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1845.12 Cleveland OH Bans "Any Game of Ball"
"[I]t shall be unlawful for any person or persons to play at any game of Ball . . . whereby the grass or grounds of any Pubic place or square shall be defaced or injured." (Fine is $5 plus costs of prosecution.)
Cleveland City Council Archives, 1845. March 4, 1845 Link provided by John Thorn 11/6/2006. For an image of the ordinance, go to:
http://omp.ohiolink.edu/OMP/Printable?oid=1048668&scrapid=2742, accessed /2/2008. This site refers to an earlier ban: "Although as earlier city ordinance outlawed the playing of baseball in the Public Square in Cleveland, the public was not easily dissuaded from playing . . . ." Note: is the earlier Cleveland ban findable?
On 3/6/2008, Craig Waff posted a note to 19CBB that in 1857 it was reported that "this truly national game is daily played in the pubic square," but that a city official suggested that it violated a local ordinance (presumably that of 3/4/1845), and then reported that there in fact was no such law. "The crowd sent up a shout and renewed the game, which continued until dark." "Base Ball in Cleveland, Porter's Spirit of the Times, Volume 2, number 7 (April 18, 1857, page 109, column 1.P
1850s.20 Town-ball Played in Ohio with "Lazarus" Rule
Mark Hanna, Repubican Senator from Ohio, 1897-1904
"Town-ball was base-ball in the rough. I recall some distinctive features: If a batter missed a ball and the catcher behind took it, he was 'caught out.' Three 'nips' also put him out. He might be caught out on 'first bounce.' If the ball were thrown across his path while running base, he was out. One peculiar feature was that the last batter on a side might bring his whole side in by successfully running to first base and back six times in succession, touching first base with his bat after batting. This was not often, but sometimes done; and we were apt to hold back our best batter to the last, which we called 'saving up for six-maker.' This phrase became a general proverb for some large undertaking; and to say of one 'he's a six-maker,' meant that he was a tip-top fellow in whatever he undertook, and no higher compliment could be passed. I have no definite recollection of he Senator's special success at ball, his favorite game; in the broad fields of subsequent life he certainly became a 'six maker.'"
Source: Henry C. McCook, The Senator: A Threnody (George W. Jacobs, Philadelphia, 1905), page 208. This passage is excerpted from the annotations to a long poem written in honor the memory of Senator Marcus Hanna of OH. The likely location of the games was in Lisbon, in easternmost OH - about 45 miles northwest of Pittsburgh PA.. The verse itself: "Shinny and marbles, flying kite and ball, / Hat-ball and hand-ball and, best loved of all!-/ Town-ball, that fine field sport, that soon/ By natural growth and skilful change, became/ Baseball, by use and popular acclaim/ Our nation's favorite game" [Ibid. page 54]. McCook's note describes hat-ball as a plugging game, and hand-ball as a game for one sides of one, two, or three boys that was played "against a windowless brick gable wall."
Posted to 19CBB on 8/13/2007, by Richard Hershberger, supplemented by 8/14/2007 and 12/19/2008 emails.
Note: were "nips" foul tips?
1855.33 Wicket Club Plays in Ohio -- Ladies Bestow MVP Prize
"This evening members of the "Excelsior Wicket Club" contest for the prize of a boquet [sic], to be awarded the player who makes the most innings.
The ladies are to be on the club ground--the Huron Park--and award the prize to the winner. Happy fellow, he! May there be steady hands and cool heads that some nice young man shall win very sweet smiles as well as the sweet flowers."
Sandusky Register, 5/12/1855.
Richard Hershberger, who dug up this notice, notes that this club was an early case of an organized wicket club.
New England generally was a late comer to organized clubs as the medium for team sports. Cricket is the exception, with some clubs in imitation of the English model and, from the 1840s on, clubs largely composed of English immigrants.
"Wicket followed a model of village teams, with no obvious sign of formal club structures of constitutions and officers and the like. We don't see that until the mid-1850s, and then more with baseball than with wicket. Even with what where nominally baseball clubs, I suspect that many were actually closer to the village team model, with a bit of repackaging."
Sandusky OH (1855 pop. probably around 7000) is in northernmost OH, about 50 miles SE of Toledo and about 50 miles W of Cleveland.
Do we know what "makes the most innings" means in the newspaper account?
1857.7 Daily Base Ball Games Found in Public Square in Cleveland
"Base Ball at Cleveland This truly national game is daily played in the public square, and one of the city authorities decided that there was law against it. When appealed to, he quietly informed the players that there was no law against ball-playing there . . . The crowd sent up a shout and renewed the game, which continued until dark."
