Clippings:1864

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1864Clippings in 1864

Clippings in 1864 (81 entries)

Contents

'going down' to get a base: an early slide?

Date Saturday, July 2, 1864
Text

[Athletic vs. Mercantile 6/24/1864] Mr. Schofield seriously hurt his back in the act of “going down,” to get his third base. Although he pluckily played until the close of the game, he was scarcely fit to take the field.

Source Fitzgeralds City Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a benefit match

Date Wednesday, October 12, 1864
Text

We trust all our ball players will remember that the game on the Atlantic grounds to-morrow is for the benefit of that worthy and esteemed member of the club so well known as “Joe Start, the first baseman of the Atlantics,” than whom there is no better player in the club, and none who so uniformly marks his play in matches with conduct which is worthy a gentlemanly ball player.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a double play on confusion whether a ball is fair or foul

Date Sunday, September 25, 1864
Text

[Union v. Resolute 9/20/1864] The game opened with a blunder which nearly resulted in the Union drawing a blank... The blunder was this: Abrams [of the Union] had secured his first base by a good hit, and Hudson followed suit with another, but Bowie stopped Hudson’s ball in style, and he was pout out at first base. The ball, however, hit the ground in such a manner as to lead Hannegan [of the Union] to consider it foul, and he foul, although the umpire had said nothing; consequently, Abrams ran back to his first base, but before he could get there, the ball was passed to the pitcher and back to first base in time to cut him off, and he was touched between bases. The ball was then declared fair, and, consequently, Hudson was out too...

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a dropped infield fly

Date Thursday, June 16, 1864
Text

[Eureka vs. Empire 6/15/1864] Miller was at 2d and Benson at 1st, when Jewett hit a high ball which Burroughs–the Eureka pitcher–could easily have held on the fly; had he done so, however, only one player would have been put out, therefore, for stategical reasons, he muffed it, and picking the ball up quickly, threw it to third base, and it being forwarded rapidly to 2d, both the men that were forced to run to those bases were put out.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a fielder admits he missed the tag

Date Sunday, September 25, 1864
Text

[Union v. Resolute 9/20/1864] In the fifth inning, the Resolutes obtained five runs, partly by the honorable action of Hudson... Wilson had run to third base, and the ball being passed to Hudson there the umpire had given Wilson out; whereupon Wilson, instead of quietly leaving his base, as every ball-player ought to do under such circumstances, no matter how rough the decision may be, loudly out that he was not touched, and Hudson very honestly remarked that he had not touched him. Whereupon, the umpire very properly reversed his decision, as the testimony in this instance was conclusive; but had Hudson “played points”, as it is , and kept silent, the umpire would no doubt have adhered to his decision, as an umpire has no right to decide a point except according to the impression the play makes upon him, no statement of players being admissible. This instance was a very rare and peculiar one–far too rare, as far as Hudson’s action was concerned, for the welfare of the game. All present applauded Hudson’s manly conduct, except those who would rather win a game at any cost than lose it, even at the sacrifice of manly and honorable conduct. Abrams similarly acted a creditable part, in this respect, when he last played on the same ground in the Eckford match.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

an early appearance of Al Reach with the Athletics

Date Saturday, June 18, 1864
Text

[Camden vs. Athletic 6/9/1864] [Reach played second base for the Athletics] Fitzgerald's City Item June 18, 1864]

Source Fitzgeralds City Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

an early attribution of the spread of baseball to the Civil War

Date Wednesday, March 30, 1864
Text

Ball players are being made by the hundred in our army. The few members of clubs that happen to get into the different regiments that have emanated from the Metropolis have inoculated the whole service with a love of the game, and during last year, for the first time, we believe, base ball matches took place in every State in the Union-- or out of it, as the case may be-- this side of the Mississippi. Materials are now furnished to the various regiments that require them, and this by order of the Government, and this year, unless some very stirring work is done, games of ball will be played throughout the country, not only by civilians in the great cities, but by our soldiers in every camp, North, East, West, and South.

Source Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

an umpire calling balls and strikes

Date Tuesday, June 21, 1864
Text

[Mutual vs. Newark 6/20/1864] The Umpire discharged his duties creditably throughout. He called balls on the pitcher whenever he pitched out of reach, and called strikes on the batsman whenever he failed to strike at good balls, such as were pitched where he wanted them. Thus the occupants of the pitcher’s and striker’s positions were forced to play a fair game throughout, and the result was plenty of chances for good fielding, a quickly played and lively game, and no just cause for ill feeling, the match being played throughout with the utmost good humor on both sides.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

applying the new pitching rules

Date Saturday, May 14, 1864
Text

[the Eagles at practice 5/3/1864] Dr. Bell, of the Empire Club, was one of the players and occupied the position of pitcher, and as he was prominent as one of the framers of the amended rules in the Convention Committee, he was fully competent to explain the matters to those who desired information as to the correct definition of the amendments that have been introduced. The Doctor pitched every ball with both feet on the ground at the time he made the last swing of the arm. His style of pitching was this: he first stepped within the space of ground allotted to the pitcher–the same being twelve feet by three–and then placing his feet firmly on the ground, one foot touching the forward line with the toe and the other the back line with the heel, he deliberately pitched the ball, and, of course, without lifting either foot during any of the preliminary movements of the delivery. This is the correct definition of the rule, and it must so be observed by all pitchers, otherwise they render themselves amendable to the penalty of baulking.

[the Atlantics at practice 5/5/1864] The feature of the game was the ordeal the pitchers went through with in [sic] being introduced in the new style of pitching. With a view of having correct decisions on the pitching, a member of the committee on Rules and Regulations of the National Association was selected to act as umpire on the occasion, and as his decisions were endorsed by the Atlantic Club and the new rules fully approved of by the leading players, we give below the principal points decided as the rules of the game for the season. It was decided in the first place–as was the case at Hoboken when Dr. Bell pitched–that when the pitcher had either foot off the ground when he made the last forward swing of the arm in delivering the ball, he was guilty of a baulk. Pratt and Sprague both had baulks called on them when they first began to pitch in the game, because they made the forward step while in the act of delivering the ball.

The new rule, too, in reference to calling balls on pitchers who fail to pitch fair balls–viz.: such as are over the home base, and for the striker, was strictly observed, and balls were called on all the pitchers, including Sprague, Pratt, and Chapman. The way it was done was this: The umpire, in Sprague’s case, seeing that while standing square on the ground to deliver the ball he would not pitch straightly and accurately, too, warned him that he was liable to incur the penalty named in section 6 of the rules, unless he pitched balls for the striker, and as near as possible over the home base, after he had pitched two or three balls out of the legitimate reach of the batsman, called first one ball; and the next time a ball was pitched so nearly as to touch the batsman, or out of his reach, two and three balls, and then ordered the striker to take his first base. This enforcement of the rule led to fair pitching, and then began full play for the fielders and a lively and interesting game.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

at attempt to influence the betting market?

Date Saturday, July 2, 1864
Text

[Mutual vs. Newark 6/20/1864] In this innings Brown began his loose play, and he was assisted by wild throws from several of the nine, the fielding in this and the three succeeding innings being about as poor as the Mutuals displayed in any game last season, Zeller, Goldie and Wanzley being the only players that did their duty thoroughly throughout. In fact, there were certain circumstances connected with the play in these innings which looked as if their errors were the result of designed carelessness, the object being apparently to influence the betting market for their grand match with the Atlantics...

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

attempting to incorporate the National Association

Date Sunday, May 15, 1864
Text

In reference to an act of incorporation, it was ascertained that the same could only be procured through the State Legislature at its next session; and as it was important that the Association should be incorporated before application was made for the use of the Central Park grounds, the committee on that subject had taken no action thereon.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Baseball an American invention; early claim of town ball as origin

Date Friday, August 12, 1864
Text

There are now only two games of ball which, to any extent, are popular in this country. They are cricket and base ball—the first of English origin; the other an American invention. Cricket is said to have been played as early as the sixteenth century, while base ball is the offspring, we believe, of the last decade. … Base ball owes birth to the game of town ball, a very inferior sport.

