Clippings:1863

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1863Clippings in 1863

Clippings in 1863 (47 entries)

Contents

...note, however:

Date Sunday, June 7, 1863
Text

...but, of course, this does not exclude the usual sandwich and lager business at the close of each game.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a benefit match, and crowd deportment

Date Sunday, September 27, 1863
Text

The Atlantic and Mutual match was played [9/24/63] on the neutral ground of the St. George Cricket Club, an admission-fee of ten cents being charged on the occasion, the proceeds being for the benefit of Harry Wright, who is a general favorite of the ball-players. We were in hopes that, on this account, much of the outside annoyances would have been avoided, owing to the absence from the crowd of spectators of those annoying juveniles who congregate on these occasions, and who materially help to create disturbances by their noisy actions, and loud comments on the play. But though the Bay rowdies were absent, there were a sufficient number of well-dress blackguards present to attend to the dirty work they are generally engaged in at all championship matches; and the result was, insulting remarks on the decisions of the umpire, and blackguard allusions to some of the players–one or two loafers making themselves very conspicuous in this respect. All that these fellows visit matches for is, to make money by betting, and if the club they bet on fails to succeed, they go in for making a muss to break up the game and thus save their bets. If any proof were needed in support of the fact we have so often asserted, that every disgraceful disturbance at a ball match has emanated solely from “club followers”, not from members of the contesting clubs, the conduct of a portion of the crowd in this match was sufficient to prove the fact.

On this occasion, the good sense of the contesting nines led them to disregard the remarks of the betting roughs present, and to play the game in a gentlemanly manner throughout; and as the result of the play in the first inning almost decided the game in favor of the Atlantics–especially in view of the fact that the Mutuals were not in their usual good condition to play, the betting fraternity were cut off from any excuse to interfere, and so they revenged themselves by insulting the umpire and the victors in the match as much as they well could. The Mutuals exerted themselves to put a stop to this objectionable conduct, but all to no purpose, and being on a neutral ground, they could not well act as they otherwise would have done. Had it been on their own ground, the blackguards would have been hustled off the ground in short order. New York Sunday Mercury September 27, 1863

[Atlantic vs. Mutual 9/24/1863] The third and test game of the home and home series between the Atlantic and Mutual clubs came off on the enclosed grounds of the St. George Cricket Club, and admission fee of ten cents being charged on the occasion, the proceeds going to Harry Wright for his benefit. New York Clipper October 3, 1863

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a college twist pitcher

Date Saturday, October 3, 1863
Text

[Athletic vs. Nassau of Princeton 9/26/1863] Their pitcher [Frank Henry] helped them [the Nassaus] greatly. He gives a slow ball, with a heavy twist, and is extremely irregular. The Athletics found it difficult to bat him for two or three innings. Fitzgerald's City Item October 3, 1863 [Nassaus won 29-13.]

Source Fitzgeralds City Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a foul off an accident hit

Date Saturday, October 3, 1863
Text

[Baltic vs. Mystic 9/21/1863] Another circumstance worthy of remark was that of the umpire calling a foul ball when the ball glanced from the striker’s bat without any effort being made to strike. The rule makes a ball foul when from “a stroke of the bat” it hits the ground behind the line of the bases. Now when a player hits the ball with the bat in an effort to avoid it, it is just as much a stroke of the bat as if he had struck at it as far as foul balls are concerned, and we therefore think the decision made, in this case, a correct one. We comment thus on these points, for the instruction of young players mainly.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a hint of coming called balls

Date Wednesday, October 7, 1863
Text

[Mutual vs. Eckford 10/6/1863] As long as swift pitching remains in vogue just so long may we expect to see dull, tedious and uninteresting games, where two or three of the nine are worked to excess, while the remainder have not half enough to do, and where opportunities for a display of skill in fielding are so rare as is good humor in such contests. There is one thing certain, and that is, if this custom of pitching swift balls at the striker instead of for him is to be the rule, both the strikers and catchers will have to pad themselves up like cricketers do. At present the striker is just as much engaged in efforts to avoid the balls pitched at him to intimidate him as he is to select those he can hit well, and between the two he has hard work to hit at all. We sincerely trust that at the next Convention something will be done to remedy the growing evil, and the rule in reference to the delivery of the ball so worded as to fore pitchers to pitch a ball solely for the striker. If this be done, we shall once more see lively and well played games, and contests in which more dependence fo success is placed on the skill of the fielders in general than on the swift balls of the pitcher.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a late wait game

