Clippings:1876

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1876Clippings in 1876

Clippings in 1876 (247 entries)

Contents

a Canadian joint stock company

Date Saturday, November 11, 1876
Text

Next season it is the intention to manage the Maple Leaf Club of Guelph, Canada, by a joint stock company. A handsome amount has already been subscribed by many influential citizens, and we are informed that there is no doubt but what a team will sail under the old Maple Leaf banner during the season of 1877 that will be a credit to Canada.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a Grand Duchess in Philadelphia

Date Saturday, March 18, 1876
Text

The Athletic Club will have exclusive control of their grounds this season, and the pavilion occupied by the Philadelphia Club last season will be transformed into a “Grand Duchess,” as the Cincinnatians call the stand devoted to ladies. This will be a much-needed improvement.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a League club poaches a player

Date Saturday, August 26, 1876
Text

By a unanimous vote of the Executive Committee of the Indianapolis baseball Association, Dale Williams has been this day dishonorably dismissed from its service for gross violation of his contract, which obligated him to give his exclusive services to said Association, and to not play for, or accept money from, any other baseball club during the season of 1876. On Saturday last he obtained leave of absence to visit his parents, in Cincinnati, and while there played with the Cincinnati Red Stockings, accepting money therefor. His contract with the Indianapolis Club is therefore declared forfeited, together with all unpaid balance of salary. It is further ordered that the manager debar said Williams from participating in any games to be played on Indianapolis grounds.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a Massachusetts professional circuit?

Date Monday, March 20, 1876
Text

The seven professional clubs of Massachusetts have got up an association of their own, of which the Live Oaks, of Lynn; the Taunton and Lowell clubs, and Suffolk, of Boston, are the principal members; also the Fall River Club. Philadelphia Item March 20, 1876

The annual meeting of the New England Amateur Association was held at Boston, March 27. The following clubs were represented: Suffolk, of Boson; Fall River, of Fall Rive; Taunton, of Taunton; Lowell, of Lowell; Live Oaks, of Lynn; Rhode Island, of Providence. The New Haven Club, of New Haven, Conn., was admitted to membership. The application of the Fly Away Club, of Boston, for membership was laid on the table. Mr. Rotch, from the committee previously appointed, reported a constitution which, after considerable discussion, was adopted. Prominent among the articles forced on was one that only one club in a city shall belong to the association. Many of the better rules laid down by the National League were adopted, but in regard to the engaging of players the constitution prohibits any signing of contract between a player in an association club and a manager of another club in the association before Nov. 1. Philadelphia Item April 2, 1876

Athletic Club finances

An adjourned meeting of the Athletic Association of Base Ball Players was held last night at their new headquarters, Theurer’s Hall, No. 1108 Sansom street, Mr. Chas. Spering in the chair, with Al. Wright secretary.

The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved. The Treasurer’s report showed a balance on hand, March 16 th, of $166.30. Directors report that the City Solicitor had giving an opinion that they were entitled to the exclusive use of the ground... ...they had also formed a reserve nine, composed of the best amateur talent of the city. Philadelphia Item March 21, 1876

An adjourned monthly meeting of the Athletic Base Ball Club was held last Monday evening at No. 1108 Sansom street. Despite the inclement weather the attendance was quite large, one hundred and ten shares of stock being found to be represented, one hundred shares being necessary to constitute a quorum. Charles Spering occupied the chair in the absence of the president, Thomas J. Smith. The Treasurer’s report was a highly satisfactory one, exhibiting, as it did, a balance of $166.20. The directors reported that through the courtesy of the Olympic Club, the use of their club house for dressing purposes had been tendered to the Athletics, thus making it unnecessary to use their former headquarters, which were obnoxious on account of the pool-selling carried on there. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury March 26, 1876

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a block ball; the crowd blocking the ball to favor the home team

Date Saturday, June 24, 1876
Text

[Chicago vs. Mutual 6/17/1876] Spalding's long high ball to the building struck one of the crowd in such a way as to rebound back to Booth's [right fielder] hands, the crowd making no effort to get out of the way of the ball. It was therefore claimed that the ball was “willfully stopped.” In such a case the umpire should consider the ball as dead—as far as putting out a base-runner is concerned—until it is settled in the hands of the pitcher while standing within the lines of his position. This Mr. Daniels did not do; for, though he inquired into the matter, he decided that the ball was no “willfully stopped.” Booth took the ball from the crowd, threw it to Mathews [pitcher] near home base, and the latter passed it to Hicks [catcher], who put out Glenn on the really dead ball.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a claim of doctored balls

Date Sunday, December 10, 1876
Text

The Cincinnatis last season used to soak balls thoroughly, and then, after pounding them until they were soft, would present them in all matches on their own ground. No wonder they defeated the St. Louis Club in their opening two games.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a club made up of reporters

Date Saturday, January 22, 1876
Text

[a report of the formation of the New York Press Club, made up of baseball reporters, identifies T. Bayard Brasher and John R. Carpenter with the Herald and Carl Jay with the Tribune.]

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a club reverts to amateur status

Date Sunday, July 2, 1876
Text

The Brooklyns have withdrawn from the National Association (formed at Philadelphia) of professional players since losing the men who asked compensation for their services. They have now a first-class amateur nine.

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a colorful nickname

Date Saturday, March 18, 1876
Text

Charley Houtz and “Trick” McSorley have left St. Louis for Covington, Ky., to join the Stars of that burg.

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a condemnation of the Mutuals, comparison with the Philadelphias

Date Sunday, February 13, 1876
Text

The Mutuals, of New York, through good and ill success, have always carried the good wishes of a horde of admirers who are always earnest in upholding the Green Stockings and jubilant over their success. That they deserve this devotion we would hardly be willing to subscribe to. Several players have been accused of playing for two salaries, at times, and certainly appearances have been against them. At all events, the Mutuals, when determined to win, do so by every advantage they can possibly take; not only by the legitimate trickery and sharp play of the ball-field, but also by hectoring the umpire and bullying their opponents. The admission of this club, and the exclusion of the Philadelphias, on the ground of corrupt practices, from the recently organized professional association, is, to say the least, very inconsistent.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a contested Boston Club meeting

Date Sunday, December 10, 1876
Text

The president and secretary were away, and Mr. Long, the treasurer, called the stockholders to order, saying that as there was not a quorum present the only motion he could entertain was one to adjourn. Such a motion was made a negatived, but Mr. Long, acting under the advice of counsel, declared the meeting adjourned sine die and retired from the room. The other gentlemen present, believing that a quorum of stock was represented, organized a meeting, elected officers, &c., as heretofore published. The bone of contention was, what constituted a quorum? The by-laws say three stockholders representing a majority of the stock. The whole number of shares issued is 150, but 72 of the number were never paid for in full, that is, rather than pay the last assessment the holders turned their certificates over to the association. After the great fire of 1872 the association found itself in deep water, and the Boston Base Ball Club was formed to help the association out of its difficulty. The 72 shares were transferred to the treasurer of the club with a provision that the club’s income should be paid to the association. The club divided the shares among its officers, who acted as trustees and voted upon them in the meetings of the association. Wednesday afternoon the club held a meeting and voted to dissolve and donate its property–the 72 shares–to the association. In the evening Mr. Long held that the 72 shares, which had not been transferred by the club to the association, could not be voted upon by the officers of the club at that time, and that 76 of the 78 shares aforenamed must be represented in order to constitute a quorum. The meeting, which transacted business voted on 77 shares, 42 of the 78 and 35 of the 72, and threw out two votes, representing some half dozen shares, for a technical informality in voting. It was represented that the by-laws provided that in all cases of forfeited stock the same should be sold at auction, which was never done in the case of the 72 shares, forfeited by the original owners. A question is raised whether the assessment which caused the forfeiture of the 72 shares was legally made; and again, it is asked, whether the treasury of the club could legally divide the 72 shares among the officers? The important question is, who owns and who is the legal custodian of the 72 shares. Let this be settled, and the legality of the two meetings held Wednesday night, and the way would seem open for a clear understanding of the matter. A conference is to be held upon the subject, and it is to be hoped that the affair may be set to rights without recourse to the courts. Boston Herald December 10, 1876

An adjourned meeting of this [Boston Base Ball] Association was held last evening, the President, Mr. C. H. Porter, in the chair. Mr. Porter stated that the difficulties which had arisen in the Club had been unanimously submitted to Mr. Walbridge A. Field, who had decided that the legal meeting of the Association was held December 6, that 78 shares of stock are held by the Association, and that 41 shares being present and voted upon was sufficient for the transaction of business. Although legal gentlemen of eminence and renown differed with Mr. Field, yet both Mr. Apollonio and Mr. Long acquiesced in Mr. Field’s opinion, and had surrendered their books and papers, which he (Mr. Porter) now held in trust.

The report of the Board of Directors was then presented by Mr. Apollonio...

The meeting then proceeded to elect three directors and to fill existing vacancies, and Messrs. F. E. Long, A. J. Chase and Henry Hunt were chosen. Mr. Porter resigned the office of President and A. J. Chase as Treasurer, and to conform in balloting for directors designated A. H. Sowdon [sic] as their choice for President and F. E. Lunt for Treasurer.

On motion of Mr. Sowden the by laws were amended so as to provide that the annual meeting shall be held on the third Wednesday instead of the first Wednesday of December.

Mr. Sowdon in assuming the position of President made a brief speech, in which he wished it understood that he accepted the Presidency only temporarily and in order that the affairs of the Club might not be impeded.

On motion of Mr. Porter it was voted to appoint an Auditing Committee of three, two of whom shall be stockholders and one from the Board of Directors. The Chair appointed C. H. Porter, A. B. Billings and A. J. Chase as said Committee.

Mr. Henry Lunt resigned as one of the Board of Directors and nominated in his stead Harry Wright, who was chosen by ballot. The meeting then adjourned. Boston Journal December 28, 1876

Source Boston Herald
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a critique of allowing players to sign before the end of the season

Date Sunday, July 30, 1876
Text

The bane of professional base ball, next to the abominably high salaries demanded by the players, is the custom of engaging themselves a year in advance. The season is no sooner open than the player begins to feel uneasy about the next year’s engagement, and until this point is settled he is utterly indifferent about the success of the nine to which he then belongs. And unless engaged he is apt to play like a wooden man, with a sort of “don’t care a snap” feeling. While this state of things exists the only sure way to get the best work from players would seem to be to hire them for a term of years. Of course this would be impracticable. But one thing is certain. The present system of allowing players to engage themselves a year ahead is all wrong. The system is opposed to all business principles. If a salesman in an mercantile establishment who was engaged for a year should hire out to a rival concern months before his term of service expired, how long before he would get his “walking ticket?” He would be very properly discharged without a moment’s notice. And yet in base ball this sort of thing is tolerated. The moment a player hires out to a rival club his interest in the club to which he then belongs ceases. This is a natural result. For example, take the case of Pike. He has been engaged to play with the Cincinnatis, having been crowded out of the St. Louis nine by the engagement of Remsen. As a matter of course, Pike cherished some hard feelings against St. Louis, and could it be expected that he would evince as much interest and put forth as much exertion to win as he would if he were going to remain? Manifestly not. Hence we reason that allowing a player to engage himself to a rival club before the season ends is all wrong. And until the thing is stopped, it will remain the curse which it has proved.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

A critique of the system of scoring and pitching stats

Date Sunday, April 2, 1876
Text

Fallacy of Base-Ball Averages at Present Computed

The league move in the direction of reforming base-ball matters and purifying the game of some of its foulness, has not yet done all it might have done. It has failed to show how utterly absurd is the present system of scoring, and deducting therefrom averages which are unreliable. First take the pitcher’s average, which is given on a ratio of hits per game. There is no mention made of the ratio of called strikes, or of called balls per game, or of the ratio of balls pitched to either called strikes, called balls, or base hits. Take, for instance, 100 balls pitched by A and B. A pitches 5 called balls, 30 called strikes, 25 foul strikes, 20 balls not called, 7 in-field outs, 5 flys-out, and 8 safe hits. B. Pitches 15 called balls, 9 called strikes, 14 foul strikes, 45 balls not called, 6 in-field outs, 6 flys-out, and 5 safe hits. A has two men put out on strikes, and B lost a base by balls; yet, according to the present way of computing an average, A is worse than B, as 8 is greater than 5, that is to say that A is 3/8 a worse pitcher than B, which no man in his senses who knows anything of the game would say. Deduct from the 100 balls pitched the unstrikable balls not called, and we have A to have pitched 80 balls, and B 65. Deduct again the balls called, we have A 75, and B 50 good balls pitched. Now take the base-hit average, and A has an average of 8.85, or one base-hit to every 9.375 balls pitched. On the same principle B has one base hit in every ten good balls pitched. Each has had twelve men put out in the field, but A has put out two men by strikes, so he has got fourteen outs, but B has lost a base by bad pitching, so he has only eleven men out to his credit. The average should then stand: A pitches 75 balls for 8 base hits and 14 outs; B pitches 50 balls for 5 base hits and 11 outs. This makes a vastly different showing than under the rule adopted by base-ball writers last season. The batsman’s average should also show the number of balls pitched to him, good and bad, to the number of outs and safe hits. Then there is a deal of nonsense in averaging the play of fielders. Second base, third base, and short stop get each about twice as many balls to field as the out-fielders, yet ever man is judged on the number of errors he has made and an error in the out-field is looked upon as even with an error in the in-field. Now, as an in-fielder gets twice as many opportunities of making mistakes as an out-fielder, his errors are only half as heinous, two errors in twenty plays of the former being equal to one error in ten plays of the latter. Then, again, the pitcher and catcher and first base are measured by the same error-standard as the other players, which is a preposterous as measuring a wheeler in a team by the leader, or vice versa. The whole system of charging men with errors for every ball that escapes them (says the Chicago Field) is nonsensical in the extreme. How is a reporter in a far-off stand to know just how that ball came up to a man? How can he say that the ball which just passed C was any harder or easier to stop than the ball that was stopped by D? To reckon errors against individual players in that way is all a fraud, and tends to lower the general standard of play rather than raise it. There are some men who go for every ball with all the force and ability that is in them, and take no heed to its hotness or its difficulty, while there are others who do not. The system of counting errors would have no effect upon the first-mentioned class of men, who delight in overcoming difficulties, but it has a very bad effect on those playing merely “for pay”–men who keep as far away from a difficult play as they decently can, so that the sapient scribblers in the reporters’ gallery may see plainly that there was no error. To these latter the sneer or praise of a base-ball reporter is life or death, but in the former there is no such feeling, and all they dread after the game is that their employers or future employers may be guided by the press nonsense instead of actual facts. A score sheet is now in preparation which will do away with a great deal of the difficulty hitherto surrounding the understanding of the ball game.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a curve pitcher advertises

Date Saturday, November 18, 1876
Text

A First-Class Pitcher and batter would like to engage for next season. Can be had very cheap by engaging immediately. Can curve a ball in and out. Address J.M., care of Clipper.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a curve pitcher in Minnesota

Date Saturday, October 7, 1876
Text

[Clipper of Winona vs. Red Cap of St. Paul 9/22/1876] But two safe hits were made by the Clippers, they being unable to et the hang of Bachli's curve-pitching.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a curve pitcher on a semi-pro club

Date Saturday, July 1, 1876
Text

[Star of Covington vs. Allegheny of Pittsburgh 6/22/1876] Lane and Junkin each followed with beautiful base-hits, after which the captain of the Stars decided that Golden's straight, swift delivery wouldn't do, and a change was made to McSorley. The latter pitchers an altogether different ball; he is a curve pitcher.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a deceptive curve pitcher

Date Saturday, August 12, 1876
Text

In McSorley they [the Indianapolis Club] have a first-class third-baseman, as well as change pitcher, his delivery being marked by a very deceptive curve.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a double play on a foul tip

Date Saturday, May 6, 1876
Text

[Boston vs. Mutual 4/25/1876] [Craver on second base] In the eighth inning one of the points of play of the new rule for running the bases on foul fly-balls was practically illustrated, a double play being the result. … Treacy then hit a fly-tip and was well caught out, and, the ball being thrown to Leonard, Craver was also out, a double-play being made on the new point. In such case a foul fly is just the same as a fair fly—that is, if the ball is caught, the player running the bases can leave the base the moment the ball is caught; but he is also liable to be put out on returning on the catch, just the same as in the case of a fair fly, the ball not having to go to the pitcher. With foul-bound catches or balls it is different, the baseman being allowed to return without being put out.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a failure to object to a substitute runner; courtesy runner

Date Saturday, July 15, 1876
Text

[from answers to correspondents] On the 24th ult., our college club played the Richmond Club in a match game. At the end of the ninth and tenth innings the score stood 15 to 15; but in the eleventh the Richmonds made 1 and the college boys 0, leaving the score 16 to 15 for the Richmonds. In the tenth inning both sides made one; but I claim that their tally, according to Rule 6 Section 14, is illegal from the fact that, one of their men being unable to run, they put in their catcher (who was decidedly and pre-eminently their best base-runner, as he is acknowledged by either club) to run for this disabled one, without the consent of the captain of the opposite side; and had this privilege of selecting the base-runner been granted to our captain, all know he would have chosen any one but this one mentioned. They try to excuse themselves by saying that our captain could have prevented it at the time, but none of us noticed it till after the illegal tally (as I think it is) was brought in. now, with these facts before you, is the game 16 to 15 on the eleventh inning in favor of the Richmonds, or 15 to 14 on for the College on the tenth? … The game was won by the score at the close of the eleventh inning. The failure of your captain to object to the substitute or to select one to run does not invalidate the record or change the score.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a fight with a gambler

Date Saturday, June 17, 1876
Text

[Cincinnati vs. Mutual 6/6/1876] Prior to the commencement of the game a match gook place on the grounds which was not “set down in the bills.” the occasion was a dispute between a man well known as one of the most prominent of the betting fraternity of the City of Churches, and Craver of the Mutuals. The Mutuals were passing the ball around near the buildings, as usual before the game, when a man approached Craver, and suddenly the two were engaged in what looked like a sparring bout; but the earnestness of the man was soon plain to be seen, as he struck at Craver right from the shoulder. Suddenly a crowd surrounded the combatants, or rather one of them, for the fighting was all on one side, and the sergeant of the police present arrested the man and would have locked him up—so he told us—only no one would make a charge against him. Craver, from some cause or other, refused to do so, and the proprietor of the grounds did not, though the assault was in direct violation of the League Association ground rules. It was a singular affair all round, especially so from the significant fact that the man was allowed to act as he did with such impunity. The inference of a large portion of those present was that he knew too much of the inside business of professionalism to be interfered with in his special recreation of assaulting a player. This little opening to the contest gave it a variety and spice never before connected with a game on the Union Grounds, we believe.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a ground rule about fair balls hit into the crowd

Date Saturday, June 10, 1876
Text

[Chicago vs. Boston 5/30/1876] The crowd was so great that it was found impossible to field long hits to right or left, in consequence of which it was agreed that when a ball was batted into the crowd it should be considered only a base-hit.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a high pitch delivery; low deliveries more effective

Date Saturday, July 15, 1876
Text

[Harvard vs. Chelsea of Brooklyn 7/3/1876] We saw Ernst [of the Harvards] pitch for for the first time on this occasion, and we have to state that his delivery half the time was illegal, his hand, in passing his hip, being frequently level with it and sometimes clearly above, when the rules require that the hand must clearly pass below the line of the hip. … The lower the delivery the more effective the pitching, and we are surprised to see pitchers lose sight of this fact, so many of them delivering from the hip, thereby giving the batsman a good sight of the ball from the hand, and losing to the pitcher the advantage of the rising ball which made Creighton's pitching so difficult to judge, he delivering the ball from within six inches of the ground.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a home run over the fence 7

Date Saturday, June 24, 1876
Text

[Cincinnati vs. Athletic 6/13/1876] Hall's Wonderful batting was the feature, once making a clean home-run by driving the ball over the right-field fence, and making, besides, three three-basers.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a last shot at the ten-men rule; admission fee

Date Sunday, March 5, 1876
Text

It is stated that the National Association delegates will adopt the ten-men and ten-innings rule, and twenty-five cents admission.

