Chronology:OFBB

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1850s.58 In Paterson NJ, Old Fashioned Game Played After Civil War

Game:

OFBB

Age of Players:

Adult

"An interesting game of old fashioned base ball was played on Saturday, at the Red Woods, between the Finishing and Blacksmith Shops of Grant's Locomotive Works, which resulted in a victory for the Finishing Shop. The following is the score"  [Box Score reflects 49-40 score in 9 innings, teams of 11 players, and a game time of 2h30m.]

Sources:

Paterson Daily Press, August 20, 1867.  This and three other 1867 finds are reported in John Zinn's A Manly Pastime baseball blog of 10/2/2014. 

See https://amanlypastime.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-summer-of-old-fashioned-base-ball.html

Warning:

The dates that these games were originally seen are not reported.  We have assigned them to "the 1850s," but they may have been played before that.

Comment:

"The Summer of Old-Fashioned Base Ball

 
While the truth about 19th century base ball is often hard to pin down, it is pretty much universally acknowledged that the New York game enjoyed major growth immediately after the Civil War.  That was certainly the case throughout New Jersey where in 1860 [modern] base ball was pretty much limited to only a third of the state's 21 counties, but by 1870 every county had at least one base ball club.  A similar pattern played out in the city of Paterson, but with a major difference that came at the height of the post war expansion.  Initially, given the city's population and location, base ball got off to a slow start in Paterson as the first documented match (between a social and a militia organization) wasn't played until late 1857 and the first base ball clubs weren't mentioned in the media until 1860, far behind the experience of comparable [NJ]municipalities."
 
John Zinn, A Manly Game blog entry for October 2014, at URL cited above.
 
More observations for John's 1867 throwback game finds are found in Supplementary Text,  below.
Decade
1850s
Item
1850s.58
Edit

1854.15 Sacramento "Hombres" Play Ball Before Several Hundred, Break Stuff

Location:

California

Game:

OFBB

Age of Players:

Adult

"A Game of Ball - People will have recreation occasionally, whether it be considered exactly dignified or not. Yesterday afternoon there was a game of ball played on J street which created no little amusement for several hundred persons. The sport lasted a full hour, until finally some unlucky hombre sent the ball through the window of a drug store, penetrating and fracturing a large glass jar, much to the chagrin of the gentlemanly apothecary, who had not anticipated such unceremonious a carronade."

 

Sources:

Daily Democratic State Journal (Sacramento CA), March 24, 1854. 

Comment:

Richard adds: "Of course this raises the usual questions of what "a game of ball" means. Clearly it is a bat-and-ball game, and given the documented earlier games of baseball (in some form or other) in California and the absence of documented references of the other usual suspects such as wicket in California, it is a reasonable guess that this was [a form of] baseball. I am less willing to make the leap to its being the New York game."

Year
1854
Item
1854.15
Edit

1854.17 Pre-modern Base Ball in Michigan

Location:

Michigan

Game:

OFBB

Age of Players:

Adult

"A single tantalizing glimpse survives of a baseball club in  Michigan before 1857.  In 1897, the Detroit Free Press observed:

'It may be of interest to lovers of the sport to know where the first club was organized in the state of Michigan.  Birmingham claims that distinction.  Forty-three years ago, nine young men, ages ranging from 20 to 30 years, decided that it would be a good thing to have a baseball club and by practice to become able to play that fascinating game, not for gate receipts and grand stand money, but for fun, pure and simple.  Accordingly, they practiced and, representing the town of Bloomfield, challenged the adjoining township of Troy to a trial of skill.  The two teams lined up in front of the National hotel . . . one bright spring day at shortly after 12 o'clock, and the first game began.  It was  played for a supper of ham and eggs, the losing side to pay for same.  Bloomfield won by a score of 100 to 60.  The game was not finished until after 5 o'clock in the evening.  The ball played with was a soft one, weighing  four ounces.  Old time rules of course governed the game, one of them being that a base runner could be put out if hit by a thrown ball anywhere between the bases.  Many men were put out this way.

'Elated by their victory, the young men of Bloomfield decided to organize a baseball team, the constitution and by-laws were drafted and adopted and every Saturday a certain number of hours were devoted to practice.  That summer the team won many games. . . .

 'In those days the team that first scored a hundred tallies (generally marked on a stick with a jack-knife, opposite edges used for the two clubs) carried off the honors of the day.'"

 

 

 

Sources:

Detroit Free Press, April 19, 1897, per Peter Morris. Baseball Fever: Early Baseball in Michigan (U of Michigan Press, ), pp 15-16. 

Comment:

The use of "tallies" for runs was common for the form of base ball played in Massachusetts, and winning by scoring 100 runs was to be encoded in in the Massachusetts Game rules of 1858. 

Bloomfield MI is about 5 miles NW of Birmingham MI, which is about 15 miles NW of Detroit.  Troy MI is about 7 miles E of Bloomfield.

Year
1854
Item
1854.17
Edit

1855.35 New Jersey Club Comes Over to the NY Game

Age of Players:

Adult

[A] "[The Tribune] reports on a game of 9/25/1855 between the Fear Naught Base Ball Club of Hudson City, New Jersey and the Excelsior Club of Jersey City.  They played five innings each with nine players on each side.  The Excelsiors won 27-7.  The item also notes that he Excelsiors intend to challenge the Gotham Club of New York.  This is a very early game played by a New Jersey [based] club.  It is also interesting because the Excelsiors are known to have also played a non-NY game version, making them a rare example of a club playing two versions in the same season."

['B] "The Excelsior Club of Jersey City was organized July 19, 1855."

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

[A] New York Daily Tribune, September 27, 1855.

[B] New York Daily Tribune, July 20, 1855.

 

 

Comment:

The deployment of nine players is interesting because the none-player rule was not adopted until 1957; this may indicate that nine-player teams were already conventional beforehand. 

Hudson City became part of Jersey City [1850 pop. about 6800; 1860 pop. about 22,000] in 1870.

 

Query:

Can we specify any of the rules in older game played earlier in 1855 by the Excelsiors?

Year
1855
Item
1855.35
Edit