew It.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1835 - Round-arm Bowling Officially Permitted in Cricket

    1835.2

    Cashman, Richard, "Cricket," in David Levinson and Karen Christopher, Encyclopedia of World Sport: From Ancient Times to the Present [Oxford University Press, 1996], page 87. Per John Thorn, 6/15/04: ORIGIN OF ROUND ARM BOWLING- Letter to editor of Forest and Stream by William Filmer: credited to John Wills of Kent, ca.1820; he attempted to use new style vs. Marylebone in 1822- rejected. Source: Chadwick Scrapbooks, Vol. 20.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1835 - Van Cott Source Recalls Diamond-Shaped Field in 1835

    1835.3

    W. H. Van Cott was one of the organizers of the Gothams in 1852 and was later President of the NABBP. He reported on a conversation with a somewhat forgetful senior citizen in 1905. This man was John Oliver, age 90, who recalled playing baseball in Baltimore in 1825 and seeing it in New York sometime after moving there in 1835.

    "I and II. He played the first game of Ball when he was 14 years old, 70 years ago. Called Base Ball because of running from base to base, and the field was in the shape of a diamond; 4 bases in all, counting the place of starting as the last one. He believes that the name originated with the game. III. He played Two Old Cat game, but no other . . . . IV and V. He does not remember ever to have played Rounders, but VI. He has an indistinct recollection of the game. VII. He cannot remember any rules."

    These reported recollections are somewhat at odds with those of Oliver’s friend and interviewer C. H. McDonald: “He remembers very distinctly having played the game of Base Ball when a boy, both before and after becoming an apprentice. He states that his earliest recollection of the playing of the game was when he was about ten years of age, and at that time the game was played in this manner: The batter held the ball in one hand and a flat stick in the other, tossed the ball into the air and hit on the return, and then ran to either one, two, or three bases depending on the number of boys playing the game. If the ball was caught on the fly or the batter hit with the ball while running the bases, he was out. These bases, so called, at that time, were either stones or pieces of sod was removed [sic], or bare places where grass was scraped off. He remembers seeing the game played frequently while an apprentice boy, but always in this manner, never with a pitcher or a catcher, but sometimes with sides. . . . [Then Oliver is quoted thus:] “I never saw the game played with stakes or poles used for bases instead of stones or sods. Never heard of a game of Rounders. One Old Cat, Two Old Cat, Three Old Cat have seen played, but never have taken part in it myself.” To my question as to what name this base game that he played was called, he said he remembered distinctly that it was known only as BASE BALL . He further stated that he never saw men play ball until he had been in New York a few years . . . [He moved to New York from Baltimore in 1835.]

    W. H. Van Cott, Mount Vernon NY, Communication to the Mills Commission, September 22, 1905. Facsimile obtained from the Giamatti Research Center at the Hall of Fame, June 2009. Also, Mills Commission Papers under date of September 26, 1905. Jack M. Doyle, Albert Spalding Scrapbooks, BA SCR 42.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1835 - A Ballplayer's Progress: "Bound and Catch," "Barn Ball," "Town Ball"

    1835.4

    H. H. Waldo told the Mills Commission: "I commenced playing ball seventy years ago (1835). I was the only one in the game and it was called "Toss up and Catch," or "Bound and Catch." A few years later I played "Barn Ball." Two were in this game, one a thrower against the barn, and catcher on its rebound, unless the batter hit it with a club; if so, and he could run and touch the barn with his bat, and return to the home plate before the ball reached there, he was not out - otherwise he was.

    "A few years later the school boys played what was called "Town Ball." That consisted of a catcher, thrower, 1st goal, 2nd goal and home goal. The inner field was diamond shape: the outer field was occupied by the balance of the players, number not limited. The outs were as follows: Three strikes," "Tick and catch," ball caught on the fly, and base runner hit or touched with the ball off from the base. That was sometimes modified by "Over the fence and out." [Note: this places Town Ball at about 1840 or so.]

    Letter from H. H. Waldo, Rockford IL, to the Mills Commission, July 7, 1905.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1835 - US Book Describes "Barn Ball," "Base, or Goal Ball."

    1835.6

    Boy's and Girl's Book of Sports [Providence, Cory and Daniels], pp 17-19, per Harold Seymour - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809. The base ball material is taken from Carver (1835 entry, above). Also cited by David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 199.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1835 - Boston Common Ballplaying Picture Migrates to Religious Chapbook

    1835.7

    The First Lie, or Falsehood Its Own Punishment [New Haven, S. Babcock], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 199. The illustration from Carver's The Book of Sports (see 1835 entry, above) reappears here, this time with the caption "the play ground of Mr. Watt's school."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1835 - Old Woodcut, New Caption Uses the Term "Knock"

    1835.8

    Sports of Youth; a Book of Plays [New Haven, S. Babcock], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 200. It's that woodcut from the 1832 Mary's Book of Sports, explained as follows: "One of them stands ready to toss the ball - one to knock it, and two to run after it, if they fail to catch it." This game simply adds batting to the game called "Catch-Ball" in Carver [#1834.1 above].

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1835 - Woodcut from Mary's is Inked Up Again

    1835.9

    Two Short Stories, for Little Girls and Boys [New Haven, S. Babcock], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 200. Hey, photography had only been invented five years earlier, so it was still the Age of Woodcuts, and Mary's Book of Sports (#1832.3 above) was the source again.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1835 - Ubiquitous Woodcut Pops Up in Cincinnati

    1835c.10

    The Child's Song Book [Cincinnati, Truman and Smith], David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 199. Remember that woodcut so favored by S. Babcock in New Haven? The Cincinnatians got it next. Its debut had been in 1832, in Mary's Book of Sports. [See #1832.2 above]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1835 - New Northeastern Chapbook Shows Cricket, Bat-and-Ball

    1835c.11

    Happy Home [New York and Philadelphia, Turner and Fisher], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 199. It's only eight pages in length, but this book shows cricket and "bat and ball" being played in the backgrounds of pastoral views.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1835 - Oops, He Missed It; Will He Be Called "Old Butter Fingers?"

    1835c.12

    Rose of Affection [New York and Philadelphia, Turner and Fisher], David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 199-200. This short chapbook shows a field with a one-handed bat, a trap, but also a pitched ball. "With a bound, see the ball go,/Now high in the air as hit it just so,/No catch is Jo.; oh, how he lingers,/He'll soon have the name of old butter fingers."

    Block notes that the term was used for clumsy persons as far back as 1615.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1835 - MA Gents Recall Boyhood Games in 1830s: Cat, Wicket, OFBB

    1835c.13

    As reported in 1886, a reunion of men who played together in East Granville MA held a reunion and reflected on their youthful play. The account, which first appeared in a CT paper, The Winsted Herald, noted:

    "These old fellows were born before the era of the national game opened. They doubtless knew how to play one, two, and three old cat, and wicket, and the old fashioned kind of base ball when a foul was known as a tick; when a ball, which was not an instrument of torture as now, was thrown at a runner instead of to the baseman . . . "

    The story is told in Genovese, Daniel L, The Old Ball Ground: The Chronological History of Westfield Baseball (2004), page 12. Genovese cites the Times and News Letter [City?], July 21, 1886, which had reprinted the Winsted Herald piece. Note: Can we obtain the original article? It seems difficult to distinguish the men's reflections from the notions of the 1886 reporter.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1835 - Eagle Article Describes Early Ball-Making

    1835c.14

    "BASE BALLS. Manner and Extent of the Manufacture in this Country - How they were Made Fifty Years Ago - Gradual Progress of the Business," Brooklyn Eagle, February 3rd 1884.

    "Half a century ago such base balls as are in use at the present time were entirely unknown. The balls then used were made of rubber and were so lively that when dropped to the ground for a height of six or seven feet they would rebound ten or twelve inches. A blow with the bat would not drive them so far as one of the balls now in use can be driven with the same force, but when they struck the ground they were generally much more difficult to stop on account of their bounding propensities. . . .

    "Many balls then in use - in fact nearly all of them - were home made. An old rubber overshoe would be cut into strips a half inch wide and the strips wound together in a ball shape. Over this a covering of woolen yarn would be wound and a rude leather or cloth cover sewn over the yarn. Sometimes the strips of leather were put in a vessel of hot water and boiled until they became gummy, when they would adhere together and form a solid mass of rubber. This, after being would with yarn and covered with leather by the local shoemaker, was a fairly good ball and one that would stand considerable batting without bursting.

    "In the lake regions and other sections of the country where sturgeon were plentiful, base balls were commonly made of the eyes of that fish. The eye of a large sturgeon contains a ball nearly as large as a walnut. . . . They made a lively ball, but were more like the dead ball of the present than any ball in use at that time."

    Reference and article provided by Rob Loeffler, 10/21/2008. Note: The balls of 1835 were reportedly smaller and lighter [and commonly perceived, at least, to be softer] than regulation balls of the 1850's and later. They would thus "carry" less, and like a tennis ball today, lose more velocity when hit or thrown than a heavier ball.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1835 - Grown Man Mourns as Trenton's Playing Fields Vanish

    1835c.15

    A Trenton NJ commentator pauses to rue the destruction of a favorite old tavern, adding that in the last twenty years "[w]e have seen whole streets spring up as if by magic, The fields where we played ball are now filled with machinery."

    "Local Items," Trenton State Gazette, August 16, 1853. Accessed via subscription search May 20, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1835 - Graduate Grimly Recalls Rounders at Greenwich School in England

    1835c.16

    The memories aren't pleasant. "We endured hunger, cold, and cruelty." Exercise was taken mainly in gymnastics: "As there was no cricket-field, our amusements were much curtailed, a poor game of rounders being the only source of amusement in that line."

    "Greenwich School Forty Years Ago," Fraser's Magazine Volume 10 (1874), page 246. Accessed 2/5/10 via Google Books search ("poor game of rounders").

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1835 - Base Ball Recalled as Very Popular at Exeter

    1835c.5

    "The games of bat-and-ball in former years were various, but most popular were "four old cat" and base ball. The latter alone survives to this day [1883], and in a very changed condition. . . . A very large proportion of the students participated in the sport; and the old residents will readily recall with what regularity. Fast day used to be devoted to the base ball of the period."

    Charles H. Bell, Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire: A Historical Sketch (News Letter Press, Exeter NH, 1883), page 83. Caveat: The section in which this excerpt resides evidently games played half a century earlier, but other interpretations are possible.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1836 - "Old-fashioned 'Ball'" Popular in Waterville ME

    1836.1

    "Baseball and foot ball did not, in those days, ensnare the athletic sympathies and activities of [p36/p37] college boys, but old-fashioned 'ball' and quoits were popular."

    Asahel C. Kendrick, Martin B. Anderson: A Biography (American Baptist Publications Society, Philadelphia, 1895), pp 36-37. Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809. Seymour's note implies that the section heading in which this text appears is "(1836) "Ball" at Waterville [Later Colby College]." Sources found by John Thorn [email of 2/9/2008] and Mark Aubrey [email of 1/30/2008].

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1836 - German Book of Games Copies Gutsmuths' Base-ball Piece

    1836.2

    Werner, Johann A. L., Die reinst Quelle jugendlicher Freuden (The Purest Source of Joy for Youngsters) [Dresden and Leipzig, Arnoldi], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 200. This survey of 300 games, called "notably unoriginal" by Block, repeats Gutsmuths' (see entry #1796.1, above) material on base-ball, explaining "This game originates by way of England, where it bears the name base-ball, and it played there very frequently." Note: Is this last comment also derivative of the Gutsmuths text, or does it confirm "base-ball" play in England in the 1820s and 1830s?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1836 - Little Learners Chapbook Shows Trap-ball

    1836.3

    Little Lessons for Little Learners [New Haven, S. Babcock], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 201. The trap hadn't disappeared from CT yet.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1836 - Yanks Burn British Runners . . . in Canton, China

    1836.5

    "Sometimes we raced our boats [against the English] to the baseball grounds . . . . In out-of-doors sorts the Englishman has perforce to drop his insular dignity and become democratic, and he never does it by halves. [A runner could be]] pelted by the hard ball as he tried to run in, for it was then the fashion to throw at the runner, and if hit he was out for the inning.

    Sara Forbes Hughes, ed., Letters and Recollections of John Murray Forbes [Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1899] volume 1, page 86. Submitted by John Bowman, 7/16/2004. John adds: Forbes was a Massachusetts man, and one supposes that when he played baseball at the Round Hill school in Northampton [see item #1823.6 above] , "soaking" was then a routine aspect of the game."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1836 - Georgetown U Students "play Ball"

    1836.6

    In a letter to a friend in 1836, a Georgetown Student wrote, "the Catholics think it no harm to play Ball, Draughts, or play the Fiddle and dance of a Sunday . . . "

    Cited in Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 316, as follows: Georgetown Student Letter, August 27, 1836, quoted in Betty Spears and Richard Swanson, History of Sport and Physical Activity in the United States, Second Edition (William C. Brown, Dubuque, 1983), page 85.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1836 - Scots Still Play "Ball Paces," a Type of Trap Ball with Running

    1836.7

    "'The Ball Paces' was formerly much played, but is now almost extinct. In this game a square was formed; and each angle was a station where one of the party having the innings was posted. A hole was dug in the ground, sufficient to hold the ball, which was placed on a bit of wood, rising about six inches above the ball. The person at the hole struck the point of this with his bat, when the ball rose; and in its descent [p116/p117] was struck with the bat to as great a distance as possible. Before the ball was caught and thrown into the batman's station, each man at the four angles ran from one point to another, and every point counted one in the game." George Penny, Traditions of Perth (Dewar & Co., Perth, 1836), pp 116/17... Provided by David Block, email of 5/17/2005.

    David's accompanying comment: "From the description it appears to be a remarkable hybrid of trap-ball and the multiple goal version of stool-ball described by Strutt. . . . This is the first trap-ball type game I've ever come across that features baserunning." Penny also mentions cricket: "Cricket was never much practiced in Scotland, though much esteemed by the English. It was lately introduced here; several cricket clubs established; and is now becoming popular." Ibid, page 117.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1836 - New Bedford MA: "No Person Shall Play at Ball"

    1836.8

    In June the town wrote new by-laws:

    "Section Eighth: No person shall play at ball, fly a kite, or slide down hill upon a sled, or play at other game so as to incommodate peaceable citizens or passengers, in any street, lane, or public place in this town, under a penalty not exceeding one dollar for each offence."

    "By-Laws of the Town of New Bedford," New Bedford [MA] Mercury, September 30, 1836. Accessed via subscription search May 5, 2009. Note: See #1821.6 above: this by-law simply adds "public places," and doubles the penalty, for the rule made 15 years earlier.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1836 - Milwaukee Ballplaying Recalled, and the Ball Long Preserved

    1836.9

    "In April 1892 the Milwaukee [WI] Old Settler's Club received a ball from a Mr. E. W. Edgerton which the young men used to play ball in 1836. The ball was made of yarn wound on a rubber center. The cover was cut in quarters. Mr. Edgerton stated he made the ball himself, and the cover was sewed on by Mrs. Edward Wiesner, wife of the first shoemaker in Milwaukee. Edgerton gave the names of some of his fellow 1836 players, some familiar in Milwaukee's early history."

    Posting to the 19CBB listserve by Dennis Pajot, January 3, 2010. In 1946 a journalist speculated that the N-old-cat games were what was likely played in 1836 Dennis cites the April 19, 1892 issues of the Milwaukee Journal and the Milwaukee Sentinel.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1836 - The Ballgames "Old Cat" and "Base" Played in Concord MA

    1836c.4

    [Continuing a list of games that boys played:] " . . . various games of ball. These games of ball were much less scientific and difficult than the modern games. Chief were four old-cat, three old-cat, two old-cat, and base."

    Hoar, George F., Autobiography of Seventy Years Volume 1 (Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1905), page 52. Hoar was ten years old in 1836. Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1837 - A Founder of the Gothams Remembers "First Ball Organization in the US"

    1837.1

    William R. Wheaton, who would several years later help found the Knickerbockers, described how the Gothams were formed and the changes they introduced. "We had to have a good outdoor game, and as the games then in vogue didn't suit us we decided to remodel three-cornered cat and make a new game. We first organized what we called the Gotham Baseball Club. This was the first ball organization in the United States, and it was completed in 1837.

    "The first step we took in making baseball was to abolish the rule of throwing the ball at the runner and ordered instead that it should be thrown to the baseman instead, who had to touch the runner before he reached the base. During the [earlier] regime of three-cornered cat there were no regular bases, but only such permanent objects as a bedded boulder or and old stump, and often the diamond looked strangely like an irregular polygon. We laid out the ground at Madison Square in the form of an accurate diamond, with home-plate and sand bags for bases."

    " . . . it was found necessary to reduce the new rules to writing. This work fell to my hands, and the code I them formulated is substantially that in use today. We abandoned the old rule of putting out on the first bound and confined it to fly catching."

    "The new game quickly became very popular with New Yorkers, and the numbers of clubs soon swelled beyond the fastidious notions of some of us, and we decided to withdraw and found a new organization, which we called the Knickerbocker."

    Brown, Randall, "How Baseball Began, National Pastime, 24 [2004], pp 51-54. Brown's article is based on the newly-discovered "How Baseball Began - A Member of the Gotham Club of Fifty Years Ago Tells About It, San Francisco Daily Examiner, November 27, 1887, page 14. Note: Brown knows that the unsigned article was written by Wheaton from internal evidence, such as the opening of the article, in the voice of an unnamed reporter: “An old pioneer, formerly a well-known lawyer and politician, now living in Oakland, related the following interesting history of how it originated to an EXAMINER reporter: ‘In the thirties I lived at the corner of Rutgers street and East Broadway in New York. I was admitted to the bar in ’36, and was very fond of physical exercise….’”

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1837 - In Recession, Doughty Ex-Workers Play Ball, Leave Town for Home

    1837.10

    "One of the most interesting places in New England for the beauty of its scenery the extent of its manufactories, and the industry of its inhabitants, is the town of Haverhill Mass. At Haverhill more shoes are made, Lynn excepted, than at any place in this country. Nine-tenths of the mechanics, not long since, in consequence of the hard times, were thrown out of employ. The assembled together, laughed at their misfortunes, marched through the streets, played ball for a day and as soon as possible exchanged the shoe-shop for the farm house."

    "New England Girls and Young Men," Jamestown [NY] Journal, July 19, 1837. This story is evidently based on a report in the Haverhill Gazette. Accessed via subscription search May 20, 2009. Haverhill MA is about 30 miles north of Boston and near the NH border. A serious recession gripped the US economy in 1837.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1837 - "Wide Strike Zone" Fails to Level Lords-vs-Commoners Cricket Match in England

    1837.11

    "[O]n one memorable occasion . . . in July, 1837, Mr. Ward proposed, as a method of equalizing the Gentlemen and Players, that the former should defend [three] wickets of twenty-seven by eight inches; the latter [defend] four stumps thirty-six by twelve [inches]. This was called the "Barn-door Match," or "Ward's Folly," and notwithstanding the great odds against them, the Players won in a single innings by ten runs."

    Robert MacGregor, Pastimes and Players (Chatto and Windus, 1881), page 17. Accessed 2/7/2010 via Google Books search (macgregor pastimes).

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1837 - Ball Game Described in Fictional Account of Western Indians

    1837.2

    Captured by Native Americans, a youth see them playing a game of ball. The "ball" was part of a sturgeon's head covered with deerskin strips, the club was of hickory, some number of safe-haven bases were formed by small piles of stones, and there was plugging. "Their principal object seemed to be, to send the ball as far as possible, in order for the striker of it, to run around the great space of ground, which was comprised within the area formed by the piles of stones." There is no mention of a pitcher, and if a batter-runner was put out, he would replace the fielder who made the putout. Some games would last for days.

    Female Robinson Crusoe, A Tale of the American Wilderness [J. W. Bell, New York, 1837], pp 176-178. Per RH ref 58. Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825 - 1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 4-5.

    For Text: David Block carries three paragraphs of text from this story in Appendix 7, page 283, of Baseball Before We Knew It.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1837 - Yale Student Sees College Green Covered With Ballplaying

    1837.3

    "[March 1837, New Haven CT] It is about time now for playing ball, and the whole green is covered with students engaged in that fine game: for my part, I could never made a ball player. I can't see where the ball is coming soon enough to put the ball-club in its way."

    Whitney, Josiah D., letter to his sister, March 1837, reprinted in E. T. Brewster, Life and Letters of Josiah Dwight Whitney [Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1909. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 50.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1837 - Trap-ball Found in Book of "Many Exercises and Exercises for Ladies"

    1837.4

    Walker, Donald, Games and Sports; Being an Appendix to Manly Exercises and Exercises for Ladies [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 201. Most of this text covers gymnastic routines, but trap-ball is also included. Note: Is this an early use of the term "manly" in sports?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1837 - "One-Old-Cat" Appears in Children's Story

    1837.5

    Gallaudet, Edward, The Jewel, or, Token of Friendship [New York, Bancroft and Holley], page 90, per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 201. One sentence appears in a story called The Barlow Knife: "Just then, two of his playmates coming along with a ball, Dick put his knife in his pocket, and went to join them in a game of 'one-old-cat.' Block's comment is that "[t]he brief mention in this story is noteworthy because, despite the game's reputed popularity during the first decades of the nineteenth century, no other reference to the name can be found before 1850. One-old-cat was a form of scrub baseball that required as few as three players and may have been played in America as early as the colonial era."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1837 - Constitution Written for Olympic Ball Club of Philadelphia PA

    1837.6

    This constitution is reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825 - 1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 5-8. The rules do not shed light on the nature of the game played. Membership was restricted to those above the age of twenty-one. One day per month was set for practice ["Club" day". Note: Sullivan dates the constitution at 1837, but notes that it was printed in 1838. See Constitution of the Olympic Ball Club of Philadelphia [Philadelphia, John Clark], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 223.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1837 - Canton Illinois Bans Sunday Cricket, Cat, Town-Ball, Etc.

    1837.7

    Section 36 of the Canton IL ordinance passed on 3/27/1837 said:

    "any person who shall on the Sabbath day play at bandy, cricket, cat, town-ball, corner-ball, over-ball, fives, or any other game of ball, in any public place, shall . . . " [be fined one dollar].

    http://www.illinoisancestors.org/fulton/1871_canton/pages95_126.html#firstincorporation, as accessed 1/1/2008. Information provided by David Nevard 6/11/2007. See also #1837.8, below. Canton IL is about 25 miles SW of Peoria.

    On January 31, 2010, Jeff Kittel indicated that he has found the text in another source: History of Fulton County, Illinois (Chapman & Co., Peoria, 1879), pp 527-528. Accessed 2/6/10 via Google Books search ("history of fulton" 1879). Jeff, noting that the ban appeared just 37 days after Canton was incorporated, adds:

    "It seems that they had a lively community of ballplayers in Fulton County. Obviously, if they're passing laws against the playing of ball, ball-playing is so widely prevalent, and there is such a variety of ball games being played, then pre-modern baseball had been played in the community for some time. It's fascinating that one of the first things they did, upon incorporation, was ban ball-playing on the Sabbath."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1837 - Well, As Goes Canton, So Goes Indianapolis

    1837.8

    Section 34 of an Indianapolis IN ordinance said:

    "Any person who shall on the Sabbath day play at cricket, bandy, cat, town ball, corner ball, or any other game of ball within the limits of the corporation, or shall engage in pitching quoits or dollars in any public place therein, shall on conviction pay the sum of one dollar for each offense." Indiana Journal, May 13, 1837. [See the very similar #1837.7, above.] Provided by Richard Hershberger, email of 2/2/2008. Richard points out that these very similar regulations give us the earliest citation for the term "town ball" he knows of. Note: A dollar fine for "pitching dollars?"

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1837 - Hobokin, NJ - Already a Mecca for Ballplayers

    1837. 9

    "Young men that go to Hoboken to play ball must not drink too much brandy punch. It is apt to get into their heads. Now it is a law in physics that brandy in a vacuum gets impudent and big." New York Herald (April 26, 1837), page? Posted to 19CBBby John Thorn, 10/27/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1837 - Erasmus Hall School Alum Recalls Three-Base Game with Plugging

    1837c.12

    On July 3, 2009, David Dyte posted the following account on the 19CBB listserve:

    "In 1894, the Brooklyn Eagle published an article recounting the various games played by Colonel John Oakey, a former A.D.A., when he was a child growing up in Brooklyn and Flatbush [NY]. From 1837 he attended the Erasmus Hall Academy, and told this story:

    'Erasmus Hall academy had a fine play ground surrounding it. Here John Oakey and his school fellows played many a game of three base ball. The boys who played were called binders, pitchers, catchers, and outers, and in order to put a boy out it was necessary to strike him with the ball. On one occasion John Oakey threw the ball from second base and put another boy out. The boy said he did not feel the ball and therefore he had not been put out. John made up his mind that the next time he caught that chap between the bases he would not say afterward that he did not feel the ball. It was only a few days after that an opportunity occurred. John let the ball go for all he was worth and caught the boy in the back. He went down in a heap, but instantly sprang to his feet and cries out, "It didn't hit me; it didn't hit me." But John Oakey and all the boys knew better. For a week after that boy had a lame back, but he would never acknowledge that the ball did it.'"

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1838 - Brooklyn's First Cricket Match?

    1838.10

    "It was in the fall of 1838 that we remember the first cricket match played in Brooklyn. The game of course, was a great novelty to the Brooklyn people of the time, except to such portion of them as wren of English birth. . . . The contestants were Nottingham men and Sheffielders." Sheffield won, 167 to 44.

    "Sporting Reminiscences," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 16, 1873. Contributed by Gregory Christiano, December 8, 2009. Citing material in the Chadwick scrapbooks, Ryczek's Baseball-s First Inning (page 101) calls this contest the "first widely-reported 'modern' cricket match."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1838 - On a Day Trip to Camden NJ, Philly Man Documents Olympic Club

    1838.11

    "Messrs Editors - Feeling desirous the other day of breathing air somewhat purer [than Philadelphia PA's, I took the ferry to Camden]. I took up a stroll into the bordering woods; it being a lovely day, all nature seemed to be in vegetation. A small distance from the woods, I beheld a party of young men (the majority of whom I afterwards distinguished to be Market street merchants) and who styled themselves the "Olympic Club," a title well answering to its name by the manner in which the party amused itself in the recreant pleasure of town ball, and several other games. In my estimation, there is much benefit to be derived from a club of this nature. Young men who are confined to the daily toils of business, and who can get away . . . should avail themselves of the opportunity to become associated with the "Olympic Club." Signed, H.M.O.

    Public Ledger(Philadelphia PA) May 14, 1838. Posted by Richard Hershberger to the 19CBB listserve, April 1, 2009. Subscription search. Richard notes that this becomes the earliest Philly ref to town ball, and pushes back from 1858 the earliest contemporary account of the Olympics. 1838 is also the reported date of the Club's constitution. Note: The writer and editor obviously expected readers to be familiar with town ball, and the name town ball.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1838 - St. George Cricket Club Forms in NYC

    1838.2

    The St. George Cricket Club of New York City is formed, composed of English-born American residents. Its professional player was Sam Wright, father of baseball notables Harry and George Wright.

    Per John Thorn, 6/15/04: Source is Chadwick Scrapbooks, Volume 20.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1838 - Cooper Novel Home as Found Mentions Ballplaying in Cooperstown

    1838.3

    "'Do you refer to the young men on the lawn, Mr. Effington? . . . Why, sir, I believe they have always played ball in that precise locality.'

    He called out in a wheedling tone to their ringleader, a notorious street brawler. 'A fine time for sport, Dickey; don't you think there would be more room in the broad street than on this crowded lawn, where you lose our ball so often in the shrubbery?'

    'This place will do, on a pinch,' bawled Dickey, 'though it might be better. If it weren't for the plagued house, we couldn't ask for a better ball-ground. . . '

    'Well, Dickey . . . , there is no accounting for tastes, but in my opinion, the street would be a much better place to play ball in than this lawn . . . There are so many fences hereabouts . . . It's true the village trustees say there shall be no ball-playing in the street [see item #1816.1 above - LM], but I conclude you don't much mind what they say or threaten.'"

    Thus James Fenimore Cooper, in his novel Home As Found, describes the return of the Effingham family to Templeton and their ancestral home in Cooperstown, NY. The passage is thought to be based on a similar incident in Cooper's life in 1834 or 1835. In an unidentified photocopy held in the HOF's "Origins of Baseball" file, the author of A City on the Rise, at page 11, observes that "Cooper was the first writer to connect the game with the national character, and to recognize its vital place in American life." Another source calls this "the first literary ball game:"

    http://external.oneonta.edu/cooper/cooperstown/baseball.html. Caveat: In a 1/24/2008 posting to 19BCC, Richard Hershberger writes: I believe the consensus on the Cooper reference is that it likely was something more hockey-like than baseball-like."

    James Fenimore Cooper, Home as Found [W.A. Townsend and Co., New York 1860] Chapter 11. The 1838 first edition was published by Lea and Blanchard in Philadelphia - data submitted by John Thorn, 7/11/2004.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1838 - First Recorded Base Ball game in Canada [as reported in 1886]?

    1838.4

    Residents of Oxford County gather near Beachville, Ontario, to play the first recorded game of baseball in Canada (reported only in 1886). The Canadian version uses five bases, a three strikes rule and three outs to a side. Foul lines are described.

    Ford, Dr. Adam E., Sporting Life, May 5, 1886. Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 9-11. For more historical data on this event, see Nancy B. Bouchier and Robert Knight Brown, "A Critical Examination of a Source on Early Ontario Baseball: The Reminiscences of Adam E. Ford," Journal of Sport History, volume 15 [Spring 1988], pp. 75-87. This paper concludes that the New York game reached Ontario no earlier than 1849. Caveat: Richard Hershberger, email of 1/14/2008, expresses the possibility that aspects of the Ford account are the result of a "confused recollection, with genuine old features and modern features misremembered and attributed to the old game." One problem is that the foul territory as described in 1886 is hard to fathom; Richard also notes that use of the 3-out-all-out rule would make this game the only non-NYC game with three-out innings. Ford also implies that games were then finished at the end of an agreed number of innings, not by reaching an agreed number of tallies. He also states that older players in the 1838 game had played a like game in their youth. Adam Ford was seven years old in 1838.

    For full text of Dr. Ford's 1886 letter, go here.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1838 - At GA, "Baseball and Cricket Had Not Evolved"

    1838.5

    "Games and gymnasiums as a regular part of college work, and hence regular organizations of students for athletics, were unknown at that time. Athletics and games there were indeed a plenty, but as purely spontaneous expressions of abounding vitality. I was light, active, and fleet of foot, and became very expert in gymnastics and as a player of town-ball, for baseball and cricket had not yet evolved." [LeConte writes of his college years at the University of Georgia in Athens. He entered as a freshman in January 1838.]

    LeConte, Joseph. The Autobiography of Joseph Le Conte (D. Appleton & Company, New York, 1903), page 46. Provided by John Thorn, email of 7/9/04

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1838 - Yikes, Here it is Again!

    1838.6

    The Poetic Gift; or Alphabet in Rhyme [New Haven, S. Babcock], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 202. Another chapbook. Mister Babcock again dusts off that baseball woodcut from the 1832 Mary's Book of Sports (see item #1832.3 item above).

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1838 - English Anthology of Games Puts "Squares" Among Safe-Haven Ballgames

    1838.7

    Montague, W., The Youth's Encyclopedia of Health: with Games and Play Ground Amusements [London, W. Emans], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, pages 202-203. This book covers trap-ball, listing the ways that a batter could be put out. But then, there's "squares."

    Reports Block: "a short passage describ[es] a game called squares, which was nearly identical to early baseball and rounders. The text depicts four bases laid out in a square, although it is ambiguous as to whether home plate was one of the four bases or a separate location. The bases are described as being a 'considerable distance' apart, which suggests that the dimensions may have been larger than other versions of early baseball. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only instance of the name 'squares' being used as a pseudonym for baseball or rounders. The author was obviously not impressed with the pastime, concluding . . . : 'There is nothing particular[ly] fascinating in this game.'" Note: follow up to reflect games covered.

    For Text: David Block carries a paragraph of text in Appendix 7, page 284, of Baseball Before We Knew It.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1838 - Asylum Inmates Kept Busy with Fishing, Fancy Painting, Bass Ball, Etc.

    1838.9

    "The males are also engaged at bowls, quoits, bass ball, fishing, fancy painting, walking dancing, reading, swinging, and throwing the ring."

    "Lady Manners", "Moral Management of the Insane," The Friend: a Religious and Literary Journal, Volume 11, Number 38 (June 23, 1838), page 303. Submitted by John Thorn [date?].

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1838 - NY Game Reportedly Played on Long Island Well Before Knicks Formed

    1838c.1

    "Mr. Charles Bost [DeBost- LMc.] the catcher and captain of the Knickerbockers, played baseball on Long Island fifty years ago, (i.e., in 1838) and it was the same game the Knickerbockers afterward played."

    As told by Knickerbocker captain Charles DeBost in 1888, covered at Henderson, p. 150, no ref given. Note: Henderson puts these words in quotation marks, but does not indicate whom he is quoting.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1838 - First US Baseball Poem[?]: There is No "Puling Cry" in Baseball

    1838c.8

    "Walter Colton Abbott, of Michigan, sends to The Gazette a copy of what he believed to be the first verse of rhyme inspired by the national game. It was published in the New York News and Courier about the year 1838, and is as follows:

    "Then dress, then dress, brave gallants all,/ Don uniforms amain;/ Remember fame and honor call/ Us to the field again/ No shrewish tears shall fill our eye/ When the ball club's in our hand,/ If we lose we will not sigh,/ Nor plead a butter hand./ Let piping swain and craven jay/ Thus weep and puling cry,/ Our business is like men to play,/ Or know the reason why."

    National Daily Baseball Gazette, April 20, 1887. Submitted by John Thorn 8/9/2002 Note: Assuming the date is recalled correctly [help?] this rhyme is notable for the reference to uniforms, for the notion that the "national game" was in full swing in 1838, and for the emphasis on manly demeanor. "A butter hand" refers to the butterfingers jibe. A later letter to the Gazette's editor stated that the verse was adapted from William Motherwell's "Song of the Cavalier."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1839 - Graves Letters of 1905 Say that Doubleday Invented Base Ball

    1839.1

    Abner Doubleday, who was to become a Civil War notable, is much later (1905) said to have "invented" baseball at Cooperstown, New York, according to the findings of the Mills Commission (1905-1907), a group of baseball magnates appointed by the American and National League Presidents to investigate the origins of baseball. The Commission bases its findings almost entirely on letters received from Abner Graves, a resident of Cooperstown in his childhood. The Commission's findings are soon discredited by historians who proclaim the "Doubleday Invention" to be entirely a myth.

    The Doubleday game, according to Graves' offerings, retained the plugging of runners, eleven players per team, and flat bats that were four inches wide. Graves sees the main improvement of the Doubleday game that it limited the size of teams, while town ball permitted "twenty to fifty boys in the field."

    Graves believed that Abner Doubleday was 16 or 17 years old when he saw him lay out his improved game [in fact, Doubleday was 20 in 1839, and at West Point]. Graves himself declined to fix a year to the Doubleday plan, suggesting that it might have occurred in 1839, 1840, or 1841. In choosing 1839, the Commission rested its story on the memory of a boy who was then 5 years old.

    Letters from Abner Graves to the Mills Commission, April 3, 1905 and November 17, 1905. To read them, go here.

    Last Updated: April 16, 2012

  • 1839 - NYC Ordinances Permit No Ballplaying, "Or Any Other Sport Whatsoever."

    1839.2

    On May 8, the New York City By-laws and Ordinancesprohibit ball playing: "No person shall play at ball, quoits, or any other sport or play whatsoever, in any public place in the City of New York, nor throw stones nor run foot races in or over or upon the same, under the penalty of five dollars for each offence."

    Source is By-Laws and Ordinances of the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonality of the City of New York. Revised 1838-1839 [William B. Townsend, New York, 1839], page 215.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1839 - Rutherford Hayes Plays Ball as Student at Kenyon College, OH

    1839.3

    In a May 13 letter to his brother, the future President observed: "Playing ball is all the fashion here now and it is presumed that I can beat you at that if not at chess."

    Williams, C. R., ed., Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes: Nineteenth President of the United States volume 1 [Ohio State Archeological and Historical Society, Columbus OH, 1922], page 33. Submitted by John Thorn, 10/12/2004.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1839 - London Magazine Covers "Games with a Ball," Including Stoolball, Tip-Cat

    1839.4

    The Saturday Magazine [London], number 430, March 16, 1839, per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 203. "Games with a Ball" treats stool-ball, trap-ball, tip-cat, among other games, and owes much to Strutt (see 1801 entry, above). The writer advises, "[Stool-ball] differs but very little from the game of rounders which is much played at the present day at the west of England." Block observes: "It is curious that the author equates rounders and stool-ball, since the former utilized a bat while Strutt's sketch of stool-ball stated that the ball was struck by the bare hand."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1839 - Cricket Clubs Form in Upstate NY

    1839.5

    "Besides New York City and Boston, early organized cricket teams appeared in Albany, Troy and Schenectady, New York in 1839."

    Spirit of the Times, September 5, 1839, page 246. As cited in Gelber, Steven M., "'Their Hands Are All Out Playing:' Business and Amateur Baseball, 1845-1917," Journal of Sport History, Vol. 11, number 1 (Spring 1984), page 14. Caveat: John Thorn questions the accuracy of this article, noting that the Spirit had covered cricket in Albany, Schenectady and Troy in 1838 [email of 2/9/2008].

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1839 - Graves Letters of 1905 Say that Doubleday Invented Base Ball

    1839.1a

    [Addressed to and transcribed by the Mills Commission]

    First Letter, April 3, 1905

    The American game of baseball was invented by Abner Doubleday of Cooperstown, N.Y., either in the spring prior, or following the “Log Cabin ad Hard Cider” campaign of General Harrison for President, said Abner Doubleday being then a boy pupil of “Green’s Select School” in Cooperstown, and the same who as General Doubleday won honor at the battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. The pupils of Otsego County and Green’s Select School were then playing the old game of “Town Ball” in the following manner:

    A “tosser” stood beside the home “goal” and tossed the ball straight upward about six feet for the batsman to strike at on its fall, he using a four-inch flat-board bat, and all others who wanted to play being scattered all over the near and far field to catch the ball, the lucky catcher then takings his innings at the bat, while the losing batsman retired to the field. Should the batsman miss the ball on its fall and the tosser catch it on its first bounce, he would take the bat and the losing batsman toss the ball.

    When the batsman struck the ball in the field he would for an out goal about fifty feet and return, and if the ball was not caught on the fly, and he could return home without getting “plunked” with the ball by anyone, he retained his innings came as in Old Cat. There being generally from twenty to fifty boys in the field, collisions often occurred in attempt of several to catch the ball. Abner Doubleday then figured out and made a plan of improvement on Town Ball to limit number players, and have equal sides; calling it baseball because it had four bases, three being where the runner could rest free of being put out by keeping his foot on the first stone base, while next on his side took the bat, the first runner being free to run whenever he chose, and if he could make home base without being hit by the ball, he tallied. There was a six-foot ring within which the pitcher had to stand and toss the ball to batman by swinging his hand below his hip. There were eleven players on a side, four outfielders, three basemen, pitcher, catcher and two infielders being placed respectively back of the pitcher and between first and second base, and second and third base, and a short distance inside the base lines. The ball used had a rubber center, overwound with yarn, to size some larger than the present ball, then covered with leather or buckskin, and, having plenty of bouncing qualities, wonder high flys often resulted. Anyone getting the ball was entitled to throw it at a runner and put him out if he could hit him.

    This “Base Ball” was crude compared with the present day “ball”, but it was undoubtedly the first starter of “Base Ball”, and quickly superseded Town Ball with the older boys, although the younger boys stuck to Town Ball and the Old Cats.” I well remember several of the base players of sixty years ago, such as Abner Doubleday, John C. Graves, Nels C. Brewer, Joseph Chaffee, John Starkweather, John Doubleday, Tom Bingham and others who used to play on the Otsego Academy campus, although a favorite place was on the “Phinney Farm” on west shore of Otsego Lake.

    “Base Ball” is undoubtedly a pure American game, and its birthplace Cooperstown, N. Y., and Abner Doubleday entitled to first honor of its “inventor.”

    Second Letter, November 17, 1905

    You ask if I can positively name the year of Doubleday’s invention, and, replying, will say I cannot, although am sure it was either 1839, 1840, or 1841, and in the spring of the year when the smaller boys were “playing marbles for keeps,” which all stopped when ball commenced, as I remember well Abner Doubleday explaining base ball to a lot of us that were playing marbles in the street, in front of Cooper’s tailor shop, and drawing a diagram in the dirt with a stick by marking out a square with a punch mark in each corner for bases, a ring in the center for pitcher, a punch mark just back of home base for catcher, and four punch marks for outfielders, and we smaller boys didn’t like it as it shut us out of playing while Town Ball let in everyone who could run and catch flies, or try to catch tem [sic]. Then Doubleday drew up same diagram on paper, practically like diagram I will draw on back of another sheet and enclose herewith. The incident has always been associated in my mind with the “Log Cabin and Hard Cider” campaign of General Harrison, my father being a militia captain and rabid partisan of “Old Tippecanoe.”

    I know it was as early as spring of 1841, because it was played at least three years before April, 1844, when I started for Leyden, Mass., to live that summer with my uncle, Joseph Green; the last prominent thing I remember before starting being a big game of ball on the Phinney farm, half a mile up the west side of Otsego Lake, between the Otsego Academy boys (Doubleday then being in the Academy), and Prof. Green and his Select School boys. Great furore and fun marked the opening of the game on account of the unprecedented thing of “First man up, three strikes and out.” Elihu Phinney was pitcher and Abner Doubleday catcher for Academy, while Green’s had innings and Prof. Green was first at the bat; and Doubleday, contrary to usual practice, stood close a Green’s back and caught all three balls, Green having struck furiously with a four-inch bat and missing all, then being hit in the back when he started to run.

    While everyone laughed and roared at Green’s three misses, he claimed that Doubleday caught every ball from the front of the bat so there was no ball to hit, and that made he furore greater. I was an onlooker, close up to the catcher, and this incident so impressed me with the glories of base ball that on arriving at Leyden, Mass., I tried to get up a game but couldn’t find anywhere near twenty-two boys, so we had to play “Old Cat.” Abner Doubleday unquestionably invented base ball in Cooperstown, N.Y, as an improvement on Town Ball, so as to have opposing sides and limit players, and he named it Base Ball and had eleven players on each side. If any Cooperstown boys of that time are alive they will surely remember that game between the “Otsegos” and “Greens,” which I surely identify with early April, 1844, before my start to Massachusetts, and I am certain that it had been played at least three years earlier under the same name, and the larger boys had become proficient in it.

    Abner Doubleday, I think, was about 16 or 17 years old when he invented the game. He lived in Cooperstown, but I do not know if born there. His cousin, John Doubleday (a little younger), was born there, and his father was a merchant with a store at the main four corners in Cooperstown. The Phinneys were running a large bookbindery there, and I believe one in New York at the same time. Of course, it is almost impossible to get documentary proof of the invention, as there is not one chance in ten thousand that a boy’s drawing of improved ball game would have been preserved for 85 [sic] years, as at that time no such interest in games existed as it does now when all items are printed and societies and clubs preserve everything.

    I have added a few years’ experience since base ball was invented, but am still young enough to make a lively hand in a game, as I did last July, and I attribute my youth to the fact that I left Cooperstown and New York early in the winter of 1848-49 for the gold fields of California, and have lived in the West ever since, where the aging climate of New York hasn’t touched me.

    [Marked as Exhibit 72-32.]

    Last Updated: April 16, 2012

  • 1839 - Doc Adams Enters the Field

    1839c.6

    "Adams, known to all as 'Doc,' began to play baseball in 1839. "I was always interested in athletics while in college and afterward, and soon after going to New York I began to play base ball just for exercise, with a number of other young medical men. Before that there had been a club called the New York Base Ball Club, but it had no very definite organization and did not last long. Some of the younger members of that club got together and formed the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club . . . . The players included merchants, lawyers, Union Bank clerks, insurance clerks, and others who were at liberty after 3 o'clock in the afternoon."

    From John Thorn, "Doc Adams" in the SABR Biography Project. See http://bioproj.sabr.org/bioproj.cfm?a=v&v=l&bid=639&pid=16943, accessed 12/5/2008. The source for the quoted material, offered when Adams was 81years old, is "Dr. D. L. ADAMS; Memoirs of the Father of Base Ball; He Resides in New Haven and Retains an Interest in the Game," The Sporting News, February 29, 1896. Caveat: the year that Adams began playing is not clear. We know that he finished medical school in Boston in 1838, and he recalls that he next began to practice and that "soon after going" to NYC he began to play. [Email from John Thorn, 2/9/2008.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Doc Adams Plays a Ball Game in NYC He [Later] Understands to be Base Ball

    1840.1

    D.L. Adams plays a game in New York City that he understands to be base ball, "...with a number of other young medical men. Before that there had been a club called the New York Base Ball Club, but it had no very definite organization and did not last long." The game played by Adams was the same as that played by the men who would become the Knickerbockers. The game was played with an indeterminate number of men to the side, although eight was customary.

    Adams, Daniel L, "Memoirs of the Father of Base Ball," Sporting News, February 29, 1896. Per Sullivan, p.14. Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 (University of Nebraska Press, 1995), pp. 13-18. Note: the Sullivan extract does not mention 1840; it there another reference that does? John Thorn - email of 12/4/2008 - suggests that the game employed a four-base configuration, not the five bases and square configuration in other games. "The polygonal field sometimes ascribed to the later pre-Knickerbocker players was the likely standard prior to 1830."

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1840 - St. George, NY Cricket Club, [Accidentally] Plays Toronto for a $250 Side Bet

    1840.10

    "On the afternoon of August 28, 1840 eighteen members of the St. George's Club [of NY] turned up in Toronto following an exhausting journey through the state of New York by coach and across Lake Ontario by steamer. When they asked about the Toronto Cricket Club, they were told that the members of the Toronto Cricket Club had no knowledge of any such cricket match. [It turned out that an invitation had been sent as a hoax by someone.] Mr. Phillpotts himself was not around and the embarrassed officials of the Toronto Cricket Club hastily called a meeting. Following this meeting, a challenge match was organized between the two clubs for a stake of fifty pounds ($250) a side. A large number of spectators turned out and the band of the 34th Regiment entertained the gathering. His Excellency, Sir George Arthur, the Governor of Upper Canada, witnessed the match which the New Yorkers won by 10 wickets. Following this match, the St. George's Club and the Toronto Cricket Club planned a more proper encounter between the two countries at New York in 1844." From the Dreamcricket website's chronology of American cricket [accessed 10/30/2008]:

    http://www.dreamcricket.com/dreamcricket/news.hspl?nid=7254&ntid=4

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Cover of Widespread School Reader Shows Two Boys Playing Ball

    1840.11

    Sanders, Charles W., The School Reader, First Book, per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 204. . Different publishers released this 120-page reader in New York, Chicago, Buffalo, Cazenovia NY, Auburn NY, Detroit, and Cincinnati.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Chapbook of Games: "Now a Knock, and Swift it Flies"

    1840.12

    The Village Green; or, Sports of Youth [New Haven, S. Babcock], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 204. Yes, another chapbook comes out of New Haven, and yes, it again uses the much-traveled woodcut from Mary's Book of Sports from 1832, but now we have some verbal action: "Now a knock, and swift it flies/O'er the plain the troop are flying,/ Joy is sparkling in their eyes,/ As to catch it all are trying."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - "Town Ball" Noted by Traveler from Philadelphia to Cape Island NJ

    1840.16

    "Having recently returned from a visit to Cape Island [now Cape May - LMc], I cannot forbear expressing the pleasure it has afforded me . . . [an account of several features follows]. For those who are fond of athletic exercise, some provision has been made; and to see a game of "town ball" played, awakens a desire to participate in the enjoyment . . . ."

    "Cape Island," North American and Daily Advertiser, Philadelphia PA, Sunday, July 25, 1840, Issue 416, column D. Provided by John Thorn, email, 10/14/207. Note: Is it safe to infer that Cape Island is on the NJ shore, near Cape May? [N.B.: serial #1840.16 was formerly assigned to stories of Abe Lincoln's ballplaying as a young man; see #1830s.16 for that item.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Baseball Arrives in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

    1840.19

    "The story of baseball in Saint John has a Spalding-Chadwick twist to it. As early as the year 1840, there have been mentions of the sport of baseball in the Port City. As D. R. Jack noted in his Centennial Prize Essay (1783-1883): 'It was a common practice with many of the leading merchants of St. John to assemble each fine summer afternoon after the business day was over . . . where a fine playground has been prepared, and engage in a game of cricket or baseball. This practice was continued until about 1840.' Whether of not this was actually the game of "Rounders" or "Town Ball" is debatable.

    Brian Flood, Saint John: A Sporting Tradition 1785-1985 [Henry Flood, 1985], pages 18-19.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Base and Cricket are Experimental Astronomy?

    1840.20

    "Bat and Ball - Toys, no doubt, have their philosophy, and who knows how deep is the origin of a boy's delight in a spinning top? In playing with bat-balls, perhaps he is charmed with some recognition of the movement of the heavenly bodies, and a game of base or cricket is a course of experimental astronomy, and my young master tingles with a faint sense of being a tyrannical Jupiter driving sphere madly from their orbit."

    [Journal entry, June 1, 1840]

    Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson 1820-1876 [Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1911] Volume 5, page 410. Submitted by Wendy Knickerbocker 11/30/2005 posting to 19CBB; citation submitted 1/7/2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - CT and MA Teams Match Up for Five Games of Wicket

    1840.22

    "WICKET BALL - The ball players of this city [Hartford CT] met with those of Granville Mass. [about 12 miles east of Springfield] in accordance with a challenge from the latter . . . on Wednesday last, for the purpose of trying their skill at the game of 'Wicket.' The sides were made up of 25 men each, and the arrangement was to play nine games, but the Hartford players beating them five times in succession, the game was considered fairly decided, and the remaining four games were not played." Then th e two sides shared dinner.

    PittsfieldSun, Sunday, July 2, 1840; reprinted from the Hartford Times. Provided by Richard Hershberger, 6/19/2007. Note: It may be that the match was a best-of-nine set of games to a specified number of runs. Was this arrangement common in wicket?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Unusual Georgia Townball Described in Unusual Detail

    1840.24

    Richard Hershberger located [and posted to 19CBB on 8/29/2007] a long recollection of "Old Field Games in 1840" including townball. The account, a reprint of an earlier document, appears in James S. Lamar, "Pioneer Days in Georgia," Columbus [GA] Enquirer, March 18, 1917, [page?].

    "Townball" used a circular area whose size and number of [equidistant] bases varied with available space and with number of players [no standard team size is given, but none of the forty boys in school need be left out]. Instead of a diamond, a circle of up to 50 yards in diameter marked the basepaths; thus, a batter would cover on the order of 450 feet in scoring a run. There was a three-strike rule, and a batter could decide not to run on a weak hit unless he had used up two strikes. A member of the batting side pitched, and not aggressively. The ball was small [the core had a 2-inch diameter and was consisted of tightly-would rubber strips, often wound around a lead bullet]. The core was buckskin and the ball was very bouncy. Bats might be round, flat, or paddle-shaped. A ball caught on the fly or first bound was an out. There was plugging. Stealing was disallowed, and leading may have been. Innings were all-out-side-out. There is no mention of backward hitting or foul ground. "If young people want to play ball, Townball is the game. If they simply want to see somebody else play ball, then Baseball may be better"

    Full text was accessed at http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/georgiabooks/id:gb0361 on 10/22/2008, and is available here. Note: Lamar's text dates the game at 1840, when he was 10 to 11 years old. One can not tell when the text was written; the last date cited in the text is 1854, but the townball section seems to compare it with baseball from a much later time. The Digital Library of Georgia uses a date of "19—." See: http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/meta/html/dlg/zlgb/meta_dlg_zlgb_gb0361.html. Lamar died in 1908; other sources say 1905.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Carlisle PA Bans Playing Ball

    1840.35

    "It shall not be lawful for any person or persons . . . to frequent and use the market-house as a place for playing ball or any other game." "An Ordinance Relating to Nuisances and Other Offences Passed the 30th November, 1840," in Chatter and Ordinances of the Borough of Carlisle (Carlisle Herald Office, Carlisle, 1841), page 43. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 37. The fine was up to $10.00. Accessed 11/16/2008 via Google Books search for "carlisle ordinances." Carlisle PA is about 20 miles WSW of Harrisburg in southern PA.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Boston-Style "Bat and Ball" Seen in Honolulu HI

    1840.38

    "Sports in Honolulu. One evidence of the increasing civilization in this place, and not the least gratifying, is to see the ardor with which the native youth of both sexes engage in the same old games which used to warm our blood not long since. There's good old bat and ball, just the same as when was ran from the school house to the 'Common' to exercise our skill that way; and then there is something which looks much like 'quorum,' and 'tag' too . . . ."

