Part Two of the Protoball Chronology
1840.1 – Doc
D.L. Adams plays a game in
Adams, Daniel L, “Memoirs of the Father of Base Ball,”
1840c.2 – Base Ball Reported in
“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
1840c.3 – Influx of English
Immigrants Brings “Rough Form” of Cricket to NE and
Per Rader, p. 90; [no citation given.] Caveat: recent research does not support this assertion. Caution: the evidence for this needs to be confirmed.
1840s.4 – Preppies Brought Base Ball to College Campuses?
“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.
1840.5 – Chadwick [Later] Reports That “The New York Club” is Organized
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.
1840.6 – New NY Club Forms – Later to Reconstitute as Eagle Base Ball Club
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 that “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
1840.7 -- One-handed Bat Shown in Book of Children’s Verse
The Book of Seasons, A Gift for
the Young [
1840.8 -- Babcock, This Time, Uses a Different Woodcut
The Child’s Own Story Book, or
Simple Tales [
1840.9 -- Englishman Sees Base-ball as Commonly Played by Adult Men and Women
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.”
“On the afternoon of August 28, 1840 eighteen members
1840.11 -- Cover of Widespread School Reader Shows Two Boys Playing Ball
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
1840.12 -- Chapbook of Games: “Now a Knock, and Swift it Flies”
The Village Green; or, Sports of
1840c.13 – In Rural OH, Boy Takes Risk of Being “Knocked Breathless” in Sock-About
“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
1840c.14 -- Chapbook Shows a Ball Game, Recycles the “Butter Fingers” Lines
Juvenile Melodies [
1840c.15 -- R is for Richard “With His Bat and Ball”
The Spring of Knowledge or the
Alphabet Illustrated [
1840.16 – “Town Ball” Noted by
“Having recently returned from a visit to Cape Island
1840c.17 -- Town Ball and Ballmaking in OH
“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.
1840.19 -- Baseball Arrives in
“The story of baseball in
1840.20 -- Base and Cricket are Experimental Astronomy?
“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,
1840s.21 -- Early Ball Contents: Nuts, Bullets, Rocks, Fish-eyes
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
Submitted by Rob Loeffler, 3/1/07. See “The Evolution of the Baseball Up to 1872,” March 2007. See also #1835c.14, #1840c.17.
1840.22 – CT and MA Teams Match Up for Five Games of Wicket
“WICKET BALL – The ball players of this city [
1840c.23 – Old-Fashioned Ballgame Noted in Antebellum GA
“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”
1840.24 – Unusual Georgia Townball Described in Unusual Detail
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
“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.
1840c.25 – Wicket Played with
“Huge Bat” at
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
1840c.26 – Schoolboy Game of
“Three Base Ball” Recalled in
“Erasmus Hall academy [
“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,
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
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
1840s.28 -- At
At upstate NY’s
Rural Boys “Played Bass Ball” in
“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
The book comprises memories of her OH life by Alice
1840s.30 – Ballplayer Recalls Boyhood Matches, Ballmaking, Adult Play
On Fast Day [page 68]:
“The town meeting was succeeded in April by Fast Day, appointed always
for a Thursday. For some unknown reason
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
1840s.31 –Lem: Juvenile Fiction’s Boy Who Loved Round-ball
Noah Brookes, Lem:
A New England Village Boy: His Adventures and his Mishaps
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
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
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.
1840s.32 – Ballplaying by Slaves is Part of a Normal Plantation Sunday in GA
“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
Per Thomas L. Altherr, “Chucking the Old Apple: Recent
Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games,” Base Ball, Volume 2,
Kemp Battle, who moved to
1840c.34 –Ball-Playing at
“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
“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
1840s.36 – VA Lad Plays Chermany at Recess
“Our recess games were chiefly chermany and bandy
Moncure Daniel Conway, Autobiography: Memories and
1840c.37 – The Boyhood of Fallen
Major-General James McPherson was the highest-ranking
Ohioan to die in the Civil War. His
family has mover from
“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
1840.38 – Boston-Style “Bat and
Ball” Seen in
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
1840c.39 – Cricket [or Maybe Wicket] Played by Harvard Class of 1841
“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  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 [
1840s.40 -- American Cricketers
“American cricketers had gone to
William Ryczek, Baseball’s First Inning (MacFarland, 2009), page 104. Ryczek’s source may have been the Chadwick Scrapbooks.
1840s.41 – Town Ball Recalled in
“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
1840s.42 – Town Ball Club Finds Spot in NYC For Playing
“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
1840c.43 – Lad in
“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
1841.1 -- Compendium Describes [Pentagonal] 5-Base Rounders, Feeder
Williams, J. L., The Every Boy’s
Book, a Compendium of All the Sports and Recreations of Youth [
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.
Specimens of Penmanship [
1841.3 Chapbook Gives “Papa’s Advice:” Don’t Play During Study Hours!
Instruction and Amusement for the
1841.4 -- Babcock Adds Woodcut of Trap-ball to New Chapbook
Gilbert, Ann, and Jane Taylor, The Snow-drop: A
Collection of Rhymes for the Nursery [
1841.5 -- Cover of Chapbook Shows Boys Playing Ball
The Gift of Friendship [
1841.6 -- School Reader Shows Batter and Pitcher
Sanders, Charles W., The School
1841.7 -- “Games of Ball and Bat”
“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
“The Philadelphia Ledger for
John Lester, A Century of
Philadelphia Cricket [UPenn Press,
1841.9 -- County-wide Wicket Challenge Issued Near Rochester NY
“A CHALLENGE. The undersigned, Amateur (Wicket) Ball Players,
of the Town of
Noted by Priscilla Astifan, 19CBB
Priscilla adds: “Pioneer baseball players’ [in
“The Ball Players of Bloomfield and vicinity,
respectfully invite the Pall Players of the city of
Hartford Daily Courant,
1841.11 – Scottish Dictionary Calls “Cat and Dog” a Game for Three
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
1841.12 – Fond OH Editor on Youthful Ball-playing: “We Like It”
“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
1841.13 – At Yale, Wicket Now Seen as “Ungenteel”
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.
1841.14 – NY State Senator Tests the Sabbath Law
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."
Richard adds, “Alas, a search does not turn up the resolution to this case”.
1841.15 – Base
and Wicket in
“Who has not played ‘barn ball’ in boyhood, ‘base’ in
his youth and ‘wicket’ in his adulthood?”
1841.16 -- Fast Day Choice in ME: Hear a “Fact Sermon” or Play Ball?
“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,
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
1841.17 – Clevelanders Play Ball
at Sunset on
“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
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 [
1842.1 – NYC Group Begins Play, Later  Will Form Knickerbocker Base Ball Club
A group of young men begin to gather in
Peverelly, Charles A., The Book of American
Henry Chadwick later wrote: “The veteran Knickerbocker
Base Ball club, of
The New York Cricket Club is formed. 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.
1842.3 – Harvard Man George Hoar Writes of Playing “Simple Game Called Base”
George F. Hoar, a student at
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.
1842.4 – Duke of
Wisdon’s history of cricket . Note: Way cool, but not very American.
1842.5 -- Spelling Book Seems to Show a Fungo Game
Cobb, Lyman, Cobb’s New Spelling
Book, in Six Parts [
1842.6 – Missing Poem Describes Ball Playing
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,
1842c.7 -- Cricket and Town Ball
“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
John Lester, A Century of
Philadelphia Cricket [UPenn Press,
1842.8 – Sad Boy, Grounded, Misses His Recess Sports
[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 (
1842.9 – Haverford Students Form Cricket Team of Americans
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
1842c.10 – Athletic Welsh Lad Plays Rounders
“I became fleet on my legs, and a good climber, I was
an expert at ball catching in rounders (cricket being unknown in
1843.2 -- NY’s Washington Club:” Playing Base Ball Before the Knickerbockers Did?