Source Philadelphia Press
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

called balls and the new delivery rule

Date Tuesday, April 19, 1864
Text

[Star Club practice game 4/16/1864] It is plainly evident that the rule in reference to calling balls on the pitcher, and the one that confines his movements within a certain space of ground, are going to work a reformation in pitching this season that will greatly promote the beauty of the game, by adding to the work of the fielders, and making skill in that department the great element of success instead of swift pitching, as was the case last year. With a space of but three feet wide to make any preliminary movements in, and even that that to keep his feet on the ground while in the act of delivering the ball, the pitcher must in future necessarily depend almost entirely upon his skill in accuracy of delivery and his power to impart a bias to the ball for his effectiveness as a pitcher, and not, as hitherto, on his ability to intimidate the batsman by pitching swift balls at him, as was done in nearly every first class game last season.

In reference to calling balls on a pitcher, the rule expressly states that if a pitcher repeatedly fails to deliver balls to the striker “for the apparent purpose of delaying the game, or for any other cause,” balls shall be called on him. Now this sentence “for any cause,” of course, includes inability to pitch good balls, and inasmuch as every man can toss a ball accurately to a batsman though he may not be able similarly to pitch a swift ball, it of course follows that when a pitcher is so unskillful in a game as to incur the penalty now attached to poor pitching, he must either be at once changed for a better pitcher, or alter his style of delivery to that which ensures the pitching of fair balls, which a slow toss does. Hence it is that the rule will ensure more work in the field, and consequently livelier and more attractive games, for now the position of pitch becomes secondary, the fielders being now the most important players of the Nine. Hitherto Clubs have considered themselves perfectly organized as far as their success in matches is concerned, if they had a pitcher who could send in balls like Creighton did. Now, however, slow, twisting balls, pitched accurately and with judgment to the batsman must take the place of the rifle-shot style hitherto in vogue, and the sooner our pitcher realize the fact and get out of their former habits of delivery, the better for them and the more likely they are to retain their old position.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

calling balls when balks should have been called; an early base on balls

Date Wednesday, June 8, 1864
Text

[Eckford vs. the field, ten on a side, 6/7/1864] The Eckfords first went to the bat, and by a mistake of the umpire, who called balls on the pitcher when he should simply have called baulks, their first striker had to take his first base.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

change pitcher

Date Thursday, July 14, 1864
Text

No nine can be said to be complete without a . In Cricket a good bowler is frequently replaced with a poor one when the batsmen happen to get the range of the former’s bowling; and so it should be in Base Ball, a change from good to bad being frequently productive of beneficial results in lessening the score of one’s opponents.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

close fences in Albany; ground rules

Date Sunday, August 28, 1864
Text

The grounds [in Albany] are scarcely wide enough for the purpose, it not being difficult to send a fair ball over the fence both at left and right field, and as the rule of the grounds admits of home-runs for such hits, considerable of a [sic] delay in every game is induced by the efforts of batsmen to send balls to these weak spots, foul balls being thereby too frequently hit. One base only should be allowed for every ball sent over the fence at either side, on the bounds, and two bases for hits which send it over on the fly.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

clubs insisting on the fly game

Date Sunday, April 24, 1864
Text

...two of the prominent clubs of Brooklyn have adopted the rule of the fly, viz., the Star and Excelsior Clubs, both of which have decided to accept no challenge from any club this season unless the flygame be the rule of the contest.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

coaching from inside the infield

Date Sunday, May 29, 1864
Text

[picked nines Pennsylvania vs. New Jersey 5/25/1864] Thomas made several good plays, but we must enter our protest against the custom he has of rushing into the inner-field to encourage players to run their bases.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Coney Island grounds and the railroad

Date Monday, May 9, 1864
Text

The worthy Superintendent of the Coney Island Railroad Company, Frank Quevedo, Esq., formerly of the Pastime club, has made arrangements to prepare an excellent ball ground at Coney Island... The location of a ball ground on the Island was suggested to the Company when they first began to run their line, but it is only this season that the idea has been practically carried out. The ground adjoins the depot, and is sufficiently large to admit of four or five thousand people witnessing a game.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

definition of an unfair ball

Date 1864
Text

The following is a list of what may be fairly considered as unfair balls:–All balls pitched beyond the bat’s length from the striker’s person, either on the side he strikes from or over his head; all balls that touch the ground before passing over the line of the home-base; all balls pitched on the side opposite to that the striker bats from; all balls touching his person, or going so close to him as to necessitate his moving to avoid being hit with the ball–provided, however, in this latter case, that he stands sufficient far from the base on one side of it, to admit of the ball being pitched fairly over the base without hitting him or going close to him; all balls included in the above list are unquestionably unfair balls, and such as are not thus included do not infringe the rule.

Source ~
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

dodgy delivery, and attempts to stop it; pitching strategy

Date Saturday, July 9, 1864
Text

[Atlantic vs. Mutual 6/27/1864] Last season McKever’s pitching, like that of several others, was made effective by his skill in what is called “dodgy delivery,” that is, the balls he pitched, though apparently for the striker, were not such as he would strike at with any chance of hitting fairly. This style of pitching, and likewise the inaccuracy resulting from efforts to excel at speed, it was that led to the introduction of the new rules in reference to pitching, and hence McKever’s style in this season deprived of all its effect.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

early use of 'battery'

Date Sunday, July 10, 1864
Text

[Active of New York vs. Eureka of Newark 7/4/1864] As regards the pitching, “Walker’s battery” proved to be very effective in aiding to achieve the result... [N.B. Walker was the pitcher for the victorious Actives]

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

evaluating the fly game; 'amateurs' a derogatory term

Date Monday, July 18, 1864
Text

[Excelsior vs. Enterprise 7/16/1864] On the Enterprise side in fielding the play was such as fully to illustrate the fact that well taken bound balls, in the in-field, in a fly game are just as effectual in aiding to put out players as in the bound game, the only different being that in the former they are credited as good catches, while in the latter only as good stops. Each of the three players put out by Flynn at 1st base, in the first innings, were from balls previously caught on the bound and afterwards sent to 1st base, two of them being well taken by W. Murtha and the other by Pearsall. No less than seven bound catches were made in the game, which similarly resulted in players being put out at the bases; and besides these there were fourteen other bound catches made, all of which put players out, being from foul balls. In fact, out of twenty-six bound catchers, which would have counted in a bound game, twenty-one were the cause of putting p layers out in this fly game. These facts speak for themselves, and are strong arguments in favor of a style of play that will eventually mark the rules of the game, unless mere amateurs continue to be in the majority, as they are now, in the list of delegates to the convention.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Fisler, Reach playing with multiple clubs

Date Sunday, July 24, 1864
Text

Fisler, of the Camden and Olympic Clubs of Philadelphia–in that city the cricketers’ plan of playing members belonging to other clubs is in vogue–who is now a member of the Eckfords, and we presume he will be their catcher for the season. New York Sunday Mercury July 24, 1864

[Resolute vs. Camden 7/29/1864] Fisler, now of the Eckford Club, played as catcher for the Camden. Brooklyn Eagle August 1, 1864

The Philadelphia ball clubs have this season openly adopted the objectionable system in vogue among cricket clubs, of playing members of other clubs in their regular matches. Thus, for instance, the Athletic club–a member of the National Association–play Reach of the Eckford club in their games with their brother clubs; the Keystone club, also of the National Association, play C. Bomeisler, of the Olympic; the Olympics play Fisler, of the Camden, and now of the Eckford, and T. Bomeisler, of the Eureka, besides other members of the organization. Brooklyn Eagle August 2, 1864

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Fitzgerald resigned from baseball?; a later story about collecting gate receipts

Date Tuesday, August 16, 1864
Text

Resigned—Mr. Fitzgerald has, we regret to hear, resigned the Presidency of and membership in the Athletic Club, Philadelphia. Brooklyn Daily Eagle August 16, 1864