Source Cincinnati Daily Advertiser
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a passed ball into the crowd

Date Saturday, October 14, 1876
Text

[from answers to correspondents] N is at the bat, and a man is on third base. Pitcher delivers the ball to catcher, who fails to catch it, and the ball strikes the body of a person in the crowd behind the catcher (no backstop), and rebounds to catcher, who touches the man coming home from third. The umpire decides the man out, when the captain of the N--'s asks the umpire to reverse his decision, claiming dead ball. The umpire refused, and the captain declined to play with an umpire that would not conform with the Amateur Rules; whereupon the umpire called the game, and gave it to the L—s by a score of 9 to 0. Was the umpire justifiable in the course he pursued, and do the N—s have to abide by his decision? … This is one of those cases in which a nine is justified in refusing the play, the violation of the rules by the umpire being plain and palpable, as the ball stopped by the outsider was dead for the purpose of putting a player out by it until it was settled in the hands of the pitcher while in his position, but not dead for running bases or scoring runs.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a professional club's junior nine

Date Saturday, July 1, 1876
Text

[Boston vs. Cincinnati 6/22/1876] The home club gave Fisher the rest he so much needed by sending Deane of the Junior Reds in to pitch.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a proposal to eliminate fair-fouls

Date Saturday, November 11, 1876
Text

The new rule is to consider as foul all hit balls that pass outside the foul-lines before reaching first base or third base, and as fair all hit balls that strike the ground and pass into the infield and in front of the first base or third base, or that shall be fielded inside of the foul-lines. Also to do away with catching the ball on the bound. An out on a hit ball or three strikes to be when it is caught on the fly only. This will equalize the batting and fielding, and also tend to lessen the discretionary power of the umpire, and relieve him of responsibilities now resting upon him. In deciding fair our foul, he need watch the course of the ball only, and now where it strikes the ground before passing the bases. Don't you think the change will be an improvement, and tend to give satisfaction to both spectators and players? If I am not mistaken, you have advocated both of the above changes. New York Clipper November 11, 1876, quoting a letter from Harry Wright

proposed rule on fair-fouls still allows bunts

...of all the plans presented to obviate the difficulties which follow in the wake of fair-fouls, this new rule would appear to be the best. It doesn't not entirely do away with the chances for short hits, as balls can still be “blocked” so as to go to the field comparatively dead, in front of the home-base and on fair grounds, thereby rendering pretty active fielding on the part of the pitcher, catcher, or first and third basemen necessary to throw the batsman out at first base. New York Clipper November 11, 1876

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a proposal to eliminate fair-fouls 2

Date Sunday, November 12, 1876
Text

...an umpire is sorely tried in deciding upon fair and foul hits. Whichever way he may decide upon a close point, somebody will be displeased. There is a remedy for the evil, and it is to do away with “fair fouls,” so called, by enacting a rule that all hit balls which go out of the diamond before reaching first and third base shall be declared “foul,” and all balls which go inside those bases, no matter where they first strike the ground, shall be “fair.” Pursuant to this rule, all outs on bounds will be abolished and only outs by flies, including three strikes, will be counted. Of necessity, such a rule would operate against fair-foul hitters, but their loss from this cause would be compensated by the “lifes” on foul bounds and three strikes caught on the bound. There would be danger under the rule that batsmen would undertake to block the good balls pitched in order gain the first base on “three balls,” but in doing so they would run the risk of an out on the “tip” or short fly. The home plate could perhaps be returned to its old position, if this rule were adopted. The rule has been tried in quite a number of games, this fall, and has worked to the satisfaction of every one so far as there has been an expression of opinion.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a proposal to restrict what clubs can enter the championship

Date Saturday, January 22, 1876
Text

In regard to the contestant who are to be allowed to enter the lists in 1876 to compete for the pennant, we have a few words to say, which, we trust, will meet with due consideration at the hands of the Convention. In the first place, we are entirely opposed to the entrance of any co-operative organization as a contestant for the emblem of the Centennial year of 1876. The clubs contesting in championship games should be regular stock-company organizations, and clubs whose standing and financial condition are such as to insure their going through the season without disbanding, and able to fulfill their obligations in playing return-matches from May to November. It is neither fair nor right, in any sense of the word, that one club should incur the expenses of a visit to the West to play games with a Western club, and share profits with them in games there played, and not have return visits paid them in due turn. … The only way to stop this is to exclude from the list of entries all organizations not likely to be able to carry out their part of the season's programme, as is the case with all co-operative organizations.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a proposed corps of professional umpires

Date Sunday, August 20, 1876
Text

League umpires will probably be adopted next year. They will be regularly salaried (says the Cincinnati Enquirer), each club contributing an equal share towards it. There will be four or five of them, according as there are eight or ten clubs. The League secretary will send them to different cities when there is a call for them. New York Sunday Mercury August 20, 1876

The necessity of taking steps to secure just, regular and consistent decisions on disputed points in championship games has been often shown. These games have become interesting to a vast number of people who keenly enter into the merits of the contests and ally themselves in feeling to one or other of the contesting nines. To them the winning or losing of a league game by their favorites is a considerable matter of feeling, and sometimes much more so of dollars. Boards of trade select their most reputable and nescient members to fill the positions of presidents and arbitrators, and do not leave their business to Tom, Dick or Harry, as he may come to hand. They select a man for his knowledge of the matter in hand and for ability to expound that knowledge correctly. Again we do not choose a fresh judge in our courts every time a case comes up, but have one always on hand to decide such matters as may from time to time require adjustment. The league and the championship games claim to be run on business principles; why then do they employ the Dicks, Toms and Harrys that may be hanging around a ball ground, instead of having men of their own, paid to do their work properly and consistently? Under the present system one man rules one way and another man rules directly opposite, and one club may get the adverse ruling in both cases. Umpires should be selected at the beginning of the next season, thoroughly instructed by the secretary of the league as to the interpretation of the rules, and bound over under penalties to so interpret them. What is wanted is uniformity of umpiring, and men of undoubted reputation as judges of the game, on the result of which tens of thousands of dollars sometimes change hands. New York Sunday Mercury August 27, 1876

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a proposed non-League association

Date Sunday, September 3, 1876
Text

There is a movement on foot looking to the formation of an anti-League association among such clubs as the Buckeyes, Indianapolis, Alleghenies, Aetnas, Harrisburgs, Neshannocks, St. Louis Red Stockings, Rhode Islands, Syracuse Stars, and others of this class. An admission fee to games of 25 cents is proposed, also an article of agreement prohibiting the playing of exhibition games with League clubs. Philadelphia Item September 3, 1876

Mr. L. C. Waite, secretary of the St. Louis Red Stockings, has sent out circulars to the semi-professional clubs, proposing a non-league association, and inviting an expression of opinion upon the subject. The author of the circular suggests that under no circumstances should the clubs of the association play League clubs, and that only 25 cents admission to games be charged. New York Sunday Mercury October 22, 1876

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a replacement recruited from an outside club

Date Saturday, June 17, 1876
Text

[Chicago vs. Athletic 6/6/1876] Eggler's illness was very damaging to the Athletics' hopes of success, and in this emergency they substituted Warner, one of the best players of the Philadelphias.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a resume of Mutuals' uniform history

Date Saturday, April 29, 1876
Text

The [Mutuals] were attired in white suits, trimmed with red, and wearing red stockings. The color of the uniform of the original Mutuals was brown—they did not wear breeches and stockings then, but pantaloons. Then they changed to a white suit with green stockings. The “wearing of the green” not proving satisfactory, they changed again to the old Mutual color, to the extent of putting on brown stockings. As they did not do up things “brown” in this suit, another change was resolved upon, and this time, in view of the fact of their entree upon the platform of square play, they donned the red stockings.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a rubber-free ball; the home club provides the ball

Date Sunday, February 20, 1876
Text

The all-yarn ball will be optional to the home nine in all professional games this year, under the new association. Not more than one ounce of rubber will on any account be allowed. The home club will supply the ball in all “League” matches.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a rumor of financial troubles in the Chicago Club

Date Sunday, August 13, 1876
Text

Trouble is brewing between the old and the new stockholders of the Chicago Club, and some of the former who have been left out in the cold, demand that a receiver should be appointed.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a rumored arrangement between the Western League clubs

Date Sunday, April 16, 1876
Text

When the League was formed at Louisville the four Western clubs made a little side arrangement to secure gate money earlier in the season than could be done by championship games. By this arrangement St. Louis is entitled to summon any three players desired of the Chicago, Lousiville, and Cincinnati teams to make up a professional picked nine to play them. In like manner Chicago and the other cities can summon players to a game in their respective cities, instead of summoning the nine players at once. St. Louis has summoned Devlin, Sommerville, and Snyder, of the Louisvilles, to play them at St. Louis. Six local amateurs will make up the nine. New York Sunday Mercury April 16, 1876

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

A rumored attempt to sell a game

Date Sunday, March 26, 1876
Text

We saw Burdock in Brooklyn last week, and he stated to us, in a conversation on the crooked business indulged in last season, that a well-known player positively offered him $1,000 to sell a game between the Hartford and Philadelphia club nines. And yet the player in question is still employed., quoting the New York Clipper

Source Chicago Times
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a second nine secretary

Date Sunday, June 18, 1876
Text

There are letters at the Mercury office for the secretary of the second nine of the Alaska Baseball Club.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a semi-pro curve pitcher

Date Sunday, August 20, 1876
Text

Larkin, the well known curve pitcher, has left the Alaskas and joined the Ilions, of Ilion, N.Y., at a larger salary.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a single-entity league proposal to keep salaries down

Date Sunday, December 31, 1876
Text

One of the chief evils of the profession is the exorbitant salaries demanded by certain of the best players in the country. No remedy for this evil has yet been found. But Colonel John B. Joyce, so well known as the gentleman who engineered the old Red Stocking club, of Cincinnati, through their season of complete victory, has stepped to the fore with a plan. He has thought the matter over, and, together with other baseball men, believes that he “has found the lacking ingredient.” His plan is something like this: The League Association is to be sued as the means of accomplishing the desired end. The modus operandi is as follows: When the League directors meet next year it shall be to form an association of players. Every baseball player in the country, wether professional or amateur, who wishes to play in the League for 1878 shall send in his application, together with his playing record for the year 1877, officially indorsed by the officers of the club, together with a statement of the position he plays. The first thing for the Convention to do on assembling is to determine what cities shall be represented in the League. For instance, we say that Chicago, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Louisville, Boston, Brooklyn, and Baltimore should be admitted, then there will be eight clubs to be made up. Let there be eleven men assigned to each club. There would be eighty-eight players to be selected from all the applicants to make up the League. The Convention would then pick out eight of the best pitchers, as shown by their records, eight of the best catchers, eight of the best first basemen, and, in fact, eight of the best men for each position in the filed. After this was done sixteen of the best general players to play as substitute or eleventh man. Then let the association fix upon a certain salary that all the clubs are to pay for men in certain positions. For instance, pitcher, $1,500; catcher, $1,500; first basemen, $1,400, second and third basemen, $1,300, short-stop, $1,350; and fielders, $1,200. Then take the names of the eight pitchers first. Say these are Bradley, Matthews, Devlin, Bond, Manning, Nichols, Nolan, and McCormick. Put the names in a hat and draw lots. Say Chicago got Nolan, Cincinnati Nichols, Louisville, Bradley, and so on. Do the same with the other positions, and draw lots for two substitutes for each club. In this way all the clubs are made up by lots, and the chances are that they will be pretty generally equalized in strength. Then let the best club win for the championship. The players would be bound to play for the established salaries provided, only that each club may add to the players’ salary afterward out of their own funds if they choose. In case of the resignation, death or expulsion of any player, his place shall be supplied by the secretary of the League. The consequence would be complete success. No other cities than those in the League would be able to support a club with higher salaried men than those of the League. So there would be no danger that enough players could not be obtained to fall in with such a movement. Mr. Keck, of the Cincinnatis, offers an amendment to the above. He says let each club be compelled to advance its player’s salary in such percentage each month as his playing shall continue to improve. For instance, the pitcher–if his playing on June is five per cent better than in May, add to his salary for that month five per cent. more money. These plans are at least worthy of consideration and study.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a smaller batter's box; and extra strike

Date Sunday, March 5, 1876
Text

[discussing the new playing rules] The next rule is that touching the batsman’s position and striking. The former has been more closely defended, and any departure from it renders him to be put out on appeal to the umpire. But as a compensation, and to check the eccentricities of the pitcher, the striker is given an extra strike; on the third good ball not hit the umpire will caution the batsman that he has but one more chance, and on the fourth, he must do or die.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a stolen base is not an error; types of errors

Date Saturday, August 12, 1876
Text

[from answers to correspondents] In the Athletic vs. Hartford game of Aug. 2 quite a number of the Hartfords stole down to second. The Athletic catcher threw the ball every time to second base, but not in time to put the runner out. Was it an error for the Athletic catcher, he doing his best to throw the runner out? … No. The errors recorded in baseball include only plain muffs, wild throws, or failures to field or catch a ball from poor play. New York Clipper August 12, 1876

Fielding errors consist of failures to catch fly-balls or foul-bound balls, after grasping or partly holding the ball; failures to throw accurately to a baseman; failures to hold balls thrown to bases; and failures to stop batted balls. Sometimes a ball is batted so swiftly that it is a piece of good fielding to stop the ball, so as to prevent two or more bases being run; but it is generally an error to fail to field a ball in time to a base. It is a double error when a fielder fails to stop a batted ball, and throws it badly to a base after muffing it. New York Clipper August 26, 1876

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a suggested shift

Date Sunday, March 12, 1876
Text

[Devlin] is what should be called a one-hit man, and the captain of the team playing against him should draw all his men toward the left field; by this means he should considerably lessen the measure of Devlin’s usefulness at the bat. He must learn that mere force of muscle is not skill, and that ere he can be considered a reliable batsman he must acquire the power of placing his ball.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a tepid defense of the Chicago uniforms

Date Sunday, March 26, 1876
Text

The parti-colored capts for the nine have been assumed by them as a trial, and it is fair to say that they do not look by any means as badly as might have been expected. They are square-topped, and have the colors in bands on the side and in solid color on top.

Source Chicago Tribune
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a vagaries of the baseball business

Date Sunday, July 16, 1876
Text

[from a letter from the manager of the Juniata Club of Hollidaysburg] The Quickstep, of Wilmington, by letter, on the 6 th inst., asked for a game here the last of this week, and wished to know what guarantee we would give them. I answered that we would play them, give them half gross receipts, but would not guarantee any amount. Under this they telegraphed that they would play us yesterday (Thursday) morning. We advertised them, and then received another dispatch, that, owing to the illness of a player, they could not play us until this afternoon. I answered “All right,” and advertised them again. They played at Altoona, yesterday, and defeated them 10 to 0. This morning, at 9:35, I received two dispatches from their manager (one M. Richenberger) (one sent last night), asking a guarantee of $25 and expenses. I informed him that would stick to original agreement, viz.: one-half gross receipts. They then telegraphed that the Mountain City [of Altoona] guaranteed them $50 for a game this afternoon, and that they could not play us. I want all base ball clubs in the United States to know such thieves. They have stuck me ten or fifteen dollars for telegraphing and advertising. From the nature of things, a great portion of this base ball business must be transacted by telegraph, and any club that intentionally violates their engagements should be expelled from all associations. It gets the people down on the club that advertises, and and causes them to lose friends, what the visiting club would not care.

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

a variant hidden ball trick

Date Saturday, July 8, 1876
Text

[Hartford vs. Cincinnati 6/29/1876] The strategy with which York perished at his hands on the seventh inning brought the spectators down with a storm of applause. York made a base-hit to right. Jones fielded the ball to Fisher, who went out to receive it. He slipped it down his loose sleeve and walked back to his position at short-stop, rubbing his hands innocently together. Dean [pitcher] was standing in his position, and York, thinking he held the ball, stood a few feet from first base watching him. Before he was aware of it, Fisher had thrown the ball to Gould [first baseman], who touched the puzzled York off the base, and retired the side.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

advertisements on the fence

Date Sunday, March 5, 1876
Text

The fence [at the Athletics’ ground] will be again used for advertising purposes, and offers unusual advantages as such. Early application for the few vacant spaces should be made to Alfred H. Wright, Sunday Mercury offices.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

an attempt to buy games

Date Saturday, July 29, 1876
Text

[see Clipper 7/29/1876 for an account of a gambler attempting to buy Bobby Matthews; Matthews took it to Cammeyer, on whose instructions he played along to gather documentation. Also NYC 8/5/1876 for a brief follow up.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

an early rumor of the Hartfords moving to Brooklyn

Date Sunday, July 23, 1876
Text

...in a few days it is extremely probable that the announcement will be publicly made that the nine now engaged for Hartford will be transferred to Brooklyn next season. Manager Bulkley [sic] is a Brooklyn man, very wealthy, but has found out that the experiment of running a high-salaried organization in Hartford is a losing operation. This will bring baseball up in the metropolis, where it has been languishing for a long time, and the club will receive a greater share of public interest and support on account if its then being almost entirely a local nine. When the change is made Mr. Cammeyer will be associated with Mr. Bulkely in the management of the club. New York Sunday Mercury July 23, 1876

It is probable that the announcement will be publicly made in a few days that the nine now engaged for Hartford will be transferred to Brooklyn next season. Manager Bulkely has found out that the experiment of running a high-salaried organization in Hartford is a losing operation. When the change is made, it is said that Mr. Cammeyer will be association with Mr. Bulkeley in the management of the club. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury July 23, 1876

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

an experimental fair foul rule

Date Thursday, October 19, 1876
Text

[Hartford vs. Boston 10/28/1876] In this game Nichols pitched for the Bostons, and a rule, which is proposed to adopt next year, will be in vogue. This rule provides that all hit balls which go out of the diamond between home and third and home and first shall be called fouls, and no foul bound shall be out. Foul flies will be out when caught. This will do away with the provoking fair-foul business, and greatly relieve the umpire.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

an injured player entitled to a substitute runner; courtesy runner

Date Saturday, June 10, 1876
Text

The rule governing the employment of substitutes in base-running is one which has always admitted of a substitute taking the place of an injured player or one who is taken ill. Of course it must be shown that there is real sickness or an actual injury; but when that is done the opposing captain cannot, under the rule, prevent a substitute from being employed to run the bases for the disabled player, no more than he can the substitution in the nine, at any period of the game, of another player for one of the nine who had been injured or taken sick. All he has the option to do in the case of a substitute in running bases is to say which of the nine that substitute shall be.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Anson signed over a year in advance

Date Sunday, February 20, 1876
Text

Anson has been reengaged by the Athletics for the seasons of 1877 and 1878, playing in Chicago this season. Anson, besides being an expert billiardist and racket player, is also a very good wrestler, as evidenced by the fact of his throwing Billy Dwyer, of Brooklyn, the well-known pugilist, three straight falls, on the latter’s recent visit to this city.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

appealing to the umpire

Date Saturday, January 15, 1876
Text

[discussing the proposed rules] 5. The umpire shall render no decision in the game except when appealed to by a player, unless expressly required to do so, by the rules of the game, as in calling “balls,” “fouls,” etc.

Unless prevented by a rule of this kind, umpires would frequently render decisions unasked, by which they might materially assist one side at the expense of the other.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

arranging a game on ice

Date Saturday, December 23, 1876
Text

George Wright has written to Messrs. Weed & Decker, offering to bring on a skating ten, under his captaincy, to play any New York or Brooklyn ten a match game of baseball on the ice at the Capitoline.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Athletic Club finances 4

Date Sunday, November 19, 1876
Text

[reporting on the Athletic Club’s annual meeting of 11/14/1876] Mr. A. C. Johnston submitted his report as Treasurer, from which it appeared that the total receipts for the past season had been $17, 885.97, of which amount $11,643.17 was gate money and $5490 [sic: probably should be $5475] were the proceeds of the sale of 219 shares of stock. All of this had been expended, and the club was in debt, this being, however, in a great measure, due to the expending of $5036.85 in liquidating the debt of 1875 incurred by the old organization, and which the present stock company had no right to assume the responsibility thereof. The Centennial Exhibition, a weak nine, the premature close of the season, and other causes not necessary to mention here, had diminished the gate receipts, so that they were in 1876, $5754 less than the receipts for 1875. The Treasurer’s report concluded as follows: “A large portion of the indebtedness is due to players, and could be cancelled by paying a portion in cash now and giving some security for the payment of the balance in the future, if any united effort was made to accomplish so desirable an end, and by so doing it will enable the club to secure the services of a first-class team for the coming season, which will be a credit to the city and club. It is the earnest desire of the Treasurer that some substantial action be taken to secure an amount either by donations or assessment that will insure the future success of the Athletic Club, and prove to our creditors that we still live.” The Committee of Fifteen who were appointed to devise means and measures to help the club out of their present financial difficulties reported, that owing to unavoidable circumstances, they were not prepared to submit any statement, but that they would at the December meeting present a “full and satisfactory report of a complete arrangement of the temporary embarrassment of the club.” Philadelphia Sunday Mercury November 19, 1876

...at a meeting of the stockholders last week it was stated that the club had a balance of $6834.66 salaries. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury November 26, 1876, quoting the Boston Herald

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Athletic club secretary-scorer a paid position; creation of the Manager position

Date Sunday, January 16, 1876
Text

[reporting on the Athletic Club meeting of 1/10/1876] The new constitution and by-laws [of the Athletics] present but few changes, the most essential being the reduction of the number of Vice Presidents from four to two; the merging of the duties of the Scorer with those of the Secretary, and making it a salaried office, and the creation of a new office–that of Manager.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Athletics can't get up a nine for an exhibition game

Date Sunday, August 27, 1876
Text

The Athletics failed to go to Harrisburg last Monday, as announced, but seven of the nine putting in an appearance at the depot at the appointed time for their departure.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Athletics use a Philadelphia Club player as a substitute

Date Sunday, June 11, 1876
Text

[Chicago vs. Athletic 6/6/1876] The Athletics, who were weakened by Eggler’s continued illness, played in his stead Warner of the Philadelphias...

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

bad economic arguments for an expanded League

Date Sunday, November 19, 1876
Text

The professional season legally ended November 15, but it really closed four weeks previous. It is suggested that October 1 is late enough for playing, as all interest in the game ceases at least two week previous, but it would be as well to have the remainder of the month to meet the exigencies of bad weather. There is no money in the game after the middle of September, and it were better for managers of clubs and players to make the season shorter, and, consequently, less expensive. Players could afford to play for smaller salaries if their work was over October 1, as they would thereby gain a month and a half for the winter’s work. Looking back over the season just closed, it seems as though the Professional League had not fully realized the expectations of its projectors. Certainly clubs have fallen out by the way, the same as under the old association. Again, clubs have paid no better than in former years, or, to be more explicit, only one club, probably, the Chicagos, has $100 more in the treasure than in the spring, while all except, perhaps, the Bostons and St. Louis, have run behind hand. The balance sheets of these clubs will speak for themselves on the occasion of the annual meetings. “Crooked” playing has existed in the League as of yore, but there have been greater possibilities of discipline than under the old regime. Now there is no lack of public interest in the game, and there must be something radically at fault, or the business would pay better. What this is it is for the League to determine, but some things suggest themselves to an outsider very much in this wise: The League is too exclusive, and works against its won interest in admitting so few clubs to membership the small membership necessitates a too lengthy series of game between clubs, for the reason that only the first half of a series, as a rule, pays. Again, the clubs are hundreds of miles apart, which makes traveling expenses heavy. For example, it is a long journey from Boston to Chicago, and much time and money are expended in making the trip. Suppose there was a club at Syracuse, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Indianapolis a club from the East could play every day, weather permitting, on the trip to Chicago, and vice versa. To be sure, it would cost more to halt by the way, but there would be a daily income all the while. Finish the list of clubs by the admission of one or two in Western Pennsylvania, and a club from Boston could make the round trip, playing about every day, with good weather. Some one will say that more or less of the smaller clubs would disband after a few games had been played. So much the better for those that remained, for is it not the first two or three games of a series which bring in the greater part of the profits? Make the series small, say five games, and, if a dozen clubs are admitted to the League, sixty games will have to be played in a season by each club, and that is a large enough number of professional games. Should it be found profitable, supplementary series can be arranged between any clubs. In this way, those sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth games, which are accustomed to drag along, in many cases with profit to nobody, would be avoided; and it is possible that the admission of new clubs would bring a large amount of talent into the market, which would cause a reduction of salaries, of all things especially to be desired at this time. When the latter form is effected a reduction of admission fees can very properly be made, and public patronage correspondingly increased. Incidentally, the proposed change would give more meaning to the word “championship,” as it would make it more nearly the “championship of the whole country” than it is at present, when only half a dozen or so clubs are allowed to be contestants for the honor. Perchance experience has taught the club mangers the fallacy of adopting any such course as that suggested above, but to an outsider it seems to promise a possible solution of existing difficulties.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

baseball reporter for The Spirit of the Times

Date Sunday, October 15, 1876
Text

Theodore M. Brown, who was the base ball editor of the Spirit of the Times in 1873, residing in this city, died a couple of weeks ago.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

bases batted in?; proto-fielders choice

Date Saturday, December 30, 1876
Text

[from a discussion of the new scoring rules] In the fourth column [of the official score] should be placed to the credit of each player the total bases made off his hits. The unit, or base, consists in getting from any one base to any other base without being put out, and the striker is to be credited, not only with the number of bases which he himself makes after a hit, but in addition with those safely made by every other player who is on base at the time he runs towards first. It should be understood that a base or base made off an error of a fielder count towards the score of the player who ran from home-base towards first base when the error was made. All the bases made off such error, whether by the striker or by some other player then on base, shall go to the credit of the striker. The striker shall be credited with a base when he is sent to base on called balls, and, in addition, with all the bases made by other players who may be advanced on the play under the rules.

