Chronology:Ball in the Culture

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1829.8 Girls Just Want To Have Fun (Until Age 10, Anyway)

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Females

Game:

Bass-ball

Age of Players:

Juvenile

"Then comes a sun-burnt gipsey of six, beginning to grow tall and thin, and to
find the cares of the world gathering about her, with pitcher in one hand, a
mop in the other, and old straw bonnet of ambiguous shape, half hiding her
tangled hair, a tattered stuff petticoat, once green, hanging below an equally
tattered frock, once purple; her longing eyes fixed on a game of bass-ball at
the corner of the green, till she reaches the cottage door, flings down the mop
and pitcher, and darts off to her companions, quite regardless of the storm of
scolding with which the mother follows her runaway steps.

So the world wags till ten; then the little damsel gets admission to the
charity school, and trips mincingly thither every morning, dressed in the old
fashioned blue gown, and tippet, and bib and apron of that primitive
institution, looking demure as a nun, and as tidy; her thoughts fixed on button
holes and spelling books —- those ensigns of promotion; despising dirt and
bass-ball, and all their joys."

Sources:

 'The American Farmer' March 20, 1829 (No. 1, Vol. 11, page 6, column 1), per 19cbb post by Mark Aubrey, Jan. 29, 2008

Year
1829
Item
1829.8
Edit

1845c.26 Melville (Maybe) Describes New England Ball Game Poetically

Tags:

Ball in the Culture

Age of Players:

Juvenile

 

And now hurrah! for the speeding ball
Is flung in viewless air,
And where it will strike in its rapid fall
The boys are hastening there--
And the parted lip and the eager eye
Are following its descent,
Whilst the baffl'd stumbler's falling cry
With th'exulting shout is blent.
The leader now of either band
Picks cautiously his men,
And the quickest foot and the roughest hand
Are what he chooses then.
And see!the ball with swift rebound,
Flies from the swinging bat,
While the player spurns the beaten ground,
Nor heeds his wind-caught hat.
But the ball is stopp'd in its quick career,
And is sent with a well-aim'd fling,
And he dodges to feel it whistling near,
Or leaps at its sudden sting,
Whilst the shot is hail'd with a hearty shout,
As the wounded one stops short,
For his 'side' by the luckless blow is out--
And the others wait their sport.

Sources:

This poem, published pseudonymously as the work of "William M. Christy" in 1845, is Melville's first published work, according to  Melville scholar Jeanne C. Howes, author of a monograph entitled '"Poet of a Morning: Herman Melville and the 'Redburn Poem': Redburn: Or the Schoolmaster of a Morning". From 19cbb post by John Thorn, July 6, 2004

Warning:

"In the case of the Redburn poem, a strong competing interpretation concludes that HM is not its author. I can't argue either side of Howes' hypothesis since I have not read her work, and I only have a couple hundred words of notes on the topic, but I think we all readily understand that the attribution of Melville as author of this four canto poem is not universally accepted." 19cbb post by Stephen Hoy, July 6, 2004

Comment:

These lines appear to be part of the poem Redburn: Or the Schoolmaster of a Morning, published under an apparent pseudonym in 1845 (or 1844).  In 2000, Jeanne C. Howes published Poet of a Morning: Herman Melville and the "Redburn" Poem.  

The online blurb for this work states:  "In a tour de force of literary detection and scholarship, Jeanne Howes has conclusively proven that shortly after Herman Melville’s return from the South Pacific in 1844 an anonymous book published in Manhattan, Redburn: or the Schoolmaster of a Morning, is his first book. Early scholars pondered whether this book might have been written by Melville but dismissed it since not enough was then known about Melville’s life and writings. Serious scholarship did not begin until the 1920s, as Herman Melville, the great dark god of American letters had fallen into an obscurity so encompassing that at the time of his death in 1891 he was entirely forgotten by the literary community."

An annotation: "Possibly written about a game played by the schoolboys attending Sykes District School in Pittsfield where Melville, as an 18 year old taught for a short while before he went to sea." He shipped out in 1841.

 

Query:

Further opinions about this poem's description of a baserunning game with plugging are welcome.

Circa
1845
Item
1845c.26
Edit

1846.16 Base Ball as Therapy in MA?

Tags:

Ball in the Culture

Location:

Massachusetts

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

According to the State Lunatic Hospital at Worcester, when "useful labor" wasn't possible for inmates, the remedies list: "chess, cards, backgammon, rolling balls, jumping the rope, etc., are in-door games; and base-ball, pitching quoits, walking and riding, are out-door amusements."

 

Sources:

Annual Report of the Trustees of the State Lunatic Hospital at Worcester, December 1846. Posted to 19CBB on 11/1/2007 by Richard Hershberger. 

Query:

Was "base-ball" a common term in MA then?

Year
1846
Item
1846.16
Edit

1853.9 Strolling Past a Ballgame in Elysian Fields

Tags:

Ball in the Culture

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

George Thompson has uncovered a long account of a leisurely visit to Elysian Fields, one that encounters a ball game in progress.

A few excerpts: "We have passed so quickly from the city and its hubbub, that the charm of this delicious contrast is absolutely magical.

"What a motley crowd! Old and young, men women and children . . . . Well-dressed and badly dressed, and scarcely dressed at all - Germans, French, Italians, Americans, with here and there a mincing Londoner, his cockney gait and trim whiskers. This walk in Hoboken is one of the most absolutely democratic places in the world. . . . . Now we are on the smoothly graveled walk. . . . Now let us go round this sharp curve . . . then along the widened terrace path, until it loses itself in a green and spacious lawn . . . [t]his is the entrance to the far-famed Elysian Fields.

"The centre of the lawn has been marked out into a magnificent ball ground, and two parties of rollicking, joyous young men are engaged in that excellent and health-imparting sport, base ball. They are without hats, coats or waistcoats, and their well-knit forms, and elastic movements, as that bound after bounding ball, furnish gratifying evidence that there are still classes of young men among us as calculated to preserve the race from degenerating."