Some, not posted up, would naturally ask what he [Fitzgerald] has done to merit such distinction. If we were to reply by asking the question “What has he not done,” the querist would be appropriately answered. From him, or through his influence has emanated the arrangement of nearly every series of matches played between the Philadelphia clubs and those of other cities. To achieve the objects he had in view, for popularizing the game in Philadelphia, he has spent hundreds of dollars out of his own private purse; procured ball players excellent situations, time and again, besides aiding them at all times when in need of service, advice or pecuniary means; kept open house to visiting guests of the fraternity, and always been the first to greet them on their way to the city, and the last to with them God speed as they left; and, in fact, done all that one man could do to make base ball popular, and the several clubs and the fraternity in general respected by outside parties. It is a pity for the welfare of our national game that there are so few of such men in base ball circles, for if they were more numerous the game would be far more popular even than it is now. Brooklyn Eagle August 19, 1864

The Athletics have refused to accept the resignation of Mr. Fitzgerald, and it is very likely that he will continue to act with them. New York Sunday Mercury September 25, 1864

[a reminiscence from thirteen years later] [the Atlantics are in town and the Athletics are out of money] [Atlantic vs. Athletic 8/11/1864] In this emergency, Col. Fitzgerald, president of the club, came to the rescue. It is not known even unto this day how the Colonel got his idea, but somehow the characters “Ten Cents Admission” came before his mind’s eye. Not that it was “in his eye,” by any means. For Colonel Fitzgerald by this lucky thought revolutionized our national game. At the various entrances of the old ground, at 25th and Jefferson streets, Philadelphia, the Colonel posted his doorkeepers. It may be asked (as this was a kind of historic occasion) who these doorkeepers were. But those who know the Colonel do not need to be told. The doorkeepers were the Colonel’s sons–not all of them, but those who were, at the time being, the smaller of the series. The receipts of the afternoon were $14. This was not a heavy return, considering especially that the crowd was greater than had ever up to that time attended a match in that city. But the entrance charge was considered more or less as a joke by nearly everybody. Players generally had an aversion to making the game a matter of money, and thought that the policy was a mistake. One and all disregarded the rule, and laughed a little uneasily at the attempts to speculate in the public interest in baseball. They were, however, the very first to accept the situation, and could scarcely be persuaded now that it is wrong to charge admission to a game of baseball. On the contrary, they would probably ridicule anyone who suggested so trifling an amount as ten cents as the proper figure of admission. New York Clipper November 1, 1879

Source Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

flying the American flag

Date Tuesday, August 16, 1864
Text

[Active of New York vs. Camden 8/11/1865] The hour of three having arrived, the star-spangled banner was run to the top of the staff, and the game commenced... Unidentified newspaper in Athletics scrapbook, Baseball Hall of Fame

estranged clubs

The Atlantic and Empire Clubs ended play in 1856 with some dispute or other that ought to have been forgotten by the next season, but it was not forgotten, on the contrary the difficulty was remembered and enlarged upon by parties connected with both organizations, the ultimate result being an estrangement that lasted for seven years. This year, through the agency of those valued members of club the peacemakers—a class far too few in numbers for the best interests of the game—these clubs have come together again and now rate each as friends. Singular to relate the Atlantic and Eagle Clubs after being organized nearly nine years only played their first game together this season, the result being the accession of another club to the list of friendly organizations each can pride themselves on being countenanced by. … What are the obstacles to a friendly, manly, gentlemanly encounter between the Atlantic and Eckford clubs to test the question between their superiority as players for the season of 1864?

Source Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

interpreting called balls and strikes

Date Monday, June 13, 1864
Text

[Empire vs. Active 6/11/1864] The Empire and Active match on Saturday at Hoboken turned out to be a very singular contest, it being made so by the very novel interpretation of rule six by McMahon of the Mutual, who acted as umpire on the occasion. From the first to the last innings he called balls on the pitcher every time he failed to deliver the ball exactly to the spot the striker pointed out; and also, when the striker failed on his part to strike at the first ball that came to him where he had said he wanted it, he called strikes on him, his decisions throughout being thoroughly impartial and consistent with his peculiar definition of the rule.

But in this singular interpretation he undoubtedly erred. This rule of calling balls on a pitcher was introduced in order to put a stop to the wild pitching that resulted from the endeavor to pitch with the utmost speed without regard to accuracy of delivery; and also to prevent any pitcher from throwing a game into the dark; and likewise to give the umpire as much control over the movements of the pitcher, in making him play fairly, as he previously had over the striker, in being able to call strikes on him for unfair play.

The principal difficulty in correctly interpreting this rule, lies in properly defining unfair balls. Now a ball may not be a fair ball to suit the striker, and yet at the same time be one that cannot justly be considered an unfair ball, for the reason that at the same time it may be unsuited to the peculiarity of the striker's style of batting, and yet over the home base and within the legitimate reach of an ordinary batsman. For this reason it is absolutely requisite that a margin be allowed for such balls as are under this head, and also for such as are evidently the result of accidental inaccuracy of delivery, and therefore it was that the word “repeatedly” was introduced into the rule, and the umpire required to warn the pitcher of the penalty he incurred, and also the words “apparent intention” inserted; for though the Umpire is empowered to inflict the penalty for unfair pitching, no matter whether intention, or inaccuracy, or inability to pitch fairly be the cause, the intentions of the pitcher should be taken into consideration in every instance. There is but one way to define unfair balls, and that is to consider every ball unfairly delivered, that is not within the legitimate reach of an ordinary batsman such as compose the majority of players. This legitimate reach will of course exclude the following style of balls, viz:--all balls that touch the ground before passing over the line of the home base; all ball pitched to the side opposite that the striker bats from; all balls touching his person or going so close to him as to necessitate his moving to avoid being hit with the ball; provided, however, in this latter case, that he stands sufficiently far from the base on side side of it, to admit of the ball being pitched fairly over the base without hitting him or going close to him. All balls included in the above list are unquestionably unfair balls, and such as are not thus included do not infringe the rule.

The rule is undoubtedly a good one, and correctly interpreted, is well calculated to make the game a trial of skill in general fielding rather than of batting; but as defined by McMahon, it would at once give every match to the club having the strongest batsmen, no matter how poor they might be in fielding strength.

The working of the rule on Saturday, under McMahon's definition of it, led to the playing of the quickest bound game on record; in fact, after the first two innings had been played, nearly every ball pitched was either hit into the air and caught, or counted as one ball towards giving the striker his base, or strike towards putting the batsman out. The scorers could scarcely find time to record the game, so quickly were men put out or runs made. [Final score Empire 29, Active 16, time of game 1 hour and 35 minutes.]

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

interpreting the new pitching rules

Date Sunday, May 22, 1864
Text

Will you please state, in plain and unmistakable terms, what is the correct definition of the wording of Rule 7, wherein it states that the pitcher’s feet must be on the ground “at the time of delivering the ball.” Does this time of delivering the ball refer to the time when it leaves the hand, or to the movements immediately preceding such delivery? Several of our best pitchers contend that when they make the forward step they do not infringe the rule, they interpreting the words “time of delivering the ball” to mean when it leaves the hand. Was this the definition intended by the committee, or was it, as P. O’Brien, of the Atlantic Club, says it is intended, viz., to mean that the feet shall be stationary on the ground, not only at the time the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand, but also while he makes the movements that precede such delivery.

...

The only answer necessary to the above question is simply this, that the Committee on Rules and Regulations intended in wording the rule that it should be made obligatory for the pitcher to have both feet stationary on the ground, not only at the time the ball leaves his hand, but also during the act of delivery, or while he makes any movements to deliver the ball.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

interpreting the new pitching rules; all runners advance on a base on balls

Date Thursday, July 14, 1864
Text

[Active vs. Empire 7/13/1864] Grum made due allowance for accidental inaccuracy when the pitchers tried to send in balls to suit the strikers; but he promptly inflicted the penalty of the law in the case of every ball pitched out of reach. Brooklyn Eagle July 14, 1864

[Active vs. Empire 7/13/1864] The excellent ruling of the umpire was a noticeable feature of the match. P. O’Brien, of the Atlantics, had previously indorsed the definition of the Sixth Rule, so frequently referred to in this paper, and it only remained from Grum, of the Eckfords, to follow suit to settle the question in the minds of the majority of ball-players for there are no better umpires or judges of the game than these two players in the ball-playing community.

We are glad to see this indorsement, as it will lessen the discretionary power of umpire, and thereby remove much of their responsibility; and we hope to see the example of Messrs. Grum and O’Brien followed on all occasions.