A base or bases shall be given to the runner for a successful steal, whether made on an error of his opponents or without error.

Bases shall not be given to a striker when any player other than himself shall be put out on his strike.

We beg to differ in regard to the utility of the rules devoted to a record of total bases. We cannot see that it gives due credit to the right man. The idea of giving the credit of a base to a batsman which is obtained by an error is new. The score of a professional game should indicate as concisely as possible what each player of each of the contesting nines did or did not do towards achieving a victory. To do this in its full extent requires the space of a club score-book. But to present a table for newspaper publication, all that is requisite is to show the number of times each player went to the bat, the number of clean base-hits he made, the number of bases he earned by good running, the total runs he scored, the number of times he put out players or assisted to put them out—achievements of equal merit—and the total fielding errors he committed.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

beer league baseball

Date Sunday, July 2, 1876
Text

A match was played June 29 on the upper ground, at the Capitoline, in which Koehler’s nine was pitted against the California nine. Beer was the order of the day, and whenever a good hit was made or a fly ball caught, play was suspended until they would all take a drink. Koehler’s boys did the best service at the beer barrels, while the California youths walked off with the game to the tune of 40 to 21.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

betting prohibited at the Union grounds

Date Saturday, May 13, 1876
Text

Up to 1875 there existed on these [Union] grounds a betting exchange. This has been done away with, and a rule established and duly enforced prohibiting all open betting on the grounds, under penalty of immediate ejection from the inclosure.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Bill Parks pitching in Easton

Date Sunday, July 9, 1876
Text

[Keystone vs. Easton 7/4/1876] The Easton presented an entirely new nine, Park’s, late of the Boston’s, made his debut as pitcher of the Easton.

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Bond's mix of pitches

Date Friday, May 26, 1876
Text

[Chicago vs. Hartford 5/25/1876] The pitching was of the phenomenal order, the heavy batsmen of the west finding it almost impossible to hit the pitching of Bond, who used all his strategy during the game, pitching not only the swift ones but slow drag balls, and curve and the always-puzzling cross balls. To his skill mainly was the credit of victory due.

Source Hartford Daily Courant
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

borrowing a player from the opposing team

Date Saturday, August 19, 1876
Text

[Athletic vs. Mutual 8/10/1876] ...the Athletics visited Brooklyn, N.Y, to play their fifth game with the Mutuals, and being decidedly out of form for victorious work—all their catchers being disabled—it was large odds on their being badly defeated... Al. Wright, the Athletic manager, desired to forfeit a ball, but Manager Cammeyer said “Play the game,” and so they procured the services of Neely Phelps, the change catcher of the New York nine...and with this team they went to the field.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Boston Club finances

Date Sunday, December 31, 1876
Text

At a meeting of the Boston Baseball Association, held Dec. 27, Mr. F. G. Long, treasurer, presented his report. It showed an increase of receipts from games on the Boston ground over the previous year, and a decrease in the receipts away from home, notably at Hartford and Philadelphia. The exact figures, as given in the report, are not to be published, but it may be said that while the receipts of the year were less than those of 1875, the expenses were much less, and the association is left with a good working capital. Mr. Apollonio, president, submitted a report from the board of directors of 1876, which was a review of the year’s work. He suggested that unless the incoming board of directors succeed in canceling the contracts of some of the players engaged for 1877, it might be thought advisable to engage enough more to run two nines, the opinion being exercised that a second ine of semi-professional rank would at least pay its expenses.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Boston rumored to be trying to sign McBride

Date Thursday, April 20, 1876
Text

McBride signed last year to play with the Athletics this season. He is therefore a member of the nine, and has not been released as stated. If is rumored that the Bostons are after him.

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Bradley of Boston had a curve

Date Saturday, December 9, 1876
Text

Bradley—the Boston Bradley, we mean [i.e. George H. Bradley, not George W. Bradley]--had speed and the curve, but little else.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

calling for a fly ball

Date Saturday, July 8, 1876
Text

[Harvard vs. Chelsea 7/7/1876] ...Hayes at the bat, when the latter hit a high ball, which Leeds tried to get under from short field, and Latham ran in to catch it from left field. A call was made for one of the players, but they neither of them heard it, and on the full run they came into collision, heads together, and both were knocked senseless. … The rule in all cases, where a ball falls outside of the infield and an outfielder is running in for it, is for the infielder running for the same ball to give way to the former unless a call is made, and that call should be promptly obeyed at once or a collision is sure.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Cammeyer running the Mutuals on his own

Date Saturday, April 8, 1876
Text

...Manager Cammeyer—who this year runs the club on his own individual account...

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Chadwick heir to a fortune?

Date Wednesday, March 22, 1876
Text

Chadwick having fallen heir to a large fortune, will he desert the game?

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Chadwick on the amateur rules committee

Date Tuesday, March 14, 1876
Text

The President of the Amateur Association of base ball players has just sent us the following, as his appointment of committees for the present years: Rules–H. Chadwick, chairman, Nameless, of Brooklyn...

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

charging ladies admission

Date Saturday, December 23, 1876
Text

The League delegates resolved to charge ladies for admission to their games next season. Hitherto they have been free, and they should be welcome “deadheads” on the ball-field everywhere.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

claim of an attempted thrown game

Date Sunday, March 26, 1876
Text

Burdock, in a conversation on the crooked business indulged in last season, said that a well-known player positively offered him $1000 to sell a game between the Hartford and Philadelphia club nine. And yet the player in question is still employed.

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

clearing the field 3

Date Wednesday, May 31, 1876
Text

[Chicago vs. Boston 5/30/1876] A vast, countless throng was ranged about the diamond field, and presented the aspect of a sea of heads, over which occasional waves of motion could be seen to pass. The crowd was excitable but good-humored. At first, scarcely a police officer was to be seen on the field; and the first efforts to clear the field were apparently hopeless. Two or three policemen, aided by Mr. Appolonio, president of the association, and the ball players, strove to drive the throng back, but they made slow work of it. About 2:45 o'clock the Chicago nine appeared, and as the four veterans, Spalding, White, McVey and Barnes came out, they were greeted with shouts of welcome. Soon after the police force was strengthened by another detachment, and a systematic attempt to clear the field was begun. It was comical to see the varying fortunes of the vigorous officers as they pushed and shouted and brandished their batons. As one point in the line gave way and the crowd began to succumb and “fall back,” another portion, urged on by the pressure of those bedd, bulged forward, and kept the poor guardians of the peace in constant employment. Aided by the generous efforts of the base-ballists, however, the efforts of the police were at last crowned with success in a measure at least, and the field was respectably cleared, considering the vast multitude in attendance, half of whom had no seats but the turf.

Source Boston Globe
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

commentary on the exclusion of the Philadelphias from the National League

Date Sunday, February 6, 1876
Text

It would be worse than useless to deny that this step has created a great deal of ill feeling, some eighteen professionals being thrown out of employment and the stockholders of the excluded clubs being heavy losers, but the advocates of the formation of a new association claim to have the best interest of the game at heart, and believing that the “end justifies the means,” wish to impart a fresh impulse to professionalism, so that it will attain a status in 1876 it has never yet reached. We regret to see that there has been an absurd attempt made to blame the Athletic Club for their action in this matter. They had no alternative but to join the League, or else they would have been also left out in the col. The constitution, by-laws and playing rules had been drafted at the meeting in Louisville last December, and the Athletics, at the meeting, could but give their consent thereto. In regard to the admission of the Philadelphia Club the Athletics would also have been over-ruled, as the remaining seven clubs were unanimous in opposing them on that point.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

contracts in a non-League club; revolving

Date Saturday, June 10, 1876
Text

In the beginning of the present year John Farrell, a player living in Newark, N.J., signed articles of agreement with the Resoute Club of Elizabeth, N.J., and received moneys at different times for his services as a baseball player for the entire baseball season of 1876. according to the terms of his agreement, he received the full amount of his salary, and on the evening previous to his departure from Elizabeth more money was paid him than he was justly entitled to. Knowing, as he did when he overdrew his salary, that he was to go with the Star Club of Syracuse, N.Y., that same night, he was not only guilty of receiving money falsely, but he broke his contract with the Resolute Club, giving no notice whatever of his going away, and leaving the Resolute Club on the day of a match game with the Louisville Club without a man to fill his position.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

contracts in an amateur association; only one club per city

Date Sunday, April 2, 1876
Text

The annual meeting of the New England Amateur Association was held at Boston, March 27. ... Prominent among the articles agreed on was one that only one club in a city shall belong to the association. Many of the better rules adopted by the National League were adopted, but in regard to the engaging of players the constitution prohibits any signing of contracts between a player in an association club and a manager in another club in the association before Nov. 1. New York Sunday Mercury April 2, 1876

rules amendments: number of called strikes; no putting runners out on uncaught foul balls, tagging up on foul flies; high and low strike zones

There are but three changes worthy of notice in the playing rules lately adopted by the league and just now published. One of these relates to the manner of calling “strikes,” and the other two to bas-running on foul balls. “Strikes” one and two are called the same as previously. When two strikes have been called, should the batsman fail to strike at the next good ball, the umpire does not call ‘three strikes,” as before, but warns the batsman by saying “good ball.” If the next good ball which goes by is not struck at, he calls “three strikes.” This rule only gives the batsman an additional chance. The rules relative to foul balls give base runners the following new privileges: When a foul ball is knocked and not caught on the fly, players running bases may return without being put out. When a foul is caught on the fly players may run to bases under the same restrictions as when fair balls are caught on the fly. This does not do away with the necessity of returning a foul knocked ball into the pitcher’s hands to get it into play again, but it prevents any harm coming to base runners by reason of such foul balls. Section 5 of the rules says that a batsman is privileged to call for a “high ball,” a “low ball,” or “fair ball.” “Fair ball” in this connection is a new term, and means a ball delivered within the range of the shoulder and one foot above the ground, that is, includes both “high” and “low” balls. New York Sunday Mercury April 2, 1876

This, of course, does away with any chance of the umpire being partial in calling fouls, for it will matter nothing whether he calls a foul early or late. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury March 5, 1876

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

counting a base on balls as a hit

Date Sunday, August 13, 1876
Text

Manager Graffen [of the St. Louis Club] credits his men with a base hit from called balls.

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Cummings' curves

Date Saturday, June 10, 1876
Text

[Cincinnati vs. Hartford 5/30/1876] The Hartfords put Cummings in to pitch, and his twisting curves puzzled the visitors greatly, they making no less than forty-two ineffectual attempts to hit the sphere, and but three base-hits.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

cutting Chadwick out of the rule-making

Date Sunday, February 6, 1876
Text

One strong point in favor of the eight-club plan is that it takes the rule-making out of the hands of the man who has for years assumed it as a prerogative, and puts it where it properly belongs,–in the control of the men immediately interested in having the game successful, and whose practical knowledge of the proper methods is as great as can be attained.

Source Chicago Tribune
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

defending fair-fouls in foul territory

Date Saturday, August 19, 1876
Text

[from answers to correspondents] In a game here to-day one club were batting quite a number of fair-fouls, and the captain of the other side placed his third-baseman about three feet outside of the foul line, when the umpire ordered him (the third-baseman) to play inside the foul lines, which he did. Now, has the umpire any right to change the position of a baseman against his will, as in the above case? … Certainly not. The player has a right to stand outside the foul line or anywhere else his captain may tell him to play.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

defining a base hit

Date Saturday, December 30, 1876
Text

[from a discussion of the new scoring rules] In the third column [of the official score] should be placed the first-base hits made by each player. A base-hit should be scored in the following cases:

When the ball from the bat strikes the ground between the foul-lines and out of the reach of the fielders.

When a hit is partially or wholly dropped by a fielder in motion, but such player cannot recover himself in time to handle the ball before the striker reaches first base.

When the ball is hit so sharply to an infielder that he cannot handle it in time to put out a man. In case of doubt over this class of hits, give the fielder the benefit and score a base-hit.

When a ball is hit so slowly towards a fielder that he cannot reach it before the batsmen is safe.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

defining a base hit; proto-sacrifice flies

Date Saturday, November 25, 1876
Text

What is a base hit? is a question asked by many, and that, too, by scorers who have kept the record of dozens of games. Our definition of a base-hit is simply this: Hitting the ball to the field in such a way that no fielder can possibly catch it on the fly or field it to any base-player in time to put either the striker out or a baseman whom the latter has obliged to vacate his base. Now, such hits can be made in a variety of ways, as we will proceed to show:

First, a base-hit is the result of hitting a high fly-ball so that it shall not fall within such reach of a fielder as to admit of its being held on the fly, or so prevented from reaching the ground as to allow another fielder to catcher it before it falls. Such a hit would result as much from a ball just popped up over the heads of the infielders so as to drop safe and short of the outfielder's position, as if sent a long way beyond the reach of the outfielders themselves; but if the ball is hit high in the air, and it e allowed to fall to the ground without being held on the fly (we refer to fair balls entirely in this connection), through the failure of a fielder to try and catch it (the chance given for the catch being a plain one), then no base-hit is to be credited, even if the ball should not have touched the hands of a fielder. Also, if a high fly ball is hit to any fielder, and a chance be afforded him to touch the ball in his attempt to catch it, and he fail to hold it, unless it be plain the he could have held it but for his lack of judgment or skill, it is still to be credited as a base-hit.

Secondly, it does not follow that a swiftly batted ball, sent to any infielder, though it be partially stopped, and not held quickly enough to throw the fielder [sic] out, is therefore not a base-hit. Nor does it similarly follow, in the case of a ball hit so as to slowly roll towards the centre of a triangle formed by the lines of home base, pitcher's position, and first base. Such ball frequently draws the first-base player so far from his position as to prevent him getting back in time, while it also prevents the pitcher from getting it in time to throw it to the first-baseman. Again, when a ball is “blocked” so as to plainly fall within the fair-ground lines, while the catcher is standing back from his position, such ball invariably yields an earned base.

Thirdly, there is a class of hits which certainly come under the category of base-hits—that is, hits earning bases—which have not hitherto been included in the list. We refer to hits made to right field, which, while they afford chances to throw out the striker at first base, enable base-runners to run bases safely or score runs. For instance, suppose there is a player on an earned first-base, and he is sent to second by another base-hit, and to third by a third such hit, and then the batsman, in order to insure the scoring of the run by the player on third base, hits a ball to right field in such a way that, while it insures his being put out himself, sends the base-runner on third home, and scores a run—this is a piece of play which illustrates “playing for the side” pretty strikingly, and it seems to us that such a hit should properly come under the category of base-hits.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

defining an error; refining assists

Date Saturday, November 18, 1876
Text

Suppose a fielder is afforded an opportunity to catch a player out, or to throw him out. If he fails to catch the ball he is charged with a legitimate error—that is, if the ball comes to him within fair reach. If he fails to handle the all in time to throw it to a base-player, or if he fails to throw it to such player accurately, he is to be charged with a legitimate error, provided the ball is not sent to him so har and swiftly from the bat as to make it a piece of skillful play even to stop it, and not an error if it cannot be fielded in time to the base-player. Scorers are too prone to class such failures as this last amongst legitimate errors, thereby7 doing injustice to a fielder. Of course, a fielder can be guilty of an error in failing to catch an easy fly-all, though he may not touch the ball at all, just as he is excused from a legitimate error when failing to hold a “red-hot liner” o n the fly, or a sharp “fly-tip” while close behind the bat. But the method of making out-fielding averages shows that there is one play he should be credited with in his fielding record in the score which has not hitherto been the rule, and that is when he fields a ball accurately to a base and it is not held. In all such cases the fielder should be credited with an “assistance,” even if the base-runner is not put out. For instance, suppose a base-runner goes from first to second, and the catcher, by a fine throw, sends the ball directly to the second-baseman in ample time to cut th4e runner off, and the baseman fails to hold the ball? In such a case as this the catcher should be credited with an assistance the same as if the ball had not been muffed. Also in the case of a ball picked up by any infielders and thrown to base-player accurately and plainly in time to put the base-runner out, the infielder should be credited with an assistance. In all such cases, however, the assistance in question must have been plainly such as would have insured the base-runner's being put out but for the base-player's error. When there is any doubt, no assistance should be credited.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

defining earned runs; assists

Date Sunday, November 19, 1876
Text

Scorers everywhere would thank the League for the definition of an “earned run” which would answer every case. One man holds that a run can be “earned” off the batting only; in other words, that nobody can “steal” a base. Another is more liberal, and allows that there may be good base running as well as good batting. Shall a base on called balls be counted as a base hit in determining an “earned” run and the batting average of a player? Shall the same count as an error for the pitcher? Shall it be simply called “a base on called balls,” and nothing else? Shall the pitcher be given an “assistance” in all cases of thrown balls, muffed, the same as when caught, if the throw would have secured an “out” without an error? It is a necessity to score an assistance in such cases in order to obtain more nearly the total of fielding chances. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury November 19, 1876 quoting the Boston Herald

The theory of earned runs is simply to test the skill of the pitcher, and therefore it is not fair to score runs as earned unless they are obtained entirely through the inefficiency of the pitcher to prevent base-hits and their sequence of earned runs. Of course a run is certainly earned when a four-base hit is made. This would be certainly earned, too, off the pitching. A run may be said to be earned in one sense when a batsman makes his first base on his hit, successfully steals to second, goes to his third on a hit to right field on which the striker is thrown out, and similarly scored his run. Such a run is certainly obtained by no fielding error, and therefore can be set down as an earned run; but still it is not a run earned off the pitching, such as comprises the class of earned runs which test the skill of the pitcher. For instance, the first striker makes a first-base hit, and next striker makes another, and the third a third hit of the kind, and the fourth hits a high fly to the outer field, on which the base-runner scores his run from third base. This is plainly a run earned off the pitching. Then, too, the first striker may make a three-base hit, and the second a single-base hit, on which a run is also plainly earned off the pitching. Successful base-running, however, earns runs, just as base-hit batting does; but then the pitching in such case is not at fault, the inability of the catcher to throw the ball swift enough being one cause, and rapid running, in which well-thrown balls are another, not fielding errors being at all involved in the play. In all such cases as this no earned run should be charged against the pitcher, for it is not his fault; and neither is it the fault of the fielders, so far as actual errors are concerned. Were it so, it would not be an earned run at all. We desired simply to show the difference between two distinct classes of earned runs, viz., a run earned from the pitching and one earned by base-running. The best way would be to include under the head of earned runs only those actually earned off the pitching, which earned runs exclude any runs scored through the assistance of successful base-running. New York Clipper November 25, 1876

As it is a question whether a base on called balls is the result of a pitcher’s inability to send balls over the base, or the concession of a batsman’s ability to bat for a base, it may be asked how such a base shall be reckoned in counting “earned runs.” These latter are ugly things to deal with, at best, and we see no way of securing a rule plain enough for universal adoption, except it be arbitrary, perhaps like this: All runs shall be counted as “earned” which are scored before three chances are offered for outs, no matter how the first base is made. This would answer the question propounded, and yet all runs of that character would not, of course, be strictly “earned,” as a run to be earned in the most literal sense must be secured by skillful batting and base running. All other important topics must be passed over save one, and that is the matter of crediting an “assistance” to a pitcher where a batsman goes out on “three strikes.” We should say do not do it, unless the pitcher has like credit for every ball he pitches that is batted so as to be caught on the fly, or thrown to a base in season to put the striker out. The pitcher’s effort is as much the result of skill in the one case as the other, and both, if either should receive credit. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury December 10, 1876

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

definition of a curve ball

Date Saturday, August 5, 1876
Text

[a letter to the editor:] What is meant by a curved ball—it is a pitch or an underhand throw, how does it curve, and can you explain how it is done, how the ball is held, &c.?

Do the Professionals pitch or throw underhand?

...

A curved ball is one which leaves the hand in a straight line and just before it reaches the home-plate suddenly curves out toward the end of the bat. It is done by underhand throwing; there is little or no pitching done now. The curve is produced by the same principle which makes a hoop thrown in a certain manner roll backward—by a twist or twirl of the ball that can not well be described.

Professionals nearly all use the underhand throw now. Spalding and Nichols come the nearest in their delivery to the old style of pitching of any pitchers in the League.

