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1803.1 Ontario Diarist Reports Joining Men "Jumping and Playing Ball"
"I went to Town [York, Ontario] . . . walk'd out and joined a number of men jumping and playing Ball, perceived a Mr. Joseph Randle to be the most active." -- Ely Playter, York tavernkeeper.
[Playter, Ely], "Extracts from Ely Playter's Diary, April 13, 1803," reprinted in Edith G. Firth, ed., The Town of York 1793 - 1815: A Collection of Documents of Early Toronto (The Champlain Society, Toronto, 1962), p. 248. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball before We Knew It, page 247 and ref #89.
1815c.1 US Prisoners in Ontario at End of War of 1812 Play Ball
Fairchild, G. M., ed., Journal of an American at Fort Malden and Quebec in the War of 1812 (private printing, Quebec, 1090 (sic; 1900?), no pagination. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 87.)
1815.4 Six-Hour "Wicket" Match Played in Canada
"On the 29th May, a grant [sic] Match of Wicket was played at Chippawa, Upper Canada, by 22 English ship wrights, for a stake of 150 dollars. The parties were distinguished by the Pueetergushene and the Chippawa party. The game was won in 56 runs by the former. It continued 6 hours.
"The winners challenge any eleven gentlemen in the state of New York, for any sum they may wish to play for. The game was succeeded by a supper in honor of King Charles, and the evening in spent [sic] with great hilarity."
Mechanics' Gazette and Merchants' Daily Advertiser, June 9,1815, reprinting from the Buffalo Gazette. Provided by Richard Hershberger, 7/30/2007. Note: It seems unusual for Englishmen to be playing wicket, and for wicket to field 11-man teams. Could this be a cricket match reported as wicket? Is it clear why a Buffalo NY newspaper would report on a match in "Upper Canada," or whereever Chippawa is? Do we know what a "grant match" is? A typo for "grand match," probably?
Upper Canada is modern Ontario, and Chippewa is just across the Niagara River from New York and Buffalo. [ba]
1820s.19 Ball-Playing in Ontario
"Contrary to the once commonly held belief that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in 1839, a form of the game existed in Oxford County [ON] during the early decades of the nineteenth century that used a square playing field with four bases and eleven players a side." Nancy B. Bouchier, For the Love of the Game: Amateur Sport in Small-Town Ontario, 1838-1895 (McGill-Queens University Press, 2003), page 100. Note: Dating this item to the 1820's is a best guess [we are asking the author for input], based on additional evidence from N. Bouchier and R. Barney, "A Critical Evaluation of a Source on Early Ontario Baseball: The Reminiscence of Adam E. Ford," Journal of Sport History, Volume 15 number 1 (Spring 1988). Players remembered as attending the 1838 event included older "greyheaded" men who reflected back on earlier play - one of whom was on the local assessment roll in 1812.
1838.4 First Recorded Base Ball game in Canada [as reported in 1886]?
Residents of Oxford County gather near Beachville, Ontario, to play the first recorded game of baseball in Canada (reported only in 1886). The Canadian version uses five bases, a three strikes rule and three outs to a side. Foul lines are described.
Ford, Dr. Adam E., Sporting Life, May 5, 1886. Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 9-11. For more historical data on this event, see Nancy B. Bouchier and Robert Knight Brown, "A Critical Examination of a Source on Early Ontario Baseball: The Reminiscences of Adam E. Ford," Journal of Sport History, volume 15 [Spring 1988], pp. 75-87. This paper concludes that the New York game reached Ontario no earlier than 1849.
Caveat: Richard Hershberger, email of 1/14/2008, expresses the possibility that aspects of the Ford account are the result of a "confused recollection, with genuine old features and modern features misremembered and attributed to the old game." One problem is that the foul territory as described in 1886 is hard to fathom; Richard also notes that use of the 3-out-all-out rule would make this game the only non-NYC game with three-out innings. Ford also implies that games were then finished at the end of an agreed number of innings, not by reaching an agreed number of scores. He also states that older players in the 1838 game had played a like game in their youth. Adam Ford was seven years old in 1838.
For full text of Dr. Ford's 1886 letter, see the supplemental text.
1838.12 First Murder in a Baseball Game?
"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.)
Newark Daily Advertiser (NJ), pg. 2, September 8, 1838.
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."
1840.10 St. George, NY Cricket Club, [Accidentally] Plays Toronto for a $250 Side Bet
"On the afternoon of August 28, 1840 eighteen members of the St. George's Club [of NY] turned up in Toronto following an exhausting journey through the state of New York by coach and across Lake Ontario by steamer. When they asked about the Toronto Cricket Club, they were told that the members of the Toronto Cricket Club had no knowledge of any such cricket match. [It turned out that an invitation had been sent as a hoax by someone.] Mr. Phillpotts himself was not around and the embarrassed officials of the Toronto Cricket Club hastily called a meeting. Following this meeting, a challenge match was organized between the two clubs for a stake of fifty pounds ($250) a side. A large number of spectators turned out and the band of the 34th Regiment entertained the gathering. His Excellency, Sir George Arthur, the Governor of Upper Canada, witnessed the match which the New Yorkers won by 10 wickets. Following this match, the St. George's Club and the Toronto Cricket Club planned a more proper encounter between the two countries at New York in 1844." From the Dreamcricket website's chronology of American cricket [accessed 10/30/2008]:
1840.19 Baseball Arrives in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
"The story of baseball in Saint John has a Spalding-Chadwick twist to it. As early as the year 1840, there have been mentions of the sport of baseball in the Port City. As D. R. Jack noted in his Centennial Prize Essay (1783-1883): 'It was a common practice with many of the leading merchants of St. John to assemble each fine summer afternoon after the business day was over . . . where a fine playground has been prepared, and engage in a game of cricket or baseball. This practice was continued until about 1840.' Whether of not this was actually the game of "Rounders" or "Town Ball" is debatable.
Brian Flood, Saint John: A Sporting Tradition 1785-1985 [Henry Flood, 1985], pages 18-19.
1840s.40 American Cricketers Play in Canada
"American cricketers had gone to Canada as early as 1840, and there were several matches between the two countries in the next several years. Although the contests were ostensibly between the United States and Canada, the American eleven was generally comprised entirely of Englishmen."
William Ryczek, Baseball's First Inning (MacFarland, 2009), page 104. Ryczek's source may have been the Chadwick Scrapbooks.
1841.7 "Games of Ball and Bat" Played in Nova Scotia
"The Nova Scotian newspaper of July 1, 1841, 26 years before Canadian confederation, noted that on 24 Jude 1841 the St. Mary's Total Abstinence Society of Halifax sailed to Dartmouth across the bay and there between 700 and 800 met, and at which, 'Quadrille and Contra dances were got up on the green - and games of ball and bat, and such sports proceeded.'"
William Humber, "Baseball and Canadian Identity," College Quarterly, volume 8 number 3 [summer 2005] page? Submitted by John Thorn 3/30/2006.
1844.2 First US-Canada Cricket Match Held
The St. George's Club played an All-Canada team for $1000
Wisden's history of cricket, 1966. Also: Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809. Seymour cites "Manchester" as his source for the $1000 stake.
1844.6 Novel Cites "the Game of Bass in the Fields"
"And you boys let out racin', yelpin,' hollerin,' and whoopin' like mad with pleasure, and the playground, and the game of bass in the fields, or hurly on the long pond on the ice, . . . "
Thomas C. Haliburton, The Attache: or Sam Slick in England [Bentley, London, 1844] no page cited, per William Humber, "Baseball and Canadian Identity," College Quarterly volume 8 Number 3 [Spring 2005] no page cited. Humber notes that this reference has been used to refute Nova Scotia's claim to be the birthplace of modern ice hockey ["hurly"]. Submitted by John Thorn, 3/30/2006.
Note: Understanding the author's intent here is complicated by the fact that he was Canadian, Sam Slick was an American character, and the novel is set in Britain.
Is "bass" a ballgame, or was prisoner's base sometimes thought of as a "field game?"
1845.21 St. George's Cricket Club Plays Series with All-Canada Eleven
On August 1, 1845, St. George's played the first match in Montreal, losing 215 to 154. Later in the month, a crowd reported at 3000 souls saw All-Canada take a 83-49 lead over the New York club at the club's home grounds on NY's 27th Street.
Extensive coverage of the first innings of the second match appears at "The Grand Cricket Match - St. George's Club of this City against All Canada," Weekly Herald, August 30, 1845. Accessed via subscription search, May 5, 2009.
1854.11 The Game in Ontario Resembled the MA Game, with Variations
"Organized teams first appeared in Hamilton in 1854 and London in 1855. The game they played was described in the August 4 1860 issue of the New York Clipper as having several unique features. 'The game played in Canada,' the Clipper reported, 'differs somewhat from the New York game, the ball being thrown instead of pitched and an inning not concluded until all are out, there are also 11 players on each side.' It differed as well from the Massachusetts Game, in its strict adherence to 11 men on the field as opposed to the Massachusetts rules, which allowed 10 to 14.
"As well all 11 men had to be retired before the other team came to bat. Both games allowed the pitcher to throw the ball in the modern style, rather than underarm as in the New York rules."
William Humber, "Baseball and the Canadian Identity," College Quarterly, Volume 8 Number 3 [Summer 2005]. Submitted by John Thorn 3/30/2006.
It would be interesting to know if this game included outs made by the plugging baserunners.