    Polynesian, December 26, 1840. Posted to the 19CBB listserve by George Thompson January 3, 2010. Accessed via subscription search May 4, 2009. George sees the column as likely written by the editor, James Jarves, who was born in Boston in 1818.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Chadwick [Later] Reports That "The New York Club" is Organized

    1840.5

    At a later time, Henry Chadwick, the first baseball publicist, writes . . ."New York Game originated in 1840...."

    Henderson, Robert W., Ball, Bat and Bishop: The Origins of Ball Games [Rockport Press, 1947], p. 161-162. No reference given.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - New NY Club Forms - Later to Reconstitute as Eagle Base Ball Club

    1840.6

    The Eagle Ball Club of New York is organized to play an unknown game of Ball; in 1852 the club reconstitutes itself as the Eagle Base Ball Club and begins to play the New York Game.

    Per John Thorn, 6/15/04: Source is Eagle Base Ball Club Constitution of 1852.

    William Wood wrote that the Eagle Club "originally played in the 'old-fashioned way' of throwing the ball to the batter and at the runner in order to put him out." See Thorn weblog of 7/16/2005. William Wood, Manual of Physical Exercises. [Harper Bros., 1867], pp. 189-90

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - One-handed Bat Shown in Book of Children's Verse

    1840.7

    The Book of Seasons, A Gift for the Young [Boston, Wm Crosby], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 203. Block describes an engraving in this book of verse as depicting "three players: a pitcher, a fielder, and a striker standing ready with a short, one-handed bat."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Babcock, This Time, Uses a Different Woodcut

    1840.8

    The Child's Own Story Book, or Simple Tales [New Haven, S. Babcock], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 204. A woodcut in this chapbook portrays trap-ball in the background.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Englishman Sees Base-ball as Commonly Played by Adult Men and Women

    1840.9

    Blaine, Delabare P., An Encyclopedia of Rural Sports [London, Longman, Orme, Brown, and Longmans], page 131, per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 204. The book's slight treatment of ball games states: "There are few of us of either sex but have engaged in base-ball since our majority."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - In Rural OH, Boy Takes Risk of Being "Knocked Breathless" in Sock-About

    1840c.13

    "On the boisterous playground he took his unavoidable risk of . . . being knocked breathless by a hard ball in 'Sock-about.'"

    Venable, W. H., A Buckeye Boyhood (Robert Clarke, Cincinnati, 1911), page 57. Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809. Seymour's annotation says that the book "covers 1836 to 1858 life on Ohio farm." Note: Are we confident that "Sock-about" is a baseball-like game, and not a strong form of a schoolyard game like dodge ball?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Chapbook Shows a Ball Game, Recycles the "Butter Fingers" Lines

    1840c.14

    Juvenile Melodies [New York and Philadelphia, Turner and Fisher], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 204. This chapbook resembles Rose of Affection (see 1835 entry above), including the sad glimpse of the boy who Missed That Catch.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - R is for Richard "With His Bat and Ball"

    1840c.15

    The Spring of Knowledge or the Alphabet Illustrated [London, J. L. Marks], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 204. The page for the letter R has the caption "Master Richard with his ball and bat." The illustration shows the lad hitting a ball with a bat, with a trap visible at his feet.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Town Ball and Ballmaking in OH

    1840c.17

    "Among the favorite games engaged in my the larger boys, special mention may be made of 'Three Corner Cat,' and of 'Town Ball,' the latter sport being a simple form of what has developed into the national game of baseball. Improvised playing-balls were made, not unusually, by winding strong woolen yarn tightly around a central mass of India-rubber, and covering the compact sphere with soft, tough leather cut to the proper shape by a shoemaker."

    W. H. Venable, A Buckeye Boyhood [publisher? Date?], page 126. Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Base Ball Reported in Erie PA Area, with Plugging

    1840c.2

    "I am now in my eighty-third year, and I know that seventy years ago (i.e., in 1840) as a boy at school in a country school district in Erie County, PA, I played Base Ball with my schoolmates; and I know it was a common game long before my time. It had just the same form as the Base Ball of today, and the rules of the game were nearly the same as they are now. One bad feature of the old game, I am glad to say, is not now permitted. The catchers, both the one behind the batter and those on the field, could throw the ball and hit the runner between the bases with all the swiftness he could put into it - "burn him," it was said.

    Letter from Andrew H. Caughey to New YorkTribune, 1910. From Henderson, p. 150-151, no reference given.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Old-Fashioned Ballgame Noted in Antebellum GA

    1840c.23

    "A number of gentlemen are about to form another base ball club, the game to be played after the fashion in the South twenty years ago, when old field schools were the scenes of trial of activity, and rosy cheeked girls were the umpires"

    Macon Daily Telegraph, March 2, 1860. Posted to 19CBB by John Thorn, 9/11/2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Wicket Played with "Huge Bat" at Barkhamsted CT

    1840c.25

    Writing in 1879, a man who had lived in the area [about 20 miles NW of Hartford] until 1845 recalls the wicket of his youth.

    "Wicket ball" is recalled as having baselines of 20 to 40 feet, an 8-10-foot-wide wicket, a yarn ball 6-10 inches in diameter, hitting "in any direction," and "a huge bat, heavy enough to fell an ox when swung by brawny arms." "It was a healthy, enjoyable game, but that huge ball, hurled with almost giant strength, often caused stomach sickness." Some games were played against teams from neighboring towns.

    Lee, William Wallace, "Historical Address," Barkhamsted, Conn., and its Centennial - 1879 (Republican Steam Printers, Meriden CT, 1881), page 67. Text posted to 19CBB 8/13/2007 by Richard Hershberger. Note: The date recalled is merely surmised, and may be wrong. Advice on the period described is welcomed.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Schoolboy Game of "Three Base Ball" Recalled in Brooklyn

    1840c.26

    "Erasmus Hall academy [Brooklyn NY] had a fine play ground surrounding it. Here John Oakey and his school fellows played many a game of three base ball. The boys who played were called hinders, pitchers, catchers, and outers, and in order to put a boy out it was necessary to strike him with the ball. On one occasion John Oakey threw the ball from second base and put another boy out. The boy said he did not feel the ball and therefore he had not been put out. John made up his mind that the next time he caught that chap between the bases he would not say afterward that he did not feel the ball. It was only a few days after that an opportunity occurred. John let the ball go for all he was worth and caught the boy in the back. He went down in a heap, but instantly sprang to his feet and cried out, 'It didn't hit me; it didn't hit me.' But John Oakey and all the boys knew better. For a week after that boy had a lame back, but he would never acknowledge that the ball did it."

    "Sports in Old Brooklyn: Colonel John Oakey Tells of the Games of His Boyhood: How Some Well Known Men Amused Themselves in Bygone Days - Duck-on-the-Rock, Three Base Ball and Two Old Cat Good Enough for Them," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, vol. 54, number 292 (October 21, 1894), page 21, columns 4 and 5. Submitted 5/1/2007 by Craig Waff. Craig reports that Oakey, 65 years old in 1894, had attended Erasmus Hall from 1838 to 1845. David Dyte added details in a July 3, 2009 19CBB posting. Note: does the full article say more about two old cat and other safe-haven games?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - New Hampshire Farm Boy Plays Baseball, Two Old Cat, Drive

    1840c.27

    The [farm] work did not press, usually, and there was plenty of time to learn shooting . . . and for playing the simple games that country boys then understood. Baseball, for instance, - not the angry and gambling game it has since become, - and the easier games of 'one old cat,' 'two old cat,' and 'drive,' played with balls . . . . In such games girls did not join; and the game of cricket, which has long prevailed in England, and in which girls in school now [1905] take part, never was domesticated in New England."

    F. B. Sanborn, New Hampshire Biography and Autobiography (private printing, 1905), page 13. Accessed 2/9/10 via Google Books search (sanborn "hampshire biography"). Sanborn was born in 1831 and spent his boyhood in Hampton Falls, NH, which is near the Atlantic coast and about 10 miles south of Portsmouth NH.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Influx of English Immigrants Brings "Rough Form" of Cricket to NE and Philadelphia PA?

    1840c.3

    Per Rader, p. 90; [no citation given.] Caveat: recent research does not support this assertion. Caution: the evidence for this needs to be obtained.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Future University Head Plays Two Types of Ball in NC

    1840c.33

    Kemp Battle, who moved to Raleigh NC at age 8, and who would stay to become President of the University of North Carolina, wrote later of two forms of local ballplaying. The first involved high and low pitching to the batter's taste, leading and stealing, plugging - the ball was loosely wrapped—the bound rule, a three-strike rule, and one-out-side-out innings. [The absence of foul ground, team size, and nature/spacing of bases are not mentioned.] The second form, "known as old hundred or town ball" used all-out-side-out innings, with the last batter able to revive vanquished team members with certain feats.

    W. Battle, ed., Memories of an Old-Time Tar Heel (U of NC Press, Chapel Hill NC, 1945), pages 36 and 57. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 31. The text of the Battle book is unavailable via Google Books as of 11/15/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Ball-Playing at Marshall College in PA

    1840c.34

    "The College did not supply the students [p167/168] of that day with a gymnasium as an incentive to physical exercise; but they themselves naturally found out the kind of recreations they needed . . . . [In addition to local excursions,] [s]ometimes ball-playing was the recreation, and sometimes it was leaping or jumping, that brought the largest crowd"

    Theodore Appel, Recollections of College Life, at Marshall College, Mercersburg, Pa., from 1839 to 1845 (Daniel Miller, Reading PA, 1886), pp. 167-168. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 33. Mercersburg is about 60 miles SW of Harrisburg and about 10 miles from the border with Maryland. The text was accessed 11/16/2008 via a Google Books search "appel mercersburg."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - The Boyhood of Fallen Ohio Union Officer Had Included "Touch the Base"

    1840c.37

    Major-General James McPherson was the highest-ranking Ohioan to die in the Civil War. His family has mover from Western New York State to Ohio, where he was born and grew up in Sandusky OH. A family member recalls:

    "He was fond of all out-door sports and manly games . . . . 'Touch the base' was the favorite game, and of all who engaged in the romp, none were more eager or happy than 'Jimmy.'" Whitelaw Reid, Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Generals and Soldiers Volume 1 (Moore Wilstach and Baldwin, Cincinnati, 1868), page 561. Query: Do we know what "touch the base" was? A base-oriented ball game? A species of tag? Akin to prisoner's base?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Cricket [or Maybe Wicket] Played by Harvard Class of 1841

    1840c.39

    "Games of ball were played almost always separately by the classes, and in my case cricket prevailed. There were not even matches between classes, so far as I remember, and certainly not between colleges. . . . The game was the same then played by boys on Boston Common, and was very unlike what is now [1879] called cricket. Balls, bats, and wickets were all larger than in the proper English game; the bats especially being much longer, twice as heavy, and three-cornered instead of flat. . . . What game was it? Whence it came? It seemed to bear the same relation to true cricket that the old Massachusetts game of base-ball bore to the present 'New York' game, being less artistic, but more laborious."

    Member of the Class of 1841, "Harvard Athletic Exercises Thirty Years Ago," Harvard Advocate [Cambridge MA], Volume 17, number 9 (June 12, 1879), page 131. Accessed 2/9/10 via Google Books search ("wickets were all larger" "harvard advocate").

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Lad in Southern Illinois Played Four Old Cat

    1840c.43

    "We played marbles and we played a game of ball in which there were four corners, four batters, and four catchers, 'for old cat' as it was then called."

    Fred Lockley, "Reminiscences of William H. Packwood," The Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society Volume 16 (1915-1916), page 37. Accessed 2/9/10 via Google Books search ("william h. packwood"). Packwood was born in 1832 and as a boy lived in Sparta, IL, about 50 miles SE of St. Louis.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Early Ball Contents: Nuts, Bullets, Rocks, Fish-eyes

    1840s.21

    Prior to 1845, baseballs are constructed of cores consisting of nuts, bullets, rocks or shoe rubber gum and even sturgeon eyes wrapped with yarn and covered in leather or sheepskin in the lemon-peel style or the belt/gusset ball style. Both cover styles were identical to those used in feathery golf balls from the 1700s. Typically homemade, the sizes ranged anywhere from 5.1 to 9.8 inches in circumference and could weigh anywhere from 1 oz. to 7 oz. with the typical baseball weighing 3 oz. Because outs were made by "soaking" a runner in games preceding the New York game, the early baseballs were evidently typically lighter.

    Submitted by Rob Loeffler, 3/1/07. See "The Evolution of the Baseball Up to 1872," March 2007. See also #1835c.14, #1840c.17.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - At Hobart College, "Wicket and Baseball Played in Summer"

    1840s.28

    At upstate NY's Hobart College in Geneva, "Social events were among the few recreations available; there were no intercollegiate athletics, and no concerted sports at all. . . . wicket and baseball were played in summer, there was skating in winter, and that was about all." Warren Hunting Smith, Hobart and William Smith; the History of Two College (Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva NY, 1972), page 123. Caveat: The author is imprecise about the date of this observation; this passage appears in the chapter "Student Life Before 1860," and our impression is that he refers to the 1840s . . . but the 1830s or 1850s cannot be ruled out. Provided by Priscilla Astifan, email of 2/4/2008. Priscilla notes that this book also details a number of somewhat destructive student pranks and drinking. "When I read about all the pranks and dissipation, carousing, etc., I see why base ball and other sports were considered a welcome diversion when they became popular." [Email of 10/22/2008.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Rural Boys "Played Bass Ball" in Western Ohio

    1840s.29

    "A little way from the school-house, and on the opposite side of the road, was a pleasant beech grove, where the boys played bass ball, and where the girls carried disused benches and see-sawed over fallen logs." Alice Carey, Clovernook, or Recollections of Our Neighborhood in the West (Redfield, Clinton Park, NY,, 1852), page 280. Provided by David Block 2/27/2008.

    The book comprises memories of her OH life by Alice Carey [Cary), who was born in 1820 in a village founded three years earlier and lying 15 miles north of modern Cincinnati. With minimal formal education, she nonetheless moved to New York City in 1850 to seek a writing career. Thus, her memoir portrays OH life in the 1830s and 1840s. Caveat: the term "bass ball," however, may or may not be western Ohio usage, as Carrey may have learned the term in the East, or have employed the term in order to reach readers. Note: This book is not available on-line as of October 2008. It would be useful to learn if there is a specific time period connected to the narrative accompanying this "bass ball" reference.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Ballplayer Recalls Boyhood Matches, Ballmaking, Adult Play

    1840s.30

    On Fast Day [page 68]: "The town meeting was succeeded in April by Fast Day, appointed always for a Thursday. For some unknown reason Thursday in New England was an almost sacred day, a sort of secular Sabbath . . . . Boys were not generally compelled to attend the Fast Day religious service. It had ceased to be as strictly kept as before. In villages and towns there was customarily a match game of ball, very unlike the current [1910] base ball. Boys played [p68/69] with boys and men with men. The New England bootmakers, of whom there were some in most villages, were the leaders in these games."

    On ball-making, and on plugging [page 174] : "Our ingenuity was exercised in weaving watch chains in various patterns with silk twist; in making handsome bats for ball, and in making the balls themselves with the raveled yarn of old stockings, winding it over a bit of rubber, and sewing on a cover of fine thin calf skin. This ball did not kill as it struck one, and, instead of being thrown to the man on the bases was more usually at thee man running between them. He who could make a good shot of that kind was much applauded, and he who was hit was laughed at and felt very sheepish. That was true sport, plenty of fun and excitement, yet not too serious and severe. The issue of the game was talked over for a week. I did my daily stint of stitching with only one thing in mind, to [p174/175] play ball when through; for the boys played every afternoon. When there was to be a match game the men practiced after the day's work was done."

    On bootmakers [page 170]: "The smaller [bootmaking] shops were the centers for the gossip, rumors, and discussions which agitated the community. There men sharpened their wits upon each other, played practical jokes, sang, argued the questions of that [p170/171] day, especially slavery, and arranged every week from early spring to late autumn a match game of ball either among themselves or the bootmakers of neighboring towns for Saturday afternoon, which was their half holiday."

    John Albee, Confessions of Boyhood (R.G. Badger, Boston, 1910). Albee was born in 1833 and grew up in Bellingham MA, about 30 miles SW of Boston and in the heart of Round Ball [Mass game] territory, with neighboring towns of Holliston, Medway, Sharon, and Dedham. The book is found via a "confessions of boyhood" search via Google Books, as accessed 11/14/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Lem: Juvenile Fiction's Boy Who Loved Round-ball

    1840s.31

    Noah Brookes, Lem: A New England Village Boy: His Adventures and his Mishaps (Scribner's Sons, New York, 1901). Accessed 11/15/2008 via Google Books search "Lem boy." Lem may be fiction's only round-ball hero.

    On pages 93-97, the novel lays out the game that was played by Lem [born 1830] and his playmates, which seems to follow the customs of the Massachusetts game, but without stakes as bases. The passage includes a field diagram, some terminology ["the bases . . . were four in number, and were called 'gools,' a word which probably came from 'goals.'"], and ballmaking technique. Lem is, alas, sidelined for the season when he is plugged "in the hollow of the leg" while gool-running [Page 97] Other references:

    On spring, pp 92-93: "Ball-playing began early in the spring; [p92/93] it was the first of the summer games to come out.

    On Fast Day, p. 93: "I am afraid that Lem's only notion of Fast Day was that that was the long-expected day when, for the first time that year, a game of ball was played on the Common."

    On the pleasant effects of a change in the path of the Gulf Stream, pp. 228-229: "no slushy streets, and above all, no cold barns to go into to feed turnips to the cold cows! A land where top-time, kite-[p228/229] time, and round-ball-time would always be in season. Think of it!"

    On making teams for simulating Revolutionary War tussles, p. 107: "We can't all be Americans; and we have agreed to choose sides, as we do in round ball."

    Note: we welcome comment on the authenticity of Brooks' depiction of ballplaying in the 1840s, and whether how the game depicted compares to the MA game.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Ballplaying by Slaves is Part of a Normal Plantation Sunday in GA

    1840s.32

    "The slaves had finished the tasks that had been assigned to them in the morning and were now enjoying holiday recreations. Some were trundling the hoop, some were playing ball, some were dancing at the sound of the fiddle . . . In this manner the Sabbath is usually spent on a Southern plantation." Emily Burke, Pleasure and Pain: Reminiscences of Georgia in the 1840s (Beehive Press, Savannah, GA, 1991), pages 40-41. Originally published in Ohio in 1850. Text unavailable 11/08 on Google Books.

    Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 30. Tom [ibid] describes Burke as a northern schoolteacher.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - VA Lad Plays Chermany at Recess

    1840s.36

    "Our recess games were chiefly chermany and bandy ("hockey").

    Moncure Daniel Conway, Autobiography: Memories and Experiences (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1905), page 35. Accessed via Google Books 12/16/2008, search "conway autobiography." The recesses were enjoyed at a school in Fredericksburg VA, which Conway attended from about 1842 to 1847, ages 10 to 15. Chermany has been described as a "variety of baseball" played in Virginia and perhaps elsewhere in the South: Frederic Gomes Cassidy and Joan Houston Hall, Dictionary of American Regional English (Harvard University Press, 1985), page 604. Fredericksburg is about 55 miles north of Richmond and about 55 miles SW of Washington DC. Thanks to Tom Altherr for the lead to "chermany" [email of 12/10/2008].

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Preppies Brought Base Ball to College Campuses?

    1840s.4

    "Apart from rowing and track, baseball was the only other intercollegiate sport to generate much interest prior to 1869. Boys from the eastern academies introduced a version of baseball to college campuses in the 1840s and 1850s."

    Benjamin Rader, American Sports (Prentice-Hall, 1983), page 74: no citation given. Caveat: Recent research calls this assertion into some question, as we now have many prior references to college ballplaying, including cricket and wicket. See http://retrosheet.org/Protoball/Sub.College.htm.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1840 - American Cricketers Play in Canada

    1840s.40

    "American cricketers had gone to Canada as early as 1840, and there were several matches between the two countries in the next several years. Although the contests were ostensibly between the United States and Canada, the American eleven was generally comprised entirely of Englishmen."

    William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning (MacFarland, 2009), page 104. Ryczek's source may have been the Chadwick Scrapbooks.

    Last Updated: December 6, 2011

  • 1840 - Town Ball Recalled in Central IL

    1840s.41

    "Men had the hunt, the chase, the horse-race, foot-race, the jolly meetings at rude elections . . . pitching horseshoes - instead of quoits, town-ball and bull-pen."

    James Haines, "Social Life and Scenes in the Early Settlement of Central Illinois," Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society for the Year 1905 (Illinois State Journal Co, Springfield, 1906), page 38. Contributed by Jeff Kittel, January 31, 2010. Accessed 2/9/10 via Google Books search ("quoits, town-ball and"). The author addressed local amusements before 1850.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1840 - Town Ball Club Finds Spot in NYC For Playing

    1840s.42

    "In the early '40s a town ball club arranged to hold its games on a vacant plot across from the Harlem Railroad depot on 27th and Fourth."

    Randall Brown, "How Baseball Began," The National Pastime, 2004, page 53. Brown does not give a source. Query: do we know of other references to town ball in New York? Can we find the source for this entry?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1841 - Compendium Describes [Pentagonal] 5-Base Rounders, Feeder

    1841.1

    Williams, J. L., The Every Boy's Book, a Compendium of All the Sports and Recreations of Youth [London, Dean and Munday], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 205. This big book covered hundreds of children's pastimes, including feeder, the German game "ball-stock" (ball-stick), and a version of rounders that, unlike the 1828 Boy's Own Book (see 1828 entry above) is played with five bases laid out in a pentagon instead of four in a diamond, and counter-clockwise running.

    For Text: David Block carries two long paragraphs and a field diagram of feeder, and a two-paragraph description of rounders, in Appendix 7, pages 284-286, of Baseball Before We Knew It.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1841 - Bloomfield CT Wicket Challenge: "One Shamble Shall Be Out"

    1841.10

    "The Ball Players of Bloomfield and vicinity, respectfully invite the Pall Players of the city of Hartford to . . . play at Wicket Ball, the best in nine games for Dinner and Trimmings. The Rules to be as follows: [1] The ball to be rolled and to strike the once or more before it reaches the wicket. [2] The ball to be fairly caught flying or at the first bound. [3] The striker may defend his wicket with his bat as he may choose. [4] One shamble shall be out. [5] Each party may choose one judge or talisman."

    Hartford Daily Courant, June 23, 1841, page 3. Notes: Is the bound rule [2] usual in wicket? What is rule 3 getting at? What is rule 4 getting at?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1841 - Scottish Dictionary Calls "Cat and Dog" a Game for Three

    1841.11

    In cat-and-dog, two holes are cut at a distance of thirteen years. At each hole stands a player with a club, called a "dog." [. . . ] His object is to keep the cat out of the hole. "If the cat be struck, he who strikes it changes places with the person who holds the other club, and as often as the postiioins are changed one is counted as won in the game by the two who hold the clubs.

    Jamieson, Scotch Dictionary (Edinburgh, 1841). As cited in A.G. Steel and R. H. Lyttelton, Cricket, (Longmans Green, London, 1890) 4th edition, page 4. Note: That's it? Are any other games defined, maybe, by Jamieson? Detail provided by John Thorn, email of 2/10/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1841 - Fond OH Editor on Youthful Ball-playing: "We Like It"

    1841.12

    "PLAYING BALL, is among the very first of the 'sports' of our early years. Who had not teased his grandmother for a ball, until the 'old stockings' have been transformed one that would bound well? Who has not played 'barn ball' in his boyhood, 'base' in his youth, and 'wicket' in his manhood? There is fun, and sport, and healthy exercise, in a game of 'ball.' We like it; for with it is associated recollections of our earlier days. And we trust we will never be too old to feel and' take delight' in the amusements which interested us in our boyhood."

    Cleveland Daily Herald, April 15, 1841, provided by John Thorn [find date] 2007. Note: Wicket was the main manhood sport in Ohio?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1841 - At Yale, Wicket Now Seen as "Ungenteel"

    1841.13

    Commenting on the lack of exercise at Yale, a student wrote:

    "The is one great point in which the English have the advantage over us: they understand how to take care of their health . . . every Cantab [student at Cambridge U] takes his two hours' exercise per diem, by walking, riding, rowing, fencing, gymnastics, &c. How many Yalensians take one hour's regular exercise? . . . The gymnasium has vanished, wicket has been voted ungenteel, scarce even a freshman dares to put on a pair of skates, . . .

    Yale Literary Magazine, vol. 7 (November 1841), pages 36-37. as cited in Betts, John R., "Mind and Body in Early American Thought," The Journal of American History, vol. 54, number 4 (March 1968), page 803. Provided by John Thorn, email, 7/10/2007. Note the absence of cricket as a university activity at both schools.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1841 - NY State Senator Tests the Sabbath Law

    1841.14

    NY State Senator Minthorne Tompkins, whose property opens on a lot "well calculated for a game of ball . . . has been much diverted of late with the sport of the boys, who have numbers some three hundred strong on [Sabbath Day]. . . . The Sunday officers believing it to be their duty to stop this open violation of the laws of the State, took measures to effect it, but Senator T. believing the law wrong, too measures to sustain it, and when the officers appeared on the ground Sunday fortnight, the Senator also appeared, and told the boys that he would protect them, if they would protect him. Thus they entered into an alliance offensive and defensive, and the officers, after a little brush with the honorable ex-senator, he having given his name as responsible for their deeds, left the premises in charge of the victors, they conceiving that among three hundred opponents, discretion was the greater part of valor. The ex-senator appeared at the upper police before Justice Palmer, and after a hearing, entered bail for an appearance at the Court of Sessions, to answer the offense of interfering with the duties of the officers, etc. He refused to pay the costs of suit . . . . Justice Palmer discovering that the ex-senator's lawyers, John A. Morrill and Thomas Tucker, Esqrs. were about obtaining a writ of habeas corpus, concluded to let him go without getting the costs, in order that the case might be tested before the Court of Sessions. Thus the affair stands at present, and when it comes up before trial will present a curious aspect." New York Herald, December 21,1841. Posted to 19CBB by Richard Hershberger on 2/2/2008.


    Richard adds, "Alas, a search does not turn up the resolution to this case".

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1841 - Base and Wicket in New Orleans?

    1841.15

    "Who has not played 'barn ball' in boyhood, 'base' in his youth and 'wicket' in his adulthood?" New Orleans Picayune, 1841. This cite is found in Tom Melville, The Tented Field: A History of Cricket in America (Bowling Green State U Press, Bowling Green, 1998), page 6. He attributes it, apparently, to Dale Somers, The Rise of Sports in New Orleans (LSU Press, Baton Rouge, 1972), page 48. Note: Melville is willing to identify the sport as the one that was played mostly in the CT-central MA area . . . but it is conceivable that the writer intended to denote cricket instead? Do we have other references to wicket in LA?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1841 - Fast Day Choice in ME: Hear a "Fact Sermon" or Play Ball?

    1841.16

    "Thursday wind northeast cloudy & cool fast day the people assemble at Holts to play Ball & some quarreling I fear it would be better to go to meeting and hear a fact sermon as once was the fasion." "Journal of Jonathan Phillips of Turner, Maine (1841), entry for April 22. Source:

    http://files.usgwarchives.org/me/androscoggin/turner/diary/phillips.txt, accessed 11/14/2008. Phillips was born in Sylvester [not Turner] ME in 1780. Turner is now a town of about 5000 souls and is about 60 miles north of Portland and 30 miles west of Augusta. Note: Is the "fact sermon" simply a typo for "fast sermon?"

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1841 - Clevelanders Play Ball at Sunset on Water Street

    1841.17

    A Cleveland OH newspaper writer was moved to respond to reader [Edith] who groused about "infantile sports:"

    "Playing Ball is among the very first of the 'sports' of our early years. Who has not teased his grandmother for a ball, until the 'old stockings' have been transformed into one that would bound well? Who has not played 'barn ball' in his boyhood, 'base' in his youth, and 'wicket' in his manhood? - There is fun, and sport, and healthy exercise, in a game of 'ball.' We like it; for with it is associated recollections of our earlier days. And we trust we shall never be too old to feel and to 'take delight' in the amusements which interested us in our boyhood. If 'Edith' wishes to see 'a great strike' and 'lots of fun,' let her walk down Water Street some pleasant afternoon towards 'set of sun' and see the 'Bachelors' make the ball fly.

    ClevelandDaily Herald (April 15, 1841). Posted to 19CBB on August 21, 2008 by Kyle DeCicco-Carey. Note: Are they playing wicket? Another game? What types of Clevelanders would have congregated on Water Street?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1841 - Louisiana Editor Endorses Formation of Clubs for Ballplaying

    1841.18

    Playing off the Cleveland Daily Herald defense of ballplaying [#1841.17], a New Orleans editor challenged the people of Louisiana: "[T]hose who desire now and then to spend a day in freedom and pleasure, adding powerfully both to physical and mental vigor, can never do better than to dash away into some of the commons in the vicinity of our own Crescent City and choose sides for an old fashioned game of ball. We have 'clubs' and 'societies' for almost every other purpose ever thought of. Who will first move the formation of a club to indulge in the manly and refreshing sport of ball-playing?"

    "Playing Ball," The Daily Picayune [New Orleans] , Volume 5, number 101 (May 25, 1841), page 2. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), pages 40-41.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1841 - Boston Common Ballplaying Scene Appears on Writing Tablet

    1841.2

    Specimens of Penmanship [Bridgeport, CT, J. B. Sanford], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 206. The image first appeared in Carver's Book of Sports (see 1834 entry).

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1841 - Chapbook Gives "Papa's Advice:" Don't Play During Study Hours!

    1841.3

    Instruction and Amusement for the Young [New Haven, S. Babcock], page 23, per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 205. This chapbook has a wee drawing of ball play on the cover, and the poem "Papa's Advice to Herbert," which includes: "When grandmamma calls,/ Give up bat and balls,/ And quickly your lessons begin." Shades of John Bunyan!

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1841 - Babcock Adds Woodcut of Trap-ball to New Chapbook

    1841.4

    Gilbert, Ann, and Jane Taylor, The Snow-drop: A Collection of Rhymes for the Nursery [New Haven, S. Babcock], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, pages 205 - 206. This 24-page chapbook includes a trap-ball scene and a "small baseball image," notes Block.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1841 - Cover of Chapbook Shows Boys Playing Ball

    1841.5

    The Gift of Friendship [New Haven, S. Babcock], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 205. We're getting the impression that kids liked ballplaying in these years . . . or at least that publishers believed that they did.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1841 - School Reader Shows Batter and Pitcher

    1841.6

    Sanders, Charles W., The School Reader. Third Book [New York, M. Newman], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 205. Sanders includes a schoolyard scene involving a batter and pitcher.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1841 - "Games of Ball and Bat" Played in Nova Scotia

    1841.7

    "The Nova Scotian newspaper of July 1, 1841, 26 years before Canadian confederation, noted that on 24 Jude 1841 the St. Mary's Total Abstinence Society of Halifax sailed to Dartmouth across the bay and there between 700 and 800 met, and at which, 'Quadrille and Contra dances were got up on the green - and games of ball and bat, and such sports proceeded.'"

    William Humber, "Baseball and Canadian Identity," College Quarterly, volume 8 number 3 [summer 2005] page? Submitted by John Thorn 3/30/2006.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1841 - Philadelphia Cricket Club Issues Challenge for Matches at $50 to $100

    1841.8

    "The Philadelphia Ledger for November 1, 1841, carried an advertisement from the Wakefield Mills Cricket Club challenging 'the best eleven in the city to play two home-and-home games for from $50 to $100.'"

    John Lester, A Century of Philadelphia Cricket [UPenn Press, Philadelphia PA, 1951], page 15.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1841 - County-wide Wicket Challenge Issued Near Rochester NY

    1841.9

    "A CHALLENGE. The undersigned, Amateur (Wicket) Ball Players, of the Town of Chili, Monroe County, propose, within 20 players, to meet any other Club, or same number of men in this county, and play a game of three ins a side, any time between the first and fifteenth of July next. The game to be played at Chapman's corner, eight miles west from Rochester. . . . Chili, June 24, 1841." RochesterRepublican, June 18, 1841

    Noted by Priscilla Astifan, 19CBB posting, 1/28/2007. Priscilla adds: "Pioneer baseball players' [in Rochester] memoirs have mentioned Wicket as one of baseball's early predecessors here and that some of the best pioneer baseball players had been skilled wicket players.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1842 - NYC Group Begins Play, Later [1845] Will Form Knickerbocker Base Ball Club

    1842.1

    A group of young men begin to gather in Manhattan for informal ball games. The group plays ball under an evolving set of rules from which emerges as a distinct version of baseball. In the autumn of 1845 the group will organize formally as the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York City.

    Peverelly, Charles A., The Book of American Pastimes [New York, 1866], p. 368. Per Henderson, p. 162, and ref 133.

    Henry Chadwick later wrote: "The veteran Knickerbocker Base Ball club, of New York, was the first club to take the field as a regular organization in the Metropolitan district and the last to leave it when amateur ball playing of the genuine order disappeared from our city. Ball players of an older growth than those of the school play ground used to gather in the vacant fields existing in 1842 near Thirtieth street and Third and Fourth avenues, but it was not until 1845 that the spirit of enterprise had extended itself sufficiently among them to lead to any organization being formed calculated to legitimize the game as then played." Chadwick, Henry, "Base Ball Reminiscences," The National Daily Base Ball Gazette April 24, 1887, [second installment].

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1842 - Harvard Man George Hoar Writes of Playing "Simple Game Called Base"

    1842.3

    George F. Hoar, a student at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, writes: "The only game which was much in vogue was foot-ball. There was a little attempt to start the English game of cricket and occasionally, in the spring, an old-fashioned simple game which we called base was played."

    Hoar, George F. Autobiography of Seventy Years [Pubr?, 1903], page 120. Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1842 - Duke of Wellington Requires Cricket Ground for Every Military Barrack.

    1842.4

    Wisden's history of cricket [1966]. Note: Way cool, but not very American.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1842 - Spelling Book Seems to Show a Fungo Game

    1842.5

    Cobb, Lyman, Cobb's New Spelling Book, in Six Parts [New York, Caleb Bartlett], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 206. Brock summarizes: "An engraving on the frontispiece of this book pictures a baseball scene outside of a school building. One boy is shown getting ready to fungo a baseball to two awaiting fielders, while two other boys stand around with bats in their hands."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1842 - Missing Poem Describes Ball Playing

    1842.6

    The Poem is called "Autumn." Note - XXX the text needs to be retrieved from John Thorn's attachment. Submitted by John Thorn, 11/7/2004.

    Book of the Seasons [B. B. Mussey, Boston, 1842], page 6.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1842 - Sad Boy, Grounded, Misses His Recess Sports

    1842.8

    [Describing the unhappy lot of a boy prohibited from going out to recess:]

    "the poor fellow could only look through the window, in perfect misery, upon the sports without - his favorite game of 'wicket,' or 'two old cat,' or 'goal,' or the 'snapping of the whip,' - and hear the shouts when the players were 'caught out,' or the wicket was knocked off, or someone had performed a feat of great agility."

    "Schoolboy Days, "The New-England Weekly Review (Hartford, CT), Issue 5, column D, January 29, 1842. Posted by Richard Hershberger on 12/11/ 2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1842 - Haverford Students Form Cricket Team of Americans

    1842.9

    "Haverford College [Haverford PA] students, however, played cricket with English hosiery weavers prior to 1942, the year the students formed the first all-American team."

    Lester, John A., A Century of Philadelphia Cricket (U of Penn Press, Philadelphia, 1951), pages 9-11; as cited in Gelber, Steven M., "'Their Hands Are All Out Playing:' Business and Amateur Baseball, 1845-1917," Journal of Sport History, Vol. 11, number 1 (Spring 1984), page 15. Note: is Lester saying this is the first Haverford all-native team, first US all-native team, or what?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1842 - Athletic Welsh Lad Plays Rounders

    1842c.10

    "I became fleet on my legs, and a good climber, I was an expert at ball catching in rounders (cricket being unknown in Wales at the time), and when I left school, my name was the only one inscribed or the loftiest trees."

    Josiah Hughes, Australia Revisited in 1890 (Nixon and Jarvis, Bangor, 1891), page 482. Accessed 2/9/10 via Google Books search ("josiah hughes" revisited). Hughes, born in 1829 in Wales, here recalls his time at a school in Holywell in the north of Wales.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1842 - Cricket and Town Ball Recalled in Philadelphia PA

    1842c.7

    "The first cricket I ever saw was on a field near Logan Station . . . about 1842. The hosiery weavers at Wakefield Mills [cf #1841.8 above] near by had formed a club under the leadership of Lindley Fisher, a Haverford cricketer. . . . [My brother and I] had played Town Ball, the forerunner of baseball today, at Germantown Academy, and our handling of the ball was appreciated by the Englishmen.

    John Lester, A Century of Philadelphia Cricket [UPenn Press, Philadelphia, 1951], page 9. Lester does not provide a source here, but his bibliography lists: Wister, William Rotch, Some Reminiscences of Cricket I Philadelphia Before 1861 [Allen, Philadelphia, 1904].

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1843 - NY's Washington Club:" Playing Base Ball Before the Knickerbockers Did?

    1843.2

    "The honors for the place of birth of baseball are divided. Philadelphia claims that her 'town ball' was practically baseball and that it was played by the Olympic Club from 1833 to 1859. It is also claimed that the Washington Club in 1843 was the first to play the game. Certainly the New York Knickerbocker Club, founded in 1845, was the first to establish a code of rules."

    Reeve, Arthur B., Beginnings of Our Great Games, Outing Magazine, April 1910, page 49, per John Thorn, 19CBB posting, 6/17/05. Reeve evidently does not provide a source for the Washington Club claim . . . nor his assertion that it had no "code of rules." John notes that Outing appeared from 1906 to 1911. Note: It would be good to have evidence on whether this club played the New York game or another variation of early base ball.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1843 - Playing Ball at Recess

    1843.3

    Children at Play [Cincinnati, W. T. Truman], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 206. Alongside a fresh woodcut: "Here are some boys playing at ball. They have just come out of school, and are very eager to spend all the recess in play." But for now, studies come first, fellows: "Bat and ball is a very good play for the summer season."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1843 - On Yale's Green, Many a "Brisk Game of Wicket"

    1843.4

    "Were it spring or autumn you should see a brave set-to at football on the green, or a brisk game of wicket." Ezekiel P. Belden, Sketches of Yale College (Saxton and Miles, New York, 1843), page 153.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1843 - Magnolia Ball Club Summoned to Elysian Fields Game

    1843.6

    "NEW YORK MAGNOLIA BALL CLUB - Vive la Knickerbocker. - A meeting of the members of the above club will take place this (Thursday) afternoon, 2nd instant, at the Elysian Fields, Hoboken [NJ]. It is earnestly requested that every member will be present, willing and eager to do his duty. Play will commence precisely as one o'clock. Chowder at 4 o'clock"

    Associated with this ball club is an engraved invitation to its first annual ball, which has the first depiction of men playing baseball, and shows underhand pitching and stakes for bases.

    New York Herald[classified ads section], November 2, 1843. Posted to 19CBB by John Thorn, 11/11/2007. For much more from John on the find, and its implications, go to http://thornpricks.blogspot.com/2007/11/really-good-find-more-magnolia-blossoms.html.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1843 - Robber Caught Again: "Third Time and Out"

    1843.7

    "[Accused robber] Parks has escaped from the hands of justice twice, and twice been retaken. The third time and "out," as the boys say in the game of ball."

    New YorkHerald, March 4, 1843. Provided by John Thorn, 10/16/2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1843 - Man Flashes Large Wad at New York-Philly Cricket Match, Is Then Nabbed for Robbery

    1843.8

    "Important Arrest: A few days since, at the last match game of cricket played near New York, between the New York and Philadelphia competitors for a large sum of money, a person, whose name is William Rushton, from Philadelphia, was present, making large offers to bet upon the result of the game, and exhibiting large sums of money to the spectators for that purpose." This excess evidently led to his later arrest for the robbery of a bank porter on the Brooklyn ferry early in 1843.

    "Important Arrest," The Sun [New York? Philadelphia?], August 12, 1843. Accessed via subscription search May 5, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1843 - New York Cricket Club Forms with American Membership

    1843.9

    The New York Cricket Club is formed on October 9, 1843. The club consists at first of American-born sporting men affiliated with William T. Porter's sporting weekly Spirit of the Times. The American-born emphasis stands in contrast to the British-oriented St. George Club.

    Per John Thorn, 6/15/04: Source is "Reminiscence of a Man About Town" from The Clipper, by Paul Preston, Esq.; No. 34: The New York Cricket Club: On an evening in 1842 or '43, a meeting of the embryo organization was held at the office of The Spirit of the Times—a dozen individuals—William T. Porter elected pres., John Richards v.p., Thomas Picton Sec'y — formed as rival to St. George Club- only NY was designed to bring in Americans, not just to accommodate Britons, as St. George was. The original 12 members were affiliated with the Spirit. The first elected member: Edward Clark, a lawyer, then artist William Tylee Ranney, then Cuyp the bowler.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1843 - Chapbook: Trap Ball and Cricket and Windows Don't Mix

    1843c.5

    Sports for All Seasons [New York, T. W. Strong],

    The problem: "Trap ball and Cricket are juvenile Field Sports, and not fit to be played near the houses . . . where it generally ends in the ball going through a window." The solution: "[A]fter having their pocket money stopped for some time to replace the glass they had broken, they pitched their traps and wickets in a more suitable place."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1844 - "Round Ball" Played in Bangor ME: Cony's Side 50, Hunt's Side 49

    1844.1

    "The playing of round ball, as the game was formerly called, but since changed to 'base ball,' was, in 1844, much in vogue, and was an exhilarating and agreeable amusement . . . ."

    "Baseball in '44," Wheeling WV Register, September 20, 1885, reprinted from the Bangor Whig, presumably from 1844.

    The article continues to detail a match of round ball played on Wadleigh field, near Bangor ME, between neighborhood teams representing Samuel Cony [later Governor] and Samuel Hunt. There are few on-field details: the match was to play played to "fifty scores," the sides tossed "for inning," and when suppertime intruded on the hungry players with the score Hunt 45, Cony 40, "the expedient was adopted of finishing the game by pitching coppers," so Cony and Hunt went inside and got their last "scores" that way. Cony flipped more heads than Hunt, and c'est la guerre. Thanks to John Thorn for locating the text of the article [email of 2/10/2008.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1844 - Fast Day Game in NH on the Common - Unless Arborism Goes Too Far

    1844.10

    "In Keene, New Hampshire, residents used the town common for the Fast Day ball game in 1844." Harold Seymour, Baseball; the People's Game (Oxford University Press, 1990), page 201. The book does not provide a source for this report.

    Seymour's source may be David R. Proper, "A Narrative of Keene, New Hampshire, 1732-1967" in "Upper Ashuelot:" A History of Keene, New Hampshire (Keene History Committee, Keene NH, 1968), page 88. as accessed on 11/13/2008 at:

    http://www.ci.keene.nh.us/library/upperashuelot/part8.pdf. This account describes the arguments against planting 141 trees along Keene streets, one being that trees "would impair use of the Common as a parade ground for military and civic reviews, as a market place for farmers and their teams, as a field for village baseball games on Fast Day, as an open space for wood sleds in winter, and as a free area for all the activity of Court Week." Note: Is it fair to infer that [a] Fast Day games were a well-established tradition by 1844, and that [b] ballplaying on the Common was much less often seen on other days of the year? What was Court Week?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1844 - Why Fast Day Comes Only Once a Year?

    1844.11

    "Thursday April 4th. A very warm day it is fast day* & I have played ball so much that I am to tired I can hardly set up I don't think I shall want to have fast day come again for a year." Diary of Edward Jenner Carpenter of Greenfield MA, available online at:

    http://www.osv.org/explore_learn/document_viewer.php?DocID=126 as accessed November 17th 2008. Carpenter was an 18 year old apprentice to a Greenfield cabinet-maker. Greenfield is in NW MA, about 15 miles from the VT border and about 40 miles north of Northampton.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1844 - English Tale Pictures "Working People" Playing Bass-ball, Cricket

    1844.12

    "I was lately walking, on a fine spring evening, in the suburbs of a country town . . . . My ramble brought me to a pubic-house by the roadside . . . . There is nothing to me more delightful than to see the young working people amusing themselves after the labours of the day. A village-green, with its girls and boys playing at bass-ball, and its grown-up lads at cricket, is one of those English sights which I hope no false refinement will ever banish from amongst us."

    "A Game at Skittles: A Tale," Volume of Varieties (Charles Knight, London, 1844), page 122. Accessed 2/11/10 via Google Books search ("skittles a tale"). Source: Tom Altherr, "Some Findings on Bass Ball," Originals, February 2010, page 2.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1844 - Wicket Play in New Orleans LA?

    1844.13

    "The members of the New Orleans Wicket Club, are requested to meet at the Field, This Day, Thursday at 5 o'clock, PM, precisely."

    Times Picayune, November 7, 1844. Accessed via subscription search, March 27, 2009. Contributed by Richard Hereshberger, March 8, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1844 - First US-Canada Cricket Match Held

    1844.2

    The St. George's Club played an All-Canada team for $1000

    Wisden's history of cricket, 1966. Also: Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809. Seymour cites "Manchester" as his source for the $1000 stake.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1844 - Clone of 1841 Book Covering Rounders and Feeder Appears

    1844.3

    Williams, Samuel, Boy's Treasury of Sports, Pastimes, and Recreations [London, D. Bogue], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 206 - 207. The original book was The Every Boy's Book (see #1841.1 entry). Lea and Blanchard would publish the first US edition of Boy's Treasury in 1847.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1844 - The Popular McGuffey's Reader Adds a New Woodcut of Ball Play

    1844.4

    McGuffey, Wm H., McGuffey's Newly Revised Eclectic First Reader [Cincinnati, W. B. Smith], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 207. Block finds that the [original?] 1836 version of the revered reader lacked any ball-play content. The new edition adds a simple woodcut and this caption: "The boys play with balls. John has a bat in his hand. I can hit the ball."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1844 - New Noah Webster Speller Has Woodcut of Ball Play on a Village Green

    1844.5

    Webster, Noah, The Pictorial Elementary Spelling Book [New York, Coolidge], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 207. Block notes that "[a] woodcut in this work pictures a scene of children on a village green playing various games including baseball."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1844 - Novel Cites "the Game of Bass in the Fields"

    1844.6

    "And you boys let out racin', yelpin,' hollerin,' and whoopin' like mad with pleasure, and the playground, and the game of bass in the fields, or hurly on the long pond on the ice, . . . "

    Thomas C. Haliburton, The Attache: or Sam Slick in England [Bentley, London, 1844] no page cited, per William Humber, "Baseball and Canadian Identity," College Quarterly volume 8 Number 3 [Spring 2005] no page cited. Humber notes that this reference has been used to refute Nova Scotia's claim to be the birthplace of modern ice hockey ["hurly"]. Submitted by John Thorn, 3/30/2006. Caveat: "bass in the fields" may denote prisoner's base, not a ball game. Note: Understanding the author's intent here is complicated by the fact that he was Canadian, Sam Slick was an American character, and the novel is set in Britain. Is "bass" a ballgame, or was prisoner's base sometimes thought of as a "field game?"

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1844 - English Gent in NYC Goes Off to a Ball Game

    1844.7

    "As I went down to the office I was met by Henry Sedgwick at the corner of a street. He was hunting up some of a party who were going off in a sailing boat down the East river to play at Base ball in some of the meadows. He persuaded me to be of the party. I sld not have gone however I had not expected to see a great display of miseries and grievances. . . . [on board the boat] it 'came on rainy' and we brewed some whisky punch to whet our spirits inwardly . . . . At last we came to old Ferry point where we landed, and went in the mizzle to play at ball in the meadow, leaving our captain to cook Chowder for us."

    Cayley, George J.," Diary, 1844," manuscript at the New-York Historical Society, entry for April 9, 1844, pages 138-141. Posted to 19CBB by George Thompson, 11/18/2007. George adds that the writer was an 18-year-old Englishman working in a city office, and that the game probably took place in what is now Brooklyn.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1844 - Print Medium Credited with New Popularity of Cricket in Britain

    1844.9

    "I attribute the Extension of the Game of Cricket very much to the Paper [Bells Life] of which I am the Editor. Having been the Editor Twenty Years, I can recollect when the Game of Cricket was not so popular as it is at the present Moment; but the Moment the Cricketers found themselves the Object of Attention almost every Village had its Cricket Green. The Record of their Prowess in Print created a Desire still more to extend their Exertions and their Fame." Cited without reference by Bateman, Anthony,"' More Mighty than the Bat, the Pen . . . ;' Culture,, Hegemony, and the Literaturisaton of Cricket," Sport in History, v. 23, 1 (Summer 2003), page 35.

    Bateman agrees: "At a time when print culture . . . was creating a sense of national consciousness, cricket was writing itself into an element of national culture" [Ibid.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1844 - Base Ball Begins in Westfield MA?

    1844c.8

    "no ball playing has been going on during the past summer [1869] on the old ball ground at the south end of the park. . . . [I have?] spent many a happy hour ball-playing on that ground . . . . I have known that ground for twenty-five years and I have never known a serious accident to happen to passers-by."

    "Ball Playing," Western Hampden Times, September 1869, written by "1843." As cited in Genovese, Daniel L, The Old Ball Ground: The Chronological History of Westfield Baseball (2004), pages 1-2. Genovese concludes, "That would mean that baseball was played in Westfield at least as far back as 1844, and probably further [Genovese, page 2.]. Westfield MA is about 8 miles west of Springfield. MA. Note: Could the writer have played wicket or other ballgames at the old ground?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - Knicks Adopt Club and Playing Rules on September 23

    1845.1

    Led by Alexander Cartwright, the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York City organizes and adopts twenty rules for baseball (six organizational, fourteen playing). This rule book is later seen as the basis for the game we now call baseball. The Knickerbockers are credited with establishing foul lines; abolishing the plug (throwing the ball at the runner to make an out); and instituting the tag and force-out. However, the Knickerbocker rules do not specify a pitching distance or a baseline distance. The distance from home to second base and from first to third base is set at forty-two paces. In 1845 the "pace" was understood either as a variable measure or as precisely two-and-a-half feet, in which case the distance from home to second would have been 105 feet and the "Cartwright base paths" would have been 74.25 feet. The "pace" of 1845 could not have been interpreted as the equivalent of three feet. [Explain why?] The Knickerbocker rules provide that a winner will be declared when twenty-one aces are scored but each team must have an equal number of turns at bat; the style of delivery is underhand in contrast to the overhand delivery typical in town ball; balls hit beyond the field limits in fair territory (home run in modern baseball) are limited to one base. The Knickerbocker rules become known as the New York Game in contrast to the Massachusetts Game favored in and around the Boston area.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1845 - German Book of Games Lists das Giftball, a Bat-and-Ball Game

    1845.10

    Jugendspiele zur Ehhjolung und Erheiterung (boys' games for recreation and amusement) [Tilsit, Germany, W. Simmerfeld, 1845], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 207. Included among the games is das Giftball (the venomball, roughly). Block observes that this game "is identical to the early French game of la balle empoisonee (poison ball, roughly) and that an illustration of two boys playing it "shows it to be a bat-and-ball game." For the French game, see the 1810 entry above. Note: does Block link the two descriptions, or does the German text cite the French game?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - Bookman Babcock, He Just Keeps On Truckin'

    1845.11

    Teller, Thomas, The Mischievous Boy; a Tale of Tricks and Troubles [New Haven, S. Babcock], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 208. Another chapbook from our favorite chap, this one with a cover featuring tiny engravings, including one of ballplaying.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - Cleveland OH Bans "Any Game of Ball"

    1845.12

    "[I]t shall be unlawful for any person or persons to play at any game of Ball . . . whereby the grass or grounds of any Pubic place or square shall be defaced or injured." [Fine is $5 plus costs of prosecution.]