Source Cincinnati Daily Enquirer
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

determining earned runs

Date Saturday, August 26, 1876
Text

Runs can be earned off the fielding which are not earned off the pitching, and the general estimate of earned runs is to judge the pitching by that score. For instance, the first batsman makes his base by a hit, steals second by sharp play, goes to third on a high fly to outfield caught, and home on the third batsman's safe hit. This would be an earned run off the fielding, but not off the pitching, as only two first-base hits were made, and it requires at least three, and sometimes four to give an earned run. A run may be said to be earned off the fielding as follows: Suppose A, first striker, makes his base—that is, earns it by a good clean hit—B hits a grounds to right field, which the right fielder fields to first in time to put the striker out, but has no chance to throw out the base-runner going to second. C then makes a similar hit, on which A is easily sent to third base, and D makes a base-hit and sends A home. This is a run squarely earned off the pitching, for no errors have assisted the base-runner, nor has any bad judgment been shown in the field. Any hit is a safe hit which enables the striker to reach first base without his giving the fielders a fair chance to catch or throw him out.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Dickey Pearce's baby hits; advocacy of the long ball

Date Sunday, April 9, 1876
Text

The Hartford Times gives the following advice to their professional team: “Do not attempt to bat down a certain spear of grass, or to run on ‘one of Dicky Pearce’s baby hits.’ Bat the ball. Strike at it. Knock it somewhere, and word for it, your batting will stand higher, and the chances for the championship will be greatly enhanced.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

disagreement over what rule are operative

Date Friday, May 5, 1876
Text

[Philadelphia vs. Kleinz 5/4/1876] In the fourth inning Darrah was on third, and Farquarhar on first, when Crook struck a foul ball which was quickly fielded to Zettlein [pitcher], who threw to first and caught Farquahar off of his base, the umpire deciding him out. The Kleinz club took exception to this–claiming that the game was played under the same rule as governed the League Clubs, in running on foul balls. The Philadelphias claimed to be playing under the professional rules, as adopted by the [rump NA] Convention in April, there being a difference of opinion s to the wording of the “Rule on Fouls.” The Kleinz concluded to accept te umpire’s decision, but to play the game under protest. Philadelphia Item May 5, 1876

the all-yarn ball

Only three out of the eleven games were marked by double-figure scores, while four were won by socres of five runs and less, showing some masterly play in fielding. This is largely due to the use of the all-yarn ball, which is rapidly superseding the elastic rubber ball. New York Clipper May 6, 1876

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

discipline; the NL's power to expel players; due process and standard of proof

Date Sunday, February 27, 1876
Text

If a manager of any league club has any suspicion whatever against a man, either for gambling, drunkenness, low living, irregular hours, or slackness at work, he may dismiss him immediately by merely notifying the secretary of the league that such is the case. From this dismissal he has no appeal till the annual meeting in December, and till then he cannot be employed by any league club, nor does he receive any pay. He is virtually debarred for ever from the league clubs; for to rehabilitate himself he must incontestably prove that there were no grounds upon which to dismiss him. On this proof, and on this only, can he be employed by the league, and receive pay for his past work and enforced idleness. This is a mighty power. No player can risk his daily bread and his after life on the chance of a few extra dollars. The player has an equal power over a club, if the club goes back on this contracts with him, for, on proof, that club must forthwith quit the league. But this is not all. Each club in the league must thoroughly discipline its own players; failing this, it will, on proof that such is not done, be expelled from the league and its profits. If with these restrictions we do not see honest and good base ball played this season, the reform of the game is hopeless.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

early use of 'sacrifice hit'

Date Saturday, July 8, 1876
Text

[Hartford vs. Louisville 6/26/1876] [Gerhardt on first] Devlin's sacrifice hit to Burdock [second baseman] sent Gerhardt to second.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Early word of Hartford moving to Brooklyn

Date Saturday, July 29, 1876
Text

..a transfer—or rather a change of base—is to be made which will have the effect of giving to Brooklyn a strong and reliable nine for 1877, and a team that will be at least second or third on the list of the pennant races, and not sixth or seventh. The said change will be that of removing the present Hartford team—nearly all of whom have signed with Mr. Buckley [sic] for 1877—to Brooklyn, and with some of the present Brooklyn nine making a first-class metropolitan team for the succeeding season's company.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

early word of the IA

Date Thursday, October 19, 1876
Text

The St. Louis Red Stockings have sent out circulars to the semi-professional clubs, proposing a non-League association, and inviting an expression of opinion upon the subject. The author of the circular suggests that under no circumstances should the clubs of the association play League clubs, and that only twenty-five cents admission to games be charges. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury October 19, 1876

The Centennial year for base ball has about closed. The period, therefor, has arrived for making the necessary arrangements to secure for next season more favorable results than those attending the League series which have filled the public eye for the past six months. It was a close corporation from the beginning, and could not reasonably have expected to become popular. If the clubs forming the League had been composed of the only base ball talent in this country, their exclusiveness might have been excusable, but such was so far from being the fact that every club in the League was beaten, at some time or other during the season, by a club which was excluded from that association. The League was composed of eight clubs, drawn together in this tight circle, to the exclusion of all others, for the purpose ro reaping into their treasuries all the money which those who admire the game would be likely to expend during the season–certainly not an unselfish expectation. In this connection, and in this view of the case, it is a pleasure to be able to announce the fact that some of the managers of the League clubs admitted that they made more money, and had much larger audiences when a League-club played with a club outside of their charmed ring than when two of their League clubs played each other, with, perhaps, one or two exceptions. There are some thirty clubs recognized as semi-professionals scattered all over the country, who could form a very strong association. These clubs ought to correspond with each other at an early day. There is no reason why first-class clubs, as these are, should retire from the general arena. The few clubs of the League have no pre-emption right to cover the whole ground. In this, as in most sports, “The more, the merrier” is the rule. There is room enough for all to be accommodated who desire to take an active part in the healthy and invigorating exercise. These semi-professional clubs have men possessing sufficient vim and talent to form an organization, with its own well-matured rules, similar in character to the old National Association. If this shall be promptly accomplished and the rules provide for a reasonable gate fee, next season may prove one of the most prosperous base ball years. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury October 29, 1876

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Eastern cities not paying expenses

Date Saturday, September 30, 1876
Text

...it now appears that not a single League nine during the past month has received sufficient gate-money receipts in Philadelphia, or Brooklyn, or Hartford to pay hotel and traveling expenses...

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Ed Nolan

Date Sunday, December 31, 1876
Text

Nolan, of the Indianapolis, late of the Buckeyes, of Columbus, is a “phenomenal pitcher,” and is said by Al Spalding to be the equal of Bond (?) Nolan is a good pitcher, much better than the over-rated Spalding, but cannot be compared with Bond.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

effective pitching 4

Date Saturday, December 2, 1876
Text

“Bobby” [Matthews]...fielded well, put on the “curve” in lively style, “dropped balls short” skillfully—that is, changed his pace from swift to slow—and had but two balls called on him in the entire game.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Eggler's suit against the Philadelphias

Date Sunday, October 8, 1876
Text

Eggler’s suit against the Philadelphians was tried Sept. 26, and resulted in a verdict in his favor for $337.57, that being the balance due on his salary for the season of 1874. The defense was that Eggler had been engaged by the old unincorporated club, and not by the present stock organization.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

enclosed grounds in Milwaukee

Date Sunday, March 19, 1876
Text

...the grounds of the West End Base-Ball Club, of [Milwaukee]... Work is to be commenced as soon as the frost is out of the earth on the improvement of the grounds. The entire block is to be enclosed, a handsome pavilion put up, filling and leveling done, and the grounds altogether put into a state worthy the reputation of one of the most enterprising and promising clubs in the West.

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Fergy Malone giving up his business to concentrate on baseball

Date Sunday, January 23, 1876
Text

In 1873 he [Fergus Malone] caught for the Philadelphias, and after filling the same position the following season with the Chicagos, he rejoined the Philadelphias; the increasing duties incidental to his ball court, however, preventing him from paying the proper attention to base ball playing, and he resigned before the close of the season. He has always hitherto been tied down by business, but as he now intends disposing of his ball court and devoting himself exclusively to base ball, he has placed himself on an equal footing with other catchers, and being now in the best of condition, he will be found a valuable acquisition to any professional nine, having few equals as a hard-working and effective catcher, and being like all left-handed men, a very hard hitter.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

fifty cent admission too high; also hurting Hartford and Philadelphia

Date Saturday, September 2, 1876
Text

[Boston vs. Mutual 8/25/1876] Though a good game might fairly have been anticipated, and a close contest, the attendance was limited to a few hundred spectators. The weather was hot, to be sure, but that would not have kept a crowd away. The fact is—and the League clubs may as well realize it at once and save further pecuniary loss—the times are such as will not admit of the fifty-cent admission fee. Retrenchment is the order of the day in expenses, especially in those incurred for amusement. In view of this important fact, the sooner the club-managers come down to the old-time charge of twenty-five cents admission, the sooner they will replenish their now depleted treasuries. Now and then a match game will draw two or three thousand people at half a dollar admission, but, as a general rule, that charge this season has kept away thousands of people. It has worked this way on the Mutual Club's grounds, and with even worse effect in Hartford and Philadelphia, and even Boston has followed suit.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

first inkling of the International Association

Date Saturday, October 21, 1876
Text

[see Clipper 10/21/1876 for the circular from L. C. Waite of the St. Louis Reds.]

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

foul ball poles

Date Saturday, January 1, 1876
Text

[discussing the proposed rules] The foul-ball lines shall be unlimited in length, and shall run from the front corner of the home base through the centre of the first and third bases to the foul-ball posts, which shall be located at the boundary of the field, and within the range of home and first base, and home and third base. New York Clipper January 1, 1876 [This language is in the 1877 rules.]

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

foul ball screen behind home

Date Monday, May 1, 1876
Text

[describing improvements to the Boston ground] ...a high, open fence with fine wire netting below and a coarser one above has been erected. This wire netting is an experiment and may be replaced by some other material if found to be unsuitable for the purpose of a back stop. As it is now, it seems almost as if a very hot ball would go clean through it, if it hit it squarely without having had its force broken in any way; but the idea is a good one at all events and the present arrangement is a great improvement on the old condition of things.

Source Boston Globe
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

fulsome praise of Cummings

Date Friday, March 17, 1876
Text

Cummings, the pitcher of the Hartford team for 1876, has a reputation as the most strategic pitcher in the profession, which no one–not even Spalding–will dispute. Ever since he began to pitch in the amateur Stars of New York, he has been considered a wonder, having the most perfect command of the ball, and being able to curve it either to or from the batsman, or to make it describe a double curve, the latter difficult feat never having been accomplished by any other professional. He is always cool and collected, and in the most exciting contests has a smile on his countenance, which is evidence of the fact that nothing disturbs him, no matter how nervous the other seventeen players may be. His weakness at the bat is more than made up for by his efficient pitching., quoting the Hartford Post

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

giving up on the ten-men ten-inning game?

Date Saturday, November 25, 1876
Text

The best remedy for the “fair-foul” trouble is the introduction of a tenth man, but the additional expense necessarily incurred by this change would seem to preclude its adoption.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

identifying players by cap color

Date Sunday, April 2, 1876
Text

The uniforms of the Chicagos will be something of a novelty. White imported flannel, made same as last year, but will not have the name Chicago on the breast. The caps will be double visor, and of various colors. Each player will be designated on the score-cards by his colors, the same to be drawn from a box, so as there will be no choice in the matter. It will work in this way: Spalding, blue; McVey, red; Peters, green; Barnes, red and white; White, blue and white, etc. It will certainly look odd.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

improved pitching accuracy

Date Saturday, June 3, 1876
Text

We notice that all the leading pitcher are now fully awake to the advantage of aiming for accuracy of delivery as an important concomitant of speed in pitching; and they have learned, also, to see the point of observing the rule, “pitch over the plate when men are on the bases;” and, furthermore, have go into the way of quick returns from the catcher, so as to leave the batsmen as little time as possible to judge the delivery.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

improvements to the Louisville ground

Date Tuesday, March 14, 1876
Text

Work on the grand stand is... progressing quite satisfactorily, and when finished is expected to seat comfortably from 800 to 1000 people. In direct connection with the grand stand will be another covered stand, capable of seating a like number of people, and including the number of uncovered seats, the entire seating capacities of the grounds will dispose of 3,000 to 3,5000 people comfortably. Especial comfort has been arrived in the construction of the large stands, and they will be furnished with nice, easy eats, made doubly comfortable by being provided with backs. Taken all in all, Louisville will have grounds this season that she may well feel proud of, and we will be disappointed if any of our visiting clubs leave us with any complaint on this score., quoting an unidentified Louisville newspapers

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

inconsistent ball construction

Date Sunday, January 9, 1876
Text

Among the purposed amendments to the rules for the Centennial season are the following: The ball is to be composed of woolen yarn and covered with leather. No India rubber. The idea is, not to have the ball any the less lively than it is at present, but to try and have it average more satisfactory than heretofore; not to have the score two to one or one to nothing one day, and the next day, between the same nines, to have it reached by double figures. It is frequently the cause of fault-finding and dissatisfaction, and the players are held responsible when they are not at all to blame.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

ladies admitted free to Athletics games

Date Sunday, April 23, 1876
Text

The management of the Athletic Club, in order to encourage the presence of ladies at their games this season, at the grounds, Twenty-fifth and Jefferson streets, have provided suitable accommodations for them, and they will hereafter be admitted free to the ground, and also to the pavilion. It is to be hoped that all will endeavor to encourage the attendance of their lady-friends, who by their presence will give a refining influence to our national game.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

legal pitching delivery 2

Date Saturday, August 5, 1876
Text

The ball must be delivered in such a way that the hand holding the ball, when swung forward, passes the line at the hit below such line. If it be even with it, the delivery is a foul balk. It is not necessary that the arm actually swing perpendicular at the side of the body, but it must swing as nearly so as the underhand throw admits of. Any delivery is legal which allows of the hand holding the ball passing below the line of the hip.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Louisville Club finances

Date Sunday, November 5, 1876
Text

...Louisville subscribed $20,000 in stock to her Club. Of this only one-half was collected, a hundred persons paying up their stock in full; the others, not doing so of their own free will, were not compelled to pay by the Directors, the latter deeming $10,000 sufficient with gate receipts to operate the Club.

...

For the causes related above Louisville at the close of the season found a deficit of $3,000 in her treasury. Bankruptcy was not to be resorted to, and as to the best manner of getting free from trouble no one could determine satisfactorily. A meeting of stockholder took place several days ago. After a long discussion they resolved to contribute among themselves sufficient money to pay off the club’s indebtedness, also to force delinquent stockholders to pay up. The first policy resulted in raising $1,200. The second has not bee pushed to any extent. If the present stockholders choose to sue those who fail to make good the amounts subscribed by them, $10,000 can be raised, and good legal authorities say those who failed to pay up stock subscribed can be made so to do.

Source Chicago Tribune
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

most catchers are weak hitters

Date Sunday, October 8, 1876
Text

[Snyder] has not been strong at the bat, which is true of nearly all the catchers...

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

National League credited to Fowle

Date Monday, March 13, 1876
Text

Charles A. Fowle, of St. Louis, is the originator of the Professional League, and prepared the constitution, by-laws and playing rules, which were adopted unanimously afterward in New York city.

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

new scoring rules

Date Saturday, December 30, 1876
Text

[see NYC 12/30/1876 for , including bases on balls not included among at bats]

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

no earned runs on stolen bases

Date Saturday, July 22, 1876
Text

Earned runs are intended solely as a criterion of the pitching, and therefore no other errors nor skill in base-running should be taken into the calculation. For instance, a batsman makes a base hit; he then successfully steals second and third, and runs home on a hit to right short, on which the striker only could have been put out. This is an earned run in one sense of the word, but it is not a run earned off the pitching. To be so, the man who led off with a first-base hit should be either sent to second on another such hit, and then ag ain to third, or sent home on a second or third base hit, before chances for three outs are offered off the pitching. New York Clipper July 22, 1876

catcher's gloves

[from answers to correspondents] Is there any preparation which will harden the hands so as to lessen the pain in catching swift balls? … The best way is to wear gloves. New York Clipper July 22, 1876

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Nolan's curve hard to catch

Date Saturday, July 1, 1876
Text

[Boston vs. Buckeye of Columbus 6/19/1876] In glancing at the errors charged against Barnie [catcher], it should be remembered that he has one of the most difficult pitchers [Ed Nolan] of the country to catch behind, his delivery being a very speedy curve.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

non-League professional clubs

Date Sunday, April 30, 1876
Text

The seven professional clubs of Massachusetts have got up an association of their own, of which the Live Oaks, of Lynn, the Taunton and Lowell clubs, and Suffolk, of Boston, are the principal members; also the Fall River Club. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury April 30, 1876

The Athletics visited Wilmington, Del., last Friday, to play their first game this season with the professional Quicksteps of that city... Philadelphia Sunday Mercury April 30, 1876

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

non-League professional clubs 2

Date Saturday, August 12, 1876
Text

The Buckeye Club of Columbus is a professional club. There are very few prominent clubs in the country now which are not professional. The Auburn, Ithaca, Syracuse, Live Oaks, etc. are all professional. New York Clipper August 12, 1876

There is no difference between the League clubs and the Buckeye, Star and Ithaca Clubs, so far as their status as professionals are concerned. New York Clipper September 16, 1876

an attempt to buy a game; crooked pools

The comments of the Chicago papers on the Cammeyer expose of the fraudulent attempt to bribe Mathews, has shown that just as rotten a condition exists in the pool selling busines as marks the work in the metropolis. In Chicago they found out that telegraph oeprators were engaged in working the wires so as to get advance news, and then purchase pools by the information, and several were dismissed from employ in consequence. The League Club managers have made a great deal of talk about punishing crooked play, but Manager Cammeyer is the first one to do anything practical in the way of reform. He laid a neat trap, and caught one of the prominent knaves napping. It shows what a nice business it is when one of the most prominent men openly acknowledges that “they go in for all such chances.” It has been from this source, no doubt, that all the rumors of crooked play by ball players have emanated with a view of hiding their own little games. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury August 13, 1876

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

on legal pitching deliveries

Date Saturday, September 16, 1876
Text

[from answers to correspondents] A club claimed in a match, recently, that the arm or hand could not be raised higher than the hip, when swung back, before the ball or hand is swung forward towards the striker. 2. That his hand or arm must hang perpendicular, and the ball be pitched only. 3. That, in pitching or throwing, he turned his hand with the back towards the striker, so as to hide the ball. The umpire claimed the ball was delivered below the hip, it being an underhand throw, and claimed the arm was not required to swing perpendicular, and that he was privileged to raise his hand as high as he choose when swinging the arm back, before swinging forward to deliver. … The pitcher can swing his arm as high as he chooses in his motion to deliver, provided that in swinging the arm forward he does so in such a way as to have the hand pass below the line of the hip, and as nearly perpendicular as he can.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

only the infield sodded

Date Tuesday, May 23, 1876
Text

[describing the New Haven grounds] The ground, which is enclosed, will be a pretty one in the course of a few months, being level and amply large enough for all practical purposes. At present only the in-field is sodded, the balance of the ground being of a sandy surface.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

orientation of ball parks

Date Saturday, August 5, 1876
Text

[a letter to the editor:] In which direction does the home plate face on professional grounds?

Most grounds are so arranged that the batsman faces west or north west. In Chicago, however, the arrangement of the diamond is such that he faces almost directly south.

Source Cincinnati Daily Enquirer
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Philadelphia Club officers connected with gamblers

Date Sunday, February 13, 1876
Text

[reporting on the Philadelphia Club meeting of 2/10/1876] A communication from the manager of the St. Louis Club [probably Mase Graffen] was read, stating that, in his opinion, there would be no objection to the Philadelphia’s admission to the League, provided, however, that two of their officers–who are obnoxious on account of their alleged connection with the gambling ring–might be induced to resign. This communication, however, was not official, and no further action was taken upon it, especially in view of the fact that the League had adopted a rule that there should be but one club in each city.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

player pay; the professional baseball club boom

Date Sunday, January 16, 1876
Text

Professional baseball players have been more than well paid for their services, while in many cases the prices obtained are simply ridiculous. About five years ago baseball had acquired such a wide popularity that several of the professional clubs then in existence had made money, and the knowledge of this fact, more than any desire to still further popularize and foster the best interest of the game, aroused the “accursed thirst for gold,” and induced many persons to believe that by starting a professional nine they had discovered a royal road to fortune. The consequence was the demand for proficient players was considerably in excess of the supply, and the price of the article rose to a fictitious value. Men who would have been glad to have earned $15 or $20 a week by constant and hard work all the year through, found themselves suddenly of importance, and demanded and obtained salaries varying from $1,500 to $2,000 per annum for work of the pleasantest and most health-giving description, and considered themselves insulted if they were offered such a paltry sum as $1,000 per annum. On the principle that one should make hay while the sun shines, these men were not to blame for getting as much money for their services as they could, and those persons who fancied in a national game they had found a new El Dorado closed with them on any terms. The past season, however, in a measure ruled the inflated rates of players, and its beneficial effects will soon be visible.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

players as stockholders; new Chicago Association

Date Sunday, August 27, 1876
Text

Barnes, Spalding and McVey will remain in Chicago to a certainty, as they all hold stock in the new baseball association., quoting an unidentified Chicago newspaper

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

players not being paid

Date Sunday, August 27, 1876
Text

It is pretty generally believed that some of the Athletic players have decided not to play after a certain date if their salaries are not paid. Philadelphia Item August 27, 1876

The New Haven Club is in very bad condition, financially, being about $7,000 behind. The players have not received their salary for some time, and trouble is promised, as Knodell and Spence have left for Guelph, Canada, where they will play with the Maple Leaf nine. Philadelphia Item August 27, 1876

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

players to be required to pay their own expenses

Date Sunday, December 17, 1876
Text

An agreement was entered upon that for the season of 1877 every player should be charged thirty dollars for his uniform, and while away from home, on trips, fifty cents per day, the above to be deducted from his salary. If any player should, as a consequence, ask for a release from his contract, it should be given him.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

playing in to defend the fair-foul

Date Saturday, August 19, 1876
Text

[St. Louis v. Louisville 8/10/1876] Dicky Pearce now tried a fair-foul, but Hague [third baseman] was playing well in for him, and threw him out at first. Hague manages this fair-foul business most judiciously.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

pool room manipulation

Date Sunday, December 24, 1876
Text

A sample of the work done by the pool manipulators was shown at an establishment in New York recently. It was on the occasion of the match at Chicago, between the Boston and Chicago clubs. It seems that a number of betting men were getting the score by innings before it was received in the pool rooms, they having received the first three innings before any had been received by the pool sellers. Knowing that the score was 7 to 1 in favor of the Bostons, they bet heavily on the Bostons, the pools selling at the rate of 50 to 25, and 25 to 14. In the next two innings, however, the tide changed, the Chicagos scoring five in the fourth and one in the fifth, which tied the score. It was then announced that the score was being received outside before it was in the rooms, consequently all bets were declared off. At the close of the game the winners claimed their money, on the ground that they had bet in good faith.

An operator in Chicago pools said to one of the interviewers from the Times that he “lay awake nights trying to devise some scheme by which I could get the best of the games. I agreed to pay the Atlantic and Pacific Co. $10 for dispatches of every game played in Philadelphia provided they delivered them a few minutes earlier than the Western Union could. They entered into the agreement, and for a time I got my work in so effectually that Joe Mackin complimented me by saying that I was a ‘d----d good guesser.’ During the progress of a game in Philadelphia I found about the middle of the game I was getting left, and that somebody was slipping in ahead of me. I went to the Atlantic and Pacific office and raised a row about it, and they brought up some of the operators with a sharp turn. Neither of the telegraph companies had any intelligent hand in working these matters. I don’t care a continental now who knows what made me a good guesser on innings. Every man who goes into base ball business to win must be ‘steered’ some way. It is a game in which the sharps gobble the flats, and then go for each other.” “Do you know anything about that Cincinnati game?” “I ought to. This talk about the game having been fixed for the Cincinnatis to wi is all bosh. The report was a magnificent ‘stiff,’ planned here in Chicago. It was a dead sure thing that the Mutuals would win on their merits, so a shrewd operator had dispatches sent to him from confederates in Cincinnati announcing that the Mutuals had been fixed to drop the game. He took good care that the dispatches should be shown confidentially to the right parties here, and the result was that they not only fell into the trap, but steered some of their friends in. That’s what makes them so sure.” Philadelphia Sunday Mercury December 24, 1876

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

pregame practice; discipline

Date Saturday, June 24, 1876
Text

[Chicago vs. Mutual 6/13/1876] For half an hour before the game began the Chicago nine exercised in passing the ball around, the bases being manned, and each player in his position. No “fungo” batting was indulged, all the practice being devoted to fielding. Under such a system, it is not surprising that the records show the Chicago nine at the head of the list in skillful fielding. The assemblage was not slow to perceive that in the play of the Chicagos and in their deportment and manner of doing their work there was the plain mark of discipline. The team is well handled, Spalding having already shown himself to be an admirable and intelligent manager, as well as an able captain of a nine.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

prohibiting betting

Date Saturday, April 29, 1876
Text

[describing the Union grounds] A large sign, painted on the fence immediately behind the catcher, reads: “Betting absolutely prohibited,” and Mr. Cammeyer promises to see that this rule is stringently enforced. Indeed, he is obliged to do it in accordance with his association rule, or he will be expelled.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

proposals for scoring; defining an earned run

Date Sunday, November 12, 1876
Text

Scorers everywhere would thank the League for a definition of an “earned run” which would answer every case. One man holds that a run can be “earned” off the batting only; in other words, that nobody can “steal” a base. Another is more liberal, and allows that there may be good base-running, as well as good batting. Shall a base on called balls be counted as a base hit in determining an “earned” run, and the batting average of a player? Shall the same count as an error for the pitcher? Shall it be simply called “a base on called ball,” and nothing else? Shall the pitcher be given an “assistance” on “three strikes, out?” Should not a player given an “assistance” in all cases of thrown balls, muffed, the same as when caught, if the throw would have secured an “out” without the error? It is a necessity to score an assistance in such cases in order to obtain more nearly the total of fielding chances. The League can settle these questions and render uniform the system of keeping scores. Again, shall a distinction be made between the base hits and earned base hits, the same as between runs and earned runs? Earned base hits are those made before three chances for “outs.” The distinction would be made, of course, in the interest of pitchers, as thereby their skill would be shown when accorded by perfect support in the field. Another point came near escaping notice. It has to do with batting records, and is worthy of consideration, although no way appears to accomplish what is desired. It is a matter of general knowledge that some batsmen strike to win, and just as well known that other strike [not] to win but it is an individual record they are striving for. To illustrate: the former class, when a runner is on third base and one hand is out, will attempt to strike to right field in order to bring the runner in. The latter class will forget the man on third and bat in their own interest. Now, no recognition is given the efforts of the former in the score, as at present kept, and what is desired is a system of scoring which shall give credit to him who bats for his side, in distinction from him who serves selfish ends when it comes his turn to strike.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

proposed repeal of the foul bound

Date Saturday, December 23, 1876
Text

Harry Wright's effort to repeal the foul-bound-catch rule failed, owing to Ferguson's objection. New York Clipper December 23, 1876

We are glad to see that the rule repealing the foul-bound catch was not adopted. It would have materially weakened the play of amateur nines. By-and-bye, when the game has reached a higher degree of excellence, it will be well to consider the subject again. A great mistake was made in supposing that the doing-away with foul bounds would lessen the catcher's work. There very reverse would have been the case—it would have doubled the arduous nature of his task, for it would have obliged him to stand up behind the bat all the time. We are surprised that Harry Wright did not see that this would be the result. New York Clipper January 6, 1877

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

proposed revival of the Gotham Club

Date Sunday, January 9, 1876
Text

Steps are now being taken for the reorganization of a number of the old baseball clubs in and about New York for active operations during the Centennial year. Among others the Old Gotham will be on the diamond field with a strong team. They have issued a circular professing, with scarcely any pecuniary cost, to bring together old and, as many as possible, new members, to the end that such an organization may be perfected as will permit every one attached to it to enjoy advantageous opportunities for indulgence in the invigorating and favorite sport of baseball.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

proposed revival of the Star Club

Date Sunday, February 6, 1876
Text

Messrs. Herb, North and Harry Dollard, of the old Brooklyn Stars, will reorganize that club for this season.

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

proposed rule giving the batter first base on some balks

Date Saturday, January 8, 1876
Text

[discussing the proposed rules] Of course the batsman—by the above section—not being “a base-runner” until has struck a fair ball, cannot take a base on a balk, nor should he be allowed to do so, except in the case of the pitcher stepping outside the liens of his position to deliver the ball, in which case the batsman, some players think, should be allowed to take his base. To do this it will be necessary to add a line or two to the section in Rule IV, applicable to balking, and to this effect: “Also in case the pitcher, in delivering the ball, should step outside the lines of his position, the Umpire shall ball a 'balk,' and in such case—and such only—the batsman, as well as base-runner occupying bases, shall take one base.”

At present there is no penalty, in fact, in the case of a pitcher delivering the ball while standing outside the lines of his position. The section—No. 2 of Rule IV—simply requires the pitcher to stand within the lines of his position in delivering the ball.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

prospects of the Athletics remaining in the NL

Date Sunday, November 19, 1876
Text

It requires a two-thirds vote of the League to exclude the Athletics, and we doubt very much whether that can be obtained; four of the eight clubs have unofficially notified them that there would be no opposition in case the Athletics presented a honest nine, and made the arrangement to pay their present indebtedness. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury November 19, 1876

[see also PSM 11/26/76 for an analysis quoted from the Boston Herald of the NL constitutional issues.]

[see also PSM 12/3/76 for the Athletics’ letter to the NL.]

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

question on force plays

Date Saturday, August 5, 1876
Text

[from answers to correspondents] Man on first base, striker hits to first base, first-baseman stands on his base and throws to second base; second-baseman holds the ball and touches his base, but does not touch the runner from first. Is not the runner entitled to second base, as the striker was out first at first-base? … Yes. New York Clipper August 5, 1876

fielding glove

[from answers to correspondents] Can you tell me what to put on my left hand to prevent its paining me when ball-playing? Gloves do not better it, as it is not the sting from the ball which hurts it, but the blow of the ball coming in contact with the hand. The soreness is all in one place, on the palm of the hand, directly under the knuckle of the third finger. … The only way to avoid the punishment referred to is to practice to catch so as to yield to the ball as White does, and not stop it abruptly. The pain you mention is caused by a chronic soreness of the muscles, which must first be healed before the hand is used. New York Clipper August 5, 1876

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

rapid return of the ball from the catcher to the pitcher

Date Saturday, December 30, 1876
Text

A peculiarity of Clapp's catching the past season was his adoption of the rule of play behind the bat—mentioned in an article on catching, published in 1866—or a rapid return of the ball to the pitcher. This is as important for effective play as is a rapid delivery by the pitcher; we don't mean as regards to pace, but in sending in balls in rapid succession, by which the batsman is obliged to be on the alert all the time, with but little opportunity afforded for leisurely judging the balls. Some catchers hold the ball, after receiving it from the pitcher, for some time, with a view of throwing it to a base, or being ready for that play. But the best plan is to promptly return it to the pitcher, unless a base-runner has started to run on the actual delivery of the ball.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Reach chosen as Athletics manager; then steps aside

Date Sunday, January 16, 1876
Text

[reporting on the Athletic Club meeting of 1/10/1876] There were two candidates for the position of manager, Alfred J. Reach and E. Hicks Hayhurst, and as both of these gentlemen were equally well and favorably known, the friends of each rallied in an exciting, although friendly contest, which terminated in the favor of the popular veteran Alfred Reach, by a vote of 99 to 49; his selection to fill this office being but a fitting recognition of his brilliant and honorable record as a player and a man during the twelve years that he has faithfully served the Athletics, and eighteen year’s experience guarantee us in saying that no one is more capable of filling that position. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury January 16, 1876

[reporting on the Athletic Club meeting of 4/10/1876] Mr. A. J. Reach, on account of constantly increasing business at his base ball emporium, then tendered his resignation as manager, which was accepted, and at a subsequent meeting of the directors, A. H. Wright was chosen to fill that position. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury April 16, 1876

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

reduced attendance; high admission fee

Date Sunday, July 16, 1876
Text

The interest in baseball has been gradually decreasing for the past four years, and the once crowded ball-fields are reminiscences of the past. Both of the contesting clubs played for the honor of the game then, a deep interest was felt in it by leading men, and the ball-field was also graced by the fair sex, which is not now the case. Such a thing as crooked playing was then almost unknown. Every effort to arouse the old enthusiasm has proved a failure. Notwithstanding the almost unparalleled contests which have taken place this season the attendance has been so slim that visiting clubs can scarcely pay their traveling expenses. There is either too much ball playing or else the admission fee is more than the public can afford to pay during these hard times. The latter is the true cause, however; for if the admission fee was reduced to twenty-five cents, as it will have to be before another season is over, the managers would have no occasion to complain.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

reporter David Reid with the St. Louis Republican

Date Sunday, December 24, 1876
Text

Dave Reid, well known here as a talented base ball reporter, is now engaged in an editorial capacity on the St. Louis Republican.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

reserve player not in uniform

Date Saturday, July 29, 1876
Text

[Hartford vs. Mutual 7/22/1876] The game did not actually commence until half-past four, because after beginning play at 4.15 “time” was called almost directly afterwards to change their catcher; for after Holdsworth had hit a beautiful grounder for his first base, a passed ball showed Harbidge's inability to play behind the bat, and Higham was called on to act in the position. Dick, however, put up sore hands,too, and so Allison had to dress, and Harbidge retired.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

retaining the foul bound out

Date Saturday, December 23, 1876
Text

[discussing the amended rules for 1877] The rule intended to nullify the effect of fair-foul hits, recently referred to, was adopted; but Harry Wright's effort to repeal the foul-bound-catch rule failed, owing to Ferguson's objection.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

rising pitch delivery

Date Saturday, December 23, 1876
Text

[discussing the amended rules for 1877] ...the rule governing the delivery requiring the hand holding the ball to pass below the line of the belt. If it pass on the line of the belt it is a foul balk. It must pass below that line.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

rumors of thrown League games

Date Saturday, October 14, 1876
Text

What is the League Association going to do at its Cleveland Convention in regard to suspected players? This is a question of vital importance to the interests of professional playing for the season of 1877, and the League will do well to give it deep consideration. Last Winter, when we asked the League directors why it was they threw out the Philadelphia Club for alleged dishonest practices, and then, with glaring inconsistency, re-engaged some of its most marked men, the reply was: “We thought it best to forgive them their crooked ways, and to trust to the stringency of our League laws to make them play straight this season.” The folly of this line of action has been shown by the experience of the play of 1876, during which more crooked work has been privately indulged in by players of more than one of the League clubs than was ever before known. It is quite true that absolute and direct proof of fraud cannot be procured; but nearly conclusive proof by circumstantial evidence is at command. When you know that your players frequent the haunts of gamblers, that they are interested in pool operations, that their associations are with men who live by pool-gambling, you must certainly know also that such men are very likely to engage in crooked work; and when also, in this connection, you see errors committed at opportune times for the success of a pool-ring arrangement, sufficient circumstantial evidence is then at command to prove dishonest play. Errors at the hands of such players as Start of the Mutuals, Fisler of the Athletics, Wright of Boston, Clapp of St. Louis, Spalding of Chicago, Fulmer of Louisville, York of Hartford, Gould of Cincinnati, and of twenty other players we might thus single out as examples of marked integrity of character, are but the incidents of contingencies of the game; but it is a very different matter when you see important errors committed by players whose daily habits of life, their associations and surroundings, are all unfavorable to a reputation for square play. The mistakes the majority of managers of professional clubs have hitherto made has been to place fielding and batting skill as the primary essential of a professional's ability to do successful work in the field, and to make integrity of character a secondary consideration, when it should be the first. The question is: “Will the League again commit the blunders in this respect they did this season?” If they do, then we need not look for any decrease in the dishonest professionals for 1877. There are players in the League nines of 1876 who are as honest as they are skillful and intelligent, whose presence in the team is a credit to the game they play and the club they belong to. But there are others—a small minority, we are glad to say—who are just as much a discredit. Now, these latter should be rooted out of the professional arena, and if the League Association intends to carry out the reform of existing abuses which it professed to be required to do, it will throw out all marked men. Until this is done, any restoration of public confidence is out of the question. New York Clipper October 14, 1876

It may be said, with some degree of justice, that it is almost impossible to discover actual proof of “crooked” work in the field. Perhaps it is so in one respect; but there is sufficient circumstantial evidence at command to place a player in the position of being justly suspected of fraud—at least to an extent which would arrant his removal or expulsion. There are certain antecedents, certain habits of life, and certain associations and surroundings which indicate pretty plainly the character of a player; and these frequently exist to an extent which almost precludes the idea of honesty. It is just as impossible for an honest ball-player to exist in an atmosphere of moral corruption as it is impossible for such player to benefit from the faculties of clear sight, keen perception, unclouded judgment and steady nerve while leading a life of indulgence in sensual and intemperate habits. It is in this way, therefore, that a conclusion can be arrived at that a player is justly amendable to the charge of suspected dishonesty; and when a decision of the kind is reached, there should be no law admitting such player to membership of a League-club team. The experience of the season has fully proved the fallacy of the argument that stringent rules will keep dishonest men honest. No matter what rules you may enact, temptation will always find the inherent knave ready to do the dirty work he is called upon to attend to. New York Clipper December 2, 1876

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

sacrifice hits; a joke on Bill Hague

Date Sunday, July 16, 1876
Text

A Louisville letter to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat tells this story about Hague:

“Bill,” said Johnnie Haldeman, the base ball reporter of the Courier-Journal, “why don’t you sacrifice a base-hit occasionally to get in a run?

“I do,” said Bill, “but why don’t you have a new column in your summary for us fellows who sacrifice ourselves?”

“What column could I have?” asked John.

“Why,” answered Bill, “make an other place and head it C.B., ‘cientific batters.’”

“That is a good idea,” replied Haldeman, as soon as the laughter of the crowd had subsided.

Carbine was in the crowd, and with great guffaws applauded Bill’s mistake, riling the latter not a little. But he who laughs last sometimes laughs longest, and so it was in this instance. Watching his opportunity, Carbine slipped up to Haldeman and whispered, “Say, Jonnie, tell me what they were laughing about; I want to tackle Bill again about it.

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

salaried umpires too expensive

Date Saturday, December 23, 1876
Text

[discussing the amended rules for 1877] The proposed plan of employing regular salaried officials for the position [of umpire] did not meet with general favor, owing to the large outlay involved...

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

salary levels; Clapp auctions his services

Date Sunday, February 27, 1876
Text

The St. Louis Club have been armed and equipped in as perfect a manner as it was possible to do. The expense attending was simply stupendous... As to an idea of the expense of this undertaking it is enough to cite the figures at which some of the men have been engaged: Mr. Graffen [Mase Graffen, the manager] will draw a salary of $2500; McGeary the same figure; Miller and Bradley $1800 each, while Clapp shrewdly auctioned himself off at $3000, the Bostons and Hartfords being the disappointed bidders. This makes in toto $11,000 for the serves of five men.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

scorer should list at bats

Date Sunday, January 23, 1876
Text

We would suggest that the scorer of each professional club should incorporate in their scores, the “number of times at the bat” of each player, as the only proper method of making up the averages at the close of the season is to give the percentage of runs or base hits to “ties at the bat,” as the three first batsmen of a nine have almost invariably one more chance at the bat in each game than the others, and it gives them an advantage, if the average is computed by the base hits to a game. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury January 23, 1876

proposal to let the batter cross the plate; calling balls and strikes; balancing pitching versus hitting

The pitcher has a very decided advantage over the batsman as matters now stand–an advantage that is all in favor of swift, wild pitching, and in opposition to head work. Under the present rules, the pitcher may pitch three wild balls to have a ball called on him. The striker is allowed no margin at all, but must take every proper height ball that is pitched over the plate. A wild pitcher gets opposite a batsman and lets him have the first ball in his ribs, the second ball close past his shins, the third ball anywhere–the umpire, if strict, calls “one ball!”–the fourth ball is sent in in the neighborhood of the batsman’s head; the fifth is a ground skimmer, but the sixth, by some accident, comes over the plate at a right height, and the umpire calls “one strike!” the next ball is a good one, but goes to the “foul” region, and by the time it has returned five umpires out of six will have forgotten the previous “ball,” or at least the two bad balls prior to the “strike,” and will begin their count over again. We have seen this sort of thing done even by that prince of good umpires, Hick Young. To say the least of it, the batsman has a 3 to 1 worse chance with the ball than the pitcher. This encourages the pace to terrify and intimate, and discourages the fine artistic head-work. To a good batsman it is not the pace of the pitcher that kills, but the wildness–the uncertainty whether the next ball will be into the ribs or far out of reach. Give the batsman a right to step across and drive a good height though wide ball, and he will not be in any fear or doubt. He will know that if it is a head or body ball, he can get out of the way; but if it is a wild one he can take advantage of it or not as he pleases, and consequently will be on the look-out for a display of his skill. Bond would not then have more terrors than Spalding or Zettlein, for his wild curly ones would be whacked at pleasure or let go wild to score against himself. Scientific batsmen would not have to wait patiently to be knocked out before getting a ball they might strike at, but would at once take the first ball that suited their taste. We would then see those fine phases of batting which we cannot now see, and would not find left-field hard hitters getting in as many base hits as master of the art of hitting. The game would have fresh interest, as it would open out fresh fields for skill; the game would be more lively, and we should not have to wait till the pitcher chose to give a good ball; the fielding would be improved, because the fielders would not have to wait so long between hits, and they would be kept warm and alive to the game by a more rapid frequency of balls to the field. The pitching would improve, because pitchers would find that nothing but a complete mastery of the ball would do them any good, and every man who pitches, or aspires to pitch, would first learn to pitch over the plate, and accurately, before coming before the public. Another phase of base ball would be opened up. Pitchers would study the weaknesses of the players they pitched against, and pitch them swift or slow in opposition to their weakness. We would se more head work and less of the steam engine, and we believe we would see a distinct and rapid improvement in the game. Let the pitcher pitch wildly if he pleases. Give him three wild pitches before you call a ball on him; but by all means let the batsman have the liberty to lay into such wild pitches as he may think fit, and for this purpose give him lateral liberty. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury January 23, 1876

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

scoring a dropped third strike

Date Saturday, May 27, 1876
Text

[from answers to correspondents] Three strikes are called on a man, and he starts for first base; the catcher muffs the ball on the third strike, but recovers it in time to throw the man out at first base. Is the striker out on three strikes, or by the first-baseman assisted by the catcher? ….. We mark it as struck out, but add that the baseman put him out, assisted by the catcher.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

scoring assists

Date Saturday, August 12, 1876
Text

[from answers to correspondents] A fly ball was knocked to centre field and caught by fielder and returned to catcher, before runner, who was on third base, could get home. The runner saw he would not have time, and turned around, ran back to third base, and the caught between bases. Who gets credit for the assistance, and can there be two men credited with an assistance on same out? … The centre fielder is credited with putting one player out and an assistance, and the catcher with an assistance, the fielder who ran the player out being credited with a put out.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

scoring assists in a run down

Date Saturday, August 19, 1876
Text

In the run-out play, the party who put the runner out is to be credited with it, and the fielder who last passed the ball on which the runner was put out is to be credited with an assistance, but none of the others. That is the scoring rule in the metropolis.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

scoring proposal of total bases

Date Sunday, December 10, 1876
Text

It is desired to have as uniform a system of scoring as possible. Objection is made to the present style of scoring “first base” hits, because it tempts a batsman to strike for individual record against the interest of his side. It has been proposed to score “first base” hits the same as now, and we have another column of “total bases”–that is every base a batsman gets off his own hit, by his skill in running and off his opponent’s errors, also all the bases he enables runner ahead of him to secure off his hit and off fielding errors made off his hit. Now, we do not like that proposition because it credits a batsman with so much that he does not deserve. Suppose, for example, the bases are full and two hands are out. The batsman strikes to short-stop, who picks up the ball clean and throws to first base, as being the safest play. He throws very wild, letting the other runners in, and the batsman to third base. By this plan the batsman is credited with the three bases he has made himself, three which the man on first made, his which the man on second made, and one which the man on third made, nine bases in all, and not one of them the result of the batsman’s skill, but all gained off the error of the short-stop, not in failing to gather the ball, but in throwing wild after the hit had been well-handled. A compromise between the present system of scoring and the above seemingly unjust and radical system is to score “first base” hits as now, and add a column of “total bases” defined in the rough as follows: Every safe “firts base” hit to count one “base” of itself; every base stolen to count one “base” for the runner so stealing; every base, if any, which the act of stealing enables a head runner to secure to count for the first named; and the large number of bases which a batsman’s hit enables any runner ahead to make off the hit, but not off fielding errors, to count as so many “bases” to the credit of the batsman. This system gives a batsman credit for what he “earns” for his side and nothing more, and at the same time it encourages him to bat for his side, because, by so doing, his individual record is thereby improved.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

season ticket price in Chicago

Date Sunday, March 12, 1876
Text

The sale of season seats for the Chicago Club grounds for 1876 will take place the last of this week at Manager Spalding’s place on Randolph street. The price will be fixed at $15, which sum will insure a reserved seat in the grand stand to each of the thirty-five championship games to be played on the Chicago grounds this season with, of course, the entree of the grounds to all games played between the Chicagos and amateur clubs. The number of season seats will be strictly limited to 200.

