Chronology:Baseball

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1820c.24 Waterbury CT Jaws Drop as Baptist Deacon Takes the Field

Location:

New England

Game:

Baseball

Age of Players:

Adult

"after the 'raising' of this building, at which, as was customary on such occasions, there was a large gathering of people who came to render voluntary assistance, the assembled company adjourned to the adjacent meadow (now owned by Charles Frost) for a game of baseball, and that certain excellent old ladies were much scandalized that prominent Baptists, among them Deacon Porter, should show on such an occasion so much levity as to take part in the game."

Joseph Anderson, ed., The Town and City of Waterbury, Connecticut, from the Aboriginal Period to the Year 1895, Volume III (Price and Lee, New Haven CT, 1896), page 673n. Accessed 2/3/10 via Google Books search (Waterbury aboriginal III).

Circa
1820
Item
1820c.24
Edit

1860.17 Base Ball vs. Cricket

Age of Players:

Adult

In a lengthy article, The Clipper (probably Henry Chadwick) explores the comparison of cricket to baseball, and the question of the suitability of baseball players as cricketers. Proposes matches between cricketers and baseballists. The Clipper returned to one point, the superiority of baseballists as fielders, in articles on Nov. 10 and Nov. 17, 1860.

Sources:

New York Clipper, April 28, 1860

Year
1860
Item
1860.17
Edit

1860.18 Juniors Organize in NYC

Game:

Baseball

Age of Players:

Youth

[A] THE CONVENTION OF THE JUNIOR CLUBS.-- On Friday evening last,in accordance with an invitation from the Powhatan Club, of Brooklyn, a convention of delegates from the junior clubs was held at their rooms, for the purpose of forming an organization for the better regulation of matches...The following delegates were present from their respective clubs: (delegates from 31 clubs listed)

[B] THE JUNIOR CONVENTION.-- The second meeting of the delegates from the Junior Clubs was held , at Brooklyn, and the report of the Committee on Constitutions and By Laws was received and accepted. The Constitution of the Senior organization was accepted with...amendments...the Bylaws of the Seniors were adopted without amendment." The convention adopted the name "National Association of Junior Base Ball Players."

[C] The new association's first meeting convened in New York City on January 9, 1861.

Sources:

[A] New York Sunday Mercury, Oct. 7, 1860

[B]  New York Clipper, Oct. 20, 1860

[C] New York Sunday Mercury, Jan. 20, 1861

Comment:

The Junior clubs had been excluded from membership in the National Association of Base Ball Players at the time of its formation in 1858.

Year
1860
Item
1860.18
Edit

1864.95 Union army garrison plays baseball at Fort Bartow

Game:

Baseball

Age of Players:

Adult

A Georgia Historical Marker at "Fort Bartow" near Cartersville, GA, says that in 1864, the Union garrison played baseball in the field to the west of the fort.

Sources:

Georgia State Historical Marker

Year
1864
Item
1864.95
Edit

1867.17 First Multi-Racial Baseball Team?

Game:

Baseball

The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, Aug. 31, 1867, ran a box score on what may be the first reported baseball match in Hawaii, between the Pacific and Pioneer Clubs.

The players for the Pacifics included three non-Anglo names: J. Nakookoo, 2b; J. Naone, ss; and G. Laanui, rf. The Pacifics won the game 11-9.

Now, baseball had been played at the famed Punahou School for years and that school included pupils from prominent Polynesian-Hawaiian and Anglo-Hawaiian families.

This might be the first club integrated with Asians. Florence, MA in 1865 had a black player on their club. 

The same issue of the newspaper included a report on the formation of a "pure Hawaiian" (presumably Polynesian-Hawaiian) team: 
A new base ball club will soon be organized, to be composed entirely of pure Hawaiians.... The Pioneers and Pacifics [the 2 existing clubs, which played in the game above] will have to look out for their laurels."

 

Sources:

The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, Aug. 31, 1867

Year
1867
Item
1867.17
Edit

1869c.4 Diana Base Ball Club of Northwestern Female Seminary

Tags:

Females

Game:

Baseball

Age of Players:

Youth

In the fall of 1869, a number of newspapers reported on the existence of the Diana Female Base Ball Club at the "Northwestern Seminary" at Evanston.  There has been some confusion in secondary sources about this team, with some scholars linking it to Northwestern University.  This is incorrect.  The Northwestern Female College (as it was known) was a separate institution from the University.  The latter did not admit its first female student until Fall semester 1869.  One female student could not have organized a baseball club.  Further evidence that the Diana Base Ball Club was composed of younger girls, not college women, is the fact that a junior "pony club" of boys challenged them to a match game.  (There is no evidence this game was ever played.)  By way of further clarification, the Northwest Female College operated until 1871 when its trustees handed over responsibility for educating young women to the trustees of the newly-chartered Evanston College for Ladies.  The original intent of the founders was to operate as the Women's Department of Northwestern University.  This did not happen until 1874 when it became the Women's College of Northwestern University.  Frances Willard, who would later gain international fame as head of the Women's Christian Temperance Union was a graduate of the Northwestern Female College and first president of the Evanston College for Ladies.

