Chronology: 1856 - 1860
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The chronology from 1856 to 1860 (271 entries)
1856.1 Harry and George Wright Both at St. George CC in New York
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.
Chadwick Scrapbooks, Vol. 20.
For much more on George Wright, see the multi-part profile from John Thorn's Our Game blog in September 2016. The initial segment is at http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2016/09/20/who-was-george-wright/.
1856.2 Excelsiors Publish Constitution
Constitution and By-laws of the Excelsior Base Ball Club (Brooklyn, G. C. Roe),
David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 223.
1856.3 Putnams Rules Arrive on the Scene
Rules and By-laws of Base Ball Putnam Base Ball Club [Brooklyn, Baker and Godwin]
David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 224.
Chip Atkison post, 19cBB, 8/27/2003.
1856.4 Seventy Games Played, All in New York City Area.
"In the summer of 1856 . . . there were 53 games in New York and the metropolitan area."
We know of only 7 match games, played among three base ball clubs, in 1853; the game had not grown significantly in the 8 years since the Knickerbocker rules had been agreed to.
Two summers later, however the game was clearly taking off. While Harold Seymour knew of 53 games, we now have a record of 70 games played by 26 clubs (see the Protoball Games Tabulation compiled by Craig Waff).
The games were still played to 21 runs in 1856, with an average score of 24 to 12, aand they lasted about six innings. 1856 was the last year that the game would be confined to the New York area, as in 1857 it was beginning to spread to distant cities. As had been forecast in a note in the Knickerbocker minuted for 1855, base ball was getting ready to become the national pastime.
Seymour, Harold, Baseball: the Early Years [Oxford University Press, 1989], p. 24. [No ref given.]
Craig Waff and Larry McCray, "The New York Game in 1856," Base Ball Journal, Volume 5, number 1 (Special Issue on Origins), pages 114-117.
1856.5 New York Sunday Mercury and Porter's Spirit of the Times Term Base Ball the "National Pastime"
The New York Sunday 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. Craig Waff adds that the letter was reprinted as a part of the long article, "Base Ball, Cricket, and Skating," Porter's Spirit of the Times, Volume 1, number 16 (December 20, 1856), pp. 260 - 261.
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 Subchronology.
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 first actual convention of ball clubs.
John Thorn adds that the session was held December 6 at Smith's Hotel at 462 Broome Street, and that it was a Knicks-only meeting.
The Tribune Book of Open-Air Sports, page 71, quoted in Weaver, Amusements and Sports, page 98, according to Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809.
1856.10 French Work Describes Poisoned Ball and La Balle au Baton
Beleze, Par G., Jeux des adolescents [Paris, L. Hachette et Cie], 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.
per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 217.
The game of Grand Theque [big stick] is explored in "Les Jeux de plein air. La Grand Theque," la Revue des Sportes, Dec. 12, 1888, and in "un tres ancien jeu normand. La Teque," le viquet (1994). These French language sources claim that Teque is related to Rounders and Baseball, and also claim that Teque/Rounders is the predecessor game to baseball. See the Origins Committee Newsletter, May 2021, for more. [ba]
Is it significant that this book features games for adolescents, not younger children?
Answer: the articles cited in the comment make clear that Grand Theque, at least, was played by adults as well as children. [ba]
1856.12 Gothams 21, Knicks 7; Fans Show Greatest Interest Ever; "Revolver" Controversy
"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."
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."
In its coverage, Porter's Spirit of the Times noted that the Knicks criticized the use by the Gotham of a Unions of Morrisania player, Pinckney.
"Base Ball Match," New York Daily Times, September 6, 1856, page 8.
Porter's Spirit of the Times, September 13, 1856.
1856.13 General Base Ball Rules Are Published
Rules and By-laws of Base Ball (New York, Hosford), 1856.
David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 224
David Block reports that these rules are generic, not restricted to one club.
This may be the first publication specifically devoted to 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 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 21-22.
1856.15 Excelsior Base Ball Club Forms in Albany NY
[A] "Albany Excelsior Base Ball Club This Club was organized May 12, 1856."
[B] "The match game of Base Ball between the Empire and Excelsior Clubs, came off yesterday on the Cricket Grounds...Excelsior winning by 3."
[A] Porter's Spirit of the Times, May 23, 1857.
[B] Albany Evening Journal June 11, 1856
It appears that the Empire Club and the Athlete Club of Albany had already existed at that time. The Empire - Excelsior game cited was apparently not played according to the Knickerbocker rules.
1856.16 Cricket "The Great Match at Hoboken" [US vs. Canada]
"The Great Match at Hoboken!!! The United States Victorious!! Canada vs. United States"
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.
Porter's Spirit of the Times, September 20, 1856.
1856.17 Letter to "Spirit" Describes Roundball in New England
"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."
"There were six to eight players upon each side, the latter number being the full complement. The two best players 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. A field diagram follows." [It shows either 6 or 10 defensive positions, depending on whether each base was itself a defensive station.]
"The ball was thrown, not pitched or tossed, as the gentleman who has seen "Base" played in New York tells me it is; it was thrown, an with vigor too . . . . "
"Base used to be a favorite game with the students of the English High and Latin Schools pf Boston , a few years ago . . . Boston Common affords ample facilities for enjoying the sport, and Wednesday and Saturday afternoons in the spring and fall, players from different classes in these schools, young men from fifteen to nineteen years of age used to enjoy it.
"Base is also a favorite game upon the green in front of village school-houses in the country throughout New England; and in this city [Boston] , on Fast Day, which is generally appointed in early April, Boston Common is covered with amateur parties of men and boys playing Base. The most attractive of these parties are generally composed of truckmen. . . the skill they display, generally attracts numerous spectators."
Other comments on 1850s Base/Roundball in New England.are found in Supplemental Text, below.
"Base Ball, How They Play the Game in New England: by An Old Correspondent" Porter's Spirit of the Times, Dec. 27, 1856, p.276. This article prints a letter written in Boston on December 20, 1856. It is signed by Bob Lively.
The 1858 Dedham rules (two years after this letter) for the Massachusetts Game specified at least ten players on a team. The writer does not call the game the "MA game," and does not mention the use of stakes as bases, or the one-out-all-out rule.
1856.18 First Reported Canadian Base Ball Game Occurs, in Ontario
"September 12, 1856 -"The first reported game of Canadian baseball is played in London, ONT, with the London Club defeating the Delaware club 34-33."
"London [ON], Sept. 15, 1856. Editor Clipper: Within the past few months several Base Ball clubs have been organized in this vicinity, and the first match game was played between the London and Delaware clubs, on Friday, the 12th inst." The box score reveals that the 34-33 score eventuated when the clubs stood at 26-23 after the first inning, and then London outscored Delaware 11-7 in the second inning.
Charlton, James, ed., The Baseball Chronology (Macmillan, 1991), page 13
"Base Ball in Canada," The New York Clipper Volume 4, number 23 (September 27, 1856), page 183.
Is it likely that the New York rules would have produced this much scoring per inning . . . or was it set up as a two-inning contest? Can we confirm/disconfirm that this was the first Canadian game in some sense [keeping in mind that Beachville game report at #1838.4 above]?
1856.19 Five-Player Base Ball Reported in NY, WI
Two games of five-on-five baseball appear in the Spirit of the Times, starting in 1856. The '56 game matched the East Brooklyn junior teams for the Nationals and the Continentals. The Nationals won 37-10. In 1857, an item taken from the Waukesha (WI) Republican of June 6, pitted Carroll College freshmen and "an equal number of residents of this village. They played two games to eleven tallies, and one to 21 tallies. The collegians won all three games. Neither account remarks on the team sizes. Other five-on-five matches appeared in 1858.
Spirit of the Times, Volume 26, number 39 (Saturday, November 8, 1856), page 463, column 3.
Spirit of the Times Volume 27, number 20 (June 27, 1857), page 234, column 2.
Was 5-player base ball common then? Did it follow special rules? How do 4 fielders cover the whole field?
1856.20 Exciting Round Ball Game Played on Boston Common, Ends With 100-to-98 Tally
[A] "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."
The article also prints a letter protesting the rules for a prior game between the same teams. The Olympics explained that were compelled to play a game in which their thrower stood 40 feet from the "knocker" while their opponent's thrower stood at 20 feet. In addition, the Green Mountain catcher [sic] moved around laterally, and a special six-strike rule was imposed that confounded the Olympics. It appears that this game followed an all-out-side-out rule. The reporter said the Olympics found these conditions "unfair, and not according to the proper rules of playing Round or Base Ball."
[B] the Daily Atlas 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 a later contest, "the Olympics making 84 rounds to the G.M. Boys 119."
[A] Albert S. Flye, "Exciting Game of Base Ball," New York Clipper Volume 4, number 5 (May 25, 1856), page 35. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.
[B] The Boston Daily Atlas, May 15, 1856.
Note: does this article imply that previously, base ball on the Common was relatively rare?
1856.21 Trenton Club Forms for "Invigorating Amusement"
"BASE BALL CLUB. - A number of gentlemen of this city have formed themselves into a club for the practice of the invigorating amusement of Base Ball. Their practicing ground is on the common east of the canal. We hope that this will be succeeded by a Cricket Club."
"Base Ball Club," Trenton (NJ) State Gazette (May 26, 1856) no page provided.
Is this the first known NJ club well outside the NY metropolitan area?
1856.22 Young Brooklyn Clubs Play, But Reporter is Unimpressed
The Harmony Club beat the Continentals, 21-15, in the "intense heat" of Brooklyn, but the scathing of the players didn't end there. "The play was miserably poor, neither party being entitled to be called good players. Bad, however, as was the play of the Harmony Club, that of the Continentals was infinitely worse. - Mr. Brown, the catcher, being the only good player amongst the whole. They all require a good deal of practice before again attempting to play a match."
"Base Ball. - Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 16, 1856, page 2
1856.25 Boston Paper Reports 192-187 Squeaker in Western MA
"A great game of ball, says the Berkshire Courier, cam off in that village on Friday last. The parties numbers 17 on a side, composed of lawyers, justices, merchants mechanics, and in fact a fair proportion of the village populations were engages wither as participants or spectators . . . . The excitement was intense . . . best of all the game was a close one, the aggregate count in [illeg: 8?] innings being 192 and 187."
BostonEvening Transcript, April 18, 1856. Accessed bia subscription search 2/17/2009.
Berkshire MA is about 5 miles NE of Pittsfield and about 10 miles E of New York state border.
This may have been a wicket match. One wonders why a Friday match would have been held.
1856.27 Manhattan CC Forms
The Manhattan Cricket Club is formed and includes New York City baseball players Frank Sebring and Joseph Russell of the Empire Base Ball Club.
Chadwick Scrapbooks, Vol. 20
1856.28 Knicks Call for Convention of Clubs
The Knickerbocker Base Ball Club at its meeting of Dec. 6, 1856, issued a call for a convention of the base ball clubs and appointed a special committee chaired by D. L. (Doc) Adams to supervise same. The clubs were requested to "select three representatives to meet at No 462 Broome street, in the city of New York, on Thursday, the 22d day of January, 1857." The Knick's resolution did not specify a purpose for the convention.
New York Herald, December 22, 1856; Spirit of the Times, January 3, 1857
1856.31 First Scholastic Play?
"The young gentlemen of the Free Academy have formed themselves into two clubs, called the O. G.'s and Q. P. D.'s-- (Query, the Cupidities?) They had a day's play recently at Hoboken, when the O. G.'s-- probably "Old Greys"-- won, scoring 21 runs to 17 of their opponents."
Porter's Spirit of the Times, Nov. 8, 1856.
1856.36 Variant Schoolboy Ballgames Described North of NYC
"A game at ball is a very nice play. The boys have a bat. and
they hit the ball with it and knock it away. Sometimes the boys miss the
ball, and then the catcher catches it, and they have to be out. Sometimes
they knock it over the fence, and then the boy that knocked it over has to
be out. There are two kinds of ball playing; the base ball and the cat and
dog ball. When the boys play cat and dog ball, they have two bats and four
boys. Two of the boys take the bats, and the other two throw the ball from
one to the other past the boys who have the bats, at the same time one
throws the other tries to catch him out."
Nyack, Dec, 1856. T.—
Rockland County Journal (Nyack, N. Y.), December 27, 1856
("An essay by a school boy on base ball & "cat & dog ball".
Report of District School No. 4. Orangetown Nyack. Principal
Department, for week ending December 19, 1856")
The schoolboy author's name wasn't published -- just the lone initial, "T."
Nyack NY (1870 population about 3500) is about 25 miles north of New York City, just north of the Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River.
1856.37 English excursion features cricket and "base-ball"
The "Windsor and Eton Express," July 12, 1856, reports on a July 10th annual excursion of the Slough "Literary and Scientific Institute" at Henry Labouchere's estate at Stoke Park (near Slough, in Buckinghamshire) in which "some betook themselves to cricket, some to archery, base-ball and other amusements." Most of the reporting is on the cricket match between Slough and Wycombe players.
There are no further details as to the "base-ball" game played.
Today Stoke Park is a private golf club and sporting estate.
The "Windsor and Eton Express," July 12, 1856
1857.1 Rules Modified to Specify Nine Innings, 90-Foot Base Paths, Nine-Player Teams, but not the Fly Rule
"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.
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 weight of the base ball.
Follow-up meetings were held on January 28 and February 3 to finalize the rule changes.
New York Evening Express, January 23, 1857; New York Herald, January 23, 1857; Porter's Spirit of the Times, January 31, February 28, March 7, 1857; Spirit of the Times, January 31, 1857 (Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 122-24).
The text of the March 7 Porter's Spirit article is found at http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2016/04/04/the-baseball-convention-of-1857-a-summary-report/. In addition to the complete text of the 35 rules, this article includes commentary on 8 or 10 of the Convention's decisions (chiefly the consideration of the fly rule). The coverage leaves the impression that the Knickerbockers supported a rules convention mainly to engineer the adoption of a fly rule and thus to swing the game into the cricket practice for retiring runners.
For other full accounts of the convention, see Frederick Ivor-Campbell, "Knickerbocker Base Ball: The Birth and Infancy of the Modern Game," Base Ball, Volume 1, Number 2 (Fall 2007), pages 55-65, and John Freyer & Mark Rucker, Peverelly's National Game (2005), p. 17.
See also Eric Miklich, "Nine Innings, Nine Players, Ninety Feet, and Other Changes: The Recodification of Baseball Rules in 1857," Base Ball Journal, Volume 5, Issue 1, Fall 2011 (Special Issue on Origins), pages 118-121; and R. Adams, "Nestor of Ball Players," found in typescript in the Chadwick Scrapbooks. (Facsimile contributed by Bill Ryczek, December 29, 2009.)
In a systematic review of Games Tabulation data from the New York Clipper, the only exception to the use of a 9-player team for match games among senior clubs was a single 11-on-11 contest in Jersey City in 1855.
The rules were also amended to forbid "jerked" pitches. Jerking was not defined. See Peter Morris's A Game of Inches (2006), p. 72.
1857.3 Long Island Cricket Club Forms
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?
1857.4 London Rounders Players Arrested
A group of "youths and lads" were arrested by a park constable for "playing at a game called rounders." Posted to 19CBB by Richard Hershberger on 2/5/2008.
The Morning Chronicle, March 17, 1857
1857.5 The Tide Starts Turning in New England - Trimountain Club Adopts NY Game
"BASE BALL IN BOSTON. - Another club has recently organized in Boston, under the title of the Mountain [Tri-Mountain, actually - Boston had three prominent city hills then - LMc] Base Ball Club. They have decided upon playing the game the same as played in New York, viz.: to pitch instead of throwing the ball, also to place the men on the bases, and not throw the ball at a man while running, but to touch him with it when he arrives at the base. If a ball is struck [next word, perhaps "beyond," is blacked out: "outside" is written in margin] the first and third base, it is to be considered foul, and the batsman is to strike again. This mode of playing, it is considered, will become more popular than the one now in vogue, in a short time. Mr. F. Guild, the treasurer of the above named club, is now in New York, and has put himself under the instructions of the gentlemen of the Knickerbocker. . . . "
A letter from "G.", of Boston, corrected this note in the following issue, on June 20: Edward Saltzman, an Empire Club member who had moved to that city, had founded the club and provided instruction.
The New York Clipper, June 13, 1857 (per handwritten notation in clipping book; Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008) and June 20, 1857
The Tri-Mountain Club's 1857 by-laws simply reprint the original 13 rules of the Knickerbocker Club: facsimile from "Origins of Baseball" file at the Giamatti Center in Cooperstown.
Note: does "place the men on bases" refer to the fielders? Presumably in the MA game such positioning wasn't needed because there was plugging, and there were no force plays at the bases?
1857.6 Seymour: Cricket Groups Meet to Try to Form US [National] Cricket Club
Per Seymour, "devotees" of cricket met in New York to "organize a United States Central Club to mentor the sport..."
Seymour, Harold, Baseball: the Early Years [Oxford University Press, 1989], p. 14. [No ref given.]
1857.7 Daily Base Ball Games Found in Public Square in Cleveland
"Base Ball at Cleveland This truly national game is daily played in the public square, and one of the city authorities decided that there was law against it. When appealed to, he quietly informed the players that there was no law against ball-playing there . . . The crowd sent up a shout and renewed the game, which continued until dark."
Porter's Spirit of the Times, April 18, 1857. Facsimile contributed by Gregory Christiano, December 2, 2009.
No details on the rules used in these games is provided. Others have dated the arrival of the Association game in Ohio to 1864.
1857.8 First Western club, the Franklin Club, forms in Detroit
Seymour, Harold, Baseball: the Early Years [Oxford University Press, 1989], p. 14. [No ref given.]
Morris, Peter, Baseball Fever: Early Baseball in Michigan [University of Michigan Press, 2003], pp.22-28
1857.9 Calls for an American National Game
[A]The editor of the Spirit of the Times: There "should be some one game peculiar to the citizens of the United States," in that "the Germans have brought hither their Turnverein Association . . . and various other peculiarities have been naturalized."
[B] Spirit also claimed that baseball "must be regarded as a national pastime"
[A]Porter's Spirit of the Times, January 31, 1857, quoted in Willke, Base Ball in its Adolescence, page 121, Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809.
[B] Adelman, Melvin L., New York City and the Rise of Modern Athletics, 1820-70 (1986), p. 135.
[B] Adelman regarded Spirit's claim as "premature" because New York Rules baseball had not spread beyond the immediate area in 1857, but a more likely perspective is that such claims for baseball at this time stemmed from its presence nationwide in various forms since the colonial era.
1857.10 Rib-and-Ball Game in the Arctic: Baseball Fever Among the Chills?
Kane, Elisah Kent, Arctic Explorations: the Second Grinnell Expedition in Search of Sir John Franklin, 1853, '54, '55, volume 2 [Philadelphia, Childs and Peterson]. The author, observing a native village, watches as "children, each one armed with the curved rib of some big amphibian, are playing bat and ball among the drifts." Block notes that the accompanying engraving playing with long, curved bones as bats.
David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 218.
1857.11 New Primer, Different Illustration**
Town, Salem, and Nelson M. Holbrook, The Progressive Pictorial Primer [Boston], Continuing the authors' series (see 1856 entry), this book uses a different illustration of boys playing ball than in the earlier book.
David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 218.
1857.12 The First Vintage Games?
[A] "the first regular match" of the 'Knickerbocker Antiquarian Base Ball Club (who play the old style of the game)'" was played in Nov. 1857.
[B] In October, 1857, the Liberty Club of New Brunswick, NJ, played a group of "Old Fogies" who played "the old-fashioned base ball, which, as nearly everyone knows, is entirely different from base ball as now played."
[A] Porter's Spirit of the Times, Nov. 14, 1857, p.165.
[B] New York Clipper, Oct. 10, 1857
[A] Rules played are unknown. The score was 86-69, and three players are listed in the box score as "not out". 11 on each side.
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.?
Vintage Base Ball Association site, http://vbba.org/ed-interp/ 1857elysian fieldsgame.html
1857.14 Sunrise Base Ball
"The Nassau and Charter Oak clubs scheduled three games at 5 a.m. in Brooklyn, apparently to impress players and spectators that 'there is a cheaper and better way to health than to pay doctor's bills.'"
Carl Wittke, "Baseball in its Adolescence," Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, no. 2, April 1952, page 119. Wittke cites Porter's Spirit, July 4, 1857 as his source.
Wittke took liberties with, or misunderstood, his source. The remark quoted in Porter's referred to the morning practice hours of the clubs, not to games.
1857.15 US Editor Promotes Cricket as the "National Game"
"Hitherto, one great obstacle to the progress of the game [cricket] in this country has been the assertion made by certain ignorant and prejudiced parties, the Cricket is only played by Englishmen. . . . But it is not so.
"Cricket," New York Clipper, May 16, 1857. Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], page 25.
1857.16 Early Use of the Term "Town Ball" in NY Clipper
The article reported a "Game of Town Ball" in Germantown PA.
New YorkClipper, September 19, 1857.
Information posted by David Block to 19CBB 11/1/2002. David writes that this is the earliest "town ball" game account he knows of.
1857.17 Base Ball in Melbourne?
"The first recorded baseball event in Australia was a series of three games between Collingwood and Richmond. The scores were astronomical, with Collingwood winning the second match 350-230! The early Australian baseball players were probably playing a variation of cricket, rounders, and the New York Game and possibly counting each base attained as a run."
Joe Clark, A History of Australian Baseball (U Nebraska Press, 2003), page 5.
Similarly: Phil Lowry reports a 3-inning game in Melbourne, Victoria on February 21 or 28, 1857. The score was 350 to 230, and rules called for a run to be counted each time a baserunner reached a new base." Posting to 19CBB by Phil Lowry 11/1/2006.
Clark then cites "a well-traveled myth in the American baseball community . . . that the first baseball played in Australia was by Americans on the gold fields of Ballarat in 1857 . . . . No documentation has ever been produced for a Ballarat gold fields game [also page 5]."
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, September 26, 1857.
Our holy grail! Our lost ark! Is there evidence that replies were received and analyzed?