Sources:

George G. Foster, Fifteen Minutes Around New York (1854). The piece was written in 1853.

Year
1853
Item
1853.9
Edit

1855.1 The Confidence Game Frustrated

Tags:

Ball in the Culture

Game:

Base Ball

"On Friday morning last (August 24) an impudent scamp in a very genteel garb entered the house of Mr. Gregory in Sussex street, and informed the servant girl that her master was about to play a game of base ball in Brooklyn, and wanted his uniform, a suit of clothes for a ball, &c...The girl believing him gave him all the articles required, when he said further, in a confidential way, that he had forgotten the cigars, a box of which would be found not yet opened. This was his mistake, for no cigars were in the house, and the girl, being now placed on her guard, immediately unpacked what she had previously packed, and said she would take the articles herself...To this the gentleman of course objected, but the girl was honest and determined. She accordingly took the articles to the office of Mr. Gregory, and found that he had not the slightest intention to leave the city. The rogue of course escaped, and no account has been heard from him since."

Sources:

New York Sun, Aug. 28, 1855. P

Comment:

Hershberger: "Make of this what you will."

Year
1855
Item
1855.1
Edit

1855.29 Even the Australians Are Bothered by Sunday Baseball

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Bans

Location:

Australia

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Youth

"Sabbath Desecration. - A correspondent requests us to call attention to the practice of a number of boys and young men, who congregate in Mr. Wilkinson's paddock, near Patrick and Murray Streets, on Sunday afternoons, for playing at cricket, base-ball, &c., making a great noise, and offending the eyes and ears of persons of moral and religious feeling."

 

Sources:

Colonial Times[Hobart], Saturday, September 22, 1855, page 3.

Comment:

Subsequent comments on 19CBB from Bob Tholkes and Richard Hershberger [11/23/09] led to conjecture that this form of "base-ball" arrived Down Under directly from its English roots, for in 1855 American presence was largely restricted to the gold fields. Note: Hobart is on the northern coast of the island that has been known as Tasmania since 1856.

Year
1855
Item
1855.29
Edit

1856.296 Ball Play in Children's Song

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Music

Age of Players:

Juvenile

The New Year's number of a children's magazine, Stu-dent & Schoolmate, featured a musical piece entitled "The Holiday Song" in 1856.  The second stanza went as follows:

 Hark! we hear our schoolmates call,

 And we see the whizzing ball

From the bat stick flying;

Bat the ball,

One and all,

Great and small,

Keep the ball a flying.

Sources:

"The Holiday Song," in Student & Schoolmate: A Monthly Reader for School & Home Instruc-tion Containing Original Dialogues, Speeches, Bio-graphy, History, Travels, Poetry, Music, Science, Anecdotes, Problems, Puz-zles, etc., January 1, 1856, p. 108. Reprinted in Originals, Newsletter of the Origins Committee of SABR, Vol. 4 No. 12. Dec. 2011

Year
1856
Item
1856.296
Edit

1856.30 "Ball playing" Schoolboy Essay

Tags:

Ball in the Culture

Location:

NY State

Age of Players:

Juvenile

A game at ball is a very nice play. The boys have a bat, and they hit a ball with it and knock it away. Sometimes the boys miss the ball, and then the catcher catches it, and they have to be out. There are two kinds of ball playing: the base ball and the cat and dog ball. When the boys play cat and dog ball, they have two bats and four boys. Two of the boys take the bats, and the other two throw the ball from one to the other past the boys who have the bats, at the same time one throws the other tries to catch him out. Nyack, Dec. 1856 T.--Dis. 4."

Sources:

Rockland Co. Journal, Dec. 27, 1856

Comment:

Per Richard Hershberger, "the one example of the genre I know of from anything like this early."

Year
1856
Item
1856.30
Edit

1856.33 First Ball of the Base Ball Clubs Attracts 200 Couples

Tags:

Ball in the Culture

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

Seven clubs participated in the first Ball of the Base Ball Clubs, "at Niblo's", attracting about 200 couples. Ithe evening was pronounced "very satisfactory".

Sources:

New York Tribune, January 25, 1856

Year
1856
Item
1856.33
Edit

1857.9 Calls for an American National Game

Tags:

Ball in the Culture

Game:

Base Ball

[A]The editor of the Spirit of the Times: There "should be some one game peculiar to the citizens of the United States," in that "the Germans have brought hither their Turnverein Association . . . and various other peculiarities have been naturalized."

[B] Spirit also claimed that baseball "must be regarded as a national pastime"

 

Sources:

[A]Porter's Spirit of the Times, January 31, 1857, quoted in Willke, Base Ball in its Adolescence, page 121, Per Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809.

[B] Adelman, Melvin L., New York City and the Rise of Modern Athletics, 1820-70 (1986), p. 135.

Warning:

[B] Adelman regarded Spirit's claim as "premature" because New York Rules baseball had not spread beyond the immediate area in 1857, but a more likely perspective is that such claims for baseball at this time stemmed from its presence nationwide in various forms since the colonial era.

Year
1857
Item
1857.9
Edit

1857.38 President's Peace Medal Depicts Baseball Game in Background

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Famous, Images

Location:

US

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Youth

Notables:

United States Government

"A base ball game is depicted on the 1857 Indian Peace Medal issued by the Buchanan Administration in 1857. The Indian Peace Medal was "presented by a government agent to the chief of a tribe that the government considered to be friendly, or that it desired to become so...the frontier game of baseball, in all its variety, was already perceived as the national game..."

Sources:

Thorn, John, Baseball in the Garden of Eden (2011), p. 114.

See also https://ourgame.mlblogs.com/our-baseball-presidents-ec1617be6413 (accessed Feb 2018).