We are afraid it will not be, however; as what with umpires being loth to do their duty in this respect, and a desire to make themselves conspicuous by different with others, the rule will either be ignored or so interpreted as to nullify its good effects.

We would state, for the information of a correspondent who send a question in relation to the ruling of the umpire in the third inning of the game, that when the striker has his base given him on three balls, every player on a base at the time is also entitled to a base; thus Russell, in the case referred to, was entitled to score his run, he being at third base when Westervelt went to first base on three balls. New York Sunday Mercury July 17, 1864

[Eckford vs. Newark 7/21/1864] The match proved to be the longest and most tedious game of the season, owing to the wild pitching that characterized the game, the umpire not calling a single ball in the game. The fact is, Colonel Fitzgerald interprets the Sixth Rule of the game as only empowering the umpire to call balls on a pitcher when the delivery is intentionally unfair. This is a decided mistake, for the words, “or for any other cause”, were especially introduced in the rule in order to give authority to umpires to call balls on the pitchers whenever they delivered unfair balls, no matter whether from intention, accident, or inability to pitch better. No umpire, therefore, has a right to ignore the rule as it was done in this game. New York Sunday Mercury July 24, 1864

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

interpreting the pitching delivery rule

Date Wednesday, August 10, 1864
Text

A junior correspondent desires to know whether the worlds “or off the ground” in rule 7 mean that the feet must be flat on the ground, or whether if the forward part of the foot is on the ground the requirements of the rule are complied with. In reply we have to state that as we understand the rule, as interpreted by the Committee of the National Association, the law is complied with if the forward foot is flat on the ground and the forward part of the hind foot, at the time the ball is about to be delivered. In reference to the lifting of the hind foot when the ball leaves the hand, old cricket players have decided, in the case of “no ball” in cricket–a similar rule to that of No. 7 in base ball–that the raising of the hind foot as the bowler delivers the ball is not to be regarded as an infringement of the rule, inasmuch as the pitcher cannot lift that foot from the ground until the ball leaves the hand, as it is from the pressure of his foot on the ground that he drives the last impetus to his arm in delivery. The forward foot, however, must be kept on the ground.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Joe Leggett breaks his leg

Date Tuesday, January 5, 1864
Text

The base-ball fraternity will learn with deep regret that Mr. J. B.Leggett, of the Excelsior Club, has been incapacitated from further participation in the game through breaking his leg from a severe fall on a slippery sidewalk. It was one of those peculiar accidents that only occur once in a while, and this time the victim of misfortune was one of the most esteemed and worthy ball-players in the country.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

junior players playing the fly game

Date Wednesday, August 10, 1864
Text

The leading junior players of the city are showing the seniors a noteworthy example by adopting the fly game as it appears they have done for the regular first class games. The McClellan, Burnside, Ironside and Carroll clubs will play a first class fly game together on the Capitoline ball grounds on Thursday next, and we have no doubt it will be a contest well worth witnessing.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Mutuals suspected of tanking to influence betting

Date Tuesday, June 28, 1864
Text

[Atlantics vs. Mutuals 6/27/1864] We thought that the Mutuals in their match with the Newark Club had given evidence of intentional misplays, with a view of influence the betting market for the match of yesterday, but their play yesterday proved pretty conclusively that their poor play on the previous occasion was chiefly the result of want of judicious practice together.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

over-large clubs

Date Sunday, November 13, 1864
Text

...we have heard some tale of an amalgamation of the Enterprise Club with the Excelsior, making but one club; but we sincerely trust, for the welfare of both clubs and the game generally, that the Enterprise will still retain a distinct organization, for there is already too much of this consolidation business. We have far too few clubs and too many such large clubs as the Atlantic and Mutual, who have first class playing material in them to form four clubs instead of two.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

pitcher sneaking a step in his delivery

Date Wednesday, June 8, 1864
Text

[Eckford vs. the field, ten on a side, 6/7/1864] Kelly pitched better than he has done in any game this season. He should, however, learn to keep his forward foot firmly on the ground. Had the Umpire watched closely, he would have been baulked quite often.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

pitching deliveries

Date Tuesday, April 19, 1864
Text

Habit is everything in regard to the style of delivery each pitcher has, some thinking that one step suffices to give all the speed to the ball in delivery, while others think they cannot pitch unless they have room to take two or three steps. The fact is plain, however, that if one pitcher can deliver a ball swiftly and accurately with one step only it is within the power of others to do the same, the only obstacle being the habit they may have incurred of making two or three, and in such instances the new rules will require them to get out of such habits as soon as possible.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

players not in uniform

Date Sunday, May 15, 1864
Text

We have observed, for a season or two past, that our ballclubs have grown negligent in regard to their appearance in uniform, both in matches as well as in practice-games. In fact, some of our prominent clubs wear anything on a match day that comes handiest, it being quite a rare thing to see a nine completely attired in their regular club-uniform. We hope our ball-clubs won’t imitate the cricketers in this negligence of dress. One of the attractive features of a ballground on a match day is the appropriate uniforms of the players; in fact, to see a nine com on the ground and play a regular match, some in their club suit, others in a port of it only, and others again merely in the shirt sleeves, has the appearance of a degree of poverty in the club not creditable to any respectable organization. New York Sunday Mercury May 15, 1864 [See also WST 5/28/1864 for a similar item.]

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

postponements due to deaths

Date Friday, April 22, 1864
Text

In consequence of the bereavement suffered by the nation in the death of its beloved Chief Magistrate, Abraham, Lincoln, the Eagle Base Ball Club have concluded to postpone their visit to Philadelphia until Friday, May 5th. Philadelphia City Item April 22, 1864

In consequence of the death of Mr. Andrew McBride (father of the Pitcher of the Athletic Club,) the Eagle Club of New York has been requested to postpone its visit until Friday, May 12th. Philadelphia City Item May 6, 1864

Source Philadelphia City Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

practice methods

Date Saturday, May 21, 1864
Text

It has been suggested, time and again, to those clubs who desire to excel as playing clubs, that they devote one day in a week or even once a fortnight, to practicing their men together as a whole against the field; but as yet, not a solitary club has ever practiced their best players together in this way, not even for a single month out of every season. It is this neglect on the part of our clubs, to improve the character of the practice games on their club grounds, that has led to the arrangement of these Union Practice Games. In no sense are they club matches, and in no way are those who play in them to be considered as representatives of their clubs, but only as individual players.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

practice styles

Date Sunday, June 5, 1864
Text

On frequent occasions when visiting the Hoboken Ballgrounds, we have noticed that the style of practice adopted by the clubs located there, is that of “fungoes” as it is called, or free batting, while in Brooklyn the time of the players previous to entering upon a game is almost entirely devoted to throwing and catching the ball, instead of batting it; hence no doubt, arises much of their superiority, as a general thing, as fielders. Nothing whatever is learned by the style of batting adopted by the majority of the Hoboken clubs, in the hour’s preliminary practice at the bat before sides are made up; whereas, by practice in throwing, fielding and catching the ball, great improvement in play is almost sure to follow. We commend these facts to the attention of Hoboken players in particular, and to ball-players in general. New York Sunday Mercury June 5, 1864

The members of [the Atlantic Club] have turned out well on practice-days, but the play of their first nine, as a nine, has been very little improved thereby, as they mix their players up too much in their practice-games, instead of playing each man in his regular position. The only way to improve the play of a nine by practice is, to play every first-nine player in his regular position on all occasions, and always to place first-nine players on one side, even if there be but three or four on the ground each practice-day. Any other style of practice weakens rather than strengthens their play, and, as practice, is useless. If fun and exercise are the only objects, why, then, the ordinary style of making up sides on practice-days is well enough, but if excellence as a nine is desired, whey, then, the only plan is, to practice the nine as a whole, with each man in his regular position. We do not care what the individual ability of the players may be, unless this plan is adopted, no nine will ever achieve the degree of excellence they otherwise would, were they to adopt the plan recommended. New York Sunday Mercury June 5, 1864

