Chronology:Antedated Firsts

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1000c.1 America Sees First European "Games?"

Age of Players:

Adult

"Now winter was coming on, and the brothers said that people ought to start playing games and finding something amusing to do.  They did so for a time, but then people started saying unpleasant things about each other, and they fell out with each other, and the games came to an end. The people in the two houses stopped going to see each other, and that was how things were for a great deal of the winter.

Sources:

Johan Grundt Tanum Forlag, "The Saga of the Greenlanders; Eirik the Red Takes Land in Iceland," Vinland the Good: The Saga of Leif Eiricsson and the Viking Discovery of America (Oslo, 1970), page 39.

Comment:

Three older siblings of Leif Ericksson travel to Vinland and occupy two houses built in an earlier Vinland journey by Leif's father, Eirik the Red.

Note: Accounts of Viking games state the among the games was a "stick and ball" variety.  As of April 2, 2022, Protoball has not located a source for such a conclusion, or any details of how such a game was played (let alone whether it involved baserunning).  

--

From Bruce Allardice, April 3, 2022:

"Outdoor games [among the Vikings] were greatly popular. Based on Viking warrior skills, there were competitions in archery, wrestling, stone throwing and sword play. Horse fighting was also popular; two stallions would be goaded into fighting. Occasionally mares would be tied up around the field, within the sight and smell of the stallions. The horses would battle until one was killed or ran away.

Vikings engaged in running, swimming, tug-of-war called toga-honk and wrestling. Vikings also played a ball game with stick and ball. It wasn’t uncommon for someone to get hurt or even killed, as Vikings played rough. Women did not participate in these games, but they would gather to watch the men.

Children played with wooden toys their parents carved, or they played ball and also engaged in child versions of adult games. Child-sized replicas of weapons such as swords, shield and spears were found buried with other grave goods."

The stick-ball game was Knattleikr (English: 'ball-game'), an ancient ball game similar to hurling played by Icelandic Vikings.

 

 

 

 

Query:

Are the Sagas taken as accurate by scholars of Viking exploits?

When did the three siblings live in Vinland?  Were the houses built in what is now US or Canada?

When were the Sagas written? 

 

Circa
1000
Item
1000c.1
Edit

1781s.4 Long Ball in Vermont

Age of Players:

Unknown

The Rutland County Herald (Rutland, VT), July 19, 1848, referred to "long ball" being played in the 1700s at Fort Ranger in Rutland. The fort was the headquarters of the Vermont troops until 1781. Located near the center of town, it “naturally became the rendezvous of the town, the favorite resort of idlers, loungers, and loafers.” Townsfolk would gather there on the Sabbath to gossip and exchange their wares, “and here did the idle soldiery and congenial lazzarone exercise their skill and strength in the exciting games of long ball, &c.”

Sources:

Rutland County Herald (Rutland, VT), July 19, 1848.

Comment:

According to Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1913, "lazzarone" referred to "the homeless idlers of Naples who live by chance work or begging." 

Decade
1781s
Item
1781s.4
Edit

1830c.33 The Balk Rule Existed Before the 1845 Knick Rules?

Age of Players:

Youth

"A Balk is a Base."--Any one having a remembrance of the ball games of his youth must recollect that in the game of base, if the tosser made a balk to entice the individual making the round from his post, the latter had the right to walk to the next base unscathed. Pity it is that the Hudson folks engaged in the late political movement in Columbia County did not remember that "a balk is a base" in the games of children of a larger growth." (Note: This led into a lengthy diatribe on local politics that I did not attempt to make sense of. - David Block)
Sources:

Rondout Freeman , June 5, 1847:

Comment:
"Here is another early example of baseball terminology being used to illustrate a non-sports topic."
 
The text appeared in the June 5, 1847 issue of the Roundout Freeman (Roundout was a Hudson River community that has since been swallowed by the town of Kingston).
 
"I had always supposed that the balk rule was introduced by the crafters of the New York game, but this passage suggests it began to be practiced at some earlier time."
 
