Chronology:Equipment

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1837.14 The First Uniforms in US Baserunning Games?

Tags:

Club Constitutions/Bylaws, Equipment

Age of Players:

Adult

 

“In 1833, a group of Philadelphia players formed a team, the Olympics. By 1837, the team had a clubhouse at Broad and Wallace Streets, a constitution, records of their games, and uniforms - dark blue pants, a scarlet-trimmed white shirt, and a white cap trimmed in blue.”

 

Sources:

Murray Dubin, "The Old, Really Old, Ball Game Both Philadelphia and New York Can Claim As the Nation's First Team, The Inquirer, October 28, 2009.

See http://articles.philly.com/2009-10-28/sports/25272492_1_modern-baseball-baseball-rivalry-cities, accessed 8/16/2014. 

The article does not give a source for the 1837 description of the Olympic uniform.

Query:

What is the original documentation of this uniform information?

Do we know if earlier cricket clubs in the US used club uniforms? 

Year
1837
Item
1837.14
Edit

1845c.15 Doc Adams, Ballmaker: The Hardball Becomes Hard

Tags:

Equipment, Pre-Knicks NYC

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

[A]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. 

[B]Dr. D.L. Adams of the Knickerbocker team stated that he produced baseballs for the various teams in New York in the 1840s and until 1858, when he located a saddler who could do the job. He would produce the balls using 3 to 4 oz of rubber as a core, then winding with yarn and covering with leather. 

 

Sources:

[A]Gilbert, "The Birth of Baseball", Elysian Fields, 1995, pp. 16- 17.

[B]Dr. D.L. Adams, "Memoirs of the Father of Baseball," Sporting News, February 29, 1896. Sullivan reprints this article in Early Innings, A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908, pages 13-18.

Rob Loeffler, "The Evolution of the Baseball Up to 1872," March 2007.

Circa
1845
Item
1845c.15
Edit

1850c.51 A Form of Cricket

Tags:

Equipment

Location:

Michigan

Game:

Cricket

Age of Players:

Juvenile

"Until  the advent of 'hard' baseball in the late 1850s, boys in Kalamazoo 'played a form of cricket with a big soft ball as large as a modern football, but round and made at home of twine and leather and owled over a level field to knock down wickets less than its own height from the ground.'"

Sources:

Peter Morris, But Didn't We Have Fun?i (Ivan R Dee, 2008), p.16, quoting the Kalamazoo Telegraph, Dec. 10, 1901.

Circa
1850
Item
1850c.51
Edit

1855c.24 Manufacture of Base Balls Begins in NYC

Tags:

Equipment

Game:

Base Ball

[A] "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, a 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."

[B] 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.

Sources:

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).

Pete Morris, 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.

Circa
1855
Item
1855c.24
Edit

1857.42 The "X" Letters

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"DEAR SPIRIT:- As the season for playing Ball, and other out-door sports has nearly passed away, and as you have fairly become the chronicle for Cricket and Base Ball, I take the liberty of writing to you, and to the Ball players through you, a few letters, which I hope will prove of some interest to your readers."

Between October 1857 and January 1858, New York- based Porter’s Spirit of the Times, which covered Knickerbocker Rules base ball on a regular basis, published a series of 14 anonymous letters concerning the game. Identifying himself only as “X”, the author’s stated purpose was to “induce some prominent player to write or publish a book on the game.” The letters described the origins of the game, profiled prominent clubs in New York and Brooklyn, offered advice on starting and operating a club, on equipment, and on position play, and, finally, commented on the issues of the day in the base ball community. As the earliest such effort, the letters are of interest as a window into a base ball community poised for the explosive growth which followed the Fashion Race Course games of 1858. 

Sources:

Porter's Spirit of the Times, Oct. 24, 1857 - Jan. 23, 1858

Comment:

The identity of "X" has not been discovered.