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

professionals, amateurs, and muffins

Date Wednesday, August 17, 1864
Text

Ball clubs have three distinct classes of players, viz., . The professionals are of course not such as those in cricket, that is, they are not paid for their services like cricket professionals, the rules of base ball strictly prohibiting anything of the kind; they are simply professed players of the highest rank, being proficient in a practical knowledge of the game. They include the first nines of our leading clubs, and are styled “professionals” in contradistinction to the amateurs, who include such members of a club as are not first or even second class players, and yet not such tyros in a knowledge of the game, or so deficient in their ability to field, as to be included under the head of “muffins.” Brooklyn Eagle August 17, 1864

junior clubs

We note the fact with pleasure that there are now over thirty regularly organized junior clubs in Brooklyn, and not far from a hundred in and around the metropolis. Brooklyn Eagle August 22, 1864

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

proto-block ball

Date Tuesday, August 23, 1864
Text

[Mutual vs. Eckford 8/22/1864] A noteworthy feature of the ruling of the Umpire in this match was his decided to give the player running his bases, a base, in cases where an overthrown ball to bases was stopped by the outside crowd. It is the duty of the club on whose ground the game is played to keep a clear field, and if they fail to do so they should suffer the penalty.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

recruiting players

Date Sunday, February 7, 1864
Text

This club [the Athletics of Philadelphia] have already in hand the laying out of the programme of their spring campaign, and from appearances of things, we should say that they are going to show a bold front to the enemy this coming season. They are rapidly recruiting their ranks, and have already secured some first-class players, some of whom will astonish the natives when they are seen in the Athletic uniform.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

restoring the Atlantics' reputation

Date Friday, July 1, 1864
Text

[Atlantics vs. Empires 6/30/1864] This game with a Club from whom the Atlantics have been so long estranged, is but the beginning of a series of matches by which they purpose relieving themselves from the odium that has been unjustly attached to the club from the action of club-followers and outsiders at their prominent matches, such as their last game with the Excelsiors and the one they had with the Mutuals at Bedford last season.

The Atlantics, for the first time since their organization, have now a ground that is under the control of the club to the extent of preserving perfect order and decorum on match days, and affording all contestants as fair a field as they could desire to have, and having possession of such a ground they desire that their opponents on the occasions referred to, and in fact all clubs that may have had cause for complaint in the games played on the old grounds, to come forward and afford them an opportunity to show them that the Atlantic club have ever had the will as they now have the power to show their adversaries a fair field and no favor in every contest in which they engage. With this object in view, they challenged the Empires and Gothams, and also the Excelsiors, and as the Empires have responded so we trust all others will.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

rivalry between the Athletics and Olympics

Date 1864
Text

[Resolute vs. Olympic 7/30/1864] Wilson opened play by hitting a ball which C. Bomeisler ought to have held on the fly, but it dropped from his hands, and Wilson made his 3d, a passed ball taking him home. Thereupon followed immense cheering from the “opposition,” and, by the way, we have to state that the active sympathy manifested in favor of the Resolutes was decidedly more the result of a desire to see the Olympics defeated, than to see the strangers carry a ball out of the city, and this strong display of partisan feeling shown by the rivals of the Olympics... the rivalry at present existing between the Olympic and Athletic Clubs of Philadelphia being any thing but that manly and generous action which is excited by a creditable desire to excel, it being more the spirit of two faction than of two reputable clubs of the base ball fraternity.

Source ~
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

roping off the field

Date Saturday, August 6, 1864
Text

[Resolute vs. Athletic Philadelphia 7/28/1864] The arrangement for marking the boundary of the field was not as good as it might have been, the temporary rope fence being altogether too close to the foul ball lines. New York Clipper August 6, 1864

[Atlantic vs. Keystone 8/9/1864] In consequence of the pressure of the spectators annoying the scorers and reporters, and interfering with some of the players, we believe the officers of the Olympic and Athletic Clubs will provide ropes and stakes to mark the line beyond which spectators will not be allowed to encroach on the players. Philadelphia Inquirer August 10, 1864

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

spread of the game among boys

Date Sunday, November 13, 1864
Text

We are glad also to record the fact, that among the marked features of the past season none has been more promising for the permanence of the game than the great increase of junior players and clubs. In no season since the game has been inaugurated have there been so many junior clubs organized or so much ball-playing among the juniors. It has become so prevalent, that of an afternoon one can scarcely go through any street in the city without seeing some kind of ball-playing going on among the boys. Even when no engaged in a game, they are practicing throwing a ball from one to the other; and after schoolhours, every vacant lot or suitable locality for a game is occupied either by an organized club of players or a party of chosen sides for a temporary game.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Star Club to play the fly game

Date Saturday, April 2, 1864
Text

The Star Club.--A special meeting of this Club took place last evening at their rooms in Jarolemon and Court streets, at which quite a number of the members were present, and considerable business of importance to the welfare of the Club was transacted. In the first place, it was resolved to play the Fly Game this season, a resolution we should like to see all first-class Clubs adopt....

The resolution in reference to the fly game is as follows:--

Whereas, We, the members of the Star Base Ball Club of Brooklyn, having become well satisfied of the superiority in every respect, of what is popularly known as the Fly Game, especially as a rule of play conferring additional advantages for a display of skill, and increasing the attractive features of the game; availing ourselves of the privilege allowed by the proviso to the rules, in reference to the Fly Game, contained in the By-laws of the National Association, hereby

Resolve, That during the ensuing season we shall play all practice games, and also such matches with other clubs that can be so arranged, according to the rules laid down in the proviso above referred to.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

talk of player movement

Date Saturday, July 23, 1864
Text

It is said that Sprague–late of the Eckfords, but now of the Atlantics–intends to remove to Philadelphia, with the view of making this city his home.

Source Fitzgeralds City Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Atlantics finally in uniform

Date Tuesday, June 28, 1864
Text

[Atlantics vs. Mutuals 6/27/1864] The Atlantics presented themselves on the ground as amply prepared for the contest as they have been for any match for two or three years past, and for the first time in several seasons were attired in a regular uniform, their new caps being especially noteworthy.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Atlantics insist on the bound game

Date Saturday, June 11, 1864
Text

Owing to the refusal on the part of the Atlantic Club to play any but the bound game, the second prize game of the Union series, which took place on the Atlantic grounds...was robbed of half the interest, and turned out to be little better than an ordinary practice game between the first nine of a club and the field.

...

It is very desirable that the fly game should be practically experimented upon, in order to test its merits as regards the alleged superiority to that of the bound, and no series of games would be better adapted for the purpose than these Union practice matches, in which no club interests are concerned, as regards the defeat or victory of the club nine.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Capitoline Grounds

Date Wednesday, March 9, 1864
Text

The New Capitoline Grounds—Messrs. Weed and Decker, we are glad to learn, have decided to transform their Skating Pond into a ball ground, for Summer use, and the same is to be occupied by the Atlantic and Enterprise Clubs, each having two days of each week assigned to them for the use of the ground for practice. All matched played on the ground will be under the control of the proprietors of the grounds, as far as admission to the same is concerned, and in return for this they will keep the grounds in good condition for play, and see to it that perfect order reigns on all occasions of games played. Brooklyn Eagle March 9, 1864

defining a balk

In reference to the rule defining a balk, the Committee considered the present wording of the rule sufficiently plain to indicate that any movement, whether of the body or the arm, that can be fairly considered as one preliminary and belonging to the delivery of the ball, shall, in cases of non-delivery of the ball after such a movement, be declared a balk, and in reference to jerking the ball, no movement can be called a jerk in which the arm used does not touch the side of the body while the body is in an upright position. But when a pitcher stoops on one side in order to deliver the ball, thereby getting all the motive power of a jerk without actually touching the body, the Umpire is empowered to call a balk for jerking the ball. According to this interpretation, nearly every swift pitcher now in our clubs jerks the ball every time he delivers it swiftly. New York Sunday Mercury March 27, 1864

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Capitoline Grounds 2

Date Wednesday, June 1, 1864
Text

Messrs. Weed and Decker, we notice, are busy adding improvements to their fine grounds, the latest being the erection of a series of covered seats for lay spectators of the contests to be played on their grounds. A roofing attached to the fence on the Fulton avenue side with one or two rows of seats would also be useful. The grass on the field requires close mowing already, and if this is done a good turf field will be made.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Empires and the Atlantics reconcile