1855.12 Students Bring Cricket to Saint John and Fredericton NB
"[C]ricket was brought to Saint John by the students who went to the Collegiate School in Fredericton. At that time, cricket was far more advanced in the 'celestial' city. When the students returned to Saint John [from Fredericton], they brought with them the game of cricket. The military leased to the new club a large field behind the military barracks. They formed the 'Saint John Cricket Club' in the year 1855."
Brian Flood, Saint John: A Sporting Tradition 1785-1985 [Neptune Publishing, Saint John, 1985], page 20.
1856.18 First Reported Canadian Base Ball Game Occurs, in Ontario
"September 12, 1856 -"The first reported game of Canadian baseball is played in London, ONT, with the London Club defeating the Delaware club 34-33."
"London [ON], Sept. 15, 1856. Editor Clipper: Within the past few months several Base Ball clubs have been organized in this vicinity, and the first match game was played between the London and Delaware clubs, on Friday, the 12th inst." The box score reveals that the 34-33 score eventuated when the clubs stood at 26-23 after the first inning, and then London outscored Delaware 11-7 in the second inning.
Charlton, James, ed., The Baseball Chronology (Macmillan, 1991), page 13
"Base Ball in Canada," The New York Clipper Volume 4, number 23 (September 27, 1856), page 183.
Is it likely that the New York rules would have produced this much scoring per inning . . . or was it set up as a two-inning contest? Can we confirm/disconfirm that this was the first Canadian game in some sense [keeping in mind that Beachville game report at #1838.4 above]?
1859.13 First Tour of English Eleven to US and Canada
The All England Eleven confronted 22 US players in a match at the Camac Estate Cricket Ground in Philadelphia, October 10-13, 1859. England overtook the US, 155-154 with seven wickets in hand. The US side comprised 13 Philadelphians and 9 New Yorkers.
The AEE also thumped 22 players from the US and Canada in Rochester NY. In all, the tour comprised eight matches.
John Lester, A Century of Philadelphia Cricket, UPenn Press, Philadelphia, 1951), pages 19-21.
Facsimile of Clipper coverage of the Philadelphia match contributed by Gregory Christiano, 2009.
1859.41 First Game in Canada Played by New York Rules?
"YOUNG CANADA vs. YOUNG AMERICA. - These two base ball clubs of Canada (the former of Toronto, the latter of Hamilton) played the first game of base ball that has ever taken place there, we believe, under the rules of the N. Y. Base Ball Association, on Tuesday, 24th ult., at Hamilton."
The New York Clipper, June 11, 1859
Young Canada prevailed, 68-41.
Are there earlier claims for the first Knicks-style game in Canada? Item #1856.18 above was likely a predecessor game, right?
1860.29 "Canadian Game" Espied in Ontario
"Despite early experimentation with Cartwright's game, Oxford County [ON] inhabitants persisted with their regional variation of baseball for over a decade. . . . In 1860 matches between Beachville's sister communities Ingersoll and Woodstock involved eleven, rather than nine, players, and used four, rather than three bases. This prompted the New York Clipper [of August 18, 1860] to refer to the type of baseball played in the region as being the "Canadian Game."
N. B. Bouchier and R. K. Barney, "A Critical Examination of a Source on Early Ontario Baseball," Journal of Sport History Volume 15, number 1 (Spring 1988), page 85.
The authors say that the extra positions were "4th base" and "backstop." They suggest that the game was still closer to the Massachusetts game than the NY game. Oxford County's ballplaying towns are roughly at the midpoint between Buffalo NY and Detroit, and roughly 50 miles from each.
Can we find that Clipper report? Does the use of two backstops imply the continued application of tick-and-catch rules?
1861.7 Ontario Lads to Try the New York Game, May Forego "Canadian Game"
The year-old Young Canadian Base Ball Club [Woodstock, ON] met in Spring 1861, elected officers, reported themselves "flourishing" with forty members, and basked in the memory of a 6-0 1860 season. "At the last meeting of the club it was resolved that they should practice the New York game for one month, and if at the end of that time they liked it better than the Canadian game, they would adopt it altogether."
See also #1820s.19, #1838.4, #1856.18, and #1860.29 above.
The New York Clipper (date omitted in scrapbook clipping; from context it was about May 1861). Note- not found in May issues
1864.44 Canadian Baseball Association Forms
"BASE-BALL IN CANADA. A meeting of delegates appointed to form a Base-Ball Association in Canada was held in the town of Woodstock on Monday evening, 15th August, 1864."
Wilkes' Spirit of the Times, Sept. 10, 1864
Four clubs, all in Ontario, were represented-- the Young Canadian Club (Woodstock); Maple Leaf Club (Hamilton); Barton Club (Barton); and Victoria Club (Ingersoll)