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1850s.18 Baseball's Beginnings at U Penn?
"Baseball was first played by Penn students before the Civil War when the University was still located at its Ninth Street campus. The game was probably played casually by students in the 1850s."
http://www.archives.upenn.edu/histy/features/sports/baseball/1800s/hist1.html, as accessed 1/3/2008. No reference is supplied.
Is there some way to discover the documentary basis for this report?
1857.16 Early Use of the Term "Town Ball" in NY Clipper
The article reported a "Game of Town Ball" in Germantown PA.
New YorkClipper, September 19, 1857.
Information posted by David Block to 19CBB 11/1/2002. David writes that this is the earliest "town ball" game account he knows of.
1860.3 Split Doubleheader:Mass Game, NY Game
"On Wednesday the 14th ult., the Athletics left Philadelphia...on a brief visit to the Mauch Chunk base ball boys...upon reaching (the play-ground, the Athletics were surprised to find the ground staked off for the 'Massachusetts game'...nothing loth, played the Mauch Chunk lads at their own game...At the conclusion of the game, the bases were arranged for the New York Game, at which four innings were played..."
Wilkes' Spirit of the Times, Dec. 8, 1860.
1860.38 Base Ball in Pittsburgh PA
"Base Ball in Alleghany. - A match game of base ball was played between the Fort Pitt and Keystone Clubs on the West Common, Alleghany, Pa., on the 26th inst."
New York Clipper, Aug. 11, 1860
Box score provided; it is consistent with the National Association rules. Assuming that "Alleghany" is an alternative spelling for "Allegheny," this game occurred in a town absorbed into Pittsburgh PA in 1907.
1865.4 On Last Day of Service, PA Soldiers Play Ball
[Thursday May 4, 1865] “Not much to do in camp. Most of us playing ball.”
Civil War Diary of Dr. William McKibbin, covering February to August 1865. Accessed via Genealogybank subscription 5/19/09. McKibbin wrote this entry in Carlisle PA. He mustered out of the service on the next day, and three days later “Ella and I married at 7:00 in the evening.”