-- David Block, 11/12/2010
 
"I wrote in my book [R. Hershberger. Strike Four, Rowman and Littlefield, 2019, page 37] that the balk rule seemed to be novel to the 1845 Knickerbocker rules. Evidently not. While this is two years later, it also is from [nearly] a hundred miles away in Kingston, NY, and presented as a homespun saying from the writer's youth." -- Richard Hershberger, 19CBB posting, 12/9/2020
 

Added Local color:  "Rondout has been since 1870, an unincorporated hamlet within the city of Kingston (where I lived for decade; it was called "Rondout" because of its adjoining Roundout Creek, which fed into the Hudson River). The Rondout Freeman in its first incarnation may have indeed lasted till 1847 (founded 1845):https://www.loc.gov/item/sn86071034/.

"Hudson is a large city about 25 miles north of Kingston, on the other side of the Hudson River, in Columbia County.  Today a bridge connects my hometown of Catskill (west bank) with Hudson (east bank).  Taghkanic is the proper spelling of the tribe for whom today is named the Taconic Parkway."  - John Thorn, email of 12/10/2020.


Query:

 

Is a balk rule known in cricket or English Base Ball?   Or in any pre-1845 baserunning game?

Protoball welcomes further comment on the possible origin of the balk rule.

 
 
Circa
1830
Item
1830c.33
Edit

1838.12 First Murder in a Baseball Game?

Location:

Canada

"P. H. Moor, a stage-driver, was killed in Lower Canada on the 29th ult. by Fisher Ames by a blow given with a bat in a passion, during a game of ball play. He was taken up." (Newark Daily Advertiser (NJ), pg. 2, September 8, 1838.)

Sources:

Newark Daily Advertiser (NJ), pg. 2, September 8, 1838.

Comment:

A more detailed newspaper account says that Fisher Ames' 12-year-old son, who was playing "ball" with some other boys, threw a ball at Moor, who then attacked the boy. The father rushed over and split Moor's skull with a "club."

Fisher Ames (1800-85) beat the murder rap. The son was probably Charles Ira Ames. [ba]

Bill Humber furnished the following account, from a local doctor: "Hazleton Moore.... was drunk and joined in the game of ball in front of the store. Something Ames said or did provoked him and instead of throwing the ball to him he threw it at him, when Ames rushed towards him and struck him with the club in the head. He ... died the next day. The inquest... resulted in the acquittal of Ames on my evidence, that the blow need not have been fatal had M's skull not been extraordinarily thin."

Another account, from 1890: "It was in 1837 that Hazleton Moore was killed. I was there at the time. Ames was a very passionate man, and his first blow might be excused on that ground, but he struck him twice, the second blow when he was lying insensible on the ground. The Americans.... bribed Moore's wife to say away, and her absence at the trial helped to get Ames off. She acted badly."

Year
1838
Item
1838.12
Edit

1840s.46 The Balk -- From the Knicks, Prior US Games, or Abroad?

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Youth

 [A] " 'A Balk is a Base' --Any one having a remembrance of the ball games of his youth, must recollect that in the game of base if the tosser made a balk to entice the individual make the round from his post, the latter had the right to walk to the next base unscathed. Pity it is that the Hudson folks engages in the late political movement n Columbia County did not remember that 'a balk is a base' in the children of a larger growth. When the frequent and flagrant outrages of the Taghkanic Anti Renters had apparently aroused the people of Columbia County to a true sense of their position and duty every friend of good order rejoiced."

 

[B] The ball is “dead,” to the extent of putting a player out, when either a “ball” or a “baulk” is called. The rule is the same as in cricket. For instance, a “no ball” in cricket can be hit by the batsman, and he can score a run on it, but if the ball be caught it is not considered an out. So in base ball when a baulk is called, and the striker chances to hit the ball and it be caught, he is not out, and he can take his base on it on the grounds of his being “a player running the bases,” which he is when he hits a ball that is not foul. The ball, though “dead” as regards putting a player out, is not “dead” so as to prevent the striker counting what he is entitled to count under the rule
.

Sources:

[A]"A Balk is a Base," Roundout Freeman, June 5, 1847 (volume II, issue 46), page 2.  [Brad Shaw, email to Protoball 1/26/2017]

[B] New York Clipper, Saturday, September 8, 1866.  See https://protoball.org/Clipping:Interpreting_the_dead_ball_on_a_ball_or_a_balk;_the_rule_the_same_as_in_cricket 

Warning:

Dating this item as "1840s" is speculative, and turns on the ages of the Freeman  Arguments for an alternative dating are welcome.  