    Cleveland City Council Archives, 1845. March 4, 1845 Link provided by John Thorn 11/6/2006. For an image of the ordinance, go to:

    http://omp.ohiolink.edu/OMP/Printable?oid=1048668&scrapid=2742, accessed /2/2008. This site refers to an earlier ban: "Although as earlier city ordinance outlawed the playing of baseball in the Public Square in Cleveland, the public was not easily dissuaded from playing . . . ." Note: is the earlier Cleveland ban findable?

    On 3/6/2008, Craig Waff posted a note to 19CBB that in 1857 it was reported that "this truly national game is daily played in the pubic square," but that a city official suggested that it violated a local ordinance [presumably that of 3/4/1845, and then reported that there in fact was no such law. "The crowd sent up a shout and renewed the game, which continued until dark." "Base Ball in Cleveland, Porter's Spirit of the Times, Volume 2, number 7 (April 18, 1857, page 109, column 1.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - All-England Eleven Tours England

    1845.14

    An All-England XI formed by William Clark makes missionary journeys all over England.

    Barclay's [History of Cricket?] Section IV. XXX We need a minimally competent citation or better source or better note-taking habits.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - Brooklyn 22, New York 1: The First-Ever "Modern" Match?

    1845.16

    "The Base Ball match between eight Brooklyn players, and eight players of New York, came off on Friday on the grounds of the Union Star Cricket Club. The Yorkers were singularly unfortunate in scoring but one run in their three innings. Brooklyn scored 22 and of course came off winners."

    New York Morning News, Oct. 13, 1845, p.2. Text provided 11/3/2008 by Richard Hershberger via email. Earlier cited in Tom Melville, The Tented Field: A History of Cricket in America (Bowling Green State University Press, 1998), page 168, note 38: "Though the matches played between the Brooklyn and New York clubs on 21 and 25 October 1845 are generally recognized as being the earliest games in the "modern" era, they were, in fact, preceded by an even earlier game between those two clubs on October 12." [In fact this game was played on October 11.] Thanks to Tim Johnson [email, 12/29/2008] for triggering our search for the missing game. Richard adds that one can not be sure that these were the same sides that played on October 21/25, noting that the Morning Post refers here just to New York "players", and not to the New York Club. See #1845.4 and #1845.5 above.

    On 11/11/2008, Lee Oxford discovered identical text in a second NY newspaper, which included this detail: "After this game had been decided, a match at single wicket cricket came off between two members of the Union Star Club - Foster and Boyd. Foster scored 11 the first and 1 the second innings. Boyd came off victor by scoring 16 the first innings." The True Sun (New York City), Monday, October 13, 1845, page 2, column 5.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - Intercity Cricket Match Begins in NY

    1845.17

    "CRICKET MATCH. St. George's Club of this city against the Union Club of Philadelphia. The two first elevens of these clubs came together yesterday for a friendly match, on the ground of the St. George's Club, Bloomingdale Road. The result was as follows, on the first innings: St. George's 44, Union Club of Philadelphia 33 [or 63 or 83; image is indistinct]. Play will be resumed to-day."

    New YorkHerald, October 7, 1845. Provided by John Thorn, email, 10/12/2007

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - On "Second Anniversary," The NY Club Plays Intramural Game

    1845.18

    "NEW YORK BASE BALL CLUB: The second Anniversary of the Club came off yesterday, on the ground in the Elysian fields." The game matched two nine-player squads, and ended with a 24-23 score. "The Club were honored by the presence of representatives from the Union Star Cricket Club, the Knickerbocker Clubs, senior and junior, and other gentlemen of note." NY Club players on the box score included Case, Clair, Cone, Gilmore, Granger, Harold, Johnson, Lalor, Lyon, Murphy, Seaman, Sweet [on both sides!], Tucker, Venn, Wheaton, Wilson, and Winslow. Posted to 19CBB by John Thorn, 3/31/2008. Source: The New York Herald, November 11, 1845.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1845 - Painter Depicts Some Type of Old-Fashioned Ball?

    1845.19

    A painting by Asher Durand [1796 - 1886] painting An Old Man's Reminiscences may include a visual recollection of a game played long before. Thomas Altherr ["A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It] describes the scene: "a silver-haired man is seated in the left side of he painting and he watches a group of pupils at play in front of a school, just having been let out for the day or for recess. Although this painting is massive, the details, without computer resolution, are a bit fuzzy. But it appears that there is a ballgame of some sort occurring. One lad seems to be hurling something and other boys are arranged around him in a pattern suspiciously like those of baseball-type games." Tom surmises that the old man is likely reflecting on his past.

    Asher Durand, An Old Man's Reminiscences (1845), Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany NY. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 40. For a credit-card-sized image - even the schoolhouse is iffy - go to

    http://www.albanyinstitute.org/collections/Hudson/durand.htm, as accessed 11/17/2008. Dick McBane [email iof 2/6/09] added some helpful details of Durand's life, but much remains unclear. Query: Can we learn more about Durand's - a member of the Hudson River School of landscape artists, originally hailing from New Jersey - own background and youth?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - Knicks Play First Recorded [Intramural] Games By The New Rules

    1845.2

    In an intrasquad game, seven Knickerbocker players win 11-8 over seven of their fellows; the umpire is William R. Wheaton, a pioneering cricket and base ball player of the New York Base Ball Club who helped to formulate the Knickerbocker rules. This is the first recorded game employing the newly crafted Knickerbocker rules.

    Per John Thorn, 6/15/04: Controversy -- one game is played in September 1845 (no precise date, with 42 runs scored from 18 men playing. Another game is played on October 6; seven to the side, with 19 runs scored. Source: Harold Peterson.

    Per John Thorn, 7/704: on November 18, 1845. Two sides were chosen, by William R. Wheaton and William H. Tucker, and the "Wheatons" won, 51-42 in ten innings' play. In an era when 21 aces meant a win, there must have been several tie scores at the ends of previous innings ... or, conceivably, both teams were shy of 21 until the final inning and then exploded. Wheaton's side included Adams, Cone, Talman, Turney, Dupignac, Morgan, Turk, Jones, and Burritt. Tucker's side was comprised of Moncrief, W. O'Brien, Cartwright, Birney, Niebuhr, Curry, DeBost, Suydan, and I. O'Brien. This was the last practice game of 1845. Henry Chadwick ,National Daily Base Ball Gazette, April 24, 1887

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - Painting Shows Crossed Bats and Some Balls in School

    1845.20

    The painting shows a five-year-old boy meeting his new schoolmaster, is by Francis William Edmonds, and Thomas Altherr describes it: "A pair of crossed bats and at least four balls resting in a corner of the schoolroom foyer at the lower right. The painting's message is some what ambiguous: Is the boy surrendering his play time to the demands of studiousness, or are baseball and kite-flying the common recreations for the [school] master's charges?"

    Francis William Edmonds, The New Scholar (1845) Manoogian Collection, Natinal Gallery of Art, Washington DC. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 40. A small dark image appears on page 186 of Young America: Childhood in 19th-century Art and Culture, as accessed 11/17/2008 via Google Books search for "edmonds 'new scholar.'"

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - St. George's Cricket Club Plays Series with All-Canada Eleven

    1845.21

    On August 1, 1845, St. George's played the first match in Montreal, losing 215 to 154. Later in the month, a crowd reported at 3000 souls saw All-Canada take a 83-49 lead over the New York club at the club's home grounds on NY's 27th Street.

    Extensive coverage of the first innings of the second match appears at "The Grand Cricket Match - St. George's Club of this City against All Canada," Weekly Herald, August 30, 1845. Accessed via subscription search, May 5, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - Barre MA Skips the "Old Annual Game of Ball" on Election Day

    1845.22

    "'Old Election' passed over the town on Wednesday, with as little notice as any crusty curmudgeon might wish. A few people were abroad with 'clean fixens' on and there was an imposing parade of 'boy's training.' Even the old annual game of ball was forgotten, and the holiday was guiltless of any other display of unusual mirth."

    "Old Election," Barre Gazette, May 30, 1845. Accessed via subscription search, 2/14/2009. Barre is in central MA, about 25 miles NW of Worcester. Great Barrington MA also associated Election Day with ballplaying - a game of wicket. See item #1820s.25. Query: How common a custom was it to celebrate Election Day with a ballgame? When did the custom start, and when did it die out? Can we start it up again?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - In Cricket, Pha Foursome Defeats NY Quad, 27-19, Pockets $500

    1845.23

    A cricket match was reported in early September that lined up four players from the St. George Club on New York against four Philadelphians, for a purse of $500. The visiting Philadelphia quartet took a 27- 11 lead in the first innings, and held it for the win. Of the match's 46 runs, 23 were racked up as wide balls. Query: Was this style of rump match common? With only four fielders why was the scoring so low; this match must have been played according to the rules of single wicket, which employs a 180-degree foul line.

    "Sporting Intelligence," New YorkHerald, Tuesday, September 2, 1845. Contributed by Gregory Christiano August 1, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - [Item removed from version 10; John Thorn advises that contemporary accounts confirm

    1845.3

    that the game reported game was lacrosse, not a safe-haven game.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - NY and Brooklyn Teams Play Two-Game Series of "Time-Honored Game of Base"

    1845.4

    The New York Base Ball Club and the Brooklyn Base Ball Club compete at the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey, by uncertain rules and with eight players to the side. On October 21, New York prevailed, 24-4 in four innings (21 runs being necessary to record the victory). The two teams also played a rematch in Brooklyn, at the grounds of the Star Cricket Club on Myrtle Avenue, on October 25, and the Brooklyn club again succumbed, this time by the score of 37-19, once more in four innings. For these two contests box scores were printed in New York newspapers. There are some indications that these games may have been played by the brand new Knickerbocker rules.

    New York Morning News, October 22 and 25, 1845. Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 11-13. This game had been announced in The New York Herald on October 21. Per Sullivan, p. 11. Craig Waff [4/30/2007] located an announcement of the first game the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, vol. 4, number 253 (October 21, 1845), page 2, column 3: it refers to "the New York Bass Ball Club," and predicts that the match will "attract large numbers from this and the neighboring city." For a detailed discussion of the significance of this game, see Melvin Adelman, "The First Baseball Game, the First Newspaper References to Baseball," Journal of Sport History Volume 7, number 3 (Winter 1980), pp 132 ff.

    For a long-lost account of an earlier New York - Brooklyn game, see #1845.16 below.

    Go here for the detailed accounts of these games

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - Brooklyn and New York to Go Again in Hoboken

    1845.5

    "Brooklyn vs. New York. - An interesting game of Base Ball will come off at the Elysian Fields, Hoboken, to-day, commencing at 10 A. M., between the New York and Brooklyn Clubs." New YorkSun, November 10, 1845, page 2, column. 6. Submitted by George Thompson, June 2005.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - Magazine Article Likens Ladies' Gait to Ballplayers' Screw Ball

    1845.8

    Author[?], "The New Philosophy," The Knickerbocker, volume 26, November 1845 [New York], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 207 - 208. The author, unimpressed at a new tightly-laced clothing fashion that affects how women walk, says their walking "motion very much resembles that of one who, in playing 'base,' screws his ball, and the expression is among boys; or of a man rolling what is known among the players of ten pins as a 'screw ball.'" Note: presumably the baseball reference is to a pitcher's attempt to make the ball curve.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - Cover of Children's Book Depicts Ball Play

    1845.9

    Teller, Thomas, The History of a Day [New Haven, S. Babcock], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 207. The cover of this children's book has a small illustration of boys playing ball.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - Town-ball in IN Later [and Vaguely?] Recalled

    1845c.13

    "Town-ball is one of the old games from which the scientific but not half so amusing "national game" of base-ball has since evolved. . . . There were no scores, but a catch or a cross-out in town-ball put the whole side out, leaving others to take the bat or "paddle" as it was appropriately called."

    Edward Eggleston, "Some Western School-Masters," Scribner's Monthly, March 1879. Submitted by David Nevard, 1/26/2007. David notes that this is mainly a story about boys tarrying at recess, and can be dated 1845-1850. In other games, a "cross-out" denotes the retiring of a runner by throwing the ball across his forward path. Contemporary Georgia townball [see #1840.24 above] often used paddles. Egglestoiin was an Hoosier historian and novelist. Note: "No scores?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - Doc Adams, Ballmaker: The Hardball Becomes Hard

    1845c.15

    The Knickerbockers developed and adopted the New York Game style of baseball in September 1845 in part to play a more dignified game that would attract adults. The removal of the "soaking" rule allowed the Knickerbockers to develop a harder baseball that was more like a cricket ball. Gilbert, "The Birth of Baseball", Elysian Fields, 1995, pp. 16- 17.

    Dr. D.L. Adams of the Knickerbocker team stated that he produced baseballs for the various teams in New York in the 1840s and until 1858, when he located a saddler who could do the job. He would produce the balls using 3 to 4 oz of rubber as a core, then winding with yarn and covering with leather. Dr. D.L. Adams, "Memoirs of the Father of Baseball," Sporting News, February 29, 1896. Sullivan reprints this article in Early Innings, A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908, pages 13-18.

    Item submitted by Rob Loeffler, 3/1/07. See "The Evolution of the Baseball Up to 1872," March 2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - NY Man: "We Used to Say Come Let Us Play Ball or Base Ball"

    1845c.6

    Andrew Peck writes: "We used to say them come let us play Ball or Base Ball . . . . I used to play it at school from 1845-1850 [Peck was about 9 in 1845]. We used more of a flat bat and solid rubber ball. The balls we made ourselves [from strips of rubber overshoes - ed.] . . . . I forget now as to many points of the game, but I do remember that we used to run bases, and the opposite side to ours would try to get the ball, and you would have to be hit with it before out while running your base to get home."

    Letter from Andrew Peck, Canada Lake, NY, to the Mills Commission, September 1, 1907. John Thorn, email of 2/10/2008, reports that Peck attened school in "upper NY State.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1845 - Former Catcher Recalls Ballgame with Soaking and "Fugleing" in NYS

    1845c.7

    "1845 to 1849 I caught for a village nine in Ticonderoga, NY, upon a diamond shaped field having a boy on each base. The game differed from the present in that we were all umpires and privileged to soak the runner between bases.

    "The ball was yarn (with rubber around the centre, large as a small English walnut), covered with fine calf-skin - dressed side out, and therefore smooth and about the size of a Spalding ball. It was a beautiful thing to handle, difficult to knock into pieces, and was thrown from the center - straight and swift to the catcher's hands, wherever they were held; over the head, or between the legs, and was called "fugleing" and barred only by mutual consent."

    Letter from Albert H. Pratt to the Mills Commission, August 1905.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1846 - Knicks Play NYBBC in First Recorded Match Game, in Hoboken

    1846.1

    The Knickerbockers meet the New York Base Ball Club at the Elysian Fields of Hoboken, New Jersey, in the first match game played under the 1845 rules. The Knickerbockers lose the contest 23-1. Historians regard this game as the first instance of inter-club or match play under modern [Knickerbocker] rules.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1846 - Cricket Ball Whacks School Prexy in the Head

    1846.10

    "One summer day in 1846, Jones Wister, rummaging through the attic at "Belfield," found cricket balls, bats, and stumps left behind by a visiting English soldier. Jones and his brothers drove the stumps into the ground just about where La Salles's tennis courts now stand. One of the early cricket balls hit in the United States smashed through the window of William Wister's (now our president's) office and whacked Wister's head."

    Note: we need to retrieve full ref from website

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1846 - Suspicious Rochester NY Idler Observed Playing Wicket

    1846.11

    "You speak . . . of Harrington, the express robber as being in prison here. This is incorrect. He isn't, neither has he been in jail since his arrival here, unless you can call the Eagle Hotel a jail. . . . [W]hen the weather has been pleasant, he has occupied his time in playing wicket in the public square; or playing the fiddle in his room . . . to solace and relieve the tedium of his boredom."

    Rochester Police Officer Jacob Wilkinson letter of April 7, 1946, as quoted in "The Express Robbery," The National Police Gazette, Volume 1, Number 32 [April 18, 1846], page 277. Submitted by John Thorn, 9/2/2006. Note: It is possible to construe wicket as a daily Rochester occurrence from this snippet.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1846 - Brooklyn's Base Ballists and Cricketers Are Among the Thankful

    1846.12

    Reporting on Thanksgiving traditions:

    "The religiously inclined went to church; several companies went out of town upon target excursions; cricket and base ball clubs had public dinners; people ate the best they could get . . . and everybody, of course, was very thankful for everything, except the intense cold weather."

    The Brooklyn [NY] Daily Eagle and Kings County Democrat, vol. 5, number 285 (Friday, November 27, 846), page 3, column 4. Citation and image provided by Craig Waff, 4/30/2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1846 - Spring Sports at Harvard: "Bat & Ball" and Cricket

    1846.13

    "In the spring there is no playing of football, but "bat & ball" & cricket."

    From "Sibley's Private Journal," entry for August 31, 1846, as supplied to David Block by letter of 4/18/2005 from Prof. Harry R. Lewis at Harvard, Cambridge MA. Lewis notes that the Journal is "a running account of Harvard daily life in the mid nineteenth century."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1846 - English Crew Teaches Rounders to Baltic Islanders

    1846.14

    "In 1846 a three-master . . . from London stranded on the island. . . . The captain spent the winter with the local minister, and the sailors with the peasants. According to information given by a man named Matts Bisa, the visitors taught the men of Runö a new batting game. As the cry "runders" shows, his game was the English rounders, a predecessor of baseball. It was made part of the old cult game."

    Mehl [first name?], "A Batting Game on the Island of Runö," Western Folklore vol 8, number 3, (1949?), page 268. This game was conserved on the island, at least until 1949. Note: wish we hadn't dropped part of this citation.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1846 - Umpires 1, Players 0

    1846.15

    "The first recorded argument between a player and an umpire. The umpire wins."

    http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/excerpts/rules_chronology.stm. The site gives no reference for this item. Query: So . . . what was the beef?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1846 - Base Ball as Therapy in MA?

    1846.16

    According to the State Lunatic Hospital at Worcester, when "useful labor" wasn't possible for inmates, the remedies list: "chess, cards, backgammon, rolling balls, jumping the rope, etc., are in-door games; and base-ball, pitching quoits, walking and riding, are out-door amusements."

    Annual Report of the Trustees of the State Lunatic Hospital at Worcester, December 1846. Posted to 19CBB on 11/1/2007 by Richard Hershberger. Note: was "base-ball" a common term in MA then?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1846 - Cricketers Form All England Eleven

    1846.17

    [Sensing a large new audience, cricket entrepreneur William] "Clark therefore created the All England Eleven (AEE), a squad of professionals available to play matches wherever and whenever he could arrange fixtures. Exploiting the improved communications of the industrial age - turnpike roads and the ever-expanding railway network [not to mention a reliable and affordable postal service] - Clark set out to take cricket to all the corners of the kingdom, and from its first match in 1846, the AEE proved a resounding success." Simon Rae, It's Not Cricket: A History of Skullduggery, Sharp Practice and Downright Cheating in the Noble Game (Faber and Faber, 2001), page 70. Another facilitating factor that Rae might have mentioned was the rise of widely available and cheap newspapers.

    Caveat: Clark did not invent the AEE idea. Beth Hise, email of January 12, 2010, advises: "The name All-England dates back at least 100 years (1740s) to refer to a side put together from disparate players and not representing any particular place." She also notes that until 1903, the AEEs were all privately funded, so they are not to be thought of as "national" sides.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1846 - NYC: Inky Mob of Ballplayers 1, Policeman 0

    1846.18

    The scene: in the park in front of NYC's City Hall.

    "A simultaneous convocation of the emphatically "Young" Democracy occurred Friday about noon in the Park. Such an assemblage of juvenile dirt and raggedness has not, we warrant, been before seen even in New-York. The nucleus of this funny crowd was of course the news-boys and the inky imps from the printing-offices in this quarter. Around them were gathered all sorts of boys - big boys, baker-boys, apple-boys, rag-boys, and a sprinkling of "the boys" - were on hand, and constituted a formidable phalanx of fury. The occasion of this juvenile emeute was a Policeman who had disturbed an important game of ball which was going forward. He had several times remonstrated with the sportsmen and represented the panes and penalties likely to be broken and suffered by them, but without effect, and at length got possession of the Ball, which he "pocketed" with the certainty of an old billiard-player. Instantly he was surrounded by a mob of juvenility, hooting, jeering and laughing at him and which constantly increased its numbers. He stood it very well, however, until a great strapping urchin of fifteen, up to his elbows in printers' ink, came up and puffed a cloud of vile cigar-smoke in the poor fellow's face. This gained the day. The Ball was given up, the Policeman dove into the recesses of the City Hall and the game proceeded. New-York Daily Tribune, March 24, 1846, p. 1, col. 2., as posted to 19CBB by George Thompson, 2/24/2008.

    George's comment: "This NY park has always been a triangle, with its base in front of City Hall, and tapering southward to a point. At present, a good part of the broadest part of the Park is taken up by parking, which wouldn't have been the case then. There is now a fountain in the middle of what's left of the park - there was a fountain then, too, though I don't know where exactly. I suppose that there were trees here and there, as there are now. So whatever form of ball these rascals were playing, it had to accommodate itself to an oddly shaped field, with obstacles. But this is just the usual challenge that boys have always faced."

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1846 - One-Horse Wagon's Driver 1, Wicket Players 0

    1846.19

    A man drives his wagon along a road in Great Barrington MA, passing though was a dozen wicket players think of as their regular playing grounds. A throw hits the man in the pit of his stomach [now remember, wicket balls were darned heavy]. Naturally, he sues the players for trespass.

    The defendants' case: "at the time of the accident, Fayar Hollenbeck, on of the defendants, whose part in the game was to catch the ball after it had been struck, and to throw it back to the person whose business it was to roll it, was stationed in a northeasterly direction from the latter, who was atone of the wickets. The plaintiff had passed the wicket a little, and was west of a direct line from Hollenbeck to the person at the wicket. At this moment, Hollenbeck threw the ball with an intention to throw it to the person at the wicket; but the ball being wet, it slipped in his hand, when he was in the act of throwing it, and was thus turned from the intended direction, and struck the plaintiff."

    In the fall of 1848, the MA Supreme Court found for the traveler, saying, but much less succinctly, that the roads were built for travelers and that wicket was obviously too dangerous to play there.

    Luther S. Cushing, Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Volume 1 (Little, Brown and Co., Boston, 1865), pp. 453-457. Accessed 2/10/10 via Google Books search (cushing "vosburgh vs. john").

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1846 - Brooklyn BBC Established, May Become "Crack Club of County?"

    1846.2

    "A number of our most respectable young men have recently organized themselves into a club for the purpose of participating in the healthy and athletic sport of base ball. From the character of the members this will be the crack club of the County. A meeting of this club will be held to-morrow evening at the National House for the adoption of by-laws and the completion of its organization."

    "Brooklyn City Base Ball Club," Brooklyn Daily Eagle and Kings County Democrat, vol. 5, number 162 (July 6, 1846), page 2, column 2. Citation and image supplied by Craig Waff, 4/30/2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1846 - New "Original and Unusual" Manual Has New Slants on Rounders, Trap-ball

    1846.3

    The Every Boy's Book of Games, Sports, and Diversions [London, Vickers], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, pages 208 - 209. Not to be mistaken for the 1841 Every Boy's Book (see entry #1841.1, above), this book is called "original and unusual" by Block. For one thing, it includes two forms of trap-ball, the second being the "Essex" version referred to in the 1801 Strutt opus.

    The book's description of rounders is unique in written accounts of the game. Rounders, it says, has holes instead of bases, can have from four to eight of them, runners starting game at every base [all with bats, and all running on hit balls], and outs are recorded if the fielding team throws the ball anywhere between the bases that form a runner's base path. Concludes Block: "In its four-base form, this version of rounders is remarkably similar to the American game of four-old-cat. Yes, the very game that Albert Spalding classified in 1905 as the immediate predecessor to town-ball, and which was part of his proof that baseball could not have descended from 'the English picnic game of rounders,' was, at least in this one instance, identified [sic?- LM] as none other than rounders." Note: Does the book identify rounders with old-cat games, or does Block so that?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1846 - New Primer by Sanders Repeats Illustration from 1840 Reader

    1846.4

    Sanders, Charles W., Sanders' Pictorial Primer, or, An Introduction to "Sanders' First Reader [New York, Newman and Ivison and other pub'rs in NY, Philadelphia, and Newburgh NY], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 209. As in Sanders' 1840 Reader, the cover has the same illustration of two boys playing with a bat and ball in a schoolyard.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1846 - Knicks Play Only Intramural Games Through 1850.

    1846.5

    The Knickerbockers continue to play intramural matches at Elysian Fields, but play no further interclub matches until 1851.

    Knickerbocker Base Ball Club, Club Books 1854-1868, from the Albert G. Spalding Collection of Knickerbocker Base Ball Club's Club Books, Rare Books and Manuscripts Division, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations. Per Gushov, p. 167.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1846 - Walt Whitman Sees Boys Playing "Base" in Brooklyn: "Glorious"

    1846.6

    In July of 1846 a Brooklyn Eagle piece by Walt Whitman read: "In our sun-down perambulations of late, through the outer parts of Brooklyn, we have observed several parties of youngsters playing "base," a certain game of ball. We wish such sights were more common among us. In the practice of athletic and manly sports, the young men of nearly all our American cities are very deficient. Clerks are shut up from early morning till nine or ten o'clock at night . . . . Let us go forth awhile, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our close rooms . . . the game of ball is glorious."

    "City Intelligence," Brooklyn Daily Eagle and Kings County Democrat, vol. 5 number 177 (July 23, 1846), page 2, column 3. Reprinted in Herbert Bergman, ed., Walt Whitman. The Journalism. Vol. 1: 1834 - 1846. (Collected Works of Walt Whitman) [Peter Lang, New York, 1998], volume 1, page 477. Full Eagle citation submitted by George Thompson, 8/2/2004. . Full citation and image provided by Craig Waff, 4/30/2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1846 - Amherst Juniors Drop Wicket Game, 77 to 53: says Young Billjamesian

    1846.7

    "Friday, October 16. At prayers as usual. Studied Demosthenes till breakfast time. After breakfast came off the great match between our class and the juniors. We beat them 77 to 53. They had on the ground nineteen men out of twenty-nine, and we thirty out of thirty-five. Had the remainder of both classes been there, at the same rate we should have beaten them 90 to 81. As a class they were completely used up. Their players, however, averaged about 0.23 each more than ours. The whole was played out in about an hour. The victory was completely ours, a result different from what I expected. Got a lesson in Demosthenes and went to recitation." On October 3, the MA diarist had written: "played a game of wicket, with a party of fellows . . . . Had a fine game, though I, knowing little of the rules, was soon bowled out. Then came home and wrote journal till 5PM. Then to prayers and afterward to supper."

    Hammond, William G., Remembrance of Amherst: An Undergraduate's Diary, 1846-1848. [Columbia University Press, New York, 1946], page 26. Per John Thorn 7/04/2003. Note: is it conclusive from this excerpt's context that the MA students were playing wicket on October 16?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1846 - Amherst Alum Recalls How Wicket Was Played

    1846.8

    Dr. Edward Hitchcock gives this account of the game of wicket at is MA college:

    "In my days baseball was neither a science nor an art, but we played 'wicket'. On smooth and level ground about 20 feet apart were placed two 'wickets,' pine sticks 1 inch square and 8 to 10 feet long, supported on a block at each end so as to be easily knocked off. The ball was made of yarn, covered with stout leather, about six inches in diameter and bowled with all the power of the wicket tender at each end. The aim was to roll it as swiftly as possible at the opposite wicket and knock it down if possible. This was defended by the man with a broad bat, 3 feet long, and the oval about 8 inches [across], who must defend his wicket. If the bowler could by [bowling] a fair ball, striking twice between the wickets, knock down the opposite wicket, the striker was out. But if the batter could by a direct or sideways hit send the ball sideways or overhead the outside men, they [ i.e. ., the batter and his teammate at the opposite end] could run till the ball was in the hands of the bowler. But the bowler to get the batter out must with the ball in his hand knock the wicket outwards before the batter could strike his bat outside a line three feet inside the wicket . . . . This game was played on the lowest part of the 'walk' under the trees which now extends from chapel to the church."

    Hitchcock, Edward, "Recollections," in George F. Whicher, ed., Remembrance of Amherst: An Undergraduate's Diary, 1846-1848. [Columbia University Press, 1946], page 188. Per John Thorn 7/04/2003.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1846 - Town Ball in Rockford IL

    1846.9

    "I came West 59 years ago, in 1846, and found "Town Ball" a popular game at all Town meetings. I do not recall an instance of a money bet on the game; but, at Town meeting, the side losing had to buy the ginger bread and cider." [July letter]

    "[Town Ball] was so named because it was mostly played at "Town Meetings." It had as many players on a side as chose to play; but the principal players were "Thrower" and "Catcher." There were three bases and a home plate. The players were put out by being touched with ball [sic] or hit with thrown ball, when off the base. You can readily see that the present game [1900's baseball] is an evolution from Town Ball." [April letter]

    Letters from H. H. Waldo, Rockford IL, to the Mills Commission, April 8 and July 7, 1905.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1847 - Ice Bowl

    1847.10

    "Cricket Match on the Ice. - A cricket match which afforded considerable amusement to a large field of spectators, has been played during the week, in Long Meadow, near Oxford, between two sides of eight each, selected by Messrs. W. and J. Bacon, most of them well known cricketers, as well as good skaters." Spirit of the Times, Saturday, February 6, 1847, page 596, column 2. J. Bacon's side won, 93-89. Provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1847 - Curling is "Bass Ball," or "Goal," or "Hook-em-Snivy," on the Ice?

    1847.11

    In response to an article from the Alabama Reporter belittling the sport of curling, the Spirit of the Times writer attempts to describe curling to Southerners like this: "What is 'Curling,' eh? Why, did you ever play 'bass ball,' or 'goal,' or 'hook-em-snivy,' on the ice? Well, curling is not like either. In curling, sides are chosen; each player has a bat, one end of which is turned up, somewhat like a plough-handle, with which to knock a ball on ice without picking it up as in the game of foot-ball, which curling resembles." The Spirit of the Times, January 16, 1847, page 559. Provided by David Block, email of 2/27/2008. David explains, "Clearly, the writer had curling confused with ice hockey, which was itself an embryonic sport that the time." Or maybe he confused it with ice-hurling, which actually employs a ball. Note: Could gentle readers please enlighten Protoball on the nature and fate of "hook-em-snivy," in AL or the South or elsewhere? I asked Mister Google about the word, and he rather less helpfully and rather more cryptically than usual, said this: "My Quaker grandmother, born in Maryland in 1823, used [the word] in my hearing when she was about seventy years old. She said that it was a barbarism in use among common people and that we must forget it."

    From Richard Hershberger, 12/8/09: "What makes this so interesting is that the response speaks of "bass ball" played on ice. This is a decade before such games were commonly reported, suggesting that the [later] practice by organized clubs was borrowed from older, informal play on ice."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1847 - Mainers' "Bat and Ball" Event Leads to Delayed Catharsis

    1847.12

    "A very pleasant incident occurred in one of our public schools a day or two since. It seems that the boys attending the school, of the average age of seven years, had in their play of bat and ball, broken one of the neighbors windows, but no clue of the offender could be obtained."

    The neighbor came to the school to complain, and later a boy confessed, and then the rest of the players said they would chip in to pay for damages. "A thrill of pleasure seemed to run through the school at the display of correct feeling."

    New-Hampshire Gazette, May 11, 1847; the story is there credited to the Bangor [ME] Whig. Accessed May 4, 2009 via subscription search.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1847 - Soldier Sees January Ball Games at Camp at Saltillo

    1847.2

    Adolph Engelmann, an Illinois volunteer in the Mexican War, January 30, 1847: "During the past week we had much horse racing and the drill ground was fairly often in use for ball games."

    "The Second Illinois in the Mexican War: Mexican War Letters of Adolph Engelmann, 1846-1846," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Vol. 26, number 4 [January 1934], page 435. Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809. César González adds that Saltillo is in the northeastern part of Mexico, and that the soldier may have been preparing for the battle of Buena Vista that occurred a few weeks later; email of 12/6/2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1847 - Tiny Book Has Odd Description of "Bat and Ball."

    1847.3

    The Book of Sports [Philadelphia, E. W. Miller], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 209. The children's book measures two inches by three inches, and describes dozens of juvenile activities. One of these, called "bat and ball," is played "by two parties, one throwing the ball in the air, the opposite boy tries to strike it with his bat; if he fails it counts one against the party to which he belongs. . . " Note: No bases, no running? Do we recognize this game? It's a bit like stoolball without the stools.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1847 - Book of Children's Tales Includes Recycled Illustrations of Ballplaying

    1847.4

    Barbauld, Anna Leticia, Charles' Journey to France and Other Tales [Worcester MA, E. Livermore, 1847], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 209. This book of children's tales has a chapter called "The Ball Players, with "a strange poem celebrating generic ball play," - evidently meant to include the tennis-like game of fives- and Block adds that "[i]llustrating the poem are several woodcuts borrowed from earlier children's books."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1847 - Halliwell's 960-Page Dictionary Cites Base-ball, Rounders, Tut-ball

    1847.5

    Halliwell, James O., A Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words [London, J. R. Smith, 1847], 2 volumes, per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, pages 209 - 210. The "base-ball" entry: "a country game mentioned in Moor's Suffolk Words, p. 238" (see item #1823.2 above). Rounders is just "a boy's game at balls." Tut-ball is "a sort of stobball." Other games are similarly covered, but Block does not quote them. It seems that Halliwell was not a fan of sport. Note: can a list of the other safe-haven games be made?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1847 - "Grand Match of Cricket" Planned in NYC

    1847.6

    "On Thursday next, 1st July, as we are informed, there will by a grand match of Cricket played on the St. George's Ground. We know that even eating and drinking are abused, and arguments should be founded on the use, not the abuse or any practice. The time and reflection will be quite as much, or more, upon the practices of ten pins, billiards, base ball, quoits, rackets, &c."

    Anglo-American, A Journal of Literature, News, Politics, the Drama, Fine ArtsJanuary 26, 1847 [New York]. Submitted by David Ball 6/4/2006. Note: Why a July game noted in January? What is point of the reference to other games?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1847 - Occupation Army Takes Ballgame to Natives In . . . Santa Barbara?

    1847.7

    The New York Volunteer Regiment reached California in April 1847 after the end of the Mexican War, and helped to occupy the province. They laid out a diamond [where State and Cota Streets now meet], made a ball from gutta percha, and used a mesquite stick as a bat. Partly because batted balls found their way into the windowless nearby adobes, there were some problems. "Largely because of the baseball games, the Spanish-speaking people of Santa Barbara came to look upon the New Yorkers as loudmouthed, uncouth hoodlums. . . . the hostilities between Californians and Americanos continued to fester for generations."

    Walter A. Tompkins, "Baseball Began Here in 1847," It Happened in Old Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara National Bank, undated), pages 77-78. Caveat: Angus McFarland has not been able to verify this account as of November 2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1847 - Soldier Recalls Town-ball

    1847.8

    "I often think of you and the many pleasant and happy hours I passed at the old Hoffman school house, pelting each other with snow-balls and playing town-ball. [but the balls a soldier plies] are dangerous, and when they strike they leave more painful marks than the ones you used to pitch or throw at me when running to base . . . "

    Oswandel, J. Jacob, "Notes of the Mexican War, 1846-1847-1848," (Philadelphia, 1885), page unspecified. Provided by Richard Hershberger, emails of 2/5/2007 and 1/30/2008. Richard notes that Oswandel's home town was Lewistwon PA, and 60 miles northwest of Philly.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1847 - Li'l Prince's Birthday Party Includes Cricket, Rounders.

    1847.9

    Richard Hershberger relates: The Preston Guardian (Preston, England) of August 14, 1847 reported on the birthday celebration of Prince Alfred, Queen Victoria's fourth child, who was three years old. The activities included a long list of physical activities, including ' . . . Dancing, cricket, quoits, trap bat and ball, and rounders . . . . ' No mention of "base ball," but we wouldn't expect one if "base ball" and "rounders" were synonyms. Posted to 19CBB, 2/5/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1847 - Henry Chadwick Plays a "Scrub" Game of Baseball?

    1847c.1

    "My first experience on the field in base ball on American soil was in 1847, when one summer afternoon a party of young fellows visited the Elysian Fields, and after watching some ball playing on the old Knickerbocker field we made up sides for a scrub game . . . ."

    Per Frederick Ivor-Campbell, "Henry Chadwick," in Frederick Ivor-Campbell, et. al, eds., Baseball's First Stars [SABR, Cleveland, 1996], page 26. No reference given. Fred provided a fuller reference on 10/2/2006: the quote is from an unidentified newspaper column, copyright 1887 by O.P. Caylor, mounted in Henry Chadwick Scrapbooks, Volume 2. Fred adds: "I wouldn't trust the precision of the date 1847, though it was about that time." Fred sees no evidence that Chadwick played between this scrub game and 1856. On 1/13/10, Gregory Christiano contributed a facsimile of the Caylor article, "Base Ball Reminiscences."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1848 - Knickerbocker Rules and By-laws Are Printed; Original Phrase Deleted

    1848.1

    The earliest known printing of the September 1845 rules. By-laws and Rules of the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club [New York, W. H. B. Smith Book and Fancy Job Printer], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 223. Its rule 15 deletes the phrase "it being understood, however, that in no instance is a ball to be thrown at him [the baserunner]." David Block posting to 19CBB, 6/16/2005. David also feels that a new rule appeared in the 1848 list that a runner cannot score a run on a force out for the third out. David Block posting to 19CBB, 1/5/2006.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1848 - Ballgame Marks Anniversary in MA

    1848.10

    "In Barre, Massachusetts [about 20 miles northwest of Worcester], the anniversary of the organization of government was celebrated by a game of ball - round or base ball, we suppose - twelve on a side. It took four hours to play three heats, and the defeated party paid for a dinner at the Barre Hotel."

    North American and United States Gazette, June 7, 1848. Provided by John Thorn, 10/12/2007. A team size of 12 and three-game match are consistent with some Mass game contests. Note: This seems to have been a Philadelphia paper; why would it carry - or reprint - this central-MA story?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1848 - First US Cricket Match With No Foreign Players?

    1848.11

    "the Clipper claimed the first all-American cricket match was played between New York City and Newark in 1848."

    Gelber, Steven M., "'Their Hands Are All Out Playing:' Business and Amateur Baseball, 1845-1917," Journal of Sport History, Vol. 11, number 1 (Spring 1984), page 15. Gelber cites the Clipper, August 19, 1854.

    Caveat: Beth Hise [email of 1/2/10] advises that an authoritative 1904 source dates this match in the summer of 1854. See #1854.14. Query: is there findable evidence on Clipper coverage in 1848?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1848 - Wicket Reported as Fashionable in Western MA

    1848.12

    "We are glad to see the games of foot-ball and wicket so fashionable this spring, . ."

    "Athletic Sports," Westfield News Letter, April 5, 1848; cited by Genovese, Daniel L, The Old Ball Ground: The Chronological History of Westfield Baseball (2004), page 11; Genovese says that this article appears to be the News Letter's first reference to wicket.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1848 - In Cincinnati OH, Game of "Batt and Ball" Played at Picnic

    1848.13

    "One might guess that baseball would have made an early appearance in Cincinnati, the nation's largest inland city at mid-nineteenth century and the home of the professional game. There is mention of a game called bat(t) and ball in the Cincinnati Commercial of May 19, 1848 but the first club, the Live Oak was not formed until 1866 and the first match game played that year."

    John R. Husman, "Ohio's First Baseball Game: Played by Confederates and Taught to Yankees," presented to the SABR convention in Cincinnati July 2004. The text"

    "[At a Pic Nic party] the company formed themselves into two [five-player ]clubs, for the purpose of testing the new game of Batt and Ball." The score was 92 to 77. "N.B., The trial match will take place in the course of a few days . . . . Three more Gents wanted in each Club."

    "Pic Nic," Cincinnati Commercial, May 19, 1848. Account and image provided by John Husman, 8/27/2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1848 - Game of Baseball Attains Official Perch in Lexicon!

    1848.14

    "BASE. A game of hand-ball." John Russell Bartlett, Dictionary of Americanisms: A Glossary of Words and Phrases Usually Regarded as Peculiar to the United States (first edition; Bartlett and Welford, New York, 1848), page 24.) Provided by David Block, email of 2/27/2008. David indicates that this is "the earliest known listing of baseball in an American dictionary." Bartlett offers a more elaborate definition in 1859 - see below.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1848 - English Novel Mentions, Thread-the-Needle, "Base-Ball:" "Such Games!

    1848.15

    "he gave Bessy his arm, and they went over to Bushey Park, where most of the party from the van had collected. And they were having such games! Base-ball, and thread-the-needle, and kiss-in-the-ring, until their laughter might have been heard at Twickenham." Albert Smith, The Struggles and Adventures of Christopher Tadpole at Home and Abroad (Richard Bentley, London, 1848), page 121. Provided by David Block, 2/27/2008 email. Note: This all sounds a tad less than chaste to the 21st century mind, eh?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1848 - Fast-Day Notice to NH Subscribers

    1848.16

    "Next Thursday being "Fast Day," we shall issue our paper as usual on the following Tuesday, although our compositors will doubtless take a game with bat and ball."

    New-Hampshire Gazette, April 11, 1848. Accessed May 4, 2009 via subscription search.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1848 - Cricket Along the Erie Canal

    1848.17

    On 12/11/09, Richard Hershberger posted a clip, datelined Utica NY, from the Oneida Morning Herald of December 5, 1848 that offered a $10 reward for recovery of a hand roller - presumably one used to smooth a playing area - by the Star of the West Cricket Club.

    Richard added: "I found this while looking a cricket in the area, which was surprisingly vibrant. There was active inter-city play between the Erie Canal cities [such cities include Utica, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo NY]. This item is a simply fantastic look at a practical side to the game. A $10 reward strikes me as downright extravagant. That must have been quite a piece of wood. Baseball clubs didn't need to fool with this sort of thing, which would make the game accessible to all classes."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1848 - Soldiers Play Ball During Western Trip

    1848.2

    "Saturday March the 6th. We drilled as before and through the day we play ball and amuse ourselves the best way we can. It is very cool weather and clothing scarce."

    Smith, Azariah, The Gold Discovery Journal of Azariah Smith [Utah State University, Logan UT, 1996], page 78. Submitted by John Thorn, 10/12/2004. Note - We should investigate the nature of the journey and the approximate location if possible.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1848 - Teen Diarist in NY/NJ Records Ballplaying

    1848.3

    The eighteen year old Edward Tailer "played ball" in New York on March 25, at Hoboken on April 15th, and at Hoboken on April 21st.

    Edward Neuville Tailer, Diaries I - July 20, 1837 to July 1, 1848, and Diaries II - July 28, 1846 to April 12, 1848, At the New-York Historical Society. Submitted by George Thompson, 5/12/2005

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1848 - The Knicks' Defensive Deployment, Thanksgiving Day Game

    1848.4

    In the Knickerbockers' Thanksgiving Day, 1848, intramural game, two squads of eight squared off. Each featured three (out) fielders, basemen at fist, second, and third, a pitch(er), and a behind. My notes further reflect the further use of "behind" in the 8/30/56 match between the Knicks and the Empires. The Empires elected to play without a shortstop while positioning two men 'behind'"

    19CBB posting by John Thorn, 7/23/2005. The source is presumably the Knick scorebooks.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1848 - New York Book of Games Covers Stool-ball, Rounders

    1848.5

    Boy's Own Book of Sports, Birds, and Animals [New York, Leavitt and Allen], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 209-210. In this book's large section, "The Boy's Book of Sports and Games," attributed to "Uncle John," more than 200 games are described, including trap-ball, rounders, and stool-ball. Block notes that "The version of rounders the book presents is generally consistent with others from the period, with perhaps a little more detail than most. It specifies the number of bases as four or five and describes a bat of only two feet in length." Given the choice of games included [and, probably, the exclusion of familiar American games], he believes the author is English, "[y]et I find no evidence of its publication in Great Britain prior to [1848]." This 184-page section was later published in London in 1850 and in Philadelphia in 1851.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1848 - London Book Describes Two Rounders Variants

    1848.6

    Richardson, H. D., Holiday Sports and Pastimes for Boys [London, Wm S. Orr], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, pages 211-212. This book's section "Games with Toys" includes two variants of rounders. Block's summary:

    "The first of these is of a somewhat cricket-like game. A wicket of two 'stumps,' or sticks, with no crosspiece [bail], was set up behind the batter, with three other stumps as corners of an equilateral triangle in front of the batter. A bowler served the ball, as in cricket, and, if the batter hit it, he attempted to touch each of the stumps in succession, as in baseball. The batter was out if he missed the ball, if the struck ball was caught on the fly, of if a fielder touches one the stumps with the ball before a base runner reached it. It is noteworthy that this cricket-baseball hybrid did not include the practice of 'soaking' or 'plugging' the runner with the thrown ball.

    "The book's second version of rounders is a more traditional variety, with no wicket behind the batter. It featured a home base and three others marked with sticks as in the previous version. The author distinguishes this form of rounders the other in its use of a 'pecker or feeder' rather than a 'bowler.' He also points out that 'in this game it is sought to strike, not the wicket, but the player, and if struck with the ball when absent from one of the rounders, or posts, he is out.' (Of all the known published descriptions of the game in the nineteenth century, this is the only one to use the term 'rounders' to denote bases. [DB]) This second version of the game also featured 'taking of the rounders,' which elsewhere was generally known as 'hitting for the rounder.' This option was exercised when all members of a side were out, and the star player then had three pitches with which to attempt to hit a home run. If he was successful, his team retained its at-bat."

    Note: Were none of the other traditional English safe-haven games - cricket, stool-ball, etc., included in this book?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1848 - Brooklyn Youth "Mistook Another Youth for a Ball," Riot Ensues

    1848.7

    "DIMINUTIVE RIOT. A lot of boys from the 8th ward were undergoing an examination at the police office this morning, on a charge of having engaged in some riotous and disorderly proceedings, with which they terminated at game of ball. . . . One of the young rioters mistook another youth, Robert Pontin, for a ball, struck him a terrible plow on the mouth with a large ball club, and injured him so much as to require the skill of a dentist. We hope our neighbors of the rural wards are not often disgraced with similar transactions."

    "Diminutive Riot," Brooklyn Daily Eagle and Kings County Democrat, vol. 7, number 107 (May 5, 1848), page 2, column 4. Excerpt submitted by David Ball 6/4/2006. Full citation and image provided by Craig Waff, 4/30/2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1848 - Cricket Flourishes at Haverford College PA

    1848.8

    "The College was closed in 1845. When it reopened in 1848, cricket sprang up again under the leadership of an English tutor in Dr. Lyons' school nearby. Two cricket clubs, the Delian and the Lycaean, were formed, and then a third the Dorian."

    John Lester, A Century of Philadelphia Cricket [UPenn Press, Philadelphia, 1951], page 11. Lester does not provide a source.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1848 - Young Benjamin Harrison Plays Town Ball, Baste in OH

    1848c.9

    [As a teenage student at Farmer's College, near Cincinnati OH, Harrison] "[w]hile closely applying himself to study, always standing fair in his classes, respected by instructors and popular with his associates, prompt in recitation and obedient to rules, nevertheless he found time for amusement and sport, such as snow-balling, town-ball, bull-pen, shinny, and baste, all more familiar to lads in that day than this."

    Life and Public Services of Hon. Benjamin Harrison [Sedgewood Publishing Company, 1892], page 53.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1849 - Knicks Sport First Uniform - White Shirt, Blue Pantaloons

    1849.1

    "April 24, 1849: The first baseball uniform [but see #1838c.8 above - LM] is adopted at a meeting of the New York Knickerbocker Club. It consists of blue woolen pantaloons, a white flannel shirt, and a straw hat."

    Baseballlibrary.com, at

    http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/chronology/1849Year.stm,

    accessed 6/20/2005. No source is given.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1849 - Ladies' Wicket in England?

    1849.10

    "BAT AND BALL AMONG THE LADIES. Nine married ladies beat nine single ones at a game of wicket in England recently. The gamesters were all dressed in white - the married party with blue trimmings and the others in pink."

    Milwaukee[WI] Sentinel and Gazette, vol. 5, number 116 (September 4, 1849), page 2, column 2. Provided by Craig Waff, email of 8/14/2007. Beth Hise [email of 3/3/2008] reports that the wearing of colored ribbons was a much older tradition. Note: One may ask if something got lost in the relay of this story to Wisconsin. We know of no wicket in England, and neither wicket or cricket used nine-player teams.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1849 - Character in Fictional Autobiography Played Cricket, Base-Ball

    1849.11

    "On fourths of July, training days and other occasions, young men from the country around, at a distance of fifteen or twenty miles, would come for the purpose of competing for the championship of these contests, in which, in which, as the leader of the school, I soon became conspicuous. Was there a game at cricket or base-ball to be played, my name headed the list of the athletae." W.S. Mayo, Kaloolah, or Journeying to the Djebel Kumri. An Autobiography (George P. Putnam, New York, 1849), page 20. The following page has an isolated reference to the ball grounds at the school. Mayo was from upstate NY. Posting to 19CBB by Richard Hershberger, 1/24/2008. Richard considers this the first appearance of base-ball in American fiction, as the games in #1837.2 and #1838.4 above are not cited as base ball and could be another type of game. The fifth edition [1850] of Kaloolah is available via Google Books, and was accessed on 10/24/2008; the ballplaying references in this edition are on pages 20 and 21.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1849 - Ladies Cricket Match Reported in London

    1849.12

    "Bat and Ball Among the Ladies. - A London paper has the following account of a cricket match between married and single ladies. The married, it seems, carry the day at hard knocks.: 'On Wednesday, nine married ladies beat nine single ladies at a match of cricket, at Picket Post, in the New Forest, by one run only, the married scoring fifty, the single forty-nine. The ladies were dressed in white - the former with blue trimmings, the latter with pink."

    New London Democrat, September 8, 1849. Accessed May 4, 2009 via subscription search. New Forest appears to be near the Channel coast In Hampshire, near Southampton.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1849 - Did Cartwright Play Ball on His Way to California?

    1849.13

    "April 23, 1849 [evidently the day before Cartwright left Independence MO for California] During the past week we have passed the time in fixing the wagon covers, stowing away property etc., varied by hunting , fishing, swimming and playing base-ball. I have the ball and book of Rules with me that we used in forming the Knickerbocker Base-ball Club back home."

    Source: Cartwright family typed copy of lost handwritten diary by Alexander Cartwright, as cited in Monica Nucciarone, Alexander Cartwright: The Life Behind the Baseball Legend (UNebraska Press, 2009), page 31. Nucciarone adds that this version differs from the transcription in a Hawaii museum, in that the baseball references only appear in the family's version.

    Caution: The legend is that Cartwright played his way west. Nucciarone, page 30: "[W]hile it's easy to imagine Cartwright playing baseball when he could and spreading the new game across the country as he went, it's much more difficult to prove he did this. The evidence is scant and inconsistent."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1849 - Doc Adams Creates Modern Shortstop Position

    1849.2

    D.L. Adams (see entry for 1840) invents the position of shortstop by moving the fourth outfielder into the infield.

