|Misc BB Firsts|
|Add a Misc BB First|
|About the Chronology|
|Add a Chronology Entry|
"A sound mind in a sound body is a maxim to which our collegiate forbears of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries would probably have subscribed, but about which they did little. Benjamin Franklin, for example, urged that in order to keep the scholars of his proposed academy "in health, and to strengthen and render active their bodies, they be frequently exercised in running, leaping, wrestling, and swimming, etc." (Source: Benjamin Franklin, "Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsilvania, " in Woody(ed.), Educational Views of Benjamin Franklin, and as a possible source of distraction from the pursuit of serious study, the early tendency was to discourage rather than to foster participation in it. Thus, the rules for student deportment formulated by the trustees of the College, Academy and Charitable School of Philadelphia, in 1761, tended to place a damper upon the exuberant spirit of youth: 'None shall climb over the Fences of the College Yard, or come in or out thro the Windows, or play Ball or use any Kind of Diversion within the Walls of the Building; nor shall they in the Presence of the Trustees, Professors or Tutors, play Ball, Wrestle, make any indecent Noise, or behave in any way rudely in the College Yard or Streets adjacent.'" (Source: College Academy and Charitable School, Minutes of Trustees, I, March 10, 1761, pp. 131 ff).</p>, Bruegel the Elder, Christopher Columbus, Duchess of Kent, Edward III, Francis Dana Gage, Frederick Douglass, Galen, Galileo, General Abe Buford, General Joseph Hooker, Union Army, Governor Willliam Bradford, Harry Wright, George Wright, Henry Chadwick, Henry Ward Beecher, Judge Samuel Sewell, King Ferdinand II, Lord Robert Dudley; Queen Elizabeth I, Mark Hanna, Repubican Senator from Ohio, 1897-1904, Nausicaa, Nicholas Young, Nicholas Young, National League President, 1885-1902, Noah Webster, Oliver Cromwell, Jane Austen, Prince of Wales, Prince of Wales, Lord Middlesex, Robert E. Lee, Rutherford B. Hayes, Saint Augustine, Saint Cuthbert, Sir Philip Sydney, Lady Mary Dudley, Union General George McClellan, United States Government, Walt Whitman, Walt Whitman</div></div>
BC750.1 Ballplay in Ancient Greece
<p>The great physician Galen wrote [ca. 180 AD] especially fondly of ballplaying and its merits, and seems to have seen it as an adult activity. He advised that "the most strenuous form of ball playing is in no way inferior to other exercises." Turning to milder forms of ball play, he said "I believe that in this form ball playing is also superior to all the other exercises." His partiality to ballplaying stemmed in part from its benefit for the whole body, not just the legs or arms, as was the case for running and wrestling.</p> <p>As far as we are aware, Greek ball games did not include any that involved running among bases or safe havens, or any that involved propelling a ball with a club or stick (or hands).</p><p> </p>
370c.1 Saint Augustine Recalls Punishment for Youthful Ball Games
640s.1 Medieval Writer: Saint Cuthbert [born 634c] "Pleyde atte balle"
1299.1 Prince of Wales Plays "Creag," Seen By Some as a Cricket Precursor
1365.1 Edward III Prohibits Playing of Club-Ball.
<p>This appears to be one of only two direct references to "club-ball" in the literature. See #1794.2, below.</p><p>Caveat: David Block argues that, contrary to Strutt's contention [see #1801.1, below], club ball may not be the common ancestor of cricket and other ballgames. See David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, pages 105-107 and 183-184. Block says that "pilam bacculoream" translates as "ball play with a stick or staff." Note: We seem not to really know what "camucam" was. Nor, of course, how club ball was played, since the term could have denoted a form of tennis or field hockey or and early form of stoolball or cricket. Edward II had issued a ban of his own in 1314, regarding football.</p>
1400c.1 Savior Son Wants "To Go Play at Ball"
<p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">A well-known and still-sung medieval English carol (in this case, not a Christmas carol), is The Bitter Withy (withy is the willow tree). The carol is dated to around 1400.</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"> </p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">As it fell out on a holy day.</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"> The drops of rain did fall, did fall,</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">Our Saviour asked leave of his mother Mary</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"> If he might go play at ball.</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"> </p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">"To play at ball, my own dear son,</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"> It's time you was going or gone,</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">But be sure let me hear no complain of you</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"> At night when you do come home."</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">. . .</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"> </p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">John Bowman reports that "The poem then tells how the boy Jesus tricks some boys into drowning and is spanked by his mother with a willow branch. Although I do not know what scholars have to say about the ball game, it is clear that the upper-class boys regard it as lower-class!"</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"> </p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">The full selection, and John's email, are shown below.
1494c.1 Christopher Columbus and the Coefficient of Restitution
1500s.2 Queen Elizabeth's Dudley Plays Stoolball at Wotton Hill?
