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Scholar Deems 1855 the Peak of Cricket-playing in America

Salience Noteworthy
Location US
City/State/Country: United States
Game American Cricket
Age of Players Adult

"By 1855, Cricket was clearly the leading ball game . . . .  Clearly, there was no opposition to cricket because it was English . . . .  However, the growth of cricket between 1855 and 1861 was minor compared to the advances made in baseball.  The Spirit summarized the general attitude of the press in 1859 when it wrote  that 'cricket  has its admirers, but it is evident that it will never have the universality that baseball will.' [page 107]

"In essence, cricket failed because it was too advanced and too institutionalized for a society that lacked a manly ball-playing tradition.  Americans drew from the only heritage they had -- that of a child's game." [page 110] 





Melvin Adelman, "Chapter 5 --The Failure of Cricket as an American Sport," A Sporting Time: New York City and the Rise of Modern Athletics, 1820-1870 (U Illinois Press, 1986) 97 - 120.

Adelman cites the Spirit source as December 3, 1859, issue 29, page 505. 


Adelman bases his analysis on the premise that base ball's predecessor games were played mainly be juveniles.  This premise can be questioned.  Even discounting play by university youths up to 1845, adult play in the military and elsewhere was hardly rare before the Gothams and Knickerbockers formed in New York around 1840, as many entries in this chronology indicate.  

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