    Knickerbocker Base Ball Club, Club Books 1854-1868, from the Albert G. Spalding Collection of Knickerbocker Base Ball Club's Club Books, Rare Books and Manuscripts Division, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations. Linkage per John Thorn, 6/15/04, citation Per Gushov, p. 167. Also described in John Thorn, "Daniel Lucas Adams (Doc)," in Frederick Ivor-Campbell, et. al, eds., Baseball's First Stars [SABR, Cleveland, 1996], page 1.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1849 - NY Game Shown to "Show Me" State of MO

    1849.3

    "Indigenous peoples west of the Mississippi may not have seen the game until 1849 when Alexander Cartwright, near Independence, Missouri, noted baseball play in his April 23rd diary entry: 'During the past week we have passed the time in fixing wagon covers . . . etc., varied by hunting and fishing and playing baseball [sic]. It is comical to see the mountain men and Indians playing the new game. I have a ball with me that we used back home.'"

    Altherr, Thomas L., "North American Indigenous People and Baseball: 'The One Single Thing the White Man Has Done Right,'" in Altherr, ed., Above the Fruited Plain: Baseball in the Rocky Mountain West, SABR National Convention Publication, 2003, page 20.

    Query: Is Tom saying that there were no prior safe-haven ball games [cricket, town ball, wicket] out west, or just that the NY game hadn't arrived until 1849?

    Caution: Some scholars have expressed doubt about the authenticity of this diary entry, which differs from an earlier type-script version.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1849 - Inmates Play Base Ball at Worcester MA "Lunatic Hospital"

    1849.6

    "[O]utdoor amusements consist in the game of quoits, base ball, walking in parties . . . "

    "State Lunatic Hospital at Worcester," The Christian Register, Volume 28, Issue 6 [February 10, 1849], page 6. Submitted by Bill Wagner 6/4/2006 and David Ball, 6/4/2006. Bill notes that the same article appears in Massachusetts Ploughman and New England Journal of Agriculture, Volume 8 Issue 20 [February 17, 1849], page 4. Cf. item #146.16 above.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1849 - Ball Play and Word Play from Boston MA

    1849.7

    "The Boston Post in speaking [of] family discipline, remarked the other day, that Mr. Peppercase['s] neighbor, in his treatment of his children, reminded him of the game of ball - he was eternally batting them and they were always bawling."

    Brooklyn Eagle, June 16, 1849, page 2. Submitted by David Ball, 6/4/2006.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1849 - NYC Firemen Find "A Little Excitement" in a Winter Game of Ball

    1849.8

    "You may next find us on the common where the party generally were engaged at an enthusiastic game of ball which served for a little excitement, and, best of all, induced a smart appetite. But the dinner bell has rung, and we rush off to Rensen's."

    Brooklyn Eagle, December 26, 1849, page 3. Submitted by David Ball 6/4/2006.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1849 - Westfield Whips Granville in Wicket

    1849.9

    "BALL PLAYING. A game of Wicket came off between the ball-players of Westfield and Granville MA on Thursday, at which the Westfield boys won the first three games by 10, 20, and 40 runs."

    The Vermont Gazette, vol. 70, number 13 (July 19, 1849), page 1, column 2. Provided by Craig Waff, email, 8/14/2007.

    Genovese, citing the Westfield News Letter of July 11, 1849, also writes of this contest. [Genovese, Daniel L, The Old Ball Ground: The Chronological History of Westfield Baseball (2004), pages 17-18. He reports that over 1000 persons attended the match, that it was a best-of-five contest, and that Westfield did in fact have an easy time with the "science players" from Granville, which had played Hartford CT and Blandford MA [about 20 miles west of Springfield].

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1849 - A. G. Mills, Friend Recall "Base Ball" Play at School

    1849c.4

    Mills to Cogswell: "Among the vivid recollections of my early life at Union Hall Academy [Jamaica, Long Island, NY] is a game of ball in which I played, where the boys of the side at bat were put out by being hit with the ball. My recollection is that we had first base near the batsman's position; the second base was a tree at some distance, and the third base was the home base, also near the batsman's position."

    Cogswell to Mills: "My recollection of the game of Base Ball, as we played it for years at Union Hall, say from 1849 to 1856, is quite clear. "

    "You are quite right about the three bases, their location and the third base being home.

    "The batsman in making a hit went to the first base, unless the ball was caught either on a fly or on first bound. In running the bases he was out by being touched or hit with the ball while further from any base than he could jump. The bases were not manned, the ball being thrown at a runner while trying for a base. The striker was not obliged to strike till he thought he had a good ball, but was out the first time he missed the ball when striking, and it was caught by the catcher either on the fly or on the first bound. There was no limit to the number of players and a side was not out till all the players had been disposed of. If the last player could make three home runs that put the side back in again. When there were but few players there was a rule against "Screwing," i.e., making strikes that would be called "foul." We used flat bats, and it was considered quite an art to be able to "screw" well, as that sent the ball away from the bases.

    A. G. Mills letter to Colonel Wm S. Cogswell, January 10, 1905, and Wm. S. Cogswell letter to A. G. Mills, January 19, 1905. From the Mills Collection, Giamatti Center, HOF.. Thanks to Jeremy LeBlanc for information on Union Hall Academy, email, 9/23/2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1849 - New Chapbook Names Several Games Played with Balls

    1849c.5

    Juvenile Pastimes; or Girls' and Boys' Book of Sports [New Haven, S. Babcock], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 212. In this 16-page book's "Playing Ball" section is the observation that "[t]here are a great number of games played with balls, of which base-ball, trap ball, cricket, up-ball, catch-ball and drive ball are most common." Note: "Up-ball?" "Drive ball?" No town ball?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - British Trade Unionists Play Base Ball

    1850.22

    Richard Hershberger found an account of blue collar base ball in England. A union journal described a May 21 march in which "hundreds of good and true Democrats" participated. Boating down the Thames from London, the group got to Gravesend [Kent] and later reached "the spacious grounds of the Bat and Ball Tavern," where they took up various activities, including "exhilarating" games of "cricket, base ball, and other recreations." Source: "Grand Whitsuntide Chartist Holiday," Northern Star and National Trades' Journal, Volume 13, Number 657 (May 25, 1850), page 1. Posted to 19CBB on 2/5/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - British Trade Unionists Play Base Ball

    1850.22

    Richard Hershberger found an account of blue collar base ball in England. A union journal described a May 21 march in which "hundreds of good and true Democrats" participated. Boating down the Thames from London, the group got to Gravesend [Kent] and later reached "the spacious grounds of the Bat and Ball Tavern," where they took up various activities, including "exhilarating" games of "cricket, base ball, and other recreations." Source: "Grand Whitsuntide Chartist Holiday," Northern Star and National Trades' Journal, Volume 13, Number 657 (May 25, 1850), page 1. Posted to 19CBB on 2/5/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - English Novel Briefly Mentions Base-Ball

    1850.23

    "Emma, drawing little Charles toward her, began a confidential conversation with him on the subject of his garden and companions at school, and the comparative merits of cricket and base-ball." Catherine Anne Hubback, The Younger Sister, Volume I (London, Thomas Newby 1850), page 166. Provided by David Block, 2/27/2008. Mrs. Hubback was the niece of Jane Austen.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - US Has Twenty Cricket Clubs

    1850.29

    "Despite its shortcomings, cricket enjoyed significant popularity in the United States. By 1850, there were a half dozen clubs in New York and about twenty around the United States."

    William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning (McFarland, 2009), page 105. See George Kirsch, "American Cricket: Players and Clubs Before the Civil War," Journal of Sport History, Volume 11 (Spring 1984).

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - NH Ballplaying Washed Out on Fast Day

    1850.32

    "Fast Day. Disappointment fastened upon a thousand boys and girls, who calculated on a first rate, tall time on Fast Day. It seemed as if al the water valves in the clouds were opened, and we dare assert that rain never fell faster. The sun didn't shine, the birds didn't sing, the boys didn't play ball . . . "

    "Fast Day," New-Hampshire Gazette, April 9, 1850. Accessed via 4/9/09 subscription search.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - "Boy's Treasury" Describes Rounders, Feeder, Stoolball, Etc.

    1850.5

    The Boy's Treasury, published in New York, contains descriptions of feeder [p. 25], Rounders [p. 26], Ball Stock [p. 27], Stool-Ball [p. 28], Northern Spell [p. 33] and Trap, Bat, and Ball [p 33]. The cat games and barn ball and town ball are not listed. In feeder, the ball is pitched from a distance of two yards, and he is the only member of the "out" team. There is a three-strike rule and a dropped-third rule. The Rounders description says "a smooth round stick is preferred by many boys to a bat for striking the ball." Ball Stock is said to be "very similar to rounders." In stool ball, "the ball must be struck by the hand, and not with a bat."

    The Boy's Treasury of Sports, Pastimes, and Recreations [Clark, Austin and Company, New York, 1850], fourth edition.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Article in The Knickerbocker Mentions Bass-ball, N-Hole-cat, Barn-ball

    1850.6

    The Knickerbocker, volume 35, January 1850 [New York, Peabody], page 84. per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 213. A piece on gambling in post-1849 San Francisco has, in its introductory section, "As we don't know one card from another, and never indulged in a game of chance of any sort in the world, save the "bass-ball," "one" and "two-hole cat," and "barn-ball" of our boyhood . . . " Block observes: "While this is a rather late appearance for the colloquial spelling "bass-ball," it is one of the earliest references to the old-cat games." Note: Is the author hinting that boys commonly bet on their ball-games? Isn't this a rare mention of barn-ball?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Englishman's Book of Games Refers to Rounders, Feeder

    1850.7

    Mallary, Chas D., The Little Boy's Own Book; Consisting of Games and Pastimes . . . . [Henry Allman, London, 1850], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 213-214. Block only mentions one passage of interest - a section on "rounders, or feeder," a shortened version of what had appeared in 1828 in The Boy's Own Book [see item #1828.1].

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - B is for Bat, B is for Ball

    1850c.10

    Grandpapa Pease's Pretty Poetical Spelling Book [Albany, H. Pease], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 213. Eight pages of simple verses and some basic illustrations. Highlight: "The letter B you plainly see,/ Begins both Bat and Ball;/ And next you'll find the letter C,/ Commences Cat and Call."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Short Moral Tale Centers on Boy's Bat and Ball

    1850c.11

    The Broken Bat; or, Harry's Lesson of Forgiveness [Philadelphia, Am. Baptist Pub'n Soc] per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 212. Eight-page moral tale turns on the theft of the bat and ball, not, alas on their use.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Chapbook Reprises Illustration from Contemporary Book.

    1850c.12

    Louis Bond, the Merchant's Son [Troy NY, Merriam and Moore], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 214. The graphic is lifted by the same publisher's 1850 book, Frank and the Cottage (see item 1850c.9 above).

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Patch Baseball Played in Upstate New York

    1850c.17

    The autobiography of a Yale dropout ["because of ill health"] attributes his later recovery to "playing the old fashioned game of patch baseball." Skip McAfee [email, 8/16/2007] points out that "patch baseball" is an early variation of baseball that uses plugging runners to put them out.

    Platt, Thomas C., The Autobiography of Thomas Collier Platt (B. W. Dodge, New York, 1910), page 3. Platt's home was Owego NY, about 70 miles south of Syracuse and near the Pennsylvania border. Accessed 2/10/10 via Google Books search ("patch baseball" platt)..

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Needed: More Festival Days - Like Fast Day? For Ballplaying

    1850c.26

    "[T]hey committed a radical error in abolishing all the Papal holidays, or in not substituting something therefore. We have Thanksgiving, and the Fourth of July, and Fast-Day when the young men play ball. We need three times as many festivals." Arethusa Hall, compiler, Life and Character of the Reverend Sylvester Judd (Crosby, Nichols and Co., Boston, 1854), page 330. The book compiles ideas and views from Judd's writings. Judd was born in 1813 and died at 40 in 1853. John Corrigan [see #1850s.25] quotes a James Blake as capturing popular attitudes about Fast Day. Writing of Fast Day 1851, Blake said "Fast & pray says the Governor, Feast & play says the people." John Corrigan, "The Anxiety of Boston at Mid-Century," in Business of the Heart: Religion and Emotion in the Nineteenth Century (University of California Press, 2002), page 45. Corrigan's source, supplied 10/31/09 by Joshua Fleer, is James Barnard Blake, "Diary, April 10, 1851, American Antiquarian Society.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Tut-ball Played at Young Ladies School in England

    1850c.34

    "'Tut-ball,' as played at a young ladies' school at Shiffnal fifty years ago. The players stood together in their 'den,' behind a line marked on the ground, al except one, who was 'out' and who stood at a distance and threw the ball to them. One of the players in the den then hit back the ball with the palm of the hand, and immediately ran to one of the three brickbats, called 'tuts,' which were set up at equal distances on the ground, in such positions that a player running past them all would describe a complete circle by the time she returned to the den. The player who was 'out' tried to catch the ball, and to hit the runner with it while passing from one 'tut' to another. If she succeeded in doing so, she took her lace on the den, and the other went 'out' in her stead. This game is nearly identical to 'rounders.'"

    Alice B. Gomme, The Traditional Games of England, Scotland, and Ireland (David Nutt, London, 1898), page 314. Accessed 2/10/10 via Google Books search (gomme tutt-ball 1898). Gomme adds that "pize-ball" is a similar game, and that in the past Tut-ball was played on Ash Wednesday in the belief that it would ward off sickness at harvest time. Shifnal, Shropshire, is in the west of England, about 25 miles northwest of Birmingham.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - University of Michigan Alum Recalls Baseball, Wicket, Old Cat

    1850c.35

    A member of the class of 1849 recalls college life: "Athletics were not regularly organized, nor had we any gymnasium. We played base-ball, wicket ball, two-old-cat, etc., but there was not foot-ball."

    The college history later explains: "The game of wicket, which was a modification of cricket, was played with a soft ball five to seven inches in diameter, and with two wickets (mere laths or light boards) laid upon posts about four inches high and some forty feet apart. The 'outs' tried to bowl thee down, and the 'ins' to defend them with curved broad-ended bats. It was necessary to run between the wickets at each strike."

    Wilfred Shaw, The University of Michigan (Harcourt Brace, New York, 1920), pp 234-235. Accessed 2/10/10 via Google Books search ("wilfred shaw" michigan).

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Wicket Ball in Amherst MA

    1850c.36

    "For exercise the students played wicket ball and shinny."

    The author here appears to be referring to the two sons of Edward Hitchcock, President of Amherst College from 1844 to 1854.

    Alice M. Walker, Historic Homes of Amherst (Amherst Historical Society, Amherst MA, 1905), page 99. Accessed 2/10/10 via Google Books search (walker "historic homes"). Amherst MA is about 25 miles north of Springfield.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Poisoned-Ball Text Recycled in France

    1850c.8

    Jeux et exercises des Jeunes garcons (Games and Exercises of Young Boys) [Paris, A. Courcier], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 213. The material on la balle empoisonee (poisoned ball) is repeated from Les jeux des jeunes garcons. See item #1810s.1 above.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Juvenile Story Book has Two Woodcuts with Ballplaying

    1850c.9

    Frank's Adventures at Home and Abroad [Troy NY, Merriam and Moore], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 213. One illustration shows boys playing ball; the second shows [icon! icon!] a house with a window broken by a ball.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Accounts of Ballplaying by Slaves

    1850s.1

    Wiggins, Kenneth, "Sport and Popular Pastimes in the Plantation Community: The Slave Experience," Thesis, University of Maryland, 1979. Per Millen, notes #26-29. Note: the dates and circumstances and locations of these cases are unclear in Millen. One refers to plugging.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1850 - Trap Ball, Stool Ball, Well Established in Louisville KY

    1850s.13

    "Other forms of bat and ball games, like trap-ball and stool-ball, became well established in Louisville in the decade preceding the Civil War."

    Bob Bailey, "Chapter 1 - Beginnings: From Amateur Teams to Disgrace in the National League [mimeo, 1999]', page 1. Query: can be obtain original sources?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - With Rise of Overarm Bowling, Padding Becomes Regular Part of Cricket

    1850s.14

    "The early 19th century saw the introduction of pads for batsmen. The earliest were merely wooden boards tied to the batsman's legs. By the 1850s, as overarm bowling and speed became the fashion, pads were regularly used. Older players scorned their introduction, but by this time they were deemed essential."

    Peter Scholefield, compiler, Cricket Laws and Terms [Axiom Publishing, Kent Town Australia, 1990], page 10.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Gunnery School in CT Imports Base Ball from NY

    1850s.15

    "The Gunnery [School] in Washington CT imported baseball from NY when Judge William Van Cott's sons came to the school in the late 1850s (we don't have exact dates). They had been playing different versions of the game with neighboring town teams and pick up teams for quite some time. The Litchfield Enquirer carried the box scores. The teams were not exclusively students, some adults played."

    Paula Krimsky, 19CBB posting, 10/26/2006.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Wicket Play in Rochester NY

    1850s.16

    "The immediate predecessor of baseball was wickets. This was a modification of cricket and the boys who excelled at that became crack players of the latter sport of baseball. In wickets there had to be at least eight men, stationed as follows: Two bowlers, two stump keepers or catchers, two outfielders and two infielders or shortstops. . . .

    "The wickets were placed sixty feet apart, and consisted of two 'stumps' about six inches in height above the ground and ten feet apart. . . . The ball was as large as a man's head, and of peculiar manufacture. Its center was a cube of lead weighing about a pound and a half. About this were tightly wound rubber bands . . . and the whole sewed in a thick leather covering. This ball was delivered with a stiff straight-arm underhand cast . . . . Three out was side out, and the ball could be caught on the first bound or on the fly."

    "Baseball Half a Century Ago," Rochester Union and Advertiser, March 21, 1903. Submitted by Priscilla Astifan [date?]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Baseball's Beginnings at U Penn?

    1850s.18

    "Baseball was first played by Penn students before the Civil War when the University was still located at its Ninth Street campus. The game was probably played casually by students in the 1850s."

    http://www.archives.upenn.edu/histy/features/sports/baseball/1800s/hist1.html, as accessed 1/3/2008. No reference is supplied.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Occupational, Company Teams Appear

    1850s.19

    "Starting in the 1850s and increasing slowly through the 1880s, sporting papers carried stories and scores of teams composed of men from the same occupation or men who worked in the same firm. Beginning with the Albany State House clerks playing the City Bank clerks in 1857, the Clipper listed dozens of similar teams over the next twenty-five years."

    Gelber, Steven M., "'Their Hands Are All Out Playing:' Business and Amateur Baseball, 1845-1917," Journal of Sport History, Vol. 11, number 1 (Spring 1984), page 22. Gelber cites The Clipper, June 6, 1857, page 54, presumably for the Albany story.

    Gelber also notes the rise of blue collar teams, the most famous being the Eckfords in Brooklyn, which comprised shipwrights and mechanics. Ibid., page 14.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Numerous Base Ball Clubs Active in NYC

    1850s.2

    Numerous clubs, many of them colonized by former members of the New Yorks and the Knickerbockers, form in the New York City area and play under the Knickerbocker rules. Interclub competition becomes common and baseball matches begin to draw large crowds of spectators. The capacity for spectators in the New York Game is aided by the foul lines which serve to create a relatively safe area for spectators to congregate and yet remain close to the action without interfering with play. This feature of the New York Game is in sharp contrast to cricket and to the Massachusetts Game, both of which are played "in the round" without foul lines.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1850 - Town-ball Played in Ohio

    1850s.20

    "Town-ball was base-ball in the rough. I recall some distinctive features: If a batter missed a ball and the catcher behind took it, he was 'caught out.' Three 'nips' also put him out. He might be caught out on 'first bounce.' If the ball were thrown across his path while running base, he was out. One peculiar feature was that the last batter on a side might bring his whole side in by successfully running to first base and back six times in succession, touching first base with his bat after batting. This was not often, but sometimes done; and we were apt to hold back our best batter to the last, which we called 'saving up for six-maker.' This phrase became a general proverb for some large undertaking; and to say of one 'he's a six-maker,' meant that he was a tip-top fellow in whatever he undertook, and no higher compliment could be passed."

    Source: Henry C. McCook, The Senator: A Threnody (George W. Jacobs, Philadelphia, 1905), page 208. This passage is excerpted from the annotations to a long poem written in honor the memory of Senator Marcus Hanna of OH. The likely location of the games was in Lisbon, in easternmost OH - about 45 miles northwest of Pittsburgh PA.. The verse itself: "Shinny and marbles, flying kite and ball, / Hat-ball and hand-ball and, best loved of all!-/ Town-ball, that fine field sport, that soon/ By natural growth and skilful change, became/ Baseball, by use and popular acclaim/ Our nation's favorite game" [Ibid. page 54]. Posted to 19CBB on 8/13/2007, by Richard Hershberger, supplemented by 8/14/2007 and 12/19/2008 emails. McCook's note describes hat-ball as a plugging game, and hand-ball as a game for one sides of one, two, or three boys that was played "against a windowless brick gable wall." Note: were "nips" foul tips?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - "Shoddy" Lord's Opts for Mechanical Grass-Cutter

    1850s.21

    "The art of preparing a pitch came surprisingly late in cricket's evolution. . . . [The grounds were] shoddily cared for . . . . Attitudes were such that in the 1850s, when an agricultural grass-cutter was purchased, one of the more reactionary members of the MCC committee conscripted a group of navvies [unskilled workers] to destroy it. This instinctive Luddism suffered a reverse with the death of George Summer in 1870 and that year a heavy roller was at last employed on the notorious Lord's square." Simon Rae, It's Not Cricket: A History of Skulduggery, Sharp Practice and Downright Cheating in the Noble Game (Faber and Faber, 2001), page 215.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - In NYC - Did "Plugging" Actually Persist to the mid-1850s?

    1850s.24

    John Thorn feels that "while the Knick rules of September 23, 1845 (and, by William R. Wheaton's report in 1887, the Gothams practice in the 1830s and 1840s) outlawed plugging/soaking a runner in order to retire him, other area clubs were slow to pick up the point."


    "Henry Chadwick wrote to the editor of the New York Sun, May 14, 1905: 'It happens that the only attractive feature of the rounders game is this very point of 'shying' the ball at the runners., which so tickled Dick Pearce [in the early 1850s, when he was asked to go out to Bedford to see a ball club at play]. In fact, it was not until the '50s that the rounders point of play in question was eliminated from the rules of the game, as played at Hoboken from 1845 to1857.'"

    "The Gotham and the Eagle adopted the Knick rules by 1854 . . . but other
    clubs may not have done so till '57." Note: John invites further discussion on this point. The text of the Wheaton letter is found at entry #1837.1 above.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - If It's May Day, Boston Needs All its Sam Malones at the Commons!

    1850s.25

    "On the first of May each year, large crowds filled the [Boston] Commons to picnic, play ball or other games, and take in entertainment." John Corrigan, "The Anxiety of Boston at Mid-Century," in Business of the Heart: Religion and Emotion in the Nineteenth Century (University of California Press, 2002), page 44. Accessed 11/15/2008 via Google Books search ("business of the heart"). Corrigan's source, supplied 10/31/09 by Joshua Fleer, is William Gray Brooks, "Diary, May 1, 1858."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Cricket Outshines Base Ball in Press Coverage

    1850s.27

    "During the 1850s and early 1860s, coverage of cricket in the sporting press generally exceeded that of baseball."

    William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning (McFarland, 2009), page 108. Bill would certainly know!

    Writing more specifically about the Spirit of the Times, Bill says: "There was little baseball reported in The Spirit until 1855, and what did appear was limited to terse accounts of games (with box scores) submitted by members of the competing clubs. The primary emphasis was on four-legged sport and cricket, which often received multiple columns of coverage . . . . As interest in baseball grew, The Spirit's coverage of the sport expanded. On May 12, 1855, the journal printed the rules of baseball for the first time and soon began to report more frequently on games that took place in New York and its vicinity (Baseball's First Inning, page 163)."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - moved to 1855c.24 in version 11

    1850s.28

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Cricket Club in Philadelphia, "Young America CC," Started for US-Born Only

    1850s.3

    John Lester, ed., A Century of Cricket in Philadelphia [University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia 1951], page 23.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1850 - Town Ball Well Known in Illinois

    1850s.30

    "Football and baseball, as played today [1918], were unknown games. What was known as townball, however, was a popular sport. This was played with a yarn ball covered with leather, or a hollow, inflated rubber ball, both of which were soft and yielding and not likely to inflict injury as is so common today in baseball. Townball was much played in the schoolhouse yard during recess and at the noon hour."

    Charles B. Johnson, Illinois in he Fifties (Flanigan-Pearson co, Champaign IL, 1918), page 79. Contributed by Jeff Kittel, January 31, 2010. Accessed 2/10/10 via Google Books search ("illinois in the fifties"). Jeff notes that, while describing Illinois pastimes generally, the author was from Pocahontas, IL, in southeast IL, about 50 miles east of St. Louis.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Town Ball Played in Southeast MO

    1850s.31

    "The men found amusement . . . in such humble sports as marbles and pitching horseshoes. There were also certain athletic contests, and it was no uncommon thing for the men of the neighborhood to engage in wrestling and in the jumping match. This was before the day of baseball, but the men had a game, out of which baseball probably developed, which was called 'town ball.'"

    Robert S. Douglass, History of Southeast Missouri (Lewis Publishing, 1912), page 441. Contributed by Jeff Kittel, January 31, 2010. Accessed 2/10/10 via Google Books search (douglass southeast). Jeff notes that Douglass is not explicit about the period referenced here, but that it is before the Civil War.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Round Ball, Old Cat Played in Northwest MA Town

    1850s.33

    "There was, of course, coasting, skating, swimming, gool, fox and hounds . . . round ball; two and four old cat, with soft yarn balls thrown at the runner."

    G. Stanley Hall, "Boy Life in a Massachusetts Town Forty Years Ago," Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society Volume 7 (1892), page 113. Accessed 2/10/10 via Google Books search ("g.stanley hall" "boy life"). Hall grew up on a large farm in Ashfield MA, which is in the NW corner of the commonwealth, and about 55 miles east of Albany NY. Note: it is interesting that the game of wicket is not mentioned. Query: "Gool?"

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - Near Richmond VA, Games of Round Cat and Chermany

    1850s.37

    "There was a big field near his old home where he and the other boys, black and white, had played "round cat" and "chermany" in the summers before the war and had set their rabbit-traps in seasons of frost and snow."

    Armistead C. Gordon, "His Father's Flag," Scribner's Magazine Volume 62 (1917), page 443. This fictional story of the son of a Confederate soldier killed during the Civil War is set near Dragon Swamp, which is NNE of Richmond. The two games named are known as ballgames played in the south. Accessed 2/10/10 via Google Books search (scribners "volume lxii").

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1850 - New Orleans LA: Clubs Formed by German and Irish immigrants to play Baseball

    1850s.4

    "Beginning in the 1850's, the Germans and the Irish took up the sport [baseball] with alacrity. In New Orleans, for example, the Germans founded the Schneiders, Laners, and Landwehrs, and the Irish formed the Fenian Baseball Club. . . . Baseball invariably accompanied the ethnic picnics of the Germans, Irish, French, and, later, Italians.

    Per Benjamin G. Rader, American Sports: From the Age of Folk Games to the Age of Spectators [Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 1883], page 93. No source provided.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1851 - Sport of Cricket Gets its First Comprehensive History Book

    1851.1

    Pycroft, James, The Cricket Field; or, The History and Science of Cricket [London? Pub'r?], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 220. This book's first chapter, "The Origins of the Game of Cricket," is seen by Block as "if not the earliest, one of the finest early studies of cricket history. The author exhumes a great number of references to cricket and its antecedents dating back to the year 1300." A Boston edition appeared in 1859 [Mayhew and Baker, publisher].

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1851 - San Francisco CA Weighs Plusses and Minuses of Base Ball

    1851.2

    "San Francisco newspapers reported the appearance of base-ball in early 1851 in the town square - The Plaza - or today's Portsmouth Square. The final report of San Francisco's inaugural base ball season included the following: 'There the boys play at ball, some of them using expressions towards their companions, expressions neither flattering, innocent nor commendable. Men, too, children of a larger growth, do the same things.'" "The Corral," Alta California, March 25, 1851.

    A few weeks earlier, coverage had been more favorable: "The plaza has at last been turned to some account by our citizens. Yesterday quite a crowd collected upon it, to take part in and witness a game of ball, many taking a hand. We were much better pleased at it, than to witness the crowds in the gambling saloons which surround the square." "Sports on the Plaza," Daily California Courier, February 4, 1851. A third article said of the base ball activity: "[T]his is certainly an innocent recreation, but occasionally the ball strikes a horse passing." "The Plaza," San Francisco Herald, March 1, 1851. Query: Can we assume that this game not played according to the Knickerbocker rules?

    Submitted by Angus Macfarlane, January 2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1851 - Wicket Players in MA Found Liable

    1851.3

    "In a recent case which occurred at Great Barrington, an action was brought against some 12 or 15 young men, by an old man, to recover damages for a spinal injury received by him and occasioned by a wicket ball, which frightened his horse and threw him from his wagon. The boys were playing tin the street. . . . . If this were fully understood, there would be less of the dangerous and annoying practice so common in our streets."

    "Caution to Ball Players in the Street," The Pittsfield Sun, Volume 51, Issue 2647 [June 12, 1851], page 2. Submitted by John Thorn, 6/10/2006.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1851 - First Known Game in Illinois Involves Joliet, Lockport

    1851.4

    "The first game in IL was in 1851 between Joliet and Lockport."

    John Freyer posting to 19CBB, May 28 2007. John does not provide a source.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1851 - Robert E. Lee Promotes Cricket at West Point?

    1851.5

    A twenty-one year old cricket enthusiast visited West Point from England, and remarked on "the beautiful green sward they had and just the place to play cricket. . . . The cadets played no games at all. . . . It was the first time that I had a glimpse of Colonel Robert E. Lee [who was to become Superintendent of West Point]. He was a splendid fellow, most gentlemanly and a soldier every inch. . . .

    "Colonel Lee said he would be greatly obliged to me if I would teach the officers how to play cricket, so we went to the library. . . .Lieutenant Alexander asked for the cricket things. He said, 'Can you tell me, Sir, where the instruments and apparatus are for playing cricket?' The librarian know nothing about them and so our project came to an end." "The Boyhood of Rev. Samuel Robert Calthrop." Compiled by His Daughter, Edith Calthrop Bump. No date given. Accessed 10/31/2008 at http://www-distance.syr.edu/SamCalthropBoyhoodStory.html. Caution: Robvert E. Lee is reported to have become Superintendent of West Point in September 1852; and had been stationed in Baltimore until then; can Calthrop's date be reconciled?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1851 - Word-man Noah Webster Acknowledges Only Wicket

    1851.6

    "Wicket, n. A small gate; a gate by which the chamber of canal locks is emptied; a bar or rod, used in playing wicket."

    Noah Webster, A Dictionary of he English Language, Abridged from the American Dictionary (Huntington and Savage, New York, 1851), page 399. Accessed 2/10/10 via Google Books search ("used in playing wicket"). No other ballgames are carried in this dictionary. Webster was from Connecticut.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1851 - Christmas Bash Includes "Good Old Fashioned Game of Baseball"

    1851.7

    "On Christmas day, the drivers, agents, and other employees of the various Express Companies in the City, had a turnout entirely in character. . . . There were between seventy-five and eighty men in the company . . . . They then went to the residence of A. M. C. Smith, in Franklin st., and thence to the Red House in Harlem, where the whole party has a good old fashioned game of base ball, and then a capital dinner at which A. M. C. Smith presided."

    New YorkDaily Tribune, December 29, 1851. Posted to 19CBB on 11/11/2008 by Richard Hershberger. Richard added: "Finally this is a very rare contemporary cite of baseball for this period. Between the baseball fad of the mid-1840s and its revival in the mid-1850s, baseball is virtually seen outside the pages of the Knickerbocker club books." John Thorn contributed a facsimile of the Tribune article. Query: Can we surmise that by using the term "old fashioned game," the newspaper is distinguishing it from the Knickerbocker game?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1851 - Games of Ball Seen in Sacramento CA in '51, '54

    1851.8

    "Morning Sports - A fight took place on Saturday morning on the levee, and a game of ball on 2d street just above the Columbia Hotel. Quite a number of gentlemen witnessed thee amusements, and seemed highly entertained by them."

    Sacramento Transcript, March 18, 1851 (as reprinted in the Spirit of the Times on May 17, 1851). Posted to the 19CBB listserve on December 15, 2009. Another game in Sacramento was covered in April of 1854. John argues that "the above 'game of ball' may be inferred to be baseball (I think)."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1852 - Cartwright Said to Lay Out First Base Ball Field in Hawaii

    1852.1

    From Frederick Ivor-Campbell, "Alexander Joy Cartwright, Jr. (Alick)", in Frederick Ivor-Campbell, et. al, eds., Baseball's First Stars [SABR, Cleveland, 1996], page 24. No reference given.

    Caution:Recent scholars have not confirmed fthis story.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1852 - Fictional "Up-Country" Location Cites Bass-Ball and Wicket

    1852.10

    "Both houses were close by the road, and the road was narrow; but on either side was a strip of grass, and in process of time, I appeared and began ball-playing upon the green strip, on the west side of the road. At these times, on summer mornings, when we were getting well warm at bass-ball or wicket, my grandfather would be seen coming out of his little swing-gate, with a big hat aforesaid, and a cane. He enjoyed the game as much as the youngest of us, but came mainly to see fair play, and decide mooted points."

    L.W. Mansfield, writing under the pseudonym "Z. P.," or Zachary Pundison, Up-country Letters (D. Appleton and Company, New York, 1852), page 277. Provided by David Block, 2/27/2008. David notes: "This is a published collection of letters that includes one dated March 1851, entitled 'Mr. Pundison's Grandfather.' In it the author is reminiscing about events of 20 years earlier." Note: It might be informative to learn whether this novel has a particular setting [wicket is only known in selected areas) and where Mansfield lived. There is a second incidental reference to wicket: "this is why it is pleasant to ride, walk, play at wicket, or mingle in city crowds" . . . [i.e., to escape endless introspection]. Ibid, page 90.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1852 - Lit Magazine Cites "Roaring" Game of "Bat and Base-ball"

    1852.2

    Southern Literary Messenger, volume 18, number 2, February 1852, page 96, per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 214. The fifth stanza of the poem "Morning Musings on an Old School-Stile" reads: "How they poured the soul of gay and joyous boyhood/ Into roaring games of marbles, bat and base-bal!/ Thinking that the world was only made to play in, -/ Made for jolly boys, tossing, throwing balls! Also submitted by David Ball, 6/4/2006. Note: John Thorn interprets this phrase to denote two games, bat-ball and base-ball. Others just see it as a local variant for base-ball. Is the truth findable here?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1852 - Eagle Ball Club Rulebook Appears

    1852.3

    The cover of this rulebook states that the club had formed in 1840 [See item #1840.6 above.]. By-laws and Rules of the Eagle Ball Club [New York, Douglas and Colt], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 223.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1852 - Bass-ball "Quite Too Complicated" for Children's Book on Games

    1852.4

    Little Charley's Games and Sports [Philadelphia, C. G. Henderson], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 214. This book's woodcut on trap-ball, says Block, "shows a tiny bat that looks more like a Ping Pong paddle and bears the caption 'bat ball'" As for other games, the book grants that Little Charley "also plays at cricket and bass ball, of which the laws or [sic] quite too complicated for me to describe." This book reappeared in 1854, 1857, and 1858 as part of a compendium.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1852 - Religious Chapbook Shows Action in Ball Play at Recess

    1852.5

    Fernald, Benjamin C., My Little Guide to Goodness and Truth [Portland ME, Sanborn and Carter], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 214. This Sunday school reader has a detailed illustration of a game in progress.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1852 - Exciting [Adult] Rounders in the Arctic

    1852.6

    Osborn, Lt Sherard, Stray Leaves from an Arctic journal; or, Eighteen Months in the Polar Regions (London, Longman + Co), page 77, per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 214. "Shouts of laughter! Roars of 'Not fair, not fair! Run again!' 'Well done, well done!' from individuals leaping and clapping their hands with excitement, arose from many a ring, in which 'rounders' with a cruelly hard ball, was being played."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1852 - San Francisco Plaza Again Active, This Time with "Town Ball;" Cricket Club Also Formed

    1852.7

    "For the last two or three evenings the Plaza has been filled with full grown persons engaged very industriously in the game known as 'town ball.' The amusement is very innocent and healthful . . . . The scenes are extremely interesting and amusing."

    "Public Play Ground," Alta California, January 14, 1852. Submitted by Angus McFarland. In the prior year [see item #1851.2] the game at the Plaza had been called base ball in two news accounts, and town ball in none that we now have. On June 11, 2007, John Thorn reported a similar CA find: "A game of "town ball" which was had on the Plaza during the week, reminded us of other days and other scenes. California Dispatch, January 2, 1852. Angus adds - email of 1/16/2008 - that this appears to be the last SF-area mention of base ball or town ball until 1859.

    Angus also notes on 1/27/2007 that a cricket club was formed in SF in 1852. Source: The Alta, April 15, 1852. "A number of gentlemen in this city have organized a Cricket Club and have selected their sporting ground immediately of Rincon Point. However, no actual matches are known until June of 1857. [That's in the vicinity of Beal Street and Bryant Street, Angus notes. He finds no evidence of actual matches until June of 1857. [Email of 1/16/2008.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1852 - Adult Town Ball Seen in on a Sunday in IL

    1852.8

    "[N]ot a great while ago, [I] saw a number of grown men, on a Sabbath morning, playing town-ball."

    Rev. E. B. Olmsted, The Home Missionary [Office of the American Home Missionary Society] Volume 24, Number 1 [May 1852], page 188

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1852 - Five Fined in Brooklyn NY for Sunday Ballplaying by a Church

    1852.9

    "Yesterday, quite a number of boys were arrested by the police for ball playing and other similar practices in the public streets . . . . [Three were nabbed] for playing ball in front of the church, corner of Butler and Court streets, during divine service. They were fined $2.50 each this morning." Two others were fined for the same offense.

    "Breaking the Sabbath," The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, vol. 11 number 99 (April 26, 1852), page 3, column 1. Provided by Craig Waff, email of 8/29/2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1853 - First Base Ball Reporters - Cauldwell, Bray, Chadwick, Kelly

    1853.10

    Henry Chadwick may be the Father of Baseball and a HOF member, but it is William Cauldwell in 1853 who is usually credited as the first baseball scribe. [See Turkin and Thompson, The Official Encyclopedia of Baseball (Doubleday, 1979), page 585. Note: is there a source for this claim?]

    John Thorn sees the primacy claims this way: As for Chadwick, "He was not baseball's first reporter — that distinction goes to the little known William H. Bray, like Chadwick an Englishman who covered baseball and cricket for the Clipper from early 1854 to May 1858 (Chadwick succeeded him on both beats and never threw him a nod afterward). Isolated game accounts had been penned in 1853 by William Cauldwell of the Mercury and Frank Queen of the Clipper, who with William Trotter Porter of Spirit of the Times may be said to have been baseball's pioneer promoter. Credit for the shorthand scoring system belongs not to Chadwick but to Michael J. Kelly of the Herald. The box score — beyond the recording of outs and runs—may be Kelly's invention as well, but cricket had supplied the model." John Thorn, "Pots and Pans and Bats and Balls," posted January 23, 2008 at:

    http://thornpricks.blogspot.com/2008/01/pots-pans-and-bats-balls.html

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1853 - Catcher Felled in ME

    1853.11

    "Melancholy Accident. - In Pownal, on the 5th inst Oren Cutter, 16 years of age, son of Reuben Cutter, Postmaster of Yarmouth, while 'catching behind' at a game of ball, was struck on the back of his head by a bat. Though suffering much pain, the lad was able to walk home, and after some external application, retired for the night, his friends not thinking or anything serious. In a short time, however, a noise was heard from the room, and on going to him he was found to be dying. The blow was received about sunset, and he died about 10."

    PortlandJournal of Literature and Politics, May 21, 1853. Attributed to the Portland Mirror. Accessed 2/17/09 via subscription search. Pownal is about 20 miles north of Portland.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1853 - English Cleric Promotes Co-ed Rounders, With Slim Results

    1853.12

    "In the playground they [boys and girls] have full permission to play together, if they like . . . but they very seldom do play together, because boys' amusements and girls' amusements are of a different character, and if, as happens at rare intervals, I do see a dozen boys and girls going down a slide together in the winter, or engaged in a game of rounders in the summer, I believe both parties are improved by their temporary coalition."

    Rev. Henry Newland, Confirmation and First Communion (Joseph Masters, London, 1853), page 240. Accessed 2/11/10 via Google Books search ("henry newland" mdcccliii). Newland was Vicar of Westbourne, near Bournemouth and about 100 miles SW of London.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1853 - Our Game Hits the Sports Pages?

    1853.14

    "On July 9, 1853, The Spirit of the Times mentioned baseball for the first time, printing a letter reporting a game between the Gotham and Knickerbocker Clubs."

    William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning (McFarland, 2009), page 163. Query: do we know comparable dates for other like papers - the Clipper, the Sunday Mercury, etc? Has someone already analyzed the role of assorted papers in the baseball boom?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1853 - Dutch Handbook for Boys Covers "Engelsch Balspel," Trap-ball, Tip-cat

    1853.2

    Dongens! Wat zal er gespeld worden? (Boys! What Shall We Play?) [Leeuwarden, G. T. N. Suringar], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 215. A 163-page book of games and exercises for young boys, which Block finds is "loaded with hand-colored engravings." The book's section on ball games includes a translation of the 1828 rounders rules from The Boy's Own Book (see 1828 entry, above), under the heading Engelsch balspel (English ball). A second game is De wip (the whip), a kind of trap ball. Also De kat, which Block identifies as English tip-cat.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1853 - B is [Still] For Bat and Ball

    1853.3

    The Illuminated A, B, C [New York, T. W. Strong], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 215. Under an illustration of trap-ball play, we find: "My name is B, at your beck and call,/ B stands for battledore, bat, and ball;/ From the trap with your bat, the Tennis ball knock,/ With your battledore spin up the light shuttlecock." Note: In 1853, the game of lawn tennis had not been invented, and most tennis was played [as players of "Real Tennis" now do] on indoor, walled courts with hard balls that strongly resemble modern baseballs. It is not clear that tennis was played in the US in the 1850s.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1853 - School Reader has Updated Description of Bat and Ball

    1853.4

    Sanders, Charles W., The School Reader; First Book [Newbergh, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, assorted pub'rs], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 215. Another Sanders reader (see entries above for 1840, 1841, 1846), this one with an illustration titled "Boys Playing at Bat and Ball" and having a full-page treatment of the game with new text. Note: Was there any text in the earlier versions? How does the game described compare to rounders, town ball, and the decade-old NY game?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1853 - Knicks, Gothams Play Season Opener on July 1 and July 5

    1853.5

    "BASE BALL AT HOBOKEN: The first friendly game of the season, between the Gotham and Knickerbocker Base Ball Clubs was played on the grounds of the latter on the 5th inst. The game was commenced on Friday the 1st, but owing to the storm had to be postponed, the Knickerbockers making nine aces to two of the Gothams, the following is the score for both days." The Knicks won, 21-12, according to an abbreviated box score, which uses "No. of Outs" and not "Hands Lost" in the left-hand column, and "Runs," not "Aces," in the right-hand column. Paul Wendt estimates that this is the first certain Knick-rules box score known, and the first since the October 1845 games [see #1845.4 and #1845.16 above.]

    Letter, 7/6/1853, to The Spirit of the Times, Volume 23, number 21, Saturday July 9, 1853, page 246, column 1. Posted to 19CBB by David Block, 9/6/2006. SOT facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1853 - When Boys Collect Outside NYC, A Spontaneous Game of Ball is Possible

    1853.6

    "[T]he boys' town-meeting is out where you can buy peanuts and gingercake, and see all your cousins from almost everywhere, and stand around and find out what is going on, and play a game of ball with the boy from Oysterponds, and another from Mattitue, on the same side."

    New York Times, April 26, 1853. Submitted by David Ball 6/4/2006

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1853 - Didactic Novel Pairs "Bass-Ball" and Rounders at Youths' Outing

    1853.7

    "The rest of the party strolled about the field, or joined merrily in a game of bass-ball or rounders, or sat in the bower, listening to the song of birds." A Year of Country Life: or, the Chronicle of the Young Naturalists (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 1853), page 115. Provided by Richard Hershberger, 1/30/2008.

    As a way of teaching nature [each chapter introduces several birds, insects, and "wild plants"] this book follows a group of boys and girls of unspecified age [seriously pre-pubescent, we think] through a calendar year. The bass-ball/rounders reference above is one of the few times we run across both terms in a contemporary writing. So, now: are there two distinct games or just two distinct names for the same game? Well, Murphy's Law, meet origins research: the syntax here leaves that muddy, as it could be the former answer if the children played bass-ball and rounders separately that [June] day.

    Richard's take: "It is possible that there were two games the party played . . . but the likelier interpretation is that this was one game, with both names given to ensure clarity." David Block [email of 2/27/2008] agrees with Richard. Richard also says "It is possible that as the English dialect moved from "base ball" to "rounders," English society concurrently moved from the game being played primarily played by boys and only sometimes being played by girls. I am not qualified to say. [Note: Protoball will review its evidence on that in version 11 of the Chronology.]

    Trap-ball receives one uninformative mention in the book [Ibid, page 211], and, perhaps being seen as a more central tenet of Christian knowledge, cricket receives three references [Ibid, pages 75, 110, and 211]. The first of these, unlike the bass-ball account, separates English boys from English girls after a May tea party: "Some of the gentlemen offered prizes of bats and balls, and skipping-ropes, for feats of activity or skill in running, leaping, playing cricket, &c. with the boys; and skipping, and battledore and shuttlecock with the girls." [Note: If you insist on using the number of references as a yardstick of approved knowledge, you will want to know that "tea" receives 12 mentions.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1853 - Were Bats and Balls Coinage, They Were Millionaires

    1853.8

    Several boys are having trouble raising money needed to finance a project. "If base-balls and trap-bats would have passed current, we could have gone forth as millionaires; but as it was, the total amount of floating capital [we had] was the sum of seven dollars and thirty-seven and a half cents." "School-House Sketches, in The United States Review, (Lloyd and Campbell, New York, July 1853), page 35. Provided by David Block, email of 2/27/2008. Note: Would it be helpful to learn what time period the author chose for the setting for this piece?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1853 - Strolling Past a Ballgame in Elysian Fields

    1853.9

    George Thompson has uncovered a long account of a leisurely visit to Elysian Fields, one that encounters a ball game in progress. Posting to 19CBB, March 13. 2008. Source: George G. Foster, Fifteen Minutes Around New York (1854). The piece was written in 1853.

    A few excerpts "We have passed so quickly from the city and its hubbub, that the charm of this delicious contrast is absolutely magical. [para] What a motley crowd! Old and young, men women and children . . . . Well-dressed and badly dressed, and scarcely dressed at all - Germans, French, Italians, Americans, with here and there a mincing Londoner, his cockney gait and trim whiskers. This walk in Hoboken is one of the most absolutely democratic places in the world. . . . . Now we are on the smoothly graveled walk. . . . Now let us go round this sharp curve . . . then along the widened terrace path, until it loses itself in a green and spacious lawn . . . [t]his is the entrance to the far-famed Elysian Fields.

    "The centre of the lawn has been marked out into a magnificent ball ground, and two parties of rollicking, joyous young men are engaged in that excellent and health-imparting sport, base ball. They are without hats, coats or waistcoats, and their well-knit forms, and elastic movements, as that bound after bounding ball, furnish gratifying evidence that there are still classes of young men among us as calculated to preserve the race from degenerating."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1853 - "Rounders" Said to be Played at Phillips Exeter

    1853c.1

    "The game of "rounders," as it was played in the days before the Civil War, had only a faint resemblance to our modern baseball. For a description of a typical contest, which took place in 1853, we are indebted to Dr. William A. Mowry:"

    [Several students had posted a challenge to play "a game of ball," and that challenge was accepted.] 'The game was a long one. No account was made of 'innings;' the record was merely of runs. When one had knocked the ball, had run the bases, and had reached the 'home goal,' that counted one 'tally.' The game was for fifty tallies. The custom was to have no umpire, and the pitcher stood midway between the second and third bases, but nearer the center of the square. The batter stood midway between the first and fourth base, and the catcher just behind the batter, as near or as far as he pleased.

    'Well, we beat the eleven [50-37].' [Mowry then tells of his success in letting the ball hit the bat and glance away over the wall "behind the catchers," which allowed him to put his side ahead.]

    Claude M. Fuess, An Old New England School: A History of Phillips Academy, Andover [Houghton Mifflin, 1917], pp. 449-450. Researched by George Thompson, based on partial information from reading notes by Harold Seymour. Acceessed 2/11/10 via Google Books search ("history of phillips"). Note: It appears that Fuess viewed this game as rounders, but Mowry's description did not use that name. The game as described is indistinguishable from round ball as played in, and lacks features [small bat, configuration of bases] used in English rounders during this period.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1853 - At Harvard, Most Students Played Baseball and Football, Some Cricket or 4 Old Cat

    1853c.13

    Reflecting back nearly sixty years, the secretary of the class of 1855 wrote: "In those days, substantially all the students played football and baseball [MA round ball, probably], while some played cricket and four-old-cat."

    "News from the Classes," Harvard Graduates Magazine Volume 18 (1909-1910). Accessed 2/11/10 via Google Books search ("e.h.abbot, sec.").

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1854 - NY Rules Now Specify Pitching Distance "Not Less Than 15 yards"

    1854.1

    The New York Game rules now specify the distance from the pitcher's point to home base as "not less than fifteen yards."

    The 17 playing rules [the 1845 rules number 14] are reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 18-19. Sullivan writes: "In 1854 a revised version of the original Knickerbocker rules was approved by a small committee of NY baseball officials, including Dr. [Doc] Adams. This document describes the first known meeting of baseball club representatives. Three years later, a much larger convention would result in the NABBC." The point of the meeting was for the Knickerbockers, Gotham, and Eagle Clubs to use the same rules.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1854 - Ball Played at Hobart College, Geneva NY

    1854.10

    "Baseball in Geneva began, at least on an organized basis, in 1860. Informal games had taken place at Hobart College as early as 1854, and at the nearby Walnut Hill School . . . the boys were organized into teams in 1856 or 1857."

    Minor Myers, Jr., and Dorothy Ebersole, Baseball in Geneva: Notes to Accompany An Exhibition at the Prout Chew Museum, May 20 to September 17, 1988 [Geneva Historical Society, Geneva, 1988], page 1. Note: This brochure implies that it describes the New York game, but does not say so.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1854 - The Game in Ontario the MA Game, with Variations

    1854.11

    "Organized teams first appeared in Hamilton in 1854 and London in 1855. The game they played was described in the August 4 1860 issue of the New York Clipper as having several unique features. 'The game played in Canada,' the Clipper reported, 'differs somewhat from the New York game, the ball being thrown instead of pitched and an inning not concluded until all are out, there are also 11 players on each side.' It differed as well from the Massachusetts Game, in its strict adherence to 11 men on the field as opposed to the Massachusetts rules, which allowed 10 to 14.

    "As well all 11 men had to be retired before the other team came to bat. Both games allowed the pitcher to throw the ball in the modern style, rather than underarm as in the New York rules."

    William Humber, "Baseball and the Canadian Identity," College Quarterly, Volume 8 Number 3 [Summer 2005]. Submitted by John Thorn 3/30/2006.

    1854.12 - New Rules for Official Balls - A Little Bit Heavier

    The joint rules committee, convening at Smith's Tavern, New York: the weight of the ball was increased to 5½ to 6 ounces and the diameter to 2¾ to 3½ inches, (corresponding to a circumference varying from 8 5/8 to 11 inches). Peverelly, 1866, Book of American Pastimes, pp. 346 - 348.

    Submitted by Rob Loeffler, 3/1/07. See "The Evolution of the Baseball Up to 1872," March 2007. XXX Merge w/ 1854.1 XXX

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1854 - English Visitor Sees Wicket at Harvard

    1854.13

    "It was in the spring of 1854 . . . that I stepped into the Harvard College yard close to the park. There I saw several stalwart looking fellows playing with a ball about the size of a small bowling ball, which they aimed at a couple of low sticks surmounted by a long stick. They called it wicket. It was the ancient game of cricket and they were playing it as it was played in the reign of Charles the First [1625-1649 - LMc]. The bat was a heavy oak thing and they trundled the ball along the ground, the ball being so large it could not get under the sticks.