1565.1 Bruegel's "Corn Harvest" Painting Shows Meadow Ballgame
1586c.1 Sydney Cites Stoolball
<p>When she with skirts tuckt very hie, with gyrles at stoolball playes"</p><p> </p>
<p>As of October 2012, this early stoolball ref. is the only one I see that can be interpreted as describing baserunning in stoolball - but it still may merely describe running by a fielder, not a batter. (LMc, Oct/2012)</p><p>Sydney's mother was the sister of Robert Dudley, noted in item #1500s.2 above as a possible stoolball player in the time of Eliizabeth I.</p>
1600c.2 Shakespeare Mentions Rounders? Pretty Doubtful
1612c.1 Play Attributed to Shakespeare Cites Stool-ball
1621.1 Some Pilgrims "Openly" Play "Stoole Ball" on Christmas Morning: Governor Clamps Down
1648.1 Short Herrick Poem Proposes a Wager on Stool-ball Game
1659.1 Stuyvesant: No Tennis, Ball-Playing, Dice on Fast Day
1660c.2 Ben Franklin's Uncle Recalls Ballplaying On an English Barn
<p>The uncle of U.S. patriot Benjamin Franklin, also named Benjamin Franklin, wrote these lines in a 1704 recollection of his native English town of Ecton. The uncle lived from 1650/1 to 1727. Ecton is a village in Northamptonshire.</p><p>Loring, J. S., The Franklin Manuscripts. The Historical Magazine, and Notes and Queries Concerning the Antiquities, History, and Biography of America (1857-1875), Volume 3, issue 1, January 1859, 4 pages. Submitted by John Thorn, 4/24/06. </p>
1661.1 Galileo Galilei Discovers . . . Backspin!
<p>(see Supplemental Text, below, for a longer excerpt, which also includes the effect of "cutting" balls in tennis as a helpful tactic.) </p> <p> </p><p> </p>
1666.1 John Bunyan is Very Seriously Interrupted at Tip-Cat, one of his Four "Chief Sins"
<p> </p><p> </p>
1680.3 John Bunyan's Son Yields to "Drunkenness, Card-playing, Stoolball," Maypole Dancing
1688.1 New Royals Reportedly Watch Stoolball
1713.1 Boston Magistrate Finds Trap Ball Clogging a Gutter
1725c.1 Wicket Played on Boston Common at Daybreak
<p>"March 17th. Did the like again, but took not Ben with him. I told him he could not lodge here practicing thus. So he lodg'd elsewhere. He grievously offended me in persuading his Sister Hannam not to have Mr. Turall, without enquiring of me about it. And play'd fast and loose in a vexing matter about himself in a matter relating to himself, procuring me great Vexation."</p> <p>.</p><p> </p>
1740.3 Lord Chesterfield Nods Approvingly at Cricket - and Trap Ball!
1741c.1 Does Alexander Pope "Sneer" at Cricket in Epic Poem?
<p>The senator at cricket urge the ball"</p> <p>Pope, "The Dunciad," per Steel and Lyttelton, Cricket, (Longmans Green, London, 1890) 4th edition, page 9. Steel and Lyttelton date the writing to 1726-1735. Their remark: "Mr. Alexander Pope had sneered at cricket. At what did Mr. Pope not sneer?"</p><p>Alexander Pope, The Dunciad, Complete in Four Books, According to Mr. Pope's Last Improvements (Warburton, London, 1749), Book IV, line 592, page 70. Note; This fragment does not seem severely disparaging. Is it clear from context what offense he gives to cricketers? It is true that this passage demeans assorted everyday practices, particularly as pursued by those of high standing. Book IV, the last, is now believed to have been written in 1741. Other entries that employ the "urge the ball" phrasing are #1747.1, #1805c.7, #1807.3, and #1824.4.</p>
1744.3 Earliest Full Cricket Scorecard for the "Greatest Match Ever Known"
1744.4 Poet: "Hail Cricket! Glorious Manly, British Game!
<p>Protoball: Are you a serious cricket fan?</p> <p>Dance:" Hail, cricket! Glorious manly, British Game! / First of all Sports! be first alike in Fame!" [lines 13-14]</p> <p>PBall: Isn't billiards a good game too?</p> <p>Dance:"puny Billiards, where, with sluggish Pace / The dull Ball trails before the feeble Mace" [lines 40-41]</p> <p>PBall: But you do appreciate tennis, right?"</p> <p>Dance: "Not Tennis [it]self, [cricket's] sister sport can charm, /Or with [cricket's] fierce Delights our Bosoms warm".[lines 55-56] . . . to small Space confined, ev'n [tennis] must yield / To nobler CRICKET, the disputed field." [lines 60-61]</p> <p>PBall: But doesn't every country have a fine national pastime?</p> <p>Dance: "Leave the dissolving Song, the baby Dance, / To Sooth[e] the Slaves of Italy and France: / While the firm Limb, and strong brac'd Nerve are thine [cricket's] / Scorn Eunuch Sports; to manlier Games [we] incline" [lines 68-71]</p> <p>PBall:Manlier? You see the average cricketer as especially manly?</p> <p>Dance: "He weighs the well-turn'd Bat's experienced Force, / And guides the rapid Ball's impetuous course, / His supple Limbs with Nimble Labour plies, / Nor bends the grass beneath him as he flies." [lines 29 - 32]</p><p>James Love, Cricket: an Heroic Poem. illustrated with the Critical Observations of Scriblerus Maximus(W. Bickerton, London, undated)" The poet writes of a famous 1744 match between All England and Kent [#1744.3, above.] Thanks to Beth Hise for a lead to this poem, email, 12/21/2007. John Thorm, per email of 2/1/2008, located and pointed to online copy. Note: Are we sure the versified game account is from the 1744 Kent/England match - not 1746, for example? </p>