Comment:
[] "I had always supposed that the balk rule was introduced by the crafters of the New York game, but this passage suggests it began to be practiced at some earlier time."  David Block, 19CBB posting, 1/28/2014.
 

[] "I wrote in my book [R. Hershberger. Strike Four, Rowman and Littlefield, 2019, page 37] that the balk rule seemed to be novel to the 1845 Knickerbocker rules. Evidently not. While this is two years later, it also is from [nearly] a hundred miles away in Kingston, NY, and presented as a homespun saying from the writer's youth." -- Richard Hershberger, 12/9/2020.

[] Added Local color:  "Rondout has been, since 1870, an unincorporated hamlet within the city of Kingston (where I lived for decade; it was called "Rondout" because of its adjoining Roundout Creek, which fed into the Hudson River). The Rondout Freeman in its first incarnation may have indeed lasted till 1847 (founded 1845):https://www.loc.gov/item/sn86071034/.

"Hudson is a large city about 25 miles north of Kingston, on the other side of the Hudson River, in Columbia County.  Today a bridge connects my hometown of Catskill (west bank) with Hudson (east bank).  Taghkanic is the proper spelling of the tribe for whom today is named the Taconic Parkway."  - John Thorn, email of 12/10/2020.

[]The terms "balk" and "baulk" are both used in period sources.  As of December 2020, a search of "balk" fetches 91 hits in  Richard Hershberger's generous 19C Clippings file; a "balk OR baulk" search yields 102 hits.  There are no hits for "balk" or "Baulk"  in David Block's file on English baseball-like games.

[] As of 12/12/2020, Protoball has no other record of the balk prior to 1845.  

For a succinct summary of our desultory learning about balks/baulks from 2010 to 2020, see the Supplementary Text, below.

 



Query:

Is it obvious why a balk is in some way considered comparable to a "flagrant outrage?"

Was the balk known in earlier baserunning games in England, or elsewhere?

Do histories of cricket shed further light on the origin, nature, or rationale for, automatic batter-runner advances despite catches of balls hit when a "no ball" has been called?

Do we often see early rule variants for players of different ages?

Decade
1840s
Item
1840s.46
Edit

1844.20 The First Baseball Card, Arguably?

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"What's the first baseball card?  (I say it's the invitation to the Magnolia Club's First Annual Ball ball in February 1844.)"

 

 

Sources:

John Thorn, FB Posting, 3/1/2022.  [Right-side image, below] The announcement of the event appears in the New York Herald on February 8, 1844.

Comment:

[1] Another candidate as first baseball card is a photo of Sam Wright (with a cricket bat) and his son Harry, evidently used as on a souvenir ticket to a 1866  benefit for the Wrights. 

Voigt writes "To finance the affair, a 25-cent admission charge was asked, and all comers were also encouraged to part with an extra 25 cents for a souvenir ticket . . . . Wright was more interested in his cash cut, which came to $29.65."  David Vincent Voigt, American Baseball (University of Oklahoma Press, 1966), p. 28.

John Thorn points out that this event can be mainly viewed as a cricket event. Three games were planned as part of the affair, and two were cricket games.  A base ball game was to follow, but it was rained out.

[2] Gary Passamonte observes: "This ["first base ball card"] debate has raged on for many years.  I believe the 1886 Old Judge N167 set would be the first undisputed group of baseball cards.  All earlier possibilities have detractors with good points." 

[3] For more on the Magnolia Club, see his 2011 article at https://ourgame.mlblogs.com/magnolia-ball-club-predates-knickerbocker-af50771cd24b.  In John's Baseball in the Garden of Eden (Simon and Shuster, 2011), pp 89-95, he describes his 2007 discovery of the club -- and the card.  "[The ticket] cost a dollar , and, given its enamel-coated card stock and its commissioned rather than stock imagery, was likely intended to be saved as a memento of the event.  The baseball scene on the card reveals three bases with stakes (not wickets), eight men in the field, a pitcher with an underarm delivery, possibly base-stealing . . . . This is, from all appearances, the original Knickerbocker game, and that of the New York Base Ball Club. . . . This ticket was the first depiction of men playing baseball in America, and it may be, depending upon one's taxonomic conventions, the first baseball card.  