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 Troy, NY wicket club, and  an appeal:
"I would like to see the old game of Wicket (not Cricket) played. It is a manly game and requires the bowler to be equal to playing a good game of ten pins. The ground is made smooth and level, say six feet wide by sixty to ninety in length. The ball from five to five and a half inches in diameter, hand wound, and well covered. The bat of light wood, say bass. [A rough field diagram is supplied here] The wicket is placed at each end, and on the top of a peg drove in the ground just high enough to let the ball under the wicket, which is a very light piece of wood lying on top of the pegs. The rules are very similar to those of cricket. Can a club be started? Yours, Wicket. [New York]"
Porter's Spirit of the Times, Saturday, February 14, 1857. Accessed via subscription search, May 15, 2009.
1857.20 Clerks Take on Clerks in Albany, Field 16-Player Teams
"An exciting match of Base Ball was played on the Washington Parade Ground, Albany, on Friday, 29th alt., between the State House Clerks and the Clerks of City Bank - sixteen on a side. The play resulted in favor of the State House boys, they making 86 runs in three innings, against 72 made by the Bank Clerks."
Porter's Spirit of the Times, vol. 40 number 14 (June 6, 1857).
Sixteen players? Three innings? Does this sound like the NY game to you?
1857.21 Buffalo NY Sees its First Club
"The first organized, uniform team was the Niagaras who played their first games in 1857 . . . . The Niagaras were, of course, strictly an amateur nine. They played their first games after 'choosing up' among themselves, and then [later] played matches against other Buffalo nines as they became organized"
Overfield, Joseph, 100 Seasons of Buffalo Baseball (Partner's Press, Kenmore NY, 1985), page 17. Overfield does not cite a source.
Per Peter Morris in Base Ball Pioneers 1850-1870 (2012, p.101), the formation of the Niagaras was announced in the Buffalo Express on September 12, 1857.
1857.22 Atlantic Club Becomes Base Ball Champ?
"The Atlantic Club defeats the Eckford Club, both of Brooklyn [NY], to take the best-of-3-games match and claim the championship for 1857. The baseball custom now is that the championship can only be won by a team beating the current titleholder 2 out of 3 games." A date of October 22, 1857 is given for this accomplishment.
Charlton, James, ed., The Baseball Chronology (Macmillan, 1991), page 14. No reference is given.
Note: Craig Waff asks whether clubs could formally claimed annual championships this early in base ball's evolution; email of 10/28/2008. He suggests that, under the informal conventions of the period, the Gothams [who had wrested the honor from the Knickerbockers in September 1856], held it throughout 1857.
Note that within one year of the rules convention of 1856-7, on-field superiority may have already passed from Manhattan to Brooklyn.
Tholkes- Charlton's remark at best refers to Brooklyn clubs only. The Atlantic had defeated the Gotham in September, but lost a return match on October 31 (a match which Peverelly mistakenly places in 1858). They did not play a third game. Neither Peverelly nor the author of the "X" letter in Porter's Spirit in December 1857, claims a championship, informal or formal, for the 1857 Atlantics, nor is it stated that in 1857 they flew at their grounds the whip pennant which later became emblematic of the informal championship.
1857.23 Princeton Freshmen Establish Nassau Base Ball Club
"In the fall of '57, a few members of the [College of New Jersey, now Princeton University] 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 Connecticut game."
Source: "Baseball at Princeton," Athletics at Princeton: A History (Presbrey Company, New York, 1901), page 66. Available on Google Books. Original sources are not provided.
Caution: The arrival of the New York style of play was still a year into the future.
Query:  "The old CT game?" Wasn't that wicket?
1857.25 Season Opens in Boston with May Olympics Victory, Best-of-Three Format
"OPENING OF THE SEASON IN BOSTON. Our young friends in Boston have stolen a march upon New York, in the matter of Base Ball, having taken the lead in initiating the sport for 1857, by playing an exciting game on Boston Common on the 14th inst. The following report of the match we copy from the Boston Daily Chronicle."
The Daily Chronicle report described a best of three games, games decided at 25 tallies, twelve-man, one-out-side-out match between the Olympics and Bay State. The Olympics won, 25-12 and 25-13, the second game taking 14 innings. The "giver" and catcher for each club were named. In otherwise identical coverage, the New York Clipper [hand-noted as "May" in the Mears clipping book] added that the Bay State club had afterward challenged the Olympics to re-match involving eight-player teams. A later Clipper item [date unspecified in clipping book] reported that on May 28, 1857, the Olympics won the follow-up match, 16-25, 25-21, and 25-8
The Spirit of the Times, Volume 27, number 16 (Saturday, May 30, 1857), page 182, column 1]. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.
1857.26 Baltimore Clubs Adopt the New Game
"Baltimore became a great center of the baseball in the very early days of the game. The Excelsiors were in the field in 1857, the Waverlys in 1858, and the Baltimores in 1859. Another club disputed the latter's right to the [club name], and a game played for the name the first formed club won."
George V. Tuohey, "The Story of Baseball," The Scrap Book Volume 1, July, 1906 (Munsey, New York, 1906), page 442. Accessed 2/16/10 via Google Books search ("baltimores in 1859").
According to Peter Morris in Base Ball Pioneers (McFarland, 2012, p. 253), the first club, the Excelsior, took the field in 1858. Source: William R. Griffith, The Early History of Amateur Baseball in the State of Maryland, (Baltimore, n.p.1997), p. 4.
The first club was formed in direct homage to the Excelsiors of Brooklyn.
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 Clinton City , Iowa, which is looked on with much favor by the young men of that locality."
New York Clipper, June 13, 1857. Facsimile provide by Craig Waff, September 2008.
Also covered in Porter's Spirit of the Times, June 20, 1857
1857.28 Boston Sees Eight Hour Match of the Massachusetts Game
"'BASE BALL' - MASSAPOAGS OF SHARON MA VS, UNION CLUB OF MEDWAY. . . . The game commenced at 1 o'clock, and was to be the best 3 in 5 games, of 25 tallies each. A large crowd collected to witness the game, among whom were several of the Olympics." But after one game it rained, and play resumed Monday morning. "after playing 8 hours the Union Club retired with the laurels of victory." They won, 25-20, 8-25, 11-25, 25-24, 25-16.]
Spirit of the Times, Volume 27, number 35 (Saturday, October 10, 1857), page 416, column 1.
1857.29 Six-Player Town-ball Teams Play for Gold in Philly
[A] "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 States Club met on their grounds, corner of 61st and Hazel streets . . . each individual did his utmost to gain the prize, at handsome gold ring, which was eventually awarded to Mr. T. W. Taylor, his score of 26 being the highest." Each team had six players, and the team Taylor played on won, 117 to 82.
[B] "In 1858, a Philadelphia correspondent with the pen name 'Excelsior' wrote to the New York Clipper . . . about early ball play in New York, , and called town ball, the Philadelphia favorite, 'comparatively unknown in New York.'"
[A] New York Clipper (November 1857--as handwritten in clippings collection; 1857, but no date is given).
[B] John Thorn, Baseball in the Garden of Eden (Simon and Schuster, 2011), page 26. The date of this Clipper account is not noted.
Do we now know any more about this event? Was it an intramural game? Was a six-player side common in Philadelphia town ball? Was a gold ring a typical prize for winning?
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 Massachusetts game in earlier years. Examples: games are decided at "say 25" tallies, not at 100; minimum distance from 1B to 2B and 3B to 4B is 50 feet, and from 4B to 1B and 2B to 3B is 40 feet, not 60 feet in a square; pitching distance is 30 feet, not 35 feel; in playing a form of the game cited as "each one for himself" entails a two-strike at-bat and a game is set at a fixed number of innings, not the number of tallies; the bound rule is in effect, not the fly rule. The Olympic rules do not mention the size of the team, the size of the ball, whether the thrower or specify the use of stakes as bases.
Porter's Spirit of the Times, June 27, 1857 [page?].
Cannot confirm this source. The rules described appeared in the New York Clipper, October 10, 1857.
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 (Routledge, 2005), pages 232-233.
Rounders made a comeback later, at least as a school yard game played mostly be female players. Is it clear whether the game was played significantly among men and boys before 1857?
1857.32 Daybreak Club Forms in Providence RI
"Base Ball at Providence - We have received a notification of the formation of the Aurora Base Ball Club at this place, and in accordance with their name, the members meet from 5 to 7 o'clock in the morning. They have been out seven times since March, notwithstanding the pluvious state of the atmospheric phenomena this season."
Porter's Spirit of the Times, Saturday, May 9, 1857.
Is this item newsworthy because it is an early Providence ballclub, because it is a pioneering daybreak club, or neither?
1857c.34 Wicket Played at Eastern OH College; Future President Excels
"In the street, in front of [Hiram College] President Hinsdale's (which was then Mr. Garfield's house), is the ground where we played wicket ball; Mr. Garfield was one of our best players."
F. M. Green, Hiram College (Hubbell Printing, Cleveland, 1901), page 156. Accessed via Google Books search ("Hiram College" green).
James A. Garfield was Principal and Professor at Hiram College from 1856-1859. He was about 26 in 1857, and had been born and reared in Eastern Ohio. Hiram Ohio is about 30 miles SE of Cleveland.
1857.35 New York Game Likely Comes to Rochester NY
[A] the town's first team, the Live Oak Club, formed in 1857.
[B] A member of the club, quoted in 1902, also gave 1857 as the inaugural year, noting that the club "played unnoticed" that season.
[A] Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (August 6, 1869),
[B] Rochester Post Express, May 1, 1902.
Rochester baseball historian Priscilla Astifan [email of March 24, 2010] points out that it seems certain that the National Association rules were in effect in 1858, as seen in published box scores in that year.
One source, however, suggests a different club and an earlier year for base ball's local debut. "The first baseball club in Rochester was organized about 1855. . . . The first club was the Olympics." The 1855 Source: "Baseball Half a Century Ago," Rochester Union and Advertiser, March 24, 1903. The article does not refer to evidence for this claim, and Priscilla Astifan cannot find any, either.
1857.36 English Residents of Richmond, VA Try Unsuccessfully to Form A Cricket Club, Then Try Base Ball
[A] The Richmond Whig, April 10, 1857, prints a letter to the editor saying: "Cricket... efforts are being made, by several admirers of the game, to organized a club in this city..." The letter is signed by "English readers" of the newspaper.
[B] "Base Ball at Richmond, Va.-- The failure of the Cricket Club last summer has in no wise disheartened some of the members, who, feeling the necessity of out-door exercise, are now busily at work endeavoring to get up a base ball club for the present season."
[A] The Richmond Whig, April 10, 1857
[B] The Spirit of the Times, June 12, 1858
1857.37 Charleston Newspaper Urges Cricket to help "Physical Education"
The Charleston Mercury in the late 1850s wrote or ran several editorial promoting physical fitness. That of May 20, 1857, titled "Physical Education," recommended cricket for exercise. That of July 21, 1856 is to the same effect.
Charleston Mercury, May 20, 1857; July 21, 1856
1857.38 President's Peace Medal Depicts Baseball Game in Background
United States Government
"A base ball game is depicted on the 1857 Indian Peace Medal issued by the Buchanan Administration in 1857. The Indian Peace Medal was "presented by a government agent to the chief of a tribe that the government considered to be friendly, or that it desired to become so...the frontier game of baseball, in all its variety, was already perceived as the national game..."
Thorn, John, Baseball in the Garden of Eden (2011), p. 114.
See also https://ourgame.mlblogs.com/our-baseball-presidents-ec1617be6413 (accessed Feb 2018).
"For President Buchanan in 1857, a new reverse to the (latest "Indian Peace") Medal was commissioned from engraver Joseph Wilson . . . . [The medal showed] in the distance, a simple home with a woman standing in the doorway -- and a baseball game being playing in the foreground. . . .
"No matter what some gentlemen were saying in New York at the "national" conventions of area clubs, the frontier game of baseball, in all its variety, was already perceived as the national game."
-- John Thorn, "Our Baseball Presidents," Our Game posting, February 2018.
1857.39 First Baseball Attendance of a Thousand or More
"There were thousands of ladies and gentlemen on the ground to witness this game."
New York Times, July 10, 1857, about Eagles - Gotham game at the Elysian Fields. Post be Craig Waff on 19cBB, 4/23/2010
Lacking enclosed fields, turnstiles or ticket stubs, attendances are only visual estimates.
Waff counted 39 attendance estimates of one thousand or more in the NYC area prior to the Civil War.
1857.42 The "X" Letters
"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.
Porter's Spirit of the Times, Oct. 24, 1857 - Jan. 23, 1858
The identity of "X" has not been discovered.
1857.43 Deliberate Bad Pitches Noted
In the game of round ball or Massachusetts ball between the Bay State and Olympic Clubs, the Bay States had "very low balls given them, while those they gave were swift and of the right height."
Spirit of the Times, May 30, 1857.
The tactic of trying to get batters to chase bad pitches probably is as old as competitive pitching, but is not previously documented.
1857.44 Not Glued or Sewn to Second Base
"The basemen are not confined strictly to their bases, but must be prepared to occupy them if a player is running toward them. "
Porter's Spirit of the Times, December 26, 1857
Placement of basemen on their bags in contemporary illustrations has led to an assumption that that is where they customarily played. Not so.
1857.45 Sharon MA Victory in Boston Seen As State Championship
"A much more pleasing picture is the recreation enjoyed by the boys of the 33rd [MA] Regiment. There were thirteen Sharon boys in the regiment and most of them had been members of the Sharon Massapoags, the state baseball champions of 1857. They were very fond of telling their [Civil War] soldier friends of this exciting occasion in which they defeated their rivals, the Olympics, in three straight games. They had borrowed red flannel shirts from the Stoughton Fire Department and contended for the championship on Boston Common. The last train for Sharon left around four o'clock. By special arrangement with the Providence R. R. they had been allowed to ride home in an empty freight attached to a regular train."
Amy Morgan Rafter Pratt, The History of Sharon, Massachusetts to 1865 (Boston U master's thesis, 1935, page74. Search string: <morgan rafter pratt>.
1857.47 On Boston Common, "Several Parties Engaged in Matches of Base Ball" on Fast Day
"The Common was thronged with citizens many of whom engaged in ball-playing. The Bay State Cricket Club were out in full force and had fine sport. Several parties engaged in matches at base ball, enjoying the exercise exceedingly, and furnishing a large amount of amusement to the spectators."
"Fast Day", Boston Herald, April 17, 1857, page 4.
It seems plausible that by 1857 the rules used had some resemblance to those codified as the Dedham (Massachusetts Game) rules in 1858.
1857.48 First Known Appearance of Term "New York Game"
"The Tri-Mountain Base Ball Club has been organized... This Club has decided to play the "New York Game," which consists in pitching instead of throwing the ball."
See also item 1857.5
Boston Herald, June 15, 1857
Richard Hershberger notes: "The earliest citation in Dickson's Baseball Dictionary is from 1859. It is interesting that the first use seems to come from the Boston side of things, and predates the Dedham convention (which laid out the rules of the Massachusetts Game). The point is the same as it would be over the next few years, to conveniently distinguish versions of baseball."
So this find antedates a baseball first.
John Thorn notes:
"The phrase "New York Game" may have owed something to the fact that the
principal Tri-Mountain organizer had been a player with the Gotham Base
Ball Club of New York, whose roots predated the formation of the
Bob Tholkes notes:
"'New York' instead of 'national:' in what turned out to be a shrewd marketing move, was referring to a "national" pastime, implicitly sweeping aside regional variations, and in March 1858 called their organization the National Association, which the New York Clipper (April 3, 1858)considered a howl."
1858.1 Fifty Clubs Said Active in New York Area - Plus Sixty Junior Clubs
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.
Seymour, Harold, Baseball: the Early Years [Oxford University Press, 1989], p. 24; probable source: "The Base Ball Convention," Porter's Spirit of the Times, vol. 4, no. 3, March 20, 1858, p. 37, cols. 2-3
1858.2 New York All-Stars Beat Brooklyn All-Stars, 2 games to 1; First Admission Fee [A Dime] 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.
2. It was the first base ball game in the New York metropolitan area to be played on an enclosed ground.
3. It marked the first time that spectators paid for the privilege of attending a base ball game -- a fee of 10 cents gave admission to the grounds.
4. The game played on September 10, 1858 is at present  the earliest known instance of an umpire calling strike on a batter." The New York Game had adopted the called strike for the 1858 season. It is first known to have been employed (many umpires refused to do so) at a New York vs. Brooklyn all-star game at Fashion Race Course on Long Island. The umpire was D.L. (Doc) Adams of the Knickerbockers, who also chaired the National Association of Base Ball Players Rules Committee. But see Warning, below.
These games are believed to have been the first the newspapers subjected to complete play-by-play accounts, in the New York Sunday Mercury, July 25, 1858.
The New York side won the series, 2 games to 1. But Brooklyn was poised to become base ball's leading city.
Schaefer, Robert H., "The Great Base Ball Match of 1858: Base Ball's First All-Star Game," Nine, Volume 14, no 1, (2005), pp 47-66. See also Robert Schaefer, "The Changes Wrought by the Great Base Ball Match of 1858," Base Ball Journal, Volume 5, number 1 (Special Issue on Origins), pages 122-126.
Coverage of the game in Porter's Spirit of the Times, July 24, 1858, is reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908[University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 27-29.
The Spirit article itself is "The Great Base Ball Match," Spirit of the Times, Volume 28, number 24 (Saturday, July 24, 1858), page 288, column 2. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.
John Thorn, "The All-Star Game You Don't Know", Our Game, http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2013/07/08/the-all-star-game-you-dont-know/
Thomas Gilbert, How Baseball Happened, ( David R. Godine, 2020) pp 163-168.
For more context, including the fate of the facility, see William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning, McFarland, 2009), pp. 77-80.
See also John Zinn, "The Rivalry Begins: Brooklyn vs. New York", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century.(SABR, 2013), pp.10-12.
Richard Hershberger (email of 10/6/2014) points out that the Sunday Mercury account of this game's key at bat "makes it clear that they were swinging strikes'[not called strikes].
These games were reportedly most intensely-covered base ball event to date-- items on the planning and playing of the "Fashion Race Course" games began during the first week in June. Coverage can be found in both the sporting weeklies (New York Clipper, New York Sunday Mercury, Porter's Spirit Of The Times, The Spirit Of The Times) and several dailies (New York Evening Express, New York Evening Post, New York Herald, New York Tribune). Note --Craig Waff turned up 26 news accounts for the fashion games in Games Tab 1.0: see http://protoball.org/Games_Tab:Greater_New_York_City#date1859-9-7.
The Sunday Mercury's path-breaking play-by-play accounts were probably written by Mercury editor William Cauldwell and are enlivened with colorful language and descriptions, such as describing a batting stance as "remindful of Ajax Defying the lamp-lighter", a satire on the classical sculpture, Ajax Defying the Lightning.
This series of games has also been cited as the source of the oldest known base balls: "Doubts about the claims made for the 'oldest' baseball treasured as relics have no existence concerning two balls of authenticated history brought to light by Charles De Bost . . . . De Bost is the son of Charles Schuyler De Bost, Captain and catcher for the Knickerbocker Baseball Club in the infancy of the game." The balls were both inscribed with the scores of the Brooklyn - NY Fashion Course Games of July and September 1858. Both balls have odd one-piece covers the leather having been cut in four semi-ovals still in one piece, the ovals shaped like the petals of a flower." Source: 'Oldest Baseballs Bear Date of 1858,' unidentified newspaper clipping, January 21, 1909, held in the origins of baseball file at the Giamatti Center at the HOF.
Richard Hershberger (email of 10/6/2014) points out that the Sunday Mercury account of this game's key at bat "makes it clear that they were swinging strikes'[not called strikes].
Note: for a 2021 email exchange on claims of base ball "firsts" in this series of games, see below
Tom Shieber; 3;31 PM, 11/11/21:
The New York Atlas of August 13, 1859, ran a story about the August 2, 1859, baseball game between the Excelsior and Knickerbocker clubs that took place at the former club's grounds in South Brooklyn. (It was after this game that the well-known on-field photo of the two clubs was taken.) In the first paragraph of the story I find the following statement: "There was also a large number of carriages around the enclosure."
I believe that there is the general belief that the Union Grounds in Williamsburgh were the first enclosed baseball grounds. Should we rethink that?
Tom Gilbert, 4:29 PM:
I don't think so -- the mere existence of a rail fence surrounding or partially surrounding the Excelsiors' grounds in Red Hook does not make it a ballpark in any sense. the Union Grounds had stands, concessions, bathrooms, dressing rooms - and most important: it regularly charged admission - this was the key reason for the fence. the union grounds was the first enclosed baseball grounds in the only significant sense of the word.
John Thorn, 4:48 PM:
[sends image of 1860 game at South Brooklyn Grounds]
Gilbert, 4:54 PM:
Note the rail fence that might keep a carriage or a horse off the playing field-- but not a spectator.
Shieber, 8:34 PM:
Yes, but.... "Enclosed" was the term of art used at the time. The confusion in the 1859 cite is that this term of art was not yet established. Jump forward a decade and "enclosed ground" means a board fence. This usually implied the charging of admission, but not always. Occasionally it was for privacy. An example is the Knickerbockers, when they moved from the Elysian Fields to the St. George grounds. The St. George CC, for that matter, did not usually admit spectators, except for infrequent grand matches. The Olympics of Philadelphia had their own enclosed ground by 1864. They later started charging admission to match games, but initially this was a privacy fence. So it is complicated.
Bob Tholkes, 7:53 AM, 11/12/21:
A ballpark for us is a place where baseball is played; even major league parks like the Polo Grounds were built originally for other purposes, and used for other purposes after baseball became their most frequent purpose.
If this game did not give us the first called strikes, when did such actually appear?
1858.3 At Dedham MA, Team Representatives Formulate Mass Game Rules
The representatives of ten clubs meet at Dedham, Massachusetts, to form the Massachusetts Association Base Ball Players and to adopt twenty-one rules for their version of base ball. The Massachusetts Game reaffirms many of the older rule practices such as plugging the runner (throwing the ball at the runner to make a put-out). The Massachusetts Game rivals the New York Game for a time but eventually loses support as the popularity of the New York Game expands during the Civil War.
The 36-page Mayhew/Baker manual covers the rules and field layouts for both games. It gamely explains that both game require "equal skill and activity," but leans toward the Mass game, which "deservedly holds the first place in the estimation of all ball players and the public." Still, it admits, the New York game "is fast becoming in this country what cricket is to England, a national game."