Date Sunday, June 5, 1864
Text

A match ... has been arranged [by the Empires] with the Atlantic Club, and we are glad to learn that these clubs are to come together again. They have not played a game together since 1858, we believe, when the Atlantics were defeated by the Empires, a dispute closing the last game. These old troubles, however, have been forgotten, and we trust to see these clubs on a friendly footing again.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Excelsior's club rooms

Date Sunday, November 13, 1864
Text

[The Excelsiors] have recently added a room...opposite the City hall, which is to be the head quarters of the club. A reading-room, containing all the sporting-papers and the journals which make ball-playing a speciality, is in progress of preparation, and here the club will rendezvous during the winter, and in summer it will be their place of meeting preliminary to going to the grounds.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Winona Club dissolves

Date Saturday, April 23, 1864
Text

Thursday evening, April 7, was the occasion of a very interesting presentation to the Keystone Base Ball Club of Philadelphia, which came off at Barr’s Globe Hotel. The old Winona, the first organized as a Base Ball Club in the State, after a long struggle with circumstances, concluded to dissolve, and bequeathed its effects, books, balls, trophies of victories in palmy days, and various articles of interest and value to the Keystone, as next of kin, and after their own, the oldest organized Base Ball Club. They were presented with some eloquent and appropriate remarks by Mahoney, and received on behalf of his Club by the Secretary of the Keystone. The party then partook of a collation, set out by the recipients. The Brooklyn Clubs, and their Newark friends, the Eurekas, were toasted, and the memory of the greatest of our ball players was touchingly referred to. The “wee small hours” had passed before the party adjourned, after an evening to be remembere with pleasure by all the participants.

Source Fitzgeralds City Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the antiquity of baseball

Date Saturday, December 31, 1864
Text

Although the game of base ball has long been a favorite and popular amusement with our people, it is only within the last ten or twelve years that any attempt has been made to regulate the game, by forming associations for the purpose of playing by rules, and at stated periods.

Source Fitzgeralds City Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the condition of the grounds early in the season

Date Wednesday, March 2, 1864
Text

Unless the weather prove very severe and unseasonable, before the present month expires we shall see some of the more enthusiastic of the fraternity out on their club-grounds, passing the ball around for practice, if not engaged in a little game of “one, two, three”. The turfy grounds, of course, won’t be available for use until April, or even May, if the season is prolonged at all; but localities like the Star grounds, Brooklyn, can be played upon in March on fine days, and for this reason this active club of players are generally first in the field.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the expected effect of the new pitching rules; balls and strikes

Date Wednesday, March 2, 1864
Text

Many think that the rule in reference to pitching will greatly promote the attractiveness of the game, by giving more scope for a display of skill by the outer-fielders. At any rate, the pitching will be slower than it has been for the past three or four seasons, and more dependence will be placed upon good fielders than upon the speed of the pitcher for success in matches. The time will come when slow, twisting balls, pitched with skill and judgment, will supersede the rifle-shooter of would-be Creightons. The fast pitching system is “played out”. Spectators have become disgusted with waiting hour after hour to see three or four innings played, the pitcher and catcher tired from over-work, the batsman annoyed and irritated from waiting for good balls, the fieldsmen idle and cross for want of something to do, and all the “vim” and spirit of the game being lost, because “we want to show ‘em what a bully swift pitcher we’ve got”.

The new rule in regard to calling balls on a pitcher, too, is likely to lead to good results in every way. Hitherto, umpires have refrained from calling strikes on batsmen, who have refused to strike at good balls, because there has been nothing to offset the advantage thus given to the pitcher; there being no rule hitherto whereby the umpire could inflict a penalty on the pitcher as well as the batsman, for his unfair practices. This new rule remedies this evil, and now we shall, no doubt, see both batsmen and pitchers kept down to their legitimate work by the threat of imposing the penalties the rules now inflict upon both parties.

These new rules, in this respect, practically take the most effective part of swift pitching out of the hands of pitchers; for, to tell the truth, not a solitary instance of fair pitching, that was very swift, have we seen since Creighton died. Swift pitchers have apparently regarded it as the very acme of skill in swift pitching to intimidate the batsman as much as possible, and thereby so cloud his judgment as to induce him to bat at balls he cannot hit. It is the most difficult thing to impart a bias to the ball, and pitch it in swiftly with one and the same movement, and hence to offset the worst of the twist in swift pitching, the pitchers have reverted to the custom which brought about the rule to calling balls on them.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the fly game not for amateurs

Date Sunday, December 11, 1864
Text

We would premise by stating that the flygame is not the rules for amateurs to adopt. We are willing to grant, that if the rule is to be tested in regard to the length of time it occupies by the result of games in which second or third class players form the majority of contestants, the experiment would probably end in favor of the bound rule.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the new Camden club

Date Saturday, April 2, 1864
Text

A new club has recently been organized, called the Camden Club, their grounds being located on the Jersey side of the river; and, from present appearance, they are going to prove troublesome customers to the best clubs in the city to win a ball from them.

Source Fitzgeralds City Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the new Capitoline grounds

Date Sunday, March 27, 1864
Text

We visited this locality on Monday, and were surprised to find the grounds so hard and dry. There was not a drop of water on any portion of the inclosed space, save on a few yards of ground near the water-pipe, at the side near the open fence. The work of preparation for the season was to have been commenced last week, but the storm of Wednesday interrupted it. Before the expiration of April, however, the two clubs who are to occupy it will be able to commence play. The ground in the centre is to be raised sufficiently to throw off any water that might otherwise remain upon it after a heavy rain. This, and the erection of some sheds for the accommodation of lady-visitors, will be all that is requisite to be done. Before the season is over, the whole field will be covered with grass; and each year’s use will only add to its completeness as a ball-ground. The clubs will bat from the upper end, similarly to the old Atlantic grounds. There is ample space for two clubs to play at the same time on these grounds, and on thousand spectators can readily witness a match on them. The locality is not so favorably located for an outside crowd as the Eckford ground is; and the consequence will be that all who desire to witness a match will have to come down with their dimes, and any one who begrudges the fee to witness a first-class game of ball, on a well-kept and orderly ground, is no admirer of the game.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

The new Olympic grounds

Date Sunday, May 29, 1864
Text

The new Olympic ballgrounds, situated on the corner of Jefferson and Twenty-fifth street, adjoining the Reservoir, Philadelphia, were duly inaugurated on Wednesday last...

...

The clubhouse is decidedly an ornamental feature, and prominently indicates the fact of the Olympic Club being the pioneer ball-playing organization of the State, if not of the whole country, as the inscription over the entrance, viz: “The Olympic, 1833", plainly shows. Although three clubs–the Olympic, Athletic, and Mercantile–occupy the grounds, we have no doubt that within a year or so other permanent grounds will be laid out in the city which will be occupied by one prominent club, and one or two others, who play mainly for exercise, as it is certainly not advisable for rival organizations to occupy the same locality, and hence we shall expect to see the Athletics priding themselves on the possession of a fine ground and clubhouse, and the Keystones another. New York Sunday Mercury May 29, 1864

For the first time in the annals of the game in Philadelphia, the base ball players have possession of a permanent field of operations, specially prepared for and devoted to the game of base ball, and a truly fine ground it is. For this the Philadelphians are indebted to the Olympic Club of that city, the oldest ball playing organization in the country, for they not only secured a long lease of the ground from the city authorities, and prepared the same for use, but also allowed the Athletic and Mercantile Clubs the privilege of practicing on them twice a week. In view of the fact that the former was a rival organization, their course of action merits praise. New York Clipper June 4, 1864

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the new ground of the Olympics and Athletics

Date Saturday, April 9, 1864
Text

The new ground upon which the Olympics, Athletics, and other Clubs will player hereafter, is situated at the junction of Jefferson street and Turner’s lane, near Twenty fifth street, and one square west of Girard College. The Ridge avenue cars will take you to the spot in twenty minutes, from the corner of Ninth and Arch streets. The ground is leased from the city by the Olympics, who underlet it to the friendly rivals, the Athletics, and to other base ball associations. The Olympics contemplate many handsome improvements: a new building, new fences, seats, &c. The ground is now being rolled, preparatory to laying the bases. Should the weather prove favorable, there will be play on Saturday. In the course of the month, it is probable several important matches will be played between the Olympics, Keystones, and Athletics, the proceeds to be devoted to the Sanitary Fair.