Date Thursday, October 22, 1863
Text

[Nassau vs. Star 10/21/1863] We noticed that the Nassaus did not not wait so long at the bat when players were running their bases as they did in the Excelsior game [10/19]. They should, by all means, avoid any appearance of playing a waiting game, by promptly striking at good balls, even if their men are on bases at the time.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a lefty should not play third, should play first

Date Saturday, September 12, 1863
Text

[Atlantic v. Eckford 9/2/63] Start was placed at 3d base, a position any player of the nine can fill better, because he is a left-handed player, and for that reason just the man for the opposite base.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a ten-man fly game; home runs over the fence

Date Wednesday, September 23, 1863
Text

[Knickerbocker vs. Excelsior 9/22/1863] ...the Knickerbockers, being minus the services of two of their players, were obliged to draw upon the courtesy of their opponents for substitutes, and it is needless to add that the draft was duly honored, two of their first nine players, Messrs. Russell and Whiting, proffering their aid to fill up the gap in the Knickerbocker nine, or rather ten, for that was the number that played on each side in the game. By way of experiment, we presume, the swift pitching style of play was repudiated on this occasion, and in its stead balls were pitched fairly for the striker, dependence being placed solely on the skill of the fielders to win the game. Bound catches also were ruled out, the game throughout being played “on the fly.” But for this fact it would have been a shorter match than it was, as from fifteen to twenty bound catches were made in the course of the game.

The batting in this match was unquestionably astonishing, more long hits being made than we ever saw in a game on the same [Union] grounds, no less than eight runs being made from hits that sent he ball the other side of the fence.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

absence of chalk lines

Date Saturday, September 12, 1863
Text

[Atlantic vs. Eureka 8/31/63] On their arrival at the Eureka grounds, everything was found duly prepared in the way of arrangements for keeping the spectators from encroaching on the grounds set apart for the players; but no chalk lines were laid down for the Umpire to judge of foul balls correctly, something that should never be neglected at a ball match.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

as darkness falls

Date Sunday, October 25, 1863
Text

[mixed sides of New York and Hoboken clubs:] At the close of the fourth inning, the objectionable action of T. Dalton, of the Henry Eckford, had nearly been the cause of a disturbance. After hitting a ball to short field, he ran very slowly to first base in order to insure his being put out, as it was getting dark, and it was necessary to hurry matters up in order to close the fifth inning, otherwise the New Yorkers would not have won the game.

The Hoboken party at one remonstrated against this course of conduct, unjustly including Dr. Bell in their censures; whereas Dalton was the only one to blame in the matter. The poor fielding of several of the Hoboken nine in the fourth inning led the New Yorkers to think that their opponents were “playing things on ‘em”, in order to delay the game; and we must confess their play had that appearance. Finally, however, the game was brought to a close; not, however, until another of the Henry Eckfords had followed a bad example by endeavoring to strike out in the fifth inning; something we never suspected a player of his standing in the community would have been tempted to be guilty of. His action, however, was nullified by that of the umpire, who very properly refused to call strikes, when he saw the styles of game the batsman was playing.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

batter obstructing the catcher

Date Saturday, October 3, 1863
Text

[Baltic vs. Mystic 9/21/1863] We observed...that Haines made motions with his bat to baulk the catcher in taking balls from the pitcher when a player was on his base, this style of play rendered Haines liable to be given out under the rules which forbids any one hindering a player from fielding the ball. As long as the movement made is a legitimate effort to strike, or to prepare for striking, it is fair play, but not as Haines did it. This style of play has been frequently resorted to without any notice being taken of it.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

benefits of mixing baseball and cricket

Date Sunday, November 1, 1863
Text

BASE-BALL PLAYERS VS. CRICKETERS.–We have long advocated the fraternization of cricketers and base-ball players in playing matches with each other at their respective games, but hitherto we have had little success in bringing them together. It is a fact, as plane as day itself, that both base-ball players and cricketers can improve their play, both at the bat and in fielding, by practicing each other’s games. In batting, at base-ball, the cricketer learns a free use of his shoulders–for to succeed at the bat, in base-ball, he must hit freely from the shoulders; but in cricket, the first lessons in batting teach him to defend his stumps as the most important thing to do; and this tends to rather cramp his movements in hitting rather than otherwise. Whereas, to the base-ball player, the practice of learning to defend the wicket–he having become proficient in his own game in using his bat freely in hitting–teaches him to judge the ball with an accuracy that few ever acquire in hitting at base-ball. In fielding, too, we never saw a base-ball player who had practiced cricket for any length of time that did not improve his fielding thereby; and all cricketers acknowledge that base-ball is the best school for fielding that we have. For these reasons, if no other, we should like to see cricketers and base-ball players fraternize together in just the friendly and enjoyable manner in which the New York Cricket Club and the Atlantic Base-Ball Club did on Monday last, in the game that was played at the Atlantic grounds, at Bedford.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

calling for judgment on a throw to first

Date Saturday, March 7, 1863
Text

[describing Dick Pearce] It [the batted ball] was a grounder, he would first stop, pick it up fearless–a way he had–encouraged by his deliberation and movement the poor fellow the running the base, with the hope of reaching it, and then away went the ball like a rifle-shot, straight into Price’s hands at first base,–and he was the man to hold them too–just a second before the player put his foot on the base. “Judgment,” Dickey would cry, and “out on the first base,” would be the reply of the umpire, invariably.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

crowd control on the Atlantics' ground:

Date Sunday, June 21, 1863
Text

On the Union ball-grounds order is always kept, of course, and the crowd never allowed to interfere. On the Atlantic grounds, nothing was done whatever; even the players had no seats, and the crowd encroached on all sides. A few of the members worked hard to keep them back, but the majority preferred to look on. Not a member of the club had a badge; and, indeed, no further preparation was made than on regular practice-days.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

early judiciary committee items

Date Saturday, December 12, 1863
Text

[committee appointments at the NABBP convention] Judiciary–Judge Van Cott, Dr. Bell, D. Milliken, T. Miller, E. H. Brown. New York Clipper December 12, 1863

[reporting on the NABBP convention] The report of the Committee appointed to adjudicate upon the questions in dispute between the Mutual and Empire Clubs, was then read, the decision arrived at being the declaring of all matches played by the Mutual Club, during 1862, in which Messrs. Ward and Dewey took part, as null and void–these same players not being at that time eligible to membership in the Mutual Club, according to the rules of the National Association. The report was received and placed on file. [see also NYSM 12/14/1862] New York Sunday Mercury December 13, 1863

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

early plans for the Capitoline Grounds

Date Tuesday, March 24, 1863
Text

The Capitoline pond, at Bedford, will also be used for similar purposes [to the Union pond]. The ground is now being drained, and the work of converting it into ball grounds has been commenced. This ground, we understand, will not be let to any club for the season, but for matches only, which will, perhaps, suit the clubs as well.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

early professionalism hinted at; political patronage

Date Thursday, August 27, 1863
Text

...ball matches have of late years got to be quite serious affairs, and some have even intimated that ball playing has become quite a money making business, many finding it to pay well to play ball. Another thing, too, the wire-pulling politicians, who do the dirty work of the several party leaders and committees have begun to see that the base ball community are sufficiently numerous and influential to be looked after.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

enlarged membership of the Star club

Date Sunday, January 11, 1863
Text

Since the organization of the Star club [in 1856], 321 names have been recorded on the member rolls of the club, and at the close of the present season there were no less than eighty members whose names were on the list.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

fielding in 1863

Date Sunday, June 21, 1863
Text

Brown...opened play for the Mutuals, with a splendid grounder to short stop [Athletic shortstop Dickie McBride], who let it go by him, and the result was a home run.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

game length

Date Sunday, August 30, 1863
Text

A CHANGE OF TIME.–For the remainder of the season, all match-games are to be called at 2, P.M., instead of three o’clock; the latter hour not affording sufficient time to play a closely-contested match to the last inning. Three hours and a half has been the average of games this season, several contests occupying four hours and over in playing. Had the last match between the Mutual and Atlantic Clubs been commenced at 2, P.M., we question whether any trouble would have arisen. [Some of the Atlantics had attempted to stall out the ninth inning after the Mutuals took the lead.]

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

how old is baseball?

Date Sunday, November 15, 1863
Text

It is plainly evident that each year’s experience and practice adds to the improvement of base ball, and with the revision of the rules that is to be made at the ensuing Convention, there is little doubt that, in a year or so more, we shall place the game in a thoroughly complete and permanent position. There is yet ample room for improvement, and each year’s play will lead to additions to the rules, until the game becomes perfect. It required over a hundred years to bring the English game of cricket to its present position, and base ball, as a National Game, dates back only to the organization of the National Association. Indeed, the game can scarcely be said to be more than five years old. It is true that base ball, in one sense of the word, has been played for fifty years past; but what is now called base ball, was only introduced in 1858. New York Sunday Mercury November 15, 1863

a letter to the editor dated Nov. 10 with a proposed rule change; early suggestion of the ten men rule

I was pleased to notice in last Sunday’s paper suggestions from a correspondent to improve the game of base ball. There is an imperative call on the National Association in regard to the present style of pitching, or the game will become unpopular. There are many fine clubs that have good players, with all the abilities of a first-class nine, that are dying a slow death, simply for the reason that they have no ‘would be Creightons”, as your correspondent aptly terms them. The “grand” matches this years have turned out, for the most part, grand failures, in point of interest and in fine fielding and batting.