1745c.1 John Adams Recalls Youthful Bat and Ball Play
1747.1 Poet Thomas Gray: "Urge the Flying Ball."
1748.1 Lady Hervey Reports Royals' "Base-ball" in a Letter
<p>"[T]he Prince's family is an example of innocent and cheerful amusements All this last summer they played abroad; and now, in the winter, in a large room, they divert themselves at base-ball, a play all who are, or have been, schoolboys, are well acquainted with. The ladies, as well as gentlemen, join in this amusement . . . . This innocence and excellence must needs give great joy, and well as great hope, to all real lovers of their country and posterity."</p> <p>[The last sentence may well be written in irony, as Lady Hervey was evidently known to be unimpressed with the Prince's conduct.]</p><p>Hervey, Lady (Mary Lepel), Letters (London, 1821), p.139 [Letter XLII, of November 14, 1748, from London]. Google Books now has uploaded the letters: search for "Lady Hervey." Letter 52 begins on page 137, and the baseball reference is on page 139. Accessed 12/29/2007. Note: David Block, page 189, spells the name "Lepel," citing documented family usage; the surname often appears as "Leppell." In a 19CBB posting of 2/15/2008, David writes that it is "George III, to whom we can rightly ascribe the honor of being the first known baseball player. The ten-year-old George, as [Prince] Frederick's eldest son, was surely among the prince's family members observed by Lady Hervey in 1748 to be 'divert[ing] themselves at base-ball.'"</p>
1749.2 Aging Prince Spends "Several Hours" Playing Bass-Ball in Surrey
<p>The location of the game was Walton-on-Thames in Surrey.</p> <p> Comparing the 1749 game with modern baseball, Block estimates that the bass-ball was likely played on a smaller scale, with a much softer ball, with batted ball propelled the plaayers' hands, not with a bat, and that runners could be put out by being "plugged" (hit with a thrown ball) between bases.</p><p> </p>
1751.2 Cricket Lore: Ball Kills the Prince of Wales?
<p>Per John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 17: "Death of Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales, as a result of a blow on the head from a cricket ball." Ford does not give a citation.</p><p>Others attribute the Prince's death to a tennis incident; neither theory seems fully credible, as death was not immediate, and "an abscess" of the lung was believed to be the proximal cause of death.</p>
1755.1 Johnson Dictionary Defines Stoolball and Trap
1761.3 School Trustees Prohibit Playing Ball and Other Diversions, Ignoring Advice of Ben Franklin
<p> </p><p>"But physical education as a consciously organized activity in the college program was almost completely lacking before the late nineteenth century. Viewed in many instances as a contributor to indecorous behavior, and as a possible source of distraction from the pursuit of serious study, the early tendency was to discourage rather than to foster participation in it. Thus, the rules for student deportment formulated by the trustees of the College, Academy and Charitable School of Philadelphia, in 1761, tended to place a damper upon the exuberant spirit of youth: 'None shall climb over the Fences of the College Yard, or come in or out thro the Windows, or play Ball or use any Kind of Diversion within the Walls of the Building; nor shall they in the Presence of the Trustees, Professors or Tutors, play Ball, Wrestle, make any indecent Noise, or behave in any way rudely in the College Yard or Streets adjacent.'" (Source: College Academy and Charitable School, Minutes of Trustees, I, March 10, 1761, pp. 131 ff).</p>
<p> </p> <p>"Possibly of interest: Franklin had dissociated himself from the Academy of Philadelphia (the "college" in question) in 1756:</p> <p>http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2536600519.html</p> <p>http://www.archives.upenn.edu/primdocs/upl/upl125.pdf</p> <p>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Academy_and_College_of_Philadelphia</p> <p>jt"</p> <p> </p><p> </p>
1778.4 Ewing Reports Playing "At Base" and Wicket at Valley Forge - with the Father of his Country
<p>Ewing also wrote: "[May 2d] in the afternoon playd a game at Wicket with a number of Gent of the Arty . . . ." And later . . . "This day [May 4, 1778] His Excellency dined with G Nox and after dinner did us the honor to play at Wicket with us."</p> <p> </p> <p>[B]</p> <p>"Q. What did soldiers do for recreation?</p> <p>"A: During the winter months the soldiers were mostly concerned with their survival, so recreation was probably not on their minds. As spring came, activities other than drills and marches took place. "Games" would have included a game of bowls played with cannon balls and called "Long Bullets." "Base" was also a game - the ancestor of baseball, so you can imagine how it might be played; and cricket/wicket. George Washington himself was said to have took up the bat in a game of wicket in early May after a dinner with General Knox! . . . Other games included cards and dice . . . gambling in general, although that was frowned upon."</p> <p>Valley Forge is about 20 miles NE of Philadelphia.</p> <p> </p><p> </p>
<p>[B] From the website of Historic Valley Forge;</p> <p>see http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/youasked/067.htm, accessed 10/25/02. Note: it is possible that the source of this material is the Ewing entry above, but we're hoping for more details from the Rangers at Valley Forge. In 2013, we're still hoping, but not as avidly.</p> <p>See also Thomas L. Altherr, “A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball: Baseball and Baseball-Type Games in the Colonial Era, Revolutionary War, and Early American Republic.." Nine, Volume 8, number 2 (2000)\, p. 15-49. Reprinted in David Block, Baseball before We Knew It – see page 236.</p><p> </p>
<p>Note: "Long Bullets" evidently involved a competition to throw a ball down a road, seeing who could send the ball furthest along with a given number of throws. Another reference to long bullets is found at http://protoball.org/1830s.20.</p> <p> </p><p> </p>
1779.4 French Official Sees George Washington Playing Catch "For Hours"
1785.1 Thomas Jefferson: Hunting is Better for Character-building Than Ballplaying
1788.2 Noah Webster, CT Ballplayer?
1790s.4 Southern Pols Calhoun and Crawford: Ballplaying Schoolmates?
1790.5 John Adams Refers to Cricket in Argument about Washington's New Title
1795.6 Future Tennessee Governor, at age 50, "Played at Ball"
<p>Revolutionary War veteran John Sevier was nearly 50 years old in August 1795. He became Tennessee's first governor in the following year. His son John was 29 in 1795.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p><p> </p>
1797.1 Daniel Webster Writes of "Playing Ball" While at Dartmouth
1798.1 Jane Austen Writes of "Baseball" in Northanger Abbey.
1800c.7 William Cullen Bryant Remembers Base-Ball
1802.2 Wordsworth Seems to Laud "Englishness" of Cricket
<p>From Wordsworth's sonnet "Composed in the valley near Dover on the day of Landing," [1802 and 1807] The Complete Poetical Works of Wiliam Wordsworth, Volume IV (Houghton and Mifflin, Boston, 1919), page 98 Accessed via Google Books on 10/20/2008.. </p><p>According to Bateman, this reference is shown to be cricket because Wordsworth's sister's diary later contains a reference to white-shirted players at a cricket match near Dover. See Anthony Bateman,"'More Mighty than the Bat, the Pen . . . ;' Culture,, Hegemony, and the Literaturisaton of Cricket," Sport in History, v. 23, 1 (Summer 2003), page 33, note 20: Bateman cites the diary entry as The Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth, vol. 2, E. de Selincourt, ed., (London, 1941), page 8. John Thorn [email of 2/3/2008] discovers that Dorothy Wordsworth's diary entry for July 10, 1820 observes: "When within a mile of Dover, saw crowds of people at a cricket-match, the numerous cambatants dressed in 'whitesleeved shirts,' and it was on the very same field where, when we 'trod the grass of England' once again, twenty years ago we has seen an Assemblage of Youths engaged in the same sport,so very like the present that all might have been the same! [footnote2:See my brother's Sonnet 'Here, on our native soil' etc.]" </p>
1810c.8 Future Lord Prefers Studies to Rounders, Cricket
1812c.1 Young Andrew Johnson Plays Cat and Bass Ball and Bandy in Raleigh NC
1819.2 Scott's Ivanhoe Mentions Stool-ball
1819.5 Irving Surveys Pastimes at Fictional British School; Includes Tip-cat
1820s.20 Horace Greeley Lacks the Knack, Fears Getting Whacked
1824.1 Longfellow on Life at Bowdoin College: "Ball, Ball, Ball"
1824.3 English Novel Cites Base-ball as Girls' Pastime, Limns Cricket Match
1824.4 Fondly Remembering the First Ballplaying Richie Allen
<p>"What! School-fellow, art gone? . . .</p><p>Thou wert the blithest lad, that ever/ Haunted a wood or fish'd a river,/ Or from the neighbour's wall/ Filch'd the gold apricot, to eat/ In darkness, as a pillow treat, / Or 'urged the flying ball!'"/ Supreme at taw! At prisoner's base/ The gallant greyhound of the chase!/ Matchless at hoop! and quick,/ Quick as a squirrel at a tree . . .</p>
1824.6 Oliver Wendell Holmes Recalls Schoolboy Baseball and Phillips Academy in MA
<p> </p><p>This essay originally appeared in The Atlantic Monthly Volume 23 (January 1869). page 120.</p>
1825c.1 Thurlow Weed Plays Base-Ball in Rochester NY
1825c.14 Future Ohio Governor is "Best Ball Player at the College"
1827.2 Story Places Baseball in Rochester NY
<p>He describes intramural play among the 50 members of a local club, with teams of 12 to 15 players per side, a three-out-side-out rule, plugging, a bound rule, and strict knuckles-below-knees pitching. He also recalls attributes that we do not see elsewhere in descriptions of early ballplaying: a requirement that each baseman keep a foot on his base until the ball is hit, a seven-run homer when the ball went into a sumac thicket and the runners re-circled the bases, coin-flips to provide "arbitrament" for disputed plays, and the team with the fewest runs in an inning being replaced by a third team for the next inning ["three-old-cat gone crazy," says one of the boys]. The grandfather's reflection does not comment on the use of stakes instead of bases, the name used for the old game, the relative size or weight of the ball, or the lack of foul ground - in fact he says that outs could be made on fouls.</p><p> </p>
1828c.3 Upstate Author Carried Now-Lost 1828 Clipping on Base Ball in Rochester
<p>"Even then we knew that the attribution to Abner Doubleday was a myth. Sam Adams capped the discussion by pulling from his wallet a clipping culled from a Rochester newspaper dated 1828 that described in some detail the baseball game that had been played that week in Rochester."</p> <p>[B] Adams' biography also notes the author's doubts about the Doubleday theory: asked in 1955 about his novel Grandfather Stories, which places early baseball in Rochester in 1827 [sic], he retorted "'I am perfectly willing to concede that Cooperstown is the home of the ice cream soda, the movies and the atom bomb, and that General Doubleday wrote Shakespeare. But," and he then read a newspaper account of the [1828? 1830?] Rochester game."</p><p>[C] "Will Irwin, a baseball historian, tells us he was informed by Samuel Hopkins of a paragraph in an 1830 newspaper which notes that a dance was to be held by the Rochester Baseball Club."</p>
<p>[B] Oneonta Star, July 9. 1965, citing Samuel V. Kennedy, Samuel Hopkins Adams and the Business of Writing (Syracuse University Press, 1999), page 284.</p><p>[C] Bill Beeny, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, March 17, 1965.</p>
1828.9 Mitford Story Centers on Cricket, Touches on Juvenile Baseball
1829c.1 Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Plays Ball as a Harvard student.