 

Comment:


"For President Buchanan in 1857, a new reverse to the (latest "Indian Peace") Medal was commissioned from engraver Joseph Wilson . . . .  [The medal showed] in the distance, a simple home with a woman standing in the doorway -- and a baseball game being playing in the foreground. . . . 

"No matter what some gentlemen were saying in New York at the "national" conventions of area clubs, the frontier game of baseball, in all its variety, was already perceived as the national game."

-- John Thorn, "Our Baseball Presidents," Our Game posting, February 2018.

 

 

Year
1857
Item
1857.38
Edit

1857.39 First Baseball Attendance of a Thousand or More

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Business of Baseball

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"There were thousands of ladies and gentlemen on the ground to witness this game."

Sources:

New York Times, July 10, 1857, about Eagles - Gotham game at the Elysian Fields. Post be Craig Waff on 19cBB, 4/23/2010

Warning:

Lacking enclosed fields, turnstiles or ticket stubs, attendances are only visual estimates.

Comment:

Waff counted 39 attendance estimates of one thousand or more in the NYC area prior to the Civil War.

Year
1857
Item
1857.39
Edit

1857.41 Base Ball Verse for Adults

Tags:

Ball in the Culture

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"BASE BALL"

Nor will the SPIRIT e'er forget thy names/Base Ball, and Cricket, noble, manly games,/Where Health herself beholds the wicket fall,/ and Joy goes flying for the bounding ball,/And the gay greensward, studded with bright eyes/Of maid, who mark the glorious exercise,/Clap their white hands, and shout for very fun,/In free applause of every gallant run.-- New Year's Address

Sources:

Porter's Spirit of the Times, Jan. 3, 1857

Comment:

Prior base ball verses were aimed at juveniles...this is the earliest aimed at adult players and the ladies who cheered them on.

Year
1857
Item
1857.41
Edit

1859.36 Why Cover Sports?

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Newspaper Coverage

"OUT-DOOR SPORTS are gaining in favor and popularity among our people,-- and hence a 'Sporting' department is come to be as much a necessity in the New York Express as it is in any of the London journals. This is not to be regretted. It tends to muscular development; and as there is nothing we Americans so much need as 'muscle', the turf, yachting, cricket, base ball, etc., are things which, combining healthful exercise and innocent amusement, are to be encouraged."

Sources:

New York Evening Express, June 25, 1859

Year
1859
Item
1859.36
Edit

1859.66 Proto-Sports Bar

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Business of Baseball

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

ENGLISH PLUM PUDDING AND ROAST BEEF FOR DINNER, TO-DAY. Also partridges, green turtle soup, and steaks.

RICHARDSON & McLEOD, 106 Maiden lane, corner Pearl.

Call and see the cricket and base ball books and bulletins.

 

Sources:

New York Herald, Sep. 7, 1859

Comment:

This may not actually have been the first establishment to cater to base ballists. The New York Sunday Mercury noted on Jan. 9, 1859, that "Mr. William P. Valentine, president of the Phantom Base Ball Club, has opened a dining saloon in Broadway, adjoining Wallack's Theatre, which he styles the 'Home Base'."

Year
1859
Item
1859.66
Edit

1859.61 Base Ball Lampooned

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Hazard, Newspaper Coverage

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"OUR SPORTSMAN. Sporting matters are beginning to lost their summer time piquancy, and the racing season will soon be gone, at least in this country. The cricketers and base ball heroes still keep up an excitement among themselves.

   Apropos of base ball. Conversing with a member of one of the Ball Clubs, we noticed a deformity in his hand.

   'What is the matter with your finger?"

   'Struck by a ball and drove up--' was the reply 'but it is a noble game.'

   'Precisely--and your thumb, it is useless, is it not?'

   'Yes, struck with a ball and broken.'

   'That finger joint?'

   'A ball struck it. No better game to improve a man's physical condition, strengthen one's sinews."

   'You walk lame; that foot, isn't it?'

   'No; it's the--the--the--well, a bat flew out of a player's had and hit my knee pan. He had the innings."

   'One of your front teeth is gone?'

   'Knocked loose by a ball--an accident though.'

   'Your right hand and your nose have been peeled--how's that?'

   'Slipped down, at second base--mere scratch.'

   'And you like all this fun?'

   'Glory in it, sir. It is a healthy game, sir.'

We can't say we coincided with the enthusiastic member. Perhaps we are rather timid concerning the welfare and safety of our limbs--and this timidity has an undue influence on our mind. Be that as it may, we have no inclination to try our hand at the game...we will drop the subject with the same celerity which would mark our process of dropping one of those leather covered balls, were it to come in violent contact with our delicate fingers."

Sources:

New York Atlas, Sep. 18, 1859

Year
1859
Item
1859.61
Edit

1859.62 Plea for Amateurism

Game:

Cricket

Age of Players:

Adult

CRICKETING. That eleven men who have devoted their youth and manhood to playing cricket, and have made their living thereby, should be able to beat twice that number who have played that game occasionally for exercise and recreation, is not at all surprising...We have steadily and ardently favored the recent efforts made in this country for the creation and diffusion of a popular taste for muscular outdoor amusements. We believe our industrious people have too few holidays, and devote too few hours to health-giving, open-air recreations... and we should be glad to hear of the inclosure of of a public play-ground, and formation of a ball-club in every township in the Union...But play should be strictly a recreation, never a business. As a pursuit, we esteem it a very bad one...Let us have ball-clubs, cricket-clubs, and as many more such as you please, but not professional cricket-players any more than professional card-players. We trust that the Eleven of All England are to have no imitators on this side of the ocean."

Sources:

New York Tribune, Oct. 8, 1859

Comment:

The All England Eleven played in Canada, New York City, Philadelphia, and Rochester in the fall of 1859, playing on occasion against 22 opponents, to provide competition.