    "They politely invited me to take the bat. Any cricketer could have stayed there all day and not been bowled out. After I had played awhile I said, "You must play the modern game cricket." I had a ball and they made six stumps. Then we went to Delta, the field where the Harvard Memorial Hall now stands. We played and they took to cricket like a duck to water. . . .I think that was the first game of cricket at Harvard." "The Boyhood of Rev. Samuel Robert Calthrop." Compiled by His Daughter, Edith Calthrop Bump. No date given. Accessed 10/31/2008 at http://www-distance.syr.edu/SamCalthropBoyhoodStory.html. Actually, Mr. Calthrop may have come along about 95 years too late to make that claim: see #1760s.1 above.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1854 - Finally, Cricket Played Here Without English Immigrants!

    1854.14

    "The first organization composed mostly of American natives was the Philadelphia Cricket Club, formed in 1854."

    William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning (McFarland, 2009), page 105.

    It was in 1854 that an all-US match occurred, perhaps the first [see #1848.11 for another claim]. The New York Times on August 11, 1854, covered a match between New York and Newark, noting, "this ends the first match played in the United States between Americans. Let us hope it will not be the last." Contributed by Beth Hise, January 2, 2010. Note: This assumes that the elevens at Haverford [see #1848.8] don't qualify for this honor.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1854 - Sacramento "Hombres" Play Ball Before Several Hundred, Break Stuff

    1854.15

    "A Game of Ball - People will have recreation occasionally, whether it be considered exactly dignified or not. Yesterday afternoon there was a game of ball played on J street which created no little amusement for several hundred persons. The sport lasted a full hour, until finally some unlucky hombre sent the ball through the window of a drug store, penetrating and fracturing a large glass jar, much to the chagrin of the gentlemanly apothecary, who had not anticipated such unceremonious a carronade."

    Daily Democratic State Journal (Sacramento CA), March 24, 1854. Posted to 19CBB (date lost) by Richard Hershberger. Richard adds: "Of course this raises the usual questions of what "a game of ball" means. Clearly it is a bat-and-ball game, and given the documented earlier games of baseball (in some form or other) in California and the absence of documented references of the other usual suspects such as wicket in California, it is a reasonable guess that this was baseball. I am less willing to make the leap to its being the New York game."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1854 - The Eagle Club's Field Diagram - A Real Diamond

    1854. 16

    John Thorn [email of September 2, 2009) has supplied an image of the printed "Plan of the Eagle Ball Club Bases" from its 1854 rulebook.

    It seems possible that he who designed this graphic did not intend it to be taken literally, but it sure is different. Folks around here would call it a squashed rhombus. Using the diagram's own scale for 42 paces, and accepting the guess that most people informally considered a pace to measure 3 feet, the four basepaths each measure 132 feet. But the distance from home to 2B is just 79 feet, and from 1B to 3B it's 226 feet [for football fans: that's about 75 yards]. Foul ground ["Outside Range" on the diagram] leaves a fair territory that is not in a 90 degree angle, but at . . . wait a sec, I'll find a professor and borrow a protractor, ah, here . . . a 143 degree angle. Query: do we have evidence that the Eagle preferred, at least initially, a variant playing field? Or did they just assign this diagram to some Harvard person?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1854 - First New England Team, the Boston Olympics, Forms to Play Massachusetts Game

    1854.2

    "The first regularly organized team in New England was the Boston Olympics of 1854. The Elm Trees followed in 1855 and the Green Mountains two years later."

    Seymour, Harold, Baseball: the Early Years [Oxford University Press, 1989], p. 27. [No ref given.] It seems plausible, given similarity of phrasing, that this comes from George Wright's November 1904 review of baseball history. See#1854.3 below. There is also similar treatment in Lovett, Old Boston Boys, p. 129.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1854 - Organized Round Ball in New England Morphs to The MA Game

    1854.3

    "'Base Ball in New England.' The game of ball for years a favorite sport with the youth of the country, and long before the present style of playing was in vogue, round ball was indulged in to a great extent all over the land. The first regularly organized Ball Club in this section was doubtless the Olympic Club, of Boston, which was formed in 1854, and for a year or more this club had the field entirely to themselves.

    "In 1855 the Elm Trees organized, existing but a short time, however. In 1856 a new club arose, the 'Green Mountains,' and some exciting games were played between this Club and the Olympics. Up to this point the game as played by these clubs was know as the Massachusetts game; but it was governed by no regular code or rules"

    Wright, George, Account of November 15, 1904, catalogued by the Mills Commission as Exhibit 36-19; accessed at the Giamatti Center in Cooperstown. Note: We have no evidence that "The Massachsetts Game" was in use this early.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1854 - Was Lewis Wadsworth the First Paid Player?

    1854.4

    In a 2004 19CBB listserve discussion of the earliest professional players, John Thorn wrote: "For years, Reach had been the player identified as the first to receive a salary and/or other inducements, as his move from the Eckfords of Brooklyn to the Athletics could not otherwise be explained. Over the last twenty years, though, the "mantle" has more generally been accorded to Creighton and his teammate Flanley, who were simultaneously "persuaded" to leave the Star Club and join the Excelsiors. Your mention of Pearce - especially at this very early date of 1856 - is the first I have heard.

    "In the very early days of match play, before the advent of widely observed anti-revolver provisions (with a requirement that a man belong to a club for thirty days before playing a game on their behalf) it is possible that a team may have paid a player, or provided other "emoluments" (such as a deadhead job), for purposes of muscling up for a single game. The earliest player movements that wrinkle my nose in the regard are that of Lewis Wadsworth 1854 (Gothams to Knickerbockers) and third basemen Pinckney in 1856 (Union to Gothams). The Knicks responded to the Pinckney move by offering membership to Harry Wright, already a professional player in another sport cricket."

    John Thorn posting to 19CBB listserve group, July 5, 2004, 1:39 PM.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1854 - Excelsior Club Forms in Brooklyn

    1854.5

    The Excelsior Club is organized "to improve, foster, and perpetuate the American game of Base Ball, and advance morally, socially and physically the interests of its members." Its written constitution, Seymour notes, is very similar in wording to the Knickerbocker constitution.

    Constitution and By-Laws of the Excelsior Base Ball Club of Brooklyn, 1854. Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1854 - In Rome, Sculptor Fashions Statue of a Boy Playing Ball

    1854.6

    "Wilson, a young sculptor of promise, has executed a marble statue of Childhood, and has a fine statue of a boy engaged in playing ball, modeled in plaster. He is about returning to America."

    "From Italy: Festival of Artists Literary and Miscellaneous Matters," New York Daily Times, July 3, 1854, page 2.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1854 - Empire Club Constitution Appears, Club Lifts Off

    1854.7

    Constitution, by-laws and rules of the Empire Ball Club; organized October 23rd, 1854 [New York, The Empire Club], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 223.

    We have no record of 1854 games, but the following April, they took the field: "The Empire Bass Ball Club played their first regular season game at McCarthy's ground, Hoboken, yesterday afternoon. This club, consisting of some thirty young men, mostly clerks in the lower part of the City, was organized last year nearly at the close of the season."

    "Empire Bass Ball Club," New York Daily Times Volume 4, number 1125 (Thursday, April 26, 1855), page 8, column 1. Contributed by Craig Waff, May 16, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1854 - Cricket Historian Describes Facet of Current "School Boy's Game of Rounders"

    1854.8

    "between the two-feet-asunder stumps there was cut a hole big enough to contain a ball, and (as now with the school boy's game of rounders) the [cricket] hitter was made out in running a notch by the ball being popped into [a] hole (whence 'popping crease') before the point of the bat could reach it."

    James Pycroft, The Cricket Field [1854], page 68. Submitted by John Thorn, 1/13/2007. Note: Pycroft was first published in 1851 [see item #1851.1]. Was this material in the first edition?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1854 - Van Cott Letter Summarizes State of Base Ball in NYC; All Three Clubs Hold Joint End-of-Season Party

    1854.9

    "There are now in this city three regularly organized Clubs [the Knickerbockers, Gothams, and Eagles], who meet semi-weekly during the playing season, about eight months in each year, for exercise in the old fashioned game of Base Ball . . . . There have been a large number of friendly, but spirited trials of skill, between the Clubs, during the last season, which have showed that the game has been thoroughly systematized. . . The season for play closed about the middle of November, and on Friday evening, December 15th, the three Clubs partook of their annual dinner at Fijux's . . . . The indications are that this noble game will, the coming season, assume a higher position than ever, and we intend to keep you fully advised . . . as we deem your journal the only medium in this country through which the public receive correct information." . . . December 19th, 1854."

    William Van Cott, "The New York Base Ball Clubs," Spirit of the Times, Volume 24, number 10, Saturday, December 23, 1854, page 534, column 1. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008. The full letter is reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 (University of Nebraska Press, 1995), pages 19-20.

    The New York Daily Times, vol. 4 number 1015 (December 19, 1854), page 3, column 1, carried a similar but shorter notice. Text and image provided by Craig Waff, 4/30/2007. Richard Hershberger reported on 1/15/2010 that it also appeared in the New York Daily Tribune on December 19, and sent text and image along too.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - Students Bring Cricket to Saint John NB

    1855.12

    "When the students returned to Saint John [from Fredericton], they brought with them the game of cricket. The military leased to the new club a large field behind the military barracks. They formed the 'Saint John Cricket Club' in the year 1855."

    Brian Flood, Saint John: A Sporting Tradition 1785-1985 [Neptune Publishing, Saint John, 1985], page 20.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - Spirit Gives Season Plans for 5 Base Ball Clubs

    1855.13

    The practice and match schedules for the Knickerbockers, Eagles, Empires, Gothams and [Brooklyn] Excelsior appeared in June.

    "Base Ball," Spirit of the Times June 2, 1855. Full text is reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 20-21.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - 2000 Demurely Watch Cricket at Hoboken NJ

    1855.15

    "a most pleasing picture. It had a sort of old Grecian aspect - yet it was an English one essentially. Nine-tenths of the immense number of visitors, we guess from the universal dropping of their h's were English. But it is a game that a Yankee may be proud to play well. It speaks much for the moral effect of the game, though we were on the ground some three hours, and not less than 2,000 were there, we heard not a rough or profane word, nor saw an action that a lady might not see with propriety."

    New York[NY] Daily Times, vol. 4 number 1168 (June 15, 1855), page 1, column 6. Posted to 19CBB on 9/11/2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - Scholar Deems 1855 the End of the Cricket Era in America

    1855.16

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - [moved to 1828.13]

    1855.17

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - Stodgy Novel Makes Brief Mention of Former Ballplaying

    1855.18

    "The academy, the village church, and the parsonage are on this cross-street. The voice of memory asks, where are those whose busy feet have trodden the green sward? Where are those whose voices have echoed in the boisterous mirth or base-ball and shinny?" S. H. M. (only initials are given), Miranda Elliot: or, The Voice of the Spirit (Lippincott, Grambo & Co., Philadelphia, 1855), page 229. This passage involves a small party's slow country walk, one that is incessantly interrupted by a sermonizing narrator. There is no indication of who played ball, or how long ago they played. The setting seems to be the U.S; some place where orange trees grow.

    1855.19 - Clipper Editor: NYC Now Has Five Clubs "in Good Condition"

    In March 1855, the editor of the Clipper listed five teams that were "in good condition" and the locations of their twice-a-week practices - Gothams at Red House, Harlem; Knickerbockers, Eagle, and Empire at Elysian Fields at Hoboken , and the Excelsiors in Brooklyn. New YorkClipper, March 3, 1855; provided September 2008 from the Mears Collection by Craig Waff.

    Articles published later in the New York Clipper, the Spirit of the Times, the New-York Daily Times, and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle announced the first appearance in print of the following 18 new clubs in the Greater NYC region in 1855:

    June - Jersey City (Jersey City NJ) || July - Putnam (East Brooklyn), Astoria (Astoria), Newark (Newark NJ) Olympic (Newark NJ), Union (Morrisania), Excelsior (Jersey City NJ), Columbia (Brooklyn, Eastern District) || August - Washington (Brooklyn, Eastern District), Eckford (New York, but practicing in Brooklyn, Eastern District), Pioneer (Jersey City NJ), Atlantic (Bedford) || September - Pavonia (Jersey City NJ), Harmony (East Brooklyn) || October - Young America (Morrisania), Empire (Newark NJ), Newark Jr. (Newark) || November - Continental (East Brooklyn), Baltic (New York). List supplied by Craig Waff, 10/30/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - Town Ball Played in South Carolina

    1855.2

    A woman in South Carolina remembers: "The first school I attended with other pupils was in 1855. Our teacher was a kind man, Mr. John Chisholm. The schoolhouse was the old Covenanter brick church. We had a long school day. We commenced early in the morning and ended just before sundown. We had an hour's intermission for dinner and recreation. The boys played town ball and shot marbles, and the few girls in school looked on, enjoyed, and applauded the fine plays."

    Remarks of Mrs. Cynthia Miller Coleman, Ridgeway, SC, at loc.gov oral history website:

    http://lcweb2.loc.gov/wpa/30081905.html, accessed 2/11/10. [URL contributed by Craig Waff, email of 1/27/09.] Ridgeway SC is in central SC, about 25 miles north of Columbia.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1855 - Base Ball Game Reaches Really Modern Duration; Score is 52 to 38

    1855.20

    Having more energy than what it takes to score 21 runs, the [NJ] Pioneer Club's intramural game in September 1855 took 3 and a quarter hours, and eight innings. Final score: single men, 52, marrieds 38. Note: this seems like an early exception to the 21-run rule; are there earlier ones? Spirit of the Times, Volume 25, number 31 (Saturday, September 15, 1855), page 367, column 3. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    In December, the Putnams undertook to play a game to 62 runs, and started at 9AM to give themselves ample time. But "they found it impossible to get through; they played twelve innings and made 31 and 36." Spirit of the Times, (Saturday, December 8, 1855), page 511, column 3. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - Spirit Eyes Three-Year Knicks-Gothams Rivalry

    1855.21

    The Spirit of the Times gave more than perfunctory coverage to the September match-up between the Knickerbockers and Gothams at Elysian Fields on Thursday, September 13. The box score remains rudimentary [only runs scores are listed for the two lineups], but the reports notes that there were "about 1000 spectators, including many ladies, who manifested the utmost excitement, but kept admirable order [gee, thanks, ladies - LMc]." It must have felt a little like a World Series game: "The Knickerbockers [who lost to the Gothams in June] came upon the ground with a determination to maintain the first rank among the Ball Clubs."

    Craig Waff suspects that this is the first time a base ball attendance figure appears in a game report [email of 10/27/2008].

    The Knicks won, 21-7, in only five innings. The Spirit tabulated the rivals' history of all seven games played since July 1853. The Knicks won 4, lost 2, and tied one [12-12 in 12 innings; Peverelly, pages 16 and 21, says that darkness interceded]. The longest contest went 16 innings [a Gothams home victory on 6/30/1854], and the shortest was the current one. Spirit of the Times, Volume 25, number 32 (Saturday, September 22, 1855), page 373 [first page of 9/22 issue], column 3. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - Search for Base Ball Supremacy Begins? It's the Knicks, For Now

    1855.22

    "These two Clubs [Knickerbocker and Gotham] who rank foremost in the beautiful and healthy game of Base Ball, met on Thursday . . . . The Knickerbockers came upon the ground with a determination to maintain the first rank among the Ball Clubs, and they won the match handsomely [score: 22-7]." "Base Ball: Knickerbockers vs. Gotham Club," Spirit of the Times Volume 25, number 32 (September 22, 1855), page 373, column 3. From an email by Craig Waff, 11/4/2008. Craig thinks this may be one of the first attempts to tap a club as the best in the game; thus the long road to naming baseball's "champion" begins. The game had been played at Elysian Fields on September 13.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - Association Rules Appear in Syracuse Newspaper

    1855.23

    Without accompanying comment, 17 rules for playing the New York style of base ball appear in the Syracuse Standard (May 16, 1855). The rules include the original 13 playing rules in the Knickerbocker game plus four rules added in in New York in 1854. Porter's Spirit of the Times would carry the New York rules in December of 1856 [Peter Morris, A Game of Inches (Ivan Dee, 2006), page 22. The Spirit of the Times had printed the rules four days earlier.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - Text Perceives Rounders and Cricket, in Everyday French Conversations

    1855.25

    An 1855 French conversation text consistently translates "balle au camp" as "rounders." It also translates "la crosse" to "cricket." Further, a double is seen in "deux camps," as "En voila une bonne! Deux camps pour celle-la" is translated as "That is a good one! Two bases for that."

    W. Chapman, Every-Day French Talk (J. B. Bateman, London, 1855), pages 16, 20, 21. Accessed 2/11/10 via Google Books search ("chapman teacher" "french talk" 1855). Query: Would a French person agree that "balle au camp" is rounders by another name? Should we thus chase after that game too? Perhaps a French speaker among us could seek la verite from le Google on this?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - Tolland CT 265, Otis-Sandisfield MA 189 In Wicket Match

    1855.26

    "The ball players of Sandisfield and Otis, thinking themselves equal for almost all things, send a challenge to the Tolland players for a match game in the former town, on Friday the 14th. Tolland accepted, and with twenty-five players on each side the game commenced, resulting in the complete triumph of he challenged or Tolland party, whose tally footed up 265 crosses, to 189 for the other side."

    The [Lowell MA?] Sun, September 27, 1855, attributed to the Springfield Republican. Accessed May 5, 2009 via subscription search. Tolland CT is about 20 miles NE of Hartford CT and 20 miles SE of Springfield MA. The two MA villages are about 30 miles W of Springfield.

    In August, Barre MA arranged a game with players from Petersham MA and Hardwick MA. Barre Patriot, August 17, 1855. Barre MA is about 40 miles NE of Springfield, and the two other towns are about 7 miles from Barre.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - In Brooklyn, the Washington Club and Eckfords Lift Off

    1855.27

    On July 31, 1855, according to Craig Waff's Protoball Games Tab, the first games were played by new clubs in Brooklyn. But were intramural games, and both appeared to comply with the Knickerbocker 21-run rule for ending a game.

    The Putnams appear to be the first Brooklyn club to see action, with their June 28 context in NYC against the Astoria Club. The Putnams also played the first match game in Brooklyn on August 4, when they defeated the Knickerbockers at their home grounds.

    Here is the Brooklyn Daily Eagle's [8/4/1855] inartful account of the Washington Club's second practice outing on August 3. "The Washington Base Ball Club of this city E.D. [Eastern District], met on the old Cricket ground near Wyckoff's Wood's for Ball practice yesterday afternoon. The following is a list of the plays:" There follows a simple box score showing two 7-member teams and a final score of 31-19. Facsimile contributed December 9, 2009, by Gregory Christiano.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - Thanksgiving is for Football? Not in Gotham, Not Yet

    1855.28

    "[Thanksgiving] day was unpleasantly raw and cold; but various out of door amusements were greatly in vogue. Target companies looking blue and miserable were every where. Every vacant field in the out skirts was filled with Base Ball Clubs; a wonderfully popular institution the past season, but vastly inferior to the noble game of Cricket in all respects."

    "Viola," "Men and Things in Gotham," Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, December 10, 1855, page 2. Contributed August 29, 2009 by Dennis Pajot. This traveler's report preceding the advent of Association base ball in Milwaukee by years.

    Responding to Dennis' find, Craig Waff, posting to the 19CBB listserve, cited two accounts that confirm the holiday hubbub. The Clipper wrote, "There seemed to be a general turn-out of the Base Ball Clubs in this city and vicinity, on Thursday, 29th Nov. Among those playing were the Continental, Columbia, Putnam, Empire, Eagle, Knickerbocker, Gotham, Baltic, Pioneer, and Excelsior Clubs." [source: undated clip in the Mears Collection]. The Spirit of the Times (December 8, 1855, page 511) caught the same, er, spirit, noting that the Continentals played from 9am to 5pm, and that the Putnams "commenced at 9 o'clock with the intention of playing 63 aces, but found it impossible to get through; they played twelve innings, and made 31 and 36 . . . ."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - Even the Australians Are Bothered by Sunday Baseball

    1855.29

    "Sabbath Desecration. - A correspondent requests us to call attention to the practice of a number of boys and young men, who congregate in Mr. Wilkinson's paddock, near Patrick and Murray Streets, on Sunday afternoons, for playing at cricket, base-ball, &c., making a great noise, and offending the eyes and ears of persons of moral and religious feeling."

    Colonial Times[Hobart], Saturday, September 22, 1855, page 3. Posted to the 19CBB list November 21, 2009, by Eric Miklich. Subsequent comments from Bob Tholkes and Richard Hershberger [11/23/09] led to conjecture that this form of "base-ball" arrived Down Under directly from its English roots, for in 1855 American presence was largely restricted to the gold fields. Note: Hobart is on the northern coast of the island that has been known as Tasmania since 1856.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - Early Season Game Goes to Knicks, 27-14; Wadsworth Chided

    1855.30

    In what appears to be only the second game of the 1855 season [see the Protoball Games Tab at http://retrosheet.org/Protoball/GamesTab.htm], "a grand match of this national game" took place at Elysian Fields and pitted the Knicks against the Eagles. A 9-run 4th put the Knicks into the [imaginary] win column after leading only 12-12 after two. Player positions aren't listed, but DeBost [Knicks] and Place [Eagles] are noted as "behind men." The reporter added: "Wadsworth [Knicks] makes too many foul balls; he must alter his play."

    "Base Ball. Knickerbocker vs. Eagle Club," New York Herald, June 6, 1855. Facsimile contributed by Gregory Christiano, 11/24/2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - NY Herald Previews Several June Games for Five Area Clubs

    1855.4

    "BASE BALL. Our readers are perfectly aware that the good old fashioned game of base ball is at present receiving much attention among the lovers of sport and manly exercise. Five clubs are organized and in operation in this city and Brooklyn, composed of some thirty or forty members each, and are in continual practice. Three of them play at the Elysian Fields, Hoboken, one on every afternoon during the week the Knickerbocker Club on Monday and Thursday, the Eagle Club on Tuesday and Friday, and the Empire Club on Wednesday and Saturday. One other, the Gotham Club, plays at the Red House, Harlem, on Tuesday and Friday afternoons. The Excelsior Club of Brooklyn, we understand, have not as yet arranged their days of practice. We would recommend such of our readers who have sufficient leisure, to join one of these clubs. The benefit to be derived, especially to the man of sedentary habits, is incalculable, and the blessing of health and a diminished doctor's bill may reasonably be expected to flow from a punctual attendance. On Friday, the first of June, the Knickerbocker and Gotham Clubs will play a match at the Red House, Harlem, and the Eagle and Empire Clubs will also play a match at the Elysian Fields on Friday, the 15th of June. Matches between the Knickerbocker and Eagle and the Gotham and Eagle Clubs are also expected to come off during the month of June. The play takes place during the afternoon, commencing at about three o'clock"

    New YorkHerald, May 26, 1855, page 1, column. 1. Submitted by George Thompson, June 2005.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - Seven Base Ball Clubs Now Organized.

    1855.5

    Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809. Note: Seymour did not name the seven nines; dammit.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - Jersey City Club is Set Up

    1855.6

    Constitution and By-Laws of the Pioneer Base Ball Club of Jersey City [New York, W. and C. T. Barton], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 223.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - Cricket Becoming "The National Game" in US: "Considerable Progress" Seen

    1855.7

    "Cricket is becoming the fashionable game - the national game, it might be said."

    "New York Correspondence," Washington Evening Star, June 18, 1855, page 2. This statement is expressed in the context of the influence of John Bull [that is, England] in the US.

    Things looked rosy for cricket in New York, too. In a report of the results of a June match between St. George's second eleven and the New York clubs first string [which won by 74 runs], this upbeat assessment was included: "We shall look for stirring times amongst the cricketers this season. Last week St. George's best Philadelphia. Next Wednesday the 1st Elevens contend for mastery between St. George and New-York. The "Patterson," "Newark," "Harlem," "Washington," Williamsburgh," "Albany," "Utica," and last, though not least the Free Academy Cricket Clubs, have matches on the tapis [sic?]. Even the Deaf and Dumb Institution are likely to have a cricket ground, as the pupils have had it introduced, and are playing the game . . . . This healthful game seems to be making considerable progress amongst us."

    "Cricket," New York Daily Times, Thursday, June 21, 1855. Facsimile contributed by Gregory Christiano, December 2, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - Whitman Puts "Good Game of Base-Ball" Among Favorite Americana

    1855.9

    Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass [Brooklyn, Rome Bros], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 216. In a review of good American experiences, including "approaching Manhattan" and "under Niagara", Whitman puts this line: "Upon the race-course, or enjoying pic-nics or jigs or a good game of base-ball . . . "

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - "Massachusetts Run-Around" Recalled

    1855c.1

    "This [Massachusetts Run-Around] was ever a popular game with us young men, and especially on Town Meeting days when there were great contests held between different districts, or between the married and unmarried men, and was sometimes called Town Ball because of its association with Town Meeting day."

    "It was an extremely convenient game because it required as a minimum only four on a side to play it, and yet you could play it equally as well with seven or eight. . . . There were no men on the bases; the batter having to make his bases the best he could, and with perfect freedom to run when and as he chose to, subject all the time to being plugged by the ball from the hand of anyone. It was lively jumping squatting and ducking in all shapes with the runner who was trying to escape being plugged. When he got around without having been hit by the ball, it counted a run. The delivery of the ball was distinctly a throw, not an under-hand delivery as was later the case for Base Ball. The batter was allowed three strikes at the ball. In my younger days it was extremely popular, and indulged in by everyone, young and old."

    T. King, letter to the Mills Commission, November 24, 1905; accessed at the Giamatti Center, HOF. Note: why 1855C? Did King grow up in MA?

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1855 - "New Game" of Wicket Played in HI

    1855c.10

    [1] "In 1855 the new game of wicket was introduced at Punahou and for a few years was the leading athletic game on the campus. . . . [The] fiercely contested games drew many spectators from among the young ladies and aroused no common interest among the friends of the school."

    J. S. Emerson, "Personal Reminiscences of S. C. Armstrong," The Southern Workman Volume 36, number 6 (June 1907), pages 337-338. Accessed 2/12/10 via Google Books search ("punahou school" workman 1907). Punahou School, formerly Oahu College, is in Honolulu.

    [2] "One game they all enjoyed was wicket, often watched by small Mary Burbank. Aipuni, the Hawaiians called it, or rounders, perhaps because the bat had a large rounder end. It was a forerunner of baseball, but the broad, heavy bat was held close to the ground."

    Damon M. Ethel, Sanford Ballard Dole and His Hawaii [Pacific Books, Palo Alto, 1957], page 41, from John Thorn.

    [3]] Through further digging, John Thorn traces the migration of wicket to Hawaii through the Hawaii-born missionary Henry Obookiah. At age 17, Obookiah traveled to New Haven and was educated in the area. He died there in 1818, but not before helping organize a ministry [Episcopalian?] to Hawaii that began in 1820. John's source is the pamphlet Hawaiian Oddities, by Mike Jay [R. D. Seal, Seattle, ca 1960]. [Personal communication, 7/26/04.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - Master Trap-ball, Meet Mister Window

    1855c.11

    Sports for All Seasons, Illustrating the Most Common and Dangerous Accidents That Occur During Childhood . . . [London, J. March], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 216-217. Pictured is a struck ball heading toward a window. Text: "School's up for to-day, come out boys and play I'll put my trap here on the grass;/ Look out John Thatcher, here comes a catcher, oh dear! It will go through the glass."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - [moved to 1857.35]

    1855c.14

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1855 - Manufacturing of Base Balls Begins in NYC

    1855c.24

    "Prior to the mass manufacturing of baseballs, each one was hand-made and consisted of strips of rubber twisted around a round shape (or, earlier, any solid substance, such as a rock or bullet), covered [wound?] with yarn and then with leather or cloth. Needless to say, the quality and consistency of the early balls varied considerable. In the mid-1850s, two men, Harvey Ross, as sail maker who was a member of the Atlantics, and John Van Horn, a shoemaker who was a member of the Union Club or Morrisania, began to manufacture baseballs on a regular basis. Van Horn took rubber strips from the old shoes in his shop and cut them up to provide the centers for his baseballs."

    William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning (McFarland, 2009), page 35. For more details, Bill recommends Chapter 9 of Peter Morris' A Game of Inches (Ivan Dee, 2006).

    Peter Morris notes that Henry Chadwick recalled that "even with only two ball makers, the demand [for balls] in the 1850s was so limited" that ballmaking remained a sidelight for both ballmakers. A Game of Inches, page 397. He cites the March 13, 1909 Sporting Life and the 1890 Spalding's Official Base Ball Guide as sources.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - Wicket, Seen as a CT Game, Was Played in Brooklyn

    1855c.3

    In 1880 the Brooklyn Eagle carried long articles that include a description of the game of wicket, described as a Connecticut game not seen in Brooklyn for about 25 years:

    "Instead of eleven on a side, as in cricket, there are thirty, and instead of wickets used by cricketers their wickets consist of two pieces of white wood about an inch square and six feet long, placed upon two blocks three inches from the ground. The ball also differs from that used in cricket or base ball, it being almost twice the size, although it only weighs nine ounces. The bat also differs from that used in cricket and base ball, it being more on the order of a lacrosse bat, although of an entirely different shape, and made of hard, white wood. The space between the wickets is called the alley, and is seventy-five feet in length and ten feet in width. Wicket also differs from cricket in the bowling, which can be done from either wicket, at the option of the bowlers, and there is a centre line, on the order of the ace line in racket and hand ball, which is called the bowler's mark, and if a ball is bowled which fails to strike the ground before it reaches this line it is considered a dead ball, or no bowl, and no play can be made from it, even if the ball does not suit the batsman. The alley is something on the order of the space cut out for and occupied by the pitcher and catcher of a base ball club, the turf being removed and the ground rolled very hard for the accommodation of the bowlers."

    Brooklyn Daily Eagle, vol. 41 number 239 (August 28, 1880), page 1, column 8. Posted to 19CBB by David Ball 7/22/2003. Citation provided by Craig Waff, email of 4/24/2007. Note: there are inconsistencies in these accounts to be resolved.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1855 - New British Manual of Sports Describes Rounders

    1855c.8

    Walsh, J. H. ("Stonehenge"), Manual of British Rural Sports [London, G. Routlege], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 216. This book includes a description and diagram of rounders that Block characterizes as "generally consistent with other accounts of rounders and pre-1845 baseball." This version of the game used a pentagon-shaped infield and counterclockwise base running.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1856 - The Wrights Both Are at St. George CC; Manhattan CC Forms

    1856.1

    Baseball Hall of Fame member Harry Wright is on the first eleven of the St. George Cricket Club and his younger brother, George Wright, age 9, also to become a baseball Hall of Famer, is the Dragons' mascot.

    The Manhattan Cricket Club is formed and includes New York City baseball players Frank Sebring and Joseph Russell of the Empire Base Ball Club.

    Per John Thorn, 6/15/04: The source is Chadwick Scrapbooks, Vol. 20.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1856 - New Reader Has Ballplaying Illustration

    1856.11

    Town, Salem, and Nelson M Holbrook, The Progressive First Reader [Boston], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, pages 217-218. This elementary school book has an illustration of boys playing ball in a schoolyard. 1856.10 French Work Describes Poisoned Ball and La Balle au Baton

    Beleze, Par G., Jeux des adolescents [Paris, L. Hachette et Cie], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 217. This author's portrayal of balle empoisonee is seen as similar to its earlier coverage up to 40 years before; its major variant involves two teams who exchange places regularly, outs are recorded by means of caught flies and runners plugged between bases, and four or five bases comprise the infield. Hitters, however, used their bare hands as bats. Block sees the second game, la balle au baton, as a scrub game played without teams. The ball was put in play by fungo hits with a bat, and was reported to be most often seen in Normandie, where it was known as teque or theque. Note: what are the "other sources" for playing theque? Is it significant that this book features games for adolescents, not younger children?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1856 - Gothams 21, Knicks 7; Fans Show Greatest Interest Ever

    1856.12

    "Yesterday the cars of the Second and Third avenue Railroads were crowded for hours with the lovers of ball playing, going out to witness the long-talked of match between the "Gotham" and "Knickerbocker" Clubs. We think the interest to see this game was greater than any other match ever played."

    "Base Ball Match," New York Daily Times, September 6, 1856, page 8.

    The Times account includes a box score detailing "hands out" and "runs" for each player. The text uses "aces" as well as "runs," and employs the term "inning," not "innings." It notes players who "made some splendid and difficult catches in the long field."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1856 - General Base Ball Rules Are Published in NY

    1856.13

    Rules and By-laws of Base Ball (New York, Hosford), per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 224. David reports that these rules are generic not restricted to one club. Note: This may be the first publication specifically devoted to base ball.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1856 - Manly Virtues of Base Ball Extolled; 25 Clubs Now Playing in NYC Area

    1856.14

    "The game of Base Ball is one, when well played, that requires strong bones, tough muscle, and sound mind; and no athletic game is better calculated to strengthen the frame and develop a full, broad chest, testing a man's powers of endurance most severely . . ." I have no doubt that some twenty-five Clubs . . . could be reckoned up within a mile or two of New-York, that stronghold of 'enervated' young men."

    "Base Ball [letter to the editor], New York Times, September 27, 1856. Full text is reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 21-22.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1856 - Excelsior Base Ball Club Forms in Albany NY

    1856.15

    "Albany Excelsior Base Ball Club This Club was organized May 12, 1856."

    Porter's Spirit of the Times, May 23, 1857. It appears that the Empire Club of Albany had already existed at that time.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1856 - Cricket "The Great Match at Hoboken" [US vs. Canada]

    1856.16

    "The Great Match at Hoboken!!! The United States Victorious!! Canada vs. United States"

    Porter's Spirit of the Times, September 20, 1856. The American team was spiced with English-born talent, including Sam Wright, father to Harry and George Wright. Matthew Brady took photos. A crowd of 8,000 to 10,000 was estimated.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1856 - The Mass Game Explained

    1856.17

    "I have thought, perhaps, a statement of my experience as to the Yankee method of playing 'Base,' or 'Round' ball, as we used to call it, may not prove uninteresting.

    "The ball we used was, I should think, of the size and weight described by the Putnam rules, made of yarn, tightly wound round a lump of cork or India rubber, and covered with smooth calf-skin in quarters (as we quarter an orange), the seams closed snugly, and not raised, lest they should blister the hands of the thrower and catcher: the bat round, varying from 3 to 3.5 feet in length; a portion of a stout rake or pitchfork handle was much in demand, and wielded generally in one hand by the muscular young players at the country schools, who rivaled each other in the hearty cracks they gave the ball.

    "There were six to eight players upon each side, the latter number being the full complement. The two best layers upon each side first and second mates, as they were called by common consent were catcher and thrower. These retained their positions in the game, unless they chose to call some other player, upon their own side, to change places with them." Dated Boston, December 20, 1856. A field diagram followed. It shows either 6 or 10 defensive positions, depending on whether each base was itself a defensive station.

    "Base Ball; How They Play the Game in New England, by An Old Correspondent" Spirit of the Times [date?] Submitted by John Thorn. Note: The Dedham rules of 1858 specified at least ten players on a team. The writer does not call the game the MA game, and does not mention plugging, the use of stakes as bases, the one-out-all-out rule conceivably because he thinks the NY shares their attributes?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1856 - First Reported Canadian Base Ball Game Occurs, in Ontario

    1856.18

    "September 12, 1856 -"The first reported game of Canadian baseball is played in London, ONT, with the London Club defeating the Delaware club 34-33." Charlton, James, ed., The Baseball Chronology (Macmillan, 1991), page 13. No reference is given.

    Craig Waff has identified the source for this item: "Base Ball in Canada," The Clipper Volume 4, number 23 (September 27, 1856), page 183. "London [ON], Sept. 15, 1856. Editor Clipper: Within the past few months several Base Ball clubs have been organized in this vicinity, and the first match game was played between the London and Delaware clubs, on Friday, the 12th inst." The box score reveals that the 34-33 score eventuated when the clubs stood at 26-23 after the first inning, and then London outscored Delaware 11-7 in the second inning. Note: is it likely that the New York rules would have produced this much scoring per inning . . . or was it set up as a two-inning contest? Can we confirm/disconfirm that this was the first Canadian game in some sense [keeping in mind that Beachville game report at #1838.4 above]?

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1856 - Five-Player Base Ball Reported in NY, WI

    1856.19

    We've noticed two games of five-on-five baseball in the Spirit, starting in 1856. The '56 game matched the East Brooklyn junior teams for the Nationals and the Continentals. The Nationals won 37-10. Spirit of the Times, Volume 26, number 39 (Saturday, November 8, 1856), page 463, column 3. In 1857, an item taken from the Waukesha (WI) Republican of June 6, pitted Carroll College freshmen and "an equal number of residents of this village. They played two games to eleven tallies, and one to 21 tallies. The collegians won all three games. Spirit of the Times Volume 27, number 20 (June 27, 1857), page 234, column 2. Neither account remarks on the team sizes. Other five-on-five matches appeared I 1858. Facsimiles provided by Craig Waff, September 2008. Note: Was 5-player base ball common then? Did it follow special rules? How do 4 fielders cover the whole field?

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1856 - Excelsiors Organized

    1856.2

    Constitution and By-laws of the Excelsior Base Ball Club (Brooklyn, G. C. Roe), per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 223.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1856 - 100 to 98 Round Ball Game Played, After Sticky Rule Negotiations

    1856.20

    "EXCITING GAME OF BASE BALL. - The second trial game of Base Ball took place on the Boston Common, Wednesday morning, May 14th, between the Olympics and the Green Mountain Boys. The game was one hundred ins, and after three hours of exciting and hard playing, it was won by the Olympics, merely by two, the Green Mountain Boys counting 98 tallies. . . . The above match was witnessed by a very large assemblage, who seemed to take a great interest in it." Albert S. Flye, "Exciting Game of Base Ball," New York Clipper Volume 4, number 5 (May 25, 1856), page 35. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    The article also prints a letter protesting the rules for a prior game between the same teams. The Olympics explained that were compelled to play a game in which their thrower stood 40 feet from the "knocker" while their opponent's thrower stood at 20 feet. In addition, the Green Mountain catcher [sic] moved around laterally, and a special six-strike rule was imposed that confounded the Olympics. It appears that this game followed an all-out-side-out rule. The reporter said the Olympics found these conditions "unfair, and not according to the proper rules of playing Round or Base Ball." Note: does this article imply that previously, base ball on the Common was relatively rare?

    The Daily Atlas on May 15 briefly mentioned the game, noting "There was a large crowd of spectators, although the flowers and birds of springs, and a wheelbarrow race at the same time . . . tended to draw off attention." A week later, the Boston Post reported that the Green Mountain Boys took the next contest, "the Olympics making 84 rounds to the G.M. Boys 119."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1856 - Trenton Club Forms for "Invigorating Amusement"

    1856.21

    "BASE BALL CLUB. - A number of gentlemen of this city have formed themselves into a club for the practice of the invigorating amusement of Base Ball. Their practicing ground is on the common east of the canal. We hope that this will be succeeded by a Cricket Club."

    "Base Ball Club," Trenton (NJ) State Gazette (May 26, 1856) no page provided. Contributed by John Maurath, Missouri Civil War Museum at Historic Jefferson Barracks, 1/18/2008. Note: Is this the first known NJ club well outside the NY metropolitan area?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1856 - Young Brooklyn Clubs Play, But Reporter is Unimpressed

    1856.22

    The Harmony Club beat the Continentals, 21-15, in the "intense heat" of Brooklyn, but the scathing of the players didn't end there. "The play was miserably poor, neither party being entitled to be called good players. Bad, however, as was the play of the Harmony Club, that of the Continentals was infinitely worse. - Mr. Brown, the catcher, being the only good player amongst the whole. They all require a good deal of practice before again attempting to play a match."

    "Base Ball. - Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 16, 1856, page 2. Image contributed by Gregory Christiano, December 15, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1856 - <Merged with 1856.20 in version 11>

    1856.23

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1856 - First Chicago Club Forms

    1856.24

    "Though baseball match games had been played in Illinois since the very early 1850's, the first Chicago Club, the Union, was not established until 1856."

    John R. Husman, "Ohio's First Baseball Game," Presented at the 34th SABR Convention, July 2004. Query: are details of the earlier IL games available? Are we sure that the Union played by Association rules?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1856 - Boston Paper Reports 192-187 Squeaker in Western MA

    1856.25

    "A great game of ball, says the Berkshire Courier, cam off in that village on Friday last. The parties numbers 17 on a side, composed of lawyers, justices, merchants mechanics, and in fact a fair proportion of the village populations were engages wither as participants or spectators . . . . The excitement was intense . . . best of all the game was a close one, the aggregate count in [illeg: 8?] innings being 192 and 187."

    BostonEvening Transcript, April 18, 1856. Accessed bia subscription search 2/17/2009. Berkshire MA is about 5 miles NE of Pittsfield and about 10 miles E of New York state border. Note: this may have been a wicket match. One wonders why a Friday match would have been held.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1856 - Putnams Rules Arrive on the Scene

    1856.3

    Rules and By-laws of Base Ball Putnam Base Ball Club [Brooklyn, Baker and Godwin], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 224. Chip Atkison posted the rules to 19CBB 8/27/2003.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1856 - Fifty-Three Games Held in New York City Area.

    1856.4

    Seymour, Harold, Baseball: the Early Years [Oxford University Press, 1989], p. 24. [No ref given.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1856 - New YorkMercury,NY Clipper Term Base Ball the "National Pastime"

    1856.5

    The New York Mercury refers to base ball as "The National Pastime." Letter to the editor from "a baseball lover," December 5, 1856. Date contributed by John Thorn, email of 8/13/09. Craig Waff, email of 8/13/09, adds that the letter was reprinted as a part of the long article, "Base Ball, Cricket, and Skating," Spirit of the Times, Volume 1, number 16 (December 20, 1856), pp. 260 - 261. Query: is there a claim that this is the earliest appearance of the term "national pastime" to denote base ball?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1856 - First Official Use of the Term "Rounders" Appears?

    1856.7

    Zoernik, Dean A., "Rounders," in David Levinson and Karen Christopher, Encyclopedia of World Sport: From Ancient Times to the Present [Oxford University Press, 1996], page 329. Note: Whaaaat? See #1828.1 above, and the Rounders Subchonology.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1856 - Knickerbocker Rules Meeting Held

    1856.8

    At the close of 1856 it was decided that a revision of the rules was necessary, and a meeting of the Knickerbockers was held and a new code established. The outcome of this was the fist actual convention of ball clubs.

    The Tribune Book of Open-Air Sports, page 71, quoted in Weaver, Amusements and Sports, page 98, according to Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809.

    John Thorn adds that the session was held December 6 at Smith's Hotel at 462 Broome Street, and that it was a Knicks-only meeting.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1856 - Working Men Play at Dawn on Boston Common

    1856.9

    A team of truckmen played on Boston Common, often at 5AM so as not to interfere with their work.

    New York Clipper, July 19, 1856 [page?] Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Rules Modified to Specify Nine Innings, 90-Foot Base Paths, Nine-Player Teams

    1857.1

    "The New York Game rules are modified by a group of 16 clubs who send representatives to meetings to discuss the conduct of the New York Game. The Knickerbocker Club recommends that a winner be declared after seven innings but nine innings are adopted instead upon the motion of Lewis F. Wadsworth. The base paths are fixed by D.L. Adams at 30 yards - the old rule had specified 30 paces and the pitching distance at 15 yards. Team size is set at nine players." The convention decided not to eliminate bound outs, but did give fly outs more weight by requiring runners to return to their bases after fly outs.

    Spirit of the Times, January 31, 1857. Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 122-24. For a full account of the convention, see Frederick Ivor-Campbell, "Knickerbocker Base Ball: The Birth and Infancy of the Modern Game," Base Ball, Volume 1, Number 2 (Fall 2007), pages 55-65.

    Roger Adams writes that the terms "runs" and "innings" first appear in the 1857 rules, as well as the first specifications of the size and wieghtr of the base ball. R. Adams, "Nestor of Ball Players," found in typescript in the Chadwick Scrapbooks. Facsimile contributed by Bill Ryczek, December 29, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1857 - Rib-and-Ball Game in the Arctic: Baseball Fever Among the Chills?

    1857.10

    Kane, Elisah Kent, Arctic Explorations: the Second Grinnell Expedition in Search of Sir John Franklin, 1853, '54, '55, volume 2 [Philadelphia, Childs and Peterson], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 218. The author, observing a native village, watches as "children, each one armed with the curved rib of some big amphibian, are playing bat and ball among the drifts." Block notes that the accompanying engraving playing with long, curved bones as bats.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - New Primer, Different Illustration**

    1857.11

    Town, Salem, and Nelson M. Holbrook, The Progressive Pictorial Primer [Boston], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 218. Continuing the authors' series (see 1856 entry), this book uses a different illustration of boys playing ball than in the earlier book.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - The First Vintage Game?

    1857.12

    John Thorn writes on 2/24/2006 that Porter's Spirit of the Times for November 14, 1857 [page 165] includes an account of "the first regular match" of the 'Knickerbocker Antiquarian Base Ball Club (who play the old style of the game)'"

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - The First Game Pic?

    1857.13

    "On Saturday, September 12, 1857, 'Porter's Spirit of the Times,' a weekly newspaper devoted to sports and theater, featured a woodcut that, as best can be determined, was the first published image of a baseball game.?

    VBBA site, http://vbba.org/ed-interp/1857elysianfieldsgame.html

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Sunrise Base Ball

    1857.14

    "The Nassau and Charter Oak clubs scheduled three games at 5 a.m. in Brooklyn, apparently to impress players and spectators that 'there is a cheaper and better way to health than to pay doctor's bills.'"

    Carl Wittke, "Baseball in its Adolescence," Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, no. 2, April 1952, page 119. Wittke cites Porter's Spirit, July 4, 1857 as his source.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - US Editor Promotes Cricket as the "National Game"

    1857.15

    "Hitherto, one great obstacle to the progress of the game [cricket] in this country has been the assertion made by certain ignorant and prejudiced parties, the Cricket is only played by Englishmen. . . . But it is not so.

    "Cricket," New York Clipper, May 16, 1857. Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], page 25.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Early Use of the Term "Town Ball" in NY Clipper

    1857.16

    The article reported a "Game of Town Ball" in Germantown PA.

    New YorkClipper, September 19, 1857. Information posted by David Block to 19CBB 11/1/2002. David writes that this is the earliest "town ball" game account he knows of.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Base Ball in Melbourne?

    1857.17

    "The first recorded baseball event in Australia was a series of three games between Collingwood and Richmond. The scores were astronomical, with Collingwood winning the second match 350-230! The early Australian baseball players were probably playing a variation of cricket, rounders, and the New York Game and possibly counting each base attained as a run."

    Joe Clark, A History of Australian Baseball (U Nebraska Press, 2003), page 5. Clark then cites "a well-traveled myth in the American baseball community . . . that the first baseball played in Australia was by Americans on the gold fields of Ballarat in 1857 . . . . No documentation has ever been produced for a Ballarat gold fields game [also page 5]."

    Similarly: Phil Lowry reports a 3-inning game in Melbourne, Victoria on February 21 or 28, 1857. The score was 350 to 230, and rules called for a run to be counted each time a baserunner reached a new base." Posting to 19CBB by Phil Lowry 11/1/2006.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Porter's Project: Collect Rules of Play

    1857.18

    "To Base Ball Clubs We will feel obliged if such of the Base Ball Club in this vicinity and throughout the country, as have printed Rules of Play, will send us a copy of the same."

    Porter's Spirit of the Times, September 26, 1857. Note: Our holy grail! Our lost ark! Is there evidence that replies were received and analyzed?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Wicket Described in February Porter's

    1857.19

    Implying that wet weather had left a bit of a news vacuum, Porter's explained it would "give place to the following communications in relation to the game of 'Wicket,' of which we have ourselves no personal knowledge or experience."

    What followed were [1] a request for playing rules a Troy, NY wicket club, and [2] an appeal:

    "I would like to see the old game of Wicket (not Cricket) played. It is a manly game and requires the bowler to be equal to playing a good game of ten pins. The ground is made smooth and level, say six feet wide by sixty to ninety in length. The ball from five to five and a half inches in diameter, hand wound, and well covered. The bat of light wood, say bass. [A rough field diagram is supplied here] The wicket is placed at each end, and on the top of a peg drove in the ground just high enough to let the ball under the wicket, which is a very light piece of wood lying on top of the pegs. The rules are very similar to those of cricket. Can a club be started? Yours, Wicket. [New York]"

    Porter's Spirit of the Times, Saturday, February 14, 1857. Accessed via subscription search, May 15, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - National Association of Base Ball Players Forms

    1857.2

    William H. van Cott is elected NABBP President.

    "Our National Sports," Porter's Spirit of the Times, January 31, 1857. Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 22-24.

    Peter Morris notes that the NABBP commissioned five men "to confer with the Central Park Commissioners in relation to a grant of public lands for base ball purposes. Morris, Peter, Level Playing Fields: How the Groundskeeping Murphy Brothers Shaped Baseball (University of Nebraska Press, 2007), page 18.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1857 - Clerks Take on Clerks in Albany, Field 16-Player Teams

    1857.20

    "An exciting match of Base Ball was played on the Washington Parade Ground, Albany, on Friday, 29th alt., between the State House Clerks and the Clerks of City Bank - sixteen on a side. The play resulted in favor of the State House boys, they making 86 runs in three innings, against 72 made by the Bank Clerks."

    Porter's Spirit of the Times, vol. 40 number 14 (June 6, 1857). Note: Sixteen players? Three innings? Does this sound like the NY game to you?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Buffalo NY Sees its First Club

    1857.21

    "The first organized, uniform team was the Niagaras who played their first games in 1857 . . . . The Niagaras were, of course, strictly an amateur nine. They played their first games after 'choosing up' among themselves, and then [later] played matches against other Buffalo nines as they became organized"

    Overfield, Joseph, 100 Seasons of Buffalo Baseball (Partner's Press, Kenmore NY, 1985), page 17. Overfield does not cite a source. Originally provided by Priscilla Astifan, email of 12/7/2007. Query: Can we determine Overfield's source?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Atlantics Become Base Ball Champs?

    1857.22

    "The Atlantic Club defeats the Eckford Club, both of Brooklyn [NY], to take the best-of-3-games match and claim the championship for 1857. The baseball custom now is that the championship can only be won by a team beating the current titleholder 2 out of 3 games." A date of October 22, 1857 is given for this accomplishment.

    Charlton, James, ed., The Baseball Chronology (Macmillan, 1991), page 14. No reference is given. Note: Craig Waff asks whether clubs could formally claimed annual championships this early in base ball's evolution; email of 10/28/2008. He suggests that, under the informal conventions of the period, the Gothams [who had wrested the honor from the Knickerbockers in September 1856], held it throughout 1857.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Princeton Freshmen Establish Nassau Base Ball Club

    1857.23

    "In the fall of '57, a few members of the [Princeton University - Princeton NJ] Freshmen [sic] class organized the Nassau Baseball [sic] Club to play baseball although only a few members had seen the game and fewer still had played. [A description follows of attempts to clear a playing area, a challenge being made to the Sophomores, and the selection of 15 players for each side.] After each party had played five innings, the Sophomores had beaten their antagonists by twenty-one rounds, and were declared victorious." The account goes on to report that the next spring, "baseball clubs of all descriptions were organized on the back campus and 'happiness on such occasions seemed to rule the hour.'" The account also reflects on the coming of base ball: "in seven years [1857] a new game superseded handball in student favor - it was 'town ball' or the old Connecticut game."

    Query: [1] "The old CT game?" Wasn't that wicket? Source: "Baseball at Princeton," Athletics at Princeton: A History (Presbrey Company, New York, 1901), page 66. Available on Google Books. Original sources are not provided. Caution: The arrival of the New York style of play was still a year into the future.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Cricket Stories in the May 23 Clipper

    1857.24

    From the New York Clipper, Saturday, May 23, 1857 [four cents!]:

    The St. George cricketers played their annual "single vs. marrieds" match this week.