The May 15 1858 Boston Traveller reported briefly on the new compact, adding "We congratulate the lovers of this noble and manly pastime." On June 1, the Boston Herald reported on the first game played (before a crowd of 2000-3000 at the Parade Grounds) under the new rules, won in 33 innings by the Winthrops over the Olympics 100-27, and carried a box score.
The Base Ball Player's Pocket Companion [Mayhew and Blake, Boston, 1859], pp. 20-22. Per Sullivan, p. 22. Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 26-27. See also David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 219.
Contemporary reports on the convention can be found in the Boston Herald, May 24, 1858; the Spirit of the Times, May 22, 1858; and Porter's Spirit of the Times, May 29, 1858.
For the rules themselves, see below.
1858.5 Seven More Clubs Publish Their Rules
They include base ball clubs in Stamford CT [Mazeppa BB Club], Newburgh NY [Newburgh BB Club], Louisville [KY]? [Louisville BB Club], New York City [Independent BB Club], South Brooklyn [Olympic BB Club], Jersey City [Hamilton BB Club], and, formed to play the Massachusetts Game, the Takewambait BB Club of Natick MA.
David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 224
1858.7 Newly Reformed Game of Town Ball Played in Cincinnati OH
Clippings from Cincinnati in 1858 report on the Gymnasts' Town Ball Club match of July 22, 1858: "They played for the first time under their new code of bye laws, which are more stringent than the old rules." The game has five corners [plus a batter's position, making the basepaths a rhombus in general shape], sixty feet apart, meaning 360 feet to score. The fly rule was in effect, and plugging was disallowed, and the rules carefully require that a batsman run every time he hits the ball.
The New York Clipper carried at least four reports of Cincinnati town ball play between June and October of 1858. The earliest is in the edition of June 26, 1858 - Volume 6, number 10, page 76. Coverage suggests that teams of eight players were not uncommon, although teams of 13 and 11 were also reported.
An oddity: in a July intramural contest, batter Bickham claimed 58 runs of his team's 190 total, while the second most productive batsman mate scored 30, and 5 of his 10 teammates scored fewer than 6 runs each. One wonders what rule, or what typo, would lead to that result.
1858.8 Harvard Student Magazine 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 (June 1858), page 201.
1858.9 Brooklyn Daily 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," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 22, 1858.
1858.10 Four-day Attendance of 40,000 Souls Watch Famous Roundball Game in Worcester
"One of the most celebrated games of roundball was played on the Agricultural Grounds in Worcester, Mass., in 1858. It was between the Medways of Medway and the Union Excelsiors. It was for $1000 a side. It took four days to play the game. The attendance was more than 10,000 at each day a play [sic]. In the neighboring towns the factories gave their employees holidays to see the game."
"H. S.," [Henry Sargent?] of Grafton, MA, "Roundball," New York Sun, May 8, 1905, p.6. From an unidentified clipping found in the Giamatti Center. The clipping is noted as "60-27" and it may be from the Spalding Collection.
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.]
The source also contains a lengthy description of "Massachusetts roundball", reprinted in Exposition in Class-Room Practice by Theodore C. Mitchell and George R. Carpenter, 1906, p. 239
Can we either verify or disprove the accuracy of this recollection?
1858.11 British Sports Anthology Shows Evolved Rounders, Other Safe Haven Games
Block notes that this "comprehensive and detailed anthology of sports and games includes the full [but unnamed - LM] spectrum of baseball's English relatives." The rounders description of rounders features 5 bases, plus a home base. Block considers the changes described for rounders since the first (1828) account, and descries "the steady divergence of rounders and baseball during those decades to the point of becoming two distinct sports."
Pardon, George, Games for All Seasons [London, Blackwood], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 218.
1858.12 Base Ball, Meet Tin Pan Alley
Blodgett, J. (composer), "The Base Ball Polka" [Buffalo, Blodgett and Bradford]. Block marks this as the first baseball sheet music, as composed by a member of the Niagara Base Ball Club of Buffalo. "On the title page, under an emblem of two crossed bats over a baseball, is a dedication 'To the Flour City B. B. Club of Rochester, N.Y. by the Niagara B. B. Club.'"
David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 218.
1858.13 New Reader: "Now, Charley, Give Me a Good Ball"
The Little One's Ladder, or First Steps in Spelling and Reading [New York, Geo F. Cooledge]. The book shows schoolyard ballplaying, and sports the caption: "Now, Charley, give me a good ball that I may bat it."
David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 218
1858.14 Adult Play [Finally!] Signaled in New Manual for Cricket and Base Ball
Manual of Cricket and Base Ball [Boston, Mayhew and Baker],. Only four of this manual's 24 pages are given over to base ball, the newly composed rules for the MA game. Block: "Its historical significance lies in the fact that this was the first treatment of baseball as a pastime for adults in a book made available to the general public."
David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, pages 218-219
The need for a manual may have been first expressed in the 14 "X" letters, an anonymous series of correspondence from "X" to Porter's Spirit of the Times. The writer mentioned that the purpose of the letters, which examined prominent teams and players and gave instructions for playing and for operating a team, was to spur the publication of a manual. The first letter appeared on October 24, 1857.
1858.15 Base Ball Arrives in Heaven? "No, This is Iowa"
"John Liepa of Indianola presented a history of early baseball and the origins of the game in the state. John has pinpointed 1858 as the first reference to baseball in Iowa (in the city of Davenport), although naturally that is subject to change."
From a report of the Field of Dreams SABR Chapter [the Iowa chapter] meeting at the Bob Feller Museum in Van Meter, IA, October 16, 2004.
John Thorn [email, 2/10/2008] suggests that the source may be the Davenport Daily Gazette, June 2, 1858, which states "The baseball clubs were both out yesterday afternoon."
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 - Ireland, 84; England, 12; Scotland, 4; Germany, 7; United States, 16; colored, 1. Total, 124." Others were jailed for selling diseased meat, perjury, stealing, robbery, and embezzlement.
Jersey City Items," New York Times, June 1, 1858, page 8.
1858.17 Atlantic Monthly Piece by Higginson 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 (March 1858), pp. 582-595. It is online at http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/moa/sgml/moa-idx?notisid=ABK2934-0001-122.
See also item#1830s.22.
Some commentary: His [Higginson's] comments on our national game are of great interest, for he welcomed the growth of 'our indigenous American game of base-ball,' and followed [author James Fenimore] Cooper's lead by connecting the game with our national character." A. Fletcher and J. Shimer, Worcester: A City on the Rise (Worcester Publishing, Worcester, 2005), page 11.
what did Cooper say about the link between base ball and national character?
1858.19 First KY Box Score Appears in Louisville Newspaper
"The beginnings of [Louisville] baseball on an organized basis are also lost in the mists of the 19th century. There were probably neighborhood teams competing within the city in the 1850s. But the first recorded box score in local papers appeared in the July 15, 1858 Daily Democrat. Two teams made up of members of the Louisville Base Ball Club faced one another in a contest where the final score was 52-41, a score not unusual for the period. The paper also notes that there were several other ball clubs organized in the city.
"Not much is known about the Louisville Base Ball Club. It was probably not more than a year or two old by the time of the 1858 box score."
Possible describing the same July game, but reporting different dates, The New York Clipper said: "BASE BALL IN LOUISVILLE - The game of Base Ball is making its way westward. In Louisville they have a well-organized club, called the 'Louisville Base Ball Club.' They played a game on the 18th, with the following result [box score for 52-42 intramural game shown]"
"Chapter 1 - Beginnings: From Amateur Teams to Disgrace in the National League," mimeo, Bob Bailey, 1999, page 2.
New York Clipper, July 31, 1858
Louisville Daily Democrat, July 15, 1858
Porter's Spirit of the Times reported on July 17, 1858 that the Louisville BBC had been organized on June 10, 1858.
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.
Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 30-32.
Reprinted in Henry Chadwick, The Game of Base Ball (Munro, 1868, reprint Camden House, 1983), pp. 178-80.
Reprinted in "Ball Days, A Song of 1858", Our Game, Thorn, http://ourgame. mlblogs.com/?s=Ball+Days%2C+A+Song+of+1858. July 18, 2012
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 York Times, August 28, 1858, page 4. John Thorn believes that "costly target excursions refer to hunting fox, grouse and other game."
1858.22 Rochester NY Editor: Base Ball to Curb Tobacco, Swearing (If Not Spitting)
"We hail then with pleasure, the introduction in our city of the game of base ball and the formation of the many clubs to enjoy this healthful activity. It will impart vigor, health and good feeling. It is a manly sport . . . [and] will contribute as much to good morals as it does to pleasure. . . . The stimulus of outdoor exercises will supplant the morbid and pernicious craving for tobacco. . . . It is a luxury to see our young men together, in the innocent enjoyment of a healthful sport. Let a father who was once a ball player too . . . have the privilege of looking on without the pain of hearing a profane word . . . Signed, X."
"Field Sports," Rochester Democrat and American (August 12, 1858), page 3, column 2.
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, London, 1858, pp. 67-72]. Available via Google Books.
The manual covers rounders, cricket, and trapball - but not stoolball.
Among the features shown: when only a few players were available, backward hits were not in play; leading and pickoffs were used in rounders; the rounders bat is three feet long; two strikes and you're out in trapball; and when a cat is used in place of a ball in rounders, plugging is not allowed.
1858.24 Editorial Rips Base Ball "Mania" as a "Public Nuisance"
"Ball Clubs," The Happy Home and Parlor Magazine, Volume 8, December 1, 1858 [Boston MA], page 405.
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."
Posted to 19CBB August 14, 2005 by Richard Hershberger.
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 Brooklyn Daily Times in June 1858.
Walt Whitman, "On Baseball, 1858," in John Thorn, ed., The Complete Armchair Book of Baseball [Galahad Books, New York, 1997; originally published 1985 and 1987] pp 815-816.
1858.26 Wicket, as Well as Cricket and Base Ball, Reported in Baltimore MD
"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.
1858.27 Flour Citys First Base Ball Club in Rochester
"The Flour City was the first club formed in Rochester, an occasion that was announced in the Rochester Democrat and American on May 3, 1858...(they) played Rochester's first reported match game on the hot afternoon of June 18..." Priscilla Astifan, in Base Ball Pioneers 1850-1870 (McFarland, 2012), p.92
Rochester Democrat and American, May 3, 1858
Rochester Union and Advertiser, June 19, 1858
A claim that the Live Oaks, or the Olympics, preceded the Flour Citys appears 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 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.
"The Evolution of the Baseball Up to 1872," March 2007, at http://protoball.org/The_Evolution_of_the_Baseball_Up_To_1872.
1858.29 First Recorded College Game at Williams 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 Pittsfield Sun, vol. 58, number 3011 (June 3, 1858, page 2, column 5. Posted to 19CBB on 8/14/2007 by Craig Waff. The best-of-three format is familiar in the history of the Massachusetts game.
Does the final sentence imply that earlier games of ball had recently been played?
1858.30 Playing Rules Given for New Britain CT Wicket Ball Match
"The great game of Wicket Ball between a party of the married and unmarried men of New Britain, came off on Saturday. There were 25 each on a side, and both sides were composed of the 'crack' players of the town." A large number of out-of-town attendees was noted. A box score was included.
Among the stated rules noted as differing from Hartford rules: wickets set 75 feet apart, "flying balls only out," no leading, "last [lost] ball to count 4; but the strikers must make four crosses,' a nine-inch ball [another source specifies a 3.5 inch ball, and Alex Dubois notes on 3/4/2022 that the smaller size would be typical) , and a three-game format in which the total runs ("crossings") determined the victor.
"Ball-Playing at New Britain," Hartford Daily Courant, June 21, 1858, page 2.
1858.31 Bristol CT Bests Waterbury in Wicket
Bristol beat Waterbury by 110 runs in a wicket game on Bristol's Federal Hill Green on September 9, 1858. No game details appeared. "The game not only attracted attention in this section of the State, but it assumed such proportions that New Yorkers became interested and it was reported in much detail in the NY Sunday Mercury a few days later. The newspaper remarked at the time that Bristol had a wicket team to be proud of.
The New York newspapers had a chance to tell the same story twenty-two years later when the Bristols went to Brooklyn and defeated the club of that city"
Norton, Frederick C., "That Strange Yankee Game, Wicket," Bristol Connecticut (City Printing Co., Hartford, 1907); available on Google Books.
Can we find the Mercury story and/or coverage in Bristol and Waterbury papers? Add page reference.
1858.32 Ballplaying Interest Hits New Bedford MA
"Yet Another: A number of seamen, now in port, have formed a Club entitled the 'Sons of the Ocean Base Ball Club.' They play on the City commons, on Thursdays, and we are requested to state that the members challenge any of the other clubs in the city to a trial either of New York or Massachusetts game."
New Bedford Evening Standard, September 13, 1858, as referenced at "Early days of Baseball in New Bedford, ca. 1858. http://scvbb.wordpress.com/2007/09/17/early-days-of-baseball-in-new-bedford-ca-1858/, [or google "'south coast vintage' 1858"], as accessed on 1/4/2008. This was evidently the first recorded mention of the NY game in the area. The website relates how the several New Bedford clubs debated which regional game to play in 1858, with the MA game prevailing at that point.
1858.33 Earliest Games in Chicago IL?
 "A match game was played yesterday [7/7/1858] afternoon between the Union Base Ball Club, of this city, and the Downer's grove Base Ball Club. . . . A spacious tent was erected on the Club's grounds, corner of West Harrison and Halstead Streets. The Downer's Grove Club came of (sic) victorious, the 'country boys' being excellent players."
 The Excelsior Club downed Union, 8/29/1858. The score was Excelsior 17, Union 11.
 Growth in Chicago was slow. Although its population was nearing 110,000 in 1860, it still had only four [with updated research, 18 (ba)] base ball clubs.
"Base Ball Match," Chicago Daily Press and Tribune, vol. 12 number 6 (Thursday, July 8, 1858), page 1 column 4. Posted to 19CBB on 9/11/2007 by Craig Waff.
Chicago Daily Times and Tribune, September 1, 1858, page 1 column 4. Posted to 19CBB on 9/11/2007 by Craig Waff.
 Steven Freedman, "The Baseball Fad in Chicago, 1865-1870," Journal of Sport History, Volume 5 number 2 (Summer 1978), page 42.
1858.34 Amusements at Duchess' Birthday Party Includes Base Ball
Duchess of Kent
August 17 was the 72nd birthday of the Duchess of Kent, celebrated at Windsor. Church bells rang. Royal tributes were fired. And, "amusements principally consisted of cricket, dancing, archery, football, trap and base ball, swinging, throwing sticks for prizes, etc."
"Birthday of the Duchess of Kent," Times of London, Issue 23073 (August 18, 1858), page 7 column A.
Given the absence of the term "base ball" in this period, one may ask whether "trap and base ball" was a variant of "trap ball." In fact, the phrase appears in an 1862 in a description of a fete held in August 1859, presumably near Windsor, where, after a one-innings cricket contest, "archery, trap and base ball [and boat races] were included in the diversions. Gyll, Gordon W. J., History of the Parish of Wraysbury, (H. G. Bohn, London, 1862), page 55. Available on Google Books [google "trap and base ball"].
1858.35 New York Game Seen in Boston: Portland [ME] 47, Tri-Mountains 42.
Here is how the new game was explained to Bostonians: "The bases are placed at the angles of a rhombus instead of a square, the home base being the position of the striker; provision is made for "foul hits," and the ball is caught on the 'bound' as well as on the 'fly.' The game consists of nine innings instead of one hundred tallies, and the ball is pitched, not thrown." The absence of stakes and plugging is not mentioned. Nor is the larger, heavier ball.
The New York Clipper (date and page omitted from Mears Collection) reprinted a Boston news account that remarked: "Unusual interest attached to the game among lovers of field sports, from the fact that it was announced to be played according to the rules of the New York clubs which differ essentially from the rules of the game as played here., and also from the fact that one of the parties to the match came from a neighboring city." Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.
Mainers see the game thus: "It took awhile but this modern game - and its popularity - moved steadily north. By 1858 we know it had arrived in Maine . . . because an article in the September 11th issue of the Portland Daily Advertiser heralded the fact that the Portland Base Ball Club had ventured to Boston to play the Tri-Mountain Base Ball Club of that city. The game was played September 9th on the Boston Common." Portland won, 47- 42.
The Boston Herald article on this game is reprinted in Soos, Troy, Before the Curse: The Glory Days of New England Baseball 1858-1918 (Parnassus, Hyannis MA, 1997), page 5. Soos reports that this is the first time that the Tri-Mountains had found a rival willing to play the New York game [Ibid.].
"Anderson, Will, Was Baseball Really Invented in Maine? (Will Anderson, publisher, Portland, 1992), page 1.
A game account and box score appears in the New York Sunday Mercury, September 26, 1858.
This watershed game was also noted in Wright, George, "Base Ball in New England," November 15, 1904, retained as Exhibit 36-19 in the Mills Commission files.
Casey Tibbits, "The New York Rules in New England-- Portland Eons vs. Tri-Mountains", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013), pp. 13-15
Review of the New York Clipper did not find the reported game account.
The item in the Portland Advertiser of September 14, 1858, read, "PORTLAND BASE BALL CLUB.-- The Tri-Mountain B.B.C. of Boston, gave an invitation to our club to try a match with them. The trial came off yesterday on Boston Common, nine to a side. The Tri-Mountain Club has been in existence about two years, ours about two months. The result of the match was our boys got 47 runs, the Tri-Mountains 42, making the former the winners by 5 runs. We understand our club has or will give an invitation to the Boston boys to meet them in our city for a match game."
1858.36 NY Rules Printed in Georgia
Without apparent explanation or comment, the rules of baseball were printed in Macon GA
"Rules and Regulations of the Game of Base Ball," Macon Weekly Georgia Telegraph (November 16, 1858), page unknown. From a 19CBB posting by Richard Hershberger, 7/23/2007. Text provided by John Maurath, Director of Library Services, Missouri Civil War Museum at Historic Jefferson Barracks, email of 1/18/2008.
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?" . The boys appear to be roughly 8 to 10 years old.
Anon., "Robert Wilmot," in The Parents' Cabinet of Amusement and Instruction (Smith, Elder and Co., London, 1858), page 59
1858.38 Baseball Recommended for Brooklyn Schools-- Easier than Cricket
". . . we think it would be an addition to every school, that would lead to great advantages to mental and bodily health, if each had a cricket or ball club attached to it. There are between 30 and 40 Base Ball Clubs and six Cricket Clubs on Long Island [Brooklyn counted as Long Island then] . . . . Base ball if the favorite game, as it is more simple in its rules, and a knowledge of it is more easily acquired. Cricket is the most scientific of the two and requires more skill and judgement in the use of the bat, especially, than base.
"The Ball Season of 1858," Brooklyn Eagle, March 22, 1858; reprinted in Spirit of the Times, Volume 28, number 7 (Saturday, March 27, 1858), page 78, column 2
1858.39 San Francisco Organizes for Base Ball . . . Again
"BASE BALL CLUB: "a Club entitled the San Francisco Base Ball Club has been formed in San Francisco, California. . . . They meet every other Tuesday at the Club House, Dan's saloon." .
Spirit of the Times, Volume 28, number 7 (Saturday, March 27, 1858), page 78, column 2
Is this the first club established in CA since 1851? [Cf #1851.2, #1852.7, #1859.5]
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 United States will take place, pursuant to adjournment from last year, at the Astor House [on May 3]. Important business will be transacted."
"Cricket and Base Ball," Spirit of the Times (Volume 28, number 4 (Saturday, April 10, 1858), page 102, column 3.
Note: Do we know the outcome? Was cricket attempting to counteract baseball's surge? If so, how? Why didn't it work?
1858.41 Buffalo NY Feels Spring Fever, Expects Many New BB Clubs
"The Niagara Club, of Buffalo, also played oin Saturday, on the vacant lot on Main Street, above the Medical College. We learn that several other clubs will soon organize, so that some rare sort may be anticipated the coming season. The Cricket Club will soon be out in full force . . . . We are pleased to notice this disposition to indulge in manly sports. "Cricket and Base Ball,"
Spirit of the Times, Volume 28, number 7 (Saturday, March 27, 1858), page 78, column 2
1858.42 In Downstate Illinois, New Club Wins by 134 Rounds
"BASEBALL IN ILLINOIS. - The Alton [IL] Base-Ball Club . . . a meeting was held on the evening of May 18, to organize a club . . . . The Upper Alton Base Ball Club . . . sent us a challenge, to play a match game, on Saturday, the 19th of June, which was accepted by our club; each side had five innings, and thirteen players each, with the following result: The Alton Base-Ball Club made 224 rounds. The Upper Alton Base-Ball Club made 90 rounds. Alton IL is a Mississippi River town 5 miles north of St. Louis. Missouri.
." "Base-Ball", Porter's Spirit of the Times, Volume 4, number 20 (July 17, 1858), p. 309, columns. 2-3
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 New Haven . . . the (self-assumed) best eight challenged the mediocre and miserable thirteen, who constitute the rest of this [unnamed] club. Best two in three, no grumbling, were the conditions . . . [The Worsts won, 48-40, 35-17, 33-27; sounds like a fixed-innings match.]. But what I meant to write you about, was to ask where we can obtain a full statement and explanation of the rules and principles of base-ball."
"BASE-BALL IN NEW HAVEN," Porter's Spirit of the Times, July 17, 1858.
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," University of Michigan, 1858-1913 (Holden, 1913), page 52. Accessed in snippet view via Google Books search ("match game" wicket).
1858.45 1000 Watch November Base Ball in New Bedford MA. Brr.
"At the conclusion of the game (played on Thanksgiving Day), Mr. Cook, in a few appropriate remarks in behalf of the Bristol County Club, presented the Union Club with a splendid ball. Cheers were then given by the respective Clubs and they separated to enjoy their Thanksgiving dinners. About 1000 spectators were present.
"In the afternoon there were several 'scrub' games, that is games which the various Clubs unite and play together. The regular Ball season is considered to close with Thanksgiving, though many games will doubtless be played through the winter when the weather will permit."
The New Bedford Evening Standard (November 26, 1858)
1858.46 New York Game Arrives in Baltimore MD
"Mr. George Beam, of Orendorf, Beam and Co., Wholesale Grocers . . . visiting New York City in 1858, was invited by Mr. Joseph Leggett [a NYC grocer] to witness one of the games of the Old Excelsior Base Ball Club, of New York City. Mr. Beam became so much enthused, that on his return to Baltimore City . . . it resulted in the organization of the Excelsior B.B. Club. The first meeting was held in 1858. . . . The almost entire membership of the club was composed of business men. . . . [p 203/204] The score book of the club having been lost, and the old members having no recollection of any games played in 1859, except with the Potomac Club of Washington D.C., it is quite probable that the time was devoted to practice." In 1860 they played the NY Excelsiors along Madison Avenue in NY.
