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1857.26 Baltimore Clubs Adopt the New Game
"Baltimore became a great center of the baseball in the very early days of the game. The Excelsiors were in the field in 1857, the Waverlys in 1858, and the Baltimores in 1859. Another club disputed the latter's right to the [club name], and a game played for the name the first formed club won."
George V. Tuohey, "The Story of Baseball," The Scrap Book Volume 1, July, 1906 (Munsey, New York, 1906), page 442. Accessed 2/16/10 via Google Books search ("baltimores in 1859").
According to Peter Morris in Base Ball Pioneers (McFarland, 2012, p. 253), the first club, the Excelsior, took the field in 1858. Source: William R. Griffith, The Early History of Amateur Baseball in the State of Maryland, (Baltimore, n.p.1997), p. 4.
The first club was formed in direct homage to the Excelsiors of Brooklyn.
1858.26 Wicket, as Well as Cricket and Base Ball, Reported in Baltimore MD
"Exercise clubs and gymnasia are spring up everywhere. The papers have daily records of games at cricket, wicket, base ball, etc."
Editorial, "Physical Education," Graham's American Monthly of Literature, art, and Fashion, Volume 53, Number 6 [December 1858], page 495.
1860.12 Baltimore MD Welcomes Visiting Excelsiors of Brooklyn, and See A Triple Play
[A] "A great match at base ball comes off here today between the Excelsior Club of Brooklyn, and a Club of the same name belonging to this city. . . . Thousands are already on their way in the City Rail Road cars and on foot to witness this exhibition of skill on the part of these, said to be he two most expert clubs in the country n this exhilarating game. Several clubs belonging to other cities are here to witness and enjoy the sport."
[B] They saw one of the first recorded triple plays. We now know that it wasn't the first triple play ever [see #1859.30 above], but it was a snazzy play. "By one of the handsomest backward single-handed catches ever made by [the gloveless LF] Creighton, he took the ball on the fly, and instantly, by a true and rapid throw, passed the ball to [3B] Whiting, who caught it, and threw quickly to Brainerd, on the second base, before either Sears or Patchen had time to return to their bases." The trick "elicited a spontaneous mark of approbation and applause from the vast assemblage [the crowd roared]."
[A] Macon [GA] Weekly Telegraph, October 4, 1860, reprinting from a Baltimore source. Accessed via subscription search May 21, 2009.
[B] "Out-Door Sports: Base Ball: The Southern Trip of the Excelsior Club," Sunday Mercury, Volume 22, number 40 (September 30, 1860), page 5, columns 2 and 3.
The game was reported in the Greater New York City press.
1860.44 Score it 7-5-4: "Three Hands Out in a Jiffy"
We now know that it wasn't the first triple play ever [see #1859.30 above], but it was a snazzy play. "By one of the handsomest backward single-handed catches ever made by [the gloveless LF] Creighton, he took the ball on the fly, and instantly, by a true and rapid throw, passed the ball to [3B] Whiting, who caught it, and threw quickly to Brainerd, on the second base, before either Sears or Patchen had time to return to their bases." The trick "elicited a spontaneous mark of approbation and applause from the vast assemblage [the crowd roared]."
"Out-Door Sports: Base Ball: The Southern Trip of the Excelsior Club," Sunday Mercury, Volume 22, number 40 (September 30, 1860), page 5, columns 2 and 3.
The game, in Baltimore, pitted Creighton's Brooklyn Excelsiors against a Baltimore club that had formed in their image [see #1858.46].
1860.65 The Grand Excursion, Part II
After traveling previously through New York state, the Excelsior Club of South Brooklyn traveled to Philadelphia and Baltimore.
Craig Waff, "The Grand Excursion, Part II-- Excelsiors of Brooklyn vs. Excelsiors of Baltimore and vs. a Picked Nine of Philadelphia", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013), pp. 34-35
1861.58 13th Massachusetts looks forward to an "exciting game"
The Cape Ann Light and Gloucester Telegraph, Nov. 23, 1861 prints a Nov. 15th letter from a soldier of the 13th MA, in Williamsport, MD: "We are to have a game of base ball on that day [Thanksgiving], between the right and left wings of the regiment, and it will be an exciting one. We also play frequently at foot-ball."
The Cape Ann Light and Gloucester Telegraph, Nov. 23, 1861
1862.19 The 39th Massachusetts Plays Ball
The regimental history of the 39th MA has two passing references to ballplaying. On Thanksgiving Day of 1862, "There was a release from the greater part of camp duties and the time thus secured was devoted to baseball, football and other diversions so easily devised by the American youth" [p. 50]. The regimental camp was in southern MD, within 15 miles of Washington. April 2, 1863 "was the regular New England Fast Day, and a holiday was proclaimed by the Colonel . . . . [T]here was no failure in taking part in the races, sparring-matches, and various games, of at least witnessing them. The baseball game was between the men of Sleeper's Battery and those selected from the 39th with the honors remaining with the Infantry, though the cannoneers were supposed to be particularly skillful in the throwing of balls." [page 64]. The regiment was now in Poolesville MD, about 30 miles NW of Washington.
Alfred S. Roe, The Thirty-Ninth Regiment. Massachusetts Volunteers 1862-1865 (Regimental Veteran Association, Worcester, 1914). Accessed 6/3/09 on Google Books via "'thirty-ninth' roe" search. PBall file: CW-26.
The regiment was drawn from the general Boston area.
1862.37 Thanksgiving and Foot-ball . . . and Base-Ball
A soldier in the 18th CT, Charles Lynch spent Thanksgiving at a camp near Baltimore. “November. The most important event was our first Thanksgiving in camp. Passed very pleasantly. A good dinner, with games of foot and base-ball.”
After Appomattox, Lynch wrote: June 5th: . . . Thank God the cruel war is over. Playing ball, pitching quoits, helping the farmers, is the way we pass the time while waiting for orders to be mustered out. We have many friends in this town and vicinity.” These are the only references in the diary to ballplaying. In June Lynch was stationed in Martinsburg WV, about 30 miles west of Frederick MD and 75 miles northwest of Washington.
Charles H. Lynch, The Civil War Diary 1862-1865 (private printing, 1915), page 11, page 154. Accessed on Google books 6/2/09 via “charles h. lynch” search. Lynch, and presumably much of the regiment, was from the Norwich CT area. Lead provided by Jeff Kittel, 5/12/09.