The suggestions by your correspondent are too complex, and would necessitate the employment of two umpires. The simpler the change the better. I, however, contribute my views, which, if carried out, will invest the game with more interest, viz.: Let the pitcher hold his arm perpendicularly with his side, and when he delivers the ball, let the arm from the shoulder to the elbow remain in the same position, the fore-arm, by bending at the elbow, making the requisite motion to deliver the ball, and in the delivery, the hand in no wise to go behind the perpendicular line of the side, or be declared a balk, or no ball. If the above is carried out, we will hear no more complaints about swift pitching.

The above changes throws the game in favor of the batter, and it would be well to have an extra fielder, either as right short-stop or middle fielder.

I have tried swift pitching and those that were slow, and found a remarkable uniformity in the speed.

Let some of our clubs that play on Thanksgiving Day try the above plan, and note the results.

Respectfully yours, F.C.S.

New York Sunday Mercury November 15, 1863

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

instructions on calculating averages

Date Sunday, November 1, 1863
Text

THE SEASON’S AVERAGES.–Those clubs located in the country, who propose making up the averages of their playing members for the past season, should adopt the following rules. None but those who have taken part in the first-nine contests should be included in the list, and the scores of no matches not regular contests between club and club should be recorded. First, write down the names of the players; then the number of matches played in; then the number of outs, and the average and over to a match; then the runs and average, closing with the number of games played in which no runs were scored. We shall give the averages of all clubs–members of the National Association, none others–who have played five first-nine matches and over during the season. We shall commence these averages after Thanksgiving Day. New York Sunday Mercury November 1, 1863.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

intramural games now referred to as 'practice games':

Date Sunday, April 19, 1863
Text

THE STAR CLUB–Good practice games are now had on the grounds of this Brooklyn club every fine afternoon; but especially is such the case on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, on which occasion two good nines are invariably to be found contesting for the palm of superiority–that is, when the weather is fine.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

it ain't over till it's over:

Date Sunday, June 21, 1863
Text

The score was now 13 to 4 [after six innings], in favor of the Excelsiors, and all present, almost, thought that the Athletics ultimately would be defeated; but a game of ball is never lost until it is won, and notwithstanding the heavy lead their opponents had obtained, the Athletics went to work as earnestly as ever. [final score: Athletics 18, Excelsiors 17]

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

it's good to have friends in high places:

Date Sunday, June 21, 1863
Text

[the Athletics hosted by the Mutuals:] The Mutual committee, who had charge of this excursion business, was composed of Messrs. A. B. Taylor, King, Shanly, Brennan, O’Niel, Gover and Tweed. Permission was obtained to take the stages through the [Central] Park, something never before allowed, and it was amusing to note the surprise of the Park policemen when they saw their old foes, the stages, encroaching on sanctified grounds.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Joe Leggett in decline

Date Monday, July 27, 1863
Text

Though Leggett made five fly catches on foul balls, he also missed five catches. He must remember that he is not nor ever will be again the Leggett of 1860, when he touched the highest point of the ladder. He has been descending since then, and though still a good players, he is not A No. 1 now, his inability to throw weakening his play exceedingly.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

loose play following 'refreshments'

Date Saturday, October 31, 1863
Text

[Nassau of Princeton vs. Excelsior of Brooklyn 10/20/1863] ...in fact until the “refreshments” were served up the play was good on both sides, but afterwards there was some very loose play indeed.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

more on the new regimen of practice games:

Date Sunday, June 7, 1863
Text

The Excelsiors turned out quite lively last week, and had good practice games, both on Tuesday and Saturday. Captain Leggett wisely plays the first nine all on one side, even when short-handed, and thus benefits the nine by the practice. Some of these days those wise ones of the other clubs will realize the importance of adopting the same plan, and then we shall see the old-fashioned boy-play of mixing up the first nine with the rest, in order “to make an even thing of it, you know”, done away with. There is no question about it, gentlemen. There is but one proper mode of practice, and that is to play the first nine, or as many of them as are present, if it be but five, against the field. This should be done at least once a week. Unless each player is made familiar with his position, he never can achieve that excellence on it that is so requisite an element of success in a game. We shall continue to preach this doctrine until all those old fogies, have withdrawn their opposition to it.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