 

Query:

Is it time to define "baseball card" a bit more narrowly in declaring a first?? 

Year
1844
Item
1844.20
Edit
Source Image

1857.48 First Known Appearance of Term "New York Game"

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"The Tri-Mountain Base Ball Club has been organized... This Club has decided to play the "New York Game," which consists in pitching instead of throwing the ball." 

See also item 1857.5

Sources:

Boston Herald, June 15, 1857

Comment:

Richard Hershberger notes: "The earliest citation in Dickson's Baseball Dictionary is from 1859. It is interesting that the first use seems to come from the Boston side of things, and predates the Dedham convention (which laid out the rules of the Massachusetts Game). The point is the same as it would be over the next few years, to conveniently distinguish versions of baseball."

So this find antedates a baseball first.

John Thorn notes: 

"The phrase "New York Game" may have owed something to the fact that the
principal Tri-Mountain organizer had been a player with the Gotham Base
Ball Club of New York, whose roots predated the formation of the
Knickerbocker BBC."

https://ourgame.mlblogs.com/early-baseball-in-boston-d86107fb8560

Bob Tholkes notes:

"'New York' instead of 'national:' in what turned out to be a shrewd marketing move, was referring to a "national" pastime, implicitly sweeping aside regional variations, and in March 1858 called their organization the National Association, which the New York Clipper (April 3, 1858)considered a howl."

 

 

Year
1857
Item
1857.48
Edit

1858.2 New York All-Stars Beat Brooklyn All-Stars, 2 games to 1; First Admission Fee [A Dime] Charged

Location:

NY

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"The Great Base Ball Match of 1858, which was a best 2 out of 3 games series, embodies four landmark events that are pivotal to the game's history"

1. It was organized base ball's very first all-star game.

2. It was the first base ball game in the New York metropolitan area to be played on an enclosed ground.

3. It marked the first time that spectators paid for the privilege of attending a base ball game -- a fee of 10 cents gave admission to the grounds.

4. The game played on September 10, 1858 is at present [2005] the earliest known instance of an umpire calling strike on a batter."  The New York Game had adopted the called strike for the 1858 season. It is first known to have been employed (many umpires refused to do so) at a New York vs. Brooklyn all-star game at Fashion Race Course on Long Island. The umpire was D.L. (Doc) Adams of the Knickerbockers, who also chaired the National Association of Base Ball Players Rules Committee.  But see Warning, below.

These games are believed to have been the first the newspapers subjected to complete play-by-play accounts, in the New York Sunday Mercury, July 25, 1858.

The New York side won the series, 2 games to 1.  But Brooklyn was poised to become base ball's leading city.

 

 

Sources:

Schaefer, Robert H., "The Great Base Ball Match of 1858: Base Ball's First All-Star Game," Nine, Volume 14, no 1, (2005), pp 47-66. See also Robert Schaefer, "The Changes Wrought by the Great Base Ball Match of 1858," Base Ball Journal, Volume 5, number 1 (Special Issue on Origins), pages 122-126.

Coverage of the game in Porter's Spirit of the Times, July 24, 1858, is reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908[University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 27-29.  

The Spirit article itself is "The Great Base Ball Match," Spirit of the Times, Volume 28, number 24 (Saturday, July 24, 1858), page 288, column 2. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

John Thorn, "The All-Star Game You Don't Know", Our Game, http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2013/07/08/the-all-star-game-you-dont-know/

Thomas Gilbert, How Baseball Happened, ( David R. Godine, 2020) pp 163-168.

For more context, including the fate of the facility, see William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning, McFarland, 2009), pp. 77-80.

 

See also John Zinn, "The Rivalry Begins: Brooklyn vs. New York", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century.(SABR, 2013), pp.10-12.

 

Warning:

Richard Hershberger (email of 10/6/2014) points out that the Sunday Mercury account of this game's key at bat "makes it clear that they were swinging strikes'[not called strikes].   

Comment:

These games were reportedly most intensely-covered base ball event to date-- items on the planning and playing of the "Fashion Race Course" games began during the first week in June. Coverage can be found in both the sporting weeklies (New York Clipper, New York Sunday Mercury, Porter's Spirit Of The Times, The Spirit Of The Times) and several dailies (New York Evening Express, New York Evening Post, New York Herald, New York Tribune). Note --Craig Waff turned up 26 news accounts for the fashion games in Games Tab 1.0: see http://protoball.org/Games_Tab:Greater_New_York_City#date1859-9-7.