Year
1859
Item
1859.62
Edit

1859.63 What Must I Do to Be Physically Saved?

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Newspaper Coverage

Game:

Cricket

Age of Players:

Adult

"For a great many years, a great many people, particularly in this great country, have been asking what they should do to be physically saved?...We are pretty sure that the mania for cricket, which has followed the base ball madness, will not be without its blessings...we cannot imagine a dyspeptic cricketer-- no! not after he has received many balls in the pit of his stomach."

In a two-part series under the title "Muscle Looking Up" The New York Tribune explored the past and present of the physical culture movement in the United States, noting approvingly the trend to emphasize sportive exercise, and hoping that it will be extended to approval of exercise for both men and women.

Sources:

New York Herald Tribune, Oct. 7 and Oct. 15, 1859

Year
1859
Item
1859.63
Edit

1859.65 New For 1859: Rumors of Player Movement

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

[A] "RESIGNATION-- We understand that Brown (formerly catcher for the Eckford Club), and Post (catcher for the Astoria) have resigned, and become members of the Putnam Base Ball Club. Both of these gentlemen have stood A no. 1 in their respective clubs, and their retirement must prove a serious loss thereto, while the Putnams become materially strengthened by the addition to their number."

[B] "BALL PLAY-- ...We notice that several important changes have taken place in the Brooklyn clubs. Amongst others we learn that Pidgeon, of the Eckford, has joined the Atlantic; Brown, also of the Eckford, has gone into the Putnam club; and Grum in the Excelsior. The Stars have divided themselves, and many of them, Creighton and Flanley in particular, having joined the Excelsior. Dickinson goes into the Atlantic. The trial for the championship, next season, will be between the Atlantic, Excelsior, and Putnam's...We have not heard of any particular changes in the leading clubs of New York...The Union of Morrisania will gain one or two strong players next season.

Sources:

[A] New York Sunday Mercury, Nov. 20, 1859

[B] New York Clipper, Nov. 26, 1859

Comment:

After the Eckford Club contradicted the claim that several  players were resigning and moving to other clubs, the Clipper issued a retraction on December 3: "...we are pleased to learn that it is not correct, for we do not approve of these changes at all." 

Year
1859
Item
1859.65
Edit

1860c.4 Four Teams of African-Americans, All in the NYC Area, Are Reported

Tags:

African Americans, Ball in the Culture, Newspaper Coverage

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

[A] The earliest known account of a ball game involving African Americans appeared in the New York Anglo-African on July 30, 1859.  In this Fourth of July contest, the venerable Joshua R. Giddings made the highest score, never missing the ball when it came to him.  Giddings was a sixty-four-year-old white Republican Congressman known for his passionate opposition to slavery. 

[B] "We, the members of the Colored Union Base Ball Club, return our sincere thanks to you for publishing the score of the game we played with the Unknown, of Weeksville on the 28th ult. [September 28, 1860]). We go under the name the "Colored Union," for, if we mistake not, there is a white club called the Union in Williamsburg at the present time." The letter goes on to report a game against the Unknown Club on October 5, 1860.  The Colored Union club eventually won with 6 runs in the ninth. 

Sources:


[A] Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 34-35

[B] New York Sunday Mercury, October 14, 1860, col. 5-6. Cited in Dixon, Phil, and Patrick J. Hannigan, The Negro Baseball Leagues: A Photographic History [Amereon House, 1992], pp. 31-2

 

Comment:

The four were the Unknown (Weeksville), Monitor (Brooklyn), Henson (Jamaica), and Union (Brooklyn). Weeksville was a town founded by freedmen.  Its population in the 1850s was about 500.

For a sample of a contemporary humorous treatment, see the account of the 1862 game between the Unknown and Monitor Clubs in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Oct. 17, 1862. 

Circa
1860
Item
1860c.4
Edit

1860.37 Late Surge Lifts Douglas' over Abe Lincoln's Side in Chicago IL

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Famous

Location:

Illinois

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

Notables:

Abraham Lincoln, and Stephen F. Douglas

"Base Ball and Politics. - We do not approve of their thus being brought into contact, but as a match took place at Chicago on the 24th ult., between nine [Stephen] Douglas me and nine [Abe] Lincoln men of the Excelsior Club, we feel in duty bound to report it."

Sources:

New York Clipper, July 1860. 

Comment:

Tied after eight innings, the outcome was prophetic for the ensuing election (in the state legislature) for the U. S. Senate: Douglas 16, Lincoln 14.  

Year
1860
Item
1860.37
Edit

1860.67 Base Ball on Ice

Tags:

Ball in the Culture

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"A GAME OF BASE BALL ON THE ICE.-- ...when it is taken into consideration that the players had skates on, the score may be called a remarkably good one-- equal to the majority of games which take place on terra firma."

Sources:

New York Sunday Mercury, Jan. 22, 1860

Comment:

The Live Oak Club of Rochester had played a team of players from other clubs in that city, and defeated them 30-29, 12 per side.

A side effect of the skating craze which arose in the same period as the base ball craze, ice base ball was played well into the 1880s.

Year
1860
Item
1860.67
Edit

1860.70 Space Wanted

Tags:

Ball in the Culture

Game:

Base Ball

'BASE BALL. MORE PLAYGROUNDS WANTED.-- We have often wondered why the owners of unproductive property up-town, lying contiguous to the railroads on the east and west sides of the city (New York City), did not seize upon the idea of converting their lands into grounds for the use of base ball clubs, and thus...realize a rental sufficient to pay handsomely for the investment...twenty good places would be in active demand."

Sources:

New York Sunday Mercury, March 4, 1860.

Comment:

The Sunday Mercury had received a letter from a New York player speculating, among other things, that the Brooklyn clubs were overwhelming New York opponents because of their superior and much more convenient facilities. The lette was reprinted in the same issue.