more questions about force plays

Date Saturday, June 13, 1863
Text

[from Answers to Correspondents] 1. A is on the 1st base, and B is the striker. B strikes, runs to the first base and is not put out. A runs to the 2d base, when B strikes, but the ball is held by a player on the 2d base before A reaches it, but A is not touched with the ball. Is A out? 2. C is on the 2d base, under the same circumstances, and runs to the 3d base, the ball being held by a player on this base, as before on the 2d. Is C out? Or must he be touched? 3. A is on the 2d base, whilst the 1st and 3d bases are unoccupied. B strikes the ball far enough to get to the 2d base without being put out, but the ball is held on the 3d base before he reaches it, but he is not touched with it. Is not A out B returns to the 1st base, and he (A) to the 2d?” 1. A is out, as he was forced from his base, the striker not being put out, and in such cases there is no need to touch him. 2. C is not out, as he was not touched. C was not forced from the 2d base, but could have returned to it. 3. A is not out unless touched with the ball, as he could have returned to the 2d, thereby forcing B back to 1st.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

pitching rules amended

Date Sunday, December 13, 1863
Text

[reporting on the NABBP convention] The very evident satisfaction with which the amendments in reference to the rules regulating the delivery in pitching were received, afforded ample proof of the need of such reformatory measures. All present were convinced of the absolute necessity of putting a stop to the swift and wild pitching in vogue, and substituting in its place a delivery in which, imparting a bias or twist on the ball, and giving more scope to the judgement of the pitcher, are made the prominent objects in view, rather than the speed of the ball, and the unfair method of trying to intimidate the batsman by pitching the ball at him rather than for him. The experience of the next season will test the soundness of the new rules, and if they should fall short in preventing the evil they were designed to obviate, depend upon it the next Convention will institute some new rule whereby the beauties of the game will be more fully developed than they hitherto have been. At any rate, sufficient has been done to intimate to ball-players generally that is the earnest desire of the National Association that wild and swift pitching should be repudiated; and that style of delivery adopted which will most develop the abilities of the majority of the fielders, and make the duties of the pitcher and catcher less arduous than they have been for the past two or three years.

...

Section 5 of the rules was altered so as to read as follows. The pitcher’s position shall be designated by two lines, four yards in length, drawn at right angles to a line from home to second base, having their centres upon that line at two fixed iron plates, at points respectively fifteen and sixteen yards from the home base.

The pitcher must deliver the ball as near as possible over the centre of the home base, and for the striker. Should a pitcher repeatedly fail to deliver fair balls to the striker, for the apparent purpose of delaying the game, or for any cause, the umpire, after warning him, shall call one ball, and if the pitcher persists in such action, two and three balls; and when three balls have been called, the striker shall be entitled to his first base, and should any base be occupied at that time, each player occupying them shall be entitled to one base.

Section 6 was amended so as to insert the words, “nor off the ground”, immediately preceding the words “at the time of delivering the ball”.

Section 16 was amended by so wording the rule as to allow a player the privilege of trying to make his base after returning to the base he left, in cases of a fly catch.

Section 19 was changed by substituting the word “touch” for “make”, thus requiring players to touch every base; and if he fails to do so, he must be declared out by the umpire.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

pitching strategy:

Date Sunday, September 6, 1863
Text

[Atlantic v. Eureka, 8/31/63] Careful play in batting was shown by both sides, each party being particular in reference to the balls they wanted; and the contest gave promise of being one of those long and tedious affairs that result from depending entirely upon the pitcher and catcher to do the greater part of the work. Each pitcher strove, apparently, to send in as swift balls, and as impossible ones to strike, as they could; their efforts being to secure tips and foul balls rather than give chances for the out-fielders to display their skill by pitching fair balls to the batsman. New York Sunday Mercury September 6, 1863

[Atlantic v. Eckford 9/2/63] A circumstance that added considerably to the interest of the occasion, was the fact that the Atlantics presented their new pitcher, Pratt, against the Eckfords, for the first time–the game being as much a trial of skill between Sprague and Pratt as between the two clubs. The result proved the superiority of the former, as regards effectiveness of pitching: and on this occasion Sprague excelled at imparting the requisite bias or twist to the ball, at the same time as he pitched with his usual speed. Judging from the batting, the fact is plain that the Eckfords can bat against Pratt’s pitching with far greater effect than the Atlantics can against that of Sprague. The next match may change this position of affairs, but at the present, the result of this match gives the honors in pitching to Sprague, of the Eckfords. New York Sunday Mercury September 6, 1863

