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Doc Adams Creates Modern Shortstop Position

Salience Noteworthy
Tags Base Ball Stratagems
City/State/Country: GNYC, NY, United States
Game Base Ball
Immediacy of Report Retrospective
Age of Players Adult

"I used to play shortstop, and I believe I was the first to occupy that place, as it had formerly been left uncovered."


"Doc Adams Remembers", The Sporting News, Feb. 29, 1896.

Knickerbocker Base Ball Club, Game Books 1845-1868, from the Albert G. Spalding Collection of Knickerbocker Base Ball Club's Club Books, Rare Books and Manuscripts Division, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations. 

Also described in John Thorn, "Daniel Lucas Adams (Doc)," in Frederick Ivor-Campbell, et. al, eds., Baseball's First Stars [SABR, Cleveland, 1996], page 1, and in Baseball in the Garden of Eden (2011), page 33.


The limited availability of positions played in early game reports and summaries makes the establishment of Adams's claim to have been the first to play the shortstop position tenuous. A page in the Knick's Game Books from July 1850 show that in one practice game he played "F" for "Field" instead of his usual position of "behind" (catcher), and so may be when he first took the position. Otherwise, there is no inidication in a primary source that he played the position until 1855.


Daniel.Lucius (Doc) Adams (see entry for 1840), was a member and officer of the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York and the National Association of Base Ball Players from 1845- 1862. Under his chairmanship, the NABBP Rules Committee standardized the now-familiar 90-foot basepaths and 9-inning games.

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Submitted by Bob Tholkes,
Submission Note 1/30/2015


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