Chronology:Myrtle Grounds

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1846.21 A "Badly Defined" and Soggy April Game, In Brooklyn Alongside Star Cricket Club?


Myrtle Grounds

Age of Players:



"Brooklyn Star Cricket Club.–The first meeting of this association for the season came off yesterday, on their grounds in the Myrtle avenue.  The weather was most unfavorable for the sport promised–a game of cricket between the members of the club, a base ball game between the members of the Knickerbocker Club, and a pedestrian match for some $20 between two aspirants for pedestrian fame.  It was past 12 o’clock ere the amusements of the day commenced.  Shortly after, a violent storm of wind, hail, and rain came on, which made them desist from their endeavors for some time, and the company, which was somewhat numerous, left the ground.  Notwithstanding, like true cricketers, the majority of the club kept the field, but not with much effect.  The wind, hail, rain and, snow prevailed to such extent that play was out of the question;  but they did the best they could, and in the first innings the seniors of the club made some 48, while the juniors only scored some 17 or 18.  The game was not proceeded with further.  In the interim, a game of base ball was proceeded with by some novices, in an adjoining field, which created a little amusement; but it was so badly defined, that we know not who were the conquerors; but we believe it was a drawn game.  Then succeeded the pedestrian match of 100 yards..." 





New York Herald, April 14, 1846.


From Richard Hershberger, email of 9/2/16:  "I believe this is new.  At least it is new to me, and not in the Protoball Chronology."

"The classic version of history of this period has the Knickerbockers springing up forth from the head of Zeus and playing in splendid isolation except for that one match game in 1846.  This version hasn't been viable for some years now, though it is the nature of things that it will persist indefinitely.  This Herald item shows the Knickerbockers as a part of a ball-playing community."

Richard points out that the "novices" who played base ball were unlikely to have been regular Knick players, whose skills would have been relatively advanced by 1846 (second email of 9/2/16).


Note: Jayesh Patel's Flannels on the Sward (Patel, 2013), page 112, mentions that the Star Club was founded in 1843.  His source appears to be Tom Melville's Tented Field.

In 1846, Brooklyn showed a few signs of base ball enthusiasm: about two months later (see entry 1846.2) a Brooklyn Base Ball Club was reported, and in the same month Walt Whitman observed "several parties of youngsters" playing a ball game named "base" -- see 1846.6




Do we know of other field days like this one in this early period?  Can we guess who organized this one, and why?  Do we know if the Knicks traveled to Brooklyn that day?


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