    Two six-player teams played in Philadelphia [with box].

    Two elevens played in Cincinnati [with box.

    Twenty upcoming matches are listed.

    Two elevens played in Amsterdam NY

    A cricket club is reportedly being organized in Hartford CT

    Two intramural matches in NYC are reported [with boxes}

    Facsimile contributed by Gregory Christiano, November 15, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Season Opens in Boston with Olympics Victory

    1857.25

    "OPENING OF THE SEASON IN BOSTON. Our young friends in Boston have stolen a march upon New York, in the matter of Base Ball, having taken the lead in initiating the sport for 1857, by playing an exciting game on Boston Common on the 14th inst. The following report of the match we copy from the Boston Daily Chronicle." The Spirit of the Times, Volume 27, number 16 (Saturday, May 30, 1857), page 182, column 1]. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    The Daily Chronicle report described a best of three games, games decided at 25 tallies, twelve-man, one-out-side-out match between the Olympics and Bay State. The Olympics won, 25-12 and 25-13, the second game taking 14 innings. The "giver" and catcher for each club were named. In otherwise identical coverage, the New York Clipper [hand-noted as "May" in the Mears clipping book] added that the Bay State club had afterward challenged the Olympics to re-match involving eight-player teams. A later Clipper item [date unspecified in clipping book] reported that on May 28, 1857, the Olympics won the follow-up match, 16-25, 25-21, and 25-8

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Baltimore Clubs Adopt the New Game

    1857.26

    "Baltimore became a great center of the baseball in the very early days of the game. The Excelsiors were in the field in 1857, the Waverlys in 1858, and the Baltimores in 1859. Another club disputed the latter's right to the [club name], and a game played for the name the first formed club won."

    George V. Tuohey, "The Story of Baseball," The Scrap Book Volume 1, July, 1906 (Munsey, New York, 1906), page 442. Accessed 2/16/10 via Google Books search ("baltimores in 1859"). Query: Does this history fit known facts now? Note: The first club was formed in direct homage to the Excelsiors of New York.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Game of Wicket Reaches IA

    1857.27

    "BALL GAMES IN THE WEST. - It is with pleasure that we observe the gradual progression of these healthy and athletic games westward. A Wicket Club has recently been organized in Clinton City , Iowa, which is looked on with much favor by the young men of that locality." The Clipper [date omitted from clipping book; sequencing suggests June of 1857]. Facsimile provide by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Boston Sees Eight Hour Match of the Massachusetts Game

    1857.28

    "'BASE BALL' - MASSAPOAGS OF SHARON MA VS, UNION CLUB OF MEDWAY. . . . The game commenced at 1 o'clock, and was to be the best 3 in 5 games, of 25 tallies each. A large crowd collected to witness the game, among whom were several of the Olympics." But after one game it rained, and play resumed Monday morning. "after playing 8 hours the Union Club retired with the laurels of victory." They won, 25-20, 8-25, 11-25, 25-24, 25-16.] Spirit of the Times, Volume 27, number 35 (Saturday, October 10, 1857), page 416, column 1. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Six-Player Town-ball Teams Play for Gold in Philly

    1857.29

    "TOWN BALL. - The young men of Philadelphia are determined to keep the ball rolling . . . On Friday, 20th ult. [10/20/1857 we think] the United Stats Club met on their grounds, corner of 61st and Hazel streets . . . each individual did his utmost to gain the prize, at handsome gold ring, which was eventually awarded to Mr. T. W. Taylor, his score of 26 being the highest." Each team had six players, and the team Taylor played on won, 117 to 82. New YorkClipper (November [as handwritten in clipping collection; no date is given] 1857). Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Long Island Cricket Club Forms

    1857.3

    The Long Island Cricket Club is formed. The membership includes baseball player John Holder of the Brooklyn Excelsiors. Note" add info on the significance of this club?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Olympic Club's Version of MA Game Rules Published

    1857.30

    The Olympic Ball Club's rules, adopted in 1857, appear in Porter's Spirit of the

    Times, June 27, 1857 [page?]. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    The rules show variation from the 1858 rules [see #1858.3 below] that are sometimes seen as uniform practice for the Massachusetts game in earlier years. Examples: games are decided at "say 25" tallies, not at 100; minimum distance from 1B to 2B and 3B to 4B is 50 feet, and from 4B to 1B and 2B to 3B is 40 feet, not 60 feet in a square; pitching distance is 30 feet, not 35 feel; in playing a form of the game cited as "each one for himself" entails a two-strike at-bat and a game is set at a fixed number of innings, not the number of tallies; the bound rule is in effect, not the fly rule. The Olympic rules do not mention the size of the team, the size of the ball, whether the thrower or specify the use of stakes as bases.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Rounders "Now Almost Entirely Displaced by Cricket:" English Scholar

    1857.31

    "Writing in 1857, 'Stonehenge' noted that 'it [rounders] was [p. 232/233] formerly a very favourite game in some of our English counties, but is now almost entirely displaced by cricket.' . . . documentary evidence of it is hard to find before the chapter in William Clarke's Boys' Own Book of 1828." Tony Collins, et al., Encyclopedia of Traditional British Rural Sports (Routledge, 2005), pages 232-232.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Daybreak Club Forms in Providence RI

    1857. 32

    "Base Ball at Providence - We have received a notification of the formation of the Aurora Base Ball Club at this place, and in accordance with their name, the members meet from 5 to 7 o'clock in the morning. They have been out seven times since March, notwithstanding the pluvious state of the atmospheric phenomena this season."

    Porter's Spirit of the Times, Saturday, May 9, 1857. Facsimile contributed by Gregory Christiano, November 24, 2009. Query: Is this item newsworthy because it is an early Providence ballclub, because it is a pioneering daybreak club, or neither?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Clipper Thinks Base Ball is Catching On

    1857.33

    "The National Game: The game of Base Ball is fact taking hold of the attention of our young men and in different cities we perceive new organizations constantly spring up. It is one of the most exhilarating or our field sports, and cannot fail eventually to become extremely popular everywhere. A visit to the Elysian Fields, at Hoboken, any fine day, will convince those disposed to find fault with our sports and pastimes that they err . . . ."

    New YorkClipper, June 20, 1857. Facsimile contributed by Bill Ryczek, December 29, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - New York Game Likely Comes to Rochester NY

    1857.35

    There are conflicting accounts of when base ball arrived in Rochester. According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (August 6, 1869), the town's first team, the Live Oak Club, had formed in 1857. A member of the club, quoted in 1903, also gave 1857 as the inaugural year, noting that the club "played unnoticed" that season. [Rochester Post Express, May 1, 1902.]

    Rochester baseball historian Priscilla Astifan [email of March 24, 2010] points out that it seems certain that the National Association rules were in effect in 1858, as seen in published box scores in that year.

    One source, however, suggests a different club and an earlier year for base ball's local debut. "The first baseball club in Rochester was organized about 1855. . . . The first club was the Olympics." Source: "Baseball Half a Century Ago," Rochester Union and Advertiser, March 24, 1903. Caution: The article does not refer to evidence for this claim, and Priscilla cannot find any, either.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - London Rounders Players Arrested

    1857.4

    A group of "youths and lads" were arrested by a park constable for "playing at a game called rounders." The Morning Chronicle, March 17, 1857, page? Posted to 19CBB by Richard Hershberger on 2/5/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - The Tide Starts Turning in New England - Trimountains Adopt NY Game

    1857.5

    "BASE BALL IN BOSTON. - Another club has recently organized in Boston, under the title of the Mountain [Tri-Mountain, actually - Boston had three prominent city hills then] Base Ball Club. They have decided upon playing the game the same as played in New York, viz.: to pitch instead of throwing the ball, also to place the men on the bases, and not throw the ball at a man while running, but to touch him with it when he arrives at the base. If a ball is struck [next word, perhaps "beyond," is blacked out: "outside" is written in margin] the first and third base, it is to be considered foul, and the batsman is to strike again. This mode of playing, it is considered, will become more popular than the one now in vogue, in a short time. Mr. F. Guild, the treasurer of the above named club, is now in New York, and has put himself under the instructions of the gentlemen of the Knickerbocker. . . . "The New York Clipper (June 13, 1857 [per handwritten notation in clipping book]). Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008. Note: does "place the men on bases" refer to the fielders? Presumably in the MA game such positioning wasn't needed because there was plugging, and there were no force plays at the bases? Note: The Trimountain Club's 1857 by-laws simply reprint the original 13 rules of the Knickerbocker Club: facsimile from "Origins of Baseball" file at the Giamatti Center in Cooperstown.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Seymour: Cricket Groups Meet to Try to Form US [National] Cricket Club

    1857.6

    Seymour, Harold, Baseball: the Early Years [Oxford University Press, 1989], p. 26. [No ref given.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Daily Base Ball Games [NY-Style] Found in Public Square in Cleveland?

    1857.7

    "Base Ball at Cleveland This truly national game is daily played in the public square, and one of the city authorities decided that there was law against it. When appealed to, he quietly informed the players that there was no law against ball-playing there . . . The crowd sent up a shout and renewed the game, which continued until dark."

    Porter's Spirit of the Times, April 18, 1857. Facsimile contributed by Gregory Christiano, December 2, 2009. Query: Do we know what details led led Porter's to conclude that the Association game had reached Cleveland OH? Others have dated the arrival of the Association game in Ohio to 1864.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - First Western club, the Franklin Club, forms in Detroit

    1857.8

    Seymour, Harold, Baseball: the Early Years [Oxford University Press, 1989], p. 26. [No ref given.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Editor Calls for an American National Game

    1857.9

    The editor of the Spirit of the Times: There "should be some one game peculiar to the citizens of the United States," in that "the Germans have brought hither their Turnverein Association . . . and various other peculiarities have been naturalized."

    Porter's Spirit of the Times, January 31, 1857, quoted in Willke, Base Ball in its Adolescence, page 121, Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1857 - Wicket Played at Eastern OH College; Future President Excels

    1857c.34

    "In the street, in front of [Hiram College] President Hinsdale's (which was then Mr. Garfield's house), is the ground where we played wicket ball; Mr. Garfield was one of our best players."

    F. M. Green, Hiram College (Hubbell Printing, Cleveland, 1901), page 156. Accessed via Google Books search ("hiram college" green). James A. Garfield was Principal and Professor at Hiram College from 1856-1859. He was about 26 in 1857, and had been born and reared in Eastern Ohio. Hiram Ohio is about 30 miles SE of Cleveland.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Fifty Clubs Said Active in New York Area - Plus Sixty Junior Clubs

    1858.1

    Seymour, Harold, Baseball: the Early Years [Oxford University Press, 1989], p. 24. [No ref given.]

    That same spring, Porter's estimated that there were 30 to 40 base ball and cricket teams on Long Island [which then included Brooklyn] alone. Porter's Spirit of the Times, March 27, 1858, as cited in Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning (McFarliand, 2009), page 75.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1858 - Four-day Attendance of 40,000 Souls Watch Famous Roundball Game in Worcester

    1858.10

    "One of the most celebrated games of roundball was played on the Agricultural Grounds in Worcester, Mass., in 1858. It was between the Medways of Medway and the Union Excelsiors. It was for $1000 a side. It took four days to play the game. The attendance was more than 10,000 at each day a play [sic]. In the neighboring towns the factories gave their employees holidays to see the game."

    "H. S.," [Henry Sargent?] of Grafton, MA, "Roundball," The Sun [City?], May 8, 1905 [page?]. From an unidentified clipping found in the Giamatti Center. The clipping is noted as "60-27" and it may be from the Spalding Collection.

    Note: David Nevard raises vital questions about this account: "I have my doubts about this item - it just doesn't seem to fit. 1) The club names don't sound right. The famous club from Medway was the Unions, not the Medways, and I haven't seen any other mention of Union Excelsiors. 2) Lowry's evolution of the longest Mass Game does not mention this one. He shows the progression (in 1859) as 57 inns, 61 inns, 211 inns. It seems like a 4 day game in 1858 would have lasted longer than 57 innings. 3) It's a recollection 50 years after the fact. $1000, 10,000 people." [Email to Protoball, 2/27/07.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - British Sports Anthology Shows Evolved Rounders, Other Safe Haven Games

    1858.11

    Pardon, George, Games for All Seasons [London, Blackwood], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 218. Block notes that this "comprehensive and detailed anthology of sports and games includes the full [but unnamed - LM] spectrum of baseball's English relatives." The rounders description of rounders features 5 bases, plus a home base. Block considers the changes described for rounders since the first (1828) account, and descries "the steady divergence of rounders and baseball during those decades to the point of becoming two distinct sports."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Base Ball, Meet Tin Pan Alley

    1858.12

    Blodgett, J. (composer), "The Base Ball Polka" [Buffalo, Blodgett and Bradford], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 218. Block marks this as the first baseball sheet music, as composed by a member of the Niagara Base Ball Club of Buffalo. "On the title page, under an emblem of two crossed bats over a baseball, is a dedication 'To the Flour City B. B. Club of Rochester, N.Y. by the Niagara B. B. Club.'"

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - New Reader: "Now, Charley, Give Me a Good Ball"

    1858.13

    The Little One's Ladder, or First Steps in Spelling and Reading [New York, Geo F. Cooledge], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 218. The book shows schoolyard ballplaying, and sports the caption: "Now, Charley, give me a good ball that I may bat it."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Adult Play [Finally!] Signaled in New Manual for Cricket and Base Ball

    1858.14

    Manual of Cricket and Base Ball [Boston, Mayhew and Baker], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, pages 218-219. Only four of this manual's 24 pages are given over to base ball, the newly composed rules for the MA game. Block: "Its historical significance lies in the fact that this was the first treatment of baseball as a pastime for adults in a book made available to the general public."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Base Ball Arrives in Heaven? "No, This is Iowa"

    1858.15

    "John Liepa of Indianola presented a history of early baseball and the origins of the game in the state. John has pinpointed 1858 as the first reference to baseball in Iowa (in the city of Davenport), although naturally that is subject to change."

    From a report of the Field of Dreams SABR Chapter [the Iowa chapter] meeting at the Bob Feller Museum in Van Meter, IA, October 16, 2004. John Thorn [email, 2/10/2008] suggests that the source may be the Davenport Daily Gazette, June 2, 1858, which states "The baseball clubs were both out yesterday afternoon."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Four Jailed for "Criminal" Sunday Play in NJ

    1858.16

    "Report of the City Marshal - City Marshal Ellis reports that for the month ending yesterday, 124 persons were committed to the City Prison, charged with the following criminal offences: Drunkenness, 79; assault, 6; picking pockets, 1; vagrancy, 9; playing ball on Sunday, 4, felonious assault, 1 . . . . Nativity - Ireland, 84; England, 12; Scotland, 4; Germany, 7; United States, 16; colored, 1. Total, 124." Others were jailed for selling diseased meat, perjury, stealing, robbery, and embezzlement.

    Jersey City Items," New York Times, June 1, 1858, page 8.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Atlantic Monthly Piece Lauds Base-ball

    1858.17

    "The Pastor of the Worcester Free Church, the Rev. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, wrote an influential argument for sports and exercise which appeared in the March 1858 issue of a new magazine called The Atlantic Monthly.

    Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "Saints, and Their Bodies," The Atlantic Monthly Volume 1, number 5 (March 1858), pp. 582-595. It is online at http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/moa/sgml/moa-idx?notisid=ABK2934-0001-122. Source supplied by Craig Waff, email of 9/25/2008.

    Some commentary: His [Higginson's] comments on our national game are of great interest, for he welcomed the growth of 'our indigenous American game of base-ball,' and followed [author James Fenimore] Cooper's lead by connecting the game with our national character." A. Fletcher and J. Shimer, Worcester: A City on the Rise (Worcester Publishing, Worcester, 2005), page 11. Note: what did Cooper say about the link between base ball and national character?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Oldest Extant Base Balls Were Inscribed?

    1858.18

    "Doubts about the claims made for the 'oldest' baseball treasured as relics have no existence concerning two balls of authenticated history brought to light by Charles De Bost . . . . De Bost is the son of Charles Schuyler De Bost, Captain and catcher for the Knickerbocker Baseball Club in the infancy of the game." The balls were both inscribed with the scores of the Brooklyn - NY Fashion Course Games of July and September 1858.

    "Both balls have odd one-piece covers the leather having been cut in four semi-ovals still in one piece, the ovals shaped like the petals of a flower."

    "Oldest Baseballs Bear Date of 1858," unidentified newspaper clipping, January 21, 1909, held in the origins of baseball file at the Giamatti Center at the HOF.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - First KY Box Score Appears in Louisville Newspaper

    1858.19

    "The beginnings of [Louisville] baseball on an organized basis are also lost in the mists of the 19th century. There were probably neighborhood teams competing within the city in the 1850s. But the first recorded box score in local papers appeared in the July 15, 1858 Daily Democrat. Two teams made up of members of the Louisville Base Ball Club faced one another in a contest where the final score was 52-41, a score not unusual for the period. The paper also notes that there were several other ball clubs organized in the city.

    "Not much is known about the Louisville Base Ball Club. It was probably not more than a year or two old by the time of the 1858 box score."

    "Chapter 1 - Beginnings: From Amateur Teams to Disgrace in the National League," mimeo, Bob Bailey, 1999, page 2.

    Possible describing the same July game, but reporting different dates, The New York Clipper (date and page omitted from Mears Collection scrapbook; "July, 1858" annotated in hand) said: "BASE BALL IN LOUISVILLE - The game of Base Ball is making its way westward. In Louisville they have a well-organized club, called the 'Louisville Base Ball Club.' They played a game on the 18th, with the following result [box score for 52-42 intramural game shown]" Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1858 - New York All-Stars Beat Brooklyn All-Stars, 2 games to 1; First Admission Fees Are Charged

    1858.2

    "The Great Base Ball Match of 1858, which was a best 2 out of 3 games series, embodies four landmark events that are pivotal to the game's history"

    1. It was organized base ball's very first all-star game.

    2. It was the first base ball game in the New York metropolitan area to be played ion an enclosed ground.

    3. It marked the first time that spectators paid for the privilege of attending a base ball game.

    4. The game played on September 10, 1858 is at present [2005] the earliest known instance of an umpire calling strike on a batter."

    Schaefer, Robert H., "The Great Base Ball Match of 1858: Base Ball's First All-Star Game," Nine, Volume 14, no 1, (2005), pp 47-66. Coverage of the game in Porter's Spirit of the Times, July 24, 1858, is reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 27-29. The SOT article itself is "The Great Base Ball Match," Spirit fo the Times, Volume 28, number 24 (Saturday, July 24, 1858), page 288, column 2. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1858 - Knicks Compose 17-Verse Song on Current Base Ball

    1858.20

    Chorus: Then shout, shout for joy, and let the welkin ring,/ In praises of our noble game, for health is sure to bring;/ Come, my brave Yankee boys, there's room enough for all,/ So join in Uncle Samuel's sport - the pastime of base ball."

    The song was sung in honor of the Excelsiors at a dinner in August 1858, and recaptured in Henry Chadwick, The Game of Base Ball [1868; reprint, Camden House, 1983), pp. 178-180, per Dean Sullivan. Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 30-32.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Times Editorial: "We Hail the New Fashion With Delight"

    1858.21

    "We hail the new fashion [base ball fever] with delight. It promises, besides it host of other good works, to kill out the costly target excursions. We predict that it will spread from the City to the country, and revive there, where it was dying out, a love of the noble game; that it will bring pale faces and sallow complexions into contempt; that it will make sad times for the doctors, and insure our well-beloved country a generation of stalwart men, who will save her independence."

    From the concluding paragraph of "Athletic Sports," New York Times, August 28, 1858, page 4. Submitted by John Thorn. John believes that "costly target excursions refer to hunting fox, grouse and other game." [Email, 2/10/2008]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Rochester NY Editor: Base Ball to Curb Tobacco, Swearing (If Not Spitting)

    1858.22

    "We hail then with pleasure, the introduction in our city of the game of base ball and the formation of the many clubs to enjoy this healthful activity. It will impart vigor, health and good feeling. It is a manly sport . . . [and] will contribute as much to good morals as it does to pleasure. . . . The stimulus of outdoor exercises will supplant the morbid and pernicious craving for tobacco. . . . It is a luxury to see our young men together, in the innocent enjoyment of a healthful sport. Let a father who was once a ball player too . . . have the privilege of looking on without the pain of hearing a profane word . . . Signed, X." "Field Sports," Rochester Democrat and American (August 12, 1858), page 3, column 2. Provided by Priscilla Astifan, email of 1/14/2008.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1858 - "The Playground" Gives Insight into Rounders, Trap-ball, and Cricket Rules and Customs

    1858.23

    George Forrest, The Playground: or, The Boy's Book of Games [G. Rutledge, London, 1858]. Available via Google Books.

    The manual covers rounders, cricket, and trapball - but not stoolball.

    Among the features shown: when only a few players were available, backward hits were not in play; leading and pickoffs were used in rounders; the rounders bat is three feet long; two strikes and you're out in trapball; and when a cat is used in place of a ball in rounders, plugging is not allowed. Note: add page reference.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Editorial Rips Base Ball "Mania" as a "Public Nuisance"

    1858.24

    "Ball Clubs," The Happy Home and Parlor Magazine, Volume 8, December 1, 1858 [Boston MA], page 405. Posted to 19CBB August 14, 2005 by Richard Hershberger.

    The author thinks base ball "has become a sort of mania, and on this account we speak of it. In itself a game at ball is an innocent and excellent recreation but when the sport is carried so far as it is at the present time, it becomes a pubic nuisance." His case: [1] gambling imbues it, [2] the crowd is unruly and intemperate, [3] profanity abounds, [4] its players waste a lot of time, [5] it leads to injury, and it distracts people from their work. "For these reasons we class ball-clubs, as now existing, with circus exhibitions, military musters, pugilistic feats, cock-fighting &c; all of which are nuisances in no small degree."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Your Base Ball Stringer, Mr. W. Whitman

    1858.25

    Reporter Whitman wrote a workmanlike [all-prose] account of a game [Atlantic 17, Putnam 13] for the Brooklyn Daily Times in June 1858.

    Walt Whitman, "On Baseball, 1858," in John Thorn, ed., The Complete Armchair Book of Baseball [Galahad Books, New York, 1997; originally published 1985 and 1987] pp 815-816.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Wicket, as Well as Cricket and Base Ball, Reported in Baltimore MD

    1858.26

    "Exercise clubs and gymnasia are spring up everywhere. The papers have daily records of games at cricket, wicket, base ball, etc."

    Editorial, "Physical Education," Graham's American Monthly of Literature, art, and Fashion, Volume 53, Number 6 [December 1858], page 495. Submitted by John Thorn 9/2/2006.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Flour Citys First Base Ball Club in Rochester

    1858.27

    Rochester Union and Advertiser, March 28, 1903. Submitted by Priscilla Astifan, December 2006.

    Note: A claim that the Live Oaks, or the Olympics, preceded the Flour Citys appears as above - see #1855.14.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - The MA Ball: Smaller, Lighter, "Double 8" Cover Design

    1858.28

    Dedham Rules of the Massachusetts Game specifies that "The ball must weigh not less than two, nor more than two and three-quarter ounces, avoirdupois. It must measure not less than six and a half, nor more than eight and a half inches in circumference, and must be covered with leather."

    William Cutler of Natick, MA reportedly designs the Figure 8 cover. The design was sold to Harrison Harwood. Harwood develops the first baseball factory (H. Harwood and Sons) in Natick, Massachusetts. Baseballs that are manufactured at this facility include the Figure 8 design as well as the lemon peel design.

    Submitted by Rob Loeffler, 3/1/07. See "The Evolution of the Baseball Up to 1872," March 2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - First Recorded College Game at Williams College

    1858.29

    "On Saturday last [May 29] a Game of Ball was played between the Sophomore and Freshmen Classes of Williams College. The conditions were three rounds of 35 tallies - best two in three winning. The Sophs won the first, and the Freshmen the two last. It was considered one of the best contested Games ever played by the students."

    "Williamstown [MA]," The Pittsfield Sun, vol. 58, number 3011 (June 3, 1858, page 2, column 5. Posted to 19CBB on 8/14/2007 by Craig Waff. The best-of-three format is familiar in the Massachusetts game. Note: does the final sentence imply that earlier games of ball had recently been played?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - At Dedham MA, Team Representatives Formulate Mass Game Rules

    1858.3

    The representatives of ten clubs meet at Dedham, Massachusetts, to form the Massachusetts Association Base Ball Players and to adopt twenty-one rules for their version of base ball. The Massachusetts Game reaffirms many of the older rule practices such as plugging the runner (throwing the ball at the runner to make a put-out). The Massachusetts Game rivals the New York Game for a time but eventually loses support as the popularity of the New York Game expands during the Civil War.

    The Base Ball Player's Pocket Companion [Mayhew and Blake, Boston, 1859], pp. 20-22. Per Sullivan, p. 22. Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 26-27. See also David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 219:

    To view the rules themselves, go to http://www.baseball-almanac.com/ruletown.shtml [Accessed 10/29/2008.]

    The 36-page Mayhew/Baker manual covers the rules and field layouts for both games. It gamely explains that both game require "equal skill and activity," but leans toward the Mass game, which "deservedly holds the first place in the estimation of all ball players and the public." Still, it admits, the New York game "is fast becoming in this country what cricket is to England, a national game."

    The May 15 1858 Boston Traveller reported briefly on the new compact, adding "We congratulate the lovers of this noble and manly pastime." On June 1, the Boston Herald reported on the first game played (before a crowd of 2000-3000 at the Parade Grounds) under the new rules, won in 33 innings by the Winthrops over the Olympics 100-27, and carried a box score.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Playing Rules Given for New Britain CT Wicket Ball Match

    1858.30

    "The great game of Wicket Ball between a party of the married and unmarried men of New Britain, came off on Saturday. There were 25 each on a side, and both sides were composed of the 'crack' players of the town." A large number of out-of-town attendees was noted. A box score was included.

    Among the stated rules noted as differing from Hartford rules: wickets set 75 feet apart, "flying balls only out," no leading, "last ball to count 4; but the strikers must make four crosses,' a nine-inch ball, and a three-game format in which the total runs "crossings" determined the victor.

    "Ball-Playing at New Britain," Hartford Daily Courant, June 21, 1858, page 2. Provided by John Thorn, 9/12/2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Bristol CT Bests Waterbury in Wicket

    1858.31

    Bristol beat Waterbury by 110 runs in a wicket game on Bristol's Federal Hill Green on September 9, 1858. No game details appeared. "The game not only attracted attention in this section of the State, but it assumed such proportions that New Yorkers became interested and it was reported in much detail in the NY Sunday Mercury a few days later. The newspaper remarked at the time that Bristol had a wicket team to be proud of.
    The New York newspapers had a chance to tell the same story twenty-two years later when the Bristols went to Brooklyn and defeated the club of that city"

    Norton, Frederick C., "That Strange Yankee Game, Wicket," Bristol Connecticut (City Printing Co., Hartford, 1907). Source, provided by John Thorn; is available on Google Books. Note: Can we find the Mercury story and/or coverage in Bristol and Waterbury papers? Add page reference.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Ballplaying Interest Hits New Bedford MA

    1858.32

    "Yet Another: A number of seamen, now in port, have formed a Club entitled the 'Sons of the Ocean Base Ball Club.' They play on the City commons, on Thursdays, and we are requested to state that the members challenge any of the other clubs in the city to a trial either of New York or Massachusetts game."

    New Bedford Evening Standard, September 13, 1858, as referenced at "Early days of Baseball in New Bedford, ca. 1858. http://scvbb.wordpress.com/2007/09/17/early-days-of-baseball-in-new-bedford-ca-1858/, [or google "'south coast vintage' 1858"], as accessed on 1/4/2008. This was evidently the first recorded mention of the NY game in the area. The website relates how the several New Bedford clubs debated which regional game to play in 1858, with the MA game prevailing at that point.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Earliest Games in Chicago IL?

    1858.33

    [1] Downer's Grove downs Union, 7/7/1858. "A match game was played yesterday afternoon between the Union Base Ball Club, of this city, and the Downer's grove Base Ball Club. . . . A spacious tent was erected on the Club's grounds, corner of West Harrison and Halstead Streets. The Downer's Grove Club came of [sic] victorious, the 'country boys' being excellent players." "Base Ball Match," Chicago Daily Press and Tribune, vol. 12 number 6 (Thursday, July 8, 1858), page 1 column 4. Posted to 19CBB on 9/11/2007 by Craig Waff.

    [2] Excelsior downs Union, 8/29/1858. The score was Excelsior 17, Union 11. Chicago Daily Times and Tribune, September 1, 1858, page 1 column 4. Posted to 19CBB on 9/11/2007 by Craig Waff.

    Growth in Chicago was slow. Although its population was nearing 110,000 in 1860, it still had only four base ball clubs. [Steven Freedman, "The Baseball Fad in Chicago, 1865-1870," Journal of Sport History, Volume 5 number 2 (Summer 1978), page 42.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Amusements at Duchess' Birthday Party Includes Base Ball

    1858.34

    August 17 was the 72nd birthday of the Duchess of Kent, celebrated at Windsor. Church bells rang. Royal tributes were fired. And, "amusements principally consisted of cricket, dancing, archery, football, trap and base ball, swinging, throwing sticks for prizes, etc."

    "Birthday of the Duchess of Kent," Times of London, Issue 23073 (August 18, 1858), page 7 column A. Image provided by John Thorn, email of 6/11/2007. Note: given the absence of the term "base ball" in this period, one may ask whether "trap and base ball" was a variant of "trap ball." In fact, the phrase appears in an 1862 in a description of a fete held in August 1859, presumably near Windsor, where, after a one-innings cricket contest, "archery, trap and base ball [and boat races] were included in the diversions. Gyll, Gordon W. J., History of the Parish of Wraysbury, (H. G. Bohn, London, 1862), page 55. Available on Google Books [google "trap and base ball"].

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - New York Game Seen in Boston: Portland [ME] 47, Tri-Mountains 42.

    1858.35

    The Boston Herald article on this game is reprinted in Soos, Troy, Before the Curse: The Glory Days of New England Baseball 1858-1918 (Parnassus, Hyannis MA, 1997), page 5. Soos reports that this is the first time that the Tri-Mountains had found a rival willing to play the New York game [Ibid.]. Here is how the new game was explained to Bostonians: "The bases are placed at the angles of a rhombus instead of a square, the home base being the position of the striker; provision is made for "foul hits," and the ball is caught on the 'bound' as well as on the 'fly.' The game consists of nine innings instead of one hundred tallies, and the ball is pitched, not thrown." The absence of stakes and plugging is not mentioned. Nor is the larger, heavier ball.

    The New York Clipper (date and page omitted from Mears Collection) reprinted a Boston news account that remarked: "Unusual interest attached to the game among lovers of field sports, from the fact that it was announced to be played according to the rules of the New York clubs which differ essentially from the rules of the game as played here., and also from the fact that one of the parties to the match came from a neighboring city." Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Mainers see the game thus: "It took awhile but this modern game - and its popularity - moved steadily north. By 1858 we know it had arrived in Maine . . . because an article in the September 11th issue of the Portland Daily Advertiser heralded the fact that the Portland Base Ball Club had ventured to Boston to play the Tri-Mountain Base Ball Club of that city. The game was played September 9th on the Boston Common." Portland won, 47- 42.

    This watershed game was also noted in Wright, George, "Base Ball in New England," November 15, 1904, retained as Exhibit 36-19 in the Mills Commission files

    "Anderson, Will, Was Baseball Really Invented in Maine? (Will Anderson, publisher, Portland, 1992), page 1. Note: Can we find the original Portland article?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - NY Rules Printed in Georgia

    1858.36

    Without apparent explanation or comment, the rules of baseball were printed in Macon GA:

    "Rules and Regulations of the Game of Base Ball," Macon Weekly Georgia Telegraph (November 16, 1858), page unknown. From a 19CBB posting by Richard Hershberger, 7/23/2007. Text provided by John Maurath, Director of Library Services, Missouri Civil War Museum at Historic Jefferson Barracks, email of 1/18/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - In English Novel, Base-Ball Doesn't Occupy Boys Very Long

    1858.37

    The boys were still restless - ". . . they were rather at a loss for a game. They had played at base-ball and leap-frog; and rival coaches, with six horses at full speed, have been driven several times around the garden, to the imminent risk of box-edgings, and the corner of flower beds: what were they to do?" Anon., "Robert Wilmot," in The Parents' Cabinet of Amusement and Instruction (Smith, Elder and Co., London, 1858), page 59. Provided by David Block, email of 2/27/2008. The boys appear to be roughly 8 to 10 years old.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Brooklyn Base Ball Admirer Sizes up the 1858 Season

    1858.38

    ". . . we think it would be an addition to every school, that would lead to great advantages to mental and bodily health, if each had a cricket or ball club attached to it. There are between 30 and 40 Base Ball Clubs and six Cricket Clubs on Long Island [Brooklyn counted as Long Island then] . . . . Base ball if the favorite game, as it is more simple in its rules, and a knowledge of it is more easily acquired. Cricket is the most scientific of the two and requires more skill and judgement in the use of the bat, especially, than base. "The Ball Season of 1858," Brooklyn Eagle, March 22, 1858; reprinted in Spirit of the Times, Volume 28, number 7 (Saturday, March 27, 1858), page 78, column 2. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - San Francisco Organizes for Base Ball . . . Again

    1858.39

    "BASE BALL CLUB: "a Club entitled the San Francisco Base Ball Club has been formed in San Francisco, California. . . . They meet every other Tuesday at the Club House, Dan's saloon." Spirit of the Times, Volume 28, number 7 (Saturday, March 27, 1858), page 78, column 2. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008. Note: Is this the first club established in CA since 1851? [Cf #1851.2, #1852.7, #1859.5]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - NY Game Rules Changed - The Called Strike is In

    1858.4

    The New York Game adopts the called strike, first employed at a New York vs. Brooklyn all-star game at Fashion Race Course on Long Island. The umpire to call the first strike is D.L. Adams. The National Association of Base Ball Players' rules are in Constitution and By-laws of the NABBP [New York, Wilbur and Hastings, 1859], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 224. [Larry: bound rule was not eliminated until 1863]

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1858 - Cricket Plays Catch-up; Plans a National Convention

    1858.40

    "CRICKET CONVENTION FOR 1858. - A Convention of delegates from the various Cricket Clubs of the United States will take place, pursuant to adjournment from last year, at the Astor House [on May 3]. Important business will be transacted." "Cricket and Base Ball," Spirit of the Times (Volume 28, number 4 (Saturday, April 10, 1858), page 102, column 3. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008. Note: Do we know the outcome? Was cricket attempting to counteract baseball's surge? How? Why didn't it work?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Buffalo NY Feels Spring Fever, Expects Many New BB Clubs

    1858.41

    "The Niagara Club, of Buffalo, also played oin Saturday, on the vacant lot on Main Street, above the Medical College. We learn that several other clubs will soon organize, so that some rare sort may be anticipated the coming season. The Cricket Club will soon be out in full force . . . . We are pleased to notice this disposition to indulge in manly sports. "Cricket and Base Ball," Spirit of the Times, Volume 28, number 7 (Saturday, March 27, 1858), page 78, column 2. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - In Downstate Illinois, New Club Wins by 134 Rounds

    1858.42

    "BASEBALL IN ILLINOIS. - The Alton [IL] Base-Ball Club . . . a meeting was held on the evening of May 18, to organize a club . . . . The Upper Alton Base Ball Club . . . sent us a challenge, to play a match game, on Saturday, the 19th of June, which was accepted by our club; each side had five innings, and thirteen players each, with the following result: The Alton Base-Ball Club made 224 rounds. The Upper Alton Base-Ball Club made 90 rounds." "Base-Ball", Porter's Spirit of the Times, Volume 4, number 20 (July 17, 1858), p. 309, columns. 2-3 Alton IL is a Mississippi River town 5 miles north of St. Louis. Missouri.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - CT Man Reports 13-on-8 games, Asks for Some Rules

    1858.43

    "Dear Spirit: The base-ball mania has attacked a select few in New Haven . . . the (self-assumed) best eight challenged the mediocre and miserable thirteen, who constitute the rest of this [unnamed] club. Best two in three, no grumbling, were the conditions . . . [The Worsts won, 48-40, 35-17, 33-27; sounds like a fixed-innings match.]. But what I meant to write you about, was to ask where we can obtain a full statement and explanation of the rules and principles of base-ball." "BASE-BALL IN NEW HAVEN," Spirit of the Times [date shorn from Mears Clippings Collections; inferred to be July 1858]. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - 1000 Watch November Base Ball in New Bedford MA. Brr.

    1858.45

    The New Bedford Evening Standard (November 26, 1858) reported on the Thanksgiving Day ball game: "At the conclusion of the game, Mr. Cook, in a few appropriate remarks in behalf of the Bristol County Club, presented the Union Club with a splendid ball. Cheers were then given by the respective Clubs and they separated to enjoy their Thanksgiving dinners. About 1000 spectators were present.

    "In the afternoon there were several 'scrub' games, that is games which the various Clubs unite and play together. The regular Ball season is considered to close with Thanksgiving, though many games will doubtless be played through the winter when the weather will permit." Text provided by Kyle DeCicco-Carey, email of 1/14/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - New York Game Arrives in Baltimore MD

    1858.46

    "Mr. George Beam, of Orendorf, Beam and Co., Wholesale Grocers . . . visiting New York City in 1858, was invited by Mr. Joseph Leggett [a NYC grocer] to witness one of the games of the Old Excelsior Base Ball Club, of New York City. Mr. Beam became so much enthused, that on his return to Baltimore City . . . it resulted in the organization of the Excelsior B.B. Club. The first meeting was held in 1858. . . . The almost entire membership of the club was composed of business men. . . . [p 203/204] The score book of the club having been lost, and the old members having no recollection of any games played in 1859, except with the Potomac Club of Washington D.C., it is quite probable that the time was devoted to practice." In 1860 they played the NY Excelsiors along Madison Avenue in NY.

    Griffith also notes that "[T]he ball used in the early sixties was about one-third larger, and one-third heavier, than the present one, than the present [1900] one, and besides was what is known as a 'lively ball,' and for those reasons harder to hold." Ibid, page 202.

    William Ridgely Griffith, "The Early History of Amateur Base Ball in the State of Maryland," Maryland Historical Magazine, Volume 87, number 2, Summer 1992), pages 201-208. Provided summer 2008 by Marty Payne. Griffith impels, but does not state, that this was the first Baltimore club to play by NY rules. This journal article appears to be an extract of pages 1-11 of Griffith's The Early History of Amateur Baseball in the State of Maryland 1858-1871 (John Cox's Sons, Baltimore, 1897).

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Brooklynite Takes A Census - There Are 59 Junior Clubs in Brooklyn

    1858.47

    "Dear Spirit:- . . . I have busied myself for a week or two past in finding out the names of the different junior clubs, which, if you will be kind enough to publish, will probably give information to some. The following are the names, without reference to their standing: Enterprise, Star, Resolute, Ashland, Union, National, Ringgold, Oakland, Clinton, Pacific, Active, Oneida, Fawn, Island, Contest, Metropolitan, Warren, Pastime Jrs., Excelsior Jrs., Atlantic Jrs., Powhattan, Niagara, Sylvan, Independence, Mohawk, Montauk, Favorita, Red Jacket, American Eagle, E Pluribus Unum, Franklin, Washington, Jackson, Jefferson, Arctic, Fulton, Endeavor, Pocahontas, Crystal, Independent, Liberty, Brooklyn Star, Lone Star, Eagle Jrs., Putnam Jrs., Contest, "Never Say Die," Burning Star, Hudson, Carlton, Rough and Ready, Relief, Morning Star, City, Young America, America, Columbus, Americus, Columbia, Willoughby. The above are the names as I have collected them from reliable persons . . . The above list consists of only the junior clubs of Brooklyn. Yours, A Friend of the Juniors."

    "Junior Base-Ball Clubs," Porter's Spirit of the Times, Volume 5, number 7 (October 18, 1858), page 100, column 2. Provided in email of 11/16/2008 by Craig Waff, who noticed [did you?] that the Contest squad appears twice on the list.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Three Youth Clubs in Rochester NY Disdain the NY Game

    1858.48

    In Rochester, the West End Base Ball Club, the Washington club, and the Union club showed no love for the NYC rules. The West End Club, for example, declared that it would have "nothing to do with the new fangled tossing, but throw the ball with a wholesome movement, in the regular old-fashioned base ball style. It is not clear that the clubs persisted in their preference, or whether their rules were a hybrid of old and new ways. The clubs' announcements appeared in the Rochester Daily Union and Advertiser for July 2 and 3, 1858, and in the Rochester Democrat and Advertiser for July 21, 1858. Provided by Priscilla Astifan.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Nation Plays Nation - Senecas and Tuscaroras Have a Ballgame

    1858.49

    "At 2 o'clock a grand annual National Base Ball play, on the [county fair] ground, for a purse of $50, between the Tuscarora and the Seneca tribes of Indians."

    Buffalo Daily Courier, September 22, 1858, reporting on the schedule of the Erie County agricultural exhibition. Posted to the 19CBB listserve [date?] by Richard Hershberger. Richard adds: "I usually interpret the word 'national' in this era to mean the New York game." He asks if inter-tribal play was common then. Erie County includes Buffalo.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Seven More Clubs Publish Their Rules

    1858.5

    David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 224, lists 7 clubs with new rulebooks. They include base ball clubs in Stamford CT [Mazeppa BB Club], Newburgh NY [Newburgh BB Club, Louisville [KY]? [Louisville BB Club], New York City [Independent BB Club], South Brooklyn [Olympic BB Club], Jersey City [Hamilton BB Club], and, formed to play the Massachusetts Game, the Takewambait BB Club of Natick MA.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1858 - New York Game Reaches Philadelphia

    1858.50

    "Although the Minerva Club was established in 1857, it members lived a quiet and largely unpublicized existence. The first report of the New York game of baseball in the city was an item noting an 1858 Thanksgiving Day match between two teams composed of members of the Pennsylvania Tigers Social Base Ball and Quoit Club."

    William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning (McFarland, 2009), page 115. His source for the 1858 game is the New York Clipper, November 27, 1858. Facsimile contributed December 29, 2009.

    Also: "PENN TIGERS BASE BALL CLUB. - The Two Nines of this club played their first match on Monday, 13th inst, at Philadelphia, Boyce's party beating Broadhead's by only one run, the totals being 24 and 23." Unidentified clipping in the Mears collection; by context it may have appeared in late spring of 1859. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - At Harvard, Two Clubs Play Series of Games by New York Rules

    1858.51

    The Lawrence Base Ball Club and a club from the Harvard Law School played "regular matches" on campus. The Lawrence Club's 1858 Constitution stipulated that "the Game played by this Club shall be that known under the name of the 'New York Game of Base Ball'" under its March 1858 rules, and that it would play no other game. The dates of the games against the law school and the nature of that club as not known, but accounts exist of intramural games in 1858.

    "The Lawrence Base Ball Club," The Harvard Graduates' Magazine, Volume 25 (March 1917), pp 346-350. Accessed 2/16/10 via Google Books search ("lawrence base").

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Grand Wicket Match in Waterbury CT

    1858.52

    Local interest in wicket is seen has having crested in 1858 in western Connecticut. "Games were played annually with clubs from other towns in the state, and the day on which these meetings took place was frequently made a general holiday."

    J. Anderson, ed., The Town and City of Waterbury, Volume 3 (Price and Lee, New Haven, 1896), pp. 1102-1103. Accessed 2/16/10 via Google Books search ("mattatuck ball club"). In August 1858, the local Mattatuck club hosted "the great contest" between New Britain and Winsted. The mills were shut down and brass bands escorted the clubs from the railway station to the playing field. New Britain won, and 150 were seated at a celebratory dinner. Local wicket was to die out by about 1860. The Waterbury Base Ball Club began in 1864. Waterbury is about 30 miles SW of Hartford CT. Winsted is about 30 miles north of Waterbury, and New Britain is about 20 miles to the east.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - At Kenyon College, Base Ball Takes Unusual Form

    1858.53

    The Kenyon Club, comprised of Kenyon students, lost to the boys from Milnor Hall at the College, losing 93 to 68 in three innings. Each side fielded eleven players. The box score reveals an unusual feature. Players scored widely varying runs in an inning; Denning, for example scored 10 times in the first inning for the Kenyon Club, while three of his teammates did not score at all. This might indicate that either an all-out/side out game was played, or a cricket-style rule allowed each batter to retain his ups until he was retired.

    "Base Ball at Kenyon College," New York Clipper, May 15, 1858. Facsimile contributed by Bill Ryczek, December 29, 2009. The College is in Central OH, about 45 miles NE of Columbus.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - OFBB Variant Played in Buffalo NY; 11 Players, 12 Innings

    1858.54

    "Old Fashion Base Ball - The Buffalo Base Ball Club, of this city [Buffalo NY], and the Frontier Club, of Suspension Bridge, will play their first match game, on the grounds of the Buffalo Club . . . . They play by the rules adopted by the Massachusetts State Convention of Ball Players, being the so-called 'old-fashioned base,' or 'round ball' - not the 'toss' or 'national' game. Rare playing may be expected, as this game requires more activity than any other, and the players ore the 'best eleven' from the best two clubs in Western New York."

    BuffaloDaily Courier, October 14, 1858. Posted to 19CBB September 1, 2009. On October 18, the Courier reported that Buffalo won, 80-78, in 12 innings. Player's positions are given, and they include 4 basemen and a short stop, a "thrower" a catcher, and a second "behind."

    While the teams nodded to the new [May 1858] Dedham rules for the Massachusetts game, their actual practice varied. The game was evidently played to twelve innings, not to 100 tallies. By 1859, this Buffalo Club played a game according to a three-out-side-out [3OSO] rule availed. Richard wonders if the 12-inning, 3OSO game, found in two other game accounts, was a peculiarity of the Buffalo area.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - First Club Forms in St. Paul MN

    1858.55

    "In December (1858) the first base-ball club was organized, It was called the Olympic: S. P. Jennison, captain."

    C. C. Andrews, History of St. Paul, Minnesota (D. Mason and Co., Syracuse, 1890), page 75. Submitted by Bob Tholkes, December 2009. Several Olympic games were covered in the St. Paul Daily Times in 1859, starting in June.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Mr. Babcock Shows Base Ball to San Franciscans

    1858.56

    "Allow me to correct an error which appeared in your last issue in relation to the first game of base ball played in California. The game was introduced by Mr. William Babcock of the Atlantic Base Ball Club, of Brooklyn, and was played . . . on the grounds opposite South Park, in the city of San Francisco [CA] on the 10th day of Nov., 1858." A box score is included. It shows W. V. Babcock as batting leadoff, pitching, scoring 3 runs, and also, "[o]wing to the scarcity of parties understanding the game, Mr. Babcock acted as umpire."

    "Correspondence. Base Ball in California," Sunday Mercury, January 6, 1861, page 8. Contributed by Bob Tholkes, email of February 7, 2010.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Clipper Calls for Truly National BB Convention

    1858.6

    When the 1858 convention suggested forming the National Association of Base Ball Players, according to the Clipper, that was really a "misnomer" because there were "no invitations to clubs of other states," and no one under age 21 can join." "National indeed! Truth is a few individuals wormed into the convention and have been trying to mould men and things to suit their views. If real lovers of the game wish it to spread over the country as cricket is doing they might cut loose from parties who wish to act for and dictate to all who participate. These few dictators wish to ape the New York Yacht Club in their feelings of exclusiveness. Let the discontented come out and organize an association that is really national - extend invitations to base ball players every where to compete with them and make the game truly national."

    Clipper, April 3, 1858, page 396, Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809. Note: text needs to be verified, as Seymour's note doesn't seem literally copied.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Newly Reformed Game of Town Ball Played in Cincinnati OH

    1858.7

    Clippings from Cincinnati in 1858 report on the Gymnasts' Town Ball Club match of July 22, 1858: "They played for the first time under their new code of bye laws, which are more stringent than the old rules." The game has five corners [plus a batter's position, making the basepaths a rhombus in general shape], sixty feet apart, meaning 360 feet to score. The fly rule was in effect, and plugging was disallowed, and the rules carefully require that a batsman run every time he hits the ball.

    The Clippercarried at least four reports of Cincinnati town ball play between June and October of 1858. The earliest is in the edition of June 26, 1858 - Volume 6, number 10, page 76. Coverage suggests that teams of eight players were not uncommon, although teams of 13 and 11 were also reported. Note: An oddity: in a July intramural contest, batter Bickham claimed 58 runs of his team's 190 total, while the second most productive batsman mate scored 30, and 5 of his 10 teammates scored fewer than 6 runs each. One wonders what rule, or what typo, would lead to that result.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Harvard Student Notes "Multitude" Playing Base or Cricket There

    1858.8

    "[On] almost any evening or pleasant Saturday, . . . a shirt-sleeved multitude from every class are playing as base or cricket . . . "Mens Sana," Harvard Magazine 4 (June 1858), page 201. Harvard is in Cambridge MA.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Eagle Contrasts Base Ball and Cricket

    1858.9

    "Base ball is the favorite game, as it is more simple in its rules, and a knowledge of them is easily acquired. Cricket is the most scientific of the two and requires more skill and judgment in the use of the bat, especially, than base."

    "Cricket and Base Ball," BrooklynEagle, March 22, 1858. Facsimile contributed by Bill Ryczek, December 29, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Wolverines and Wicket

    1858c.44

    "Wicket was then about our only outdoor sport - and it was a good one, too - and I remembered that we challenged the whole University to a match game."

    Lyster Miller O'Brien, "The Class of 1858," University of Michigan, 1858-1913 (Holden, 1913), page 52. Accessed in snippet view via Google Books search ("match game" wicket).

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1858 - Modern Base Ball Gets to Exeter Prep [from Doubleday's Home Town!]

    1858c.57

    "The present game [of baseball] was introduced by George A. Flagg, '62 [and three others and] Frank Wright, '62. Most enthusiastic of these early players was Mr. Flagg, who abandoned the Massachusetts style of baseball for the New York style. The ball then used was a small bag of shot wound with yarn, and could be batted much further than the present baseball. The men just named played among themselves and with town teams. Mr. Wright, of Auburn, New York, was perhaps more responsible than anyone else for bringing the game to New England."

    Laurence M. Crosbie, The Phillips Exeter Academy: A History (1923), page 233. Posted to the 19CBB listserve on [date?] by George Thompson. Accessible in snippet view 2/19/2010 via Google Books search (crosbie exeter flagg). Query: Is c1858 a creditable guess as to when lads in the class of '62 might have begun playing at Exeter? Is a full view available online? Phillips Exeter is in Exeter NH, about 50 miles N of Boston and about 12 miles SW of Portsmouth.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - First Intercollegiate Ballgame: Amherst 73, Williams 32

    1859.1

    In the first intercollegiate baseball game ever played, Amherst defeats Williams 73-32 in 26 innings, played under the Massachusetts Game rules. The contest is staged in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, a neutral site, at the invitation of the Pittsfield Base Ball Club.

    Pittsfield Sun, July 7, 1859. Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 32-34. Also, Durant, John, The Story of Baseball in Words and Pictures [Hastings House, NY, 1947], p .10. Per Millen, note # 35.

    The two schools also competed at chess that weekend.

    AmherstExpress, Extra, July 1 - 2, 1859 [Amherst, MA], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 219. A two-page broadsheet tells of Amherst taking on Williams in both base ball and chess. Headline: "Muscle and mind!"

    The New York Clipper thought that the game's wimpy ball lessened the fun: "The ball used by Amherst was small, soft, and with so little elasticity that a hard trow upon the floor would cause of rebound of scarcely a foot." Cited in William Ryczek, Ballball's First Inning (McFarland, 2009), page 127 and attributed to the July 16 issue. Ryczek goes on to say that the ball, while more suitable for plugging than the Association ball, detracted frm the excitement of the game because it was could not be hit or thrown far.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Philadelphia Man Interested in Forming MA Game Club

    1859.10

    "We have already several clubs in the neighborhood who I presume play the same game as the New York clubs, which the New York Tribune call a "baby game" if as the article in the Tribune to-day indicates your Massachusetts game is the best we shall be glad to introduce it here."