Source Fitzgeralds City Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the new rules: batters can ask for high or low balls

Date Saturday, May 7, 1864
Text

[The pitcher] must also deliver the ball “for the striker”–that is, pitch him such balls as he is accustomed to strike at, some batsmen liking low balls and some high. All, however, like the balls to come to them so that they can hit them with the bat within about six or eight inches of the end of it, and in order to get such balls they must stand so that the spot on the bat they want the ball to touch shall be over home base.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the new rules: pitchers' feet on the ground

Date Saturday, May 7, 1864
Text

[interpreting “[the pitcher] must have neither foot in advance of the front line, or off the ground, at the time of delivering the ball”] Another thing is that in the delivery of the ball the pitcher must have both feet on the ground, (inasmuch as the rule does not state that the feet must be flat on the ground, it will be interpreted as admitting of the lifting of the heel, but the toe must touch the ground at any rate.) Umpires must remember, in deciding on this movement of the feet, that no one can lift his foot in delivering a ball until the ball leaves his hand, the lifting of the hind foot being the result of this delivery, as it is from the pressure of the foot on the ground that he derives the power to impel the ball with speed.

In interpreting “the time of delivering the ball,” alluded to in the rule, umpires and pitchers must define it as meaning the last forward swing of the arm on delivery, inasmuch as the ball is delivered the moment it leaves the hand of the pitcher, and consequently the time of delivery must be the movement immediately preceding it, which is the last swing of the arm alluded to.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the rough ground at Albany; the fly game

Date Sunday, August 28, 1864
Text

The parade-ground at Albany, where all the ball-matches take place, though a field well adapted for the purpose in many respect, has so very rough a surface as greatly to interfere with the duties of the fielders, especially in attending to groundballs. No wonder they favor the flygame so much in Albany, it being almost impossible to play the muffin style on such a ground. Even the muffins play the flygame in Albany; the boys alone monopolizing the “regular” or bound game.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the rules of the Capitoline Grounds

Date Saturday, April 23, 1864
Text

The following are the rules and regulations of the Capitoline Ball Grounds, at Bedford, L.I., indorsed by the two clubs–the Atlantic and Enterprise–which are to occupy them. They are such as should be adopted by the occupants of every ball ground in the country:

1. Admission to the ball ground shall be as follows: single person, 10 cents; carriage, 20 cents; its occupants being of course charged additional.

2. There shall be no spiritous liquors sold or drunk

3. No intoxicated person will be allowed within the inclosure.

4. No person will be allowed inside the boundary line marked out for the players, except for the players, the scorers, and the umpire.

5. No improper language shall be used on the ground.

6. No betting allowed.

7. No person will be permitted to converse with the players, or pass loud remarks upon the decisions of the umpire, during the progress of a game.

8. The nine players of each club, and the scorers, will be furnished with tickets free of charge.

9. All persons violating any of the above rules, will be promptly expelled.

Source Fitzgeralds City Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the state of the game in Philadelphia

Date Saturday, August 6, 1864
Text

Base ball this season has flourished more than it has done since the war began, and especially has it thus far been lively in Philadelphia. The fact is the Philadelphians are rapidly taking high rank as practical illustrators of the attractive features of the game, and if there was only a little more harmony between the leading organizations and less of that striving to win games at any cost, which leads them to adopt the cricketers plan of playing men in matches who belong to two clubs, they would be still further in advance than they now are even. One of the prominent causes of this improvement in the game is the custom of interchanging visits with the New York and Brooklyn clubs. Before the Philadelphians first visited the metropolis they were, as ball players, about as amateur a set as any place out of New York could produce, but their trips to this city resulted in a marked and rapid improvement, and in the short period of two seasons they had advanced so much in a practical knowledge of the game as to be considered sufficiently strong in individual skill as to export players to fill up the ranks of some of our best clubs, and this season has witnessed two examples of this kind, one being the strengthening of the Eureka nine with Theo. Bomeisler of Olympic club, and of the noted Eckford nine with Fisler, formerly of the Adriatic, but lately of the Camden club, Pratt of the Athletic being elected to fill the prominent position in the Atlantic nine; and before the expiration of the present season we shall no doubt see matches played in which the Philadelphians for the first time will “put in an appearance” as able contestants in the series of championship games now in progress in this vicinity.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the status of moribund clubs

Date Sunday, February 28, 1864
Text

[at a special meeting of the NABBP 2/23/1864] ...it was decided to appoint a Committee of Examination, whose province it should be to inquire fully into the manner in which the duties of the several officers of the Association are attended to, and also to inquire into the legality of the credentials of delegates to the Convention that emanate from clubs which, as far as the fraternity are generally aware of, are, practically, defunct organizations. In connection with this latter subject, we were please to see the mention made by Mr. Page, of the Active Club, who advocated the appointment of what he called a Record Committee, whose duty it should be to take notice of the career of all clubs attached to the Association, through each season, and keep a record of the number of games they play, etc., with a view of ascertaining their true standing and position at the close of the season.

The present constitution of the Association is lacking in the one important particular, of not properly defining what constitutes a club in good standing, and properly eligible to a position as a member of the Association. This should be remedied at once, in justice to the regularly organized clubs; or otherwise, a club that has been in good standing once, but from various causes has almost become defunct, can, by a little expert management of one or two of its members, contrive to retain its representation in the Association, and offset the influence and vote of the delegates from a club numbering a hundred members and more.

A ball club that does not play one regular match for two seasons in succession, should be considered as defunct, as far as its title to send delegates to the Convention is concerned; and an amendment to this effect should be made to the Constitution at the next Convention.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the thirty days rule applied

Date Friday, July 1, 1864
Text

[Atlantics vs. Empires 6/30/1864] The Empires had their full nine out with one exception, Hudson not being of the party, he having only been a member of the club twenty-four days yesterday.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the umpire institutes a ground rule on balls in the crowd

Date Sunday, August 28, 1864
Text

[Eckford vs. Mutual 8/22/1864] The arrangements for keeping the ground clear, though good, were not up to the mark of previous efforts of the kind by the Mutuals; and before the game was over, the necessity of keeping a clear field immediately back of the first and third bases was made clearly apparent the umpire very properly introducing the precedent of giving every player his next base in cases where he would be sure to make it from an overthrown ball, if there was a clear field behind these bases. New York Sunday Mercury August 28, 1864

a bunt by a muffin

[Excelsior muffins vs. Enterprise muffins 9/15/1864] The feature of the play was the batting of Prof. Bassler of the Enterprise team...Being an original of the first water, he adopted an original theory in reference to batting, which we are obliged to confess is not of the most striking character. His idea is not a bad one though, it being to hit the ball slightly so as to have it drop near the home base, therefore necessitating the employment of considerable skill on the part of the pitcher to get at the ball, pick it up and throw it accurately to first base. Brooklyn Eagle September 16, 1864

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the umpire not calling balls and strikes strictly; high and low pitches

Date Saturday, July 9, 1864
Text

[Atlantic vs. Mutual 6/27/1864] Colonel Fitzgerald, of Philadelphia acted as Umpire, and did his duty creditably and impartially as far as his decision on points in the field were concerned, some of them being excellent, but owing to a natural feeling of hesitation likely to characterize the action of any one placed in the position he was, he failed to exact a strict observance of the sixth section of the rules, and thereby permitted the pitchers to indulge too much in the last year’s style of delivery. Umpires should remember that the soon they define this rule uniformly, the better, as they will thereby rid themselves of much of the responsibility that will otherwise attach to them. Let it be understood that every time a pitcher sends in a ball out of the reach of the batsman, he will have balls called him, and make it a rule to inflect the penalty promptly every time the rule is infringed, and truer pitching will certainly follow. There is no doubt whatever, that every ball pitched on the side opposite to that the batsman strikes from, every ball touching the ground before passing the home base, and every one out of the reach of the length of his bat, over his head, or on the side he strikes from, are unquestionably unfair balls, to say nothing of those that are pitched close to him, and too high or too low for his style of batting.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

twenty-five cent admission for a benefit match

Date Saturday, May 21, 1864
Text

A match between nine selected base ball players from New Jersey and nine of Pennsylvania would ordinarily excite attention, but when it is announced that twenty-five cents admission to be charged, and the proceeds given to the Great Sanitary Fair, then the affair becomes one of public importance. The match will take place on Wednesday, May 25, at two o’clock, on the beautiful grounds occupied by the Olympics, Athletic, and Mercantiles at the corner of Twenty-fifth and Jefferson streets. Seats will be provided for ladies, and it is expected that at least ten thousand persons will be in attendance. Fitzgerald's City Item May 21, 1864