Sources:

Chicago Times (22 Oct 1869), p. 6.  Quoted in: Robert Pruter, "Youth Baseball in Chicago, 1868-1890: Not Always Sandlot Ball," Journal of Sport History, 26.1 (Spring 1999): 1-28.  Also, The National Chronicle (Boston) (30 Oct 1869), p. 259, “All Shapes and Sizes,” Bangor Daily Whig & Courier (8 Nov 1869), n.p., “The Playground: Our National Game,” Oliver Optic's Magazine: Our Boys and Girls (20 Nov. 1869): 639.

Circa
1869
Item
1869c.4
Edit

1870c.17 Rutherford Hayes Sees Harm to Hearing in Ballplaying

Tags:

Famous, Hazard

Game:

Baseball

Age of Players:

Youth

MY DEAR BOY -- I see by the Journal you are playing base-ball and that you play well.  I am pleased with this.  I like to have my boys enjoy and practice all athletic sports and games, especially riding, towing, hunting, and ball playing.  But I am a little afraid, from [what] Uncle says, that overexertion and excitement in playing baseball will injure your hearing.  Now, you are old enough to judge of this and to regulate your conduct accordingly.  If you find there is any injury you ought to resolve to play only for a limited time -- say an hour or an hour and a half on the same day. . . . We had General Sherman at our house Wednesday evening with a pleasant party."

Sources:

Cited in John Thorn, Our Game posting, February 2018, "Our Baseball Presidents."  

This original source is not given here.

Query:

What is the source of the Hayes letter?

Year
1870
Item
1870c.17
Edit

1870.9 Lively Ball Suspected in Mutual-Olympic Game

Tags:

The Ball

Game:

Baseball

Age of Players:

Adult

"It was supposed that a lively ball was played with, on account of the heavy batting [Mutual had 31 hits and 29 runs].  Both the Olympic games of yesterday and Monday were played with a ball that contained but half an ounce of rubber; the yarn and covering bringing it up to regulation weight." 

Sources:

New York Tribune, September 14, 1870.

For a concise account of rules on baseballs, see Chapter 17 ("The Ball and Bat"), in Richard Hershberger, Strike Four: The Evolution of Baseball, (Rowan and  Littlefield, 2019, pp 121-126.

Comment:

Richard Hershberger annotation, 9/14/2020: "Missing from [the formal rule on ball makeup] is any discussion of relative proportions of rubber and yarn.  In other words, how much rubber?  Rubber is denser than yarn, so the size and weight requirements imply a range of legal proportions between the two.  Some clubs were rumored to get around this, having illegal balls made with extra rubber, balanced by cork. . . . There were learned discussions of the merits of lively and dead balls, and arguments before the game started over what ball to use.  Also, the occasional surreptitious switch mid-game."

Ball Four points out [pp 124-125) that a limit of one ounce of rubber was defined for a regulation ball in 1871. In 1876, the new National League addressed the issue by requiring clubs to use a standard Spalding ball in its games, thus lessening suspicion the club that provides a game ball thereby gains competitive advantage. 

 

 

 

Query:

Were the weights and/or circumferences of balls subject to impartial tests at or before games?

Year
1870
Item
1870.9
Edit

1870.10 Philly Paper Lists Betting Odds for US Championship Match in Brooklyn

Location:

Brooklyn, NY

Game:

Baseball

Age of Players:

Adult

"The Athletic Base Ball Club [of Philadelphia]has again been defeated, making the sixth thrashing [of 11-10] which they have received during the present season.  This afternoon [September 15] they played on the Union Grounds, in Brooklyn, the deciding game for the championship of the United States, with the Mutual Club . . . .  Bets were freely offered prior to the game of a hundred to fifty . . . but even at these heavy odds there were few takers."  The crowd was reported as about three thousand persons.

Sources:

"Another Defeat," Philadelphia Inquirer, September 16, 1870.  As reproduced on Richard Hershberger's Facebook posting, September 15, 2020 

Comment:

"Note also how the betting line is featured prominently in the account. The baseball press routinely decried the influence of gambling on baseball, while carefully reporting the odds. Consistency was not a priority here.

"The crowd of three thousand seems a bit low. It is respectable for this era, but a really big game would draw a lot more. The Philadelphians claimed that that the A's held the championship, with this loss passing it to the Mutuals. No one outside Philadelphia really believed the A's held the championship, or more would have turned out today."