The Sunday Mercury's path-breaking play-by-play accounts were probably written by Mercury editor William Cauldwell and are enlivened with colorful language and descriptions, such as describing a batting stance as "remindful of Ajax Defying the lamp-lighter", a satire on the classical sculpture, Ajax Defying the Lightning.

This series of games has also been cited as the source of the oldest known base balls:  "Doubts about the claims made for the 'oldest' baseball treasured as relics have no existence concerning two balls of authenticated history brought to light by Charles De Bost . . . . De Bost is the son of Charles Schuyler De Bost, Captain and catcher for the Knickerbocker Baseball Club in the infancy of the game." The balls were both inscribed with the scores of the Brooklyn - NY Fashion Course Games of July and September 1858. Both balls have odd one-piece covers the leather having been cut in four semi-ovals still in one piece, the ovals shaped like the petals of a flower." Source: 'Oldest Baseballs Bear Date of 1858,' unidentified newspaper clipping, January 21, 1909, held in the origins of baseball file at the Giamatti Center at the HOF.

Richard Hershberger (email of 10/6/2014) points out that the Sunday Mercury account of this game's key at bat "makes it clear that they were swinging strikes'[not called strikes]. 

 

Note: for a 2021 email exchange on claims of base ball "firsts" in this series of games, see below 

 

==

Tom Shieber; 3;31 PM, 11/11/21:

 The New York Atlas of August 13, 1859, ran a story about the August 2, 1859, baseball game between the Excelsior and Knickerbocker clubs that took place at the former club's grounds in South Brooklyn. (It was after this game that the well-known on-field photo of the two clubs was taken.) In the first paragraph of the story I find the following statement: "There was also a large number of carriages around the enclosure."

I believe that there is the general belief that the Union Grounds in Williamsburgh were the first enclosed baseball grounds. Should we rethink that?     

Tom Gilbert, 4:29 PM:

I don't think so -- the mere existence of a rail fence surrounding or partially surrounding the Excelsiors' grounds in Red Hook does not make it a ballpark in any sense. the Union Grounds had stands, concessions, bathrooms, dressing rooms - and most important: it regularly charged admission - this was the key reason for the fence. the union grounds was the first enclosed baseball grounds in the only significant sense of the word.

John Thorn, 4:48 PM: 

[sends image of 1860 game at South Brooklyn Grounds]  

Gilbert, 4:54 PM:   

Note the rail fence that might keep a carriage or a horse off the playing field-- but not a spectator.

Shieber, 8:34 PM:

Still, I think that in the future I'll refrain from referring to the Union Grounds as the "first enclosed park" and go with more enlightening and technically correct phrase "first to regularly charge admission," since, as you note, that is really the more important story.
 
Thorn , 8:52 PM:   
 
Jerry Casway holds a brief for Camac Woods as "first enclosed"; but first paid admission is indeed the point here.
 
Richard Hershberger, 7:00 AM, 11/12/21:

 Yes, but....  "Enclosed" was the term of art used at the time.  The confusion in the 1859 cite is that this term of art was not yet established.  Jump forward a decade and "enclosed ground" means a board fence.  This usually implied the charging of admission, but not always.  Occasionally it was for privacy.  An example is the Knickerbockers, when they moved from the Elysian Fields to the St. George grounds.  The St. George CC, for that matter, did not usually admit spectators, except for infrequent grand matches. The Olympics of Philadelphia had their own enclosed ground by 1864.  They later started charging admission to match games, but initially this was a privacy fence.  So it is complicated.

On the other hand, that was something of a one-off, its being a cricket ground ordinarily.  This leads to the discussion of why we don't count the Fashion Course as the first.

Bob Tholkes, 7:53 AM, 11/12/21: 

A ballpark for us is a place where baseball is played; even major league parks like the Polo Grounds were built originally for other purposes, and used for other purposes after baseball became their most frequent purpose.

More than one category of "first" is involved: first enclosure used for baseball, first enclosure built for baseball, first enclosure built for baseball for the purpose of charging admission.
Enclosure also affected play by placing a barrier in the path of the ball, and the fielder, necessitating a ground rule. That may also be of interest to a reader.
 