“The honors for the place of birth of baseball are
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
1843.3 -- Playing Ball at Recess
Children at Play [
1843.4 – On Yale’s Green, Many a “Brisk Game of Wicket”
“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
1843c.5 -- Chapbook: Trap Ball and Cricket and Windows Don’t Mix
Sports for All Seasons [
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.”
1843.6 – Magnolia Ball Club Summoned to Elysian Fields Game
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.
1843.7 – Robber Caught Again: “Third Time and Out”
“[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.”
1843.8 – Man Flashes Large Wad at New York-Philly Cricket Match, Is Then Nabbed for Robbery
“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
“Important Arrest,” The Sun [
1844.1 – “Round Ball” Played in
“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.
1844.2 – First US–Canada Cricket Match Held
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.
1844.3 -- Clone of 1841 Book Covering Rounders and Feeder Appears
Williams, Samuel, Boy’s Treasury
of Sports, Pastimes, and Recreations [
1844.4 -- The Popular McGuffey’s Reader Adds a New Woodcut of Ball Play
McGuffey, Wm H., McGuffey’s Newly
Revised Eclectic First Reader [
1844.5 -- New Noah Webster Speller Has Woodcut of Ball Play on a Village Green
Webster, Noah, The Pictorial
Elementary Spelling Book [
1844.6 – Novel Cites “the Game of Bass in the Fields”
“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
1844.7 – English
“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
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
1844c.8 – Base Ball Begins in
“no ball playing has been going on during the past summer  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
1844.9 – Print Medium Credited
with New Popularity of Cricket in
“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.]
1844.10 – Fast Day Game in NH on the Common – Unless Arborism Goes Too Far
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?
1844.11 – Why Fast Day Comes Only Once a Year?
“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
1844.12 – English Tale Pictures “Working People” Playing Bass-ball, Cricket
“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.
1844.13 – Wicket Play in
“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.
1845.1 – Knicks Adopt Club and Playing Rules on September 23
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
1845.2 – Knicks Play First Recorded [Intramural] Games By The New Rules
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,
Per John Thorn, 7/704: on
1845.3 – [Item removed from version 10; John Thorn advises that contemporary accounts confirm
that the game reported game was lacrosse, not a safe-haven game.]
The New York Base Ball Club and the Brooklyn Base Ball
Club compete at the Elysian Fields in
For a long-lost account of an earlier
Go here for the detailed accounts of these games
1845.5 -- Brooklyn and
1845c.6 – NY Man: ”We Used to Say Come Let Us Play Ball or Base Ball”
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,
1845c.7 – Former Catcher Recalls Ballgame with Soaking and “Fugleing” in NYS
“1845 to 1849 I caught for a village nine in
“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.
1845.8 -- Magazine Article Likens Ladies’ Gait to Ballplayers’ Screw Ball
Author[?], “The New Philosophy,” The Knickerbocker,
volume 26, November 1845 [
1845.9 -- Cover of Children’s Book Depicts Ball Play
Teller, Thomas, The History of a
1845.10 -- German Book of Games Lists das Giftball, a Bat-and-Ball Game
Jugendspiele zur Ehhjolung und Erheiterung
1845.11 -- Bookman Babcock, He Just Keeps On Truckin’
Teller, Thomas, The Mischievous
Boy; a Tale of Tricks and Troubles [
“[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.]
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
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.
1845c.13 -- Town-ball in IN Later [and Vaguely?] Recalled
“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
1845.14 -- All-England Eleven
An All-England XI formed by William Clark makes
missionary journeys all over
Barclay’s [History of Cricket?] Section IV. XXX We need a minimally competent citation or better source or better note-taking habits.
1845c.15 – Doc
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
Item submitted by Rob Loeffler, 3/1/07. See “The Evolution of the Baseball Up to 1872,” March 2007.
1845.16 – Brooklyn 22,
“The Base Ball match between eight Brooklyn players,
and eight players of
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
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
1845.17 – Intercity Cricket Match Begins in NY
1845.18 – On “Second Anniversary,” The NY Club Plays Intramural Game
1845.19 – Painter Depicts Some Type of Old-Fashioned Ball?
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
http://www.albanyinstitute.org/collections/Hudson/durand.htm, as accessed 11/17/2008.
Dick McBane [email iof
some helpful details of Durand’s life, but much remains unclear. Query:
Can we learn more about Durand’s – a member of the
1845.20 – Painting Shows Crossed Bats and Some Balls in School
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
On August 1, 1845,
Extensive coverage of the first innings of the second
match appears at “The Grand Cricket Match –
1845.22 – Barre MA Skips the “Old Annual Game of Ball” on Election Day
“’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
1845.23 -- In Cricket, Pha Foursome Defeats NY Quad, 27-19, Pockets $500
A cricket match was reported in early September that
lined up four players from the St. George Club on
1846.1 – Knicks Play NYBBC in
First Recorded Match Game, in
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.
“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.
1846.3 -- New “Original and Unusual Manual Has New Slants on Rounders, Trap-ball
The Every Boy’s Book of Games,
Sports, and Diversions [
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?
1846.4 -- New Primer by Sanders Repeats Illustration from 1840 Reader
Sanders, Charles W., Sanders’
Pictorial Primer, or, An Introduction to “Sanders’ First Reader [
1846.5 – Knicks Play Only Intramural Games Through 1850.
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.
1846.6 – Walt Whitman Sees Boys
Playing “Base” in
In July of 1846 a Brooklyn Eagle piece by Walt
Whitman read: “In our sun-down perambulations of late, through the outer parts
“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,
1846.7 – Amherst Juniors Drop Wicket Game, 77 to 53: -- says Young Billjamesian
“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.”
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
1846.9 – Town Ball in
“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,
“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
Note: we need to retrieve full ref from website
1846.11 -- Suspicious
“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
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.”
1846.13 – Spring Sports at Harvard: “Bat & Ball” and Cricket
“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.”
1846.14 – English Crew Teaches Rounders to Baltic Islanders
“In 1846 a three-master . . . from
Mehl [first name?], “A Batting Game on the
1846.15 – Umpires 1, Players 0
“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?
1846.16 – Base Ball as Therapy in MA?
According to the
Annual Report of the Trustees of the
1846.17 – Cricketers Form All
[Sensing a large new audience, cricket entrepreneur
1846.18 – NYC: Inky Mob of Ballplayers 1, Policeman 0
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.”
1846.19 – One-Horse Wagon’s Driver 1, Wicket Players 0
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").
1847c.1 – Henry Chadwick Plays a “Scrub” Game of Baseball?
“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.”
1847.2 – Soldier Sees January
Ball Games at Camp at
Adolph Engelmann, an
“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
1847.3 -- Tiny Book Has Odd Description of “Bat and Ball.”
The Book of Sports [
1847.4 -- Book of Children’s Tales Includes Recycled Illustrations of Ballplaying
Barbauld, Anna Leticia, Charles’ Journey
to France and Other Tales [
1847.5 -- Halliwell’s 960-Page Dictionary Cites Base-ball, Rounders, Tut-ball
Halliwell, James O., A Dictionary of
Archaic and Provincial Words [
1847.6 -- “Grand Match of Cricket” Planned in NYC
“On Thursday next, 1st July, as we are informed,
there will by a grand match of Cricket played on the
Anglo-American, A Journal of
Literature, News, Politics, the Drama, Fine Arts January 26, 1847 [
1847.7 – Occupation Army Takes
Ballgame to Natives In . . .