-- Richard Hershberger, 9/15/2020

Year
1870
Item
1870.10
Edit

1870.11 Chicago Switches to the Dead Ball, Starts Winning Again

Location:

Chicago

Game:

Baseball

Age of Players:

Adult

"Circumstances prevented any improvement in the organization of the [White Sox] nine until some weeks after their return from their disastrous [New York] tour; finally, however, the nine was re-organized . . . the muffin players' rubber ball was re-placed by a dead ball, and from the[n] . . .the Chicago club has been marked by a series of uninterupted victories, the crowning triumph being the defeat of the strongest nine in the United States in two successive contests."

Sources:

New York Clipper October 29, 1870

Comment:
Richard Hershberger, 150 years ago in baseball, FB posting 10/29/2020:
 
Chadwick on the improvement of the Chicago Club. They wisely took his advice and switched from a lively to a dead ball. Success inevitably followed.
 
Much as I enjoy tweaking Chad for this sort of thing, in fairness it was pretty standard in this era. A newspaper would publish helpful advice to the local club. If the club did something that could plausibly be taken as consistent with the helpful advice, the paper would claim credit for the suggestion. Say what you will about modern sports talk radio, even those guys don't usually claim that the GM turns to them for trade ideas.
 
Does the claim about the deal ball make a lick of sense? It is classic Chad, but there is a kernel of truth. Good and poor fielding teams generally favored a dead or lively ball respectively, on the grounds that a dead ball gave the infielders a chance to show their stuff while a lively ball was more likely to get to the outfield. The Red Stockings revolution was mostly about improved fielding, so they favored a dead ball. As clubs' fielding caught up, they followed suit. The eventual consensus was a relatively dead ball, with later discussions being how live or not, within the range of a relatively dead ball. So as the White Stockings got their act together, it is entirely plausible that they moved to a dead ball. In other words, they didn't get getter because they switched to a dead ball; they switched to a dead ball because they got better. And certainly not because Chadwick convinced them. 
Year
1870
Item
1870.11
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1872.1 Prince Bismarck Takes in a Ball Game in Berlin

Tags:

Famous

Game:

Baseball

Age of Players:

Adult

From John Thorn's Our Game, forwarded 11/17/20:


When Bismarck Went to the Ball Game

This story comes to me via Paul H.D. Kaplan, Professor of Art History, State University of New York, Purchase, and author of a great new article on the subject of baseball sculpture, which fascinates me; I encourage you to read it (http://journalpanorama.org/marmorean-ballplayer-sheriff-john-mcnamee-of-brooklyn-and-his-sculptural-career-in-florence/).

While poking around in a now forgotten (and not yet digitized) American weekly newspaper published in Paris and London, The American Register, beginning in the 1860s, Kaplan found “another interesting piece about early transatlantic baseball, that as far as I can tell hasn’t appeared in modern scholarship.”

The American Register, April 13, 1872, p. 3:

“Base Ball in Berlin” from our own correspondent. Berlin April 7. “With the return of spring and sunshine has come a revival of the interest so universally manifested by Americans, whether at home or abroad, in their great national game — base ball. An occasional game at the Hippodrome — a large field, situated between Berlin and Charlottenburg, which his Imperial Highness, the Crown Prince of Prussia, has kindly accorded as a ball ground — finally resulted in a match, which was played on Tuesday afternoon last, in the presence of a large throng of spectators. Prince Bismarck and son, Gen. Vogel von Falkenstein, and many officers of the staff attended.”

The piece then goes on to describe one ball hit so well it went 300–400 meters [!] and hit the horse of an officer; the horse is said to have thought it was a French bullet and reared. There is also a lot about organizing other games in Germany. (Josh Chetwynd, in his Baseball in Europe, dates the earliest game in Germany to 1909.) I just love the idea of Bismarck showing up at this game. [Note: Bruce Allardice cites, at Protoball.org, a game played in Dresden on July 14, 1869, between two clubs composed of Americans, mostly students. — jt]

---

Schlagball, a primordial form of long ball, may date to the middle ages, yet a national schlagball championship was played as recently as 1954. For more, see: http://protoball.org/Schlagball. But the game that Otto von Bismarck viewed was neither schlagball nor das Englische Base-ball; it was good old (really, not so old) American baseball.

 

Sources:

Our Game, John Thorn, November 2017.

Comment:

For more on Bruce Allardice's find on the 1869 game, see Union_v_American_in_Dresden_on_14_July_1869 

For more on the earliest base ball in Germany, see Germany.  

For more on the German game of schlagball, including Bill Hicklin's note on its final national presence, see schlagball

 

 

Year
1872
Item
1872.1
Edit

1875.2 First female baseball team outside the US?

Tags:

Females

Game:

Baseball

The website of the famous Punahou school in Honolulu says that starting in 1872, "girls" athletics were popular. In 1875, two girls teams played each other.

"Punahou Nines beat Royal School Nines, two teams of female baseball players"

Is this the first all-female baseball game outside the U.S.? [Hawaii was an independent nation at this time]

Sources:

Punahou school website.

Year
1875
Item
1875.2
Edit