Griffith also notes that "[T]he ball used in the early sixties was about one-third larger, and one-third heavier, than the present one, than the present  one, and besides was what is known as a 'lively ball,' and for those reasons harder to hold." Ibid, page 202.
Griffith implies, but does not state, that this was the first Baltimore club to play by NY rules. This journal article appears to be an extract of pages 1-11 of Griffith's The Early History of Amateur Baseball in the State of Maryland 1858-1871 (John Cox's Sons, Baltimore, 1897).
William Ridgely Griffith, "The Early History of Amateur Base Ball in the State of Maryland," Maryland Historical Magazine, Volume 87, number 2, Summer 1992), pages 201-208.
1858.47 Brooklynite Takes A Census - There Are 59 Junior Clubs in Brooklyn
"Dear Spirit:- . . . I have busied myself for a week or two past in finding out the names of the different junior clubs, which, if you will be kind enough to publish, will probably give information to some. The following are the names, without reference to their standing: Enterprise, Star, Resolute, Ashland, Union, National, Ringgold, Oakland, Clinton, Pacific, Active, Oneida, Fawn, Island, Contest, Metropolitan, Warren, Pastime Jrs., Excelsior Jrs., Atlantic Jrs., Powhattan, Niagara, Sylvan, Independence, Mohawk, Montauk, Favorita, Red Jacket, American Eagle, E Pluribus Unum, Franklin, Washington, Jackson, Jefferson, Arctic, Fulton, Endeavor, Pocahontas, Crystal, Independent, Liberty, Brooklyn Star, Lone Star, Eagle Jrs., Putnam Jrs., Contest, "Never Say Die," Burning Star, Hudson, Carlton, Rough and Ready, Relief, Morning Star, City, Young America, America, Columbus, Americus, Columbia, Willoughby. The above are the names as I have collected them from reliable persons . . . The above list consists of only the junior clubs of Brooklyn. Yours, A Friend of the Juniors."
"Junior Base-Ball Clubs," Porter's Spirit of the Times, Volume 5, number 7 (October 18, 1858), page 100, column 2.
The Contest squad appears twice on the list.
1858.48 Three Youth Clubs in Rochester NY Disdain the NY Game
In Rochester, the West End Base Ball Club, the Washington club, and the Union club showed no love for the NYC rules. The West End Club, for example, declared that it would have "nothing to do with the new fangled tossing, but throw the ball with a wholesome movement, in the regular old-fashioned base ball style. It is not clear that the clubs persisted in their preference, or whether their rules were a hybrid of old and new ways.
The clubs' announcements appeared in the Rochester Daily Union and Advertiser for July 2 and 3, 1858, and in the Rochester Democrat and Advertiser for July 21, 1858.
1858.49 Nation Plays Nation - Senecas and Tuscaroras Have an Inter-tribal Game of Base Ball?
"At 2 o'clock a grand annual National Base Ball play, on the [county fair] ground, for a purse of $50, between the Tuscarora and the Seneca tribes of Indians."
Buffalo Daily Courier, September 22, 1858, reporting on the schedule of the Erie County agricultural exhibition. Posted to the 19CBB listserve [date?] by Richard Hershberger.
Richard Hershberger adds: "I usually interpret the word 'national' in this era to mean the New York game." He asks if inter-tribal play was common then. Erie County includes Buffalo.
Note: Gene Draschner notes that the Senecas and Tuscaroras met to play "a game of ball" (lacrosse?) in 1842. Source: Alexandria (VA) Gazette, September 26, 1842, citing the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, date unspecified. See 1842 event description in the 19C Clippings data base at https://protoball.org/Clipping:THE_INDIAN_SPORTS.
So -- was inter-tribal play was common then?
1858.50 New York Game Reaches Philadelphia
[A] "Although the Minerva Club was established in 1857, it members lived a quiet and largely unpublicized existence. The first report of the New York game of baseball in the city was an item noting an 1858 Thanksgiving Day match between two teams composed of members of the Pennsylvania Tigers Social Base Ball and Quoit Club."
[B] 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.
[A] William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning (McFarland, 2009), page 115. His source for the 1858 game is the New York Clipper, November 27, 1858.
[B] From Craig Waff's Games Tab 1.0.
"The quoits part seems to have dropped out of usage pretty quickly, and they changed their name to the Winona BBC the following year. The Winonas disbanded in 1864, bequeathing their trophies to the Keystones."
1858.51 At Harvard, Two Clubs Play Series of Games by New York Rules
The Lawrence Base Ball Club and a club from the Harvard Law School played "regular matches" on campus. The Lawrence Club's 1858 Constitution stipulated that "the Game played by this Club shall be that known under the name of the 'New York Game of Base Ball'" under its March 1858 rules, and that it would play no other game. The dates of the games against the law school and the nature of that club as not known, but accounts exist of intramural games in 1858.
"The Lawrence Base Ball Club," The Harvard Graduates' Magazine, Volume 25 (March 1917), pp 346-350. Accessed 2/16/10 via Google Books search ("lawrence base").
1858.52 Grand Wicket Match in Waterbury CT
Local interest in wicket is seen has having crested in 1858 in western Connecticut. "Games were played annually with clubs from other towns in the state, and the day on which these meetings took place was frequently made a general holiday."
J. Anderson, ed., The Town and City of Waterbury, Volume 3 (Price and Lee, New Haven, 1896), pp. 1102-1103. Accessed 2/16/10 via Google Books search ("mattatuck ball club").
In August 1858, the local Mattatuck club hosted "the great contest" between New Britain and Winsted. The mills were shut down and brass bands escorted the clubs from the railway station to the playing field. New Britain won, and 150 were seated at a celebratory dinner. Local wicket was to die out by about 1860. The Waterbury Base Ball Club began in 1864. Waterbury is about 30 miles SW of Hartford CT. Winsted is about 30 miles north of Waterbury, and New Britain is about 20 miles to the east.
1858.53 At Kenyon College, Base Ball Takes Unusual Form
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.
The College is in Central OH, about 45 miles NE of Columbus.
"Base Ball at Kenyon College," New York Clipper, May 15, 1858.
1858.54 OFBB Variant Played in Buffalo NY; 11 Players, 12 Innings
"Old Fashion Base Ball - The Buffalo Base Ball Club, of this city [Buffalo NY], and the Frontier Club, of Suspension Bridge, will play their first match game, on the grounds of the Buffalo Club . . . . They play by the rules adopted by the Massachusetts State Convention of Ball Players, being the so-called 'old-fashioned base,' or 'round ball' - not the 'toss' or 'national' game. Rare playing may be expected, as this game requires more activity than any other, and the players ore the 'best eleven' from the best two clubs in Western New York."
Buffalo Daily Courier, October 14, 1858. Posted to 19CBB September 1, 2009.
On October 18, the Courier reported that Buffalo won, 80-78, in 12 innings. Player's positions are given, and they include 4 basemen and a short stop, a "thrower" a catcher, and a second "behind."
While the teams nodded to the new [May 1858] Dedham rules for the Massachusetts game, their actual practice varied. The game was evidently played to twelve innings, not to 100 tallies. By 1859, this Buffalo Club played a game according to a three-out-side-out [3OSO] rule availed. Richard wonders if the 12-inning, 3OSO game, found in two other game accounts, was a peculiarity of the Buffalo area.
1858.55 First Club Forms in St. Paul MN
"In December (1858) the first base-ball club was organized, It was called the Olympic: S. P. Jennison, captain."
C. C. Andrews, History of St. Paul, Minnesota (D. Mason and Co., Syracuse, 1890), page 75.
Several Olympic games were covered in the St. Paul Daily Times in 1859, starting in June.
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 California. The game was introduced by Mr. William Babcock of the Atlantic Base Ball Club, of Brooklyn, and was played . . . on the grounds opposite South Park, in the city of San Francisco [CA] on the 10th day of Nov., 1858." A box score is included. It shows W. V. Babcock as batting leadoff, pitching, scoring 3 runs, and also, "[o]wing to the scarcity of parties understanding the game, Mr. Babcock acted as umpire."
"Correspondence. Base Ball in California," Sunday Mercury, January 6, 1861, page 8.
"Not Like They Used to Play: A Veteran of the Diamond Tells of the Early Days," August 8, 1892. (Interview with W. Babcock.) Received from John Thorn, 12/16/12.
SF early baseball specialist Angus Macfarlane points out that this game was not carried in any SF newspaper still extant, despite the fact that many were lauding the game just a few months later (email of 12/15/12). Another report (also lacking a local reference) of the foundation of a club, the San Francisco BBC, appeared in the Spirit of the Times on 3/27/1858. Images exist of a "Boston BBC of San Francisco" organized in 1857, but no further references are known.
Wm Babcock had played with the Gotham Club in the early 1850's, founded and pitched for the Atlantic Club in 1855, and caught "Western Fever" in about 1858 and went to SF.
1858c.57 Modern Base Ball Gets to Exeter Prep [from Doubleday's Home Town!]
"The present game [of baseball] was introduced by George A. Flagg, '62 [and three others and] Frank Wright, '62. Most enthusiastic of these early players was Mr. Flagg, who abandoned the Massachusetts style of baseball for the New York style. The ball then used was a small bag of shot wound with yarn, and could be batted much further than the present baseball. The men just named played among themselves and with town teams. Mr. Wright, of Auburn, New York, was perhaps more responsible than anyone else for bringing the game to New England."
Laurence M. Crosbie, The Phillips Exeter Academy: A History (1923), page 233. Posted to the 19CBB listserve on [date?] by George Thompson. Accessible in snippet view 2/19/2010 via Google Books search (crosbie exeter flagg).
Is c1858 a creditable guess as to when lads in the class of '62 might have begun playing at Exeter? Is a full view available online? Phillips Exeter is in Exeter NH, about 50 miles N of Boston and about 12 miles SW of Portsmouth.
1858.58 First Chicago Club Forms
[A] "A team called the Unions is said to have played in Chicago in 1856, but the earliest newspaper report of a game is found in the Chicago Daily Journal of August 17, 1858, which tells of a match game between the Unions and the Excelsiors to be playing on August 19. A few other games ere mentioned during the same year."
[B] "Though baseball match games had been played in Illinois since the very early 1850's, the first Chicago Club, the Union, was not established until 1856."
[C] "There seems to be some doubt as to when the first baseball club was organized at Chicago, but it has been stated that a club called the Unions played town ball there in 1856."
[D] If these claims are discounted, modern base ball can dated in Chicago in 1858 when a convention of clubs takes place and the Knick rules are published.
[A] Edwina Guilfoil, et. al., Baseball in Old Chicago (Federal Writers' Project of Works Project Administration, 1939), unpaginated page 4.
[B] John R. Husman, "Ohio's First Baseball Game," Presented at the 34th SABR Convention, July 2004.
[C] Alfred Spink, The National Game (Southern Illinois Press, 2000 -- first edition 1910), page 63.
[D] "A Knickerbocker," Base Ball, Chicago Press and Tribune, July 9, 1858.
None of these sources gives a reference to evidence of the 1856 formation of the Union Club, so we here rely on the documented reference to a planned 1858 game.
Jeff Kittel (email of 3/9/2013) notes that there is an August 1857 Chicago Tribune article on a cricket club called the Union Club; perhaps later memories confused the cricket or town ball clubs with a modern-rules base ball club?
Jeff also notes that "[A date of] late 1857/1858 fits the time frame for the spread of the game south and west of Chicago - into Western Iowa by 1858 and St. Louis by 1859, with hints that it's in central Illinois by 1859/60. That spread pattern also fits the economic/cultural spread model that we've kicked around."
Can we find any clear basis for the report of 1856 establishment of modern base ball?
Andreas' Chicago, p. 613, says that the Union Base Ball Club organized Aug. 12, 1856.
Andreas' book claim is obviously referencing a notice in the Chicago Daily Democratic Press, Aug. 12, 1856, p. 3, col. 1:
"Union Base Ball Club.--A company of young men will meet this (Tuesday) evening at the Hope Hose Carriage House at 8 o'clock, to organize under the above name and elect officers for the year.
All active young men who need exercise and good sport, are invited to be present."
1858.59 Ladies and Gentlemen of Dansville NY Play Ball in Afternoons
[A] (p. 51). A letter the Rev. Abram Pryor [?], Editor, Central Reformer, McGrawville, NY wrote to his readers on May 8th from Glen Haven: "The patients instead of being querulous and hypochondriacal, are as cheerful and good natured a company of men and women as one often meets. You can exercise your taste in physical amusements. They range from jumping the rope or a dance, to rowing a boat or walking five miles before breakfast. If you do not like to play ball, you can pitch quoits or hunt partridges . . . or fish for salmon trout."
[B] The entry for Wednesday, March 30, 1859 says: "Our ladies and gentlemen amuse themselves much by ball playing afternoons, and by playing, talking and singing, evenings."
[A] The Letter Box, Vol. 1, No. 6 (15 July 1858). in: Austin, Harriet, N., Dr. and Jackson, James. C., Dr., eds., The Letter-Box. Vols 1 and 2, 1858-9, (Dansville, NY: M. W. Simmons, 1859), 51.
[B] "Doings Current," The Letter Box, Vol. 2, No. 5 (May 1859). in: Austin, Harriet, N., Dr. and Jackson, James. C., Dr., eds., The Letter-Box. Vols 1 and 2, 1858-9, (Dansville, NY: M. W. Simmons, 1859), 37.
Dansville NY (2010 population about 4700) is about 40 miles S of Rochester in western NY. Per the Dansville Historical Society, the facility in question was a water cure (hydropathy) center called Our Home on the Hillside.
1858.60 Natick MA Company Introduces the "Figure 8" Base Ball Stitching
"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."
From Eric Miklich, “Evolution of Baseball Equipment (Continued)”
By Eric Miklich at http://www.19cbaseball.com/equipment-3.html,
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.
1858.62 Baseball Player Compensation
"It is very unwise for any individual to give his services to a club, as a player at matches, in the shape of a 'quid pro quo' for his liabilities as a member, unless he has in his possession, a resolution, duly verified by the officers of the club, to support him in the matter. Otherwise the very first time he happens to be unfortunate in his play at a match, he can, under the by-laws of his club, be either suspended or expelled for the non-payment of dues..."
New York Sunday Mercury Aug. 29, 1858
The Mercury was commenting on the situation of Lem Bergen, a prominent player for the Atlantic of Brooklyn, expelled by the club near the end of the 1857 season. Apparently an informal dues waiver was an early form of player compensation.
1858.63 Another Early African American Club
BASE BALL MATCH -- The darkies of this village and Flushing determined not to be outdone by their white brethren, have recently organized a Club under the name of the "Henson Base Ball Club" of Jamaica, and the "Hunter Base Ball Club" of Flushing. The first match between these two Clubs was played on Saturday last in Flushing and resulted in the defeat of the Henson Club by 15 runs.
The return match will be played in this village on Saturday next, January 1st.
Jamaica, New York "Long Island Farmer", Dec. 28, 1858
from Richard H: Antebellum African American clubs are not my strength, but I believe that the Henson club was known, while the Hunter was not, at least to me.
1858.64 Sunday Mercury Acknowledges English Origin of Base Ball
In response to a letter sent by "A Used-Up Old Cricketer", the New York Sunday Mercury, presumably editor William Cauldwell, acknowledged that base ball was undoubtedly the descendant of the game of the same name long played in England.
New York Sunday Mercury Aug. 15, 1858
1858.4 National Association of Base Ball Players Forms
"[A] "We should add that the convention have adopted, as the title of the permanent organization, 'The National Association of Base Ball Players,' and the association is delegated with power to act upon, and decide, all questions of dispute, and all departures from the rules of the game, which may be brought before it on appeal."
William H. van Cott is elected NABBP President. The chief amendment to the playing rules was to permit called strikes. The "Fly game" was again rejected, by a vote of 18-15.
[B] "The delegates adopted a constitution and by-laws and began the governance of the game of baseball that would continue [to 1870]."
The NA was not a league in the sense of the modern American and National Leagues, but more of a trade association in which membership as easily obtained. . . . Admission was open to any club that made a written application . . . and paid a five dollar admission fee and five dollars in annual dues (later reduced to two dollars per year). The Association met in convention each year, at which time new clubs were admitted."
[A] New York Sunday Mercury, April 11, 1858.
Other coverage: New York Evening Express, March 11, 1858; New York Sunday Mercury, March 14 and 28, 1858; Porter's Spirit of the Times, March 20, 1858; New York Herald, March 14, 1858; New York Clipper, March 20 & April 3, 1858.
[B] William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning (McFarland, 2009), page 49.
Formation of the NABBP, according to the New York Clipper, 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."
1858.69 Challenge Match Played Among Manchester Printers on Fast Day
"The Printers of this city, agreeably to the above [challenge receipt], came to the scratch (sic) at 8 1/2 o'clock [AM], Fast morning, and engaged in the healthy exercises of the ball for about an hour and a half. . . .
"The results of the playing was as follows: [Mirror members won two of three 25-run games, 25-3 "points", 17-25, and 25- 3.]
"The beaten party did the 'fair' thing n the evening, in the way of a supper. A flow of wit and humor closed the day to the satisfaction of the craft."
The formal challenge and its response appear in Supplemental Text, below.
Dollar Weekly Mirror, Manchester NH, April 10, 1858.
This match was also reported in Porter's Spirit of the Times: see https://protoball.org/Manchester_Mirror_printers_v_Other_Manchester_printers_on_6_April_1858.
Bruce Allardice notes that the game was also reported in the Manchester Daily Mirror of April 9, 1858.
Were the challenger's "subs" seen as non-employee ringers or as subordinate Mirror employees?
Is the 20 pace "limit of goals" the distance between bases? Was this variable commonly negotiated in 1858 matches?
This "best-of-3-games-to-25 format was commonly found in matches reported in Syracuse NY. Was it common around New England?
1858.70 Indirect acknowledgement of varying size of baseballs.
War game held at West Point Academy. "Presently a fire ball was discharged so as to fall a little short of the fort, and by its light reveal the situation and condition of the enemy and his works. These balls, though no larger than a good-sized baseball, burned for twenty minutes, or more, so brightly as to made [sic] all the line of attack distinctly visible and illuminate the whole plain".
Alexandria Gazette (Alexandria, VA), 06/18/1858
"though no larger than a good-sized baseball" indicates that baseball sizes were not standardized.
1859.1 First Intercollegiate Ballgame: Amherst 73, Williams 32
In the first intercollegiate baseball game ever played, Amherst defeats Williams 73-32 in 26 innings, played under the Massachusetts Game rules. The contest is staged in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, a neutral site, at the invitation of the Pittsfield Base Ball Club.
The two schools also competed at chess that weekend. A two-page broadsheet tells of Amherst taking on Williams in both base ball and chess. Headline: "Muscle and mind!"
The New York Clipper thought that the game's wimpy ball lessened the fun: "The ball used by Amherst was small, soft, and with so little elasticity that a hard throw upon the floor would cause of rebound of scarcely a foot." Ryczek goes on to say that the ball, while more suitable for plugging than the Association ball, detracted from the excitement of the game because it was not or could not be hit or thrown far.
Pittsfield Sun, July 7, 1859. Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 32-34. Also, Durant, John, The Story of Baseball in Words and Pictures [Hastings House, NY, 1947], p .10. Per Millen, note # 35.
Amherst Express, Extra, July 1 - 2, 1859 [Amherst, MA], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 219.
New York Clipper, cited in William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning (McFarland, 2009), page 127 and attributed to the July 16 issue of the Clipper..
Jim Overmyer, "Baseball Goes to College-- Amherst vs. Williams", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013), pp. 19-20.
A 9/27/2014 New York Times article about the game, by historian Michael Beschloss, appears at https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/27/upshot/the-longest-game-williams-vs-amherst.html.
For a stern critique of the student time spent away from studying, see The Congregationalist [Boston], September 2, 1859, cited at https://ourgame.mlblogs.com/amherst-and-williams-play-the-first-intercollegiate-game-of-baseball-1859-b1c0255f6338, posted January 15, 2018.
A research note by Jim Overmyer on why the game occurred in Pittsfield appears as Supplemental Text below.
For a stern critique of the student time spent away from studying, see The Congregationalist [Boston], September 2, 1859, cited at https://ourgame.mlblogs.com/amherst-and-williams-play-the-first-intercollegiate-game-of-baseball-1859-b1c0255f6338, posted January 15, 2018.
1859.2 Collegiate Game [the First Played by NY Rules?] in NYC
Students at St. John's College [now Fordham College] played a game against St. Francis Xavier's College on Nov. 3, 1859, using the new Association rules. The teams apparently were not regarded as representing their schools, but were base ball clubs formed from among students, and were called the Rose Hill BBC (Fordham) and the Social BBC (St. Xavier's College).
Per Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], p. 32. Sullivan dates the game November 3, 1859, but does not give a source.
New York Sunday Mercury, Nov. 13, 1859, p. 3, carried the result and a box score showing a 33-11 victory for St. John's.
It is not clear whether this qualifies as the first intercollegiate game by modern rules.
The St. Francis Xavier's College in this story is presumably College of St. Francis Xavier, a Mahattan institution that closed in 1913.
Brian McKenna, on 11/8/2015, reports that St. Francis was a college preparatory high school, and suggests that the St. John's side used high school players too.
1859.4 Base Ball Club Forms in Augusta GA: Town Ball Also Reported
[A] A classified ad announcing the meeting of the "Base Ball Club of Augusta."
[B] "Baseball Club formed in Augusta in 1859"
[C] In 1860 it was 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."
[D] "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.
[A] The Augusta Daily Constitutionalist of December 21, 1859.
[B] see note #42 of Patricia Millen, From Pastime to Passion: Baseball and the Civil War (Heritage, 2001), page 80. From a 9/15/1985 clipping found at the Giamatti Center, Cooperstown.
[C] The Daily Chronicle and Sentinel [Augusta?] 1860, specific date unreported.
[D] Source missing at Protoball.
This entry needs clarification and perhaps other work to add sources.