The New York Volunteer Regiment reached
Walter A. Tompkins, “Baseball Began Here in 1847,” It
Happened in Old Santa Barbara
1847.8 – Soldier Recalls Town-ball
“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,
1847.9 – Li’l Prince’s Birthday Party Includes Cricket, Rounders.
Richard Hershberger relates: The Preston Guardian
1847.10 – Ice Bowl
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,
1847.11 – Curling is “Bass Ball,” or “Goal,” or “Hook-em-Snivy,” on the Ice?
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,”
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.”
1847.12 – Mainers’ “Bat and Ball” Event Leads to Delayed Catharsis
“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
1848.1 -- Knickerbocker Rules and By-laws Are Printed; Original Phrase Deleted
The earliest known printing of the
September 1845 rules. By-laws and Rules of the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club [
1848.2 -- Soldiers Play Ball During Western Trip
“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.”
The Gold Discovery Journal of Azariah Smith [
1848.3 -- Teen Diarist in NY/NJ Records Ballplaying
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 -
1848.4 -- The Knicks’ Defensive Deployment, Thanksgiving Day Game
In the Knickerbockers’ Thanksgiving Day, 1848,
intramural game, two squads of eight squared off. Each featured three
19CBB posting by John Thorn, 7/23/2005. The source is presumably the Knick scorebooks.
1848.5 -- New York Book of Games Covers Stool-ball, Rounders
Boy’s Own Book of Sports, Birds,
and Animals [
Richardson, H. D., Holiday Sports
and Pastimes for Boys [
“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?
“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.
1848.8 -- Cricket Flourishes at Haverford College PA
“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,
[As a teenage student at Farmer’s College, near
Life and Public Services of Hon. Benjamin Harrison [Sedgewood Publishing Company, 1892], page 53.
1848.10 – Ballgame Marks Anniversary in MA
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
1848.11 – First US Cricket Match With No Foreign Players?
claimed the first all-American cricket match was played between
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?
1848.12 – Wicket Reported as
“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.
1848.13 – In
“One might guess that baseball would have made an
early appearance in
John R. Husman, “
“[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.”
1848.14 – Game of Baseball Attains Official Perch in Lexicon!
“BASE. A game of hand-ball.”
John Russell Bartlett, Dictionary of Americanisms: A Glossary of
Words and Phrases Usually Regarded as Peculiar to the
1848.15 English Novel Mentions, Thread-the-Needle, “Base-Ball:” “Such Games!
“he gave Bessy his arm, and
they went over to
1848.16 – Fast-Day Notice to NH Subscribers
“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.
1848.17 – Cricket Along the
On 12/11/09, Richard Hershberger posted a clip,
“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
1849.1 -- Knicks Sport First Uniform -- White Shirt, Blue Pantaloons
“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.”
accessed 6/20/2005. No source is given.
1849.2 – Doc
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.
1849.3 – NY Game Shown to “Show
Me” State of
“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.
1849c.4 – A. G. Mills, Friend Recall “Base Ball” Play at School
Mills to Cogswell:
“Among the vivid recollections of my early life at
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,
1849c.5 -- New Chapbook Names Several Games Played with Balls
Juvenile Pastimes; or Girls’ and
Boys’ Book of Sports [
1849.6 -- Inmates Play Base Ball
“[O]utdoor amusements consist in the game of quoits, base ball, walking in parties . . . “
1849.7 -- Ball Play and Word Play
“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.”
1849.8 -- NYC Firemen Find “A Little Excitement” in a Winter Game of Ball
“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.”
“BALL PLAYING. A game of
Wicket came off between the ball-players of
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
Ladies’ Wicket in
“BAT AND BALL AMONG THE LADIES. Nine married ladies beat nine single ones at a game
of wicket in
1849.11 – Character in Fictional Autobiography Played Cricket, Base-Ball
“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
1849.12 – Ladies Cricket Match
“Bat and Ball Among the Ladies. – A
1849.13 – Did Cartwright Play
Ball on His Way to
“April 23, 1849 [evidently the day before Cartwright
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
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.”
1850s.1 – Accounts of Ballplaying by Slaves
Wiggins, Kenneth, “Sport and Popular Pastimes in the
1850s.2 – Numerous Base Ball Clubs Active in NYC
Numerous clubs, many of them colonized by former
members of the
1850s.3 – Cricket Club in
John Lester, ed., A Century of
Cricket in Philadelphia [
“Beginning in the 1850’s, the Germans and the Irish
took up the sport [baseball] with alacrity. In
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.]
1850.5 – “Boy’s Treasury” Describes Rounders, Feeder, Stoolball, Etc.
The Boy’s Treasury, published in
The Boy’s Treasury of Sports, Pastimes,
and Recreations [Clark, Austin and
1850.6 -- Article in The Knickerbocker Mentions Bass-ball, N-Hole-cat, Barn-ball
The Knickerbocker, volume 35, January 1850 [
1850.7 -- Englishman’s Book of Games Refers to Rounders, Feeder
Mallary, Chas D., The Little Boy’s Own Book; Consisting of
Games and Pastimes . . . . [Henry Allman,
1850c.8 -- Poisoned-Ball Text
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.
1850c.9 -- Juvenile Story Book has Two Woodcuts with Ballplaying
Frank’s Adventures at Home and
1850c.10 -- B is for Bat, B is for Ball
Grandpapa Pease’s Pretty Poetical
Spelling Book [
1850c.11 -- Short Moral Tale Centers on Boy’s Bat and Ball
The Broken Bat; or, Harry’s
Lesson of Forgiveness [
1850c.12 -- Chapbook Reprises Illustration from Contemporary Book.
Louis Bond, the Merchant’s Son [
1850s.13 -- Trap Ball, Stool
Ball, Well Established in
“Other forms of bat and ball games, like trap-ball and
stool-ball, became well established in
Bob Bailey, “Chapter 1 -- Beginnings: From Amateur Teams to Disgrace in the National League [mimeo, 1999]’, page 1. Query: can be obtain original sources?
1850s.14 -- With Rise of Overarm Bowling, Padding Becomes Regular Part of Cricket
“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
“The Gunnery [School] in
Paula Krimsky, 19CBB
1850s.16 -- Wicket Play in
“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,”
1850c.17 – Patch Baseball Played
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
1850s.18 -- Baseball’s Beginnings at U Penn?
“Baseball was first played by Penn students before the
Civil War when the University was still located at its
http://www.archives.upenn.edu/histy/features/sports/baseball/1800s/hist1.html, as accessed 1/3/2008. No reference is supplied.
1850s.19 – Occupational, Company Teams Appear
“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
Gelber also notes the rise of blue collar teams, the most
famous being the Eckfords in
1850s.20 – Town-ball Played in
“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."
C. McCook, The Senator: A Threnody
1850s.21 -- “Shoddy” Lord’s Opts for Mechanical Grass-Cutter
“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
1850.22 -- British Trade Unionists Play Base Ball
Richard Hershberger found an account of blue collar
base ball in
1850.23 -- English Novel Briefly Mentions Base-Ball
“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
1850s.24 – In NYC – Did “Plugging” Actually Persist to the mid-1850s?