<p>Several sources report that Oliver Wendell Holmes playing ball at Harvard.</p><p>[actual Holmes text is still needed]</p>
<p> </p><p> </p>
1829.3 Small Cambridge MA Schoolground Crimps Base and Cricket Play
1830c.2 Thoreau Associates "Fast Day" with Base-Ball Played in Russet Fields
1830.3 Union General Joseph Hooker Plays Baseball as a Boy
1830s.13 "Baseball" Found in Several Works by Mary Russell Mitford
<p>"Everyone knows of Jane Austen's use of the term baseball in her novel Northanger Abbey (see item #1798.1). I recently came across, online, an 1841 anthology of works by the English essayist Mary Russell Mitford (1787-1865). A search revealed five uses of the work "baseball." What is intriguing is that every reference seems to assume that "baseball" whatever it is is a familiar rough and tumble game played by girls (and apparently girls only) between the ages of 6 and 10 or so.."</p> <p>The "baseball" usages:</p> <p> "The Tenants of Beechgrove:" "But better than playing with her doll, better even than baseball, or sliding and romping, does she like to creep of an evening to her father's knee:</p> <p> "Jack Hatch" see item #1828.9 above for two references.</p> <p> "Our Village [introduction]": " . . . Master Andrew's four fair-haired girls who are scrambling and squabbling at baseball on the other." (See item #1824.3 above.)</p><p> Belford Regis: "What can be prettier than this, unless it be the fellow-group of girls . . . who are laughing and screaming round the great oak; then darting to and fro, in a game compounded of hide-and-seek and baseball. Now tossing the ball high, high amidst the branches; now flinging it low along the common, bowling as it were, almost within reach of the cricketers; now pursuing, now retreating, jumping shouting, bawling almost shrieking with ecstasy; whilst one sunburnt black-eyed gipsy throws forth her laughing face from behind the trunk of an old oak, and then flings a newer and gayer ball fortunate purchase of some hoarded sixpence among her happy playmates.</p>
1830s.16 Future President Lincoln Plays Town Ball, Joins Hopping Contests
<p>"We played the old-fashioned game of town ball - jumped - ran - fought and danced. Lincoln played town ball - he hopped well - in 3 hops he would go 40.2 [feet?] on a dead level. . . . He was a good player - could catch a ball."</p> <p> </p> <p> </p><p> </p>
1838.3 Cooper Novel Home as Found Mentions Ballplaying in Cooperstown
<p>He called out in a wheedling tone to their ringleader, a notorious street brawler. 'A fine time for sport, Dickey; don't you think there would be more room in the broad street than on this crowded lawn, where you lose our ball so often in the shrubbery?'</p> <p>'This place will do, on a pinch,' bawled Dickey, 'though it might be better. If it weren't for the plagued house, we couldn't ask for a better ball-ground. . . '</p> <p>'Well, Dickey . . . , there is no accounting for tastes, but in my opinion, the street would be a much better place to play ball in than this lawn . . . There are so many fences hereabouts . . . It's true the village trustees say there shall be no ball-playing in the street [see item #1816.1 above - LM], but I conclude you don't much mind what they say or threaten.'"</p> <p>Thus James Fenimore Cooper, in his novel Home As Found, describes the return of the Effingham family to Templeton and their ancestral home in Cooperstown, NY. The passage is thought to be based on a similar incident in Cooper's life in 1834 or 1835. In an unidentified photocopy held in the HOF's "Origins of Baseball" file, the author of A City on the Rise, at page 11, observes that "Cooper was the first writer to connect the game with the national character, and to recognize its vital place in American life." Another source calls this "the first literary ball game:"</p> <p>http://external.oneonta.edu/cooper/cooperstown/baseball.html. Caveat: In a 1/24/2008 posting to 19BCC, Richard Hershberger writes: I believe the consensus on the Cooper reference is that it likely was something more hockey-like than baseball-like."</p><p>James Fenimore Cooper, Home as Found [W.A. Townsend and Co., New York 1860] Chapter 11. The 1838 first edition was published by Lea and Blanchard in Philadelphia - data submitted by John Thorn, 7/11/2004.</p>
1839.3 Rutherford Hayes Plays Ball as Student at Kenyon College, OH
1840.20 Base and Cricket are Experimental Astronomy?
<p>[Journal entry, June 1, 1840]</p><p>Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson 1820-1876 [Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1911] Volume 5, page 410. Submitted by Wendy Knickerbocker 11/30/2005 posting to 19CBB; citation submitted 1/7/2007.</p>
1846.6 Walt Whitman Sees Boys Playing "Base" in Brooklyn: "Glorious"
1848c.9 Young Benjamin Harrison Plays Town Ball, Baste in OH
1848.19 Organization Men at the KBBC in 1848
Curry and Cartwright perhaps deserve more credit for the organization of the
club (i.e., its by-laws) than the rules. In the 1848 Club Constitution, p.
Committee to Revise Constitution and By-Laws:
D.L. Adams, Pres.
A.J. Cartwright, Jr., Vice Pres
Eugene Plunkett, Sec'y
Duncan F. Curry</p>
1849c.4 A. G. Mills and Boyhood Friend Recall "Base Ball" at a Brooklyn School
<p>Mills to Cogswell 1/10/1905: "Among the vivid recollections of my early life at Union Hall Academy [of Jamaica, Long Island, NY] is a game of ball in which I played, where the boys of the side at bat were put out by being hit with the ball. My recollection is that we had first base near the batsman's position; the second base was a tree at some distance, and the third base was the home base, also near the batsman's position."</p> <p>Cogswell to Mills 1/19/1905: "My recollection of the game of Base Ball, as we played it for years at Union Hall, say from 1849 to 1856, is quite clear. "</p> <p>"You are quite right about the three bases, their location and the third base being home.</p> <p>"The batsman in making a hit went to the first base, unless the ball was caught either on a fly or on first bound. In running the bases he was out by being touched or hit with the ball while further from any base than he could jump. The bases were not manned, the ball being thrown at a runner while trying for a base. The striker was not obliged to strike till he thought he had a good ball, but was out the first time he missed the ball when striking, and it was caught by the catcher either on the fly or on the first bound. There was no limit to the number of players and a side was not out till all the players had been disposed of. If the last player could make three home runs that put the side back in again. When there were but few players there was a rule against 'Screwing,' i.e., making strikes that would be called 'foul.' We used flat bats, and it was considered quite an art to be able to "screw" well, as that sent the ball away from the bases."</p> <p>More details, from John Thorn's Baseball in the Garden of Eden (2011; pp 27-28), are seen below in the supplemental text below.</p> <p> ==</p><p> </p>
<p>John suggests that the Union Hall game may be the game that William R. Wheaton, another Union Hall student, called "three cornered cat" in his 1887 recollections of base ball's origin (email, 1/4/2016). The game of Corner Ball is known from the 1830s to about 1860, but is usually seen as a form of dodge ball played mostly by youths, and lacking batting and baserunning. Is it possible that Corner Ball morphed, retaining its essential plugging but adding batting and base advancement, by the time it was played in the Brooklyn school? Was this a transitional form in base ball's lineage? See also http://protoball.org/Three-Cornered_Cat and http://protoball.org/Corner_Ball.</p> <p>As of January 2016, no other usages of "three-cornered cat" are known.</p><p> </p>
1851.5 Robert E. Lee Promotes Cricket at West Point?
1851.6 Word-man Noah Webster Acknowledges Only Wicket
1855.9 Whitman Puts "Good Game of Base-Ball" Among Favorite Americana
1855.39 Pastime of Despots
1856.35 Future Star Dickey Pearce Discovers the Decade-old No-Plugging Rule
<p>"There was in the 1880s a widespread collective amnesia about this, opening the way for Just So stories about Old Cat and such. Pearce correctly calls the predecessor game "base ball," just like they had at the time it was played."</p> <p>Note: Pearce was born in 1836, and thus was nine when the Knickerbocker rule replacing plugging/soaking/burning had appeared. Eleven years later, lads in Brooklyn had evidently made the adjustment. </p> <p> </p><p> </p>
1857c.34 Wicket Played at Eastern OH College; Future President Excels
1857.38 President's Peace Medal Depicts Baseball Game in Background
<p>See also https://ourgame.mlblogs.com/our-baseball-presidents-ec1617be6413 (accessed Feb 2018).</p><p> </p>
"For President Buchanan in 1857, a new reverse to the (latest "Indian Peace") Medal was commissioned from engraver Joseph Wilson . . . . [The medal showed] in the distance, a simple home with a woman standing in the doorway -- and a baseball game being playing in the foreground. . . . </p>
<p>"No matter what some gentlemen were saying in New York at the "national" conventions of area clubs, the frontier game of baseball, in all its variety, was already perceived as the national game."</p> <p>-- John Thorn, "Our Baseball Presidents," Our Game posting, February 2018.</p> <p> </p><p> </p>
1858.25 Your Base Ball Stringer, Mr. W. Whitman
1858.34 Amusements at Duchess' Birthday Party Includes Base Ball
1858.68 Thoreau Ponders Manliness in the Church and Base Ball
<p>John Bowman writes: "This is but a small excerpt from a journal entry that is all but rabid about organized religion and its churches, which Thoreau attacks for being afraid to confront the hard truths and realities of our lives.</p> <p>Exactly what he means by that final phrase -- 'though they were to turn their attention to base ball' -- has been debated, but my interpretation is as follows: He seems to be saying that, in particular, its ministers/preachers are so cowardly as to be 'effeminate,' and if any of them were truly manly they would do better to leave the ministry and engage in some other activity -- even playing base ball, despite its questionable value, would be preferable.</p> <p>But others may have read this differently."</p> <p> </p> <p> </p><p> </p>
1860.20 Lincoln Awaits Nomination, Plays Town Ball . . . or Handball?
<p>A story circulated that he was playing ball when he learning of his nomination: "When the news of Lincoln's nomination reached Springfield, his friends were greatly excited, and hastened to inform 'Old Abe' of it. He could not be found at his office or at home, but after some minutes the messenger discovered him out in a field with a parcel of boys, having a pleasant game of town-ball. All his comrades immediately threw up their hats and commenced to hurrah. Abe grinned considerably, scratched his head and said 'Go on boys; don't let such nonsense spoil a good game.' The boys did go on with their bawling, but not with the game of ball. They got out an old rusty cannon and made it ring, while the [illeg.: Rail Splitter?] went home to think on his chances." </p> <p> Interview with Charles S. Zane, 1865-66: "I was present in the Illinois State Journal on the day when Lincoln was nominated: he was present & when he received the news of the 3d Ballot. Lincoln Said I Knew it would Come to this when I Saw the 2d. Ballot. . . . Lincoln played ball pretty much all the day before his nomination – played at what is called fives – Knocking a ball up against a wall that served as an alley – He loved this game – his only physical game – that I Knew of – Lincoln said – This game makes my shoulders feel well."</p><p> </p>
<p> Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln (U Illinois Press, 1998), page 492.</p><p> "How Lincoln Received the Nomination," [San Francisco CA] Daily Evening Bulletin vol.10 number 60 (Saturday, June 16, 1860), page 2 column 3.</p>
<p>Source  above contains other accounts of the nomination story. They support the idea that Lincoln "played ball" the day before the nomination, but it seems fairly clear that the game played was "fives," presumable a form of handball. For a very helpful submission from Steve Gietschier on the content of Herndon's Informants, see the Supplemental Text, below.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p><p> </p>
1860.37 Late Surge Lifts Douglas' over Abe Lincoln's Side in Chicago IL
1861c.3 Lincoln and Baseball: The Presidential Years
<p>[B] "Years after the Civil War, Winfield Scott Larner of Washington remembered attending a game played on an old Washington circus lot in 1862...Lincoln, followed by his son Tad...made his way up to where he could see the game...On departing Lincoln and Tad accepted three loud cheers from the crowd."</p><p> </p>
1861.77 White House Secretaries watch Zouaves play ball
<p>Wildey played ball before he became a Fire Zouave. He played for the New York Mutuals, named for his own Mutual Hook and Ladder Company Number 1. The Mutuals were formed in 1857 and played amateur ball at the Hoboken Grounds, their home field. Many firefighters and city employees played in a variety of New York teams, but the Mutuals were reckoned the best. It was perfectly normal for a handmade ball, a bit larger and softer than today’s baseball, to be found in the knapsack of an 11th New York Fire Zouave."
</p> <p>Hay and Nicolai were Pres. Lincon's Secretaries, and Ellsworth was perhaps Lincoln's closest young friend. Hay later became Secretary of State.</p> <p> </p>
1862.12 Reverend Beecher: Base-Ball is Best Form of Exercise
1862.57 Games Between NY and MA Regiments Punctuated by Artillery
1863.19 Eventual National League Prexy Sticks with Cricket in War Camp
<p>Nicholas Young was born in Amsterdam NY in 1840, and thus was playing the named games in the 1850s. He was a member of the 32nd NY Infantry, which was at Falmouth VA in spring 1863. He led the NL from 1881 to 1903.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p><p> </p>
<p>Summarized in George Kirsch, Baseball in Blue and Gray (Princeton U, 2003), page 37. </p><p>Zoss and Bowman’s Diamonds in the Rough says that the 32nd had a cricket team and that Young played on it [p. 81]. </p>
1863.42 Union Army Captain Sees Base Ball Good for Morale, and Health Too
<p>[B]Allison C. Barash, “Baseball in the Civil War, The National Pastime (January 2001), pp 17-18. Stafford VA is about 10 miles north of Fredericksburg and 65 miles north of Richmond.</p><p> </p>
1863.136 Gen. Grant enjoys watching ball game
1865.30 Henry Chadwick, Shortstop
<p>"I posted a couple of years ago about a match in the late 1860s or so in which Chadwick played, IIRC, right field. The discussion aroused a bit of interest, so I will mention now an earlier such game, played November 11, 1865 and reported in the Brooklyn Eagle of the 13th, between the Brooklyn Eagle and the Brooklyn Union. Chadwick plays shortstop for the Union. This confirms that he left the Eagle at some point that year. I'm not sure, but I think it was before the season, just based on writing style. I suspect that Sutton, who played for the Eagle, was his replacement, but the evidence is thin. If anyone has firm information on this I would be interested."</p>
- Richard Hershberger </p>
<p> </p><p> </p>
1867.2 Colored Clubs Play in Philly: Frederick Douglass Attends a Game
<p>"The game progressed finely until the beginning of the fifth innings, when a heavy shower of rain set in, compelling the umpire, Mr. E. H. Hayhurst, of the Athletic, to call [the] game. The score stood at the end of the fourth innings: Alert 21; Pythian, 18. The batting and fielding of both clubs were very good. Mr. Frederick Douglas was present and viewed the game from the reporters’ stand. His son is a member of the Alert."</p> <p>Note: From two weeks later:</p> <p>[B] "COLORED BALL PLAYERS. At Philadelphia, on the 19th inst., the Pythians, of that city, played a match game with the Mutuals of Washington, with the following results: Pythians – 43; Mutuals – 44</p> <p>Pythian: Cannon, p; Catto, 2b; Graham, lf; Hauley, c; Cavens, 1b; Burr, rf; Adkins, 3b; Morris, cf; Sparrow, ss.</p><p>Mutual: H. Smith, p; Brown, c; Harris, 1b; Parks, 2b; Crow, lf; Fisher, cf; Burley, 3b; A. Smith, rf; Whiggs, ss.</p>
1868.4 Henry Chadwick's Cholera Scare May Have Doomed American Chronicle of Sports and Pastimes
<p>From Richard Hershberger:</p>
<p>In the summer of 1867, Chadwick begins publication of the Ballplayer's Chronicle, later renamed the American Chronicle of Sports and Pastimes. It runs for about one year, the final issue being July 23, 1868, then halts publication without notice or explanation. The obvious explanation is that it was losing money, the baseball community not yet able to support such a publication until 1883 when The Sporting Life is founded. I have always taken this at face value as the explanation, but I just came across this in the Brooklyn Eagle of July 29, 1868, in the "Personal and Sundries" column:</p>
<p>"We regret to learn of the serious illness of Mr. Chadwick, the well-known base ball writer. He is at his place in South Durham, confined to his bed with an acute attack of choler morbus. We trust that he won't be "out" for many a year."</p>
This would explain the abruptness of the affair. Presumably if it were making money some interim editor could have been arranged, so I'm not suggesting that the illness was the sole, or even primary, cause. But it explains some of the timing of events. The New England Base Ballist began publication at the beginning of August. About two months later, Chadwcik appears as its New York correspondent, having recovered from the cholera.</p>
-- Richard Hershberger </p>
1869.13 George Wright Joins the All-Professional Cincinnati Club
<p>The 22-year-old, already counted among the most proficient players in the game; playing for New York's Union club in 1868, he had averaged four runs (and over seven hits) per game, and Henry Chadwick cited him as the best "general player" in base ball. </p> <p>George Wright was only 22 years old in 1869, but had already had a variety of base ball experiences. Born into a prominent family of athletes (his father was a NYC club pro, and his older brother Harry played cricket and base ball, and was the player-manager of the famous Cincinnati championship club).</p> <p>Wright's business was base ball. "Arranged employment and waived club dues had been considered acceptable evasions of the NABBP rule forbidding compensation since its adoption in 1859," and at age 19 he played on his brother Harry's Gotham Club in 1863 and 1864. His subsequent migrations:</p> <p>Age 16-17 (1863-4) -- He played in the outfield of the Gotham Club in New York in 1863 and was the club's catcher for most of 1864.</p> <p>Age 18 (1865) -- He caught for the Olympic Club of Philadelphia, and also subbed for that city's Keystone Club on its NYC visit. Chadwick would later name him the best catcher in the game.</p> <p>Age 19 (1866) -- He started the year with the Gotham Club, and then decided to move to the first-tier Union Club of Morrisania, which compiled a better record than the year's unofficial champions, the Atlantic Club, and he became its shortstop. </p> <p>Age 20 (1867) He moved to Washington and the National Base Ball Club, nominally serving with seven teammates as clerks in the Treasury Department. The National Club won 25 of its first 30 games, and undertook a tour to the West, including two games against his brother Harry's Cincinnati club.</p> <p>Age 21 (1868) He played for the Union Club in NYC. The club won 39 of its 45 games, and undertook a 20-game tour of the west, including Cincinnati.</p> <p>The Cincinnati club folded after its 1870 season, and George Wright joined his brother's Boston Red Stockings outfit in the new National Association for 1871 through 1875, where it won four of five league championships. He was named to the Hall of Fame in 1937.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p><p> </p>
<p> </p><p> </p>
1870.7 Rutherford Hayes Sees Harm to Hearing in Ballplaying
1872.1 Prince Bismarck Takes in a Ball Game in Berlin
When Bismarck Went to the Ball Game
<p id="314e" class="graf graf--p graf--hasDropCapModel graf--hasDropCap graf-after--p">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.”</p> <p id="62aa" class="graf graf--p graf-after--p">The American Register, April 13, 1872, p. 3:</p> <p id="9b54" class="graf graf--p graf--startsWithDoubleQuote graf-after--p">“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.”</p> <p id="5a58" class="graf graf--p graf-after--p">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]</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p">---</p> <p id="02ee" class="graf graf--p graf-after--p">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.</p>
<p>For more on the earliest base ball in Germany, see Germany. </p> <p>For more on the German game of schlagball, including Bill Hicklin's note on its final national presence, see schlagball. </p> <p> </p><p> </p>