Year
1860
Item
1860.70
Edit

1860.73 Batting Cage Debuts

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Business of Baseball

Age of Players:

Adult

[A] (ad) "CRICKET COURT, 654 BROADWAY.-- CRICKET AND Base Ball Practice.-- The spacious saloon, 654 Broadway, is now open. Gentlemen wishing to perfect themselves in the above game will do well to call, as they will always find wickets pitched and a professional bowler to give instructions to those who require it."

Sources:

[A] New York Herald, April 4, 1860

New York Sunday Mercury, April 8, 1860

Spirit of the Times, June 2, 1860

Year
1860
Item
1860.73
Edit

1860.76 Trade Games Proliferate

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Business of Baseball

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

Games between teams of employees from "commercial establishments" proliferated in 1860, to not everyone's enjoyment:

"A SUGGESTION.-- We observe that matches at base ball are being put up by business establishments. The World and Times newspapers had a match...We presume we shall next have a contest between Spaulding's Prepared Glue and the Retired Physician, or a Standish's Pills nine vs. Townsend's Sarsparilla. Why not? A little gratuitous advertsiing may, perhaps, be got in this way. But, for goodness' sake, gentlemen, don't run the thing into the ground."

Sources:

New York Sunday Mercury, Oct. 7, 1860

Year
1860
Item
1860.76
Edit

1860.77 Treat Us Special

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Business of Baseball, Newspaper Coverage

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"BASE BALL. ACCOMMODATIONS FOR REPORTING.-- We would suggest to clubs, uponn whose grounds matches are played during the season, the propriety of providing a small table and a few chairs for the accommodation of the press. We have frequently found all the best places for seeing a match monopolized by members of the playing club, while we have been compelled to do our reporting on the back of some kindly-disposed gentleman on the outside circle. The Eckford, Excelsior, and a few other clubs we might name, manage this business better; and all ought to follow their example."

Sources:

New York Sunday Mercury, May 20, 1860

Year
1860
Item
1860.77
Edit

1860.79 Regatta Cancelled Due To Base Ball

Tags:

Ball in the Culture

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"THE BROOKLYN YACHT CLUB.-- The Third Annual Regatta of the Brooklyn Yacht Club was to have taken place on Thursday, from the foot of Court street, but in consequence of a Base Ball Match fixed for the same day, it was postponed until Monday next, 25th inst. The Base Ball Ground is in the immediate vicinity of the Club House, and as a number of the members of the Yacht Club are also connected with Base Ball Clubs, it was thought policy to not have two great attractions at one time."

Sources:

New York Evening Express, June 22, 1860

Comment:

The Excelsior Club of South Brooklyn, whose grounds adjoined the Yacht Club, defeated the Charter Oak Club, also of Brooklyn, 36-9. The Yacht Club opened its 2nd-story veranda for viewing the games.

Year
1860
Item
1860.79
Edit

1860.80 Muffin Matches--Low Skills, High Comedy

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Newspaper Coverage

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

[A] "THE MUFFIN MATCH.-- The match between the muffs of the Putnam and Excelsior Clubs, of Brooklyn...was, as we anticipated, an extraordinary affair, and productive of much amusement...People who can hold a ball (except by accident) when it is thrown to them, reflect upon their associate muffs, and don't deserve to have a place...we may mention one striking tableau...(Clark), having struck the ball, set out with all his might and main for the first base, which was carefully guarded by the ever-vigilant Andriese. Clark overran the base, and the ball overran Andriese; each, however, ran for the object of his pursuit, and Clark picked up the base...and held it aloft as a trophy of victory; while Andriese, quickly grabbing up the ball from the ground, turned a double somerset, and landing on one leg, projected the hand which held the ball gracefully toward the base, high in air, and called for judgment. Inasmuch as Clark, though under the base, had two fingers and a thumb over it, the umpire decided that he 'had the base', and wasn't out."

[B] "Muffin" was evidently new slang: 

"'MUFFIN.'-- Base Ball...bids fair to enrich the copious vocabulary of the English language by a new term-- the word 'muffin'. A 'muff'  (is)...a ball-player noted for catching anything but the ball...'Muffin" is an elongation of the word, and 'the muffins' is understood to be a collection of individuals, whose fingers are pretty much all thumbs-- in other words a collection of muffs...The word will find its way into more general acceptance and may hereafter puzzle some future philologist."

Sources:

[A] New York Sunday Mercury, July 1, 1860

[B] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Aug. 22, 1860

Comment:

Interclub muffin matches were an occasional feature, mostly before the Civil War, between the larger clubs.

Year
1860
Item
1860.80
Edit

1860.84 Jolly Good Fellows

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Newspaper Coverage

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

Base Ball. ATLANTIC, OF BROOKLYN vs. LIBERTY, OF NEW BRUNSWICK.--About six o'clock both Clubs partook of a sumptuous repast at the Montauk Restaurant, near Fulton ferry...More than one hundred gentlemen entered heartily into the spirit of the occasion...Mr. Prendergast...sung 'Fondly I'm Dreaming' in capital style...Judge Provost, of N. B., followed in a humorous speech complimenting both Clubs on their excellent play...'The Brunswickers were worsted today, next year they would come out silk-and-cotton'...Mr. Pete O'Brien, of the Atlantics--the very cut of a comic singer--set the table in a roar with with quite a budget of the drollest of Irish songs."

Sources:

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Oct. 9, 1860

Comment:

The game ball-- the "trophy ball"---was also presented to the president of the winning club during the party. 

Year
1860
Item
1860.84
Edit

1860.89 Holder Whiffs Smoking

Tags:

Ball in the Culture

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

Holder, who was indulging in the pleasures of the weed, while at the bat, struck out.

Sources:

Game report, Excelsior BBC of Brooklyn vs. Putnam BBC of Brooklyn, August 4, 1860, in New York Sunday Mercury, August 5, 1860

Warning:

Smoking is hazardous to your success in base ball.