It is a well known fact that no class in the community have excelled the base ball players of the chief cities of the North in the fervor of their patriotism, or in the cheerful willingness to tender their services, and if need be, offer up their lives in defense of the national honor and the glorious banner of the Union. Hundreds of ball players fill the honored graves of those who have thus nobly fallen, and thousands are now in the ranks of the Union army. This week we are to have their patriotism shown in another form, viz.: that of contributing to aid the funds of the Fair for the United States Sanitary Commission, the proffered assistance being in the form of a series of grand matches at base ball, which are to take place today, the 25th inst., and the three following days, on the new Union Ball Grounds, on Twenty-fifth and Jefferson streets, which are to be opened for the first time on the special occasion of the grand match, between selected men of Pennsylvania and New Jersey on the first day of the series of contests. … The admission is but 25 cents on each day. The Philadelphia Daily Age May 25, 1864 [attendance that day was c. 2000. The planned second and third games were rained out NYC 6/4/1864.]

… a numerous and highly-respectable assemblage of gratified spectators, a lively a well-played game, and the accession of $500 to the funds of the Sanitary Fair of Philadelphia. New York Sunday Mercury May 29, 1864

Source Fitzgeralds City Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

umpire calling balls and strikes; only when runners on base

Date Saturday, July 2, 1864
Text

[Eagle vs. Empire 7/1/1864] The ruling of the Umpire was the most satisfactory we have yet seen. Every ball out of the reach of the batsman was called, and when the striker had indicated where he wanted a ball and it was pitched to him, if he did not strike the Umpire called strikes on him, only, however, when players were running their bases. This was as it should be.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

umpire fails to enforce balls and strikes; pitching strategy

Date Tuesday, June 28, 1864
Text

[Atlantics vs. Mutuals 6/27/1864] The decisions of the Umpire [Col. Fitzgerald] were promptly rendered and impartially given throughout, but as far as the rule in reference to calling balls on pitchers was concerned, there might have been no such rule in existence almost, so little was it observed. True, two or three very wide balls were noticed, but both Pratt and McKever infringed the rule nearly every inning; the former especially, as his effort to impart speed to the ball led him to sacrifice his accuracy of aim considerably. No pitcher in the country can pitch fairer or better balls than Pratt when he chooses to do so, and it should be the policy of the club to have him pitch such fair balls, dependence being placed on the excellence of the field in supporting rather than the old style of dodging a fair delivery, which a repudiation of section 6 of the rules admits of. It was the knack of delivering unfair balls, that were apparently fair to the outside crowd, that rendered the leading pitchers of last season so effective as they were, hence the success of McKever and others last year.

Ball after ball was delivered on both sides yesterday that were unquestionably unfair, being entirely out of reach of the batsmen. The strikers too, especially McKever, were allowed altogether too much latitude, although it would not have been fair to have made them pay the penalty of unfair play while the pitchers were not punished for their errors. Umpires would find it to their advantage to make it a point to call balls when a ball is delivered out of the reach of the batsman. The more they bring this thing down to a uniform rule the less responsibility they will assume.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

umpire not enforcing called strikes and balls

Date Saturday, July 9, 1864
Text

[Empire vs. Atlantic 7/8/1864] We have to say a few words in regard to the decisions of the Umpires [sic] in one respect. A fairer or more impartial player could not be selected to act in the position than George Flanly, and in every instance he did his duty creditably as far as his decisions on disputed points in the game were concerned. What we have to call his attention to is, his neglect to enforce the 6 th section of the rules. Both the pitchers are willing to have this strictly enforced on every occasion; aside from this, however, it is the duty of the umpire to enforce every rule on the statute books, as long as they remain there, no matter what his individual opinion may be on the justice or advantage of them. Yesterday, as soon as the pitchers found out that the Umpire disregarded the 6 th rule they both took advantage of it to send in balls similar in delivery to the style in vogue last season, Pratt especially delivering them close to the batsmen. By this means the game was lengthened by half an hour at least–and the strikers deprived of the benefit of the new rule. We trust all umpires will in future enforce the rule strictly, as it is the only way to ensure lively and quickly played games. Brooklyn Eagle July 9, 1864

third base no place for a lefty

[Atlantic vs. Empire 6/30/1864] Start [was] put in the worst position that could have been given him. The third base is no place for a left hand man. New York Clipper July 9, 1864

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

umpire not enforcing the new rule

Date Sunday, July 10, 1864
Text

[Empire vs. Atlantic 7/9/1864] The decisions of the umpire were characteristically fair and impartial, but he erred in ignoring the sixth section of the rules–the pitchers on both sides taking advantage of his laxity in this respect to try their hands at the old style of trying to intimidate the batsman, by pitching at him, instead of for him–Pratt especially. On this account, the game was lengthened nearly an hour, and much good fielding lost sight of.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

umpire refuses to call intentional swinging strikes

Date Saturday, October 8, 1864
Text

[New York vs. Brooklyn picked junior nines 10/07/1864] Mr. Snow made a first rate Umpire, giving thoroughly impartial and correct decisions throughout. We were glad to see him refuse to call strikes on a Brooklyn player when he struck at a ball purposely to strike out. Such discreditable action ought to be promptly rebuked on all occasions. No matter what the other side may do, the only proper rule to follow is to play a manly and fair game throughout, be the result what it may.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

umpire too lenient about calling balls

Date Thursday, June 16, 1864
Text

[Eureka vs. Empire 6/15/1864] The decisions of the Umpire in this match were admirable, and he had several close points to deal with. In reference to rule six, however, he was far too indulgent with the pitchers.

There is but one rule to adopt in defining the sixth section of the rules, and that is, for the Umpire to call balls on the pitcher–after due warning of course–every time he delivers a ball that is out of the fair reach of the batsman. When pitchers know that every time they pitch an unfair ball they will have balls called on them, they will be careful to avoid the penalty.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

when to call strikes and balls

Date Sunday, June 19, 1864
Text

When the pitcher delivers the first unfair ball–a correct definition of which we give below–the Umpire should at once warn him of the penalty he incurs; and this warning, once given, need not be repeated. Should the pitcher repeatedly send in unfair balls after this warning–say twice, or three times, not oftener–the umpire should call “one ball”, and without waiting for frequent repetitions of the offence, “two” and “three balls” in succession, if unfair balls should thus be delivered.

It is,Berkebile of course, but just to the pitcher to allow a margin for accidental inaccuracy, but this does not include errors resulting from watching the bases, or an effort to pitch swift balls. It was proved conclusive, in the Empire and Active game, that pitchers can deliver fair balls when they are force to do it, and therefore the umpire should not hesitate to inflict the penalty incurred, whenever a really unfair ball is delivered. New York Sunday Mercury June 19, 1864

score cards

CHADWICK’S SCORING CARDS.–These cards, which have just been published, supply a want that has been felt by spectators at ball-matches for some time past. Each card is prepared for recording two games, and they can be obtained in Brooklyn and Hoboken at a trifling charge. New York Sunday Mercury June 19, 1864

don’t want a pitcher who throws good balls

[Mutual vs. Newark 6/20/1864] Harris pitched on the occasion [for the Mutuals], and certainly the Atlantics would not wish better balls sent to them than he pitches, and for this reason we think he will not be the pitcher for next Monday. [Mutuals won 19-18.] Brooklyn Eagle June 21, 1864

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger