|Misc BB Firsts|
|Add a Misc BB First|
|About the Chronology|
|Add a Chronology Entry|
1854.11 The Game in Ontario Resembled the MA Game, with Variations
"Organized teams first appeared in Hamilton in 1854 and London in 1855. The game they played was described in the August 4 1860 issue of the New York Clipper as having several unique features. 'The game played in Canada,' the Clipper reported, 'differs somewhat from the New York game, the ball being thrown instead of pitched and an inning not concluded until all are out, there are also 11 players on each side.' It differed as well from the Massachusetts Game, in its strict adherence to 11 men on the field as opposed to the Massachusetts rules, which allowed 10 to 14.
"As well all 11 men had to be retired before the other team came to bat. Both games allowed the pitcher to throw the ball in the modern style, rather than underarm as in the New York rules."
William Humber, "Baseball and the Canadian Identity," College Quarterly, Volume 8 Number 3 [Summer 2005]. Submitted by John Thorn 3/30/2006.
It would be interesting to know if this game included outs made by the plugging baserunners.
1854.15 Sacramento "Hombres" Play Ball Before Several Hundred, Break Stuff
"A Game of Ball - People will have recreation occasionally, whether it be considered exactly dignified or not. Yesterday afternoon there was a game of ball played on J street which created no little amusement for several hundred persons. The sport lasted a full hour, until finally some unlucky hombre sent the ball through the window of a drug store, penetrating and fracturing a large glass jar, much to the chagrin of the gentlemanly apothecary, who had not anticipated such unceremonious a carronade."
Daily Democratic State Journal (Sacramento CA), March 24, 1854.
Richard adds: "Of course this raises the usual questions of what "a game of ball" means. Clearly it is a bat-and-ball game, and given the documented earlier games of baseball (in some form or other) in California and the absence of documented references of the other usual suspects such as wicket in California, it is a reasonable guess that this was [a form of] baseball. I am less willing to make the leap to its being the New York game."
1854.17 Pre-modern Base Ball in Michigan
"A single tantalizing glimpse survives of a baseball club in Michigan before 1857. In 1897, the Detroit Free Press observed:
'It may be of interest to lovers of the sport to know where the first club was organized in the state of Michigan. Birmingham claims that distinction. Forty-three years ago, nine young men, ages ranging from 20 to 30 years, decided that it would be a good thing to have a baseball club and by practice to become able to play that fascinating game, not for gate receipts and grand stand money, but for fun, pure and simple. Accordingly, they practiced and, representing the town of Bloomfield, challenged the adjoining township of Troy to a trial of skill. The two teams lined up in front of the National hotel . . . one bright spring day at shortly after 12 o'clock, and the first game began. It was played for a supper of ham and eggs, the losing side to pay for same. Bloomfield won by a score of 100 to 60. The game was not finished until after 5 o'clock in the evening. The ball played with was a soft one, weighing four ounces. Old time rules of course governed the game, one of them being that a base runner could be put out if hit by a thrown ball anywhere between the bases. Many men were put out this way.
'Elated by their victory, the young men of Bloomfield decided to organize a baseball team, the constitution and by-laws were drafted and adopted and every Saturday a certain number of hours were devoted to practice. That summer the team won many games. . . .
'In those days the team that first scored a hundred tallies (generally marked on a stick with a jack-knife, opposite edges used for the two clubs) carried off the honors of the day.'"
Detroit Free Press, April 19, 1897, per Peter Morris. Baseball Fever: Early Baseball in Michigan (U of Michigan Press, ), pp 15-16.
The use of "tallies" for runs was common for the form of base ball played in Massachusetts, and winning by scoring 100 runs was to be encoded in in the Massachusetts Game rules of 1858.
Bloomfield MI is about 5 miles NW of Birmingham MI, which is about 15 miles NW of Detroit. Troy MI is about 7 miles E of Bloomfield.
1855.35 New Jersey Club Comes Over to the NY Game
Base Ball, OFBB
[A] "[The Tribune] reports on a game of 9/25/1855 between the Fear Naught Base Ball Club of Hudson City, New Jersey and the Excelsior Club of Jersey City. They played five innings each with nine players on each side. The Excelsiors won 27-7. The item also notes that he Excelsiors intend to challenge the Gotham Club of New York. This is a very early game played by a New Jersey [based] club. It is also interesting because the Excelsiors are known to have also played a non-NY game version, making them a rare example of a club playing two versions in the same season."
['B] "The Excelsior Club of Jersey City was organized July 19, 1855."
[A] New York Daily Tribune, September 27, 1855.
[B] New York Daily Tribune, July 20, 1855.
The deployment of nine players is interesting because the none-player rule was not adopted until 1957; this may indicate that nine-player teams were already conventional beforehand.
Hudson City became part of Jersey City [1850 pop. about 6800; 1860 pop. about 22,000] in 1870.
Can we specify any of the rules in older game played earlier in 1855 by the Excelsiors?