Jerry Casway, 4:19 PM, 11/13/21:
 
Larry, thanks for the current first "enclosed ballpark" debate.  in SABR's Inventing Baseball volume(  pp.32-3) - the 100 greatest games of the nineteenth-century. I discussed the criteria and responded with Camac Woods, 24 July 1860.
 
Bruce Allardice, 7:52 AM, 11/14/21:
 
I found a photo of Camac Woods, c. 1861, and it shows it had a fence all right--a rail fence, that people could see through or over if they wished. The link to the photo is now in Protoball's entry on Camac.
 
In a later zoom presentation, Tom Gilbert mentioned that the admission receipts were intended by Fashion Course operators to to cover the costs of cleanup after the games.
 
UPSHOT:  While other playing fields may have been partly "enclosed" before (perhaps to keep horses and cows and humans to tromp on the grounds?), the 1858 NYC/Brooklyn game appears to stand as the first game that charged admission, opening a door to a promising new way to help finance professional clubs.   
 
Further insights are welcome.

 

 

 

 

Query:

If this game did not give us the first called strikes, when did such actually appear?

Year
1858
Item
1858.2
Edit

1860.94 The Term "Foul Line" Appears in Sunday Mercury Report on Excelsior-Atlantic Game

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"Excelsior vs. Atlantic 8/9/1860] [Brainerd on third base, Reynolds on first] Flanly then struck a ball, which touching the ground inside of the foul line, bounded far off into the foul district, and had started for first base, while Reynolds ran to the second, when some outsider called “foul,” and Reynolds immediately returned from the second to the first base, where Flanly also remained, but off the base."

NABBP rules for 1861 specified the marking of lines in order to help game officials make fair/foul judgments.

Sources:

New York Sunday Mercury,  August 12, 1860. 

See:

[[1]], contributed by Richard Hershberger as part of his collected clippings.

Comment:

This issue was raised by Stephen Katz on the 19CBB list-serve, citing Peter Morris' A Game of Inches "In 1861, the NABBP introduced into its rules the requirement that, “In all match games, a line connecting the home and first base and the home and third base, shall be marked by the use of chalk, or other suitable material, so as to be distinctly seen by the umpire.  

Commenting on the rule, the New York Clipper (June 29, 1861) referred these as 'lines whereby foul balls can be judged.' Henry Chadwick, writing in Beadle’s Dime Base-Ball Player of 1860, declared that foul poles are 'intended solely to assist the umpire in his decisions in reference to foul balls…' (p. 18). So, it seems that, although the lines demarcate fair from foul territory, the focus was on determining when a ball was foul, and assisting the umpire in making that determination.

 An early use of “foul line” appeared in the Cincinnati Gazette’s commentary on July 16, 1867, on a game between the Nationals of Washington, D.C., and Cincinnati’s Red Stockings. In the fifth inning, the Nationals’ third baseman, George Fox, tripled on a “fine ball just inside the foul line.” An earlier reference to “foul line” was in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of October 31, 1865, in an account of a game between the Atlantics of Brooklyn and Philly’s Athletics, although it is inconclusive as to whether it referred to the actual line between home and third or the track of the batted ball."

 

[]The NYSM account preceded the new NAABP rule, and as of January 2022 is Protoball's earliest known use of "foul line" is shown above.  It thus appears that foul lines where known by that name (if not actually marked?) prior to the new rules.

[] The 1845 Knickerbocker rule 10 had simply stated: "A ball knocked out of the field, or outside the range of first or third base, is foul." As of January 2022 the NYSM usage is the earliest known to Protoball.

[] But why use "foul line" and not "fair line?"  Richard gives linguistics interpretation in Supplemental Text, below.

 

 

Query:

Do we know whether and how Chadwick referenced foul territory prior to 1860?

Do we know of other prior usage of "foul lines"??

 

Year
1860
Item
1860.94
Edit

1864.58 Early Use of "Battery" As Pitcher-Catcher Pairing

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

[Active vs. Eureka 7/24/1864]  "As regards the pitching, 'Walker's battery' proved to be very effective in aiding to achieve the result..."  


from Richard Hershberger's 19CBB posting, September 21, 2017: "Walker was the pitcher for the Actives.  I take the form 'Walker's battery' to be a riff off the military usage of the day of naming a unit by its commander, e.g. "Sykes' Division."  Walker here is the commander of the battery, which consists of himself and Rooney, the catcher."