John Thorn feels that “while the Knick rules of
September 23, 1845
“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
clubs may not have done so till '57.” Note: John invites further discussion on this point. The text of the
1850s.25 – If It’s May Day,
“On the first of May each year, large crowds filled
1850c.26 -- Needed: More Festival Days – Like Fast Day? -- For Ballplaying
“[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
1850s.27 – Cricket Outshines Base Ball in Press Coverage
“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
1850s.28 <moved to 1855c.24 in version 11>
1850.29 – US Has Twenty Cricket Clubs
“Despite its shortcomings, cricket enjoyed significant
popularity in the
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).
1850s.30 – Town Ball Well Known
“Football and baseball, as played today , 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 ("
1850s.31 – Town Ball Played in
“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.
1850.32 – NH Ballplaying Washed Out on Fast Day
“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.
1850s.33 – Round Ball, Old Cat
“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
1850c.34 – Tut-ball Played at
“’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
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
1850c.36 – Wicket Ball in
“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").
1850s.37 – Near
“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
1851.1 – Sport of Cricket Gets its First Comprehensive History Book
Pycroft, James, The Cricket Field; or,
The History and Science of Cricket [
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
Submitted by Angus Macfarlane, January 2007.
1851.3 -- Wicket Players in MA Found Liable
“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 [
1851.4 – First Known Game in
“The first game in IL was in 1851 between
John Freyer posting to 19CBB, May 28 2007. John does not provide a source.
1851.5 – Robert E. Lee Promotes
A twenty-one year old cricket enthusiast visited West
“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
1851.6 – Word-man Noah Webster Acknowledges Only Wicket
“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
1851.7 – Christmas Bash Includes “Good Old Fashioned Game of Baseball”
“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
1851.8 – Games of Ball Seen in
“Morning Sports – A fight took place on Saturday
morning on the levee, and a game of ball on
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
1852.1 – Cartwright Said to Lay
Out First Base Ball Field in
From Frederick Ivor-Campbell,
“Alexander Joy Cartwright, Jr.
Caution: Recent scholars have not confirmed fthis story.
1852.2 -- Lit Magazine Cites “Roaring” Game of “Bat and Base-ball”
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?
1852.3 -- Eagle Ball Club Rulebook Appears
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 [
1852.4 -- Bass-ball “Quite Too Complicated” for Children’s Book on Games
Little Charley’s Games and Sports [
1852.5 -- Religious Chapbook Shows Action in Ball Play at Recess
Fernald, Benjamin C., My Little
Guide to Goodness and Truth [
1852.6 -- Exciting [Adult]
Rounders in the
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.”
“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,”
Angus also notes on
“[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
1852.9 – Five Fined in
“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.
1852.10 – Fictional “Up-Country” Location Cites Bass-Ball and Wicket
“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
1853c.1 – “Rounders” Said to be Played at Phillips Exeter
“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
1853.2 -- Dutch Handbook for Boys Covers “Engelsch Balspel,” Trap-ball, Tip-cat
Dongens! Wat zal er gespeld worden? (Boys! What Shall We Play?) [
1853.3 -- B is [Still] For Bat and Ball
The Illuminated A, B, C [
1853.4 -- School Reader has Updated Description of Bat and Ball
Sanders, Charles W., The School
Reader; First Book [Newbergh, Chicago,
1853.5 -- Knicks, Gothams Play Season Opener on July 1 and July 5
“BASE BALL AT
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.
1853.6 -- When Boys Collect Outside NYC, A Spontaneous Game of Ball is Possible
“[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,
1853.7 – Didactic Novel Pairs “Bass-Ball” and Rounders at Youths’ Outing
“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
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.]
1853.8 – Were Bats and Balls Coinage, They Were Millionaires
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
1853.9 – Strolling Past a Ballgame in Elysian Fields
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
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
“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.”
1853.10 – First Base Ball Reporters – Cauldwell, Bray, Chadwick, Kelly
Henry Chadwick may be the Father of Baseball and a
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
1853.11 – Catcher Felled in ME
“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.”
1853.12 – English Cleric Promotes Co-ed Rounders, With Slim Results
“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
1853c.13 – At Harvard, Most Students Played Baseball and Football, Some Cricket or 4 Old Cat
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.").
1853.14 – Our Game Hits the Sports Pages?
“On July 9, 1853, The Spirit of the Times
mentioned baseball for the first time, printing a letter reporting a game
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?
1854.1 – NY Rules Now Specify Pitching Distance “Not Less Than 15 yards”
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]
1854.2 – First New England Team,
“The first regularly organized team in
1854.3 – Organized Round Ball in
“’Base Ball in
“In 1855 the Elm Trees organized, existing but a short
time, however. In 1856 a new club arose, the ‘
Wright, George, Account of November 15, 1904,
catalogued by the Mills Commission as Exhibit 36-19; accessed at the
1854.4 – Was Lewis Wadsworth the First Paid Player?
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
John Thorn posting to 19CBB listserve group, July 5, 2004, 1:39 PM.
1854.5 – Excelsior Club Forms in
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,
Constitution and By-Laws of the
Excelsior Base Ball Club of
“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
1854.7 -- Empire Club Constitution Appears, Club Lifts Off
Constitution, by-laws and rules
of the Empire Ball Club; organized
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,
“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.
1854.8 -- Cricket Historian Describes Facet of Current “School Boy’s Game of Rounders”
“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 , 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?
1854.9 -- Van Cott Letter
Summarizes State of
“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.” . . .
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
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.
1854.10 -- Ball Played at
Minor Myers, Jr., and Dorothy Ebersole,
Baseball in Geneva: Notes to Accompany An Exhibition at the Prout Chew Museum, May 20 to
1854.11 -- The Game in
“Organized teams first appeared in
“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
William Humber, “Baseball and the
Canadian Identity,” College Quarterly, Volume 8 Number 3 [Summer 2005]. Submitted by John Thorn
1854.12 – New Rules for Official Balls – A Little Bit Heavier
The joint rules committee, convening at Smith’s
Submitted by Rob Loeffler, 3/1/07. See “The Evolution of the Baseball Up to 1872,” March 2007. XXX Merge w/ 1854.1 XXX
1854.13 – English Visitor Sees Wicket at Harvard
“It was in
the spring of 1854 . . . that I stepped
“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.
1854.14 – Finally, Cricket Played Here Without English Immigrants!
“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
“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
Daily Democratic State Journal (
1854. 16 – The Eagle Club’s Field Diagram – A Real Diamond
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?
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
1855.2 – Town Ball Played in
A woman in
Remarks of Mrs. Cynthia Miller Coleman,
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/wpa/30081905.html, accessed 2/11/10. [URL contributed by Craig Waff, email of
1855c.3 – Wicket, Seen as a CT
Game, Was Played in
In 1880 the Brooklyn Eagle carried long
articles that include a description of the game of wicket, described as a
“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.
1855.4 -- NY Herald Previews Several June Games for Five Area Clubs
“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
1855.5 – Seven Base Ball Clubs Now Organized.
Per Seymour, Harold – Notes in the Seymour Collection
at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript
Collections, collection 4809. Note:
1855.6 -- Jersey City Club is Set Up
Constitution and By-Laws of the Pioneer Base Ball Club
of Jersey City [
1855.7 – Cricket Becoming “The National Game” in US: “Considerable Progress” Seen
“Cricket is becoming the fashionable game – the national game, it might be said.”
“New York Correspondence,” Washington Evening Star,
Things looked rosy for cricket in
1855c.8 -- New British Manual of Sports Describes Rounders
Walsh, J. H. (“Stonehenge”), Manual
of British Rural Sports [
1855.9 -- Whitman Puts “Good Game
of Base-Ball” Among Favorite
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass [
1855c.10 – “New Game” of Wicket Played in HI
 “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).
