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Unenforced Rules Get Chadwick's Goat

Salience Noteworthy
Tags Base Ball Stratagems
Location Greater New York City
City/State/Country: NYC, NY, United States
Game Base Ball
Immediacy of Report Contemporary
Age of Players Adult

On two occasions in 1860 Henry Chadwick, as part of his campaign to improve the game on the field, published articles urging umpires to consistently enforce rules for which such enforcement was lacking:

[A] "HINTS TO UMPIRES.-- SEC. 5...The rule...requires the ball to be pitched for the striker, and not the catcher, which is so generally done when a player is on the first base...Section 6...the pitcher makes a baulk when he either jerks a ball to the bat, has either foot in advance of the line of his position, or moves his hand or arm with the apparent purpose of pitching the ball without actually delivering it. Section 17...I certainly consider it the duty of the umpire to declare a ball fair, by keeping silent, when it touches the ground perpendicularly from the bat, when the striker stands back of the line of his base."

[B] THE DUTIES OF UMPIRES IN BALL MATCHES.-- ...few if any umpires have had the courage or independence to enforce (the rules)...(section 6) the rule that describes a baulk, is so misinterpreted. that it is only occasionally that we hear of a baulk being called...when a striker has stood at the home base long enough to allow a dozen balls, not plainly out of reach, to pass him, he should be at once made to declare where he wants a ball, and the first ball that comes within the distance pointed out, if not struck at, should be declared one strike (section 37)...If this were done, a stop would be put to the unmanly and mean "waiting game"...Another rule Umpires neglect to enforce, is that which requires the striker to stand on the line of his base..."


[A] New York Sunday Mercury, May 27, 1860

[B] New York Clipper, Sep. 29, 1860


[B] indicates that [A] did not have the desired effect...

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Submitted by Bob Tholkes
Submission Note 3/19/2014


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