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

pitching technique

Date Sunday, September 27, 1863
Text

On the Baltic side, Fourtner’s pitching proved to be quite effective. He has a peculiar mode of delivery, which he thinks imparts a twist on the ball. It is, however, only the very last touch of the ball that gives it any bias.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

pitching unfair balls

Date Wednesday, September 9, 1863
Text

[Atlantic vs. Eckford 6/8/1863] The first innings had occupied just one hour in playing, extreme caution being manifested by both parties in regard to selecting balls to hit at. Both the pitchers interpreted the rule of the game, requiring them to pitch “for the striker,” to mean “at the striker,” at least one should judge so, from their style of pitching, for both apparently trying to see how near they could pitch to the batsmen without hitting them. Now this style of thing may be all very well as regards “playing the points” on the game, but it in either fair pitching nor according to the rules of the game. We trust to see the time when the object of the pitcher will be, not to send in the most unfair balls he can, but such ones as will admit of plenty of employment for the outfielders by giving them frequent opportunities to display their skill. The chance that was afforded Crane [cf], in the 2d innings, and the skill and judgment he displayed in making the fine catch he then did, from Snyder's bat, was worth far more, as an attractive feature of the game, than half-a-dozen catches from high balls hopped up nearly even the pitcher's head, or from tips from foul ball, both of which result mainly from the style of pitching now in vogue. Lively fielding is the beauty of base ball, and the only feature of the game that makes it more attractive than cricket, and the moment anything is done to deprive it of this special attraction, as swift pitching does, that very moment it will cease to be the popular game it otherwise will ever be.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Pratt jumps ship

Date Sunday, July 12, 1863
Text

This fine general player and first-class pitcher has been desirous for some time of belonging to one of our leading clubs here; and during the visit of the Athletics to New York, Pratt being offered a good situation here, accepted it, and at once had his name proposed as a member of the Atlantic Club; and immediately on his arrival home he resigned from the Athletic Club, and, in a week or so, he will have been duly installed as a member of the Atlantic Club, of Brooklyn. Of course, he will henceforth be their pitcher, as there is no one in the country to surpass him in that position, and few to equal him. New York Sunday Mercury July 12, 1863

A great change has suddenly occurred in the formation of the first nine of the Athletic club of Philadelphia. Pratt, their able pitcher, resigned from the club the day of his arrival in Philadelphia, the reason he assigned being that he had been offered a good situation in New York, and had joined the Atlantic club of Brooklyn, and henceforth he was to be the pitcher of that noted club, an honor no doubt that he was exceedingly ambitious of obtaining. This loss will greatly weaken the Athletic nine, but not as much so as many would imagine, as his place can be well filled by McBride, who is an excellent pitcher, though not quite as fast as Pratt. New York Clipper July 18, 1863

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

proposed rules amendments; wide balls, as in cricket

Date Sunday, November 8, 1863
Text

...In the first place, it is proposed to change the working of the rules that refers to pitching, so as to make the definition of a balk clear to the plainest understanding. It is also proposed that the same rule shall include the definition of a jerk, and we think it about time something is inserted in the rule in question whereby we might distinctly know what constitutes a jerk; for, if we mistake not, jerking the ball without touching the side of the body, has lately come into vogue to a very great extent.

Another thing required in the way of an amendment, is, the re-wording of those rules that refer to running the bases, so as to make every player touch all the bases in making his runs.

The bad habit of the general class of batsmen have got into of not standing on the line of the home bases when about to strike, requires to be remedied by the enforcement of some penalty, a good one proposed being that of calling all balls fair that touch the ground perpendicularly from the bat, when the striker has not one foot on the line of his base. By standing back of the base, every poor hit he makes, whereby the ball goes from the bat perpendicularly to the ground, saves him from being out at first base–as he would be otherwise likely to be, owing to the ball being called foul. But, if the rule is changed as above suggests, a hit of the kind will put him out, unless he stands fairly on the line of the base.

Is it also proposed to change the wording of Rule 37, so as to admit of an umpire considering balls struck at for the purpose of hastening the close of an inning as not fair strikes. The necessity of this change was made apparent in the last innings of the match between the Hoboken and New York clubs, played Oct. 23.

Rule 16 might also be improved by the insertion of words which would require the player returning to his base on a foul ball, to remain on the base until the ball was settled in the hands of the pitcher. This is practically agreed out how; but it should be plainly laid down as the actual rule.

Many of the best players in the community are of the opinion that changing outs from bound-catches to fly-balls only would greatly improve the fielding department of the game. We are of the opinion that it would not; but, nevertheless, we should like to see the rule in force for one season, in order to see how it would work. The few games that have been played have afforded no criterion as to whether the fly-game would be an improvement or not, and, therefore, we should like to see it adopted for next season. An effort to have the fly-game adopted at the next Convention will undoubtedly be made, and the friends of both styles of play would do well to muster in force on the occasion.