Year
1857
Item
1857.42
Edit

1858.28 The MA Ball: Smaller, Lighter, "Double 8" Cover Design

Tags:

Equipment

Location:

New England

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

Dedham Rules of the Massachusetts Game specifies that "The ball must weigh not less than two, nor more than two and three-quarter ounces, avoirdupois. It must measure not less than six and a half, nor more than eight and a half inches in circumference, and must be covered with leather."

William Cutler of Natick, MA reportedly designs the Figure 8 cover. The design was sold to Harrison Harwood. Harwood develops the first baseball factory (H. Harwood and Sons) in Natick, Massachusetts. Baseballs that are manufactured at this facility include the Figure 8 design as well as the lemon peel design.

 

Sources:

"The Evolution of the Baseball Up to 1872," March 2007, at http://protoball.org/The_Evolution_of_the_Baseball_Up_To_1872.

Year
1858
Item
1858.28
Edit

1858.60 Natick MA Company Introduces the "Figure 8" Base Ball Stitching

Tags:

Equipment

Location:

New England

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

 

"In 1858, H.P. Harwood and Sons of Natick, MA (c/o North Avenue and Main Street) became the first factory to produce baseballs. They also were the first in the production of the two-piece figure-eight stitch cover baseball, the same that is used today. The figure-eight stitching was devised by Col. William A Cutler and a new wound core was developed by John W. Walcott, horsehide and then cowhide were used for the cover."

 

  

Sources:

From Eric Miklich, “Evolution of Baseball Equipment (Continued)”

By Eric Miklich at http://www.19cbaseball.com/equipment-3.html,

Accessed 6/21/2013

Warning:

Peter Morris' A Game of Inches finds other claims to the invention of the current figure 8 stitching pattern. See section 9.1.4 at page 275 of the single-volume, indexed edition of 2010.

Year
1858
Item
1858.60
Edit

1859.45 In Milwaukee, Base Ball is [Cold-] Brewing

Tags:

Equipment

Location:

Wisconsin

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

[A]The first report of baseball being played in Milwaukee is found in the Thursday, December 1, 1859, Milwaukee Daily Sentinel. The paper wrote:

"BASE BALL—This game, now so popular at the East, is about to be introduced in our own city. A very spirited impromptu match was played on the Fair Ground, Spring Street Avenue, yesterday afternoon six on a side..."

[B] In April 1860, the Sentinel reported another "lively" game, and added, "The game is now fairly inaugurated in Milwaukee, and the first Base Ball Club in our City was organized last evening. Should the weather be fair, the return match will be played on the same ground, At 2 o'clock this (Thursday) afternoon."

[C] Formation of the Milwaukee Club was announced in the New York Sunday Mercury on May 6, 1860; officers listed,

[D] "Mr. J. W. Ledyard, of 161 E Water Street, who is now in New York...has kindly forwarded for the use of our Milwaukee Base Ball Club, six bats and twelve balls, made in New York, according to the regulations of the "National Association of Base Ball Clubs."

 

 

Sources:

[A] Milwaukee Sentinel, December 1, 1859.

[B] "Base Ball," Milwaukee Sentinel, April 3, 1860

[D] "Base Ball," Milwaukee Sentinel, June 13, 1860

Comment:

There is no record of this Thursday match, but we have scores for matches on December 10 (33 to 23 in favor of Hathaway's club in 5 innings, with 9 on a side) and December 17 (54 to 33, again in favor of Hathaway's club with 5 innings played; with 10 men on each side listed in the box score). The last match was played in weather that "was blustering and patches of snow on the ground made it slippery and rather too damp for sharp play."

These games took place at the State Fair Grounds, then located at North 13th and West Wisconsin Avenue. This is now part of the Marquette University Campus. The R. King in the box score is Rufus King, editor of the Milwaukee Sentinel. His grandfather, also Rufus King, was a signer of the American Constitution. Milwaukee's Rufus King was a brigadier general in the Civil War, and he would be Milwaukee's first superintendent of schools.