Year
1860
Item
1860.89
Edit

1860.90 Atlantics' "Lucky Seventh" Yields Nine Runs; The Start of Some Base Ball Lore?

Tags:

Ball in the Culture

Age of Players:

Adult

 

"That seventh inning, which was thereafter called 'the lucky seventh,' was a memorable one in the annals of the Atlantics' career, for a finer display of batting was never before seen in this vicinity."

(Trailing the Excelsior Club 12-6 after six, the Atlantics scored nine runs in the 7th.

For a fuller game description see Supplemental Text, below.

Sources:

New York Clipper, as cited in the Brooklyn Eagle of December 25, 1910.

Comment:

My researcher friends and I have gone around previously about the origins of the seventh inning stretch, so I'll not revisit that today. However, I can recall as a boy learning that the seventh was a lucky inning for the home team. Apart from the magical properties assigned to the number 7, here may be the origin of that notion in baseball.  -- John Thorn, October 2016

Note: For some other ideas about the origins of "lucky seventh," see Paul Dickson, The Dicksom Baseball Dictionary, 3rd edition, 2009 Norton), page 513.

Query:

Do we know what is meant by the note that Creighton "batted out of the pitcher's position?"

(In reply, John Thorn (email, 10/4/16) writes, "For a while batting orders were constructed by numbered position, so that the lineup would be pitcher, catcher, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, LF, CF, RF. But I speculate. . . .")

Year
1860
Item
1860.90
Edit
Source Text

1861c.3 Lincoln and Baseball: The Presidential Years

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Famous

Location:

Washington DC

Notables:

Abraham Lincoln

[A] "We boys, for hours at a time, played "town ball" [at my grandfather's estate in Silver Spring, MD] on the vast lawn, and Mr. [Abe] Lincoln would join ardently in the sport. I remember vividly how he ran with the children; how long were his strides, and how far his coat-tails stuck out behind, and how we tried to hit him with the ball, as he ran the bases." 

[B] "Years after the Civil War, Winfield Scott Larner of Washington remembered attending a game played on an old Washington circus lot in 1862...Lincoln, followed by his son Tad...made his way up to where he could see the game...On departing Lincoln and Tad accepted three loud cheers from the crowd."

 

Sources:

[A] Recollection [c.1890?] of Frank P. Blair III in Ida M. Tarbell, The Life of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 2 (Lincoln Memorial Association, New York, 1900), page 88.

[B] The Evening Star (Washington, D. C.), July 12, 1914. Quoted in American Baseball: From Gentleman's Sport to the Commissioner System (university of Oklahoma Press, 1966), p.11.

Comment:

Blair, whose grandfather was Lincoln's Postmaster General, lived in Silver Spring, MD, just outside Washington. Blair was born in 1858 or 1859.

Circa
1861
Item
1861c.3
Edit

1861.41 Base Ball A Silver Lining

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Civil War, Newspaper Coverage

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

[A] "The first base ball match of the season came off yesterday...It was thought that cannon balls would supersede base balls this season-- that our meetings and delightful measures would be exchanged for the pride, pomp, and circumstances of glorious war, but even in their ashes live our wonted fires, and though faint and few, we are fearless still. The event of yesterday is therefore generally regarded as a promising sign of the times."

[B] "THE HOBOKEN BASE BALL CLUBS.-- The ball grounds at the Elysian Fields, Hoboken, begin to wear a very lively look...Several important matches are nearly arranged...The return of the Seventh, National Guard, added a reinforcement of some forty members to our prominent base ball clubs."

Sources:

[A] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 6, 1861

[B] Wilkes' Spirit of the Times, June 16, 1861

Year
1861
Item
1861.41
Edit

1861.42 Welcome Back

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Civil War

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

[A] "THE RETURN OF THE 13TH REGIMENT. MEETING OF BASE BALL PLAYERS. A meeting of one delegate from each base ball club of this city will meet at Paul ,Mead's, No. 1 Willoughby street, this evening, to make arrangements for receiving the base ball players connected with the 13th Regt."

[B] "RETURN OF THE 13TH REGIMENT. THE BASE BALL CLUBS. The Base-Ball Clubs were fully represented (13 clubs listed)...The clubs all formed on Furman street, right resting on Fulton. Each member was provided with a badge, bearing the motto, 'Base-Ball, Fraternity'. They occupied the advance of the column."

Sources:

[A] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 29, 1861

[B] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 30, 1861

 

Year
1861
Item
1861.42
Edit

1862.1 Brooklyn Games Organized as Benefits for Sick and Wounded Soldiers

Location:

NY

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

Three games were announced in June 1862 for which net proceeds would be used for sick and wounded Union soldiers. The Eckfords and the Atlantics would play for a silver ball donated by the Continental Club. William Cammeyer provided the enclosed Union grounds without charge. Admission fees of 10 cents were projected to raise $6000 for soldiers' relief. The Eckford won the Silver Ball by winning two of three games.

 

Sources:

"Relief for the Sick and Wounded," Brooklyn Eagle, June 21, 1862, page 2.

Craig Waff, "The 'Silver Ball' Game-- Eckfords vs. Atlantics at the Union Grounds", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013), pp. 39-42

Year
1862
Item
1862.1
Edit

1862.18 Impact of War Lessens in NYC

Tags:

Ball in the Culture

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

[A] "BALL PLAYERS OFF TO THE WAR.-- But few of the fraternity, in comparison with the number who left in May, 1861, have gone off to the war this time in the militia regiments...All the clubs have their representatives in the several regiments...but the hegira of warlike ball-players is nothing near as great as in 1861, the necessity not being as pressing..."

[B] "Base Ball. The return of the 47th and 13th regiments has given quite an impetus to ball playing, and the vigor and energy that characterizes the ball player are again displaying themselves in the various clubs."

[C] "BASE BALL. THE BALTIC BASE BALL CLUB OF NEW YORK. It is really a pleasure to welcome the 'Old Baltics' again to the base ball field. At the commencement of the rebellion a great many of the most active and prominent members of this club, patriotically enlisted under and fought for the 'old flag;' this was the main cause of the club's temporary disbandment..."

