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The "X" Letters

Salience Prominent
Tags Base Ball Stratagems, Business of Baseball, Club Constitutions/Bylaws, Equipment
Location Greater New York City
City/State/Country: NYC, NY, United States
Game Base Ball
Immediacy of Report Contemporary
Age of Players Adult

"DEAR SPIRIT:- As the season for playing Ball, and other out-door sports has nearly passed away, and as you have fairly become the chronicle for Cricket and Base Ball, I take the liberty of writing to you, and to the Ball players through you, a few letters, which I hope will prove of some interest to your readers."

Between October 1857 and January 1858, New York- based Porter’s Spirit of the Times, which covered Knickerbocker Rules base ball on a regular basis, published a series of 14 anonymous letters concerning the game. Identifying himself only as “X”, the author’s stated purpose was to “induce some prominent player to write or publish a book on the game.” The letters described the origins of the game, profiled prominent clubs in New York and Brooklyn, offered advice on starting and operating a club, on equipment, and on position play, and, finally, commented on the issues of the day in the base ball community. As the earliest such effort, the letters are of interest as a window into a base ball community poised for the explosive growth which followed the Fashion Race Course games of 1858. 


Porter's Spirit of the Times, Oct. 24, 1857 - Jan. 23, 1858


The identity of "X" has not been discovered.

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Submitted by Bob Tholkes
Submission Note 3/18/2014


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