 “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,
] Through further digging, John Thorn traces the
migration of wicket to
1855c.11 -- Master Trap-ball, Meet Mister Window
Sports for All Seasons, Illustrating the Most Common
and Dangerous Accidents That Occur During Childhood .
. . [
1855.12 -- Students Bring Cricket
“When the students returned to
1855.13 -- Spirit Gives Season Plans for 5 Base Ball Clubs
The practice and match schedules for the
Knickerbockers, Eagles, Empires, Gothams and [
“Base Ball,” Spirit of the Times
1855c.14 – [moved to 1857.35]
1855.15 – 2000 Demurely Watch
“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.”
1855.16 – Scholar Deems 1855 the
End of the Cricket Era in
1855.17 – [moved to 1828.13]
1855.18 – Stodgy Novel Makes Brief Mention of Former Ballplaying
“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.
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
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
1855.20 – Base Ball Game Reaches Really Modern Duration; Score is 52 to 38
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
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,
1855.21 – Spirit Eyes Three-Year Knicks-Gothams Rivalry
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
1855.22 – Search for Base Ball Supremacy Begins? It’s the Knicks, For Now
“These two Clubs [Knickerbocker and
1855.23 – Association Rules
Without accompanying comment, 17 rules for playing the
1855c.24 – Manufacturing of Base Balls Begins in NYC
“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.
1855.25 – Text Perceives Rounders and Cricket, in Everyday French Conversations
An 1855 French conversation text consistently
translates “balle au camp” as “rounders.” It also translates ”
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?
“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.”
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.
1855.27 – In Brooklyn, the
On July 31, 1855, according to Craig Waff’s Protoball
Games Tab, the first games were played by new clubs in
The Putnams appear to be the first
Here is the
1855.28 – Thanksgiving is for
Football? Not in
“[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
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,
1855.29 – Even the Australians Are Bothered by Sunday Baseball
“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.”
[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:
1855.30 – Early Season Game Goes
to Knicks, 27-14;
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: “
“Base Ball. Knickerbocker
vs. Eagle Club,”
1856.1 -- The Wrights Both Are at
St. George CC;
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
Per John Thorn, 6/15/04: The source is Chadwick Scrapbooks, Vol. 20.
1856.2 -- Excelsiors Organized
Constitution and By-laws of the
Excelsior Base Ball Club
1856.3 -- Putnams Rules Arrive on the Scene
Rules and By-laws of Base Ball -- Putnam Base Ball Club [
1856.4 – Fifty-Three Games Held
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?
1856.7 – First Official Use of the Term “Rounders” Appears?
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.
1856.8 – Knickerbocker Rules Meeting Held
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
John Thorn adds that the session was held December 6
at Smith’s Hotel at
1856.9 – Working Men Play at Dawn
A team of truckmen played on Boston Common, often at so as not to interfere with their work.
New York Clipper,
1856.11 -- New Reader Has Ballplaying Illustration
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?
1856.12 -- Gothams 21, Knicks 7; Fans Show Greatest Interest Ever
“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,
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.”
1856.13 -- General Base Ball Rules Are Published in NY
Rules and By-laws of Base Ball
1856.14 -- Manly Virtues of Base Ball Extolled; 25 Clubs Now Playing in NYC Area
“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 [
1856.15 -- Excelsior Base Ball
Club Forms in
Spirit of the Times,
1856.16 -- Cricket -- “The Great
“The Great Match at
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.
1856.17 -- The Mass Game Explained
“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
“Base Ball; How They Play the Game
1856.18 – First Reported Canadian
Base Ball Game Occurs, in
“September 12, 1856 –“The first reported game of
Canadian baseball is played in
Craig Waff has identified the source for this
item: “Base Ball in
1856.19 – Five-Player Base Ball Reported in NY, WI
We’ve noticed two games of five-on-five baseball in
the Spirit, starting in 1856. The
‘56 game matched the
1856.20 -- 100 to 98 Round Ball Game Played, After Sticky Rule Negotiations
“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
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
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.”
“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
1856.22 – Young Brooklyn Clubs Play, But Reporter is Unimpressed
The Harmony Club beat the Continentals, 21-15, in the
“intense heat” of
“Base Ball. –
1856.23 – <Merged with 1856.20 in version 11>
1856.24 – First
“Though baseball match games had been played in
John R. Husman, “
“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.”
1857.1 – Rules Modified to Specify Nine Innings, 90-Foot Base Paths, Nine-Player Teams
“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,
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.
1857.2 -- National Association of Base Ball Players Forms
William H. van Cott is elected NABBP President.
“Our National Sports,” Porter’s Spirit of the Times,
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 (
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?
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.
1857.5 – The Tide Starts Turning
“BASE BALL IN
1857.7 – Daily Base Ball Games
[NY-Style] Found in
“Base Ball at
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
1857.8 – First Western club, the
Franklin Club, forms in
1857.9 – Editor Calls for an American National Game
The editor of the Spirit of the Times: There
“should be some one game peculiar to the citizens of the
Porter’s Spirit of the Times,
1857.10 – Rib-and-Ball Game in
Kane, Elisah Kent, Arctic
Explorations: the Second Grinnell Expedition in Search of Sir John Franklin,
1853, ’54, ’55, volume 2 [
1857.11 -- New Primer, Different Illustration**
1857.12 -- The First Vintage Game?
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)’”
1857.13 -- The First Game Pic?
“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.?
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,
“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.
1857.16 -- Early Use of the Term “Town Ball” in NY Clipper
The article reported a “Game of Town Ball” in
1857.17 -- Base
"The first recorded baseball event in
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
Similarly: Phil Lowry reports a 3-inning game in
1857.18 -- Porter’s Project: Collect Rules of Play
“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,
1857.19 – Wicket Described in February Porter’s
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  a request for playing rules a
“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. [
Porter’s Spirit of the Times, Saturday, February 14, 1857. Accessed via subscription search, May 15, 2009.
1857.20 – Clerks Take on Clerks
“An exciting match of Base Ball was played on the
Washington Parade Ground,
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?
“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
Overfield, Joseph, 100 Seasons of
1857.22 – Atlantics Become Base Ball Champs?
“The Atlantic Club defeats the Eckford Club, both of
Charlton, James, ed., The
1857.23 – Princeton Freshmen
“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  a new game
superseded handball in student favor – it was ‘town ball’ or the old
Query:  “The old
CT game?” Wasn’t that wicket? Source:
1857.24 – Cricket Stories in the May 23 Clipper
From the New York Clipper, Saturday, May 23, 1857 [four cents!]:
Two six-player teams played in
Two elevens played in
Twenty upcoming matches are listed.
Two elevens played in
A cricket club is reportedly being organized in
Two intramural matches in NYC are reported [with boxes}
Facsimile contributed by Gregory Christiano, November 15, 2009.
1857.25 – Season Opens in
“OPENING OF THE SEASON IN
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
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 ("
1857.27 – Game of Wicket Reaches IA
“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
“’BASE BALL’ – MASSAPOAGS OF
1857.29 – Six-Player Town-ball Teams Play for Gold in Philly
“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
1857.30 – Olympic Club’s Version of MA Game Rules Published
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
1857.31 – Rounders “Now Almost Entirely Displaced by Cricket:” English Scholar
“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
1857. 32 – Daybreak Club Forms in
“Base Ball at
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
1857.33 – Clipper Thinks Base Ball is Catching On
“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
1857c.34 – Wicket Played at
“In the street, in front of [
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
There are conflicting accounts of when base ball
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
1858.1 – Fifty Clubs Said Active
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.