Sources:

[A] New York Sunday Mercury, June 1, 1862

[B] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sep. 9, 1862

[C] Wilkes' Spirit of the Times, Nov. 29, 1862

 

Comment:

In an editorial printed on Aug. 9, 1862 Fitzgerald's City Item, of Philadelphia listed arguments for continuing base ball during the war.

Year
1862
Item
1862.18
Edit

1864.35 Government Promotes Base Ball

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Civil War, Military

Location:

US

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"GOVERNMENT BALL GROUNDS.-- The game of base ball has lately received such an indorement (sic) at the hands of the U. S. government as will go far toward giving it permanency as the national game of ball in America. Not only have base ball matches been encouraged by the military authorities, at the various army stations, as a means of recreation, as a means of recreation and exercise for the soldiers, in hours of relaxation from active service...but the naval authorities have recently made arrangements by which our sailors can similarly enjoy a pleasurable sport and healthy exercise at the same time. A large space of ground, lately recovered from the swamp lands adjoining the Navy yard, has been prepared as a ball ground, and during the summer the sailors and marines on board the several vessels at the depot are to use it when off duty. ...Ball players are being made by the hundred in our army. The few members of clubs who happen to get into the different regiments that have emanated from the Metropolis have inoculated the whole service with the love of the game, and during last year, for the first time, we believe, that base ball matches took place in every State in the Union-- or out of it, as the case may be--this side of the Mississippi."

Sources:

Brooklyn Daily Eagle,  March 30, 1864

Year
1864
Item
1864.35
Edit

1864.39 Helping the Sanitary Commission

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Civil War

Location:

Philadelphia

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"A BALL-PLAYING JUBILEE IN PHILADELPHIA.-- Wednesday, May 25, and the three days following it, are going to be devoted to a regular gala-time in ball-play in the City of Brotherly Love, the 25th inst. being the occasion on which the grand match was suggested to the ball-players of Pennsylvania and New Jersey is to take place-- the contest being one for the benefit of the United States Sanitary Commission-- the contestants being selected nines from the prominent clubs of New Jersey and Pennsylvania."

Sources:

[A] New York Sunday Mercury, May 15, 1864

[B] Philadelphia Illustrated New Age, May 25, 1864

Comment:

The United States Sanitary Commission was a private relief agency created by federal legislation on June 18, 1861, to support sick and wounded soldiers of the U.S. Army during the American Civil War. It operated across the North, raised an estimated $25 million in Civil War era revenue and in-kind contributions

Year
1864
Item
1864.39
Edit

1864.43 Like It or Lump It, Gents

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Newspaper Coverage

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

[A] "ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.-- ...If any club is dissatisfied with our reports of their games, let them personally inform us of the fact; not go to our employers to revenge any fancied injury or trying to injure us. The base ball clubs must either take our reports as we give them, in our endeavor to do impartial justice to all, or they will not have a line of notice emanating from our pen...the next time the club our correspondent refers to see their name written by us in any paper with which we are connected, it will be when they behave to us like other clubs...we do not harbor ill will towards a solitary member of the Atlantic club...but there is a principle involved...it being the right of a reporter of base ball matches to fairly criticise the actions of players..."

[B] "ATLANTIC VS. GOTHAM.-- ...Our reporter will give a full account of the proceedings, as the satisfactory explanations made to him by the Secretary of the Club on Friday, have, as far as he is concerned, entirely restored the friendly relations which had previously been interrupted."

Sources:

[A] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 29, 1864

[B] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sept. 17, 1864

 

Year
1864
Item
1864.43
Edit

1865.9 The Abolition of Suppers to Clubs

Tags:

Ball in the Culture

Location:

GNYC

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"THE ABOLITION OF SUPPERS TO CLUBS.-- The following are the clubs whose presidents have appended their signatures to the resolution putting a stop to clubs entertainments to their adversaries  after matches played among themselves. This season no suppers or refreshments will be tendered to any of the clubs playing matches with each other named in the following list, except it be done by private parties and not at the expense of the club. All visiting clubs from out-of-town localities will be hospitably received as usual. The clubs signed the resolution in the following order: Mutual, Star, Newark, Eagle, Resolute, Atlantic, Empire, Gotham, and Active. The others will also sign it before the month expires."

Sources:

New York Sunday Mercury, April 16, 1865

Comment:

Notable for their absence: the Knickerbocker and the Excelsior of Brooklyn.

Year
1865
Item
1865.9
Edit

1865.11 Atlantic Ball Committee Issues Fanciful Invitation

Tags:

Ball in the Culture

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"Base Ball. THE ATLANTIC CLUB BALL.-- The members of the Atlantic Club give their fifth soiree dansante, on Thursday Evening, January 10th, on which occasion they should have a delightful time, at Gothic Hall Adams st. The Atlantics are Pacific-ally inclined, and bent on Union with their Athletic brethren of several ball clubs. Their motto is Excelsior as players, and the Star of their destiny is Victory. Their Enterprise leads to Mutual efforts to excel, and patriotically they desire to see the Eagle resume its Empire over the whole land. Though they have never met the Knickerbocker or Gotham on the field they hope to do so next season, when they intend showing them how Active they are in the fly game. Resolute in achieving the laurels of the championship, that being the Keystone of their temple of fame, they fought bravely for the lead, and when the last game was ended their cry was Eureka. Their old friends of the Eckford, it is to be hoped, will meet them at the Gothic Hall on this festive occasion, for it is to be a fraternal gathering of representatives from all the clubs, from Ontario lake to Nassau island, and from Camden to Utica. 

Sources:

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 6, 1865

Comment:

Fanciful, but containing a reminder that the Atlantic were the champion club of 1864, and apparently forgetful of the Club's matches with the Gotham in 1857 and 1858, which ended with the Gotham's ending of the series.