Is there any indication that Association rules were used by the reported base bal club?
1859.5 First [or Second?] Pacific Coast Club, the Eagles, Forms
Seymour, Harold, Baseball: the Early Years [Oxford University Press, 1989], p. 26. [No ref given]
John Thorn, on July 11, 2004, advised Protoball that "a challenge to the citation is a photo at the NBL of the Bostons of San Francisco, with a handwritten contemporary identification 'organized 1857'."
1859.6 African-American Game is Played by "Henson Club" July 4 and/or November 15
[A] Report of July 4 game between Henson and Unknown Clubs
[B] "November 15, 1859 - The first recorded game between two black teams occurred between the Unknowns of Weeksville and the Henson Club of Jamaica (Queens) in Brooklyn, NY."
[A] New York Anglo-African, July 30, 1859. Per Dean Sullivan, pages 34-36.
[B] Email from Larry Lester; taken from his chronology of African American baseball, 8/17/2007.
Chris Hauser, in an email on 9/26/2007, estimates that this notice appeared in the New York Anglo-African, and was referenced in Leslie Heaphy's Negro League Baseball.
Note: Can we get text from the sourced citation [A] , and a source for the text citation [B] ? Was this one game or two? How can we find out more about the "Henson club" and the Unknowns?
1859.7 Southern Game Takes Place in Aristocratic Setting
"A report on one game in 1859 told of 'commodious tents for the ladies spread under the umbrageous branches of the fine old live oaks,' where refreshments were served by the 'polite stewards of the clubs."
Seymour, Harold, Baseball: the Early Years [Oxford University Press, 1989], p. 40. [No ref given.]
Quote is from Porter's Spirit of the Times, October 1, 1859.
1859.8 Sixty Play for Their Suppers
"On Saturday last New Marlborough and Tolland played a game of ball for a supper - Tolland beat. There were 30 players on a side."
Tolland CT is about 20 miles NE of Hartford, and New Marlborough MA is in the SW corner of MA, about 25 miles S of Pittsfield. Looks like this was a game of wicket.
Pittsfield Sun, June 23, 1859. Accessed via subscription search February 17, 2009.
1859.9 Excelsiors and Union Club play for $500 and MA Championship
The two clubs were the Excelsior Club of Upton MA and the Union Club of Medway MA. The Excelsiors won, 100-56, and received $500 in gold. "The game, in which 80 innings were played, occupied nearly 11 hours, and proved quite a treat to those who witnessed it. In 1860 the two clubs would meet for a $1000 purse.
5000 spectators attended the match, including "delegations from many of the clubs throughout the state." Posted to 19CBB on 3/1/2007 by George Thompson.
Writing of this match nearly fifty years later, "H.S" [Presumably Henry Sargent] said it was his recollection that "The attendance was more than 10,000 at each day's play. In the neighboring towns the factories gave their employees holidays to see the game." "H. S.," "Roundball: Baseball's Predecessor and a Famous Massachusetts Game," The New York Sun (Monday, May 8, 1905) page not known. The article features many other aspects of roundball. Sargent (1856-1935) also writes about how as a youth he played roundball, 14 a side, and that he also played three and four old cat.
The New-York Tribune (October 12, 1859), page 5 column 2
New York Clipper, October 22, 1859.
Joanne Hulbert, "The Massachusetts Champions-- Excelsiors of Upton vs. Unions of Medway", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013), pp. 22-23
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.
1859.10 Philadelphia Man Interested in Forming MA Game Club
"We have already several clubs in the neighborhood who I presume play the same game as the New York clubs, which the New York Tribune call a "baby game" if as the article in the Tribune to-day indicates your Massachusetts game is the best we shall be glad to introduce it here."
Letter from William Stokes, Philadelphia to Geo H. Stoddard, Pres., Excelsior Ball Club, Upton Mass, October 18, 1859. From the Mills Commission files at the HOF Giamatti Center.
1859.12 MA Championship: Unions 100, Winthrop 71, in 101 Innings
"The most interesting and exciting game of base ball ever played in Massachusetts. took place at the Agricultural Fair grounds, in boston, on Monday and Tuesday, 26th and 27th September, between the union Club of Medway, and the Winthrop club of Holliston. The match was for the championship of the State..."
Wilkes Spirit of the Times, October 15, 1859. Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809.
Also covered in the New York Clipper, Oct. 15, 1859.
1859.13 First Tour of English Eleven to US and Canada
The All England Eleven confronted 22 US players in a match at the Camac Estate Cricket Ground in Philadelphia, October 10-13, 1859. England overtook the US, 155-154 with seven wickets in hand. The US side comprised 13 Philadelphians and 9 New Yorkers.
The AEE also thumped 22 players from the US and Canada in Rochester NY. In all, the tour comprised eight matches.
John Lester, A Century of Philadelphia Cricket, UPenn Press, Philadelphia, 1951), pages 19-21.
Facsimile of Clipper coverage of the Philadelphia match contributed by Gregory Christiano, 2009.
1859.14 New York Tribune Compares the NY "Baby" Game and NE Game
[A] "That [NY Tribune] article was a discussion, I believe, of the two games, the New York game and the Massachusetts round ball game, with a view to decide which was the standard game. So far as we know, this newspaper indicates that [text obscured] became a sport of national interest. The fact that the club of a little country town up in Massachusetts should be weighed in the balance against a New York club, in the columns of the first paper of the country marks a beginning of national attention to the game."
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."
[B] 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.]
[C] A gentleman from Albany NY wrote to the Excelsiors, saying he was "desirous of organizing a genuine base ball club in our city."
[A] 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.
[B] New York Atlas on October 30, 1859.
[C] Letter from F. W. Holbrook to George H. Stoddard, October 22, 1859; listed as document 67-30 in the Spalding Collection, accessed at the Giamatti Center of the HOF.
1859.15 Games and Sports Covers Rounders, Feeder, Trap-ball, Northern Spell
Games and Sports for Young Boys [London, Warne and Routledge] This book's descriptions of rounders, feeder, trap-ball, and northern spell were cloned from the 1841 publication The Every Boy's Book, but many new woodcuts seem to have been inserted.
David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 221.
1859.16 Boy's Own Toy-Maker Covers Tip-cat and Trap-ball
The Boy's Own Toy-Maker [London, Griffith and Farran]. This book has information on making toys and sporting equipment. It spends two pages on tip-cat and three on "trap, bat, and ball." An American edition [Boston, Shepard, Clark and Brown] also appeared in 1859.
David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 220.
1859.17 Club Forms at College of New Jersey
"The Nassau Base Ball Club is organized on the Princeton campus by members of the class of 1862"
Frank Presby and James H Moffat, Athletics at Princeton (Frank Presby Co., 1901), p.67
Anachronism alert-- in 1862 Princeton was known as the College of New Jersey.
See also item #1857.23
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.
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 Exeter in a desultory fashion for a good many years before it was finally organized into the modern game. On October 19, 1859, Professor Cilley wrote in his diary: 'Match game of Base-Ball between the Phillips club and 17 chosen from the school at large commenced P.M. I was Referee. Two players were disabled and the game adjourned.' Putting a man out by striking him with the ball when he was running bases often led to injury."
Crosbie, Laurence M., The Phillips Exeter Academy: A History, 1923, page 233. Submitted by George Thompson, 2005.
Cilley himself does not attribute the 1859 injuries to plugging.
1859.21 Porter's: MA Game Will Surely Die
"This thing cannot last, and the Massachusetts game will surely die a natural death when the New England clubs come to realize the superiority of base ball, "The New York Game," as played under the rules adopted by the NABBP."
Editorial, Porter's Spirit of the Times? October 1859?? From the ninth segment of Rankin's 1910 history??
Not found in Porter's Spirit of the Times, Oct. 1 - Oct. 8, 1859)
1859.23 Base Ball Would be Welcome in Lowell MA, Town of Factories
"BASE BALL CLUB. We are glad to chronicle the formation of any club whose object is rational out-door amusement and exercise. In a place like Lowell, where a large portion of the working male population is confined eleven hours a day in close rooms, such exercise is especially needed . . . . [Company teams are encouraged.]
Lowell [MA] Daily Journal and Courier, August 1, 1859.
1859.24 CT State Wicket Championship Attracts 4000
"When Bristol played New Britain at wicket for the championship of the state before four thousand spectators in 1859, the Hartford Press reported that there prevailed 'the most remarkable order throughout, and the contestants treated each other with faultless courtesy.'"
A special four-car train carried spectators to the match, leaving Hartford CT at 7:30 AM.
John Lester, A Century of Philadelphia Cricket [UPenn Press, Philadelphia, 1951], page 8.
This game is also covered in Norton, Frederick C., "That Strange Yankee Game, Wicket," Bristol Connecticut (City Printing Co., Hartford, 1907), pages 295-296. Available via Google Books: try search: "'Monday, July 18, 1859' Bristol."
See also Larry McCray, "State Championship Wicket Game in Connecticut: A Hearty Hurrah for a Doomed Pastime," Base Ball Journal, Volume 5, number 1 (Special Issue on Origins), pages 132-135.
1859.25 Buffalo Editor on NY Game - "Child's Play"
"Do our [Buffalo] Base Ball Clubs play the game of the "National Association" - the New York and Brooklyn club game? If so they are respectfully informed by the New York Tribune [see item #1859.14] that the style of Base Ball - what is falsely called the "National" game - is no more like the genuine game of base ball than single wicket is like a full field of cricket. It says, the clubs who have formed what they choose to call the "National Association," play a bastard game, worthy only of boys of ten years of age.
We have not the least idea whether it is the "National Association" game or the "Massachusetts" game that our Clubs play, but we suppose it must be the latter, as we are certain their sport is no "child's play."
Editorial, "Base Ball - Who Plays the Genuine Game?," Buffalo Morning Express, October 20, 1859. From Priscilla Astifan's posting on 19CBB, 2/19/2006. [Cf #1859.14, above.]
1859.26 NY Herald Weighs Base Ball against Cricket
A detailed comparison of base ball and cricket appeared in the
"[C]ricket could never become a national sport in America - it is too slow, intricate and plodding a game for our go-ahead people."
"The home base [in base ball] is marked by a flat circular iron plate, painted white. The pitcher's point . . . is likewise designated by a circular iron plate painted white . . . ."
"The art of pitching consists in throwing it with such force that the batsman has not time to wind his bat to hit it hard, or so close to his person that he can only hit it with a feeble blow."
"[The baseball is] not so heavy in proportion to its size as a cricket ball."
"Sometimes the whole four bases are made in one run."
"The only points in which a the base ball men would have any advantage over the cricketers, in a game of base ball, are two - first, in the batting, which is overhand, and done with a narrower bat, and secondly, in the fact that the bell being more lively, hopping higher, and requiring a different mode of catching. But the superior activity and practice of the [cricket] Eleven in fielding would amply make up for this."
It occupies about two hours to play a game of base ball - two days to play a game of cricket." "[B]ase ball is better adapted for popular use than cricket. It is more lively and animated, gives more exercise, and is more rapidly concluded. Cricket seems very tame and dull after looking at a game of base ball.
"It is suited to the aristocracy, who have leisure and love ease; base ball is suited to the people . . . . "
In the American game the ins and outs alternate by quick rotation, like our officials, and no man can be out of play longer than a few minutes."
New York Herald, October 16, 1859, page 1, columns 3-5.
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 England, and has been for a century or more, under the name of "Rounders," and is essentially an English game.
New York Herald, October 16, 1859, page 1 column 5. Posted to 19CBB on 3/1/2007 by George Thompson.
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, Hoboken. Acting in the capacity of "fielder" he ran after the ball, which rolled into a hole about fifteen feet deep. Slipping and falling in his eagerness to obtain it, his head struck a sharp rock, which fractured his skull. Medical attendance was immediately procured, but the injury was pronounced fatal."
New York Evening Express, October 22, 1859, page 3 column 3. Posted to 19CBB on 3/1/2007 by George Thompson.
1859.29 Annual Meeting of NABBP Decides: Bound Rule, No Pros
The fly rule lost by a 32-30 vote. Compensation for playing any game was outlawed. The official ball shrunk slightly in weight and size. Matches would be decided by single games.
"Base Ball," The New York Clipper (March 26, 1859).
The paper worried that easy fielding would "reduce the 'batting' part of the game to a nonentity
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 (Monday, April 18, 1859), page 11 column 1.
1859.31 New Orleans Leans Toward MA Game?
"New Orleans experiences a boom in 1859 when 7 teams were started and two more followed the next year. These early New Orleans LA nines first used Massachusetts rules, but by 1860 they had all switched to NABBP rules."
Somers, Dale, The Rise of Sports in New Orleans 1850-1900 (Louisiana State Press, Baton Rouge, 1972), footnote 73 on pages 49-50.
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:
[A] "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."
[B] A fortnight later, a return match "in the test game of catching the ball on the fly" was scheduled for August 2, 1859:
[A] New York Morning Express (June 30, 1859), page 3, column 6. Posted to 19CBB by George Thompson, 3/18/2007.
[B] "Knickerbocker vs. Excelsior," New York Morning Post (July 13, 1859), page 3, column 7. A long inning-by-inning game account appears at New York Morning Express (August 3, 1859), page 3, column 7.
The fly rule was not voted in for five more years.
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 Development (Ticknor and Fields, Boston, 1859), page 23.
Maybe Calthrop means "have fun, don't talk so much?" Calthrop was to become a Unitarian minister. He avidly played and taught cricket in England as a young man. [For his other sports connections, see #1851.5 and #1854.13 above.]
1859.34 Lexicographer: "Base Ball" is English!
"BASE. A game of ball much played in America, so called from the three bases or stations used in it. That the game and its name are both English is evident from . . . Halliwell's Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words: 'Base-ball. A country game mentioned in Moor's Suffolk Words, p. 238'." [See #1823.2 - Moor - and #1847.6 - Halliwell above.]
From John Russell Bartlett, Dictionary of Americanisms: A Glossary of Words and Phrases Usually Regarded as Peculiar to the United States, (second edition; Little, Brown and Company; Boston, 1859), page 24.
This attestation of baseball's English roots predates by one year Chadwick's assertion of same, and carries the added significance of coming from a distinguished American lexicographer.
1859.35 Base Ball Community Eyes Use of Central Park
A "committee on behalf of the Base Ball clubs" recently conferred with NY's Central Park Commissioners about opening Park space for baseball. Under discussion is a proviso that "no club shall be permitted to use the grounds unless two-thirds of the members be residents of this city."
"BASE BALL IN THE CENTRAL PARK," The New York Clipper (January 22, 1859), page number omitted from scrapbook clipping.
This issue has been on the minds of baseball at least since the first Rules Convention. The sentiment is that other sports have access that baseball does not. See #1857.2 above.
According to the New York Times of December 11,1858, the Central Park Commission had referred the ballplayers' appeal to a committee. [Facsimile contributed by Bill Ryczek, 12/29/09.]
Is there a good account of this negotiation and its outcome in the literature? How and when was the issue resolved?
1859.36 Why Cover Sports?
"OUT-DOOR SPORTS are gaining in favor and popularity among our people,-- and hence a 'Sporting' department is come to be as much a necessity in the New York Express as it is in any of the London journals. This is not to be regretted. It tends to muscular development; and as there is nothing we Americans so much need as 'muscle', the turf, yachting, cricket, base ball, etc., are things which, combining healthful exercise and innocent amusement, are to be encouraged."
New York Evening Express, June 25, 1859
1859.37 In Wisconsin, Bachelors Win 100-68
"FOX LAKE CLUB. - The Married and Unmarried members of the Wisconsin Club measured their respective strength in a bout at base ball on the 15th inst. The former scored 68 and the latter 100."
New York Clipper (July 2, 1859.)
Fox Lake is 75 miles northeast of Milwaukee. Sounds like they played the MA game, no?
1859.38 NYU Forms a Base Ball Club
The students of New York University were reported to have formed a club. "The Club number 15 to 20 members, and are to meet semi-monthly or oftener, for practice, probably at Hoboken. We hope soon to be able to announce that all our Universities, Colleges, and Schools, have similar institutions attached to them."
New York Clipper, April 9, 1859.
1859.39 Club Organized in St. Louis MO
"CLUB ORGANIZED, - A base ball club was organized in St. Louis, Mo, on the 1st inst. It boasts of being the first organization of the kind in that city, but will not, surely, long stand alone. It numbers already 18 members, officers as follows: President, C. D. Paul; Vice do, J. T. Haggerty; Secretary, C. Thurber; Treasurer, E. R. Paul. They announce their determination to be ready to play matches in about a month.
New York Clipper, September 3, 1859.
In a 4/1/2013 email, Jeff Kittel confirms the date and source of this account, and estimates that this is he oldest primary evidence of base ball, and of a base ball club, in St. Louis.
1859.40 Devotion to MA Game Erodes Significantly
"BASE BALL. - Massachusetts has 37 clubs which play what is known as the Massachusetts game; and 13 which play the New York game."
New York Clipper, July 17, 1859
1859.41 First Game in Canada Played by New York Rules?
"YOUNG CANADA vs. YOUNG AMERICA. - These two base ball clubs of Canada (the former of Toronto, the latter of Hamilton) played the first game of base ball that has ever taken place there, we believe, under the rules of the N. Y. Base Ball Association, on Tuesday, 24th ult., at Hamilton."
The New York Clipper, June 11, 1859
Young Canada prevailed, 68-41.
Are there earlier claims for the first Knicks-style game in Canada? Item #1856.18 above was likely a predecessor game, right?
1859.42 In Chicago IL, Months-old Atlantic Club Claims Championship
Atlantic 18, Excelsior 16. This "well-played match between the first nines of the Atlantic and Excelsior took place on the 15th ult., for the championship. . . . The victorious club only started this spring . . . . They have now beaten the Excelsiors two out of three games played, which entitles them to the championship.
" "Base Ball at Chicago," New York Clipper September 3, 1859, p. 160
So . . . was this construed as the 1859 city crown, just a dyadic rivalry crown, an "until-we-lose-it crown, or what?
1859.43 And It's Pittsburgh We Call the Pirates?
In a game account from August 1859, the writer observes, "with a spicing of New York first rate players, Chicago may expect to stand in the front rank of Base Ball cities."
"Atlantic Club vs. Excelsior Club - Progress of Base Ball in the Great West.," New York Morning Express (August 20, 1859), page 4, column 1. Posted to 19CBB 3/16/2007 by George Thompson.
1859.44 English Social Event Includes Base Ball as Well as Cricket
The activities at an August 1859 event of the Windsor and Eton Literary, Scientific and Mechanics Institute included a one-innings cricket match. In addition, "[a]rchery, trap and base ball, were included in the diversions on the firm-set land, as well as boat-racing open the pellucid flood."
G. W. J. Gyll, The History of the Parish of Wraysbury, Ankerwycke Priory, and Magna Charta Island (H. G. Bohn, London, 1862), page 55. Posted to 19CBB by Richard Hershberger, 3/18/2008.
Richard suggests that this is the last known published reference to home-grown "base ball" play in Britain. This area is about 20 miles west of London. The full list of diversions gives no indication that it was children who were to be diverted at this event, so adult play seems possible.
Would it be helpful to understand what the membership and purposes of the Institute were? Is "trap and base ball" to be construed here as "trap ball," rather than Austen-style base-ball, in this part of Victorian England?
1859.45 In Milwaukee, Base Ball is [Cold-] Brewing
[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."
[A] Milwaukee Sentinel, December 1, 1859.
[B] "Base Ball," Milwaukee Sentinel, April 3, 1860
[D] "Base Ball," Milwaukee Sentinel, June 13, 1860
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.
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 in Rochester, NY, "about two miles from the town, and had been enclosed at great expense. The base-ball game is somewhat similar to the English game of "rounders," as played by school-boys. . . .Caffyn played exceedingly well, but the English thought catching the ball on the first bound a very childish game."
Fred Lillywhite, The English Cricketers' Trip to Canada and the United States (Lillywhite, London, 1860), page 50. The book [as accessed 11/1/2008] can be viewed on Google Books; try a search of "lillywhite canada."
1859.47 Buffalo base ball club sticks to "old-fashioned" game
[A] "The Alden Club, we believe, take exception to the rules and regulations laid down by their competitors...and are desirous of playing another game with the Bethany Club (of Genesee County), according to their own base ball rules."
[B] "The matched game of Base Ball between the Buffalo and Alden clubs was played yesterday afternoon on the Niagara's grounds on Main st. The match was a closely contested one, and resulted in favor of the Buffalo Club, who scored forty-six to thirty-eight runs made by the Alden Club in the twelve innings. The Alden Club have played several matches and have never been beaten before. The game was the old-fashioned one, which calls for more muscle than the New England game."
[A] "The Ball Match Yesterday," Buffalo Daily Courier (August 13, 1859), page 3, column 2.
[B] Buffalo Daily Courier, September 2 and September 5, 1859
The Alden club fielded 15 players to the confront the Niagaras' 12; they included two "behinds" as well as a catcher, two left fielders, two right fielders, a fourth baseman, and one more team member listed simply as "fielder." Both teams' pitchers were termed "throwers." The game was evidently limited to 12 innings instead of to a set total of tallies, as was found in other upstate "old-fashioned base ball" games of this period. Taken at face value, this account implies that three games were played in the region at the time - the New York game, the New England game, and this game. Alden NY is 20 miles due east of downtown Buffalo.
A return match was hosted by the Alden club on September 3rd, with the Buffalo New York and Erie railroad offering half-price fares to fans. Alden won, "by 96 to 22 tallies."
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, (for neither club knows anything of the other's game, and it was expressly stipulated that neither should practice the other's) but merely for he novelty and sport of the thing; each club expecting to appear supremely ridiculous at the other's game."
Buffalo Daily Courier, September 10, 1859.
The Buffalo Morning Express later reported that the Niagaras lost the wicket game, and that attendance was good; the result of the base ball game is not now known.
1859.49 Clubs Form in New Orleans LA, Interclub Play Begins
"The first interclub game reported in Louisiana took place on September 15, 1859, when the Empire Club beat the Louisiana Club, 77-64, a game which took two days to complete."
William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning (McFarland, 2009), page 113. (no ref. given). A report and box score appears in the New York Clipper, Oct. 8, 1859.