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

season tickets in St. Louis

Date Sunday, April 23, 1876
Text

Season tickets admitting purchaser to all home games of the Brown Stockings (including the thirty-five championship games), for sale at $10 each, at 207 North Fifth street. St.

Source St. Louis Globe-Democrat
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

separate Canadian rules

Date Saturday, September 2, 1876
Text

At the Spring Convention of the Canada Association the rules adopted included sections which allowed strikes to be called only one every second fair ball delivered, and balls to be called on every second unfair ball sent in. Experience has shown that this rule gives too much latitude to batsmen, thereby increasing the batting scores. Recently, by a nearly unanimous vote of the Association, the rules were changed in this respect, so as to accord with the American code, thereby making one code govern the whole fraternity on the American continent.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

signing players for next season

Date Sunday, July 9, 1876
Text

The way to engage a first-class club for next season is not to sit down, fold your hands and wait for the players to come to you and beg to be engaged. The managers who mean “business” next year are now buzzing around from city to city among the players, gobbling up players like a fly-trap swallows flies. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury July 9, 1876

holding out for more money after a good season

Murnan refuses to sign a contract for next year until the end of this season. He knows that he is making a record this season that will add dollars to his salary every game he plays. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury July 9, 1876

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

signing players while the season is ongoing

Date Saturday, September 30, 1876
Text

In regard to the practical working of the League rule which admits of clubs making engagements with players at any period of the season, its effect has been so damaging to the interests of the clubs general as plainly to point out to them its repeal at the next convention. As early as June, even, negotiations for contracts for 1877 were made, and by July there was going on a regular course of trading in players for nines of 1877. one result was the demoralization of nines whose players were thus made independent almost of local club control; but its most damaging effect is seen in the folly of engaging players before the close of the season shows how a club stands financially. A club might be well able to pay a desirable player $2,500 for a seven months' season of light work, which months later could not afford to pay half that amount.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

small gate receipts in Hartford and Cincinnati

Date Sunday, July 30, 1876
Text

The Western papers were complaining after their first eastern tour that Hartford was a poor place to play ball in, the gate receipts being so small. This complaint comes mainly from Cincinnati papers, and came with poor grace from the representatives of a city of about 250,000 inhabitants who gave the Hartford club only $220 as its share of the gate receipts, and paid to the Athletic club $7, and to the New Haven club $5, as their share in games played.

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

space for three games at once on the Capitoline Grounds

Date Sunday, March 19, 1876
Text

The upper and middle grounds at the Capitoline Grounds, Brooklyn, are in fine condition, and the lower ground will be put in order during the coming week, so that three clubs can practice at the same time.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Spalding the 'general manager'

Date Saturday, October 14, 1876
Text

Spalding will be the general manager of the Chicago Club, he accompanying them on their tours, changing the playing positions of players when in his judgment changes are necessary, managing their financial dealings with other clubs, and, in fact, holding a position identical with that held by Harry Wright with the Bostons., quoting the Chicago Times

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Spalding's delivery not swift by modern standards

Date Sunday, July 16, 1876
Text

Spalding is certainly not one of the most difficult pitchers to bat; his style has gone out of date, the same as has Zettlein’s. the successful pitchers of the day are the swift throwers, Devlin and Bond, for example. Nearly all the prominent ball players of the country have been batting Spalding for years, and have outgrown him. That he has the head-work for the place, no one can deny, but speed has grown to be as necessary as head-work, and that he has not., quoting the Chicago Times

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

standings based on wins, not winning percentage

Date Saturday, August 5, 1876
Text

[from answers to correspondents] In the Clipper of July 15 in the League Record stood: Chicago won, 26; lost 7; Hartford won, 24; lost 6; Chicago having first place. Had not Hartford, by right, to have held first position, as she won a larger per cent. of the games she played than Chicago did? … It is by the won games that the record is made, and not by the percentage.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

statistical analysis: batting averages in decline

Date Sunday, April 16, 1876
Text

Of a list of twenty-six professionals that have played for the last five years and averaged one base hit to a game and over each season, the following facts have been ascertained: Since 1872 there has been a gradual lessening of the batting average, which may be accounted for by the improvement in the art of pitching. In 1872 the average was 1.63 to a game; in 1873, 1.59; in 1874, 1.55; in 1875. 1.34. The most noticeable depreciation is in 1875, which is owing (including the improvement in pitching) to the change of the foul lines, thereby preventing many fair fouls, which any number of players were so clever in hitting. But four players improved on their average of the previous season in 1875, and those were Bechtel, Force, Schafer, and York; Sutton’s was the same in 1874.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

stealing a base during an appeal

Date Saturday, May 6, 1876
Text

[Boston vs. Mutual 4/25/1876] McGinley then hit hard to Hallinan, who stopped the ball, but did not field it in time, and Schafer ran for home and scored his run. While Hicks was appealing to the umpire McGinley stole to second... New York Clipper May 6, 1876

defining an earned run

[from answers to correspondents] [question:] I hold that a batter making his first base on a clearn hit, even if he should steal second, third and home, has earned a run. Am I not right? [answer:] We count earned runs simply as a criterion of the pitching, not as that of the pitching and fielding combined. If a player earns a run as you describe, it is earned chiefly off the fielding, either from the inability of the catcher to throw swiftly and accurately to the bases, or some other such cause. But a run is not properly earned off the pitching unless it is secured by base-hits alone, without the assistance of stealing bases. A player makes his first by a safe hit, he is sent to his second by another such hit, and then a hit is made which easily gives the striker his first, and allows the base-runner on second to run home. This is a run earned off the pitching. New York Clipper May 13, 1876

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

straight pitching vs. the curved-line delivery

Date Saturday, November 4, 1876
Text

The introduction of underhand throwing in delivering the ball to the bat has brought into play a very effective method, which has, in a measure, almost superseded the old style of pitching; we refer to the curved-line delivery, which characterizes the new school of pitcher, of which Bradley, Devlin, Bond and Mathews are the more prominent exemplars. College professors and well-known theorists deny that such a thing is possible; that is, the curving of a ball in the air, except through the medium of the attraction of gravity, or from the effect of a strong wind, the former causing the natural curve of a cannon ball as it is attracted to the earth, while the latter would of course produce a horizontal curve. But practical experience has conclusively shown by ocular demonstration that a ball can be thrown from the hand in such a way as to form a curved line from the hand to the objective point the ball first touches, and this curve is not that of the attraction of gravity, nor that caused by the effect of a strong wind. We have seen well-known baseball players—George Hall, for instance—throw a ball so as to make it curve horizontally, and against the wind as plainly as the curve of gravity was described. The power to impart this singular bias to the ball is possessed, too, in underhand throwing; and this it is which gives the advantage to underhand throwers who act as pitchers over the old style “straight” pitchers—that is, those who cannot impart the bias to the ball which produces the curve. It is useless for scientific people to assert that no such curve is possible, in the face of the conclusive practical evidence which can be afforded to the contrary.

What is known as “straight” pitching is not simply that which characterizes a perfect command of the ball with the consequent accuracy of aim in delivery, but merely the method of delivery in which no horizontal curve is produced. It is a term used in contradistinction to that of the curved-line pitching only. This school of pitchers has prevailed since the days of Creighton, who inaugurated it; and its latest and most effective exemplars are Spalding and McBride. Previous to the advent of the “curved-line” pitcher the leading batsmen of the day found it difficult to successfully face the strategic delivery of McBride and Spalding; but since they have batted against the curved-line batteries, and had their sight trained to judge the difficult and uncertain balls from the curved-line pitchers, they have been enabled to punish this old school with comparative ease. There is one reason why such excellent pitchers as Spalding and McBride have been punished of late. A pitcher who possesses endurance to last through a long game, the ability to send in a swift ball, and that thorough command of the ball which enables him to send it in to any point he chooses, combined with judgment and skill, must always be valuable, even if he does not possess the power to impart the peculiar curve to the ball in question, while the player who has nothing but “pace” and the “curve” to aid him must always be his inferior. Of course, a combination of these elements of success must necessarily produce the pitcher par excellence.

Experience the past season has pretty conclusively shown that the curved-line pitcher who has no proper command of the ball is a pretty costly elephant on the hands of a club manager. Whatever advantage may accrue from his peculiar delivery is more than offset by its cost in “called” and “passed” balls, not to mention its discouraging effects on the play of the field support of the team. Were the power to impart the curve to the ball as much at command as that which controls the delivery to the bat, things would not be so bad; but when it is a sort of accidental thing, the curve being imparted involuntarily, as it were, it necessarily follows that the utmost activity and fielding skill are required in the catcher behind the bat, to avoid the penalty the wild delivery involves. There is one drawback to the effectiveness of the work of a curved-line pitcher which club-managers on the lookout for one of the new school would do well to remembers, and that is the necessity of such a pitcher having the best of catchers to support him. In the case of a straight pitcher, the latter can accommodate his pace to hic catcher; but a curved-line pitcher cannot do this, for the reason that he can only produce the curve with any effect when he puts on the pace. It will readily be seen, therefore, how important it is that the catcher should be one of the best men in his position, for without such support all the advantage of the curved-line delivery would be lost by its being offset by costly errors. We do not suppose that this school will supersede the old straight delivery; but doubtless the new style will now and then develop some individual star who will combine in himself the elements of both styles. Such play as this, however, can never become a general thing. Some men are born ball-players—that is, they possess extraordinary abilities to excel in the game. Others are not, nor can training and practice—excellent as they are—compensate for the absence of natural qualifications. Hence, in regard to pitchers, there will now and then appear on the ball-field some man who possesses the combination of pitching excellence referred to; but, as a general thing, the straight-pitchers will be found the best class to rely upon. Spalding—a straight pitcher—was enabled to achieve a success for his club which Bradley—who seems to combine the abilities of both classes of pitchers to a certain extent—was unable to do for his club; and certainly McBride would have taken the Athletics through the season more successfully than any of their curved-line experimental pitchers were enabled to do. The Bostons found the curved-line experiment a pretty costly one, and it is questionable whether another season's trial of it will be of advantage to them to the point expected. St. Louis may again rely upon it is 1877. In fact, the furor for curved-line pitchers appears to be just at its height, the semi-professional clubs having the fever badly. Club-managers would do well to remember that a curved-line pitcher who has not thorough command of the ball will lose more games in the long run than he will win. Also that such a pitcher requires a more than ordinarily skillful and active catcher, if not two or three of them, for few can stand the pressure of even half a season's support of a curved-line pacer, who has little if any command of the ball. Of course, experience at the bat will in time offset the advantages the field side derive from the curved-line delivery, and then they will have to fall back on the strategic skill of the straight pitcher. Given equal support in the field, and equal raining skill and harmonious work, we would sooner rely upon Spalding and pitchers of his ability than upon the best curved-line pitchers in the fraternity. The former tells the better in the long run.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

straight versus curved line pitchers; curve only comes with speed

Date Saturday, July 29, 1876
Text

The Chicago team has one advantage in possessing Spalding as their pitcher, and that is that, unlike Bond, Bradley, Devlin, and the other curved-line and swift-pace pitchers, he is not so hard on his catcher as they are, as his thorough command of the ball, his intimate knowledge of the batsmen, and his strategic skill make his delivery the least costly in wear and tear of the catcher. An illustration of this fact was afforded in the Mutual and Hartford game, when, owing to the inability of Allison, Harbidge, and Higham to give Bond the requisite support behind the bat—all suffering from sore hands, the result of the great pace they had to face—Bond was unable to send in his swiftest balls or to get on the curve with full effect, the result being his comparatively easy punishment. The curve comes only with speed, as a general thing, and when the catcher has sore hands the pace must be dropped, or passed balls will be the result.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

strategic choice of who to put out

Date Saturday, August 19, 1876
Text

[St. Louis vs. Louisville 8/10/1876] Pearce was thrown out at second by Somerville to Fulmer, Dick being forced to run on Dehlman's weak hit. Here was a fine point of play displayed by Somerville. Eh could much more easily have thrown Dehlman out at first, but had he done so, the best batters of the Browns would have come to the bat in the succeeding inning. A neat piece of work for Somerville.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

strategic hitting; faking a bunt; fouling off pitches

Date Saturday, June 24, 1876
Text

[Chicago vs. Mutual 6/13/1876] ...Barnes—who became quite the hero of this contest—was the first to face the Mathews battery. It was quite a study to see how he did his work. It was throughout the game a clear illustration of skillful strategic batting. He stood there indifferent alike to balls or strikes being called, and both were, waiting until he had accomplished his object. First he led Mathews to believe that he wanted a ball sent to him on which he could successfully make a fair-foul hit; and after he had done this, and caused Mathews to send the balls in higher, he suddenly let out from the shoulder on one which just suited him, and away it went flying safely out of reach to left-field, between Treacy and Holdsworth, and on this telling hit Barnes reached third base...

Once more did Barnes face for a fair-foul, and foul ball after foul ball did he hit, until Bobby [Mathews, pitcher] thought he should send him one a little higher, and when he did away Barnes sent it flying fair to the building at right field, and before the active Booth could capture the ball Ross [Barnes] was on third base again...

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

stricter standards on called strikes

Date Saturday, May 6, 1876
Text

[Boston vs. Mutual 4/25/1876] ...the Mutuals sent Craver to the bat, the latter retiring on called strikes, the new League rules allowing the batsman very little latitude to judge a ball.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

tagging up on foul fly catches

Date Saturday, January 8, 1876
Text

[discussing the proposed rules] It is warmly advocated by good judges of the game among the professional fraternity that the time has come to do away with two of the old features of play in base-running; and they are, first, the putting-out of a base-runner obliged to return to his base on a foul ball, and the making of foul-fly catches exceptions in the case of leaving a base after a fair-fly catch has been made. …

...Foul flies are generally caught by the catcher, or the first or third baseman; and there is not much chance, therefore, of bases being run after such a catch under the new ruling, more than under the old; but it is better that one rule of play should govern both catches, in order to avoid confusion. In the case of foul-bound catches it is different, as those frequently involve long runs to get them, in which case it would be easy to run bases after the catch was made.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

talk of a player's union

Date Sunday, December 24, 1876
Text

An obnoxious League rule is as follows: “If any player becomes indifferent or careless in his play, or from any cause becomes unable to render satisfactory service to his club, it may, at its option, refuse to p ay salary for such time, or may cancel the contract of such player.” The professional players residing in this city have determined to form a protective union, and will contest the right of a club to use such arbitrary and high-handed measures and will furthermore insist on their rights in regard to contracts being lived up to by said clubs. Bradley, Battin, Schafer, Ryan, Devlin, McGeary, and other prominent professionals, are interested in this new move that will give the League more trouble than they anticipate.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

talk of crooked play in the League

Date Sunday, December 31, 1876
Text

The League says they will expel all “crooked” man. If they are in earnest, we know no less than nine players of the six clubs represented in said League, that will have to give up ball-playing next season and return to their former menial occupations. We think that Joe Mackin, of Chicago, might give some valuable information to the League, especially in relation to the Athletic-Cincinnati games in Cincinnati last July, and that Seybert, of New York pool-selling notoriety, might throw a flood of light on some transactions.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Athletic Base Ball Association loses its clubhouse, changes its name

Date Sunday, March 19, 1876
Text

The handsome club-room of the Athletic Base Ball Association, at the northeast corner of Eleventh and Chestnut streets, has reverted back again to the possession of the reorganized “Mysterious Pilgrims.” At a recent meeting of the Athletic Association–an organization entirely distinct, by-the-way, from the Athletic Base Ball Club–it was decided to change their title to that of the Liberal Club, and the latter will shortly take possession of the Price Mansion, on Broad street, above Chestnut. By this move the Athletic Base Ball Club will be compelled to seek fresh headquarters, and will, for the present, hold their meetings at No. 1108 Samson street. The club-room of the Athletics, at Eleventh and Chestnut streets, was first opened to the public on the 25 th of December, 1873, and during the two years that have since elapsed, it has been a popular place of resort of the ball-playing fraternity.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Athletic reserve nine

Date Sunday, February 27, 1876
Text

The Athletic Club is deserving of great credit for the efforts they have made during the past sixteen seasons to popularize and foster the game of base ball, not only in this city, but throughout he country, and one of their most commendable moves in this direction is the purposed organization of a reserve or junior nine, to be composed of strictly first-class amateur talent. Among the many amateur clubs of this city there are some fine, and even brilliant players, and with this material there does not appear to be any good reason why a very strong nine could not be selected. It is to be hoped that this nine may soon be perfected for the sake of affording sport to lovers of the game at home, as well as for the playing of amateur clubs from abroad which may be visiting this city during the Centennial season. The nine will have the use of the Athletics’ ground at Twenty-fifth and Jefferson streets; will be provided also, free of cost, with a very handsome uniform, and have a certain share of the gate money, subject, however, in all respects to the rules and regulations adopted by the Athletics for the government of their professional players. All of our first-class amateurs, wishing to enroll themselves as members of this nine, should send immediately, written applications, with references and addresses, to Alfred H. Wright, Sunday Mercury office, so that an organization can be speedily perfected. Our amateur playes should profit by this rare chance now offered them, as while they will obtain a reasonable compensation for themselves, they will help to recruit the ranks of professional players, who are becoming fewer by degrees.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Athletics expelled from the League

Date Sunday, December 10, 1876
Text

[reporting on the NL Board meeting of 12/6 and annual meeting of 12/7] The Chicago, St. Louis, Louisville and Cincinnati Clubs then presented articles demanding the expulsion of the Athletics and Mutuals for default and breach of the League rules. Mr. George W. Thompson presented the case of the Athletic Club in a petition setting forth the fact that it had always been honorable, and that it had defaulted this year by no fault of its own. The Board, however, by a unanimous vote, agreed to report to the League a resolution recommending the expulsion of the Athletics and Mutuals.

...

A lively discussion ensued concerning the resolution of the Board recommending the expulsion of the Athletics and Mutuals, which lasted about two hours, the strongest argument advanced against these clubs, seeming to be, the enforcement of the penalty for failure to live up to the law as laid down in the constitution. It was officially stated that the Chicago and St. Louis Clubs would withdraw from the League in case the Athletics and Mutuals were not expelled. The final result was that the action of the Board expelling these two clubs was unanimously ratified, the Athletics’ delegate being however excluded from taking any part in this ex parte proceedings, on the flimsy plea that he was interested in this case. [N.B. The Mutuals had not sent a delegate.] Philadelphia Sunday Mercury December 10, 1876

In connection with the expulsion of the Athletics and Mutuals from the League, it may be mentioned that the Chicagos, who gained Bradley and Anson thereby, and the St. Louis, who thus secure Battin and Hall, pretended that their motives were purely disinterested. The truth of the matter is, all the League members were glad to see retired an otherwise formidable rival for the championship. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury December 10, 1876

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Athletics reorganize as a stock club

Date Sunday, January 2, 1876
Text

The citizens of Philadelphia have always been noted for the jealous pride which they took in our numerous institution, and it is not too much to say that the Athletic Base Ball Club has been one of the most prominent, and one which every Philadelphian regarded with pride. It is unnecessary that we should dilate here on the pleasure of the game or excite in the minds of our readers an enthusiasm for the Athletic Club. It is sufficient to know that many of our most respectable citizens honor the game with their patronage, and that Philadelphia enjoys a proud position in the world of base ball–a position, it is but justice to state, is due in a great measure to the brilliant playing of the Athletic Club. For some time past, however, it has been painfully evidence that the want of unity of action or some other cause has, so to speak nullified the good fruit of the glorious victories that each successive season witnessed. Whether the fault really lied with the management we cannot say; but the public in the future will look upon the continuance or non-continuance of success as the true test, and therefore, in order to secure a sufficient amount of financial support, which is the all-important and most momentous question, it has been determined that the better course would be to start the organization afresh upon a new principle–that of a stock company–rather than by an apathetic indifference give ground for the observation that Philadelphia cannot support a first-class club. We are happy to inform our readers that the stock is being rapidly disposed of and will soon be at a premium, and that the charter of the purposed company will be ready to be presented to the members of the club at their regular monthly meeting on the 10 th of January, when the certificates of stock and seasons tickets will be distributed. All subscribers and those wishing to subscribe should not fail to be present at the meeting next Monday week. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury January 2, 1876

A meeting of the stockholders of the Athletic Base Ball Club was held last Monday evening... We can safely say that we never witnessed a more enthusiastic meeting than the one in question, and the announcement that nearly two hundred shares of stock had been already subscribed for, proves the healthy financial condition of the organization. The charter of the new stock company was received and accepted; and the new constitution and by-laws, meeting with the unanimous approval of the stockholders, was also adopted, and five hundred copies of the latter were ordered to be printed for the use of the members.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Athletics shut down operations

Date Sunday, September 24, 1876
Text

The playing members of the Athletic’s nine during the past season are requested to meet at this office to-morrow (Monday) afternoon, at half-past three o’clock precisely, on business of vital importance. The Athletics will not play any more this year, and their season may now be considered closed, the games remaining unplayed being three with the Mutuals, and two each with the Chicago, St. Louis, Louisville, and Cincinnati, or eleven in all.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Athletics won't make their Western tour

Date Sunday, September 17, 1876
Text

The Chicago Tribune, of a recent date, publishes a letter from a prominent officer of the Athletic Club to the President of the Chicagos, in which it is stated that the Athletics will not make a Western trip, and the reply–which is also given–is to the effect that unless the Athletic Club make said Western trip, that they need not hope for admittance next year to the League. Whether the Athletic Club will make a Western trip or not, is at present a matter of uncertainty. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury September 17, 1876

W. A. Hurlburt, president of the Chicago Club, has received the following letter from G. W. Thompson, director of the Athletic Club:

Philadelphia, Sept 11.–W. A. Hulbert, Esq., Chicago, Ill.:–I am compelled by circumstances to write you this letter which I would much prefer to leave unwritten; but I find that it will be impossible for the Athletic Club to contend much longer with the unfortunate circumstances that has [sic] beset it all this season. The disabilities of Eggler and Sutton; the payment of the debt of the old club that we now see, in justice to the new club, ought not to have been paid; and above all, the Centennial show which has completely absorbed all exhibitions of minor importance, are circumstances over which we had no control; but until last week we hoped the advent of the Western clubs would infuse some new life into the game here, and enable us to struggle along until the end of the season, or until we could make our Western trip; but, unfortunately, the time selected for the Western games was the same selected for the international regatta, firemans’ parade, etc., which, being free shows, drew the best and left us with barely enough money to pay expenses.