Year
1865
Item
1865.11
Edit

1865.13 Elysian? Yes. Sacred? No.

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Business of Baseball

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"The old (Elysian Field baseball) grounds have lately been greatly improved. Trees have been cut down, rocks have been taken up, hollows filled up and hills levelled, and in fact everything has been done to make the field one of the finest ball grounds in the country. Permanent seats are to be placed on the boundary line set apart for spectators, and henceforth no difficulty will be experienced in keeping the crowd from interfering with the players around the catcher's and first and third base player's positions."

Sources:

New York Clipper, May 13, 1865

Year
1865
Item
1865.13
Edit

1865.15 Base Ball for the Haute Monde

Tags:

Ball in the Culture

Age of Players:

Adult

"Base Ball. EXCELSIOR OF BROOKLYN VS. KNICKERBOCKER OF NEW YORK. The Excelsior Club of Brooklyn, which in 1860 was the model club of the United States, and which, socially speaking, has but few equals now, had a friendly game with their old competitors of the veteran Knickerbocker Club, the Nestors of base ball, yesterday, at Hoboken, and a most enjoyable meeting it was. On this interesting occasion the busy denizens of Wall street, Exchange place, &c., threw aside their speculative ideas for the time being, and ignoring oil and gold stocks seek the green turf, and with bats and balls chase dull care away in brilliant style."

Sources:

New York Herald, July 8, 1865

Year
1865
Item
1865.15
Edit

1865.18 Atlantic Get Championship Flag

Tags:

Ball in the Culture

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"FLAG PRESENTATION. Just as the game (Empire vs. Atlantic) commenced, a member of the Atlantic club, on behalf of Miss Emma Jean Boerum, presented to the Atlantic Base Ball Club a streamer 150 feet long. The Empire Club run it up their flag staff and it will henceforth wave as an emblem of championship until some club shall take it away. Such gifts are held in high esteem by the Atlantic boys, coming from the fair sex and so unexpectedly."

Sources:

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 22, 1865

Year
1865
Item
1865.18
Edit

1865.20 Eagle Eyes Height and Weight

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Newspaper Coverage

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"The following table will give the champion nine, their age and weight...

Name                    Age         Weight

Pearce,c                 28           145 pounds

Pratt, p                  21           140   "

Start, 1st b            23           160   "

Crane, 2d b            20           180   "

C. J. Smith, 3d b     29           150   "

Galvin, ss               23           160   "

Chapman, l f           22           155   "

P. O'Brien, c f         39            150   "

Sid. Smith, r f        23            135   "

Sources:

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Aug. 24, 1865

Comment:

First appearance of players' physical information, a staple of newspaper articles for many years.

Year
1865
Item
1865.20
Edit

1867.9 Your Tax Dollars At Work/Play

Tags:

Ball in the Culture, Baseball Professionalism

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"...a number of the players had clerkships in that department and in
fact a fairly frequently reprinted quotation calls the Second Auditor's
office was "the birthplace of baseball in Washington."

Sources:

19cbb post by David Ball, Dec. 16, 2002, quoting the Washington Star, 8/14/27 and <em>Washington Evening Star, </em>10/1/33. 

Comment:

Creation of  phantom jobs for ballplayers was a commonplace in baseball's amateur era.

Year
1867
Item
1867.9
Edit

1867.12 Post-War Spread of Baseball Noted

Tags:

Ball in the Culture

Game:

Base Ball

"The Base Ball Mania

Since the cruel war was over, the patriotism of our nation's young 
men has commenced to manifest itself in the shape of a general 
mania--no, not mania, but passion--for the game of base ball, generally 
denominated our "national game," with evident propriety, seeing that it 
is much better and much more generally played in American than in other 
countries. The popularity of base ball was greatly increased, 
especially at the West, within the present season. In Wisconsin, where, 
three years ago, there was scarcely a club playing anything like the 
"regulation" game, there are now probably not less than a hundred 
clubs, all in the "full tide of successful operation." Nearly every 
country newspaper that we take up contains either an account of a match 
between the club of Dodge's Corners and the invincible First Nine of 
Smithville, or else a notice for the "Irrepressibles," the "Athletics," 
the "Badgers," or the "Gophers" to turn out for practice on Saturday 
afternoon. An immense amount of proper healthy physical exercise if 
thus afforded, and a fearful amount of muscle and dexterity developed. 
And at the same time the youths who thus disport themselves can have 
the satisfaction of realizing that they are practicing at our great 
nation's own patriotic game. "

Sources:

Milwaukee Sentinel, July 25, 1867, per 19cbb post by Dennis Pajot, Jan. 28, 2010

Year
1867
Item
1867.12
Edit

1869.10 In Reconstruction SC, Riot Follows a Ball Game

Tags:

African Americans, Ball in the Culture

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

In July 1869, a party of over 100 people, including a base ball club and a colored brass band, traveled south from Savannah to Charleston SC to play the Carolina Base Ball Club.

Savannah triumphed, 35-17, before a large, mixed-race crowd, which spilled onto the playing field after the game and before a throwing contest was to be held.  Police and bayonet-wielding troops were summoned; a melee ensued, and in the process the Savannah band kept playing "Dixie."    

Three weeks later, the Savannah Club returned.  It won again, 57-36.  And again there was violence, but it was limited this time.

 

 

Sources:

Richard Hershberger, The Baseball Riot of 1869, Ordinary Times, February 4 2016.  See http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/2016/02/04/the-baseball-race-riot-of-1869/.  Richard's own sources are listed at the end of his article.

Comment:

Richard contemplates whether to call this a base ball riot.  "There clearly is an argument that baseball is incidental to the riot."  The story shows where sports history and cultural history overlap.  

For more on the Savannah club, see http://protoball.org/Savannah_Base_Ball_Club.  

Year
1869
Item
1869.10
Edit


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