1858.2 – New York All-Stars Beat Brooklyn All-Stars, 2 games to 1; First Admission Fees Are Charged
“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.
It was the first base ball game in the
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  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,
1858.3 – At
The representatives of ten clubs meet at
The Base Ball Player’s Pocket
Companion [Mayhew and Blake,
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
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.
1858.4 – NY Game Rules Changed – The Called Strike is In, Bound Rule is Out
The New York Game adopts the called strike, first
employed at a
1858.5 -- Seven More Clubs Publish Their Rules
David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page
224, lists 7 clubs with new rulebooks. They include base ball clubs in
1858.6 – Clipper Calls for Truly National BB Convention
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.”
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
1858.7 -- Newly Reformed Game of
Town Ball Played in
carried at least four reports of
1858.8 – Harvard Student Notes “Multitude” Playing Base or Cricket There
“[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
1858.9 –Eagle Contrasts Base Ball and Cricket
“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,”
1858.10 – Four-day Attendance of
40,000 Souls Watch Famous Roundball Game in
“One of the most celebrated games of roundball was played on the Agricultural Grounds in
“H. S.,” [Henry Sargent?] of
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.]
1858.11 -- British Sports Anthology Shows Evolved Rounders, Other Safe Haven Games
Pardon, George, Games for All
1858.12 -- Base Ball, Meet Tin Pan Alley
Blodgett, J. (composer), “The Base
Ball Polka” [
1858.13 -- New Reader: “Now, Charley, Give Me a Good Ball”
One’s Ladder, or First Steps in Spelling and Reading [
1858.14 -- Adult Play [Finally!] Signaled in New Manual for Cricket and Base Ball
Manual of Cricket and Base Ball [
1858.15 -- Base Ball Arrives in
Heaven? “No, This is
“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
From a report of the Field of Dreams
SABR Chapter [the
1858.16 -- Four Jailed for “Criminal” Sunday Play in NJ
“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 --
Jersey City Items,” New York Times,
1858.17 -- Atlantic Monthly Piece Lauds Base-ball
“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
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
1858.18 -- Oldest Extant Base Balls Were Inscribed?
“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
“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
1858.19 -- First KY Box Score
“The beginnings of [
“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
1858.20 -- Knicks Compose 17-Verse Song on Current Base Ball
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 [
1858.21 -- Times Editorial: “We Hail the New Fashion With Delight”
“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
“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
1858.23 -- “The Playground” Gives Insight into Rounders, Trap-ball, and Cricket Rules and Customs
George Forrest, The Playground: or, The Boy’s Book
of Games [G. Rutledge,
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.
1858.24 -- Editorial Rips Base Ball “Mania” as a “Public Nuisance”
“Ball Clubs,” The Happy Home and
Parlor Magazine, Volume 8, December 1, 1858 [
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:  gambling imbues it,  the crowd is unruly and intemperate,  profanity abounds,  its players waste a lot of time,  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.”
1858.25 -- Your Base Ball Stringer, Mr. W. Whitman
Reporter Whitman wrote a workmanlike [all-prose]
account of a game [Atlantic 17, Putnam 13] for the
Walt Whitman, “On Baseball, 1858,”
in John Thorn, ed., The Complete Armchair Book of Baseball [Galahad
1858.26 -- Wicket, as Well as
Cricket and Base Ball, Reported in
“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
1858.27 -- Flour Citys First Base Ball Club in
Note: A claim that the Live Oaks, or the Olympics, preceded the Flour Citys appears as above – see #1855.14.
1858.28 – The MA Ball: Smaller, Lighter, “Double 8” Cover Design
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
Submitted by Rob Loeffler, 3/1/07. See “The Evolution of the Baseball Up to 1872,” March 2007.
1858.29 – First Recorded College
“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
1858.30 – Playing Rules Given for
“The great game of Wicket Ball between a party of the
married and unmarried men of
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.
Norton, Frederick C., “That Strange
Yankee Game, Wicket,”
1858.32 – Ballplaying Interest
“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
Bedford Evening Standard, September
13, 1858, as referenced at “Early days of Baseball in
Earliest Games in
 Downer’s Grove downs
 Excelsior downs
1858.34 – Amusements at Duchess’ Birthday Party Includes Base Ball
August 17 was the 72nd birthday of the
Duchess of Kent, celebrated at
“Birthday of the Duchess of Kent,” Times of
Herald article on this game is reprinted in Soos,
The New York Clipper
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
This watershed game was also noted in Wright, George,
“Base Ball in
Will, Was Baseball Really Invented in
1858.36 – NY Rules Printed in
Without apparent explanation or comment, the rules of
baseball were printed in
“Rules and Regulations of the Game
of Base Ball,” Macon Weekly Georgia Telegraph
1858.37 – In English Novel, Base-Ball Doesn’t Occupy Boys Very Long
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
1858.38 – Brooklyn Base Ball Admirer Sizes up the 1858 Season
“. . . 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
“BASE BALL CLUB: “a Club entitled the San Francisco
Base Ball Club has been formed in
1858.40 – Cricket Plays Catch-up; Plans a National Convention
“CRICKET CONVENTION FOR 1858. – A Convention of delegates from the various Cricket
Clubs of the
“The Niagara Club, of
1858.42 – In Downstate
1858.43 – CT Man Reports 13-on-8 games, Asks for Some Rules
“Dear Spirit: The base-ball mania has attacked a
select few in
1858c.44 – Wolverines and Wicket
“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
1858.45 – 1000 Watch November
Base Ball in
“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.
“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
William Ridgely Griffith,
“The Early History of Amateur Base Ball in the State of
1858.47 – Brooklynite
Takes A Census – There Are 59 Junior Clubs in
“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
“Junior Base-Ball Clubs,” Porter’s Spirit of the
Times, Volume 5, number 7
1858.48 – Three Youth Clubs in
1858.49 – Nation Plays Nation – Senecas and Tuscaroras Have a Ballgame
“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
“Although the Minerva Club was established in 1857, it
members lived a quiet and largely unpublicized existence. The first report of the
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.
1858.51 – At Harvard, Two Clubs
Play Series of Games by
The Lawrence Base Ball Club and a club from the
1858.52 – Grand Wicket Match in
Local interest in wicket is seen has having crested in
1858 in western
J. Anderson, ed., The Town and City of
1858.53 – At
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
1858.54 – OFBB Variant Played in
“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
While the teams nodded to the new [May 1858]
1858.55 – First Club Forms in
“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.
1858.56 – Mr. Babcock Shows Base Ball to San Franciscans
“Allow me to correct an error which appeared in your
last issue in relation to the first game of base ball played in
“Correspondence. Base Ball in
Modern Base Ball Gets to Exeter Prep [from Doubleday’s
“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
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
1859.1 – First Intercollegiate
In the first intercollegiate baseball game ever
The two schools also competed at chess that weekend.
The New York Clipper thought that the game’s
wimpy ball lessened the fun: “The ball
1859.2 – Elusive Intercollegiate Game [First Played by NY Rules] Pits Xavier and Fordham
Per Sullivan, Dean A., Compiler and Editor, Early
Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [
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
1859.3 – 24,000 Attend US-England All-Star Cricket Match at Elysian Fields
Per Rader, page 91; no citation given
1859.4 – Base Ball Club Forms in
“Baseball Club formed in
“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
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
1859.5 -- First
[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
1859.6 – The First Reported African-American Game, July 4 and/or November 15
[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
Note: Can we get text from the sourced citation, and a source for the text citation? Was this one game or two?