There is one alteration in the rules of the game that is likely to be proposed, which merits particular consideration at the hands of the Committee on Rules, and that is, a proposed amendment of Rule 5, by which every ball pitched over the head of the striker, or outside the line of the home base, shall be called a wide ball, and shall count against the side on the filed the same as runs made from the bat.

This is an important change, and one, we think that the present wild pitching in vogue fully calls for. It is about time that the style of pitching which aims to pitch the ball at the striker, and anywhere but where he can hit is, was done away with, and that fair balls were pitched, as in the early period the game. There are so many would-be Creightons in the various clubs, and pitchers generally appear to be so very anxious to excel more in speed than anything else, that true and legitimate pitching is something rarely to be seen. What should be the first desideratum in pitching, vis., accuracy of aim in delivery, is the last thing thought of; the only idea entertained being the one which makes speed alone the criterion of excellence. The proposed rule in reference to wide balls would undoubtedly lessen wild pitching, if it did not stop it altogether, and we hope to see it adopted at the next Convention. New York Sunday Mercury November 8, 1863

The Committee on Rules and Regulations have now under consideration a host of suggestions in regard to the wording of this and that rule, and the introduction of new ones, which they will bring to the notice of the convention embodied in their regular report. The most important improvement suggested is that of the introduction of wide balls, as in cricket, with a view to do away with the wild pitching in vogue. New York Clipper November 28, 1863

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

quality of fielding

Date Sunday, September 13, 1863
Text

[Atlantic v. Eckford 9/8/63, top of the first inning] Pearce secured his first base by a high ball sent past where no fielder could get at it in time. In trying to get to his second base, Pearce was nearly run out, but he secured it on Smith’s hit; Sprague [the pitcher] stopping the swift ball Smith sent him in grand style, but it was too hot a one to be picked up in time to put Smith out; he, however, threw the ball to first base for that purpose, but the ball, hitting Smith, glanced off, thus enabling Smith to reach his third; and by a wild throw in returning the ball, he got home, Pearce preceding him, the throw referred to being chargeable to Duffy. Thus were the first two runs scored. Price was the next hitter, and he tipped out. Pratt then followed with a good hit to right field, like Pearce’s, out of reach, and thereby he made his first base. By the ball hitting “Davenport”–an old player with a new name–Pratt made his second base, reaching his third by Davenport’s good hit to left field, and his run on a passed ball; Davenport securing his first base through Duffy’s mistake in thinking Devyr was Pratt running to third; Duffy turning to touch Devyr instead of throwing the ball to first base, thus being too late to put Davenport out. Duffy’s play was correct, however, in theory. Crane was then put out on the bound by Grum, Davenport stealing in on Sprague a few minutes before. Chapman then followed with a good hit, which gave him his first base, but before he could reach his third, Start went out on the tip; thus closing the innings of the Atlantics with a score of 4 runs.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

quick pitch; wild pitches trying to hold on a runner

Date Sunday, August 2, 1863
Text

[Eckford vs. Union of Morrisania 7/30/1863] Wood, as usual, opening play by making his first base by his good batting, finally securing his run by two overpitches of Hannegan. These overpitches are peculiar to Hannegan’s play as pitcher, and they result from a too great eagerness on his part to put out players by throwing to bases. Very few pitchers possess the art of turning round from watching a base, and suddenly sending in the ball accurately to the batsman, and certes Hannegan is not one of them.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

runners must touch the bases 2

Date Saturday, June 20, 1863
Text

[Gotham vs. Star 6/10/1863] This game was made a noteworthy contest, from the fact that during the match an important precedent was established, that we hope to see followed up on each occasion of a match; viz., that every player will have to touch every base in running round, in future, or he will be liable to be put out. If he fails to touch every base as he passes, he will be made to return to them. Smith, of the Stars, was put out in this way. He had made a hit which gave him his third base; but in running round, he failed to touch the first base. McGrath, who was attending to the first base for the Gothams, called for the ball, and holding it while on the base asked for judgment, and the umpire at once decided Smith out. New York Clipper June 20, 1863

[Athletic vs. Eckford 6/23/1863] William Culyer acted as umpire on the occasion, and by his decision in the case of Snyder, who failed to touch his base in going round, he established the rule in such cases that Grum had inaugurated the previous week in the Gotham and Star match. New York Clipper June 27, 1863

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

showing the new attitude about competition vs socializing:

Date Sunday, May 31, 1863
Text

[The visiting Athletic Club] modestly and respectfully but firmly in advance all invitation to “eat, drink and be merry”. And we heartily indorse [sic] their sentiments in this respect. Frolicking and match-playing don’t agree. There is a time for everything.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

some good advice on base running:

Date Sunday, June 28, 1863
Text

The Athletics missed securing their first base several times in the course of the week’s play, from failing to run to first when the ball was hit. No matter whether it is a high ball that looks as if it is sure to be caught, or a foul ball, if you don’t hear the umpire call it, drop your bat and make for your base as fast as you can.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Star club as feeder to the Excelsior, Enterprise to the Atlantic

Date Sunday, January 11, 1863
Text

The Star club has given the ball-playing community some of the best players in it among whom we would name Messrs. Creighton, A. Brainard, Flanly, and J. Whiting, all graduates of the “bully little Star Club of Brooklyn”. Like the Enterprise Club to the Atlantic, the Stars have been to the Excelsior Club–the school from which they have drawn their main strength. Those Enterprising youths, Messrs. C. Smith, Joe Oliver, Start, Crane, and Chapman, have been greatly instrumental in sustaining the credit of the Atlantic Club, and we need not say that the skill exhibited by the graduates of the Star Club, who are now members of the Excelsior, have been equally advantageous to the latter association.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

swift versus slow pitching

Date Wednesday, August 19, 1863
Text

[Empire vs. Star of Brooklyn 8/18/1863] This match afforded an tolerably fair test of the respective merits of the two styles of pitching, the one consisting of swift but inaccurately delivered balls, and the other slow ones, intended to give the fielders active exercise and full play for a development of their abilities. The former style of pitching is productive of numerous tips, foul balls and striking out, and also of passed balls, on which players run their bases and secure their runs.; the brunt of the work of this pitching, falling heavily on the pitcher and catcher; the result, generally speaking, being a long, tedious and uninteresting game. Whereas, the other style not only makes the game lively and interesting, but gives every man in the field a fair chance to distinguish himself. Between the two styles of pitching, we unhesitatingly give the preference to well pitched, slow, or medium-paced balls, as the best for giving life to the game, and also from its being calculated to advance its popularity.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

ten men on a side matches

Date Sunday, September 27, 1863
Text

[Excelsior vs. Knickerbocker 9/22/1863, each including a right short] New York Sunday Mercury September 27, 1863 [also Excelsior vs. Knickerbocker 10/12/1863] New York Sunday Mercury October 18, 1863

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Gettysburg campaign and Philadelphia ballplayers

Date Saturday, July 11, 1863
Text

Base Ball has “caved” “slightually” hereabouts, within a week. The Athletics and the Olympics have gone to the war almost en masse. Eighteen of the Athletics went off with that gallant fellow, Captain D.W.C. Moore. Our word for it, they’ll take the Rebs on the fly. Philadelphia City Item July 11, 1863

Nearly all the Philadelphia clubs have resumed play. We shall be ready for the New Yorkers next month. Philadelphia City Item July 25, 1863

The return of the State troops from the border will give renewed life to Base Ball in Philadelphia., and in September we shall be ready to receive our friends from New York, Brooklyn, Newark, Newburgh, Baltimore, etc. Early in September, the Athletics will visit Altoona and Princeton[sic: probably should be Pittsburgh], for play. Philadelphia City Item August 1, 1863

Source Philadelphia City Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the definition of a home run

Date Sunday, August 16, 1863
Text

A legitimate home run is made when the striker hits a ball that enables him to touch all his bases, and get home, with out stopping on the way, before he is put out. No matter whether the run is obtained from the great distance the ball is hit, or from errors in fielding it, if the batsman goes round without stopping, and reaches home before being put out, he makes a home run. A “clean” home run is made when the striker gets round before the ball is returned to the in field. We have thus explained this matter for the benefit of our country readers.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

when the striker becomes a runner

Date Saturday, August 8, 1863
Text

[in Answers to Correspondents] [answering a question, not quoted, from J.B. Thompson, Troy] [The question] has been answered gain and again in the columns of the Clipper. Of course when a player reaches his first base, without being put out, he ceases to be the striker; and consequently if put out afterwards, that fact does not prevent the run of a player, who gets home before the other is put out, from counting. The player, in the instance you refer to, scores his run, because the “striker” was not put out, though the player who hit the ball was.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

wide balls; base on balls

Date Saturday, October 24, 1863
Text

Wild Pitching—We do not think there was one ball player present at the match at 63d street yesterday, who was not of the opinion that it was necessary to introduce some rule in the game at the next convention, that will put a stop to wild pitching. There is but one way that we know of, and that is to introduce wide balls as in cricket. If a rule was made in which every ball touching the ground in front of the home base, or pitched over the striker's head, or beyond the line of the home base, either to the right or left of the pitcher, should be considered a wide ball, and these wides to count in the total score as in cricket, the pitchers would soon learn to pitch accurately, and we should get rid of the Hannegan style of pitching.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger