Chronology:New York City
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1850s.24 In NYC - Did "Plugging" Actually Persist to the mid-1850s?
John Thorn feels that "while the Knick rules of September 23, 1845 (and, by William R. Wheaton's report in 1887, the Gothams practice in the 1830s and 1840s) outlawed plugging/soaking a runner in order to retire him, other area clubs were slow to pick up the point."
"Henry Chadwick wrote to the editor of the New York Sun, May 14, 1905: 'It happens that the only attractive feature of the rounders game is this very point of 'shying' the ball at the runners, which so tickled Dick Pearce [in the early 1850s, when he was asked to go out to Bedford to see a ball club at play]. In fact, it was not until the '50s that the rounders point of play in question was eliminated from the rules of the game, as played at Hoboken from 1845 to1857.'"
"The Gotham and the Eagle adopted the Knick rules by 1854 . . . but other
clubs may not have done so till '57."
Henry Chadwick, letter to the editor, New York Sun, May 14, 1905. See also John Thorn, Baseball in the Garden of Eden (Simon and Schuster, 2011), page 112.
We invite further discussion on this point. The text of the Wheaton letter is found at entry #1837.1 above.
1850s.40 Future Historian Plays Ball in NYC Streets
"During the winter my time was spent at school and at such sports as city boys could have. Our playground was the street and a vacant lot on the corner of Fourteenth Street and Second Avenue. Behind its high fence plastered with advertisements, we played baseball with the soft ball of that day."
The author, John Bach McMaster (b. 1852), later wrote The History of the People of the United States, published in 1883.
John Back McMaster, quoted in "Young John Bach McMaster: A Boyhood in New York City," New York History, volume 20, number 3, (July 1939), pp. 320-321. Noted in Originals. v.4, n.11 (November 2011), page 2.
1850c.44 Twenty or So Cricket Clubs Dot the US
"During the late 1840s there was an increase in the number of cricket clubs in New York and nationally. At least six clubs were formed in the metropolitgan area, [but most] survived for only a few years. . . . George Kirsch maintains that by 1850 at least twenty cricket clubs, enrolling perhaps 500 active payers, existed in more than a dozen American communities."
Melvin Adelson, A Sporting Time (U. of Illinois Press, 1886), page 104. Adelson cites Kirsch, "American Cricket," in Journal of Sport Hstory, volume 11 (Spring 1984), page 28.
Do these estimates jibe with current assessments?