1859.7 – Southern Game Takes Place in Aristocratic Setting
1859.8 – Sixty Play for Their Supper
“On Saturday last New Marlborough and Tolland played a game of ball for a supper – Tolland beat. There were 30 players on a side.”
1859.9 – Excelsiors and Union Club play for $500 and MA Championship
The New-York Tribune
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
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.
“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
Keetz, Frank M., The Mohawk Colored Giants of Schenectady (Frank M. Keetz, Schenectady, 1999), page 2. Keetz does not provide a source.
1859.12 – MA Championship: Unions 100, Winthrop 71, in 101 Innings
Wilkes Spirit of the Times,
1859.13 – First Tour of English
Eleven to US and
The All England Eleven confronted 22
The AEE also thumped 22 players from the
John Lester, A Century of Philadelphia Cricket,
“That [NY Tribune} article was a discussion, I
believe, of the two games, the
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
1859.15 -- Games and Sports Covers Rounders, Feeder, Trap-ball, Northern Spell
Games and Sports for Young Boys [
1859.16 -- Boy’s Own Toy-Maker Covers Tip-cat and Trap-ball
The Boy’s Own Toy-Maker [
1859.17 -- Club Forms at
“The Nassau Base Ball Club is organized on the
March 14, 1859, no citation given, [go
to chronology for the year 1859]. Note: Some source say the
1859.18 -- Harper’s Suggests Plugging Still Used in Base-ball
“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.]
1859.19 -- Phillips Exeter Academy Used Plugging in “Base-ball?”
“Baseball was played at
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.]
1859.20 -- Two More BB Clubs Issue Rules
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
1859.21 -- Porter’s: MA Game Will Surely Die
“This thing cannot last, and the
Editorial, Porter’s Spirit of the Times? October 1859?? From the ninth segment of Rankin’s 1910 history??
1859.23 -- Base Ball Would be
“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
Lowell [MA] Daily Journal and Courier,
1859.24 -- CT State Championship in Wicket Attracts 4000
A special four-car train carried spectators to the
John Lester, A Century of
Philadelphia Cricket [UPenn Press,
1859.25 -- Buffalo Editor on NY Game -- “Child’s Play”
“Do our [
We have not the least idea whether it is the
"National Association" game or the "
Editorial, “Base Ball -- Who Plays the Genuine Game?,”
1859.26 – NY Herald Weighs Base Ball against Cricket
A detailed comparison of base ball and cricket appeared in the New York Herald, October 16, 1859, page 1, columns 3-5.
“[C]ricket could never
become a national sport in
“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.
1859.27 – Reader Catches “A Slight Error” – Base Ball is English, not American
“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
1859.28 – New Yorker Dies Playing Base Ball
“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,
New York Evening Express, October 22, 1859, page 3 column 3. Posted to 19CBB on 3/1/2007 by George Thompson.
1859.29 – Annual Meeting of NABBP Decides: Bound Rule, No Pros
“Base Ball,” The
1859.30 – The First Triple Play, Maybe?
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
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.
1859.32 – Morning Express Opposes Bound Rule, Tag-up Rule: Wants More Runs!
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.”
1859.33 – Prolix Lecturer Explains What Base Ball and Cricket Mean
“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
1859.34 – Lexicographer: “Base Ball” is English!
“BASE. A game of ball much played in
From John Russell Bartlett, Dictionary
of Americanisms: A Glossary of Words and Phrases Usually Regarded as Peculiar
to the United States,
1859. 35 – Base Ball Community
Eyes Use of
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
1859.36 – [entry merged with 1859.4]
1859.37 – In
1859.38 – NYU Forms a Base Ball Club
The students of
1859.39 – Club Organized in
“CLUB ORGANIZED, -- A base ball club was organized in
1859.40 – Devotion to MA Game Erodes Significantly
“BASE BALL. –
1859.41 – First
1859.42 – In
Atlantic 18, Excelsior 16. This
“well-played match between the first nines of the
1859.43 – And It’s
In a game account from August 1859, the writer
observes, “with a spicing of
1859.44 – English Social Event Includes Base Ball as Well as Cricket
The activities at an August 1859 event of the
1859.45 – In
report of baseball being played in
“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.”
took place at the State Fair Grounds, then located at
North 13th and
In April 1860, the Sentinel reported another
“lively” game, and added, “The game is now fairly inaugurated in
1859.46 – Visiting English Cricketers View the Bound Rule as “Childish”
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
1859.47 – Outmanned
“The matched game of Base Ball between the
“The Ball Match Yesterday,” Buffalo Daily Courier
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
A return match was hosted by the Alden club on
September 3rd, with the
1859.48 – Wicket Club and Base Ball Club Play Demo Matches for Novelty’s Sake
“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,
1859.49 -- Clubs Form in
“The first interclub game reported in
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, “
1860.1 – 75 Clubs Playing
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?
1860s.2 – NY game, Mass game, Cricket co-exist
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
1860.3 – NY Game Now Found in All the Larger Cities
Per Rader, page 110. No source given.]
1860c.4 – Four Teams of African-Americans, All in the NYC Area, Are Reported
See Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early
Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [
1860.5 – NY Game is Called Dominant in CA
Wilkes Spirit of the Times, December 1, 1860. Per Millen, note # 44.
1860.6 -- Chadwick’s Beadle’s Appears, and the Baseball Press is Launched
Chadwick, Henry, Beadle’s Dime Base-Ball Player: A
Compendium of the Game, Comprising Elementary Instructions of the American Game
of Base Ball [
1860.7 – Excelsiors Conduct
of Brooklyn leave for
In announcing the tour, a
News of the return of the Excelsiors appeared in “Base
Ball,” Spirit of the Times, Volume 30, number 24
1860.8 – Union Club of Former
Slaves Plays in
Malloy, Jerry, “Early Black Baseball/Charles Douglass:
http://mysite.verizon.net/brak2.0/antebell.htm, accessed 6/2/04.
1860.9 -- Two African-American
Teams Play in
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.
1860.10 – Atlantics Are Challenged to Play MA Game for $1000 Stake, But Decline
“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
Letter from Henry Sargent,
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.”
1860c.11 – Man Played Base Ball in CT Before the War
“I am a native of
“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
Macon [GA] Weekly Telegraph, October 4, 1860, reprinting from a
1860.13 – Town Ball Hangs on in
The New York Clipper of August 11, 1860, page
132, carries accounts of two July town ball games in
1860.14 – Potomacs “Conquer”
“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.
1860.15 -- Adolescent Novel Describes Base Ball Game
Thayer William M., The Bobbin Boy; or, How Nat Got
1860.16 -- Mercantile BB Club of
Owed 2 Base Ball in Three Can’t-Oh’s!
Posting on 19CBB by Joanne Hulbert, 7/15/2005 [message 2].
1860.18 -- Granite and Quinnipiack Clubs Issue Their Rulebooks
David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 224, lists
new constitutions for the Granite BB Club of
Chadwick, Henry, Beadle’s Dime
Base-Ball Player for 1861 [
“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.
A political cartoon of the day showed
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 Regulations
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
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 -
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.”
1860.23 – NY Game Gets to ME
“The first documented
game of baseball to actually be played in
Anderson, Will, Was Baseball Really Invented in
1860.24 – Mighty Nat at the Bat: A Morality Story
“[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.
1860.25 – Wicket and Base Ball at
[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").