Porter's Spirit of the Times, April 18, 1857. Facsimile contributed by Gregory Christiano, December 2, 2009.
No details on the rules used in these games is provided. Others have dated the arrival of the Association game in Ohio to 1864.
1857c.34 Wicket Played at Eastern OH College; Future President Excels
"In the street, in front of [Hiram College] President Hinsdale's (which was then Mr. Garfield's house), is the ground where we played wicket ball; Mr. Garfield was one of our best players."
F. M. Green, Hiram College (Hubbell Printing, Cleveland, 1901), page 156. Accessed via Google Books search ("Hiram College" green).
James A. Garfield was Principal and Professor at Hiram College from 1856-1859. He was about 26 in 1857, and had been born and reared in Eastern Ohio. Hiram Ohio is about 30 miles SE of Cleveland.
1858.53 At Kenyon College, Base Ball Takes Unusual Form
The Kenyon Club, comprised of Kenyon students, lost to the boys from Milnor Hall at the College, losing 93 to 68 in three innings. Each side fielded eleven players. The box score reveals an unusual feature. Players scored widely varying runs in an inning; Denning, for example scored 10 times in the first inning for the Kenyon Club, while three of his teammates did not score at all. This might indicate that either an all-out/side out game was played, or a cricket-style rule allowed each batter to retain his ups until he was retired.
The College is in Central OH, about 45 miles NE of Columbus.
"Base Ball at Kenyon College," New York Clipper, May 15, 1858.
1860.25 Wicket and Base Ball at Kenyon College, OH
[After a report on Kenyon's base ball club, including "the great fever which has raged for the laudable exercise of ball playing:"] "The heavier game of wicket has also had many admirers, and we doubt not but that many of them will live longer and be happier men on account of wielding the heavy bats."
University Quarterly (Kenyon College, July 1860), page 198: Accessed 2/17/10 via Google Books search ("heavier game of wicket").
1860.39 In Oberlin OH, It's Railroad Club 49, Uptown Club 44.
"Base Ball at Oberlin O. - A match game between the Railroad and Uptown Clubs, took place at Oberlin"
New York Clipper, July 28, 1860
The box score shows two eight-player teams. Oberlin OH is 35 miles southwest of Cleveland.
1861.62 Ohio Soldiers box and play ball
The Cadiz (Ohio) Democratic Sentinel, May 25, 1861 reports on Ohio soldiers at Camp Dennison, east of Cincinnati: "Various are the sports devised by the soldiers to pass away their leisure hours: such as sparring, ball playing, singing, dancing, and almost every sport that could be thought of, or that ever was practiced..."
The Cadiz (Ohio) Democratic Sentinel, May 25, 1861
1862.78 Baseball at Camp Cleveland
Theodore Tracie's 1874 book, "Annals of the Nineteenth Ohio Volunteer Artillery" recalls soldier life in 1862 in Camp Cleveland (bounded by West 5th, Railway, West 7th and Marquardt) in what is now Tremont. Says that among other diversions, "Baseball games were played on the parade grounds."
1863.72 Soldiers confront idleness with ball playing
The Akron "Summit County Beacon," Sept. 10, 1863 prints a letter from "The Encampment of Camp Cuyahoga" (in Cleveland) saying that on the 25th "the day was spent in idleness and ball playing" because needed quartermaster supplies had not yet arrived.
The Akron "Summit County Beacon," Sept. 10, 1863
1864.23 Southern Officers Play Ball in Ohio Prison
Perhaps the best documented instance of ballplaying in the Civil War occurred near Sandusky Ohio, site of the Johnson’s Island prison for southern officers. Beginning in about July 1864, apparently, matches were common. Accounts from 6 diaries give accounts of regular play. According to one diarist, the officers also had a cricket club and a chess club.
In-depth coverage of base ball at Johnson’s Island is found in John R. Husman, “Ohio’s First Baseball Game: Played by Confederates and Taught to Yankees,” Base Ball, Volume 2, Issue 1 (Spring 2008), pp 58-65. Husman reports that while prior interclub play in OH is known, the prison saw the first match game. He also points out that at least some players knew the New York game from pre-war play in New Orleans.
See also W. A. Nash, "Camp, Field and Prison Life" p. 234, 168.
See also Benjamin Cooling, "Forts Henry and Donelson" p. 257, stating the POWs played town ball, which cites the prison journal of Captain John Henry Guy at the VA Historical Society; Curran, "John Dooley's Civil War..." p. 295, which has a diary entry on an Aug. 29, 1864 game.
See also John Snead Lambdin's "Recollections of my prison Life," in the Magnolia (MS) Gazette Oct. 22, 1880.