The first “match” game in New Orleans between two different clubs was played August 12, 1859 between the Empire and Louisiana Base Ball Clubs, won by Empire [Times-Picayune, August 13, 1859]. [ba]
Another pair of clubs followed closely. The Southern and Magnolia clubs played in early October. [John Husman, "Ohio's First Baseball Game," July 16, 2004, page 4 (no source given).]
1859.51 Girls Play Base Ball at Eagleswood School
Francis Dana Gage
In 1859, the women's rights advocate and abolitionist Frances Dana Barker Gage wrote a letter from St. Louis to physician friends at the Glen Haven Water Cure in New York. She informed them of positive advancements in physical fitness for students at the Eagleswood School in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Among the games both male and female students were playing was base ball.
Gage concluded that she was planning to ask the principal at Dansville Seminary (in St. Louis?) to add baseball to its program for girls too.
"Muscle Looking Up," Austin, Harriet, N., Dr. and Jackson, James. C., Dr., eds., The Letter-Box, Vols 1 and 2, 1858-9, (Dansville, NY: M. W. Simmons, 1859), 99.
Is this the first time, as far as we know, that females played base ball by modern rules?
1859.54 First Reference to Change-of-Pace Pitching?
In a discussion of the early evolution of fast ("swift") pitching, Richard Hershberger noted:
"For what it is worth, my earliest reference to a change of pace is from 1859:
"[Eckford vs. Putnam 7/1/1859] Mr. Pidgeon (their pitcher) at first annoyed the strikers on the opposite side somewhat, by his style of pitching–first very slow, then a very swift ball; but the Putnam players soon got posted, and were on the look-out for the 'gay deceivers.'"
New York Sunday Mercury July 3, 1859
1859.55 First Fly Baseball Game
On June 30, 1859, the Knickerbocker Club hosted the Excelsior club of South Brooklyn in the first interclub match played without the bound rule. The 1859 NABBP convention had okayed such games if agreed upon between the clubs.
New York Sunday Mercury, July 3, 1859
Craig Waff, "Caught on the Fly-- Excelsiors of South Brooklyn vs. the Knickerbockers of New York", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013), p. 16-17
1859.56 Ten to One
At the American Cricket Convention in April 1859:
"Mr. Wallace, of the St. George's club, stated that there would be a cricket ground in the Central Park, but it would not be finished this year, and when finished, the base ball players would claim it. As there were ten base ball players for one cricket player, it was very doubtful as to who would get the ground, though the Commissioners were willing to favor the cricketers."
New York Sun, May 3, 1859
1859.58 NABBP Makes One Little Rule Change
"Rule 16.-- No ace or base can be made upon a foul ball, nor when a fair ball has been caught without having touched the ground ; and the ball shall in the former instance be considered dead and not in play until it shall first have been settled in the hands of the pitcher. In either case, the players running the bases shall return to them."
New York Sunday Mercury, March 20, 1859
The NABBP meeting had decisively rejected the "fly game", 47-15, but accepted this compromise: when a ball was caught on the fly, runners had "tag up" before advancing. On balls caught on one bounce, they did not.
1859.66 Proto-Sports Bar
ENGLISH PLUM PUDDING AND ROAST BEEF FOR DINNER, TO-DAY. Also partridges, green turtle soup, and steaks.
RICHARDSON & McLEOD, 106 Maiden lane, corner Pearl.
Call and see the cricket and base ball books and bulletins.
New York Herald, Sep. 7, 1859
This may not actually have been the first establishment to cater to base ballists. The New York Sunday Mercury noted on Jan. 9, 1859, that "Mr. William P. Valentine, president of the Phantom Base Ball Club, has opened a dining saloon in Broadway, adjoining Wallack's Theatre, which he styles the 'Home Base'."
1859.60 Please Do Not Kill the Umpire
After the Jersey City Courier had excoriated the umpire, Mr. Morrow of the Knickerbocker, for his efforts in a game between the Empire and Excelsior Clubs, Joe Leggett, captain of the Excelsior, wrote to the New York Sunday Mercury defending him, and the Mercury editorialized as follows:
"Every gentleman who officiates as umpire is selected by the captains, but the position, in consequence of the grumbling, and not unfrequently insulting remarks of outsiders, has become so unenviable, that it is difficult to get any one to assume the place...we do think that common decency, and gentlemanly courtesy, should, under the circumstances of the case, restrain all comment upon the proceedings, on the part of the spectators of a match."
Jersey City Courier, Sep. 15, 1859
New York Sunday Mercury, Sep. 18, 1859
In the New York City area, umpires were players from other clubs who umpired upon request.
1859.61 Base Ball Lampooned
"OUR SPORTSMAN. Sporting matters are beginning to lost their summer time piquancy, and the racing season will soon be gone, at least in this country. The cricketers and base ball heroes still keep up an excitement among themselves.
Apropos of base ball. Conversing with a member of one of the Ball Clubs, we noticed a deformity in his hand.
'What is the matter with your finger?"
'Struck by a ball and drove up--' was the reply 'but it is a noble game.'
'Precisely--and your thumb, it is useless, is it not?'
'Yes, struck with a ball and broken.'
'That finger joint?'
'A ball struck it. No better game to improve a man's physical condition, strengthen one's sinews."
'You walk lame; that foot, isn't it?'
'No; it's the--the--the--well, a bat flew out of a player's had and hit my knee pan. He had the innings."
'One of your front teeth is gone?'
'Knocked loose by a ball--an accident though.'
'Your right hand and your nose have been peeled--how's that?'
'Slipped down, at second base--mere scratch.'
'And you like all this fun?'
'Glory in it, sir. It is a healthy game, sir.'
We can't say we coincided with the enthusiastic member. Perhaps we are rather timid concerning the welfare and safety of our limbs--and this timidity has an undue influence on our mind. Be that as it may, we have no inclination to try our hand at the game...we will drop the subject with the same celerity which would mark our process of dropping one of those leather covered balls, were it to come in violent contact with our delicate fingers."
New York Atlas, Sep. 18, 1859
1859.62 Plea for Amateurism
CRICKETING. That eleven men who have devoted their youth and manhood to playing cricket, and have made their living thereby, should be able to beat twice that number who have played that game occasionally for exercise and recreation, is not at all surprising...We have steadily and ardently favored the recent efforts made in this country for the creation and diffusion of a popular taste for muscular outdoor amusements. We believe our industrious people have too few holidays, and devote too few hours to health-giving, open-air recreations... and we should be glad to hear of the inclosure of of a public play-ground, and formation of a ball-club in every township in the Union...But play should be strictly a recreation, never a business. As a pursuit, we esteem it a very bad one...Let us have ball-clubs, cricket-clubs, and as many more such as you please, but not professional cricket-players any more than professional card-players. We trust that the Eleven of All England are to have no imitators on this side of the ocean."
New York Tribune, Oct. 8, 1859
The All England Eleven played in Canada, New York City, Philadelphia, and Rochester in the fall of 1859, playing on occasion against 22 opponents, to provide competition.
1859.63 What Must I Do to Be Physically Saved?
"For a great many years, a great many people, particularly in this great country, have been asking what they should do to be physically saved?...We are pretty sure that the mania for cricket, which has followed the base ball madness, will not be without its blessings...we cannot imagine a dyspeptic cricketer-- no! not after he has received many balls in the pit of his stomach."
In a two-part series under the title "Muscle Looking Up" The New York Tribune explored the past and present of the physical culture movement in the United States, noting approvingly the trend to emphasize sportive exercise, and hoping that it will be extended to approval of exercise for both men and women.
New York Herald Tribune, Oct. 7 and Oct. 15, 1859
1859.65 New For 1859: Rumors of Player Movement
[A] "RESIGNATION-- We understand that Brown (formerly catcher for the Eckford Club), and Post (catcher for the Astoria) have resigned, and become members of the Putnam Base Ball Club. Both of these gentlemen have stood A no. 1 in their respective clubs, and their retirement must prove a serious loss thereto, while the Putnams become materially strengthened by the addition to their number."
[B] "BALL PLAY-- ...We notice that several important changes have taken place in the Brooklyn clubs. Amongst others we learn that Pidgeon, of the Eckford, has joined the Atlantic; Brown, also of the Eckford, has gone into the Putnam club; and Grum in the Excelsior. The Stars have divided themselves, and many of them, Creighton and Flanley in particular, having joined the Excelsior. Dickinson goes into the Atlantic. The trial for the championship, next season, will be between the Atlantic, Excelsior, and Putnam's...We have not heard of any particular changes in the leading clubs of New York...The Union of Morrisania will gain one or two strong players next season.
[A] New York Sunday Mercury, Nov. 20, 1859
[B] New York Clipper, Nov. 26, 1859
After the Eckford Club contradicted the claim that several players were resigning and moving to other clubs, the Clipper issued a retraction on December 3: "...we are pleased to learn that it is not correct, for we do not approve of these changes at all."
1859.67 Debunking DeBost
"We think the Knickerbockers were defeated (in their first fly game with the Excelsior of Brooklyn), through the foolishness, fancy airs, and smart capers of De Bost. Like a clown in the circus, he evidently plays for the applause of the audience at his 'monkey shines," instead of trying to win the game...But so long as the spectators applaud his tom-foolery, just so long will he enact the part of a clown."
New York Atlas, July 3, 1859
Knickerbocker catcher Charles DeBost, whether a clown or not, was acknowledged as the best catcher in the game in the 1850s. He had been selected to catch for the New York team in the Fashion Race Course games with Brooklyn in 1858. He was so incensed by the Atlas's criticism that he announced his retirement from the sport. Criticized for its criticism, the Atlas responded on its issue of July 31, 1859:
"The gentleman must recollect that a great deal is expected of a player of his reputation...We still fail to discover the extreme grace and refinement displayed, when a player in a match attempts to catch a ball with that portion of his body that is usually covered by his coat-tail...We shall not allow ourselves to be disturbed by any insinuations from those who are but the mouthpieces of two or three old fogy clubs."
Did DeBost actually stay retired at this point?
1859.69 First Seasonal Analysis Includes Primordial Batting Statistic
On December 10, 1859, the New York Clipper printed a seasonal analysis of the performance of the Excelsior Club of Brooklyn, including two charts with individual batting and fielding statistics for each member of the club. Compiled by Henry Chadwick, he described it as the “first analysis of a Base Ball Club we have seen published.”
Within the “Analysis of the Batting” were two columns titled “Average and Over,” reflecting the rate at which batters scored runs and made outs per game. These averages were in the cricket style of X—Y, where X is the number of runs per game divided evenly (the “average”) and Y is the remainder (the “over”). For instance, Henry Polhemus scored 31 runs in 14 games for the Excelsiors in the 1859 season, an average of 2—3 (14 divides evenly into 31 twice, leaving a remainder of 3).
New York Clipper (New York City, NY), 10 December 1859: p. 268
For a short history of batting measures, see Colin Dew-Becker, “Foundations of Batting Analysis,” p 1 – 9:
1860.1 75 Clubs Playing Massachusetts Game in MA
Wilkes' 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.
According to the Boston Herald (April 9, 1860), the MABBP convention drew only 33 delegates from 12 clubs.
The claim of 75 clubs appears in the MABBP's convention announcement.
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 (1861-1865) as the game of choice. The Massachusetts Game, though played throughout the war in various settings, loses ground rapidly following the Civil War. Other baseball variants also recede in popularity. By the end of the 1860's the New York Game predominates everywhere and is frequently referred to as "our National Game" or "our National Pastime." Cricket remains an elitist game, available for the most part in larger cities and limited in appeal.
1860.2 Ten Thousand Players!
At the annual meeting of the National Association, held on the 14th of last March, sixteen new clubs were admitted as members, and eighteen others were admitted at the meeting held on the 12th of December-- making in all eighty-eight senior clubs now represented in the National Association of Base Ball Players. As each of these clubs now average from thirty-five to forty members, the total number of ball-players so represented in the Association, may be safely estimated at three thousand. In addition to this large number, there are probably as many as one hundred senior clubs in this city and vicinity, and in the cities throughout the State, which have not yet joined the Association, and which have, perhaps, a membership of not less than three thousand. And if we add to these the not less than two hundred junior clubs of New York, Brooklyn, and vicinity-- comprising at least two thousand members-- it will be a safe calculation to say, that the game of base ball during the season of 1860 afforded amusement and invigorating exercise to at least TEN THOUSAND ACTIVE MEMBERS of base-ball clubs."
New York Sunday Mercury, Dec. 30, 1860
Not all club members played, but considering that Mercury editor William Cauldwell was only taking in Greater New York City, his figure is conservative.
1860c.4 Four Teams of African-Americans, All in the NYC Area, Are Reported
[A] “The earliest known account of a ball game involving African Americans appeared in the New York Anglo-African on July 30, 1859. In this Fourth of July contest, ‘the venerable Joshua R. Giddings made the highest score, never missing the ball when it came to him.’ Giddings was a sixty-four-year-old white Republican Congressman known for his passionate opposition to slavery.”
[B] "We, the members of the Colored Union Base Ball Club, return our sincere thanks to you for publishing the score of the game we played with the Unknown, of Weeksville on the 28th ult. [September 28, 1860]). We go under the name the "Colored Union," for, if we mistake not, there is a white club called the Union in Williamsburg at the present time." The letter goes on to report a game against the Unknown Club on October 5, 1860. The Colored Union club eventually won with 6 runs in the ninth.
[A] Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 34-35
[B] New York Sunday Mercury, October 14, 1860, col. 5-6. Cited in Dixon, Phil, and Patrick J. Hannigan, The Negro Baseball Leagues: A Photographic History [Amereon House, 1992], pp. 31-2
The four were the Unknown (Weeksville), Monitor (Brooklyn), Henson (Jamaica), and Union (Brooklyn). Weeksville was a town founded by freedmen. Its population in the 1850s was about 500.
For a sample of a contemporary humorous treatment, see the account of the 1862 game between the Unknown and Monitor Clubs in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Oct. 17, 1862.
1860.5 NY Game is Called Dominant in CA
"Many new clubs are being formed, and it gives me pleasure to state that the "National Association," or New York game, is the only style of ball playing at all encouraged in California."
Wilkes Spirit of the Times, December 1, 1860. Per Millen, Patricia, From Pastime to Passion: Baseball and the Civil War (Heritage Books, 2007), p. 8.
1860.6 Chadwick's Beadle's Appears, and the Baseball Literature is Launched
The first annual baseball guide appears. It is emblematic, perhaps, of the transformation of base ball into a spectator sport. The 40-page guide includes rules for Knickerbocker ball, the new NABBP ("Association") rules, rules for the Massachusetts game, and for rounders. Chadwick includes a brief history of base ball, saying it is of "English origin" and "derived from rounders."
Block observes: "For twenty-five years his pronouncements remained the accepted definition of the game's origins. Then the controversy erupted. First John Montgomery Ward and then Albert Spalding attacked Chadwick's theory. Ultimately, their jingoistic efforts saddled the nation with the Doubleday Myth."
Chadwick, Henry, Beadle's Dime Base-Ball Player: A Compendium of the Game, Comprising Elementary Instructions of the American Game of Base Ball [New York, Irwin P. Beadle].
Per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, (2005), page 221.
See also 1861.47.
Chadwick emigrated from western England, and is reported to have been familiar with rounders there.
His claim that American base ball had evolved from English rounders was long refuted by fans of the American game.
In 1871 Chadwick identified Two-Old-Cat as the parent of American base ball. See 1871.20
Is it possible that English rounders itself had evolved from English base ball as played in the eighteenth century?
1860.7 Excelsiors Conduct Undefeated Western NY Road Trip. . ."First Tour Ever? First $500 Player Ever?
[A] "The Excelsiors of Brooklyn leave for Albany, starting the first tour ever taken by a baseball club. They will travel 1000 miles in 10 days and play games in Albany, Troy, Buffalo, Rochester, and Newburgh."
[B] In announcing the tour, a Troy paper noted: "The Excelsior Club of Brooklyn, who have pretty well reduced base ball to a science, and who pay their pitcher [Jim Creighton] $500 a year, are making a crusade through the provinces for the purpose of winning laurels."
[C] News of the triumphant return of the Excelsiors appeared in The item started: "The Excelsior , the crack club of Brooklyn, and one of the best in the United States, returned home of Thursday of last week, after a very pleasant tour to the Western part of the State. During their trip, they played games with several [unnamed] clubs, and we believe were successful on every occasion."
[A] Baseballlibrary.com - chronology entry for 6/30/1860.
[B] "Base Ball," Troy Daily Whig Volume 26, number 8013 (Tuesday, July 3, 1860), page 3, column 5. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.
[C] "Base Ball," Spirit of the Times, Volume 30, number 24 (Saturday, July 21, 1860), page 292, column 1. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.
Craig Waff, "The Grand Excursion-- The Excelsiors of South Brooklyn vs. Six Upstate New York Teams", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013), pp. 24-27
The New York Sunday Mercury noted on April 29 that the Excelsior were organizing a tour, and announced on June 17 that arrangements had been completed.
1860.9 Fly Game Wings Its Way to Boston
"Base Ball. Bowdoin vs. Trimountain. These two Clubs played a friendly match on the Common Saturday afternoon...This is the first "fly" game played between the clubs.
Boston Herald, Sep. 24. 1860
The NABBP had at its March 1860 convention permitted member clubs to elect to play fly games.
1860.10 Atlantics Are Challenged to Play MA Game for $1000 Stake, But Decline
[A] "In a long talk with "Bill" Lawrence, who put up the money for the Upton-Medway game, and himself a player on the mechanics Club of Worcester, he tells me that just before the war - he thinks in 1860 - he went to New York with Mr. A. J. Brown (now dead), of Worcester, and challenged the Atlantics of Brooklyn to come to Worcester and play the Uptons for 1000 dollars; the game to be the "Massachusetts Game" and not the "New York Game," which was the game played by the Atlantics. The winner to get the entire $1,000; the loser nothing. After a good deal of consideration the challenge was not taken up by the Atlantics, on the ground that the players could not spare sufficient time for the practice requisite for such an important match; the officials of the Atlantic Club at the same time scoffing at the idea that could beat the Uptons or any other Club."
[B] In a posting to 19CBB on 7/31/2005 [message 4], Joanne Hulbert reports on four articles from the Worcester Daily Spy 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 by any but the New York game."
Letter from Henry Sargent, Worcester MA to the Mills Commission, June 25, 1905.
Worcester Daily Spy [July 16, July 17, July 17, and August 4.]
1860.12 Baltimore MD Welcomes Visiting Excelsiors of Brooklyn, and See A Triple Play
[A] "A great match at base ball comes off here today between the Excelsior Club of Brooklyn, and a Club of the same name belonging to this city. . . . Thousands are already on their way in the City Rail Road cars and on foot to witness this exhibition of skill on the part of these, said to be he two most expert clubs in the country n this exhilarating game. Several clubs belonging to other cities are here to witness and enjoy the sport."
[B] They saw one of the first recorded triple plays. 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]."
[A] Macon [GA] Weekly Telegraph, October 4, 1860, reprinting from a Baltimore source. Accessed via subscription search May 21, 2009.
[B] "Out-Door Sports: Base Ball: The Southern Trip of the Excelsior Club," Sunday Mercury, Volume 22, number 40 (September 30, 1860), page 5, columns 2 and 3.
The game was reported in the Greater New York City press.
1860.13 Town Ball Hangs on in Philadelphia
The New York Clipper of August 11, 1860, page 132, carries accounts of two July town ball games in Philadelphia PA,  one involving the Olympics and  another involving two second-team elevens.
New York Clipper August 11, 1860, page 132
Richard Hershberger comments: "This is interesting on several counts. This is firm evidence that that the Olympics did not completely give up town ball the previous May , as is usually reported. It also shows that not only were there at least two other clubs playing town ball, but that there was enough interest for them to field second teams." Richard Hershberger posting to 19CBB, 1/31/2008.
1860.14 Potomacs "Conquer" Nationals in Washington
"For many reasons this game has excited more interest than any other ever played hereabouts." "Geo Hibbs, Dooley, and Beale of the National, went into the "corking" line pretty largely, the latter leading the score of his side."
"Base Ball: Potomac vs. National: the Conquering Game," Washington [DC] Evening Star, October 23, 1860, page 3.
The Evening Star carries a full game account and box score. It was the deciding game of the match.
1860.16 Mercantile BB Club of Philadelphia Subject to Light Poetry
Owed 2 Base Ball in Three Can't-Oh's! (McLaughlin Bros, Philadelphia, 1860) per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 222.
1860.17 Base Ball vs. Cricket
In a lengthy article, The Clipper (probably Henry Chadwick) explores the comparison of cricket to baseball, and the question of the suitability of baseball players as cricketers. Proposes matches between cricketers and baseballists. The Clipper returned to one point, the superiority of baseballists as fielders, in articles on Nov. 10 and Nov. 17, 1860.
New York Clipper, April 28, 1860
1860.18 Juniors Organize in NYC
[A] THE CONVENTION OF THE JUNIOR CLUBS.-- On Friday evening last,in accordance with an invitation from the Powhatan Club, of Brooklyn, a convention of delegates from the junior clubs was held at their rooms, for the purpose of forming an organization for the better regulation of matches...The following delegates were present from their respective clubs: (delegates from 31 clubs listed)
[B] THE JUNIOR CONVENTION.-- The second meeting of the delegates from the Junior Clubs was held , at Brooklyn, and the report of the Committee on Constitutions and By Laws was received and accepted. The Constitution of the Senior organization was accepted with...amendments...the Bylaws of the Seniors were adopted without amendment." The convention adopted the name "National Association of Junior Base Ball Players."
[C] The new association's first meeting convened in New York City on January 9, 1861.
[A] New York Sunday Mercury, Oct. 7, 1860
[B] New York Clipper, Oct. 20, 1860
[C] New York Sunday Mercury, Jan. 20, 1861
The Junior clubs had been excluded from membership in the National Association of Base Ball Players at the time of its formation in 1858.
1860.19 Second Annual Chadwick Guide Prints Season Stats for the Year
This second annual guide printed 1860 statistics for players and teams and contains rule revisions.
Chadwick, Henry, Beadle's Dime Base-Ball Player for 1861 [New York, Ross and Tousey], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 222.
1860.20 Lincoln Awaits Nomination, Plays Town Ball . . . or Handball?
 "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."
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."