1860c.26 – British Book Shows Several Safe-Haven Games – Cricket, Rounders, Feeder, Nine Holes, Doutee Stool, and Stoolball
Games with Illustrations
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?
1860c.27 – Playing of Hole-less
“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
“BASE BALL. The game of Base Ball is fast becoming in this
country what Cricket is in
1860.29 – “Canadian Game” Espied
“Despite early experimentation with Cartwright’s game,
1860.30 – CT Wicketers Trounce CT Cricketers --at Wicket
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
"BASE BALL IN
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.
1860.33 – Base Ball Beats Football to
John M. Kovach, From Goose-pasture to Greenstockings:
1860.34 – Disparate Ball Games
In adjacent brief clippings in the Mears Collection
“Town Ball at
1860.37 –Late Surge Lifts
Douglas’ over Abe Lincoln’s Side in
“Base Ball and Politics. – We do not approve of their thus being brought into
contact, but as a match took place at
1860.38 – Base Ball in
“Base Ball in Alleghany. – A match game of base ball was played between the
1860.39 – In Oberlin OH, It’s Railroad Club 49, Uptown Club 44.
“Base Ball at Oberlin O. – A match game between the
Railroad and Uptown Clubs, took place at Oberlin” . . . .
1860.40 – “Championship” Game: Atlantic 20, Eckford 11
“Great Match for the Championship.
1860.41 – Two Base Ball Tourneys
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
In October, three teams –
1860.42 – Shut Out Reported as the First Ever; Excelsiors 25, St. George Nine 0
This game, played on the St. George grounds at
1860.43 –Three Ball Clubs Form in VT Village
“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
1860.44 – Score it 7-5-4: “Three Hands Out in a Jiffy”
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
1860.45 – Competitive
“Old-Fashioned” Game Still Alive in
About 20% of the games covered in available 1860
newspaper accounts of base ball in
1860.46 – First International
Game Played by
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
1860.47 – Old-Fashioned Base Ball
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
1860.48 – “Veterans of 1812” Play OFBB . . . Annually?
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.”
"Local Matters: Base
Ball," The Troy Daily Whig, Volume 26, number. 8009
"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
1860.50 – A Truly “Grand” Game of
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
1860.51 – Base Ball Is Reaching
Remote Spots in
“The Dunkirk Journal says that the young men of
that village have organized a ‘young American Base Ball club. . . . [we in
1860. 52 – First Base Ball Match
“The historical record states that the St. Louis
Republican newspaper announced on July 9, 1860 that the first regular game
of baseball in
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
1860.53 – Organized Town Ball in
“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.”
1860.54 – Yes, The Game Would Move Right Along . . . But Would it be Cricket?
“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?
1860.55 – Ballplaying Near
“A base ball match was played yesterday at
San Joaquin Republican, May 26, 1860.
Accessed via subscription search May 20, 2009.
The Alligator, Rough and Ready,
and Independent Base Ball Clubs announced meetings on a late October day.
1860.57 – Alabamans Choose Cricket
1860.58 – Many Tackle the New
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.”
1860.59 – Game Set for CA
Two base ball clubs were scheduled to play a game in Mariposa, a southern Sierra gold mining town.
1861-1865 – Note: Protoball has a Separate Compilation of Instances of Ballplaying in Civil War Camps. Go here.
1861.1 -- Chadwick Tries to Start
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.
1861.2 –Stoolball Played, in Co-ed Form
“Stoolball was played at Chailey
1861c.3 – Town Ball in
“We boys, for hours at a time, played “town ball” [at
my grandfather’s estate] on the vast lawn, and Mr. [Abe]
Blair, whose grandfather was
1861.4 – Alex Chadwick Links Base Ball to Rounders -- But It’s More “Scientific”
“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
1861.5 – 15,000 Watch Ice Base Ball in Bkn: Atlantic 37, Charter Oak 26.
“[A] novel game of base ball was played on the skating-pond
in the Eighth Ward, between the
1861.6 – The Clipper Looks Back on the 1861 Season
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.”
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.
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
A club formed in
1861.9 – Buckeye BBC Forms in
“The Buckeye Base Ball Club is the first institution
of the kind organized in
1861.10 – Atlantic 52, Mutual 27, 6 Innings: Reporter is Wowed by 26-Run 3rd
Going into the 3rd inning, the
“A Grand Exhibition,” Sunday
1861.11 – Meeting of National Association is Subdued
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.
1861.12 – Modern Base Ball Comes
“The national game of base-ball was introduced in 1861.”
Edwin Emery, The History of Sanford Maine (Fall
River MA, 1901), page 383.
1861.13 – Modern Game Comes to
“The Portage County Democrat reported in its
April 10, 1861 edition, ‘The young men of
John Husman, “
1861.14 – “Silver Ball” Match
Features Brooklyn and
Harry Wright played 3B for
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.
1861.15 -- First Sunday in the Army: “Ball-playing, Wrestling, and Some Cards
In early May 1861, the new 13th Illinois Regiment
Military History and Reminiscences of the Thirteenth
Regiment of the
1861.16 – NY Regiment Plays
“Favorite Game” After Dress Parade in
“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
1861.17 -- American Guard [71st NY Regt] 42, Nationals BB Club 13
“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 , 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 score sheet 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.,”
1861.18 -- Confederate Base Ball Players Finds Field “Too Boggy” in VA
“Confederate troops played townball as well as more
modern versions of the game in their army camps. In November 1861 the Charleston Mercury of
1861.19 -- Second NJ Regiment Forms BB Club in Virginia Camp
A six-inning game of base ball was played at
Source: “A Game of Ball in the Camp,”
Members of the 2nd
One may infer that the 2nd NJ remained at
winter quarters in
1861.20 -- Confederate Soldier’s Diary Reports on Town Ball Playing, 1861-1863
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
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.
“Relief for the Sick and Wounded,” Brooklyn Eagle, June 21, 1862, page 2. Contributed by Gregory Christiano, December 8, 2009. Note: is there a good post hoc account of this project?
1862.2 – The Death of Jim Creighton at 21
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.
“The cricket season last year was a very dull one,
this clubs in this locality [
“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.
1862.4 – State Championship Base Ball Game in PA
“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.”
1862.5 – Brooklynites and Philadelphians Play Series of Games
Various assortments of leading players from Brooklyn
In October, the Eckfords traveled to
Sources: various, including overviews at “
1862.6 – Harvard Turns to the
“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
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
1862.7 – “
An advertisement in a
1862.8 – Base Ball in
“The first baseball games in
Rocky Mountain News, March 13 and April 29, 1862.
Cited in Brian Werner, “Baseball in
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
1862.9 – First Admission Fees for Baseball?
May 15, 1862: “The Union Baseball Grounds at March
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?
1862.10 – PA Base Ball Moves
“Base Ball Match.
1862.11 – Banned in
“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
1862.12 – Reverend Beecher: Base-Ball is Best Form of Exercise
“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
1862.13 – Government Survey: Athletic Games Forestall Woes of Soldiers Gambling
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
“War Miscellanies. Interesting
1862.14 -- 22nd MA beats 13th NY in the Massachusetts Game
J. L. Parker and R. G. Carter, History of the
Twenty-Second Massachusetts Infantry
1862.15 -- NY and MA Regiments Play Two Games Near the Civil War Front
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
1862.16 – 13th
“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
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
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
1862.17 -- Ballplaying Frequently
Beginning in 1862, prisoners’ diary accounts refer to
a number of base ball games [by
In an unattributed and undated passage in Wells
Twombley’s 200 Years of Sport in
Otto Boetticher, a
commercial artist before the war, was imprisoned at