 

 

Sources:

New York Sunday Mercury July 10, 1864

 

 

Comment:

Note:  

A few days earlier, Richard had noticed the use of "battery" in a July 26 game report:  see Supplementary Text, below.

The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, page 86, citing the Chadwick Scrapbooks, had the first use of "battery" as 1868 (third edition).

 

 

 

Query:

Is the reported date correct?  A July 24 match was reported on July 10? 

Year
1864
Item
1864.58
Edit
Source Text

1867.22 Eureka! A Press Credential

Location:

US

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"The plan introduced by the Eureka Club of having tickets for the regular reporters of the press, none other to occupy seats near the scorer, should be adopted by all our clubs and public ground proprietors."

Sources:

New York Sunday Mercury, June 23, 1867

Comment:

As of March 2021, this appears to be the earliest reference to a right -- in the form of special tickets -- to exclusive seating being bestowed to reporters. 

Peter Morris discusses press coverage arrangements in Morris, A Game of Inches (Ivan Dee, 2006), section 14.5.3, pp 403 ff.  He cites  two Henry Chadwick sources of press areas in June and August 1867 at the Brooklyn Union Grounds and then the Capitoline and Irvington grounds. 

Query:

Are earlier cases known?

Is it known whether these press accommodations were normally granted by a ball club, like the Eureka, or by the owner of the ballfield?

Year
1867
Item
1867.22
Edit

1867.27 Union Club Offers Season Tickets in Washington Paper

Location:

Washington

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"The Union Base Ball Club, of Lansingburg, New York, will arrive here today and play a match game with the Nationals, near the State Department, on Wednesday afternoon.  Season tickets may be had at Cronin's, or at James Nolan's at No. 372 Pennsylvania Avenue, near Sixth Street.  The price of a single admission ticket for a gentleman and ladies is fixed at twenty-five cents."

Sources:

 Daily Morning Chronicle, September 3, 1867.

Comment:

From Bob Tholkes, 11/2/2021:  "First reference I've seen in '67 for sale of season tickets...seller not named, though likely the Nationals. Innovation?"

 

Note: Peter Morris' fine A Game of Inches: The Story Behind the Innovations That Shaped Baseball (Ivan R. Dee, 2006), section 15.1.1, notes that the White Stockings charged $10 for a season ticket in 1870.  Like the 1867 Washington offering, the Forest Cities of Cleveland in 1871 noted that a $10 season ticket would admit both a gentleman and lady, but the club also sold season tickets for individual entrants at $6.

Query:

Is earlier use of season tickets known?

Year
1867
Item
1867.27
Edit

1867.28 First Detailed Set of Rules for Stoolball Appear

Location:

England

Game:

Stoolball

Age of Players:

Youth, Adult

"RULES OF STOOLBALL

1. The ball to be that usually known as best tennis, No. 3.

2. The [paddle-shaped] bat not to be more than 8 inches in diameter.

3. The wickets to be boards one foot square, mounted on a stake; the top of the wicket to be four feet nine inches from the ground.  One of these wickets to be selected by the umpire as that to which the ball shall be bowled. 

4. The wickets to be 16 yards apart, and the bowling crease to be eight yards from the striker's wicket.

5. The bowler shall bowl the ball, not throw it or jerk it, and when bowling the ball shall stand with at least one foot behind the crease.

6. The striker is out, if the ball when bowled hit the wicket. 

7.  Or, if the ball, having been hit, is caught in the hands of one of the opposite party.

8. Or, if while running, or preparing or pretending to run, the ball itself be thrown by one of the opposite party so as to hit the face of the wicket; or if any one of the opposite party with ball in hand touch the face of the wicket before the bat of either of the strikers touch the same.

9.  Or, if the ball be struck and the striker willfully strike it again.  

10.  If the ball be hit by the striker, or pass the wicket so as to allow time for a run to be obtained, the strikers may obtain a run by running across from one wicket to the other.