 Interview with Charles S. Zane, 1865-66: "I was present in the Illinois State Journal on the day when Lincoln was nominated: he was present & when he received the news of the 3d Ballot. Lincoln Said I Knew it would Come to this when I Saw the 2d. Ballot. . . . Lincoln played ball pretty much all the day before his nomination – played at what is called fives – Knocking a ball up against a wall that served as an alley – He loved this game – his only physical game – that I Knew of – Lincoln said – This game makes my shoulders feel well."
 Henry C. Whitney, Lincoln the Citizen [Current Literature Publishing, 1907], page 292.
 Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln (U Illinois Press, 1998), page 492.
 "How Lincoln Received the Nomination," [San Francisco CA] Daily Evening Bulletin vol.10 number 60 (Saturday, June 16, 1860), page 2 column 3.
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. (But also see 1830s.16 on a younger Abe Lincoln and town ball in the 1830s).
Source  above contains other accounts of the nomination story. They support the idea that Lincoln "played ball" the day before the nomination, but it seems fairly clear that the game played was "fives," presumable a form of handball. For a very helpful submission from Steve Gietschier on the content of Herndon's Informants, see the Supplemental Text, below.
A political cartoon of the day showed Lincoln playing ball with other candidates. It can be viewed at http://www.scvbb.org/images/image7/.
Thanks to Kyle DeCicco-Carey for the link.
Is the cartoon dated? Is a location given?
Is the content from source , from 1860, known?
1860.22 Educatin' the Readers
[A] "BALL PLAY. A CORRECT SCORE OF A BASE BALL MATCH.-- We give the following score of the contest between the Atlantic and Star Club, as a sample of how the scores of all first-class matches should be kept, in order that a complete analysis of the player's play may be obtained at the close of the year...We trust that the National Association will present to the next convention some plan of scoring that can be generally adopted, like that of the cricket clubs, which is a complete system...Next season we shall give more space to base ball...In the meantime, we shall present to our readers many interesting articles in reference to the game..."
[B] Between February and April, 1860, the Clipper followed uo with a series of six articles on various aspects of the game, from starting a club to playing the positions.
[C] Later in the year: "NEW SCORE BOOK.-- We have recently been shown an improved score book for the game of base ball, just published by Messrs. Richardson and McLeod, 106 Maiden-lane. It is a vast improvement on the old score book, and must commend itself to general adoption by base ball clubs, as it contains the rules and regulations of the game as adopted by the National Association of Base Ball Clubs (sic), with admirably arranged columns . The score book is sufficient for one hundred games, at the low price of two dollars."
[A] New York Clipper, Jan. 14, 1860
[B] New York Clipper, Feb. 18, 1860 - April 7, 1860
[C] Wilkes' Spirit of the Times, June 9, 1860.
The Clipper's effort was part of Henry Chadwick's push to encourage the formation of clubs and make base ball a more "scientific" game, by publishing instructions and collecting statistics.
Richardson and McLeod ran a restaurant at 106 Maiden Lane that catered to base ballists. See 1859.66
The instructional material mirrored the "X" Letters published in Porter's Spirit of the Times in 1857-1858. See 1857.42
1860.23 NY Game Gets to ME
"The first documented game of baseball to actually be played in Maine took place on October 10, 1860. . . . that October saw the Sunrise Club of Brunswick host the senior class team of Bowdoin [College] at the Topsham Fair Grounds."
Anderson, Will, Was Baseball Really Invented in Maine? (Will Anderson, Publisher, Portland, 1992), page 1. Anderson appears to rely on The Brunswick Telegraph, October 12, 1860.
Topsham Fair Grounds are 1 1/2 miles from Brunswick, across the Androscoggin River
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."
Thayer, William M., The Bobbin Boy; Or, How Nat Got His Learning. An Example for Youth (J. E. Tilton, Boston, 1860), pages 50-55.
The boys' game is not further described. See also #1860.15
1860c.26 British Book Shows Several Safe-Haven Games - Cricket, Rounders, Feeder, Nine Holes, Doutee Stool, and Stoolball
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]."
Ball Games with Illustrations (Routledge and Sons, London, 1860 [as annotated by the MCC]). Per Google Books, published in 1867.
1860c.27 Playing of Hole-less Two-Old-Cat in Providence RI
"Baseball, as now [in 1915] so popularly played by the many strong local, national and international "nines," was quite unheard of in my boyhood. To us . . . the playing of "two old cat" was as vital, interesting and captivating as the present so-well-called National Game. . . . Four boys made the complement for that game. Having drawn on the ground two large circles, distant about ten or twelve feet from each other in a straight line, a boy with a bat-or 'cat-stick,' as it was called - in hand stood within each of those circles; back of each of those boys was another boy, who alternately was a pitcher and catcher, depending upon which bat the ball was pitched to or batted from. If a ball was struck and driven for more or less distance, then the game was for the boys in the circles to run from one to the other a given number of times, unless the boy who was facing the batter should catch the ball, or running after it, should secure it, and, returning, place it within one of those circles before the prescribed number of times for running from one to the other had been accomplished; or, if a ball when struck was caught on the fly at close range, then that would put a side out. The boys, as I have placed them in twos at that old ball game, were called a side, and when a side at the bat was displaced, as I have explained, then the other two boys took their positions within the circles. It was a popular game with us, and we enjoyed it with all the gusto and purpose as does the professional ball player of these later days."
Farnham, Joseph E. C., Brief Historical Data and Memories of My Boyhood Days in Nantucket Providence, R.I. (Snow & Farnham, 1915) pages 90-91.
Farnham was born in 1849. This account seems to imply that some minimum number of crossings from base to base was required to avoid an out.
1860.28 New England Publication Admits New Dominance of NY Game
"BASE BALL. The game of Base Ball is fast becoming in this country what Cricket is in England, - a national game. It has a great advantage over the Gymnasium and other exercise, because it combines simplicity with a healthful exercise at a very trifling expense; bandit is universally acknowledged as a very exciting and also interesting sport. The so called "New York Game," established by the National Association of Base Ball Players, which meets annually at New York, is fast becoming popular in New England, and in fact over the whole country, not only as giving a more equal share in the game but also requiring a greater attention, courage, and activity than in the old game, sometimes called the Massachusetts Game. The first club established in New England to play this new game was organized under the name of "Tri-Mountain Base Ball Club of Boston," and for a long while they were the only club in this section of the country. It seemed hard to give up the old game, but the motto of the Tri-Mountain was "Success," and from time to time during the past two years, there have been similar clubs organized, until at the present time the number is quite flourishing; and the New York Game bids fair to supplant all others.
Farmers Cabinet Volume 58, number 42 (May 16, 1860), page 2.
1860.29 "Canadian Game" Espied in Ontario
"Despite early experimentation with Cartwright's game, Oxford County [ON] inhabitants persisted with their regional variation of baseball for over a decade. . . . In 1860 matches between Beachville's sister communities Ingersoll and Woodstock involved eleven, rather than nine, players, and used four, rather than three bases. This prompted the New York Clipper [of August 18, 1860] to refer to the type of baseball played in the region as being the "Canadian Game."
N. B. Bouchier and R. K. Barney, "A Critical Examination of a Source on Early Ontario Baseball," Journal of Sport History Volume 15, number 1 (Spring 1988), page 85.
The authors say that the extra positions were "4th base" and "backstop." They suggest that the game was still closer to the Massachusetts game than the NY game. Oxford County's ballplaying towns are roughly at the midpoint between Buffalo NY and Detroit, and roughly 50 miles from each.
Can we find that Clipper report? Does the use of two backstops imply the continued application of tick-and-catch rules?
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 Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1860 when a team of local wicket players easily defeated a team of experience local cricket players."
Tom Melville, The Tented Field: the History of Cricket in America (Bowling Green State U Popular Press, Bowling Green OK, 1998), page 10. Melville cites the source of the match as the Waterbury American (August 31, 1860), page 21.
Can we locate and examine this 1860 article? A: It is apparently not online.
1860.31 Base Ball Crosses State of Missouri
"BASE BALL IN MISSOURI: St. Joseph, Mo, April 7, 1860. Friend Clipper: On Saturday last, a" jovial party" met on the ground near the cemetery, to engage in he healthful and vigorous game of ball; parties were paired off, and the game was one of lively interest to all. After the game was closed, it was decided to form a "Ball Club". . . . On motion of Jos. Tracy, the name of the Club was fixed as the "Franklin Base Ball Club."
New York Clipper, April 21, 1860, p.7
St. Joseph is about 30 miles north of Kansas City MO. There is no solid clue here as to whether this team was to follow rules for the New York game.
1860.32 Milwaukee Press Not Unanimous About the "Miserable" New York Rules
In May 1860, The Milwaukee Sentinel quoted The [Daily Milwaukee] News as recently reporting that the Janesville Base Ball Club expected to challenge a Milwaukee club to "a friendly contest" that year. The News added: "Unfortunately however, the Janesville club plays the good old fashioned game of Base Ball, while our clubs play under the new code, (which we must here beg leave to say is, in our estimation, a miserable one, and in no way calculated to develope[sic] skill or excite interest . . .)"
The previous day, the Milwaukee Sentinel had responded to the News piece calling the new rules "miserable" by writing that "We don't think much of the judgement 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."
The Daily Milwaukee News of May 17, 1860 offered this: "Waiting for a ball to bound, instead of catching it on the fly . . . and various other methods of play adopted by this new-fangled game, looks to us altogether too great a display of laziness and inactivity to suit our notions of a genuine, well and skillfully conducted game of Base Ball. . . . We shall soon expect to hear that the game of Base Ball is played with the participants lying at full length upon the grass." Give us the 'old fashioned game' or none at all."
Daily Milwaukee News, May 15, 1860
Milwaukee Sentinel, May 16, 1860
Janesville Daily Gazette, September 1, 1860
The Janesville WI ball club wasn't so sure about this new Eastern game, and apparently continued to play by the old rules: On September 1, 1860, the Janesville Daily Gazette carried a box score for a game between the Janesville Base Ball Club and the Bower City Base Ball Club of Janesville reporting a 'match game' on August 31.
Bower City won, 50 tallies to 38 tallies. The game, played to "first 50 tallies" listed 10 players per team and likely took 11 3-out innings. The account does not describe the rules in force for this contest.
As of November 2020, Protoball shows one ballgame and six club entries that cite Bower City Clubs.
Janesville WI is about 60 miles SW of Milwaukee.
What is the date of the Daily Milwaukee News piece in which the rules are described as "miserable"?
1860.33 Base Ball Beats Football to South Bend IN
"In 1860, South Bend was introduced to baseball for the first time and since then has continued to play the game as both an amateur and professional sport. . . .Area businessman Henry Benjamin introduced baseball to the city, forming a union which has lasted 125 years. . . . Benjamin decided to hold tryouts in the spring of 1860 to select South Bend's first organized team. That first team was called the Hoosiers. The Hoosiers were active as a team from 1860 to 1863."
John M. Kovach, From Goosepasture to Greenstockings: South Bend Baseball 1860 - 1890 (Greenstocking Press, South Bend, 1985), pages 4-6. (no ref. given). Accessed at the Giamatti Center at the Hall of Fame.
1860.34 Disparate Ball Games Seen in New Hampshire
Both NH game accounts are in The New York Clipper. May 19, 1860, p.37
Intramural games are described for two clubs. In one, appearing on May 19, "the stars of the East" of Manchester played an in-house 28-23 game under National Association Rules - nine players, nine innings, the usual fielding positions neatly assigned. The other was a two-inning contest with twelve-player sides and a score of 70 to 63. This latter game does not resemble contours on the Massachusetts game - it's hard to construe it having a one-out-side-out rule -, but it's not wicket, for the club is named the "Granite Base Ball Club", also of Manchester. The run distribution in the box score is consistent with the use of all-out-side-out innings.
What were these fellows playing?
1860.35 All-Out-Side-Out Town Ball Played in Indiana
"Town Ball at Evansville, Ind. - A match of Town Ball was contested between the married and single members of the Evansville [IN] Town Ball Club, on the 26th ult. [5-inning box score is presented.] The correspondent, to whom we are indebted for the above report, says that the rules and regulations of the game of town ball, vary a great deal. There, an innings is not concluded until all are out . . . The club, it is thought, will adopt base ball rules, such as are played in the East."
New York Clipper, facsimile from the Mears Collection (date omitted from scrapbook source, confirmed as June 9, 1860
Evansville is in southernmost IN, near the Kentucky border.
1860.37 Late Surge Lifts Douglas' over Abe Lincoln's Side in Chicago IL
Abraham Lincoln, and Stephen F. Douglas
"Base Ball and Politics. - We do not approve of their thus being brought into contact, but as a match took place at Chicago on the 24th ult., between nine [Stephen] Douglas me and nine [Abe] Lincoln men of the Excelsior Club, we feel in duty bound to report it."
New York Clipper, July 1860.
Tied after eight innings, the outcome was prophetic for the ensuing election (in the state legislature) for the U. S. Senate: Douglas 16, Lincoln 14.
1860.38 Base Ball in Pittsburgh PA
"Base Ball in Alleghany. - A match game of base ball was played between the Fort Pitt and Keystone Clubs on the West Common, Alleghany, Pa., on the 26th inst."
New York Clipper, Aug. 11, 1860
Box score provided; it is consistent with the National Association rules. Assuming that "Alleghany" is an alternative spelling for "Allegheny," this game occurred in a town absorbed into Pittsburgh PA in 1907.
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"
New York Clipper, July 28, 1860
The box score shows two eight-player teams. Oberlin OH is 35 miles southwest of Cleveland.
1860.40 "Championship" Game: Atlantic 20, Eckford 11
"Great Match for the Championship. Atlantic vs. Eckford. The Atlantics Victorious" The article notes: "the results of the games this season between the Atlantics and the Excelsiors led them [sic] latter to withdraw entirely from the battle for the championship, which next season will lay between the Eckfords and Atlantics." by Craig Waff, September 2008.
New York Clipper Volume 8, number 30 (November 10, 1860), page 237, column 1.
The article includes a play-by-account of the game, and unusually detailed box scores, including fielding plays and a five-column "how put out" table. Also included were counts for "passed balls on which bases were run" , "struck out" , "catches missed on the fly" [9, by six named players], "catches missed on the bound" , and "times left on base" 
1860.41 Two Base Ball Tourneys in California
In September and October 1860, two tournaments occurred in CA. The first saw SF's Eagle Club beat Sacramento twice, 36-32 and 31-17 It was noted that SF's Gelston, a leadoff batter and catcher, was from the Eagle Club in New York, and "the Sacs" pitcher and leadoff batter Robinson was from Brooklyn's Putnams. In addition to a $100 prize for the winning team, the best player at each position received a special medal. The games took place in Sacramento.
In October, three teams - Sacramento, Stockton, and the Live Oak - played games in Stockton, with Sacramento winning the $50 prize ball, beating Stockton 48-11 and then pasting Live Oak 78-7.
New York Clipper, Oct. 20, 1860
New York Clipper, Nov. 17, 1860
1860.42 Shut Out Reported as the First Ever; Excelsiors 25, St. George Nine 0
This game, played on the St. George grounds at Hoboken, occurred on November 8, 1860.
[A] "the score of the Excelsiors being 25 to nothing for their antagonists! This is the first match on record that has resulted in nine innings being played without each party making runs." It was the last game of the season for the Excelsiors, who played two "muffin" players and allowed St. George borrow a catcher [Harry Wright] from the Knickerbockers and a pitcher from the Putnams.
[B] "a match was played at Hoboken, between a picked nine of the St. George's Cricket Club -- players noted for their superior fielding qualifications as cricketers-- and nine of the well-known Excelsior Club, of South Brooklyn."
[A] "Excelsiors vs., St. George," The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Volume 19, number 269 (Saturday, November 10, 1860), page 2, column 5.
[B] "Base Ball," Wilkes' Spirit of the Times, November 17, 1860.
According to the WSOT article, the Excelsior lineup included Creighton as pitching and third batter, Brainerd at 2B, and Leggett as catcher. Mr. Welling of the Knickerbockers served as umpire.
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 (J. Munsell, Albany, 1867), pages 121-122. Available via Google books: search "base ball""pawlet".
Pawlet VT [current pop. c1400] is on the New York border, and is about 15 miles east of Glens Falls NY. Chester VT's 3044 souls today live about 30 miles north of Brattleboro and 35 miles east of the New York border.
This is the first VT item on base ball in the Protoball files, as of November 2008; can that be so? Earlier items above [#178.6, #1787.2, #1828c.5, and #1849.9] all cite wicket or goal.
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 (September 30, 1860), page 5, columns 2 and 3.
The game, in Baltimore, pitted Creighton's Brooklyn Excelsiors against a Baltimore club that had formed in their image [see #1858.46].
1860.45 Competitive "Old-Fashioned" Game Still Alive in Syracuse NY
1860.46 First International Game Played by New York Rules
In a game played in what is now Niagara Falls, Ontario, the Queen City Club of Buffalo defeated the Burlington Club of Hamilton, Ontario, 30-25.
[A] This game appears on the Protoball Games Tabulation [WNY Table] compiled by Craig Waff. It was reported as "the first match ever played by Clubs from the United States and Canada." in the Buffalo Morning Express on August 18, 1860.
[B] Joseph Overfield, The 100 Seasons of Buffalo Baseball (Partner's Press, 1985), page 17. Overfield does not cite a primary source for this event.
[C] Hamilton Spectator, August 18, 1860.
The New York Sunday Mercury of June 3, 1860, carries the box score of a "NEW YORK vs. CANADA' game in Schenectady, NY, between the Mohawk Club and the "Union Club of Upper Canada". The box indicates that the game was played by the New York Rules. However, the political unit called Upper Canada went out of existence in 1841. A youthful nineteenth century prank? See also "Supplemental Information," below, for further commentary.
[Source B] Joseph Overfield notes that the Buffalo NY team called the Queen Cities played a team from Hamilton, Ontario in August 1860, and says that it was the first international contest played by the National Association rules.
[Source C] In 2014, Bill Humber located an Ontario source for the game, the Hamilton Spectator of August 18, 1860. Bill notes that the village of Clifton Ontario later became the town of Niagara Falls, Ontario. Bill reports that the crowd attending the game may have been at a tight-rope walking exhibition over the Niagara Gorge that day.
1860.47 Old-Fashioned Base Ball in Buffalo NY
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.
Buffalo Morning Express (July 10, 1860), page 3.
This game featured 15 players on each side and a 3-out-side-out rule.
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 NY.
[A] 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."
[B] "...[they] seemed to be inspired with renewed energy by the memory of youthful days and the spirit (?) of boyhood, and displayed a degree of skill and activity in the noble game of base ball that showed they had once been superior players..."
[A] Seneca Falls Reveille, August 18, 1860, reported by Priscilla Astifan.
[B] New York Sunday Mercury, August 19, 1860, reported by Gregory Christiano.
We would presume that this was not modern base ball. It seems plausible that the vets had played ball together during their war service, and that this game was played in remembrance of good times past.
Further insight is welcome from readers.
1860.49 Troy NY Writer: "Every Newspaper" Covers Base Ball Games, Some Showing Regrettable "Petty Meanness"
"The present season bids fair to out-rival all previous ones in respect to ball-playing every newspaper which we take up is sure to contain the particulars related to matches played or about to be played. We are glad to see that our young men, particularly those engaged in sedentary persuits [sic], are taking a lively interest in this noble game. In our opinion, nothing can serve better to invigorate both mind and body, than out door exercise. In ball-playing, every muscle is brought into play, and the intellectual capacities, very often are taxed to the utmost. But, in order that the parties may partake of the game with a lively zest, it is necessary that every branch of the game should be played in a friendly spirit. Many are the games which have been played, the beauty of which have been spoiled by the spirit of petty meanness and jealously [sic] creeping into the heart of the players. We were much pained and mortified upon a recent occasion, to see an incident of the kind alluded to, and we are confident that we speak the sentiments of many others, when we declare, that it destroyed what interest we had in the match. But this evil is not alone confined to this vicinity. It is noticeable in New York, Brooklyn, Rochester and other places and if the remonstrances of the press can have any influence towards checking the evil, we promise to perform our part in the good work."
"Local Matters: Base Ball," The Troy Daily Whig, Volume 26, number. 8009 (28 June 1860), page 3, column 4:
1860.50 A Truly "Grand" Game of Massachusetts Base Ball
The Excelsior Club of Upton MA and the Union Club of Medway agreed to meet for a purse of $1000 in September at the Agricultural Fair Grounds in Worcester.
"Worcester County Intelligence," Barre Gazette, September 14, 1860. Accessed via subscription search, February 17, 2009.
1860.51 Base Ball Is Reaching Remote Spots in New York State
"The Dunkirk Journal says that the young men of that village have organized a 'young American Base Ball club. . . . [we in Jamestown, too] should be glad to see [base ball] engaged in by our clerks and business men generally during the summer"
Jamestown[NY] Journal, April 20, 1860. Accessed by subscription search May 21, 2009.
Dunkirk NY is about 45 miles SW of Buffalo on the shore of Lake Erie. Jamestown NY is about 60 miles S of Buffalo.
1860.52 First Base Ball Match in St. Louis MO
[A] "The historical record states that the St. Louis Republican newspaper announced on July 9, 1860 that the first regular game of baseball in St. Louis was to be played that day at a location of what we know today as Fair Grounds Park in St. Louis. The game was to be played between the 'Cyclone' and the 'Morning Star' Baseball Clubs."
[B] Jeff Kittel has found the report of the match. It turns out that a 17-run 2nd inning was decisive. The article reports "a large number of spectators, among whom were several ladies." New Yorker S. L. Putnam was the ump.
[A] Website of the Missouri Civil War Museum, http://www.mcwm.org/ history_baseball.html, accessed April 10, 2009.
[B] St. Louis Daily Bulletin, Wednesday, July 11, 1860.
The result and box score appeared in Wilkes Spirit of the Times, July 28, 1860
1860.53 Organized Town Ball in St. Louis
"Town Ball. - All the Deputy Sheriff's, Marshall's and some of the clerks at the Court House went out on Franklin Avenue, in Leffingwell Avenue, yesterday afternoon, and had a spirited game of old town ball. We are glad to know that this pleasant game has been revived this season. A regular club has been organized, and will meet once a week during the season."
St. Louis Daily Bulletin, Friday, May 4, 1860.
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.
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 Stockton CA
"A base ball match was played yesterday at Carson's Ranch, about [illeg.] miles from Stockton, between Stockton and the Live Oak Clubs. A great deal of interest was manifested in the match, a large number of spectators, both from town and country, being present . . . ." Two games were played, the second resulting in a tie that was then played off.