    Letter from William Stokes, Philadelphia to Geo H. Stoddard, Pres., Excelsior Ball Club, Upton Mass, October 18, 1859. From the Mills Commission files at the HOF Giamatti Center.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Union College Forms Base Ball Team

    1859.11

    Keetz, Frank M., The Mohawk Colored Giants of Schenectady (Frank M. Keetz, Schenectady, 1999), page 2. Keetz does not provide a source.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - MA Championship: Unions 100, Winthrop 71, in 101 Innings

    1859.12

    Wilkes Spirit of the Times, October 15, 1859. Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - First Tour of English Eleven to US and Canada

    1859.13

    The All England Eleven confronted 22 US players in a match at the Camac Estate Cricket Ground in Philadelphia, October 10-13, 1859. England overtook the US, 155-154 with seven wickets in hand. The US side comprised 13 Philadelphians and 9 New Yorkers.

    The AEE also thumped 22 players from the US and Canada in Rochester NY. In all, the tour comprised eight matches.

    John Lester, A Century of Philadelphia Cricket, UPenn Press, Philadelphia, 1951), pages 19-21. Facsimile of Clipper coverage of the Phildelphhia match contributed by Greagoy Christiano, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - New YorkTribune Compares the NY ["Baby"] Game and NE Game

    1859.14

    "That [NY Tribune} article was a discussion, I believe, of the two games, the New York game and the Massachusetts round ball game, with a view to decide which was the standard game. So far as we know, this newspaper indicates that [text obscured] became a sport of national interest. The fact that the club of a little country town up in Massachusetts should be weighed in the balance against a New York club, in the columns of the first paper of the country marks a beginning of national attention to the game."

    New York Tribune, October 18, 1859, as described in Henry Sargent letter to the Mills Commission, [date obscured; a response went to Sargent on July 21, 1905, suggesting that the Tribune article had arrived "after we had gone to press with the other matter and consequently it did not get in.]. The correspondence is in the Mills Commission files, item 65-29.

    George Thompson located this article and posted it to 19CBB on 3/1/2007. The editorial says, in part:

    "The so-called 'Base Ball' played by the New York clubs - what is falsely called the 'National' game - is no more like the genuine game of base ball than single wicket is like a full field of cricket. The Clubs who have formed what they choose to call the 'National Association,' play a bastard game, worthy only of boys ten years of age. The only genuine game is known as the 'Massachusetts Game . . . .' If they [the visiting cricketers] want to find foes worthy of their steel, let them challenge the 'Excelsior' Club of Upton, Massachusetts, now the Champion club of New England, and which club could probably beat, with the greatest ease, the best New-York nine, and give them three to one. The Englishmen may be assured that to whip any nine playing the New-York baby game will never be recognized as a national triumph."

    This suggestion was met with derision by a writer for the New York Atlas on October 30: that northern game is known for it "ball stuffed with mush; bat in the shape of a paddle twelve inches wide; bases about ten feet apart; run on all kinds of balls, fair or foul, and throw the ball at the player running the bases." [Facsimile contributed by Bill Ryczek 12/29/2009.]

    A gentleman from Albany NY wrote to the Excelsiors, saying he was "desirous of organizing a genuine base ball club in our city." Letter from F. W. Holbrook to George H. Stoddard, October 22, 1859; listed as document 67-30 in the Spalding Collection, accessed at the Giamatti Center of the HOF.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1859 - Games and Sports Covers Rounders, Feeder, Trap-ball, Northern Spell

    1859.15

    Games and Sports for Young Boys [London, Warne and Routledge] per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 221. This book's descriptions of rounders, feeder, trap-ball, and northern spell were cloned from the 1841 publication The Every Boy's Book, but many new woodcuts seem to have been inserted.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Boy's Own Toy-Maker Covers Tip-cat and Trap-ball

    1859.16

    The Boy's Own Toy-Maker [London, Griffith and Farran], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 220. This book has information on making toys and sporting equipment. It spends two pages on tip-cat and three on "trap, bat, and ball." An American edition [Boston, Shepard, Clark and Brown] also appeared in 1859.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Club Forms at Princeton

    1859.17

    "The Nassau Base Ball Club is organized on the Princeton campus by members of the class of 1862"

    March 14, 1859, no citation given, http://www.baseballlibrary.com/ [go to chronology for the year 1859]. Note: Some source say the Princeton's entry occurred in 1858. One example: "Baseball was introduced into the American college from the general community. The first regular nine was formed at Princeton in 1858. Yale and Amherst organized teams in the following year." C. F. Thwing, A History of Higher Education in America (D. Appleton and Co., New York, 1906), page 885. Note also that item #1857.13 above pre-dates the 1858 report.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Harper's Suggests Plugging Still Used in Base-ball

    1859.18

    "Base-ball differs from cricket, especially, in there being no wickets. The bat is held high in the air. When the ball has been struck the 'outs' try to catch it, in which case the striker is 'out;' or, if they can not do this, to strike the striker with it when he is running, which likewise puts him out."

    Harper's, October 15, 1859, as quoted by Richard Hershberger, Monday June 13, 2005, on the SABR 19CBB listserve. [Note: procure this article; it is conceivable that Harper's intended to describe the tagging of runners.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Phillips Exeter Academy Used Plugging in "Base-ball?"

    1859.19

    "Baseball was played at Exeter in a desultory fashion for a good many years before it was finally organized into the modern game. On October 19, 1859, Professor Cilley wrote in his diary: 'Match game of Base-Ball between the Phillips club and 17 chosen from the school at large commenced P.M. I was Referee. Two players were disabled and the game adjourned.' Putting a man out by striking him with the ball when he was running bases often led to injury."

    Crosbie, Laurence M., The Phillips Exeter Academy: A History, 1923, page 233. Submitted by George Thompson, 2005. [Note: Cilley himself does not attribute the 1859 injuries to plugging.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Elusive Intercollegiate Game [First Played by NY Rules] Pits Xavier and Fordham

    1859.2

    Per Sullivan, Dean A., Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], p. 32. Sullivan dates the game November 3, 1859, but does not give a source.

    Craig Waff [email of May 21, 2009] reported that he has not been able to confirm this game, and that press material from Fordham does not document the game. SABR's Baseball Index [TBI] cites a Fordham game in the June 16 1860 Clipper. Query: Does this 1860 account, once located, report on the 1859 game? The Xavier College in this story is presumably College of St. Francis Xavier, a Mahattan institution that closed in 1913.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1859 - Two More BB Clubs Issue Rules

    1859.20

    David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 224, lists new rules in 1859 for the Harlem BB Club in NY and the Mercantile BB Club in Philadelphia.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Porter's: MA Game Will Surely Die

    1859.21

    "This thing cannot last, and the Massachusetts game will surely die a natural death when the New England clubs come to realize the superiority of base ball, "The New York Game," as played under the rules adopted by the NABBP."

    Editorial, Porter's Spirit of the Times? October 1859?? From the ninth segment of Rankin's 1910 history??

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Worcester High School in MA Has First Secondary School Base Ball Team

    1859.22

    "Worcester High School in Massachusetts has been traditionally recognized as the first secondary institution to form a team that competed against teams outside of the school."

    Source: Illinois High School Association website

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Base Ball Would be Welcome in Lowell MA, Town of Factories

    1859.23

    "BASE BALL CLUB. We are glad to chronicle the formation of any club whose object is rational out-door amusement and exercise. In a place like Lowell, where a large portion of the working male population is confined eleven hours a day in close rooms, such exercise is especially needed . . . . [Company teams are encouraged.]

    Lowell [MA] Daily Journal and Courier, August 1, 1859.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - CT State Championship in Wicket Attracts 4000

    1859.24

    "When Bristol played New Britain at wicket for the championship of the state before four thousand spectators in 1859, the Hartford Press reported that there prevailed 'the most remarkable order throughout, and the contestants treated each other with faultless courtesy.'"

    A special four-car train carried spectators to the match, leaving Hartford at 7:30 AM.

    John Lester, A Century of Philadelphia Cricket [UPenn Press, Philadelphia, 1951], page 8. This game is also covered in Norton, Frederick C., "That Strange Yankee Game, Wicket," Bristol Connecticut (City Printing Co., Hartford, 1907), pages 295-296. Available via Google Books: try search: "Monday, July 18, 1859" Bristol.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Buffalo Editor on NY Game - "Child's Play"

    1859.25

    "Do our [Buffalo] Base Ball Clubs play the game of the "National Association" - the New York and Brooklyn club game? If so they are respectfully informed by the New York Tribune [see item #1959.14] that the style of Base Ball - what is falsely called the "National" game - is no more like the genuine game of base ball than single wicket is like a full field of cricket. It says, the clubs who have formed what they choose to call the "national Association," play a bastard game, worthy only of boys of ten years of age.

    We have not the least idea whether it is the "National Association" game or the "Massachusetts" game that our Clubs play, but we suppose it must be the latter, as we are certain their sport is no "child's play."

    Editorial, "Base Ball - Who Plays the Genuine Game?," Buffalo Morning Express, October 20, 1859. From Priscilla Astifan's posting on 19CBB, 2/19/2006. [Cf #1859.14, above.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - NY Herald Weighs Base Ball against Cricket

    1859.26

    A detailed comparison of base ball and cricket appeared in the New York Herald, October 16, 1859, page 1, columns 3-5.

    Some fragments:

    "[C]ricket could never become a national sport in America - it is too slow, intricate and plodding a game for our go-ahead people."

    "The home base [in base ball] is marked by a flat circular iron plate, painted white. The pitcher's point . . . is likewise designated by a circular iron plate painted white . . . ."

    "The art of pitching consists in throwing it with such force that the batsman has not time to wind his bat to hit it hard, or so close to his person that he can only hit it with a feeble blow."

    "[The baseball is] not so heavy in proportion to its size as a cricket ball."

    "Sometimes the whole four bases are made in one run."

    "The only points in which a the base ball men would have any advantage over the cricketers, in a game of base ball, are two - first, in the batting, which is overhand, and done with a narrower bat, and secondly, in the fact that the bell being more lively, hopping higher, and requiring a different mode of catching. But the superior activity and practice of the [cricket] Eleven in fielding would amply make up for this."

    It occupies about two hours to play a game of base ball - two days to play a game of cricket." "[B]ase ball is better adapted for popular use than cricket. It is more lively and animated, gives more exercise, and is more rapidly concluded. Cricket seems very tame and dull after looking at a game of base ball.

    "It is suited to the aristocracy, who have leisure and love ease; base ball is suited to the people . . . . "

    In the American game the ins and outs alternate by quick rotation, like our officials, and no man can be out of play longer than a few minutes."

    Posted to 19CBB on 3/1/2007 by George Thompson.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Reader Catches "A Slight Error" - Base Ball is English, not American

    1859.27

    "Allow me to correct a slight error in a leading article of to-day's issue on the cricket match. It is there stated that the game of "base ball" is an American game. It is played in every school in England, and has been for a century or more, under the name of "Rounders," and is essentially an English game. New York Herald, October 16, 1859, page 1 column 5. Posted to 19CBB on 3/1/2007 by George Thompson.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - New Yorker Dies Playing Base Ball

    1859.28

    "Yesterday afternoon, THOMAS WILLIS, a young man, residing at No. 46 Greenwich-street, met with a sad accident while playing ball in the Elysian Fields, Hoboken. Acting in the capacity of "fielder" he ran after the ball, which rolled into a hole about fifteen feet deep. Slipping and falling in his eagerness to obtain it, his head struck a sharp rock, which fractured his skull. Medical attendance was immediately procured, but the injury was pronounced fatal."

    New York Evening Express, October 22, 1859, page 3 column 3. Posted to 19CBB on 3/1/2007 by George Thompson.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Annual Meeting of NABBP Decides: Bound Rule, No Pros

    1859.29

    "Base Ball," The New York Clipper (March 26, 1859). The fly rule lost by a 32-30 vote, and the paper worried that easy fielding would "reduce the 'batting' part of the game to a nonentity. Compensation for playing any game was outlawed. The official ball shrunk slightly in weight and size. Matches would be decided by single games. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - 24,000 Attend US-England All-Star Cricket Match at Elysian Fields

    1859.3

    Per Rader, page 91; no citation given

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1859 - The First Triple Play, Maybe?

    1859.30

    Neosho [New Utrecht] beat the Wyandank [Flatbush] 49-11, with one Wyandank rally cut short in a new way, one that capitalized on the new tag-up rule.

    "The game was played according to the new Convention rules of 1859, under one of which it was observed that the Neosho put out three hands of their opponents with one ball, by catching the ball 'on the fly,' and then passing it to two bases in immediate succession so as at the same time to put out both men who were returning to those bases."

    "First Base Ball Match of the Season," The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Volume 18 number 91 (Monday, April 18, 1859), page 11 column 1. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff 4/30/2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - New Orleans Leans Toward MA Game?

    1859.31

    "New Orleans experiences a boom in 1859 when 7 teams were started and two more followed the next year. These early New Orleans LA nines first used Massachusetts rules, but by 1860 they had all switched to NABBP rules." Somers, Dale, The Rise of Sports in New Orleans 1850-1900 (Publisher?, Baton Rouge, 1972), footnote 73 on pages 49-50. Provided by David Nevard, email of 6/11/2007.

    Caution: Richard Hershberger [email of 10/19/2009] notes that, in examining the article on the MA game, he found that the sides had ten players each, but seems otherwise to reflect Association rules. He notes that outside of match games, it was not unusual for clubs to depart from the having nine players on a side.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Morning Express Opposes Bound Rule, Tag-up Rule: Wants More Runs!

    1859.32

    Reporting on the imminent Knicks-Excelsiors game: "We believe that the rule, which is allowed by the Convention, of putting a man out, if the ball is caught on the first bound, is to be laid aside in this match. The more manly game of taking the ball on the fly, is alone to be retained. . . .. We do not know whether the men are to return to their bases in the event of a ball being caught on the fly; but it appears to us, that it would be as fair to one team as the other if the bases could be retained, if made before the ball had got to there, [and] it would cause more runs to be made, and a much more lively and satisfactory game." New York Morning Express (June 30, 1859), page 3, column 6. Posted to 19CBB by George Thompson, 3/18/2007. A fortnight later, a return match "in the test game of catching the ball on the fly" was scheduled for August 2, 1859: "Knickerbocker vs. Excelsior," New York Morning Post (July 13, 1859), page 3, column 7. A long inning-by-inning game account appears at New York Morning Express (August 3, 1859), page 3, column 7.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Prolix Lecturer Explains What Base Ball and Cricket Mean

    1859.33

    "This, then, is what cricket and boating, battledore and archery, shinney and skating, fishing, hunting, shooting, and baseball mean, namely that there is a joyous spontaneity in human beings; and thus Nature, by means of the sporting world, by means of a great number of very imperfect, undignified, and sometimes quite disreputable mouthpieces, is perpetually striving to say something deserving of far nobler and clearer utterance; something which statesmen, lawgivers, preachers, and educators would do well to lay to heart." S. R. Calthrop, A Lecture on Physical Development, and Its Relations to Mental and Spiritual Development (Ticknor and Fields, Boston, 1859), page 23. Provided by David Block, 2/27/2008. Note: Maybe Calthrop means "have fun, don't talk so much?" Calthrop was to become a Unitarian minister. He avidly played and taught cricket in England as a young man. [For his other sports connections, see #1851.5 and #1854.13 above.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Lexicographer: "Base Ball" is English!

    1859.34

    "BASE. A game of ball much played in America, so called from the three bases or stations used in it. That the game and its name are both English is evident from . . . Halliwell's Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words: 'Base-ball. A country game mentioned in Moor's Suffolk Words, p. 238'." [See #1823.2 - Moor - and #1847.6 - Halliwell above.]

    From John Russell Bartlett, Dictionary of Americanisms: A Glossary of Words and Phrases Usually Regarded as Peculiar to the United States, (second edition; Little, Brown and Company; Boston, 1859), page 24. Provided by David Block, email of 2/27/2008. David adds: "This attestation of baseball's English roots predates by one year Chadwick's assertion of same, and carries the added significance of coming from a distinguished American lexicographer."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Base Ball Community Eyes Use of Central Park

    1859. 35

    A "committee on behalf of the Base Ball clubs" recently conferred with NY's Central Park Commissioners about opening Park space for baseball. Under discussion is a proviso that "no club shall be permitted to use the grounds unless two-thirds of the members be residents of this city." "BASE BALL IN THE CENTRAL PARK," The New York Clipper (January 22 - or June 22 - 1859), page number omitted from scrapbook clipping. This issue has been on the minds of baseball at least since the first Convention. The sentiment is that other sports have access that baseball does not. See #1857.2 above. According to the New York Times of December 11,1858, the Central Park Commission had referred the ballplayers' appeal to a committee then. [Facsimile contributed by Bill Ryczek, 12/29/09.] Note: Is there a good account of this negotiation and its outcome in the literature?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - [entry merged with 1859.4]

    1859.36

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - In Wisconsin, Bachelors Win 100-68

    1859.37

    "FOX LAKE CLUB. - The Married and Unmarried members of the Wisconsin Club measured their respective strength in a bout at base ball on the 15th inst. The former scored 68 and the latter 100." New York Clipper (date omitted in scrapbook; context suggests April or May 1859.) Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008. Note: Where's Fox Lake WI? Sounds like they played the MA game, no?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - NYU Forms a Base Ball Club

    1859.38

    The students of New York University were reported to have formed a club. "The Club number 15 to 20 members, and are to meet semi-monthly or oftener, for practice, probably at Hoboken. We hope soon to be able to announce that all our Universities, Colleges, and Schools, have similar institutions attached to them."

    New YorkClipper, April 9, 1859. Facsimile contributed by Bill Ryczek, 12/29/2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Club Organized in St. Louis MO

    1859.39

    "CLUB ORGANIZED, - A base ball club was organized in St. Louis, Mo, on the 1st inst. It boasts of being the first organization of the kind in that city, but will not, surely, long stand alone. It numbers already 18 members, officers as follows: President, C. D. Paul; Vice do, J. T. Haggerty; Secretary, C. Thurber; Treasurer, E. R. Paul. They announce their determination to be ready to play matches in about a month. Source: Under-identified clipping in the Mears collection - The Clipper or the Spirit of the Times - annotated "Sept 1859" in hand. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Base Ball Club Forms in Augusta GA: Town Ball Played Also/Instead

    1859.4

    "Baseball Club formed in Augusta in 1859," unidentified clipping at the Giamatti Research Center, Cooperstown, September 15, 1985. Per Millen note # 42.

    "Town Ball. - On the 24th ult., the young men of Augusta, Ga., met on the Parade Ground, and organized themselves in two parties for enjoying a friendly game at this hearty game." They played two innings, and "W.D.'s side scored 43, squeezing the peaches on P. B.'s, who managed only 19. Source: The New York Clipper (date and page omitted; date inferred from scrapbook placement). Facsimile from page 25 (column 3, third story) of a Mears Collection scrapbook, provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Query: Is there any indication that Association rules were used by the reported club?

    From another source: The Daily Chronicle and Sentinal [Augusta?] in 1860 reported that the Base Ball Club of Augusta had formed the previous year. It reported on this "noble and manly game" as played on November 7, 1860"

    "There were 6 innings. Doughty's side made 32 rounds; Russell's side made 20 rounds."

    From an unidentified clipping marked [in hand] "September 15, 1985 Augusta GA," in the Origins file at the Giamatti Center of the Hall of Fame.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1859 - Devotion to MA Game Erodes Significantly

    1859.40

    "BASE BALL. - Massachusetts has 37 clubs which play what is known as the Massachusetts game; and 13 which play the New York game." Undated facsimile from the Mears Collection provided by Craig Waff, September 2008. Bill Ryczek, 12/29/2009, confirmed that he source is the July 17, 1859 issue of the New York Clipper.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - First Game in Canada Played by New York Rules?

    1859.41

    "YOUNG CANADA vs. YOUNG AMERICA. - These two base ball clubs of Canada (the former of Toronto, the latter of Hamilton) played the first game of base ball that has ever taken place there, we believe, under the rules of the N. Y. Base Ball Association, on Tuesday, 24th ult., at Hamilton." The New York Clipper (printed date omitted; "May 1859" entered in hand, page omitted.) Facsimile from the Mears Collection provided by Craig Waff, September 2008. Young Canada prevailed, 68-41. Note: Are there earlier claims for the first Knicks-style game in Canada? Item #1856.18 above was likely a predecessor game, right?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - In Chicago IL, Months-old Atlantic Club Claims Championship

    1859.42

    Atlantic 18, Excelsior 16. This "well-played match between the first nines of the Atlantic and Excelsior took place on the 15th ult., for the championship. . . . The victorious club only started this spring . . . . They have now beaten the Excelsiors two out of three games played, which entitles them to the championship." "Base Ball at Chicago," New York Clipper (date omitted; year inferred from scrapbook placement). Facsimile from the Mears Collection provided by Craig Waff, September 2008. Note: So . . . was this construed as the 1859 city crown, just a dyadic rivalry crown, an "until-we-lose-it crown, or what?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - And It's Pittsburgh We Call the Pirates?

    1859.43

    In a game account from August 1859, the writer observes, "with a spicing of New York first rate players, Chicago may expect to stand in the front rank of Base Ball cities." "Atlantic Club vs. Excelsior Club - Progress of Base Ball in the Great West.," New York Morning Express (August 20, 1859), page 4, column 1. Posted to 19CBB 3/16/2007 by George Thompson.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - English Social Event Includes Base Ball as Well as Cricket

    1859.44

    The activities at an August 1859 event of the Windsor and Eton Literary, Scientific and Mechanics Institute included a one-innings cricket match. In addition, "[a]rchery, trap and base ball, were included in the diversions on the firm-set land, as well as boat-racing open the pellucid flood." G. W. J. Gyll, The History of the Parish of Wraysbury, Ankerwycke Priory, and Magna Charta Island (H. G. Bohn, London, 1862), page 55... Posted to 19CBB by Richard Hershberger, 3/18/2008. Richard suggests that this is the last known published reference to home-grown "base ball" play in Britain. This area is about 20 miles west of London. The full list of diversions gives no indication that it was children who were to be diverted at this event, so adult play seems possible. Note: Would it be helpful to understand what the membership and purposes of the Institute were? Is "trap and base ball" to be construed here as "trap ball," rather than Austen-style base-ball, in this part of Victorian England?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - In Milwaukee, Base Ball is [Cold-] Brewing

    1859.45

    The first report of baseball being played in Milwaukee is found in the Thursday, December 1, 1859, Milwaukee Daily Sentinel. The paper wrote:

    "BASE BALL—This game, now so popular at the East, is about to be introduced in our own city. A very spirited impromptu match was played on the Fair Ground, Spring Street Avenue, yesterday afternoon six on a side, with the following result:

    "Should the weather be fair, the return match will be played on the same ground, At 2 o'clock this (Thursday) afternoon."

    There is no record of this Thursday match, but we have scores for matches on December 10 (33 to 23 in favor of Hathaway's club in 5 innings, with 9 on a side) and December 17 (54 to 33, again in favor of Hathaway's club with 5 innings played; with 10 men on each side listed in the box score). The last match was played in weather that "was blustering and patches of snow on the ground made it slippery and rather too damp for sharp play."

    These games took place at the State Fair Grounds, then located at North 13th and West Wisconsin Avenue. This is now part of the Marquette University Campus. The R. King in the box score is Rufus King, editor of the Milwaukee Sentinel. His grandfather, also Rufus King, was a signer of the American Constitution. Milwaukee's Rufus King was a brigadier general in the Civil War, and he would be Milwaukee's first superintendent of schools.

    In April 1860, the Sentinel reported another "lively" game, and added, "The game is now fairly inaugurated in Milwaukee, and the first Base Ball Club in our City was organized last evening. "Base Ball," Milwaukee Sentinel (April 3, 1860). Account and facsimile submitted by Dennis Pajot, March 2010.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Visiting English Cricketers View the Bound Rule as "Childish"

    1859.46

    On October 22, 1859, the touring English cricketers played base ball at a base ball field, which is "about two miles from the town, and had been enclosed at great expense. The base-ball game is somewhat similar to the English game of "rounders," as played by school-boys. . . .Caffyn played exceedingly well, but the English thought catching the ball on the first bound a very childish game." Fred Lillywhite, The English Cricketers' Trip to Canada and the United States (Lillywhite, London, 1860), page 50. Provided by John Thorn, email of 2/9/2008. The game was played in Rochester NY. The book [as accessed 11/1/2008] can be viewed on Google Books; try a search of "lillywhite canada."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Outmanned Buffalo NY Club Survives "Old-Fashioned" Game, 46-38

    1859.47

    "The matched game of Base Ball between the Buffalo and Alden clubs was played yesterday afternoon on the Niagara's grounds on Main st. The match was a closely contested one, and resulted in favor of the Buffalo Club, who scored forty-six to thirty-eight runs made by the Alden Club in the twelve innings. The Alden Club have played several matches and have never been beaten before. The game was the old-fashioned one, which calls for more muscle than the New England game."

    "The Ball Match Yesterday," Buffalo Daily Courier (August 13, 1859), page 3, column 2.

    The Alden club fielded 15 players to the confront the Niagaras' 12; they included two "behinds" as well as a catcher, two left fielders, two right fielders, a fourth baseman, and one more team member listed simply as "fielder." Both teams' pitchers were termed "throwers." The game was evidently limited to 12 innings instead of to a set total of tallies, as was found in other upstate "old-fashioned base ball" games of this period. Taken at face value, this account implies that three games were played in the region at the time - the New York game, the New England game, and this game. Alden NY is 20 miles due east of downtown Buffalo. Source: Email of 5/25/2008 from Priscilla Astifan.

    A return match was hosted by the Alden club on September 3rd, with the Buffalo New York and Erie railroad offering half-price fares to fans. Alden won, "by 96 to 22 tallies." Sources: Buffalo Daily Courier, September 2 and September 5, 1859, reported by email by Priscilla Astifan on 12/7/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Wicket Club and Base Ball Club Play Demo Matches for Novelty's Sake

    1859.48

    "Novel Ball Match - The Buffalo Dock Wicket Club have invited [the Buffalo Niagaras] to play a game of wicket, and a return game of base ball. It is intended, not as a trial of skill, (for neither club knows anything of the other's game, and it was expressly stipulated that neither should practice the other's) but merely for he novelty and sport of the thing; each club expecting to appear supremely ridiculous at the other's game." Buffalo Daily Courier, September 10, 1859. The Buffalo Morning Express later reported that the Niagaras lost the wicket game, and that attendance was good; the result of the base ball game is not now known. Provided by Priscilla Astifan, email of 12/7/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Clubs Form in New Orleans LA, Interclub Play Begins

    1859.49

    "The first interclub game reported in Louisiana took place on September 15, 1859, when the Empire Club beat the Louisiana Club, 77-64, a game which took two days to complete."

    William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning (McFarland, 2009), page 113.

    Another pair of clubs followed closely. The Southern and Magnolia clubs played in early October. [John Husman, "Ohio's First Baseball Game," July 16, 2004, page 4 (no source given).]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - First [or Second?] Pacific Coast Club, the Eagles, Forms

    1859.5

    Seymour, Harold, Baseball: the Early Years [Oxford University Press, 1989], p. 26. [No ref given.]

    [Note: John Thorn, on July 11, 2004, advised Protoball that "a challenge to the citation is a photo at the NBL of the Bostons of San Francisco, with a handwritten contemporary identification 'organized 1857'."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - The First Reported African-American Game, July 4 and/or November 15

    1859.6

    [A] The July 4 game between Henson and Unknown; New York Anglo-African, July 30, 1859. Per Sullivan, page. 34-36.

    [B] "November 15, 1859 - The first recorded game between two black teams occurred between the Unknowns of Weeksville and the Henson Club of Jamaica (Queens) in Brooklyn, NY." Email from Larry Lester, taken from his chronology of African American baseball, 8/17/2007. Chris Hauser, in an email on 9/26/2007, estimates that this notice appeared in the New York Anglo-African, and was referenced in Leslie Heaphy's Negro League Baseball.

    Note: Can we get text from the sourced citation, and a source for the text citation? Was this one game or two?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Southern Game Takes Place in Aristocratic Setting

    1859.7

    Seymour, Harold, Baseball: the Early Years [Oxford University Press, 1989], p. 40. [No ref given.]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Sixty Play for Their Supper

    1859.8

    "On Saturday last New Marlborough and Tolland played a game of ball for a supper - Tolland beat. There were 30 players on a side."

    PittsfieldSun, June 23, 1859. Accessed via subscription search February 17, 2009. Tolland CT is about 20 miles NE of Hartford, and New Marlborough MA is in the SW corner of MA, about 25 miles S of Pittsfield. Looks like this was a game of wicket.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1859 - Excelsiors and Union Club play for $500 and MA Championship

    1859.9

    New YorkClipper, October 22, 1859. The two clubs were the Excelsior Club of Upton MA and the Union Club of Medway MA. The Excelsiors won, 100-56, and received $500 in gold. "The game, in which 80 innings were played, occupied nearly 11 hours, and proved quite a treat to those who witnessed it. In 1860 the two clubs would meet for a $1000 purse.

    The New-York Tribune (October 12, 1859), page 5 column 2 reported that 5000 spectators attended the match, including "delegations from many of the clubs throughout the state." Posted to 19CBB on 3/1/2007 by George Thompson.

    Writing of this match nearly fifty years later, "H.S" [Presumably Henry Sargent] said it was his recollection that "The attendance was more than 10,000 at each day's play. In the neighboring towns the factories gave their employees holidays to see the game." "H. S.," "Roundball: Baseball's Predecessor and a Famous Massachusetts Game," The New York Sun (Monday, May 8, 1905) page not known. The article features many other aspects of roundball.

    Joanne Hulbert, David Nevard, John Thorn, and Craig Waff helped untangle previous versions of this material [H. S. had recalled the big game as taking place in 1858]. Gregory Christiano contributed a facsimile of the Clipper article in 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - 75 Clubs Playing Massachusetts Game in MA

    1860.1

    Spirit of the Times, March 24, 1860. Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809. Note: Can this estimate be reconciled with #1859.40 above? The number of clubs doubled in one year?

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1860 - Atlantics Are Challenged to Play MA Game for $1000 Stake, But Decline

    1860.10

    "In a long talk with "Bill" Lawrence, who put up the money for the Upton-Medway game, and himself a player on the mechanics Club of Worcester, he tells me that just before the war - he thinks in 1860 - he went to New York with Mr. A. J. Brown (now dead), of Worcester, and challenged the Atlantics of Brooklyn to come to Worcester and play the Uptons for 1000 dollars; the game to be the "Massachusetts Game" and not the "New York Game," which was the game played by the Atlantics. The winner to get the entire $1,000; the loser nothing. After a good deal of consideration the challenge was not taken up by the Atlantics, on the ground that the players could not spare sufficient time for the practice requisite for such an important match; the officials of the Atlantic Club at the same time scoffing at the idea that could beat the Uptons or any other Club."

    Letter from Henry Sargent, Worcester MA to the Mills Commission, June 25, 1905.

    In a posting to 19CBB on 7/31/2005 [message 4], Joanne Hulbert reports on four articles from the Worcester Daily Spy [July 16, July 17, July 17, and August 4] that record the rumor of the "great match game of base ball," as well as a return match in New York if Upton wins, and the Atlantics' turndown, "probably on account of the expenditure of time and money . . . as well as to their objection to playing any but the New York game."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Baltimore MD Welcomes Visiting Excelsiors of Brooklyn

    1860.12

    "A great match at base ball comes off here today between the Excelsior Club of Brooklyn, and a Club of the same name belonging to this city. . . . Thousands are already on their way in the City Rail Road cars and on foot to witness this exhibition of skill on the part of these, said to be he two most expert clubs in the country n this exhilarating game. Several clubs belonging to other cities are here to witness and enjoy the sport."

    Macon [GA] Weekly Telegraph, October 4, 1860, reprinting from a Baltimore source. Accessed via subscription search May 21, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Town Ball Hangs on in Philadelphia

    1860.13

    The New York Clipper of August 11, 1860, page 132, carries accounts of two July town ball games in Philadelphia PA, [1] one involving the Olympics and [2] another involving two second-team elevens. Richard Hershberger comments: "This is interesting on several counts. This is firm evidence that that the Olympics did not completely give up town ball the previous May [1860], as is usually reported. It also shows that not only were there at least two other clubs playing town ball, but that there was enough interest for them to field second teams." Richard Hershberger posting to 19CBB, 1/31/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Potomacs "Conquer" Nationals in Washington

    1860.14

    "For many reasons this game has excited more interest than any other ever played hereabouts." The Evening Star carries a full game account and box score. "Geo Hibbs, Dooley, and Beale of the National, went into the "corking" line pretty largely, the latter leading the score of his side." It was the deciding game of the match.

    "Base Ball: Potomac vs. National: the Conquering Game," Washington [DC] Evening Star, October 23, 1860, page 3.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Adolescent Novel Describes Base Ball Game

    1860.15

    Thayer William M., The Bobbin Boy; or, How Nat Got His Learning (J. E. Tilton, Boston, 1860), per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, pages 221-222. In this moral tale, Nat hits a triumphant home run, "turning a somersault as he came in."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Mercantile BB Club of Philadelphia Subject to Light Poetry

    1860.16

    Owed 2 Base Ball in Three Can't-Oh's! (McLaughlin Bros, Philadelphia, 1860) per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 222. Perhaps written for the club's Christmas banquet, this humorous verse mentions each of the clubs starting players.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Worcester MA Newspaper Publishes New York Rules

    1860.17

    Posting on 19CBB by Joanne Hulbert, 7/15/2005 [message 2].

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Granite and Quinnipiack Clubs Issue Their Rulebooks

    1860.18

    David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 224, lists new constitutions for the Granite BB Club of Manchester NH and the Quinnipiack BB Club of New Haven CT.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Second Annual Chadwick Guide Prints Season Stats for the Year

    1860.19

    Chadwick, Henry, Beadle's Dime Base-Ball Player for 1861 [New York, Ross and Tousey], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 222. Actually published in late 1860, this second annual guide printed 1860 statistics for players and teams and contains rule revisions.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Lincoln Awaits Nomination, Plays Town Ball?

    1860.20

    "During the settling on the convention Lincoln had been trying, in one way and another, to keep down the excitement . . . playing billiard a little, town ball a little, and story-telling a little."

    Henry C. Whitney, Lincoln the Citizen [Current Literature Publishing, 1907], page 292.

    A story circulated that he was playing ball when he learning of his nomination: "When the news of Lincoln's nomination reached Springfield, his friends were greatly excited, and hastened to inform 'Old Abe' of it. He could not be found at his office or at home, but after some minutes the messenger discovered him out in a field with a parcel of boys, having a pleasant game of town-ball. All his comrades immediately threw up their hats and commenced to hurrah. Abe grinned considerably, scratched his head and said 'Go on boys; don't let such nonsense spoil a good game.' The boys did go on with their bawling, but not with the game of ball. They got out an old rusty cannon and made it ring, while the [illeg.: Rail Splitter?] went home to think on his chances." Note: Richard Hershberger and others doubt the veracity of this story. He says [email of 1/30/2008] that one other account of that day says that Abe played hand-ball, and there is mention of this being the only athletic game that Abe was ever seen to indulge in.

    "How Lincoln Received the Nomination," [San Francisco CA] Daily Evening Bulletin vol.10 number 60 (Saturday, June 16, 1860), page 2 column 3. Provided by email of 7/18/07 by Craig Waff. Craig adds that the piece may be a reprint of an Eastern article.

    A political cartoon of the day showed Lincoln playing ball with other candidates. It can be viewed at http://www.scvbb.org/images/image7/. Thanks to Kyle DeCicco-Carey for the link.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - NABBP Refines Rules on the Ball

    1860.21

    For the third year, the Convention put the elimination of the bound rule to a vote, and again the bound rule won, 55-37. The Association's own Rules and Regulaitons Committee, chaired by Doc Adams, had favored a move to the fly rule for fair balls. Membership had reached nearly 80 clubs from as far away as Michigan. New York Herald, 3/18/1860.

    The National Association of Baseball Players rules now specify that "The ball must weigh not less than five and three-fourths, nor more than six ounces avoirdupois. It must measure not less than nine and three-fourths, nor more than ten inches in circumference. It must be composed of India rubber and yarn, and covered with leather, and, in all match games, shall be furnished by the challenging club, and become the property of the winning club, as a trophy of victory." 1860 National Association of Baseball Players, Rules and Regulations Adopted by the National Association of Baseball Players - New York, March 14th 1860. This source is available at:

    http://wiki.vbba.org/index.php/Rules/1860 Query: what changes are made in adopting this rule? Is the ball a bit larger?

    1860.22 - Routledge's "Ball Games" Depicts Simplified Form of Stoolball

    "This is an old English sport, mentioned by Gower and Chaucer, and was at one period common to women as well as men. In the Northern parts of England, particularly in Yorkshire, it is practiced in the following manner: - A stool being set upon the ground, one of the players takes his place before it, while his antagonist, standing at a distance, tosses a ball, with the intention of striking the stool. It is the former player's business to prevent this, by striking it away with the hand, reckoning one to the game for every stroke of the ball; if, on the contrary, it should be missed by the hand, and hit the stool, the players change places. The conqueror of the game is he who strikes the ball most times before it touches the stool."

    Ball Games [George Routledge, New York, ], pp 61-62. The copy of this book at MCC is annotated "c1860" in hand. Note: This game, having only two players, no bat, no running, is highly simplified. It does not appear to reflect knowledge of the more evolved Sussex play at about this period. A cursory Google search reveals no stoolball reference in Geoffrey Chaucer or his contemporary John Gower; but then, spelling is a big issue, right?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - NY Game Gets to ME

    1860.23

    "The first documented game of baseball to actually be played in Maine took place on October 10, 1860. . . . that October saw the Sunrise Club of Brunswick host the senior class team of Bowdoin [College] at the Topsham Fair Grounds."

    Anderson, Will, Was Baseball Really Invented in Maine? (Will Anderson, Publisher, Portland, 1992), page 1. Anderson appears to rely on The Brunswick Telegraph, October 12, 1860.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Mighty Nat at the Bat: A Morality Story

    1860.24

    "[T]here was to be a special game of ball on Saturday afternoon. Ball-playing was one of the favorite games with the boys. . . . [Nat comes to bat.] 'I should like to see a ball go by him without getting a rap,' answered Frank, who was now the catcher. 'The ball always seems to think it is no use to try to pass him.'

    "' There, take that,' said Nat, as he sent the all, at his first bat, over the hands of all, so far that he had time to run round the whole circle of goals, turning a somersault as he came in."

    The boys' game is not further described. Thayer, William M., The Bobbin Boy; Or, How Nat Got His Learning. An Example for Youth (J. E. Tilton, Boston, 1860), pages 50-55.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Wicket and Base Ball at Kenyon College, OH

    1860.25

    [After a report on Kenyon's base ball club, including "the great fever which has raged for the laudable exercise of ball playing:"] "The heavier game of wicket has also had many admirers, and we doubt not but that many of them will live longer and be happier men on account of wielding the heavy bats."

    University Quarterly (Kenyon College, July 1860), page 198: Provided by Richard Hershberger, email of 8/22/2007. Accessed 2/17/10 via Google Books search ("heavier game of wicket").

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - New England Publication Admits New Dominance of NY Game

    1860.28

    "BASE BALL. The game of Base Ball is fast becoming in this country what Cricket is in England, - a national game. It has a great advantage over the Gymnasium and other exercise, because it combines simplicity with a healthful exercise at a very trifling expense; bandit is universally acknowledged as a very exciting and also interesting sport. The so called "New York Game," established by the National Association of Base Ball Players, which meets annually at New York, is fast becoming popular in New England, and in fact over the whole country, not only as giving a more equal share in the game but also requiring a greater attention, courage, and activity than in the old game, sometimes called the Massachusetts Game. The first club established in New England to play this new game was organized under the name of "Tri-Mountain Base Ball Club of Boston," and for a long while they were the only club in this section of the country. It seemed hard to give up the old game, but the motto of the Tri-Mountain was "Success," and from time to time during the past two years, there have been similar clubs organized, until at the present time the number is quite flourishing; and the New York Game bids fair to supplant all others - Farmers Cabinet Volume 58, number 42 (May 16, 1860), page 2. Provided by Joanne Hulbert, Hollister MA, email of 2/18/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - "Canadian Game" Espied in Ontario

    1860.29

    "Despite early experimentation with Cartwright's game, Oxford County [ON] inhabitants persisted with their regional variation of baseball for over a decade. . . . In 1860 matches between Beachville's sister communities Ingersoll and Woodstock involved eleven, rather than nine, players, and used four, rather than three bases. This prompted the New York Clipper [of August 18, 1860] to refer to the type of baseball played in the region as being the "Canadian Game." N. B. Bouchier and R. K. Barney, "A Critical Examination of a Source on Early Ontario Baseball," Journal of Sport History Volume 15, number 1 (Spring 1988), page 85. The authors say that the extra positions were "4th base" and "backstop." They suggest that the game was still closer to the Massachusetts game than the NY game. Oxford County's ballplaying towns are roughly at the midpoint between Buffalo NY and Detroit, and roughly 50 miles from each. Note: Can we find that Clipper report? Does the use of two backstops imply the continued application of tick-and-catch rules?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - NY Game Now Found in All the Larger Cities

    1860.3

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1860 - CT Wicketers Trounce CT Cricketers at Wicket

    1860.30

    Was wicket an inferior game? "the game [of wicket] certainly reached a level of technical sophistication equal to these two sports [base ball and cricket]. This was clearly demonstrated during a wicket match at Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1860 when a team of local wicket players easily defeated a team of experience local cricket players." Tom Melville, The Tented Field: the History of Cricket in America (Bowling Green State U Popular Press, Bowling Green OK, 1998), page 10. Melville cites the source of the match as the Waterbury American (August 31, 1860), page 21. Note: Can we locate and examine this 1860 article?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Base Ball Crosses State of Missouri

    1860.31

    "BASE BALL IN MISSOURI: St. Joseph, Mo, April 7, 1860. Friend Clipper: On Saturday last, a" jovial party" met on the ground near the cemetery, to engage in he healthful and vigorous game of ball; parties were paired off, and the game was one of lively interest to all. After the game was closed, it was decided to form a "Ball Club". . . . On motion of Jos. Tracy, the name of the Club was fixed as the "Franklin Base Ball Club." New York Clipper (date omitted from scrapbook). Facsimile from the Mears Collection scrapbooks provided by Craig Waff, September 2008. St. Joseph is about 30 miles north of Kansas City MO. There is no solid clue here as to whether this team was to follow rules for the New York game.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Milwaukee Area Not Unanimous About the "Miserable" New York Rules

    1860.32

    The Janesville WI ball club wasn't so sure about this new Eastern game, and apparently continued to play by the old rules. They weren't alone. The Daily Milwaukee News of May 17, 1860 offered this: "Waiting for a ball to bound, instead of catching it on the fly . . . and various other methods of play adopted by this new-fangled game, looks to us altogether too great a display of laziness and inactivity to suit our notions of a genuine, well and skillfully conducted game of Base Ball. . . . We shall soon expect to hear that the game of Base Ball is played with the participants lying at full length upon the grass." Give us the 'old fashioned game' or none at all."

    The previous day, the Milwaukee Sentinel had responded to a News piece calling the new rules "miserable" by writing that "We don't think much of the judgment of the News. The game of Base Ball, as now played by all the clubs in the Eastern States, is altogether ahead of 'the old fashioned game,' both in point of skill and interest." Facsimiles provided by Dennis Pajot, 6/23/2008. Janesville WI is about 60 miles SW of Milwaukee.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Base Ball Beats Football to South Bend IN

    1860.33

    "In 1860, South Bend was introduced to baseball for the first time and since then has continued to play the game as both an amateur and professional sport. . . .Area businessman Henry Benjamin introduced baseball to the city, forming a union which has lasted 125 years. . . . Benjamin decided to hold tryouts in the spring of 1860 to select South Bend's first organized team. That first team was called the Hoosiers. The Hoosiers were active as a team from 1860 to 1863."

    John M. Kovach, From Goosepasture to Greenstockings: South Bend Baseball 1860 - 1890 (Greenstocking Press, South Bend, 1985), pages 4-6. Accessed at the Giamatti Center at the Hall of Fame. Kovach does not give a source for this material.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Disparate Ball Games Seen in New Hampshire

    1860.34

    In adjacent brief clippings in the Mears Collection (dated "May 1860" by hand), disparate intramural games are described for two clubs. In one, "the stars of the East" played an in-house 28-23 game under National Association Rules - nine players, nine innings, the usual fielding positions neatly assigned. The other was a two-inning contest with twelve-player sides and a [smudge-obscured] score of about 70 to 70. This latter game does not resemble contours on the Massachusetts game - it's hard to construe it having a one-out-side-out rule -, but it's not wicket, for the club is named the "Granite Base Ball Club." The run distribution in the box score is consistent with the use of all-out-side-out innings. Note: What were these fellows playing? Both NH game accounts were in The New York Clipper. Facsimiles from the Mears Collection provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - All-Out-Side-Out Town Ball Played in Indiana

    1860.35

    "Town Ball at Evansville, Ind. - A match of Town Ball was contested between the married and single members of the Evansville [IN] Town Ball Club, on the 26th ult. [5-inning box score is presented.] The correspondent, to whom we are indebted for the above report, says that the rules and regulations of the game of town ball, vary a great deal. There, an innings is not concluded until all are out . . . The club, it is thought, will adopt base ball rules, such as are played in the East." New York Clipper (date omitted from scrapbook source; a rough date of May 1860 is inferred from placement of item in scrapbook [page 27]). Facsimile from the Mears Collection provided by Craig Waff, September 2008. Evansville is in southernmost IN, near the Kentucky border.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Late Surge Lifts Douglas' over Abe Lincoln's Side in Chicago IL

    1860.37

    "Base Ball and Politics. - We do not approve of their thus being brought into contact, but as a match took place at Chicago on the 24th ult., between nine [Stephen] Douglas me and nine [Abe] Lincoln men of the Excelsior Club, we feel in duty bound to report it." Tied after eight innings, the outcome was not prophetic for the ensuing election: Douglas 16, Lincoln 14. The Clipper ("July 1860" noted in hand on clipping). Facsimile provided from the Mears Collection scrapbooks by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Base Ball in Pittsburgh PA

    1860.38

    "Base Ball in Alleghany. - A match game of base ball was played between the Fort Pitt and Keystone Clubs on the West Common, Alleghany, Pa., on the 26th inst." [Box score provided; it is consistent with the National Association rules.] New York Clipper ("July 1860 noted in hand on the clipping). Facsimile provided from the Mears Collection scrapbooks by Craig Waff, September 2008. Note" Assuming that "Alleghany" is an alternative spelling for "Allegheny," this game occurred in a town absorbed into Pittsburgh PA in 1907.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - In Oberlin OH, It's Railroad Club 49, Uptown Club 44.

    1860.39

    "Base Ball at Oberlin O. - A match game between the Railroad and Uptown Clubs, took place at Oberlin" . . . . New York Clipper ("July 1860" noted in hand on the clipping). Facsimile from the Mears Collection scrapbooks provided by Craig Waff, September 2008. The box score shows two eight-player teams. Oberlin OH is 35 miles southwest of Cleveland.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - "Championship" Game: Atlantic 20, Eckford 11

    1860.40

    "Great Match for the Championship. Atlantic vs. Eckford. The Atlantics Victorious" New York Clipper Volume 8, number 30 (November 10, 1860), page 237, column 1. The article includes a play-by-account of the game, and unusually detailed box scores, including fielding plays and a five-column "how put out" table. Also included were counts for "passed balls on which bases were run" [4], "struck out" [1], "catches missed on the fly" [9, by six named players], "catches missed on the bound" [2], and "times left on base" [9] The article notes: "the results of the games this season between the Atlantics and the Excelsiors led them [sic] latter to withdraw entirely from the battle for the championship, which next season will lay between the Eckfords and Atlantics." Note: So - is this game commonly taken as the New York area championship tilt? Facsimile from the Mears Collection scrapbooks provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Two Base Ball Tourneys in California

    1860.41

    In September and October 1860, two tournaments occurred in CA. The first saw SF's Eagle Club beat Sacramento twice, 36-32 and 31-17 It was noted that SF's Gelston, a leadoff batter and catcher, was from the Eagle Club in New York, and "the Sacs" pitcher and leadoff batter Robinson was from Brooklyn's Putnams. In addition to a $100 prize for the winning team, the best player at each position received a special medal. The games took place in Sacramento.

    In October, three teams - Sacramento, Stockton, and the Live Oak - played games in Stockton, with Sacramento winning the $50 prize ball, beating Stockton 48-11 and then pasting Live Oak 78-7. New York Clipper (dates omitted in scrapbook clips; the second is annotated "Oct" in hand). Provided from the Mears Collection scrapbooks by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Shut Out Reported as the First Ever; Excelsiors 25, St. George Nine 0

    1860.42

    This game, played on the St. George grounds at Hoboken, evidently occurred on November 5 1860, "the score of the Excelsiors being 25 to nothing for their antagonists! This is the first match on record that has resulted in nine innings being played without each party making runs." It was the last game of the season for the Excelsiors, who played two "muffin" players and let St. George borrow a catcher [Harry Wright] from the Knicks and a pitcher from the Putnams. "Excelsiors vs., St. George," The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Volume 19, number 269 (Saturday, November 10, 1860), page 2, column 5. Posting to 19CBB by Craig Waff, 1/14/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Three Ball Clubs Form in VT Village

    1860.43

    "As if to anticipate and prepare for the dread exigencies of war, then impending, by a simultaneous impulse, all over the country, base ball clubs were organized during the year or two preceding 1861. Perhaps no game or exercise, outside military drill, was ever practiced, so well calculated as this to harden the muscles and invigorate the physical functions. . . .

    "Three base ball clubs were formed in this town, in 1860 and 1861. . . . They were sustained with increasing interest until 1862, when a large portion of each club was summoned to war."

    Hiel Hollister, Pawlet [VT] for One Hundred Years (J. Munsell, Albany, 1867), pages 121-122. Available via Google books: search "base ball""pawlet". Accessed 11/14/2008. Pawlet VT [current pop. c1400] is on the New York border, and is about 15 miles east of Glens Falls NY. Note: This is the first VT item on base ball in the Protoball files, as of November 2008; can that be so? Earlier items above [#178.6, #1787.2, #1828c.5, and #1849.9] all cite wicket or goal. Chester VT's 3044 souls today live about 30 miles north of Brattleboro and 35 miles east of the New York border.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Score it 7-5-4: "Three Hands Out in a Jiffy"

    1860.44

    We now know that it wasn't the first triple play ever [see #1859.30 above], but it was a snazzy play. "By one of the handsomest backward single-handed catches ever made by [the gloveless LF] Creighton, he took the ball on the fly, and instantly, by a true and rapid throw, passed the ball to [3B] Whiting, who caught it, and threw quickly to Brainerd, on the second base, before either Sears or Patchen had time to return to their bases." The trick "elicited a spontaneous mark of approbation and applause from the vast assemblage [the crowd roared]." "Out-Door Sports: Base Ball: The Southern Trip of the Excelsior Club," Sunday Mercury, Volume 22, number 40 (September 30, 1860), page 5, columns 2 and 3. Posted to 19CBB by Craig Waff 9/23/2008. The game, in Baltimore, pitted Creighton's Brooklyn Excelsiors against a Baltimore club that had formed in their image [see #1858.46].