Now, as we want to keep faith as near as we can with all the clubs, we have proposed to the St. Louis Club, and now propose to you, that the Chicago and St. Louis Clubs play one or two games here, taking eighty per cent. of the receipts, then each club to play the Athletics the balance of the games due, taking two thirds of the receipts. Mr. Stagers, of the St. Louis Club, has written home regarding the proposition, and, I think, is personally favorable to it. I think, notwithstanding all other attractions, the two Western clubs would draw well. As to the future of our club, I can only say that unless it can be put on such a basis as to guard against future failure, I, for one, am opposed to continuing the organization, but hope that this will be accomplished. Respectfully yours, G. W. Thompson.

This statement may be considered as settling the question of the future of the Athletic Club for this year, and also for next, for it is quite clear that, if the organization could not fulfill its engagements this season, it will not be able to go on next. Mr. Hulbert, after settling upon the proper course to pursue, wrote Mr. Thompson as follows:

Chicago, Sept. 13.–G. W. Thompson, Esq., Athletic Base Ball Club, Philadelphia.–Dear Sir–Your letter of the 11 th, formally announcing the failure of your club and declaring your inability to carry out your engagemen5ts, is at hand, and in common justice you should have advised us before our recent visit that your ability to return the same depended wholly upon the amount received. Had you done so, we could have estimated the chances, and guided our action accordingly. The Athletic club now owe us five games, for in 1874 we had to lose three games. The aggregate of loss to us is no inconceivable item. I would not mention it at this time but for this last action in keeping back from us your true condition. It is that which annoys me, for I have insisted that the present administration of the Athletic Club would keep its engagements when doubting neighbors have expressed the conviction that you would treat us as you have. It is impossible for the Chicago Club to enter into the arrangement you propose, either with the St. Louis or Athletic Club. Monday, September 18, we play the St. Louis Club, in New York; Wednesday, September 20, the Stars, at Syracuse; Friday, September 22, the Bostons, in Chicago. Hoping that the ball men of Philadelphia will unite in establishing a new club on a substantial basis, clear, in all respects, of the wreck of the old concerns, and that in this new club you will occupy the most prominent position, I remain, very respectfully yours, W. A. Hulbert. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury September 24, 1876, quoting the Chicago Tribune

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Big Bonanza Club

Date Sunday, February 27, 1876
Text

The Big Bonanzas, of Bridgeport, will make their appearance as soon as the season opens... New York Sunday Mercury February 27, 1876

the rump NA; Spering resigns as president

The National Professional Association were announced to hold their annual convention at New Haven last Wednesday. By the action of eight of the principal clubs of the country the organization is left with but little support. By the withdrawal of the New Havens, the only professional nine of good financial standing remaining in the association is the Philadelphias, and its present backers are endeavoring, by the admission of amateur and semi-professional clubs, to build up what will be substantially a new organization. Delegates to the convention met at eleven o’clock last Wednesday morning, at the Austin House, New Haven, when the following clubs were found to be represented: Philadelphia, George Concannon; Centennial, of Philadelphia, Thomas J. Lindsay; Kleinz, of Philadelphia, M. C. Lyons; Quicksteps, of Wilmington, A. Hindle; Active, of Reading, J. J. King; Neshannock, of New Castle, A. W. Culbertson; Baltimore, Hugh Kennard; Stars, of New Haven, H. Brethauer, Cregar, of Camden, Robert Belisle; Atlantic, of Brooklyn, James McColgan.

A letter was read from Charles Spering, of the Athletics, president of the association in 1875, in which he said that “owing to pressing business engagements which it will be impossible for me to neglect, I regret my inability to preside over the deliberations of your body.”

A. Hindle, of the Quicksteps, of Wilmington, was then elected president of the association, and took the chair, Thoas J. Lindsay of the Centennial, being chosen secretary. A committee of three, consisting of Messrs. Jas. McColgan, Robert Belisle and Thos. J. Lindsay, were appointed to draw up a code of rules for the ensuing year. It was then moved that when the convention adjourns it adjourn to meet in Philadelphia on the 3d day of April. The object of this was stated to be to enable any amateur clubs of the country to join the association. Some discussion enused, which brought out the ideas of those present....

...

Thomas McNeary, of the St. Louis Red Sox, was to have represented his club at this convention, but failed to arrive in time. The entire session of the convention lasted but an hour, the delegates all leaving the same afternoon for their respective homes. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury March 5, 1876

The fifth annual convention of the [National Professional Association] was held last Monday afternoon, at the commodious rooms of the Americus Club in this city, it being an adjourned meeting from that held in New Haven on March 1. The attendance was very encouraging, no less than eleven clubs being represented, as follows: Philadelphia, George Concannon; Centennial, Thos. J. Lindsay; Kleinz, M. C. Lyons; Campbell, Wm. Jacoby; Quicksteps of Wilimington, A. Hindle; Active of Reading, Lemuel Buch, Heshannock of New Castle, James Morris; Atlantic of Brooklyn, H. Tisdall, and Alleghany of Pittsburg, A. W. Culbertson, and Brooklyn of Brooklyn, Peter H. Garland. The officers elected were as follows: President, Alfred Hindle; Vice Presidents, P. H. Garland and Lemuel Buch; Secretary, Thomas J. Lindsay, and Treasurer, M. C. Lyons. The rules adopted were almost identical with those of the association last year, the exceptions being chiefly in regard to the championship code. ... On adjourning, it was agreed to hold next year’s meeting in Reading, Penna. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury April 9, 1876

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Buckeyes incorporate as a stock club

Date Sunday, February 6, 1876
Text

The Buckeye Base Ball Association, of Columbus, Ohio, which has been incorporated as a stock company under the laws of that State, will put a strong team in the field for the Centennial year.

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Chicago Club rooms

Date Sunday, April 16, 1876
Text

The Chicago Club has taken an establishment on Wabash avenue, Chicago, which will be handsomely fitted up with parlors, reading, billiard, chess and conversation rooms. It will be expensively and handsomely furnished.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Excelsiors challenge the Knickerbockers

Date Sunday, August 20, 1876
Text

The Excelsior Club, of Brooklyn, at a late meeting passed a resolution inviting the veteran Knickerbockers, of this city, to play them a series of old-time contests, the first to be played at Prospect Park early in September, and the second at the Knickerbocker Grounds, St. George Cricket Field, Hoboken.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Hartford Club's finances

Date Sunday, November 26, 1876
Text

The Hartfords’ receipts for 1876 fall short of their expenses over $2,000, but all their men have been paid.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Knickerbocker ground

Date Sunday, February 27, 1876
Text

The Knickerbocker Club will locate themselves on the cricket grounds corner Ninth and Clinton streets, Hoboken. They have engaged the grounds for Mondays and Thursdays. The St. George Cricket Club have Tuesdays and Saturdays. Wednesdays and Fridays are reserved for the students of the Stephen’s Institute.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Knickerbockers close their season

Date Sunday, November 5, 1876
Text

The veterans of the Knickerbocker Club will close their thirty-first season’s play Nov. 7 on their private grounds at Hoboken. At 11 A.M. they will open the day’s play in a match between their married and single members. After dinner they will play a match, Veterans vs. Youngster. They expect to welcome among their veteran friends that day members of the old nines of the Excelsior, Putnam and other old Brooklyn club.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Knickerbockers in the field

Date Sunday, April 30, 1876
Text

The thirty-second season of the veteran Knickerbocker Club was inaugurated at Hoboken, April 24. Messrs. Dorsett, Kissam, McDonald, Stanton and Davis were among those of the veterans present. The young Knickerbockers were represented by Dr. Hitchcock and Messrs. Goodspeed, Robinson, the two Kirklands and others. A dead ball was used, consequently, some of them found it pretty hard to make a run. The Semi-Centenarians practice Monday and Friday afternoon.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the League not respecting non-League contracts

Date Saturday, August 19, 1876
Text

Dan Collins, centre-fielder of the St. Louis Red Stockings, left for Louisville last night, treating the management in a shameful manner. On Thursday he was paid his salary to the 1st of the month, and yesterday he vanished, saying never a word. He had asked for a release in order that he might join the Louisvilles, but was informed by Mr. McNeary that he could not be spared. The club has fulfilled the terms of its contracts with all its players to the letter, and been especially kind to Collins in retaining him when he was playing a game at third that would have put an amateur to the blush. New York Clipper August 19, 1876, quoting the St.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Mutuals now a Brooklyn club

Date Sunday, April 9, 1876
Text

Manager Cammeyer states that his professional nine is to be known as the Mutual Club, of Brooklyn, and not the Brooklyn Club, of Brooklyn, as has been lately published.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the NL and outside clubs' contracts

Date Sunday, December 10, 1876
Text

It is of the utmost important to the League and proposed International Association that amicable relations exist between them. Two things seem requisite to bring about this condition–mutual respect of players’ engagements and a fair adjustment of shares in gate receipts. The League did not respect engagements of players with non-league clubs last year and asked for a larger share of receipts than the International clubs will be likely to allow this year. The latter will probably argue that it is nothing to them that League clubs are obliged to charge double their admission fees in order to pay high-salaried players; if they (the International clubs) play as good as game as League clubs, they have an equal claim on gate receipts, and should not be required to give guarantees and run all the risks.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the NL does not and will not regulate admission fees

Date Monday, November 20, 1876
Text

...the League never has attempted, never will attempt, and never ought to attempt to, regulate that matter [i.e. the price of admission]. Chicago Tribune November 20, 1876, from a letter to the editor signed “A.G.M.

Source Chicago Tribune
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Philadelphia Athletic Association

Date Sunday, January 2, 1876
Text

THE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION MEETING About two years ago a number of the members of the Athletic Base Ball Club, and other gentlemen prominent in professional and business life united together under the above title and established at the corner of Seventh and Chestnut street a handsomely fitted up club room, where the base ball fraternity of this and other cities could meet in social intercourse. It is distinct from the Athletic Base Ball Club, although a large majority of its members belong to the organization, and it offers unusual inducements for the members to join. The Athletic Association have now a long list of members, including many of our most influential citizens, and tehir club room supplies a want that had hitherto long been felt in this city, offering, as it does, unusual privileges and advantages at a very modest and merely nominal rate. The attention of the members of this organization is called to the fact of their regular monthly meeting, taking place to morrow evening at heir club-rooms, Northeast corner of Eleventh and Chestnut streets, when a full attendance is requested, as important business will be brought up for their consideration, including the contemplated changes in the constitution and by-laws relative to dues, &c.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Philadelphia Club disbands

Date Sunday, July 23, 1876
Text

The Philadelphias have disbanded, and a majority of their nine have found positions elsewhere, Nelson playing with the Allegheny, of Pittsburg, Weaver with the Neshannock, of New Castle, Schaffer and Shetzline in Harrisburg, Pa., and Warner in Binghampton.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Quicksteps of Wilmington all paid

Date Monday, April 3, 1876
Text

The stockholders [of the Quickstep Club of Wilmington] think that the nine selected is a very strong one. All of the players will be paid this season, and they will commence practice about the middle of April.

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the Western clubs offer to subsidize the Mutuals

Date Sunday, October 1, 1876
Text

The Chicago and St. Louis managers offered Mr. Cammeyer $400 each to come West and conclude the Mutual series, but “Cammy” answered, “It is impossible,” why which the roseate-hued light-weight of the Chicago Tribune infers that there is something other than financial trouble hovering over the Brooklyn nine. Can it be that they are saving money to move up to Hartford next year?

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the catcher directing the pitcher

Date Sunday, February 27, 1876
Text

Clapp and Bradley have never been tested in unison, and the result is to be seen. Miller undoubtedly exercised much control over Brad, and used his brain to great purpose in directing him. This faculty Clapp has never had to exercise, as McBride has done all the thinking for his catchers.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the cost of attending a ball game

Date Sunday, August 20, 1876
Text

First, a mechanic loses a half a day, equal to at least $1.25. Then should he wish his wife and daughter to accompany him, the car fare through the city, both ways, would be thirty cents, ferriage twelve cents, and fifty cents, as at present, for his own admission, would make a total of $2.47. Is this not paying too much for the whistle?

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the crowd learning the new rules

Date Saturday, April 29, 1876
Text

[Chicago vs. picked nine 4/20/1876] The play under the new rules was noticeably different from that of last year, and the audience, until they “saw the point,” grumbled no end because no effort was made to put out a man when he attempted to run on a foul.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the effect of the new rule on foul balls

Date Sunday, April 16, 1876
Text

The new rule concerning fouls is found to work well, and its beauties have already been shown in the practice of various clubs throughout the country. Its great feature is the development of judgment by those men who have to decide between taking the ball on the fly or the bound. In the former case, if they have a man off his base, they can go for the double play, but by taking it on the fly, they give a man on a base a chance of running for another after the fly is taken, which would be stopped by the ball being taken on the bound.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the ethical problems of the Philadelphia Club-management

Date Saturday, April 8, 1876
Text

The most objectionable phases of baseball gambling were openly countenanced; players charging each other with fraud were pronounced guiltless after a mockery of trial; and so bad did things become that, at the annual meeting of the club, it was found necessary to enact a constitutional law requiring every club official to take oath that he would not countenance the “throwing” of a game, before he could take office.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the finances of an exhibition game

Date 1876
Text

Another cold unpleasant day and no gate receipts.Here we were to have received $100.00.But my, there wasn’t [sic] 60 people on the ground so there was no show to get that amount.I wouldn’t let the players go on the ground until I had made some settlement.They wished us to play and said they would give us all the gate money.It was then near 4 Oclock, so I told them if they would give me $30.00 we would play.They gave me the amount and we played.

Source ~
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the finances of the Athletic Club

Date Sunday, October 8, 1876
Text

The players of the Athletic Club held a meeting Sept. 25, and the rather chimerical offer was then made to give the players notes for their indebtedness, payable in one year; but, as it s was that the payment of these notes would depend on the financial success of the nine next year–a rather dubious matter–the offer was unanimously rejected. The players then made the proposition that they would accept the said notes, provided that they were indorsed by some responsible parties; but this was refused. And it certainly seems very strange that the Athletic Club should be allowed to pass out of existence on account of a trifling indebtedness. Many of the stockholders of the club have expressed their willing ness to pay an assessment or subscription to pay off the debt, and, in case that fails, efforts can be made to dispose of the 150 shares of the stock remaining unsold. The stockholders should see that their interests shall not be sacrificed.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the financial condition of the Athletics 2

Date Sunday, August 20, 1876
Text

[reporting on the Athletic Club’s monthly meeting] [the directors] speak of the season being a failure financially, the principal cause of which was the payment of the club’s debts of last year. They feel assured that had not the present organization assumed that responsibility the season would have been an entire success. ... The Treasurer’s report was then read, showing a balance in the Treasury up to date of $20,84.

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the financial condition of the Chicago Club

Date Tuesday, October 24, 1876
Text

The Chicago Club will end the present year very satisfactorily as regards the financial problem. They have already renewed lease of the grounds for 1876, and paid down in cash in advance the full sum called for by the lease–$3500.

Source Philadelphia All-Day City Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the formation of the National League

Date Friday, February 4, 1876
Text

[from a long article on the creation of the NL] The new scheme, which is destined to elevate base-ball to the rank of a legitimate amusement, is the formation of a new association of professional clubs on the debris of the old National Association...

Source Chicago Tribune
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the furore of the curve

Date Saturday, December 2, 1876
Text

The feature of the pitching of 1876 was the furor for the curve which set in with the advent of Devlin, Bond, and others of the swift underhand-throwing class. Many an inexperienced club-manager got possessed of the idea that he had secured the man when he had got hold of a pacer who had the curve. In fact, in semi-professional circles there was a perfect rush for this class of pitchers. Even veterans in the art of club-management lost their heads at one time during the season in their efforts to place a strong curve-pitcher in their nines. They all lost sight of the important fact that a swift curve-pitcher who has not thorough command of the ball is more costly from his wild delivery than he is effective from his speed and curve. Borden's errors, through his want of command of the ball, cost the Boston Club the loss of games which had a very demoralizing effect on their team in May and June, aside from the disadvantageous position the record of defeats placed them in by depriving them of that prestige of victory which had previously helped them out of so many tight places. In the selection of that veteran straight pitcher McBride—who was sadly out of practice—another important fact was lost sight of, and that was that the general introduction of the curve-delivery made the sight of the batsman so keen that had become a comparatively easy task to punish even the best of the straight pitchers. The Hartford Club, in their possession of two curved-line pitchers [Bond and Cummings], appeared to give them a winning lead in the campaign; but the early part of the season's play of the Hartford team showed that there was an inherent element of weakness in their team, which more than offset the advantages they otherwise possessed.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the hidden ball trick 2

Date Friday, May 26, 1876
Text

[Chicago vs. Hartford 5/25/1876] On Spalding's hit to Burdock, McVey was put out at second by Carey, and with one man out and two on bases, things looked badly. But Carey held the ball, walked slowly down to third base, apparently to speak to Ferguson but in reality to give him the ball, which he did, unobserved by the Chicagos. He then walked back to his position and Bond took his place between the pitcher's points. As soon as he did this Anson stepped from the base, and Ferguson very coolly touched him with the ball, putting him out. The play was the greatest surprise, probably, to Anson, who for an instant did not comprehend the play, but when Ferguson showed him the ball, as the boys say, “he tumbled.” The play received round after round of applause and probably earned the game.

Source Hartford Daily Courant
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the history and condition of the Gotham Club

Date Saturday, January 15, 1876
Text

The Gotham B. B. Club dates its existence from the year 1849; it is, therefore, one of the oldest—if not the oldest—organization of its kind in the country. George and Harry Writhe, Hatfield, and many other players of celebrity graduated from “the old Gotham.” During its twenty-six years of life it has annually placed in the field representative “nines” second to none, and its ancient prestige has been maintained in many a hard-fought contest with the prominent clubs of the States. It appears a shame and a detriment to the interests of amateur baseball that so old a club, a club with such distinguished antecedents, should be allowed to become defunct. The undersigned have, therefore, resolved to make one more effort to revive it as an organization—to make an attempt to re-establish its pristine glory, and to, at the same time make is essentially a club for the benefit of its members. It is proposed, with scarcely any pecuniary cost, to bring together and and, as many as possible, new members, to the end that such an organization may be perfected as will permit everyone attached to it to enjoy advantageous opportunities for indulgence in the invigorating and favorite sport of baseball. A meeting for the purposes of reorganization is to be held on the evening of Monday, Ja. 17, at Armenia Hall, No. 79 Bank street, this city. It is to be hoped that every person receiving a notice similar to this will do his utmost towards securing new members. “Don't forget old times!” Respectfully, M.B. Mason, Henry C. Colwell, Albert Hall, John W. Hamilton, Committee.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the history of the Allegheny Club

Date Saturday, November 11, 1876
Text

The Allegheny Club, Allegheny, Pa.,have closed a successful season, notwithstanding the many drawbacks with which they have had to contend, it being their first season as a semi-professional nine, the original club having been organized in 1861 as amateur, and continued as such until this year.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the impracticality of a season schedule

Date Sunday, April 2, 1876
Text

A communication has been received from a prominent Western club, suggesting that a convention be held in a few weeks at Cleveland, in order that all of the championship games for the season might then be arranged. This however would be an impracticable and absurd plan of procedure, as there would be no provision made for bad weather, or sickness or injuries of any of the players.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the location of the pagoda in the Union grounds

Date Saturday, May 13, 1876
Text

[Athletic vs. Mutual 5/2/1876] Eggler... struck at the first good ball with a force which sent it flying aparently over the outfielder's heads toward the Pagoda, and a home run with a victory seemed certain. Just at this opportune time Holdsworth backed down on the run, and, jumping up as the ball was passing over him, clutched it, held it up a moment to show that he had caught it, and then ran with the trophy towards the Pagoda amidst the loud applause of the thousands present.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the makeup of the League

Date Sunday, February 20, 1876
Text

The St. Louis Republic, of the 13th, in commenting on the formation of the National Baseball League, says that the admission of the New York Mutual Club into that organization was in some respects very distasteful to the members of the other clubs forming that body, for the Mutuals for several seasons past, have been “a hot-bed of iniquity,” and that at the very least four of its present members are “notoriously crooked” players, but the necessity of keeping the game on its feet in New York made them open a rather unwilling ear, and only the most iron-clad promise from the manager of the Mutuals brought its admission. The Philadelphia Club was incontinently barred out, the animus of that association having been plainly dishonest last season. The New Havens received a similar disposition, not on account of any suggestion of “game throwing,” but because they were considered of too light calibre to compete with the other nines; their admission is not yet improbable should they demonstrate solidity in the field and financially.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the membership of the Alaska Club

Date Sunday, February 27, 1876
Text

The Alaska Club, at the beginning of last season, was hardly known in amateur circles, but after defeating the Arlington and Hoboken Clubs, and almost taking the Fly Aways into camp, who were only saved by several bad decisions of the umpire, were soon recognized as a leading amateur nine. They were not a regular organization until last September. They club now numbers sixty-eight members. They have given two balls during the winter; the last (on the 24 th) proved quite a success. There were sixty couples present. New York Sunday Mercury February 27, 1876

The Alaska Club, of New York, is a strong baseball association, numbering over one hundred members. New York Sunday Mercury March 26, 1876

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the mystery of the curve ball

Date Saturday, October 14, 1876
Text

[from answers to correspondents] We know not how the “curve” is imparted to the ball, nor do the pitchers themselves; we only know that it is done, as can be demonstrated.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the need for a new scoring system

Date Sunday, January 16, 1876
Text

The great need of a new system of scoring for the game is generally recognized on all hands, and it is pleasant to be able to say that a new and improved method of keeping the essential points of the game has been devised by a Chicago gentleman of some experience in the game. The wants of the game in this direction are two-fold: First, a system of scoring on which can be based a reasonable calculation of a man’s efficiency, so that at the end of the season the tabulated record will show who is really the best man in the different fielding positions and at the bat, neither of which are shown by the present method. The second need is a union of all the principal daily papers in the cities where there are professional clubs upon an agreement to print the new form of scores.