San Joaquin Republican, May 26, 1860. Accessed via subscription search May 20, 2009.
Stockton is about 60 miles east of Oakland CA.
1860.56 Three Hartford CT Base Ball Clubs on the Move
The Alligator, Rough and Ready, and Independent Base Ball Clubs announced meetings on a late October day.
Hartford Daily Courant, October 27, 1860. Accessed via subscription search, May 21, 2009.
1860.57 Alabamans Choose Cricket
"Cricket in Alabama. - The lovers of this active and healthful game will be gratified to learn that a cricket club has been organized in Mobile [AL], under favorable auspices, and has already upon its roll a list of forty seven prominent and respectable merchants."
New York Clipper, March 17, 1860.
Mobile is on the Gulf Coast about 30 miles E of the Mississippi border.
Bad timing, eh?
1860.58 Many Tackle the New Game in Macon, But a Few Secede
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. The issue of Feb. 28, 1860, reported that the Olympic favord the "fly game."
However, defection was in the air:
"A number of gentlemen are about to form another base ball club, the game to be played after fashion in the South twenty years ago, when old field schools [school fields, maybe?] were the scenes of trial and activity and rosy cheeked girls were the umpires."
Macon Telegraph, March 12, 1860. All seven articles were accessed via subscription search, May 20-21, 2009.
Macon GA is in central Georgia, about 80 miles SE of Atlanta.
1860.59 Game Set for CA Mining Town
Two base ball clubs were scheduled to play a game in Mariposa, a southern Sierra gold mining town.
California Spirit of the Times, February 11, 1860.
neither the California Spirit nor other accessible papers reported on the actual game, if any: "another 'did they or didn't they' mystery." Mariposa CA is on the edge of Yosemite Park and about 60 miles N of Fresno.
1861-1865 - Note: Protoball has a Separate Compilation of Ballplaying in Civil War Camps
1860.60 Atlantics vs. Excelsiors: The Thorny Idea of Onfield Supremacy
[A] "This match will create unusual interest, as it will decide which Club is entitled to the distinction of being perhaps the 'first nine in America."
[B] "The Atlantics now wear the 'belt,' and this contest will be a regular battle for the championship."
[A] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 13, 1860.
[B] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 16, 1860.
See also Craig B. Waff, "Atlantics and Excelsiors Compete for the 'Championship,'" Base Ball Journal, volume 5, number 1 (Special Issue on Origins), pages 139-142.
Craig Waff, "No Gentlemen's Game-- Excelsiors vs. Atlantics at the Putnam Grounds, Brooklyn", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013), pp. 28-31
The naming of a championship base ball club was apparently not much considered when match games were first played frequently in the mid-1850s. But as the 1860 season progressed, press accounts regularly speculated about what nine was the best. The teams split their first two games, setting the stage for a final showdown, and a crowd of 15,000 to 20,000 assembled to see if the Excelsior could gain glory by toppling the storied Atlantic nine again. They led, 8-6 in the sixth inning, but Atlantic partisans in the crown became so rowdy that Excelsior captain Joe Leggett removed his club from the field for their safety, leaving the matter unresolved.
1860.61 Colored Union Club Beats Unknowns, 33-24, in Brooklyn
"We, the members of the Colored Union Base Ball Club, return our sincere thanks to you for publishing the score of the game we played with the Unknown, of Weeksville on the 28th ult. [September 28, 1860]).
"We go under the name the "Colored Union," for, if we mistake not, there is a white club called the Union in Williamsburg at the present time."
The letter goes on to report a game against the Unknown Club on October 5, 1860. The Colored Union club eventually won with 6 runs in the ninth.
New York Sunday Mercury, October 14, 1860, col. 5-6.
Weeksville was a town founded by freedmen. Its population in the 1850s was about 500.
How does this game relate to entry 1860.9 above?
1860.62 Athletic Club Takes the Field
"A match game of base ball will be played on Saturday afternoon between the Athletic and Pennsylvania Clubs, on the grounds of the former at Camac's Woods, the play to commence at 2 1/2 o'clock, precisely. This is the first match of the Athletic..."
Philadelphia Inquirer, Sep. 21, 1860
"Athletic" proved to be the most durable club name in baseball.
1860.63 "Good Old-fashioned Base Ball" in Hawaii
"Quite an interesting game of ball came off yesterday afternoon on the Esplinade between the Punahou Boys and the Town Boys...The 'boys' of a larger growth...had a good old-fashioned game of base ball on Sheriff Brown's premises...Success to the sport."
The Polynesian, April 7, 1860. Quoted in Monica Nucciarone, Alexander Cartwright: The Life Behind the Legend (University of Nebraska Press, 2009), p.197
1860.64 The First Enclosed Ballpark
In a review of candidates for the title of first enclosed ballpark, Jerrold Casway nominates St. George Cricket Grounds, Camac's Woods, Philadelphia. The site was first enclosed for cricket in 1859 and used for baseball on July 24, 1860.
Jerrold Casway, "The First Enclosed Ballpark-- Olympics of Philadelphia vs. St. George", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013), pp. 32-33
1860.65 The Grand Excursion, Part II
After traveling previously through New York state, the Excelsior Club of South Brooklyn traveled to Philadelphia and Baltimore.
Craig Waff, "The Grand Excursion, Part II-- Excelsiors of Brooklyn vs. Excelsiors of Baltimore and vs. a Picked Nine of Philadelphia", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013), pp. 34-35
1860.67 Base Ball on Ice
"A GAME OF BASE BALL ON THE ICE.-- ...when it is taken into consideration that the players had skates on, the score may be called a remarkably good one-- equal to the majority of games which take place on terra firma."
New York Sunday Mercury, Jan. 22, 1860
The Live Oak Club of Rochester had played a team of players from other clubs in that city, and defeated them 30-29, 12 per side.
A side effect of the skating craze which arose in the same period as the base ball craze, ice base ball was played well into the 1880s.
1860.69 Knickerbockers, Inc.
[A] 'Our Albany Correspondence.-- ...Some half a dozen notices were sent in this morning for the future introduction of bills (in the New York State Assembly) organizing as many base ball clubs in the City of New York, indicating that the lovers of this game are making extensive preparations to become skilled in the mysteries of the game."
[B] "NEW-YORK LEGISLATURE. ASSEMBLY...BILLS PASSED. ...By Mr. COLE (William L. Cole, New York County 5th District)-- a bill to incorporate the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York.
[C] "BASE BALL.-- ...We notice in the proceedings of the State Legislature at Albany, that the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of this city has been chartered. The object of this, we believe, is to enable them to secure from the Central Park commissioners jurisdiction of the ground to be allotted for base ball players.
[A] New York Herald, Jan. 14, 1860
[B] New York Tribune, Jan. 21, 1860
[C] New York Sunday Mercury, Feb. 5, 1860
1860.70 Space Wanted
'BASE BALL. MORE PLAYGROUNDS WANTED.-- We have often wondered why the owners of unproductive property up-town, lying contiguous to the railroads on the east and west sides of the city (New York City), did not seize upon the idea of converting their lands into grounds for the use of base ball clubs, and thus...realize a rental sufficient to pay handsomely for the investment...twenty good places would be in active demand."
New York Sunday Mercury, March 4, 1860.
The Sunday Mercury had received a letter from a New York player speculating, among other things, that the Brooklyn clubs were overwhelming New York opponents because of their superior and much more convenient facilities. The lette was reprinted in the same issue.
1860.71 "Bound Rule" Universal in American Baseball-- Rules Committee
"All the various modifications of Base Ball, which have so long been played in different parts of the country, have universally recognized the 'first bound', consequently, it is closely associated with all our boyish recollections, and is cherished with the same tenacity, and for the same reason, that the English cricketer adheres to the 'fly'."
New York Sunday Mercury, March 18, 1860. Recommendations of the NABBP Committee on Rules and Regulation to the NABBP Convention.
The Committee nonetheless recommended adopting the "fly game".
1860.72 Fly Game Again Swatted Down
For the fourth year in a row, the NABBP convention of March, 1860, rejected the adoption of the "fly game"; batters could still be put out by catching their hits on the first bound:
"The yeas and nays were then called for by Mr. Brown, and seconded by a sufficient number of others (four) to necessitate the taking of the vote in that manner. The vote was then taken, with the following result: Ayes, 37, nays, 55.
New York sunday Mercury, March 18, 1860
1860.73 Batting Cage Debuts
[A] (ad) "CRICKET COURT, 654 BROADWAY.-- CRICKET AND Base Ball Practice.-- The spacious saloon, 654 Broadway, is now open. Gentlemen wishing to perfect themselves in the above game will do well to call, as they will always find wickets pitched and a professional bowler to give instructions to those who require it."
[A] New York Herald, April 4, 1860
New York Sunday Mercury, April 8, 1860
Spirit of the Times, June 2, 1860
1860.74 Massachusetts Group Extends Reach
"MASSACHUSETTS ASSOCIATION OF BASE BALL PLAYERS. The annual convention of this association was held at Chapman Lower Hall, on Saturday...Twelve Clubs were represented at the meeting by thirty-three delegates. The name of the Association was changed to the "New England Association of Base Ball Players."
Boston Herald, April 9, 1860
1860.75 Chichester Redesigns the Base
[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.
[A] New York Clipper, April 21, 1860
[B] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 30, 1860
1860.77 Treat Us Special
"BASE BALL. ACCOMMODATIONS FOR REPORTING.-- We would suggest to clubs, uponn whose grounds matches are played during the season, the propriety of providing a small table and a few chairs for the accommodation of the press. We have frequently found all the best places for seeing a match monopolized by members of the playing club, while we have been compelled to do our reporting on the back of some kindly-disposed gentleman on the outside circle. The Eckford, Excelsior, and a few other clubs we might name, manage this business better; and all ought to follow their example."
New York Sunday Mercury, May 20, 1860
1860.78 Unenforced Rules Get Chadwick's Goat
On two occasions in 1860 Henry Chadwick, as part of his campaign to improve the game on the field, published articles urging umpires to consistently enforce rules for which such enforcement was lacking:
[A] "HINTS TO UMPIRES.-- SEC. 5...The rule...requires the ball to be pitched for the striker, and not the catcher, which is so generally done when a player is on the first base...Section 6...the pitcher makes a baulk when he either jerks a ball to the bat, has either foot in advance of the line of his position, or moves his hand or arm with the apparent purpose of pitching the ball without actually delivering it. Section 17...I certainly consider it the duty of the umpire to declare a ball fair, by keeping silent, when it touches the ground perpendicularly from the bat, when the striker stands back of the line of his base."
[B] THE DUTIES OF UMPIRES IN BALL MATCHES.-- ...few if any umpires have had the courage or independence to enforce (the rules)...(section 6) the rule that describes a baulk, is so misinterpreted. that it is only occasionally that we hear of a baulk being called...when a striker has stood at the home base long enough to allow a dozen balls, not plainly out of reach, to pass him, he should be at once made to declare where he wants a ball, and the first ball that comes within the distance pointed out, if not struck at, should be declared one strike (section 37)...If this were done, a stop would be put to the unmanly and mean "waiting game"...Another rule Umpires neglect to enforce, is that which requires the striker to stand on the line of his base..."
[A] New York Sunday Mercury, May 27, 1860
[B] New York Clipper, Sep. 29, 1860
[B] indicates that [A] did not have the desired effect...
1860.80 Muffin Matches--Low Skills, High Comedy
[A] "THE MUFFIN MATCH.-- The match between the muffs of the Putnam and Excelsior Clubs, of Brooklyn...was, as we anticipated, an extraordinary affair, and productive of much amusement...People who can hold a ball (except by accident) when it is thrown to them, reflect upon their associate muffs, and don't deserve to have a place...we may mention one striking tableau...(Clark), having struck the ball, set out with all his might and main for the first base, which was carefully guarded by the ever-vigilant Andriese. Clark overran the base, and the ball overran Andriese; each, however, ran for the object of his pursuit, and Clark picked up the base...and held it aloft as a trophy of victory; while Andriese, quickly grabbing up the ball from the ground, turned a double somerset, and landing on one leg, projected the hand which held the ball gracefully toward the base, high in air, and called for judgment. Inasmuch as Clark, though under the base, had two fingers and a thumb over it, the umpire decided that he 'had the base', and wasn't out."
[B] "Muffin" was evidently new slang:
"'MUFFIN.'-- Base Ball...bids fair to enrich the copious vocabulary of the English language by a new term-- the word 'muffin'. A 'muff' (is)...a ball-player noted for catching anything but the ball...'Muffin" is an elongation of the word, and 'the muffins' is understood to be a collection of individuals, whose fingers are pretty much all thumbs-- in other words a collection of muffs...The word will find its way into more general acceptance and may hereafter puzzle some future philologist."
[A] New York Sunday Mercury, July 1, 1860
[B] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Aug. 22, 1860
Interclub muffin matches were an occasional feature, mostly before the Civil War, between the larger clubs.
1860.81 Creighton Analyzed-- Is He Cheating?
"BASE BALL. EXCELSIOR VS. PUTNAM.--...We have heard so much of late...about the pitching of Creighton...and its fatal effect upon those who bat against it, that we determined to judge of the matter for ourselves, and accordingly we were prepared to watch his movements pretty closely, in order to ascertain whether he did pitch fairly or not, and whether his pitching was a 'jerk,' 'an underhand throw,' or a 'fair square pitch,'...it was unquestioningly the latter..."
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Aug. 6, 1860
The article concluded that Creighton's success was due not to speed but to delivering a ball that was rising as it reached the batter, not coming in straight.
1860.82 Famous Baseballists Turn To Cricket
CRICKET.-- Long Island vs. Newark.-- The first contest between two American elevens on Long Island took place at East New-York yesterday...considerable interest was created among the base-ball players of Long Island, from the fact that players from each of the first nines of the Excelsior, Atlantic, and Putnam Clubs were to take part in it; and accordingly the largest collection of spectators ever seen on the East New-York grounds collected yesterday...the result was a well contested game of four innings...the time occupied in playing the innings being under five hours, the shortest regular game of cricket on record."
New York Tribune, Sep. 6, 1860
The players, their names helpfully italicized in the box score, were Edward Pennington and Charles Thomas of the Eureka BBC of Newark, James Creighton and John Whiting of the Excelsior, Dick Pearce and Charley Smith of the Atlantic, and Thomas Dakin of the Putnam. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle noted in its report on Sep. 6 that "The base ball players showed themselves to as much advantage as at their favorite game."
Creighton was successful in cricket both as a bowler and batsman. At the time of his death in Oct. 1862 he was considered the best American player in the New York area.
1860.83 Long Ball
[A] "BASE BALL. A closely contested game of base ball was played in Grafton on Friday afternoon last, between the Hassanamisco Club of Grafton and the Benecia Club of Milford...The playing commenced at nine o'clock in the morning, and at twelve o'clock the Milford boys were ahead about 2 to 1. The playing continued in the afternoon until six, when the game stood as follows: Milford 41, Grafton 29. The Grafton Club claimed the game, however, as the Milford boys refused to continue playing the next day."
[B] Three other games that year for which game times were published last five to six hours.
[A] Boston Herald, Sep. 3, 1860
[B] Boston Herald, June 21, Aug. 10, and Sep. 5, 1860
By 1860, most Massachusetts Rules games were being played to 75 runs, instead of the 100 specified in the rules adopted in 1858. A match for the state championship was abandoned, unfinished, after four days' play.
1860.84 Jolly Good Fellows
Base Ball. ATLANTIC, OF BROOKLYN vs. LIBERTY, OF NEW BRUNSWICK.--About six o'clock both Clubs partook of a sumptuous repast at the Montauk Restaurant, near Fulton ferry...More than one hundred gentlemen entered heartily into the spirit of the occasion...Mr. Prendergast...sung 'Fondly I'm Dreaming' in capital style...Judge Provost, of N. B., followed in a humorous speech complimenting both Clubs on their excellent play...'The Brunswickers were worsted today, next year they would come out silk-and-cotton'...Mr. Pete O'Brien, of the Atlantics--the very cut of a comic singer--set the table in a roar with with quite a budget of the drollest of Irish songs."
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Oct. 9, 1860
The game ball-- the "trophy ball"---was also presented to the president of the winning club during the party.
1860.85 Twist That Ball
The following commentary by Henry Chadwick confirms that despite the requirement that the ball be “pitched, not thrown”, pitchers by 1860 were finding a way to get not just movement, but predictable movement, on their deliveries.
“The striker must stand on a line drawn through the centre of the home base, not exceeding in length three feet from either side thereof, and parallel with the line of the pitcher’s position.”
Umpires should especially see that this rule is abided by. The necessity of it is obvious to every one familiar with the game; and to those who are not, I will endeavor to explain the matter. I will suppose a striker to stand on the line referred to, the pitcher sends him a slow ball to hit, but one with a great twist on it; the striker hits it below the centre line of his bat, and it strikes the ground perpendicularly almost from the bat; the consequence is, a ball that is easily fielded by the pitcher or short stop to first base, the pitcher thereby getting the reward for his twisting ball. Now, suppose the same kind of ball is sent by the pitcher and similarly received by the striker, as the above one, but the striker, instead of standing on the line of the base, stands one or two feet back of it, the result is, that the ball, falling as before, falls behind the line of the base, instead of in front of it, and becomes a foul ball, instead of a fair one—and the pitcher loses the benefit of his good pitching and twisting of the ball."
New York Sunday Mercury, May 27, 1860
Early slow-ball pitcher Phonney Martin claimed in a retrospective letter to have originated "twist" or drop pitching in 1862; this is apparently an exaggeration, but his description of how it was done using the pitching restrictions of the day is apropos:
"This was accomplished by the first two fingers and thumb of the hand holding the ball, and by bending the fingers inward and turning the ball around the first two fingers I acquired the twist that made the ball turn towards me...This conformed to the rules, as the arm was straight in delivering the ball, and the hand did not turn outward." (quoted in Peter Morris, A Game of Inches, 2010, p.97
1860s.86 Ballplaying Remembered in Dedham Massachusetts
"Sixty-five years ago the boys had a ball club which was known as the "Winthrops" who played on a pasture lot beyond Mr. White's house on east Street. Ball playing was frequently enjoyed upon the fields of owners who were willing to allow public use to be made of such land. A record is here given of a game that took place at a time when the ball was thrown at the runner between bases to put him out. The score is here appended -- that the present [1930's] generation may know what a real ball game was like in the early days of the game [partial box score listed]. Masks were not invented then, so a cap pulled well down over the eyes have to do duty for a mask."
Frank Smith, A History of Dedham Massachusetts (Transcript Press, 1936), page 358.
Does Smith reveal his source for the pre-1970 box score?
1860.92 "Old Fashioned Game" Reported, and Disparaged, in Milwaukee
In May 1860, The [Milwaukee] Sentinel quoted The News as recently reporting that the Janesville Base Ball Club expected to challenge a Milwaukee club to "a friendly contest" that year. The News added: "Unfortunately however, the Janesville club plays the good old fashioned game of Base Ball, while our clubs play under the new code, (which we must here beg leave to say is, in our estimation, a miserable one, and in no way calculated to develope[sic] skill or excite interest . . .)"
The Sentinel argued back: "We don't think much of the judgement 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. Indeed, until the 'new code' was adopted here, it was impossible to excite interest enough to get up a club. Now we have two large clubs in full blast, and more coming. The game is a very lively, attractive and manly, one, and is daily growing in popular favor."
Milwaukee Sentinel, May 16, 1860
Janesville Daily Gazette, September 1, 1860
On September 1, 1860, the Janesville Daily Gazette carried a box score for a game between the Janesville Base Ball Club and the Bower City Base Ball Club of Janesville reporting a 'match game' on August 31.
Bower City won, 50 tallies to 38 tallies. The game, played to "first 50 tallies" listed 10 players per team and likely took 11 3-out innings. The account does not describe the rules in force for this contest.
As of November 2020, Protoball shows 1 ballgame and 6 club entries that cite Bower City Clubs.
1860.93 Clipper Article Favors A Bare Alley Between Pitcher and Catcher
Squinting at the new (1860) playing field laid out by the new Hudson River club in Newburgh, NY, the NY Clipper counseled:"It is requisite that the turf be removed from the pitcher's base to the position occupied by the catcher, a space six feet wide or more being usually cleared for this purpose, in order to give the ball a fair opportunity to rebound behind the striker."
[A] NY Clipper, 7/21/1860.
[B] See also Peter Morris, "Pitcher's Paths", A Game of Inches (Ivan R. Dee, 2010), pp. 392-393: [Section 14.3.10.], and Peter Morris, Level Playing Fields (Nebraska, 2007), pp 115-116.
In December 2021, Tom Gilbert asked: "I assume that this means that a groomed clay surface gave the barehanded catcher a better shot at stopping a bounced fast pitch than grass (which might cause skidding, bad hops etc.), a paramount defensive consideration in baseball 1860-style." But where did this habit come from?
Members of the 19CBB list-serve responded. John Thorn thought the bare alley came from cricket, which prefers a true bounce for balls hitting the ground before reaching the wicket. Steve Katz noted that no rule is to be found on the practice in the 1860 NABBP rules. Tom Gilbert added that some 1850's base ball was played on cricket fields may have suited base ballers too. Matt Albertson pointed out that the alley was actually a base path for cricket, so that grass may have been worn away for the whole span. Steve Katz found a Rob Neyer comment from 2011, citing Peter Morris' 2010 edition of A Game of Inches (which -- now try not to get dizzy here -- credits Tom Shieber's find from the 1860 Clipper, evidently sent out by Tom earlier.)
Peter noted: "Shieber's theory accounts for how how these dirt strips originated, but it doesn't explain why the alleys were retained long after catchers were stationed directly behind the plate. I think the explanation is simple: since it is very difficult to maintain grass in well-trodden areas represented the groundskeepers' best effort to keep foot traffic off the grass."
Tom Shieber (note to 19CBB, 12/9/2021) recalled:
Do we know if and when baseball's rules mandated these "battery alleys?" Do we know when they were rescinded? (It is said that only Detroit and Arizona parks use then today.)
Are there other explanations for this practice in 1860?
Can someone retrieve Tom Shieber's original SABR-L posting?
Can we assume/guess that the 1860 Clipper piece was written by Henry Chadwick?