Clipping:August Solari on drainage; placement of home plate

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Date Wednesday, February 2, 1887
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[from a letter from August Solari to Jimmy Williams] ...a ground too level or flat doesn’t make the best for all kinds of weather. The drainage of a field is a most important feature. A perfect ball ground should be highest in its centre. If you can make your diamond higher than the rest of the field, so as to throw the water off to both right and left, and always from the bases, you gain another point. This is easily done by raising the diamond six or eight inches in the centre and tapering off towards the bases gradually. In the spaces reserved for the pitcher and base paths dig out about six inches of the virgin soil and fill in with screened cinders. You can get the cinders at any foundry, but you must screen them yourself. Pound the cinders down hard and top them off with some finely-screened ashes and black mold, mixed in equal parts. This topping should be three inches thick. Then soak well with water, cover with finely-screened sand, and leave to ripen. If, after rolling, the sand is too deep, sweep part away. If you follow these directions your lines will be hard and in good condition, and never muddy, no matter how much it rains. Instruct your ground-keeper to always keep the base spaces and lines well filled up. Then there will be no holes to keep water. The pitcher’s space, and that in which the plate and catcher’s and batsman’s lines are included, should be convexed so that no water can find a place upon their faces. Your ground-man should keep the base spaces well watered, and you should use tarpaulins to cover them. These protect from sun as well as rain, and keep away the dust, the greatest enemy of honest umpiring. The foul lines and all other lines ought to be permanent. You can accomplish this by trenching each line in the shape of a V, about three inches wide and two inches deep. Fill these trenches with sand and slackened lime [sic: probably i.e. slaked lime, Ca(OH)2], which you will pour over the sand when red-hot. The hot lime will form a solid mortar and will, with vary rare filling up, last all season. As I do not know the situation of your grounds, it is impossible for me to tell you where to locate your diamond. To my mind the model diamond is one laid out so as to have the home plate in the southeast corner and second base directly northwest of it. That is the plan of Sportsman’s Park.

Source Sporting Life
Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings

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