 

Year
1859
Item
1859.45
Edit

1860.36 In Thick Gloves All Encased

Tags:

Equipment

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"Then "Bispham" comes next, you'd expect from his looks,
He was given to study, addicted to books,
And you'd little suspect there was much in the man,
Till you saw him at play -- then beat him who can.
His favorite position is on the first base,
And he stands like a statue, always right about face,
With his hands in a pair of thick gloves all encased,
Which never miss holding the ball once embraced.
And I pity the 'batter' who when the ball's fair,
If its short, tries to make the 'first base' when he's there.
The 'batter' itself may be good enough -- though
He's sure to be put out, and his cake is all 'dough.'

Sources:

a poem written (recited?) on Christmas Day, 1860. It is entitled "Owe'd 2 
Base Ball: In Three Cant-Oh's!"

Warning:

Primary source of poem not known. From a 19cbb post by Tom Sheiber, Oct. 28, 2003

Comment:

 written for and recited at a Christmas Ball thrown by the Mercantile BBC of 
Philadelphia. In "Cant-Oh! III" the various players are mentioned. Earliest known rference to a player using a glove. 

Year
1860
Item
1860.36
Edit

1860.75 Chichester Redesigns the Base

Tags:

Equipment

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

[A] "BALL PLAY. KNICKERBOCKER CLUB.-- ...The Knickerbockers, we noticed, introduced on their grounds the new bases...An iron circle is fastened to one side of the base, and a screw with a nut head is inserted in the base-post, and the base is placed on it, and the head of the screw enters the iron circle on the base, similarly to a key into a lock. The base revolves on this centre, but never moves away from it, and is easily taken up at the close of the game by turning it round once...They are to be had at Mr. Chic[h]ester's, we believe, in Wall street."

[B] A second article adds that the Putnam and Eagle clubs were using the base, too, and that Chichester was a member of Brooklyn's Putnam Club.

Sources:

[A] New York Clipper, April 21, 1860

[B] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 30, 1860

Year
1860
Item
1860.75
Edit

1861.22 Ad Biz

Tags:

Business of Baseball, Equipment

Game:

Base Ball

"(advertisement) JOHN C. WHITING, 87 FULTON STREET, N. Y., manufacturer of BASE BALLS and Wholesale and Retail Dealer in everything appertaining to BASE BALL and CRICKET. Agent for Chicester's Improved SELF-FASTENING BASES, and the PATENT CONCAVE PLATES for Ball Shoes, which are free from all the danger, and answer all the purposes, of spikes."

Sources:

New York Sunday Mercury, Dec. 8, 1861

Comment:

With thousands in the Greater New York City area playing the game, providers of playing grounds, playing manuals, and equipment sprang up.

Year
1861
Item
1861.22
Edit

1862.7 "Massachusetts Balls" on Sale in Rochester NY

Tags:

Equipment

An advertisement in a Rochester paper offered "New York Regulation Size Ball, Massachusetts Balls, Children's Rubber and Fancy Balls, Wholesale and Retail."

 

Sources:

Rochester[NY] Union and Advertiser, April 28, 1862. Posted to the 19CBB listserve by Priscilla Astifan on May 14, 2005. 

Comment:

We know that an "old-fashioned base ball" was being played in Central New York prior to the Civil War: see #1858.48 and #1860.45 above.

Year
1862
Item
1862.7
Edit

1867.10 Mitts in Michigan

Tags:

Equipment

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"We have noticed in all the matches played thus far
that the use of gloves by the players was to some
degree a customary practice, which we think, cannot be
too highly condemned, and are of the opinion that the
Custers would have shown a better score if there had
been less buckskin on their hands." 


Sources:

Detroit Free Press, 8/4/1867, reference in 19cbb post #2124, Aug. 4, 2003

Year
1867
Item
1867.10
Edit


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