11. If, in running, the runners have crossed each other, she who runs for the wicket whick is struck by the ball is out. 

12. A striker being run out, the run which was attempted shall not be scored. 

13. A ball being caught, so that the striker is out, no run shall be scored.

14. If "lost ball" be called, the striker shall be lowed three runs; but if more than three have been run before "lost ball" has been called, then the striker shall have all that have been run.

15. The umpires, one for each wicket, are the sole judges of fair or unfair play; and all disputes shall be settled by them, each at is own wicket; but n the case of any doubt on the part of an umpire, the other umpire may be by him requested to give an opinion, which opinion shall be decisive.

 16. The umpires are not to order any striker out unless asked by one of the opposite party.

17. The umpires are not to give directions to either party when acting as umpires, but shall be strictly impartial. 

N.B. The bat is in form similar to a battledore."

--

Note: These appear to be, other than Willughby's circa1672 of a non-running version of stoolball and and Strutt's 1801 general description,  the first known full set of rules for stoolball, appearing over four centuries after the game's first known play.

 

Sources:

 

Andrew Lusted, Girls Just Wanted to Have Fun; Stoolball Reports to Local Newspapers 1747 to 1866, (Andrew Lusted, 2013), inside front cover.

These rules are attributed to William De St. Croix, 1819-1877.

See also Andrew Lusted, The Glynde Butterflies Stoolball Team, 1866-1887: England's first Female Sports Stars (Andrew Lusted, 2011). 

Query:

As a set, do these rules resemble contemporary rules for cricket in the 1860s?  Do they align with cricket rules in 1800?

Do we know what the ball was like?  Presumably, tennis balls were hand-wound string in this era, and the ball may have resembled cricket balls and base balls for the era.  

Year
1867
Item
1867.28
Edit

1869.14 First Known Inter-racial Game of Base-Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"A very interesting game of base-ball was played on the Newtown Grounds on Saturday afternoon, August 7, between the Black Hawks (colored), of Africa, and the Alerts (white) of Plainville. . . . "

The account included a box score showing the Black Hawks as winners, 47-43.

Sources:

Cincinnati Enquirer, August 11, 1869.

Comment:

Newtown OH (1880 pop. about 400) is about 10 miles east of Cincinnati, and is across the Little Miami River from Plainville OH.

Previously the September 3, 1869 Pythians-Olympic match in Philadelphia was seen as the first game between a white and non-white club. See 1869.3

Year
1869
Item
1869.14
Edit

1871.8 First Co-Ed college baseball game?

Age of Players:

Adult

Sheppard (ed.),"History of Northwestern University and Evanston" p 154 cites the college paper as reporting that on July 4, 1871: "Baseball Match Between Ladies' College nine and Northwestern University: prize a silver ball: score 57 to 4 in favor of Northwestern."

The "Evanston College for Ladies" was at the time separate from the main college.

Sources:

Sheppard (ed.),"History of Northwestern University and Evanston" p 154. Seymour, "The People's Game" also references this event.

Year
1871
Item
1871.8
Edit

1872.14 "Homer" Used to Reference A Home Run in Baltimore Paper

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

" . . . a 'homer' on a long hit to left field by Pike . . . "

Sources:

Baltimore Gazette, 10/18/1872

Comment:

Richard Hershberger, 10/18/2022 FB posting : 150 years ago in baseball: "a truly epic turning point in baseball history, the earliest known use of "homer . . .  The game was played yesterday, Mutuals at Baltimore, tying 7-7 in eight inning." (The great Paul Dickson, author of The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, commented--  "A remarkable find to be sure. Great work").

Year
1872
Item
1872.14
Edit

1886.1 First League Championship Trophy is Commissioned

Location:

New York

Age of Players:

Adult

Sources:

Robert H  Shaefer,  "The Wiman Trophy, and the Man for Whom It was Named,  Base Ball, Vol. I №2 (2007), p. 55.

 

[Reprised in John Thorn's Our Game blog, 2/14/2022]

see https://ourgame.mlblogs.com/the-wiman-trophy-and-the-man-for-whom-it-was-named-14c334840975.

 

Comment:

Erastus Wiman, Owner of the American Association's New York Metropolitan Club commissioned a silver trophy for the championship of the 1887 season of the American Association. 

Query:

Is this indeed the first such trophy in base ball history?

Year
1886
Item
1886.1
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