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Competitive "Old-Fashioned" Game Still Alive in Syracuse NY

    1860.45

    About 20% of the games covered in available 1860 newspaper accounts of base ball in Syracuse depict "old-fashioned base ball" as played by a set of five area clubs. The common format for these games was a best-two-of-three match of games played to 25 "tallies" [not runs]. A purse of $25 was not uncommon. Teams exceeded nine players. However, no account laid out the details of the playing rules, or how they differed from those of the National Association. An 1859 article suggested that the game was the same as "Massachusetts "Base Ball," giving the only firm clue as to its rules. Sources: Syracuse Journal, June 14, June 21, and July 11, 1860; and Syracuse Standard, August 5, 1859.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - First International Game Played by New York Rules

    1860.46

    Joseph Overfield notes that the Buffalo NY team called the Queen Cities played a team from Hamilton, Ontario in August 1860, and says that it was the first international contest played by the National Association rules. Joseph Overfield, The 100 Seasons of Buffalo Baseball (Partner's Press, 1985), page 17. Overfield does not cite a primary source for this event.

    This game appears on the Protoball Games Tabulation [WNY Table] compiled by Craig Waff. It was reported as "the first match ever played by Clubs from the United States and Canada." in the Buffalo Morning Express on August 18, 1860.

    Clifton NY is no a location found near Buffalo. Perhaps it was the former name of a section of the city. An area called Clifton Heights is on Lake Erie SW of Buffalo.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Old-Fashioned Base Ball in Buffalo NY

    1860.47

    On July 4, 1860, a Buffalo newspaper reported "a very exciting and interesting game of old fashioned Base Ball" that had been played in Akron NY - about 20 miles east of Buffalo. This game featured 15 players on each side and a 3-out-side-out rule. Source: Buffalo Morning Express (July 10, 1860), page 3. Provided by Priscilla Astifan.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - "Veterans of 1812" Play OFBB . . . Annually?

    1860.48

    One of the earliest instances of an apparent "throwback" game occurred in August 1860, when a newspaper reported that the "Veterans of 1812" held their "annual Ball play" in the village of Seneca Falls NY, east of Geneva and southeast of Rochester. The "old warriors," after a morning of parading through local streets, marched to a field where "the byes were quickly staked out," sides were chosen, and the local vets "were the winners of the game by two tallies." Seneca FallsReveille (August 18, 1860).

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Troy NY Writer: "Every Newspaper" Covers Base Ball Games, Some Showing Regrettable "Petty Meanness"

    1860.49

    "Local Matters: Base Ball," The Troy Daily Whig, Volume 26, number. 8009 (28 June 1860), page 3, column 4:

    "The present season bids fair to out-rival all previous ones in respect to ball-playing every newspaper which we take up is sure to contain the particulars related to matches played or about to be played. We are glad to see that our young men, particularly those engaged in sedentary persuits [sic], are taking a lively interest in this noble game. In our opinion, nothing can serve better to invigorate both mind and body, than out door exercise. In ball-playing, every muscle is brought into play, and the intellectual capacities, very often are taxed to the utmost. But, in order that the parties may partake of the game with a lively zest, it is necessary that every branch of the game should be played in a friendly spirit. Many are the games which have been played, the beauty of which have been spoiled by the spirit of petty meanness and jealously [sic] creeping into the heart of the players. We were much pained and mortified upon a recent occasion, to see an incident of the kind alluded to, and we are confident that we speak the sentiments of many others, when we declare, that it destroyed what interest we had in the match. But this evil is not alone confined to this vicinity. It is noticeable in New York, Brooklyn, Rochester and other places and if the remonstrances of the press can have any influence towards checking the evil, we promise to perform our part in the good work." Submitted by Craig Waff, email of 12/7/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - NY Game is Called Dominant in CA

    1860.5

    Wilkes Spirit of the Times, December 1, 1860. Per Millen, note # 44.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1860 - A Truly "Grand" Game of Massachusetts Base Ball

    1860.50

    The Excelsior Club of Upton MA and the Union Club of Medway agreed to meet for a purse of $1000 in September at the Agricultural Fair Grounds in Worcester.

    "Worcester County Intelligence," Barre Gazette, September 14, 1860. Accessed via subscription search, February 17, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Base Ball Is Reaching Remote Spots in New York State

    1860.51

    "The Dunkirk Journal says that the young men of that village have organized a 'young American Base Ball club. . . . [we in Jamestown, too] should be glad to see [base ball] engaged in by our clerks and business men generally during the summer"

    Jamestown[NY] Journal, April 20, 1860. Accessed by subscription search May 21, 2009. Dunkirk NY is about 45 miles SW of Buffalo on the shore of Lake Erie. Jamestown NY is about 60 miles S of Buffalo.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - First Base Ball Match in St. Louis MO

    1860.52

    "The historical record states that the St. Louis Republican newspaper announced on July 9, 1860 that the first regular game of baseball in St. Louis was to be played that day at a location of what we know today as Fair Grounds Park in St. Louis. The game was to be played between the 'Cyclone' and the 'Morning Star' Baseball Clubs."

    Website of the Missouri Civil War Museum, http://www.mcwm.org/history_baseball.html, accessed April 10, 2009.

    Jeff Kittel has found the report of the match. It turns out that a 17-run 2nd inning was decisive. The article reports "a large number of spectators, among whom were several ladies." New Yorker S. L. Putnam was the ump. Source: St. Louis Daily Bulletin, Wednesday, July 11, 1860. Text contributed by Jeff Kittel, April 9, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Organized Town Ball in St. Louis

    1860.53

    "Town Ball. - All the Deputy Sheriff's, Marshall's and some of the clerks at the Court House went out on Franklin Avenue, in Leffingwell Avenue, yesterday afternoon, and had a spirited game of old town ball. We are glad to know that this pleasant game has been revived this season. A regular club has been organized, and will meet once a week during the season."

    St. Louis Daily Bulletin, Friday, May 4, 1860. Contributed by Jeff Kittel, April 9, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Yes, The Game Would Move Right Along . . . But Would it be Cricket?

    1860.54

    "Whenever the cricket community realized that American participation and interest were low, they talked about changing the rules. Some Americans suggested three outs per inning and six innings a game."

    William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning (McFarland, 2009), page 103. Attributed to the Chadwick Scrapbooks. Query: Were there really several such proposals? Can we guess what impediments required that it take another century to invent one-day and 20/20 cricket?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Ballplaying Near Stockton CA

    1860.55

    "A base ball match was played yesterday at Carson's Ranch, about [illeg.] miles from Stockton, between Stockton and the Live Oak Clubs. A great deal of interest was manifested in the match, a large number of spectators, both from town and country, being present . . . ." Two games were played, the second resulting in a tie that was then played off.

    San Joaquin Republican, May 26, 1860. Accessed via subscription search May 20, 2009. Stockton is about 60 miles east of Oakland CA.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Three Hartford CT Base Ball Clubs on the Move

    1860.56

    The Alligator, Rough and Ready, and Independent Base Ball Clubs announced meetings on a late October day. HartfordDaily Courant, October 27, 1860. Accessed via subscription search, May 21, 2009.

    Query: Hartford was wicket country; do we know of earlier base ball clubs in the area?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Alabamans Choose Cricket

    1860.57

    "Cricket in Alabama. - The lovers of this active and healthful game will be gratified to learn that a cricket club has been organized in Mobile [AL], under favorable auspices, and has already upon its roll a list of forty seven prominent and respectable merchants."

    New YorkClipper, March 17, 1860. Facsimile contributed by Bill Ryczek, December 29, 2009. Mobile is on the Gulf Coast about 30 miles E of the Mississippi border. Note: Bad timing, eh?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Many Tackle the New Game in Macon, But a Few Secede

    1860.58

    In early 1860, the Olympic Club of Macon GA played a series of intramural games, most apparently while trying to follow Association rules. The Macon Weekly Telegraph recorded five [and another that may be misdated] games in February and March, each with a box score.

    However, defection was in the air:

    "A number of gentlemen are about to form another base ball club, the game to be played after fashion in the South twenty years ago, when old field schools [school fields, maybe?] were the scenes of trial and activity and rosy cheeked girls were the umpires." Macon Telegraph, March 12, 1860. All seven articles were accessed via subscription search, May 20-21, 2009. Macon GA is in central Georgia, about 80 miles SE of Atlanta.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Game Set for CA Mining Town

    1860.59

    Two base ball clubs were scheduled to play a game in Mariposa, a southern Sierra gold mining town.

    CaliforniaSpirit of the Times, February 11, 1860. Submitted by Angus Macfarlane, email of February 9, 2010, based on a find made by David Block. Angus notes that neither the California Spirit nor other accessible papers reported on the actual game, if any: "another 'did they or didn't they' mystery." Mariposa CA is on the edge of Yosemite Park and about 60 miles N of Fresno.

    1861-1865 - Note: Protoball has a Separate Compilation of Ballplaying in Civil War Camps

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Chadwick's Beadle's Appears, and the Baseball Press is Launched

    1860.6

    Chadwick, Henry, Beadle's Dime Base-Ball Player: A Compendium of the Game, Comprising Elementary Instructions of the American Game of Base Ball [New York, Irwin P. Beadle] per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 221. The first annual baseball guide, emblematic, perhaps, of the transformation of base ball into a spectator sport. The 40-page guide includes rules for Knickerbocker ball, the new NABBP rules, rules for the Massachusetts game, and for rounders. Chadwick includes a brief history of base ball, saying it is of "English origin" and "derived from rounders." Block observes: "For twenty-five years his pronouncements remained the accepted definition of the game's origins. Then the controversy erupted. First John Montgomery Ward and then Albert Spalding attacked Chadwick's theory. Ultimately, their jingoistic efforts saddled the nation with the Doubleday Myth."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Excelsiors Conduct Undefeated Western NY Road Trip. . . "First Tour Ever"? First $500 Player Ever?

    1860.7

    "The Excelsiors of Brooklyn leave for Albany, starting the first tour ever taken by a baseball club. They will travel 1000 miles in 10 days and play games in Albany, Troy, Buffalo, Rochester, and Newburgh." Baseballlibrary.com - chronology entry for 6/30/1860. Note: Was it really the first tour? On whose authority? Is there a July press notice on the tour?

    In announcing the tour, a Troy paper noted: "The Excelsior Club of Brooklyn, who have pretty well reduced base ball to a science, and who pay their pitcher [Jim Creighton] $500 a year, are making a crusade through the provinces for the purpose of winning laurels." "Base Ball," Troy Daily Whig Volume 26, number 8013 (Tuesday, July 3, 1860), page 3, column 5. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    News of the return of the Excelsiors appeared in "Base Ball," Spirit of the Times, Volume 30, number 24 (Saturday, July 21, 1860), page 292, column 1. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008. The item started: "The Excelsior , the crack club of Brooklyn, and one of the best in the United States, returned home of Thursday of last week, after a very pleasant tour to the Western part of the State. During their trip, they played games with several [unnamed] clubs, and we believe were successful on every occasion."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Union Club of Former Slaves Plays in New York Area

    1860.8

    Malloy, Jerry, "Early Black Baseball/Charles Douglass:

    http://mysite.verizon.net/brak2.0/antebell.htm, accessed 6/2/04.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Two African-American Teams Play in New York

    1860.9

    Dixon, Phil, and Patrick J. Hannigan, The Negro Baseball Leagues: A Photographic History [Amereon House, 1992], pp. 31-2) cite a game played on September 28, 1860, between the Unknowns and another black team, the Union Club, of Williamsburg.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Man Played Base Ball in CT Before the War

    1860c.11

    "I am a native of Hartford, Conn., and have, from early boyhood, taken a great interest in all Out Door Sports that are clean and manly. As a boy I played One, Two, Three, and Four Old Cat; also the old game of "Wicket." I remember that before the Civil War, I don't remember how long, we played base ball at my old home, Manchester, Harford County, CT."

    Letter from Philip W. Hudson, Houston Texas, to the Mills Commission, July 23, 1905.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - British Book Shows Several Safe-Haven Games - Cricket, Rounders, Feeder, Nine Holes, Doutee Stool, and Stoolball

    1860c.26

    Ball Games with Illustrations (Routledge and Sons, London, 1860 [as annotated by the MCC]).

    Doutee Stool: After a ball is thrown or struck, players try to reach a stool further along a circle before the server can retrieve the ball and strike one of them [page 41-42].

    Egg Hat: Player A throws a ball into another player's hat, say Player B. Player B tries to retrieve the ball and hit one of the fleeing others, or he is assessing an egg. Three eggs and you're out [pages 42-44].

    Feeder: Batter must complete a circle of bases [clockwise] before the pitcher [feeder] retrieves the ball and hits him with it. Not described as a team game [pages 44-46].

    Nine-Holes: Egg Hat without hats [pages 54-56].

    Rounders: "a most excellent game, and very popular in some of our English counties." One-handed batting; teams of five or more, stones or stakes for bases, runners out be plugging or force-out at home, one-out-side-out, three strikes and out, balks allowed, foul balls in play [pages 57-60].

    Stool-Ball: "an old English sport, mentioned by Gower and Chaucer, and was at one period common to women as well as men. Player defends against thrown ball hitting his stool [pages 61 ff]."

    Note: pages 58 and 62 missing from file copy. Can we confirm c1860 as year of publication?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Playing of Hole-less Two-Old-Cat in Providence RI

    1860c.27

    "Baseball, as now [in 1915] so popularly played by the many strong local, national and international "nines," was quite unheard of in my boyhood. To us . . . the playing of "two old cat" was as vital, interesting and captivating as the present so-well-called National Game. . . . Four boys made the complement for that game. Having drawn on the ground two large circles, distant about ten or twelve feet from each other in a straight line, a boy with a bat-or 'cat-stick,' as it was called - in hand stood within each of those circles; back of each of those boys was another boy, who alternately was a pitcher and catcher, depending upon which bat the ball was pitched to or batted from. If a ball was struck and driven for more or less distance, then the game was for the boys in the circles to run from one to the other a given number of times, unless the boy who was facing the batter should catch the ball, or running after it, should secure it, and, returning, place it within one of those circles before the prescribed number of times for running from one to the other had been accomplished; or, if a ball when struck was caught on the fly at close range, then that would put a side out. The boys, as I have placed them in twos at that old ball game, were called a side, and when a side at the bat was displaced, as I have explained, then the other two boys took their positions within the circles. It was a popular game with us, and we enjoyed it with all the gusto and purpose as does the professional ball player of these later days."

    Farnham, Joseph E. C., Brief Historical Data and Memories of My Boyhood Days in Nantucket Providence, R.I. (Snow & Farnham, 1915) pages 90-91. Provided by Mark Aubrey, email of 6/13/2007. Note: Farnham was born in 1849. This account seems to imply that some minimum number of crossings from base to base was required to avoid an out.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - Four Teams of African-Americans, All in the NYC Area, Are Reported

    1860c.4

    See Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 34-36. This source carries reprints of an 1860 game and an 1862 game.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1860 - NY game, Mass game, Cricket co-exist

    1860s.2

    The New York Game, the Massachusetts Game, and cricket co-exist. Many athletes play more than one of these games. Varying forms of baseball are now played in virtually every corner of the continent. The Civil War years disrupt the organizational development of baseball to a degree but, with the war and the great movement of soldiers that it brings, baseball's popularity is solidified. The New York Game emerges from the war years (1861-1865) as the game of choice. The Massachusetts Game, though played throughout the war in various settings, loses ground rapidly following the Civil War. Other baseball variants also recede in popularity. By the end of the 1860's the New York Game predominates everywhere and is frequently referred to as "our National Game" or "our National Pastime." Cricket remains an elitist game, available for the most part in larger cities and limited in appeal. Source: the original Thorn-Hietz chronology.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1861 - Chadwick Tries to Start Richmond VA Team, but the Civil War Intervenes

    1861.1

    Ward, Geoffrey C., and Ken Burns, Baseball: An Illustrated History [Knopf, 1994], p.12, no ref given. Note: John Thorn, email of 2/10/2008, suggests that Beadle may have more detail. Schiff, Millen, and Kirsch also cite Chadwick's attempt, but do not give a clear date, or a source.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1861 - Atlantic 52, Mutual 27, 6 Innings: Reporter is Wowed by 26-Run 3rd

    1861.10

    Going into the 3rd inning, the Brooklyn club trailed 8-7. Three outs later, the Atlantic led 33-8. Ball game! The article put it this way: "The Atlantics have always had a reputation for superior batting; but never have they before displayed, nor, in fact, had there ever been witnessed on any field, in all our base ball experience - which covers a period of ten years - such a grand exhibition of splendid batting. . . . Altogether, the game exhibited the tallest batting, and more of it, than has ever before been witnessed." He goes on to chronicle every at-bat of the Atlantic's thumping third. As for the crowd: "The best of order was preserved on the ground by an extensive police force, and everything passed off well."

    "A Grand Exhibition," Sunday Mercury (October 20, 1861). The full article and box score of the 10/26/1861 game is found (per Craig Waff, email of 11/14/2008) at;

    http://www.covehurst.net/ddyte/brooklyn/favorite%207.html

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1861 - Meeting of National Association is Subdued

    1861.11

    Meeting in late 1861, the National Association of Base Ball Players undertook no large issues, perhaps in light of what a reporter called "the disturbed state of the country." Sixty-one clubs attended, one-third less strength that in 1860.

    Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 12, 1861, page 11. Facsimile contributed by Gregory Christiano, November 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1861 - Modern Base Ball Comes to Sanford ME

    1861.12

    "The national game of base-ball was introduced in 1861."

    Edwin Emery, The History of Sanford Maine (Fall River MA, 1901), page 383. Sanford ME is about 30 miles N of Portsmouth NH, near the NH border.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1861 - Modern Game Comes to the Eastern OH Town

    1861.13

    "The Portage County Democrat reported in its April 10, 1861 edition, 'The young men of Ravenna have organized a base ball club . . . .' But again, their games were intra club affairs."

    John Husman, "Ohio's First Baseball Game," Presented at the SABR Convention, July 16, 2004, page 5. Ravenna OH is about 35 miles SE of Cleveland in eastern Ohio.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1861 - "Silver Ball" Match Features Brooklyn and New York All-Stars, Attracts Up To 15,000

    1861.14

    Harry Wright played 3B for New York, and atop the Brooklyn lineup were Dickie Pearce and Jim Creighton. The major NYC area clubs contributed leading players to this game, the first since 1858 to pit all-stars from New York and Brooklyn. New York held a 4-2 lead through 4 innings, but a 7-run fifth ["considerable muffy fielding took place by the New Yorkers"] propelled Brooklyn to a 18-6 win, and the silver ball was put in the hands of the Atlantic club, as its players had scored the most runs. Crowd estimates of 12,000 to 15,000 were printed. The game was played at the Gotham club grounds in Hoboken on October 21.

    A box score and inning-by-inning summary appeared in the New York Atlas on October 27, 1861. Facsimile contributed by Bill Ryczek, December 29, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1861 - First Sunday in the Army: "Ball-playing, Wrestling, and Some Cards

    1861.15

    In early May 1861, the new 13th Illinois Regiment assembled in East St. Louis IL. Writing of the first Sabbath in the camp, the veterans later said "There was drill: so the notion of the leaders ran. A better view obtains now. There was ball-playing and wrestling and some card-playing, but that [just the card-playing?] was generally regarded as out of order

    Military History and Reminiscences of the Thirteenth Regiment of the Illinois Volunteer Infantry (Woman's Temperance Publishing, Chicago, 1892), page 10. PBall file: CW-122. This may be the first recorded instance of ballplaying by Civil War soldiers.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1861 - NY Regiment Plays "Favorite Game" After Dress Parade in Elmira NY

    1861.16

    "After [the camp's dress] parade, which generally lasted about an hour, the camp was alive with fun and frolic . . . leap-frog, double-duck, foot and base-ball or sparring, wrestling, and racing, shared their attention."

    J. Harrison Mills, Chronicles of the Twenty-First Regiment, New York Volunteers (21st Veteran Assn., Buffalo, 1887), page 42. The newly-formed regiment, evidently raised in the Buffalo area, was at camp in Elmira in May 1861 in this recollection, and would deploy to Washington in June. A visitor to the camp wrote the next day, "I was not surprised . . . to see how extensively the amusements which had been practiced in their leisure hours in the city [Buffalo?], were continued in camp. Boxing with gloves, ball-playing, running and jumping, were among these. The ball clubs were well represented here, and the exercise of their favorite game is carried on spiritedly by the Buffalo boys." [page 43.] PBall file: CW-123.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1861 - American Guard [71st NY Regt] 42, Nationals BB Club 13

    1861.17

    "The National Base Ball Club requests the pleasure of your company on their grounds at the intersection of Maryland Avenue and 6th Street, East, on Tuesday, July 2d [1861], at twelve o'clock, to witness a match game with the 71st Regiment Base Ball Club"

    The 71st had the duty to protect the Nation's Capital against rebel incursions, and fielded a picked nine to play a National BBC nine. After three innings, they led 12-2, and coasted to victory. A familiar name for the 71st was 3b Van Cott, and for the Nationals French played 3b. The regimental history later reported that the game "was witnessed by a large number of spectators." The Philadelphia Inquirer announced the contest on July 1 under the headline "The New York Seventy-First Despairing of Work, Going to Play Ball." Note: Frank Ceresi reports [19CBB posting of 2/28/2009] that the French collection of the Washington Historical Society includes a handwritten scoresheet for the match, which describes a 41-13 Army victory.

    The two sides played again a year later. On August 7, 1862, the Nationals won a rematch, 28-13. The regimental history says that "the game was played on the parade ground; the result was not as satisfactory to the boys as the year before. There was quite a concourse of spectators on the occasion, including a number of ladies . . . . At the close the players were refreshed with sandwiches and lager." On June 25th, 1862, and the regiment's company K took on the rest of the regiment and lost 33-11.

    Source: 71st Regiment Veterans Association, "History of the 71st Regiment, N.G., N.Y.," (Eastman, New York, 1919), pages 157, 232, and 236-237. Accessed 5/30/2009 via Google Books search "71st regiment baseball." PBall file: CW-3.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1861 - Confederate Base Ball Players Finds Field "Too Boggy" in VA

    1861.18

    "Confederate troops played townball as well as more modern versions of the game in their army camps. In November 1861 the Charleston Mercury of South Carolina reported that Confederate troops were stuck in soggy camps near Centreville, Fairfax County, [northern] Virginia. Heavy rains created miserably wet conditions so that 'even the base ball players find the green sward in front of the camp, too boggy for their accustomed sport.'" Centreville is adjacent to Manassas/Bull Run. 40,000 Confederate troops under Gen. Johnson had winter quarters there [the town's population had been 220] in 1861/62.

    Source: Charleston Mercury, November 4, 1861, page. 4, column 5. Mentioned without citation in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray (Princeton U, 2003), page 39. PBall file: CW-6

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1861 - Second NJ Regiment Forms BB Club in Virginia Camp

    1861.19

    A six-inning game of base ball was played at Camp Seminary on Saturday November 16, 1861. The 2nd NJ challenged the 1st NJ and prevailed. A member of the 2nd NJ sent a short report and box to the Newark newspaper.

    Source: "A Game of Ball in the Camp," Newark Daily Advertiser, November 20 1861. Facsimile submitted by John Zinn, 3/10/09. Camp Seminary was located near Fairfax Seminary in Alexandria VA, near Washington DC. PBall file: CW7.

    Members of the 2nd New Jersey regiment formed the Excelsior club, evidently named for the Newark Excelsior [confirm existence?] in late November 1861. A report of an intramural game between Golder's side and Collins' side appeared in a Newark paper. The game, won 33-20 by the Golder contingent, lasted 6 innings and took four hours to play. The correspondent concludes: "The day passed off pleasantly all around, and I think every one of us enjoyed ourselves duely [sic?]. We all hope to be at home one year hence to dine with those who love us. God grant it!"

    One may infer that the 2nd NJ remained at winter quarters in Alexandria VA at this time, providing protection to Washington. Facsimile submitted by John Zinn, 3/10/09. Source: Newark Daily Advertiser, 12/4/1861. PBall file: CW8.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1861 - Stoolball Played, in Co-ed Form

    1861.2

    "Stoolball was played at Chailey [Sussex] in 1861. Major Lionel King . . . first saw stoolball in the early 'sixties, while still a very small boy. He watched a game in a field belonging to Eastfield Lodge, Hassocks [Sussex], and both men and maidens were playing" Russell-Goggs, in "Stoolball in Sussex," The Sussex County Magazine, volume 2, no. 7 (July 1928), page 322. Note: Russell-Goggs does not give a source for this report.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1861 - Confederate Soldier's Diary Reports on Town Ball Playing, 1861-1863

    1861.20

    December 1861 (Texas?): "There is nothing unusual transpiring in Camp. The boys are passing the time playing Town-Ball."

    January 1862 (Texas?): "All rocking along finely, Boys playing Town-Ball"

    March 1863 (USA prison camp, IL?): The Rebels have at last found something to employ both mind and body; as the parade ground has dried up considerably in the past few days, Town Ball is in full blast, and it is a blessing for the men."

    March 1863 (USA prison camp, IL?): "Raining this morning, which will interfere with ball playing, but the manufacture of rings 'goes bravely on,' and I might say receives a fresh impetus by the failure of the 'Town-ball' business."

    Source: W. W. Heartsill, Fourteen Hundred and 91 Days in the Confederate Army: A Journal Kept by W. W. Heartsill: Day-by-Day, of the W. P. Lane (Texas) Rangers, from April 19th 1861 to May 20th 1865. Submitted by Jeff Kittel, 5/12/09. Available online at The American Civil War: Letters and Diaries Database, at http://solomon.cwld.alexanderstreet.com/. Heartsill joined Lane's Texas Rangers early in the War at age 21. He was taken prisoner in Arkansas in early 1862, and exchanged for Union prisoners in April 1863. He then joined Bragg's Army in Tennessee, and was assigned to a unit put in charge of a Texas prison camp of Union soldiers. There are no references to ballplaying after 1863. Query: "manufacture of rings?" PBall file: CW10.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1861 - Henry Chadwick Links Base Ball to Rounders - But It's More "Scientific"

    1861.4

    "The game of base ball is, as our readers are for the most part aware, an American game exclusively, as now played, although a game somewhat similar has been played in England for many years, called 'rounders,' but which is played more after the style of the Massachusetts game. New York, however, justly lays claim to being the originators of what is termed the American Game, which has been so improved in all its essential points by them, and it scientific points so added to, that it does not stand second to either [rounders or the Mass game?] in its innate excellencies, or interesting phrases, to any national game in any country in the world, and is every way adapted to the tastes of all who love athletic exercises in the country." Chadwick article in The New York Clipper (October 26, 1861). Email from John Thorn, 7/7/2004. This is an excerpt from a Hoboken game account. Note: "interesting phrases?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1861 - 15,000 Watch Ice Base Ball in Bkn: Atlantic 37, Charter Oak 26.

    1861.5

    "[A] novel game of base ball was played on the skating-pond in the Eighth Ward, between the Atlantic and Charter Oak Base Ball Clubs. Ten members of each Club were selected for the match, and the game was played on skates, the prize being a silver ball. The Atlantic ten won the ball, making 37 runs to 27 by their opponents. Some 15,000 people witnessed the game." "Base Ball on Skates," Philadelphia Inquirer (February 6, 1861). Provided by John Maurath of the Missouri Civil War Museum at Historic Jefferson Barracks, 1/18/2008. This bit was also reprinted in the pro-Confederacy Columbus OH paper The Crisis (February 14, 1861), and doubtless in many other places.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1861 - The Clipper Looks Back on the 1861 Season

    1861.6

    The Clipper (date omitted in scrapbook clipping) printed a long review of the 1861 season. It includes 39 synopses of previously-covered games between May 9 and September 14 . . . and it is likely that the clipping is incomplete. Facsimile from the Mears Collections clippings, provided by Craig Waff, September 2008. Some general points:

    The War: "[D]espite the interruptions and drawbacks occasioned by the great rebellion [it] has been really a very interesting year in the annals of the game, far more than was expected . . . ; but the game has too strong a foothold in popularity to be frowned out of favor by lowering brows of 'grim-faced war,' and if any proof was needed that our national game is a fixed institution of the country, it would be found in the fact that it has flourished through such a year of adverse circumstances as those that have marked the season of 1861."

    HolidayPlay: "On the 4th of July, all the club grounds were fully occupied, that day, like Thanksgiving, being a ball playing day."

    Juiced Ball? On July 23, it was Eagles 32, Eckfords 23, marking the Eckfords' first loss since 1858. "The feature of the contest was the unusual number of home runs that were made on both sides, the Eckfords scoring no less than 11, of which Josh Snyder alone made four, and the Eagles getting five." 3000 to 4000 fans watched this early slugfest.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1861 - Ontario Lads to Try the New York Game, May Forego "Canadian Game"

    1861.7

    The year-old Young Canadian Base Ball Club [Woodstock, ON] met in Spring 1861, elected officers, reported themselves "flourishing" with forty members, and basked in the memory of a 6-0 1860 season. "At the last meeting of the club it was resolved that they should practice the New York game for one month, and if at the end of that time they liked it better than the Canadian game, they would adopt it altogether. The New York Clipper (date omitted in scrapbook clipping; from context it was about May 1861). Facsimile from the Mears Collection scrapbooks provided by Craig Waff, September 2008. See also #1820s.19, #1838.4, #1856.18, and #1860.29 above.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1861 - Vermont Club Forms

    1861.8

    A club formed in Chester, VT. The New York Clipper (date omitted from scrapbook clipping; "April 20, 1861" appears on adjacent item, perhaps from the same issue). Facsimile from the Mears Collection clippings provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1861 - Buckeye BBC Forms in Cincinnati OH

    1861.9

    "The Buckeye Base Ball Club is the first institution of the kind organized in Cincinnati." The New York Clipper (date omitted from scrapbook clipping; "April 20, 1861" written in hand). Facsimile from the Mears Collection clippings provided by Craig Waff, September 2008. Note: does this imply that this club was the first in town to play the New York game?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1861 - Town Ball in Maryland: Mr. Lincoln Faces Friendly Fire

    1861c.3

    "We boys, for hours at a time, played "town ball" [at my grandfather's estate] on the vast lawn, and Mr. [Abe] Lincoln would join ardently in the sport. I remember vividly how he ran with the children; how long were his strides, and how far his coat-tails stuck out behind, and how we tried to hit him with the ball, as he ran the bases." Recollection [c.1890?] of Frank P. Blair III, as carried in Ida M. Tarbell, The Life of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 2 (Lincoln Memorial Association, New York, 1900), page 88.

    Blair, whose grandfather was Lincoln's Postmaster General, lived in MD just outside Washington. Note: We need to establish a date for this reported event. Blair [ibid.] says Lincoln's visits happened "during the war," occurred "frequently," and took place when he was seven or eight years old. We know his older brother James was born in 1854, but not when he showed up on earth.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - Brooklyn Games Organized as Benefits for Sick and Wounded Soldiers

    1862.1

    Three games were announced in June 1862 for which net proceeds would be used for sick and wounded Union soldiers. The Eckfords and the Atlantics would play for a silver ball donated by the Continental Club. William Cammeyer provided the enclosed Union grounds without charge. Admission fees of 10 cents were projected to raise $6000 for soldiers' relief.

    "Reliif for the Sick and Wounded," Brooklyn Eagle, June 21, 1862, page 2. Contributed by Gregory Christiano, December 8, 2009. Note: is there a good poc hoc account of this project?

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1862 - PA Base Ball Moves Beyond Philadelphia

    1862.10

    "Base Ball Match. Harrisburg, August 21. - The first match game of base ball ever play in Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia, cam off here yesterday, between the Mountain Club of Altoona, and the Keystone Club of Harrisburg. It resulted in a victory for the latter."

    PhiladelphiaInquirer, August 22, 1862. Accessed 5/20/2009 via subscription search. Harrisburg PA is in central PA, about 90 miles W of Philadelphia. Query: There were no prior games in Alleghany, later to become Pittsburg?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - Banned in Boston's Public Garden: "Games of Ball, Foot-ball"

    1862.11

    "Sect. 10. No person or persons shall, without the consent of the mayor or board of aldermen, engage in games of ball, foot-ball, or other athletic sports, upon the public garden."

    Ordinance and Rules and Order of the City of Boston (Mudge and Son, Boston, 1869), page 132. Accessed 2/18/10 via Google Book search ("ball, foot-ball" ordinances 1869). A note identifies this section as having been written in 1862, along with one that prohibits shaking carpets on public lands, including streets, lanes, alleys, etc.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - Reverend Beecher: Base-Ball is Best Form of Exercise

    1862.12

    "It is well, therefore, that so many muscular games are coming into vogue. Base-ball and cricket are comparatively inexpensive, and open to all, and one can hardly conceive of better exercise."

    Henry W. Beecher, Eyes and Ears (Sampson Low, London, 1862), age 191. Accessed 2/18/10 via Google Books search ("vogue baseball" beecher). Beecher is here lauding exercise that is moth vigorous and inexpensive.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - Government Survey: Athletic Games Forestall Woes of Soldiers Gambling

    1862.13

    After examining nearly 200 regiments, the Sanitary Commission [it resembled today's Red Cross] was reported to have found that "in forty-two regiments, systematic athletic recreations (foot ball, base ball, &c) were general. In one hundred and fifty-six, there were none. Where there were none, card playing and other indoor games took their place. This invited gambling abuses, it was inferred.

    "War Miscellanies. Interesting Army Statistics," Springfield [MA] Republican, January 25, 1862. Accessed via Genealogybank, 5/21/09. None: is it worth inspecting the report itself in search of further detail? It is not available online in May 2009. PBall file: CW13.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - 22nd MA beats 13th NY in the Massachusetts Game

    1862.14

    "Fast Day (at home) April 3, there was no drill, and twelve of our enlisted men challenged an equal number from the Thirteenth New York, to a game of base-ball, Massachusetts game. We beat the New-Yorkers, 34 to 10."

    J. L. Parker and R. G. Carter, History of the Twenty-Second Massachusetts Infantry (The Regimental Association, Boston, 1887), pages 79-80. Fast Day in MA was traditionally associated with ballplaying. The 22nd MA, organized in Lynnfield MA (about 15 miles N of Boston), was camped at Falmouth VA in April, as was the 13th NY. The 13th was from Rochester and would likely have known the old-fashioned game. PBall file: CW-126.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - NY and MA Regiments Play Two Games Near the Civil War Front

    1862.15

    Mr. Jewell, from the 13th NY Regiment's Company A, provided a generous [15 column-inches] account of two regulation NY-rules games played on April 15, 1862, near the Confederate lines at Yorktown VA. Sharing picket duties with members of the 22nd MA Regiment, Jewell says that "at about half-past 10 o'clock some one proposed a game of Base Ball. Sides were chosen and it commenced." [As scorer, Jewell's box scores did not mark the sides as a contest between regiments, and it may have involved mixed teams. He did note that the leadoff batter/catcher for the "Scott" side was a member of Boston's Trimountain Base Ball Club.] "It was decidedly 'cool' to play a game of Base Ball in sight of the enemy's breastworks." Between games the ball was re-covered with leather from a calf boot found on the ground. During the afternoon game, Union troops in the area were evidently sending artillery fire out toward the Rebs as they were building new fortifications in the distance. General McClelland's entourage is reported to have passed toward the front while the game was in progress. Jewell sent his account to the Rochester paper. The two games, each played to a full mine innings, were won by Scott's side, 13-9 and 14-12.

    Source: Rochester Union and Advertiser, April 24, 1862, page 2, column 2. Provided by Priscilla Astifan, Autumn 2008. PBall file: CW16.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - 13th Massachusetts Plays Ball Near Officers, Dignitaries, Enemy Lines

    1862.16

    "In the afternoons, after battalion drill, the game of base-ball daily occupied the attention of the boys. On one of these occasions, General Hartsuff riding by, got off his horse and requested permission to catch behind the bat, informing us there was nothing he enjoyed so much. He gave it up after a few minutes and rode away, having made a very pleasant impression."

    Charles E. Davis, Jr., Three Years in the Army: The Story of the Thirteenth Massachusetts Volunteers (Estes and Lauriat, Boston MA, 1894), page 56. The entry is dated May 6, 1862, when the regiment was in the vicinity of Warrenton VA. Also cited in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray (Princeton U, 2003), page 41. There is no further detail on the version of base ball that was played. The full text was accessed on 6/1/09 on Google books via a search for "'charles e. davis' three"

    Davis also mentions a game of ball being played in April 1863 as large numbers of troops were awaiting a formal review by President Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton near the Potomac River, "to the no small amusement of the lookers-on" [page 198]. In November 1863, still in Virginia, Davis reports that while awaiting an order to attack a nearby Confederate force, "Time dragged along, and no movement was made. We were all tired of the inaction and the heavy strain on the mind from hours of expectation, and so we had a game of ball to pass away the time. Occasionally the ball would be batted over the crest of the hill in front, in range of the rebel skirmishers, necessitating some one going after it. It was a risky piece of business and required quick work, but it was got every time." [page 288.]

    In March 1864, the 13th played the 104th NY and won 62-20. "As opportunities for indulging our love for this pastime were not very frequent, we got a deal of pleasure out of it." [page 309.] Later that month, the regiment celebrated the escape and return the colonel of the 16th Maine with base-ball, along with chasing greased pigs and a sack race. [Page 313.] PBall file: CW20.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - Ballplaying Frequently Played at Salisbury Prison in North Carolina

    1862.17

    Beginning in 1862, prisoners' diary accounts refer to a number of base ball games [by New York rules; Millen infers that games occurred "almost daily"] at Salisbury prison in NC. Charles Gray, a Union doctor who arrived at Salisbury in May 1862, reported ball playing "for those who like it and are able." RI soldier William Crossley in March 1863 described a "great game of baseball" between prisoners transferred from New Orleans and Tuscaloosa AL.

    In an unattributed and undated passage in Wells Twombley's 200 Years of Sport in America (McGraw-Hill, 1976), page 71, Josephus Clarkson, a prisoner from Boston "recalled in his diary that one of the Union solders wandered over and picked up a pine branch that had dropped on the ground. Another soldier wrapped a stone in a couple of woolen socks and tied the bundle with a string. The soldiers started a baseball game of sorts, although there was much argument over whether to use Town Ball rules or play like New Yorkers. 'To put a man out by Town Ball rules you could plug him as he ran,' wrote Clarkson. 'Since many of the men were in a weakened condition, it was agreed to play the faster but less harsh New York rules, which intrigued our guards. The game of baseball had been played much in the South, but many of them [the guards] had never seen the sport devised by Mr. Cartwright. Eventually they found proper bats for us to play with and we fashioned a ball that was soft and a great bounders.'" According to Clarkson, a pitcher from Texas was banished from playing in a guards/captives game after "badly laming" several prisoners. "By and large," he said, "baseball was quite a popular pastime of troops on both sides, as a means of relaxing before and after battles."

    Otto Boetticher, a commercial artist before the war, was imprisoned at Salisbury for part of 1862 and drew a picture of a ball game in progress at the prison that was published in color in 1863. A fine reproduction appears in Ward and Burns, Baseball Illustrated, at pages 10-11.

    Adolphus Magnum, A visiting Confederate chaplain, noted in 1862 that "a number of the younger and less dignified [Union officers] ran like schoolboys to the playing ground and were soon joining In high glee in a game of ball."

    An extended account of ballplaying at Salisbury, along with the Boetticher drawing, are found in Patricia Millen, From Pastime to Passion: Baseball and the Civil War (Heritage Books, 2001), pp.27-31. She draws heavily on Jim Sumner, "Baseball at Salisbury Prison Camp," Baseball History (Meckler, Westport CT, 1989). Similar but unattributed coverage is found in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray (Princeton U, 2003), pp 43-45. Note: It would be interesting to locate and inspect the Josephus Clarkson diary used in Twombley. Clarkson, described as a ship's chandler before the war, does not yield to Google or Genealogy bank as of 6/6/09. Particularly interesting is Clarkson's very early identification of Cartwright as an originator of the NY game. PBall file: CW21.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1862 - 51st Pennsylvania Plays Ball 1862-4 in VA, KY, MD, Sometimes Daily.

    1862.18

    The 51st PA regimental history has four references to ballplaying. In July 1862, the unit arrived at Camp Lincoln at Newport News VA, where "the amusements at this camp were fishing for crabs, bathing, foraging and base-ball playing" [page 187]. Back at Newport News in March 1863, "the officers and men enjoyed themselves much in the innocent games of cricket and base-ball." [page 290]. In May 1863, at a temporary camp near Somerset KY, "both officers and men enjoyed themselves hugely by playing at base ball in daytime between drill hours and at night by the performance of genuine negro minstrels, who were the field hands belonging to the neighboring plantations" [page 301]. Waiting in Annapolis for expected deployment to North Carolina in April 1864, "[b]ase ball is enjoyed by a large number of officers and men every afternoon, when the weather permits, and, I assure you, some very creditable playing is done - some that would do honor to any base ball club extant. [page 539].

    Thomas H. Parker, History of the 51st Regiment of PV [Pennsylvania Volunteers] (King and Baird, Philadelphia, 1869). Accessed 6/2/09 on Google books via "'51st regiment' parker" search. The regiment formed in Harrisburg in late 1861. PBall file: CW-22.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - The 39th Massachusetts Plays Ball

    1862.19

    The regimental history of the 39th MA has two passing references to ballplaying. On Thanksgiving Day of 1862, "There was a release from the greater part of camp duties and the time thus secured was devoted to baseball, football and other diversions so easily devised by the American youth" [p. 50]. The regimental camp was in southern MD, within 15 miles of Washington. April 2, 1863 "was the regular New England Fast Day, and a holiday was proclaimed by the Colonel . . . . [T]here was no failure in taking part in the races, sparring-matches, and various games, of at least witnessing them. The baseball game was between the men of Sleeper's Battery and those selected from the 39th with the honors remaining with the Infantry, though the cannoneers were supposed to be particularly skillful in the throwing of balls." [page 64]. The regiment was now in Poolesville MD, about 30 miles NW of Washington.

    Alfred S. Roe, The Thirty-Ninth Regiment. Massachusetts Volunteers 1862-1865 (Regimental Veteran Association, Worcester, 1914). Accessed 6/3/09 on Google Books via "'thirty-ninth' roe" search. The regiment was drawn from the general Boston area. PBall file: CW-26.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - The Death of Jim Creighton at 21

    1862.2

    Excelsior star Jim Creighton, 21 years old, suffered some sort of injury during the middle innings of a game against Morrisania on October 14, 1862, and died four days later of a "strangulated intestine" associated with a hernia. [Other accounts cite a ruptured bladder - ouch.] One legend was that Creighton suffered the injury in the process of "hitting out a home run." Excelsior officials attributed the death to a cricket injury incurred in a prior cricket match.

    R. M. Gorman and D. Weeks, Death at the Ballpark (McFarland, 2009), pages 63-64.

    Last Updated: March 18, 2012

  • 1862 - Wisconsin Man's Diary Included a Dozen References to Ballplaying

    1862.20

    Private Jenkin Jones sprinkled 12 references to ballplaying in his Civil War Diary. They range from December 1862 to February 1865. Most are very brief notes, like the "played ball in the afternoon" he recorded in Memphis in February 1863 [page 34]. The more revealing entries:

    · Oxford, 12/62: "The delightful weather succeeded in enticing most of the boys form their well-worn decks and cribbage boards, bringing them out in ball playing, pitching quoits,etc. Tallied for an interesting game of base ball" [pp 19/20]

    · Huntsville, 3/64: "Games daily in camp, ball, etc." [p. 184]

    · Huntsville, 3/64: "Played ball all of the afternoon" [p.193]

    · Fort Hall, 4/64: "[Col. Raum] examined our quarters and fortifications, after which he and the other officers turned in that had a game of wicket ball." [p.203]

    · Etowah Bridge, 9/64: "a championship game of base-ball was played on the flat between the non-veterans and the veterans. The non-veterans came off victorious by 11 points in 61." [p. 251]

    · Chattanooga, 2/65: "The 6th Badger boys have been playing ball with our neighbors, Buckeyes, this afternoon. We beat them three games of four.

    Jenkin Lloyd Jones, An Artilleryman's Diary (Wisconsin History Commission, 1914). Accessed on Google Books 6/3/09 via "'wisconsin history commission' 'No. 8'" search. Jones was from Spring Green, WI, which is about 30 miles west of Madison and 110 miles west of Milwaukee WI. Jones later became a leading Unitarian minister and a pacifist. Leads provided by Jeff Kittel, 5/12/09. PBall file: CW-28.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - Michigan Colonel Plays Ball in Tennessee, Still Rebuffs Rebs

    1862.21

    The 12th Michigan Regiment had the task in December 1862 of guarding a supply railroad in Tennessee. On December 24, a detachment under Col. Wm. Graves was surrounded by a large rebel force that approached under white flag, demanding surrender. Graves' account: "The officer asked, 'Who is in command?' I answered, 'I am;' whereupon he surveyed me from head to foot (I had been playing ball that morning, pants in boots, having a jacket without straps) . . . ." Graves refused, a two-hour fight ensued, and the rebels retreated.

    J. Robertson, compiler, Michigan in the War (W. S. George, Lansing MI, 1882), page 327. Accessed 6/4/09 on Google Books via ""michigan in the war" search. The regiment seems to have been drawn from the vicinity of Niles, MI, which is 10 miles north of South Bend IN and 60 miles east of Chicago.. The 1862 engagement occurred at Middleburg TN, which is at about the midpoint between Nashville and Memphis. PBall file: CW-29.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - Crowd of 40,000 Said to Watch Christmas Day Game on SC Coast

    1862.22

    "In Hilton Head, South Carolina, on Christmas Day in 1862, recalled Colonel A. G. Mills in 1923, his regiment, the 165th New York Infantry, Second Duryea's Zouaves, [engaged a?] ''picked nine from the other New York regiments in that vicinity.' Supposedly, the game was cheered on by a congregation of 40,000!" Mills eventually served as President of the National League and chair of the Mills Commission on the origins of baseball.

    Patricia Millen, From Pastime to Passion: Baseball and the Civil War (Heritage Books, 2001), pp 21-22. Millen cites A. G. Mills, "The Evening World's Baseball Panorama." Mills Papers, Giamatti Center, Baseball HOF. The account also appears in A. Spalding, Americas' National Game (American Sports Publishing, 1911), pp 95.96. Note: Is this crowd estimate reasonable? Are other contemporary or reflective accounts available? PBall file -- CW-30

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - Soldiers' Christmas in Virginia - Ballplaying "on Many a Hillside"

    1862.23

    A correspondent near Fredericksburg VA told Philadelphia readers about "orders from head-quarters that Christmas day should be observed as a day or recreation. The men gladly availed themselves of this privilege, and on many a hill-side might be seen parties playing at ball, or busy at work dragging Christmas-trees to the quarters . . . ."

    "Christmas in the Army," PhiladelphiaInquirer, December 29, 1862. The article also reported that "Brown cricket jackets are now issued to the men instead of the brown blouses formerly issued. These jackets mare a very comfortable garment . . . but they are very unmilitary-looking." Accessed via Genealogybank, 5/21/09. Query: was a PA regiment involved? PBall file CW-31.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - Ball Game Photographed at Fort Pulaski, Georgia

    1862.24

    A ball game appears in the background of photographs of the 48th New York at Fort Pulaski. The Fort, near the Georgia coast, had been taken by the North in July 1862. The National Park Services dates its image to 1862. One shot appears in Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray, page 32, and another, apparently, at the NPS site http://www.nps.gov/fopu/historyculture/baseball.htm [accessed 6/6/09.] Note: we welcome your interpretation of these photos. PBall file: CW-33.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - US Cricket Enters Steeper Decline

    1862.3

    "The cricket season last year was a very dull one, this clubs in this locality [Brooklyn] playing but a few matches, and those of no importance."

    BrooklynEagle, April 25, 1862. Contributed by Bill Ryczek, December 29, 2009. The downward swoop is summarized like this:

    "For several years, cricketers had been talking of forming as association similar to that set up by the baseball fraternity. Despite several meetings, they had not done so. At the annual convention of 1862, the Clipper noted the meager attendance and proclaimed the gathering 'a mere farce.' It despaired of cricket ever becoming popular unless it was made more American in nature. The disappointing convention was the last the cricketer would hold."

    William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning (McFarland, 2009), page 105. The Clipper quoted is this May 24, 1862 issue.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - State Championship Base Ball Game in PA

    1862.4

    "Base Ball Match. - A grand base ball match will take place at the St. George's Cricket Ground, near Camas's Wood, for the championship of Pennsylvania, between the 'Olympic' and 'Athletic' Clubs, on next Saturday."

    Philadelphia Inquirer, October 2, 1862. Accessed via subscription search May 20, 2009. Query: Did this game take place? On what authority did it convey championship status?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - Brooklynites and Philadelphians Play Series of Games

    1862.5

    Various assortments of leading players from Brooklyn and Philadelphia vied in both cities in 1862. Philadelphia sent an all-star assortment north in June, where it lost to select nines in Brooklyn's eastern and western districts, but beat an aggregation of Hoboken players. Two select Brooklyn nines headed south and played two all-Philly sides in early July.

    In October, the Eckfords traveled to Philadelphia for a week of play against individual local clubs, and on October 21 played an "amalgamated nine" of locals, winning 39-8.

    Sources: various, including overviews at "Philadelphia vs. Brooklyn," Wilkes Spirit, July 12, 1862, and "Base Ball Match," Philadelphia Inquirer, October 22, 1862. Thanks for facsimiles from John Maurath, January 18, 2008, and Gregory Christiano, December 22, 2009.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - Harvard Turns to the New York Game

    1862.6

    "Base-Ball, the second in importance of [Harvard] University sports, is even younger than Rowing [which still prevailed]. It originated apparently, in the old game of rounders. Up to 1862 there were two varieties of base-ball - the New York and the Massachusetts game. In the autumn of 1862 George A. Flagg and Frank Wright organized the Base Ball Club of the Class of '66, adopting the New York rules; and in the following spring the city of Cambridge granted use of the Common for practice. A challenge was sent to several colleges: Yale replied that they had no club, but hoped soon to have one; but a game was arranged with Brown sophomores, and played at Providence [RI] June 27, 1863. The result was Harvard's first victory."

    D. Hamilton Hurd, compiler, History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts (J. W. Lewis, Philadelphia, 1890), page 137. Accessed 2/18/10 via Google Books search ("flagg and frank" hurd). Flagg and Wright reportedly had played avidly at Phillips Exeter Academy. See #1858c.57 above.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - "Massachusetts Balls" on Sale in Rochester NY

    1862.7

    An advertisement in a Rochester paper offered "New York Regulation Size Ball, Massachusetts Balls, Children's Rubber and Fancy Balls, Wholesale and Retail."

    Rochester[NY] Union and Advertiser, April 28, 1862. Posted to the 19CBB listserve by Priscilla Astifan on May 14, 2005. Note: We know that an "old-fashioned base ball" was being played in Central New York prior to the Civil War: see #1858.48 and #1860.45 above.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - Base Ball in Colorado Territory

    1862.8

    "The first baseball games in Colorado Territory occurred in March 1862, when the Base Ball (two words back then) Club was formed. The first recorded contest happened on April 26, 1862."

    Rocky Mountain News, March 13 and April 29, 1862. Cited in Brian Werner, "Baseball in Colorado Territory," in Thomas L. Altherr, Above the Fruited Plain: Baseball in the Rocky Mountain West (SABR Convention Publication, July 2003), page 71. Werner identifies the game as the New York game.

    Richard Hershberger, email of 1/19/2009, writes that on April 29 the [Denver CO] Daily Evening News reported on intramural game played by the Denver Base Ball Club, a likely reference to the games cited by Werner. He also notes that a March 12 issue of the Evening News referred to a "game played yesterday [that] went off well, considering that there were but two or three persons engaged who had ever played the game before, according to the New York rules, and it will take but a few more meetings to enable them to become proficient."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1862 - First Admission Fees for Baseball?

    1862.9

    May 15, 1862: "The Union Baseball Grounds at March Avenue and Rutledge Street in Brooklyn is opened, the first enclosed ball field to charge an admission fee."

    James Charlton, The Baseball Chronology (Macmillan, 1991), page 15. Query: is the claim here that there were no prior fees, or that such fees had not been assessed at closed fields?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1866 - National League's First Game

    1866.1

    The National League played its first game on this day.

    Last Updated: October 13, 2011

Legend

Note: ID numbers for milestone entries include the (often approximated) year of the observation, followed by serial number reflecting the order it was added. A date is approximated when an ID is denoted with a "C".