John Thorn

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First Name John
Last Name Thorn
Location Kingston, NY
Regional Focus Hudson Valley, NY;New York City
Special Interest Massachusetts Game, Wicket
Active Yes

Essays and Articles

Lost for 200 Years: John Thorn Detects Base Ball in New York in 1821 by John Thorn
"The Members of the Ball Club are requested . . . to meet on . . . the eighth inst. as early as half past three, as the days are short"

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Submitted Entries: 74

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MLB Official Historian John Thorn has been in contact with cricket/wicket scholar Jay Patel in connection with Patel’s forthcoming book.  He notes that a good fraction of his time these days goes to “facilitation” – putting the right people together for special projects.  He also works with auction houses and experts on early base ball images to help identify their finds.  And – all of this seems not to have lessened the number or quality of his frequent contributions to SABR’s 19CCB list-serve.

John Thorn contributed three essays to the Special Protoball Issue of Base Ball this May.  Larry McCray served as Guest Editor for the issue.


John's take on the pre-Knickerbocker era appeared in “The Magnolia, the Knickerbocker, and the Age of Flash” in the fall 2008 issue of Base Ball.  Just when we’ve all gotten comfortable with the idea that some nice young professional men played the key role in establishing base ball as the US game in 1845, here comes John to show us that an earlier club, one with close connections to taverns, to decidedly ungenteel personages, and to political strongmen.  His note:  “It must have rankled the ballplaying Knickerbockers that they had to share . . . their game with a bunch of ruffians.”

Conceived and edited by John, the new McFarland offering Base Ball: A Journal of the Early Game will be appearing soon.  The inaugural issue will have several substantial articles on pre-1870 ballplaying, including Joanne Hulbert’s work on Fast Day in Massachusetts, Angus McFarland’s work on San Francisco’s first team, Fred Ivor-Campbell’s take on the 1857 Convention, and John’s reflections on that surprising find of bafeball in 1791 Pittsfield MA.

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