Source Chicago Tribune
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

The need for the International Association

Date Saturday, December 23, 1876
Text

The movement in favor of the organiztion of the International Professional Baseball Association has received quite an impetus by the action of the League convention. A preliminary meeting of club delegates in favor of the proposed organization is to be held shortly in Philadelphia. That is the proper place for the convention of all the “outside” professional clubs. New York Clipper December 23, 1876

All that legitimate amateur clubs need in a national association is simply an institution which will give them an official code of playing-rules; and this they now have in the form of the League code; but with the class of co-operative professional clubs something else is requires, and that is an association which will govern every club of their class, and by its laws not only oblige players to abide by their contracts, but so regulate other matters of special interest to their class as to give them the needed protection to make it safe for subscribers to invest in their clubs. It is very plain to see that, if Messrs. Jones, Brown and Robinson stand ready to subscribe $50 to a fund to organize a representative co-operative nine for their town or city, it is only on the condition that they shall be insured against the risk of a loss of their capital by the breaking-up of their club team through “revolving” or the violation of agreements by players. But how can this be done except through the medium of an established association possessing the power to inflict proper penalties for such violations of contracts? A club belonging to no influential association raises $5,000, wherewith to get together a good playing nine. They engage players under written contracts. The nine soon distinguishes itself; and, not long after, some rival club of its class breaks in upon its team with tempting offers to its leading player or players, and away goes its strength, with the consequence of a sacrifice of the capital of the club. The only binding power of the written contract is the player's sense of honor, and experience has shown in many instances that this is not always to be relied upon. But when the club is attached to a strong association, and has it in its power to expel a player for violation of his agreement, and thereby throw him out of all field-work for the season, then the club has a guarantee for the good conduct of its players. It is plain, therefore, that it is to the interest of ever professional club—co-operative or gate-money amateur—to belong to an established and responsible association, and such an institution cannot well exist without the active assistance of nearly every regular professional club in the county. New York Clipper December 30, 1876

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the new League playing rules

Date Sunday, February 13, 1876
Text

The playing rules for the game in 1876 have been amended by the League in several small points,–perhaps a dozen in all,–but no radical changes have been made. In fact, the spectator will probably not note the difference in a game as he looks at it from the seats. The most notable change is that which makes a foul ball at once in play if caught on a fly, but not if caught on a bound. This will give a chance for some sharp points when the fielder as the preference between letting a ball bound or not in the outfield when it drops foul again, a sharp tip gives a chance for a pretty play from the catcher to the basemen. Again, a base-runner has a chance to return to his base on a foul bound without being put out. The beauty of this is that it takes away a certain discretionary power from an umpire who is slow in calling fouls.

Source Chicago Tribune
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the new official scorer

Date Sunday, February 13, 1876
Text

An important measure adopted [by the NL] is that relating to scoring the games, which has, for the first time, been recognized as a part of the game. By a new section it is made the duty of each club to appoint a proper man to score all games on its own grounds. This official scorer must keep an accurate account of times at bat, runs, base-hits, errors, etc., on a blank provided by the League for the purpose, and must forward the filled blank to the Secretary within twenty-four hours after the close of the game. It is made the duty of the Secretary to compile from these official scores such data as may be asked of him by the daily press, and at the end of the season he must tabulate all he has received. This will be taken as the ground of the championship award.

Source Chicago Tribune
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the new organization of the Athletics; conflict with the Philadelphias

Date Sunday, April 16, 1876
Text

Last Monday evening the regular monthly meeting of the stockholders of the Athletic Base Ball Club was held at No. 1108 Sansom street, Mr. George W. Plumley in the chair. The Committee of Fifteen, of which Mr. Spering was chairman, reported the new constitution and by-laws, which differ very little from that already in existence. They abolish the office of manager as an elective officer, and provide that the manager shall be appointed by the directors, and that he be an employee and not an officer. They also require that fifteen persons shall constitute a quorum, and that fifty shares of stock must be represented at a meeting to transact business.

A resolution was offered that the directors be instructed to arrange games with the Philadelphia Club. This produced a great deal of debate. The scenes of the last two or three years on the grounds were discussed rather sharply. Finally, a vote on the resolution was taken by stock, the yeas being 24 and the nays 41, and so it was not agreed to.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the new scoring rules

Date Sunday, December 24, 1876
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The score of a game of baseball should be, as nearly as possible, a concise record of what each individual player does or fails to do, a fact the National League seems to have forgotten when it adopted a code of rules for scoring at its late convention in Cleveland, some very good individual rules were included in the code, notably that which recognized the good play of the fielder who really makes an assistance, but has heretofore been deprived of credit for the act through the error of the person to whom the ball was thrown. There were other rules passed which are in direct violation of the real principle of scoring. One rule says that a base on called balls shall not be recorded as a time at the bat. Why not? Has not the player been at the bat, and in 90 cases in a 100 had one or more chances to strike at a fair ball? Provision is made for a column of “total bases,” including the bases which a baseman [sic: should be batsman?] makes off his hit, the bases which runners ahead of the same hit, and the bases he steals after becoming a runner, whether any or all of it is secured by good batting and running, or off fielding errors. A more inconsistent and meaningless rule could hardly be devised. It assumes as the unit or base the getting from any one base to any other without being put out, and yet declines to count as a base that which a batter secures on a “force.” Hence its inconsistency. Again, the rule is meaningless. It does not show a player’s batting skill nor running ability, but does show what a batsman is able to accomplish through his personal skill at the bat, assisted by his adversaries’ errors and the pedal service of the base runners; in fine, it shows considerable in general and nothing in particular. To illustrate: Barnes is at the bat, Peters on second and Anson on third. The striker makes a clean two base hit, sending Peters and Anson in and securing for himself a record of five total bases. Again, the men are in the same position; Barnes hits to the third baseman, who gathers the ball well, but throws badly to first. Anson and Peters score, and Barnes reaches second off the error. Barnes gets five bases in this case the same as before, although doing absolutely nothing which would entitle him to a single base. True, Barnes hit the ball, which the baseman threw wild. But it was not the hit which yielded the bases, but the wild throw, and so it should be recorded. Don’t sum together what everybody accomplishes off a fielding error and credit it to a batsman, who, if he had received his just dues, would have been out. That is giving a man credit for what he does not do. More senseless still is a provision giving a catcher a “put out” and a pitcher an “assistance” when a batsman makes a foul strike (steps out of his position in striking) or strikes out of turn. What on earth has the catcher or pitcher to do with a batsman’s stepping out of position or forgetting when his turn comes? Nothing whatever; and there is no good reason for giving such credit. If it were to make the summaries “prove,” which is not all necessary in this particular, why not count a base on called balls a time at bat, so that the total of outs, runs and times left on bases may equal the times at bat? New York Sunday Mercury December 24, 1876

...the rule changes only two points from the old system,–one in giving an assist, even though the ball be not held by the receiver, and the other in adding a column of total bases. This last draws down the wrath of the critics who forget that it is often as creditable to rattle an opponent as to hit clean. The common objection is that it gives a player credit for what he did not do to give him “a base” which he reached on an error. The intention of the new rule was to show exactly what each man did toward winning a game, and to credit him with everything which came from his plays. Will some one of the objectors please say if he has ever seen a game of billiards? And if so, whether the marker refused to push along buttons for “scratches?” In other words, did or did not the player get credit for what was made off his shot, whether by perfect play or an accident? In the same game, if one player left the balls so that the other player could not help counting, did the marker refuse to put up the next shot on the grund that the player should have any credit for what the other fellow did for him? In a rowing match where one coxswain by bad steering lost the race, though his boat traveled further than the other in the same time, would the umpire be justified in refusing to give the winner credit because the other side made an error? It seems as if the whole complain was made by that class of papers which are opposed to the League from beginning unto end. The Courier-Journal’s idea that the rule is cumbrous will fade away after he has scored a few games with it. It really appertains to only a few men anyway, and there is no fear that they cannot use it. Chicago Tribune December 31, 1876

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the old Gotham Club

Date Saturday, April 29, 1876
Text

President James B. Mingay of of this city has, at the request of several members, issued a call for a special meeting, to be held on next Thursday evening, at 5 o'clock, at the Village House, on the corner of Bank and Hudson streets. The purpose of the meeting will be to select a nine for the year, and to decide upon a uniform to be worn by the players. It is expected that the meeting will be largely attended.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the organization of the Mutual Club

Date Sunday, February 27, 1876
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The Mutual Club is now mutual only in name, as Cammeyer has taken the whole responsibility of the team upon himself, and every man of the nine is fully paid on a fixed salary.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the placement of a substitute runner; courtesy runner

Date Saturday, January 8, 1876
Text

[discussing the proposed rules] This is a section naming the position in which the substitute is to stand. Substitutes used to try their best, as a general thing, to balk the catcher by running between him and the batsman. Now they must stand in such a position that the moment the ball is hit they can cross the foul-ball line and line in front of the home base.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the position of a substitute runner; courtesy runner

Date Saturday, August 19, 1876
Text

[from answers to correspondents] If a batter has a substitute, is he not obliged to run over the home plate on his way to first? … No; if the sub. stands back of the line and passes the striker's position, it is enough.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the rationale for batting average rather than slugging percentage

Date Saturday, September 16, 1876
Text

In computing batting averages only first-base hits are counted; that is, a two, three, or four base hit counts simply as a base-hit. Skillful batting consists not of heavy hits, but of sharp ground hits, which enable the batsman to secure his first base easily. Long-hit balls, which give no chance for catches, are only made through the failure of the pitcher to outwit his batting adversary, as a general thing. The batsman who makes first-base three times by good first-base hits does better batting than he who makes two home-runs. A pitcher can avoid allowing the home-run hits. Long, safe, high hits to the outfield show either that a lively ball is used, or that the fielding is not effective. There may be exceptions to the rule, but they are rare.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the regulation ball

Date Sunday, December 17, 1876
Text

A uniform and lively ball will be used in 1877; that is, a ball of regulation size, containing one ounce of vulcanized rubber and double covered. Each ball is to be placed in a box and sealed. The secretary of the League is to inspect the balls and to affix a seal, which is not to be broken except by the umpire just before a game is played. The balls are to be purchased through the League secretary.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the reputation of the Mutuals

Date Sunday, June 18, 1876
Text

...the Mutuals...are at present playing a very fine game. If Hicks and Matthews had been in better trim in the early part of the season, the standing of the Mutuals would have been first class, as they have shown on several instances what they are capable of doing, both at the bat and in the field. The admirers of the national game in this vicinity have become so thoroughly disgusted with the crooked play of certain of the Mutual team of last season that they will hardly give them credit for what they actually do. The Mutuals have for so long a time borne so bad a reputation that they will have to work hard and earnestly to rid themselves of the stigma resting upon them, or rather upon the name “Mutual.” The present nine individuals may all be square men, but the public believe otherwise; for whenever they lose a game, whether by errors or by superior playing of their opponents, the general opinion is that the game was thrown away. The votaries of the game think that the Mutuals ought to win every match they play, not taking into consideration the fact that this club is run on the smallest capital of any of the eight professional league nines, and consequently it is not to be supposed that they have the best players.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the sale of Athletic Club stock

Date Sunday, February 20, 1876
Text

The stated monthly meeting of the Athletic Base Ball Club was held last Monday evening, at their club room, Eleventh and Chestnut streets, an unusually large representation of the stockholders then being present. In the absence of the president, the chair was occupied by Mr. Stephen Flanagan. The report of the Treasurer, Mr. A. C. Johnston, evidenced the flattering financial condition of the organization, no less than one hundred and seventy-two shares of the stock having been disposed of, and that there was still a balance in the treasury, after paying over four thousand dollars in arrears. So great was the demand for the stock, that a motion was unanimously passed at this meeting, to the effect, that one hundred and fifty shares of said capital stock be reserved, and not be offered for sale until ordered by the club. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury February 20, 1876

The demand for the stock of the Athletic Base Ball Club continues unabated, only seventy-five shares remaining at the present date, and those who wish to obtain the same should make immediate application to Al. Reach, as it is not likely that these few remaining shares of stock will be left long unsold. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury March 5, 1876

a political fight over the Athletic grounds

At the meeting of the Water Committee of City Councils last Monday, the matter of the lease of the ball ground at Twenty-fifth and Jefferson streets was the subject of protracted deliberation. Hicks Hayhurst, from the sub-committee, said that they were not at present prepared to report. A motion to discharge said sub-committee was, however, agreed to. Mr. Cochran was heard on behalf of the Philadelaphias, stating that the Athletics had leased the said ground from the city at the rate of $200 per annum, and sub-let it to the Philadelphias at the rate of $1000 yearly. Mr. Charles Downing, on behalf of the Athletics, in an able and effective manner, demonstrated the fallacy of the Philadelphia’s claims by proving that the Athletic club had paid upwards of $10,000 in improvements of the property, for leveling, grading, erection of pavilions, fences, etc., and that, therefore, the Philadelphias did not pay such an extravagant rent, and that, moreover, the Athletics had possession by virtue of a lease expiring March 1st, 1877; that they had legal advice to the extent that the said lease was valid, and that they could not be removed from the ground unless the same was required for city purposes, a clause therein expressly stating that it should not be leased to any other base ball club than the Athletics. A motion to give the Athletics three months’ notice to quit the grounds was then lost. Finally, the subject was postponed until the next meeting, the opinion of the City Solicitor on the lease to be requested in the meanwhile. It is not probable that the Philadelphias will further press their claims for the ground, as even in the case the Athletic’s lease was declared not valid, the former club could not afford to pay the high rental, beside paying five or six thousand dollars for the improvements on the ground belonging to the Athletics. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury February 20, 1876

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the schoolboy home run

Date Saturday, July 29, 1876
Text

[Boston vs. Mutual 6/20/1876] ...George Wright made another of those long, low, safe hits to the outer field, on which he easily cleared his third; but, in striving to score the schoolboy home-run, he fell a victim to Hicks, the ball being passed on by Holdsworth and Craver.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the selection of umpires

Date Saturday, December 23, 1876
Text

The selection of umpires occasioned a lively discussion. The proposed plan of employing regular salaried officials for the position did not meet with general favor, owing to the large outlay involved—as great, in fact, as the extra man in the ten-men rule. It was, therefore, thrown aside, and, in place of the rule of last year, the following simple and effective plan was adopted, viz., to select three men in each League-club city who shall be eligible to act as umpires—say, for instance, Daniels, Seward and another in Hartford—and three others in each of the other cities, and one of these three shall be chosen by lot to act in each game in said city. Messrs. Hurlbert [sic] and Wright were appointed a committee to select the men, and they will receive all the names sent in by each club, and decide which shall be assigned to each League-club city.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the state of amateur baseball

Date Sunday, July 23, 1876
Text

the once strong and powerful Amateur Association has, through mismanagement, almost faded out of existence; that is so far as carrying out the rules are concerned. The officers and judiciary committee, no doubt, mean well; at least they made a feint at holding various clubs to a strict accountability for their misdemeanors last season. It must be said, however, that it was fruitless, as the clubs who violated the rules paid about as much attention to the demands of that committee to answer certain charges filed against them as they did to the rules before violating them. The loose manner in which affairs were conducted last season only encouraged the amateur clubs throughout the country, in being bolder and more daring in their violations this season. A certain club, in this vicinity, which would have scoffed at the idea of being other than strictly amateur, even as late as last season, makes no secret, whatever, of their paying a pitcher, the present one. It is almost impossible to find, at the present time, and amateur club that lives strictly up to their rules. If such there are the public should be made acquainted with the fact at once.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

the teams request strict umpiring

Date Saturday, September 9, 1876
Text

[Locust vs. Somerset, both of Boston, 8/29/1876] At the request of both clubs, the game was umpired with unusual strictness.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

Theory behind calling for high or low pitches; strategic pitching

Date Saturday, January 1, 1876
Text

While it would be manifestly giving the pitcher too much of an advantage not to limit his delivery to such balls as are specified in the above rule [specifying the height of the strike zone], it would also be unjust to the batsman to oblige him to strike at every ball sent in over the base between one foot from the ground and the height of his shoulder, as some batsmen can no more strike with any good effect at a very low ball than others can effectively hit a high ball. The easiest ball to hit on the average is a “waist-high” ball, and this kind of ball strategic pitchers avoid sending in as much as possible, their point of play being to send high balls for batsmen who hit low, and vice versa. A ball waist high is easier to judge by the batsman than any other, and it is one which is best calculated to meet the bat fairly when swung forward while the batsman stands erect. The object of the rules should be to give all due latitude for fair play both at the bat and in the delivery of the ball, while at the same time placing every obstacle in the way of tricks, dodges, or unfair and illegitimate methods of play. In carrying out this section it becomes the duty of the umpire to ask each batsman, as he comes to the bat, whether he wants a “high” or a “low” ball. The batsman has the right to ask not for a “knee-high” or a “waist,” or “shoulder-high” ball, but simply for a high or low ball, as described in the section.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

third baseman playing in foul ground to defend against a fair-foul

Date Saturday, October 28, 1876
Text

[Hartford vs. Mutual 10/17/1876] One of the best plays of the match was that by Ferguson in the eighth inning, when Booth led off with a ball to Remsen, who failed to hold it. Then Mathews came to the bat, and prepared himself for a fair-foul hit. Seeing this, Ferguson [third baseman] took up a position on foul ground towards home-base, and on Mathews' hit made a pretty double-play. But for this “playing of points”--in other words, using one's judgment as to the play of the batsman—Mathews would have made a two-base fair-foul hit, and with one man on the base and none out, would no doubt have secured the first run. It is this style of thing which distinguishes a shrewd and skillful player from a mere field-machine, the latter always being found ready to catch or field a ball only where he happens to be placed, and seldom or over going out of his rut to field a ball or to judge the play of the batsman.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

turnstiles and gate receipt split

Date Saturday, December 23, 1876
Text

Among the most important acts of the session [NL convention] was the adoption of a formal agreement, signed by the clubs, the main features being that each club should use a self-registering apparatus, connected with a turnstile, to indicate exactly how many persons go into each ground for each game. For every person who enters the ground, except players, policemen in uniform, and ten other persons, the visiting club shall receive fifteen cents.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

two bases on balls in notably wild pitching

Date Saturday, June 10, 1876
Text

[Chicago vs. Boston 5/30/1876] Josephs pitched wildly and unevenly, sent one man in on a wild pitch, and two more by balls called against him.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

umpire behind the catcher; difficulty calling a fair-foul

Date Sunday, August 20, 1876
Text

A letter from Cincinnati gives an account of a rather ludicrous scene between Ross Barnes and an umpire. The latter insisted on standing about twenty feet back of the catcher when Ross was trying for a fair foul, and, after he had made about half a dozen beautiful ones and had them all called foul, became slightly exasperated, and, calling the umpire up, asked him to stand near the plate. After he had complied, Ross hit the first ball down two feet inside the line, and then, pointing to the mark in the mud, explained to the umpire that he wanted to show him a new trick in the game. After he had concluded his little address, he ran away to first and reached it safely while the third baseman was hunting up the ball.

Source Philadelphia Item
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

umpire warning before calling a strike

Date Saturday, September 23, 1876
Text

[from answers to correspondents] If the batsman has struck at two balls and missed them, can the umpire call a strike on next ball pitched, if a fair ball, or has the umpire got to warn batsman on third strike? … If the batsman strikes at and fails to hit the third ball, he is out. If it be a fair ball and he does not strike at it, the umpire then warns him by calling “Good ball,” and on the next fair ball not struck at he is out.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

umpires allowed on the field

Date Sunday, December 17, 1876
Text

Umpires are to be allowed to enter the field during the progress of the game.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

unfair pitches for a called ball need not be consecutive

Date Saturday, August 26, 1876
Text

[from answers to correspondents] Supposing there are two unfair balls delivered, and then a fair ball, which the batsman strikes at, and the next ball is an unfair one, can that ball be called or not. … Yes.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

warning before a called third strike

Date Sunday, April 9, 1876
Text

[discussing the new playing rules] “Strikes” one and two are called the same as previously. When two strikes have been called, should the batsman fail to strike at the next good ball, the umpire does not call “three strikes,” as before, but warns the batsman by saying “good ball.” If the next good ball which goes by is not struck at he calls “three strikes.” This rule only gives the batsman an additional chance.

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

warning before a called third strike 2

Date Saturday, August 26, 1876
Text

[from answers to correspondents] A man at the bat strikes at two fair balls, but fails to hit them. The next ball that was pitched being a fair ball, the striker was called out by the umpire without warning the striker. Is he out or not? … If on the third time of striking at the ball he failed to hit it, he was out, there being no necessity to call “good ball;” but if he did not strike at it after having two strikes called on him, then it was necessary for the umpire to call “good ball;” and give him out on the next—the fourth—fair ball, either not struck at or struck at and missed.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

western trips financial losses

Date Saturday, October 28, 1876
Text

[Hartford vs. Mutual 10/17/1876] Still, small as the attendance was, it was more profitable than those played in Cincinnati or St. Louis, inasmuch as in the former city the three games played there yielded the Hartfords but twenty-three dollars! and the two in St. Louis but a little over forty. In fact, pecuniarily the recent Western trip of the Hartfords was a disastrous failure, fully as much so as any Western club visiting the East has had to complain of; and it would be well for the Western papers to take note of the fact, especially those which have been complaining of small receipts in the East.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger

when shall an umpire make a call with no appeal

Date Saturday, October 7, 1876
Text

[from answers to correspondents] Under Rule 7, sec. VII, League rules, in what cases shall umpire render a decision without being appealed to by a player? … In calling balls, strikes, fouls, and balks.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger