Chronology:Stats and Box Scores

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1845.4 NY and Brooklyn Sides Play Two-Game Series of "Time-Honored Game of Base:" Box Score Appears

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

[A] The New York Base Ball Club and the Brooklyn Base Ball Club compete at the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey, by uncertain rules and with eight players to the side. On October 21, New York prevailed, 24-4 in four innings (21 runs being necessary to record the victory). The two teams also played a rematch in Brooklyn, at the grounds of the Star Cricket Club on Myrtle Avenue, on October 25, and the Brooklyn club again succumbed, this time by the score of 37-19, once more in four innings. For these two contests box scores were printed in New York newspapers. There are some indications that these games may have been played by the brand new Knickerbocker rules.

[B] The first game had been announced in The New York Herald and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on October 21. The BDE announcement refers to "the New York Bass Ball Club," and predicts that the match will "attract large numbers from this and the neighboring city." 

For a long-lost account of an earlier New York - Brooklyn game, see #1845.16 below.

Detailed accounts of these games are shown in supplement text, below.

Sources:

[A] New York Morning News, October 22 and 25, 1845. Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 11-13. 

[B] Sullivan, p. 11; Brooklyn Daily Eagle, vol. 4, number 253 (October 21, 1845), page 2, column 3

For a detailed discussion of the significance of this game, see Melvin Adelman, "The First Baseball Game, the First Newspaper References to Baseball," Journal of Sport History Volume 7, number 3 (Winter 1980), pp 132 ff.

The games are summarized in John Thorn, "The First Recorded Games-- Brooklyn vs. New York", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013), pp. 6-7

Comment:

Hoboken leans on the early use of Elysian Fields to call the town the "Birthplace of Baseball."  It wasn't, but in June 2015 John Zinn wrote a thoughtful appreciation of Hoboken's role in the establishment of the game.  See   http://amanlypastime.blogspot.com/, essay of June 15, 2015, "Proving What Is So."  


For a short history of batting measures, see Colin Dew-Becker, “Foundations of Batting Analysis,”  p 1 – 9: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0btLf16riTacFVEUV9CUi1UQ3c/

Year
1845
Item
1845.4
Edit
Source Text

1859.69 First Seasonal Analysis Includes Primordial Batting Statistic

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

On December 10, 1859, the New York Clipper printed a seasonal analysis of the performance of the Excelsior Club of Brooklyn, including two charts with individual batting and fielding statistics for each member of the club. Compiled by Henry Chadwick, he described it as the “first analysis of a Base Ball Club we have seen published.”

Within the “Analysis of the Batting” were two columns titled “Average and Over,” reflecting the rate at which batters scored runs and made outs per game. These averages were in the cricket style of X—Y, where X is the number of runs per game divided evenly (the “average”) and Y is the remainder (the “over”). For instance, Henry Polhemus scored 31 runs in 14 games for the Excelsiors in the 1859 season, an average of 2—3 (14 divides evenly into 31 twice, leaving a remainder of 3).

 

Sources:

New York Clipper (New York City, NY), 10 December 1859: p. 268

Comment:

For a short history of batting measures, see Colin Dew-Becker, “Foundations of Batting Analysis,”  p 1 – 9:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0btLf16riTacFVEUV9CUi1UQ3c/

Year
1859
Item
1859.69
Edit

1860.32 Milwaukee Press Not Unanimous About the "Miserable" New York Rules

Location:

Wisconsin

Age of Players:

Adult

 

In May 1860, The Milwaukee Sentinel quoted The [Daily Milwaukee] News as recently reporting that the Janesville Base Ball Club expected to challenge a Milwaukee club to "a friendly contest" that year. The News added"Unfortunately however, the Janesville club plays the good old fashioned game of Base Ball, while our clubs play under the new code, (which we must here beg leave to say is, in our estimation, a miserable one, and in no way calculated to develope[sic] skill or excite interest . . .)" 

The previous day, the Milwaukee Sentinel had responded to the News piece calling the new rules "miserable" by writing that "We don't think much of the judgement of the News. The game of Base Ball, as now played by all the clubs in the Eastern States, is altogether ahead of 'the old fashioned game,' both in point of skill and interest." 

The Daily Milwaukee News of May 17, 1860 offered this: "Waiting for a ball to bound, instead of catching it on the fly . . . and various other methods of play adopted by this new-fangled game, looks to us altogether too great a display of laziness and inactivity to suit our notions of a genuine, well and skillfully conducted game of Base Ball. . . . We shall soon expect to hear that the game of Base Ball is played with the participants lying at full length upon the grass." Give us the 'old fashioned game' or none at all."

Sources:

Daily Milwaukee News, May 15, 1860

Milwaukee Sentinel, May 16, 1860 

Janesville Daily Gazette, September 1, 1860

Comment:

The Janesville WI ball club wasn't so sure about this new Eastern game, and apparently continued to play by the old rules: On September 1, 1860, the Janesville Daily Gazette carried a box score for a game between the Janesville Base Ball Club and the Bower City Base Ball Club of Janesville reporting a 'match game' on August 31.  

Bower City won, 50 tallies to 38 tallies.  The game, played to "first 50 tallies" listed 10 players per team and likely took 11 3-out innings.  The account does not describe the rules in force for this contest.

As of November 2020, Protoball shows one ballgame and six club entries that cite Bower City Clubs.

Janesville WI is about 60 miles SW of Milwaukee.

Query:

What is the date of the Daily Milwaukee News piece in which the rules are described as "miserable"?

 

Year
1860
Item
1860.32
Edit

1860.92 "Old Fashioned Game" Reported, and Disparaged, in Milwaukee

Age of Players:

Adult

In May 1860, The [Milwaukee] Sentinel quoted The News as recently reporting that the Janesville Base Ball Club expected to challenge a Milwaukee club to "a friendly contest" that year. The  News added"Unfortunately however, the Janesville club plays the good old fashioned game of Base Ball, while our clubs play under the new code, (which we must here beg leave to say is, in our estimation, a miserable one, and in no way calculated to develope[sic] skill or excite interest . . .)" 

The Sentinel argued back:  "We don't think much of the judgement of the News.  The game of Base Ball, as now played by all the clubs in the Eastern States, is altogether ahead of 'the old fashioned game,' both in point of skill and interest. Indeed, until the 'new code' was adopted here, it was impossible to excite interest enough to get up a club. Now we have two large clubs in full blast, and more coming.  The game is a very lively, attractive and manly, one, and is daily growing in popular favor." 

Sources:

Milwaukee Sentinel, May 16, 1860

Janesville Daily Gazette, September 1, 1860

 

Comment:

On September 1, 1860, the Janesville Daily Gazette carried a box score for a game between the Janesville Base Ball Club and the Bower City Base Ball Club of Janesville reporting a 'match game' on August 31.  

Bower City won, 50 tallies to 38 tallies.  The game, played to "first 50 tallies" listed 10 players per team and likely took 11 3-out innings.  The account does not describe the rules in force for this contest.

As of November 2020, Protoball shows 1 ballgame and 6 club entries that cite Bower City Clubs.

    

Year
1860
Item
1860.92
Edit

1865.26 Otis MA Bests Lee MA at Wicket, 236 - 232

Game:

Wicket

Age of Players:

Adult

Lee, August 21, 1865

"To the Editor of the Pittsfield Sun: --

"The long-talked-of match game of wicket ball between the Otis and Lee Clubs, took place on Saturday last, resulting in a victory for the former.  The game was well-contests, booth sides manifesting extraordinary skill and zeal, and aside from  the one-sided decisions of  the Referee, nothing occurred to mar the harmony of the occasion. The following was the result:

"Lee. First Innings 78, Second Innings 80, Third Innings 74, Total 232.

"Otis. First Innings 73, Second Innings 79, Third Innings 84, Total 236.

"It appears that the Otis Club were allowed to furnish a Referee -- and they furnished one who was a resident of [nearby] Sandisfield.  In the minor details, when called upon to  decide a question, he was so manifestly unjust as to bring  forth showers of hisses from the spectators.

"The Lee Club have again challenged the Otis Club to play a match game for $50 and the suppers.  If the challenge is accepted, it is to be hoped that an impartial referee may be chosen, who will be acceptable to both Clubs."

 

 

Sources:

Pittsfield Sun, August 24, 1865, page 2.

Year
1865
Item
1865.26
Edit

1866.7 Finally, Substitutes Make the Box Score

Location:

Richmond

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

The box score of a game between the Richmond and Ashby Clubs of Richmond, VA, on September 4, 1866, and reported in the Richmond Daily Dispatch of September 5 is the first known to have listed substitutes. Both were injury replacements, the only circumstance for which substitutes were then permitted.

Sources:

The box score was accessed through genealogybank.com

Year
1866
Item
1866.7
Edit

1867.6 Batters' "Hits" First Appear in a Game Report

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

In the first issue of The Ball Players’ Chronicle, edited by Henry Chadwick, a game account of the “Championship of New England” between the Harvard College Club and the Lowell Club of Boston featured a box score that included a list of the number of “Bases Made on Hits” by each player. This was the first instance of player’s hit totals being tracked in a game.

 

 

 

Sources:

The Ball Players' Chronicle (New York City, NY), 6 June 1867: p. 2. 

Comment:

Note: for a 1916 account of the history of the "hit," see the supplemental text below.

For a short history of batting measures, see Colin Dew-Becker, “Foundations of Batting Analysis,”  p 1 – 9:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0btLf16riTacFVEUV9CUi1UQ3c/

Query:

Do we know if Hits were defined in about the way we would define them today?

Year
1867
Item
1867.6
Edit
Source Text

1868.2 "Hits Per Game" Added to Standard Batting Stats

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

A seasonal analysis of the “Club Averages” for the Cincinnati Club in the 1868 season was included in the December 5, 1868 issue of the New York Clipper. “Average to game of bases on hits” is included for the first time for each player, in addition to “Average runs to game,” “Average outs to game,” and “Average runs to outs.” Each of these averages was represented in decimal form for the first time in the Clipper.

 

Sources:

 

New York Clipper (New York City, NY), 5 December 1868: p. 275.

Comment:

For a short history of batting measures, see Colin Dew-Becker, “Foundations of Batting Analysis,”  p 1 – 9:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0btLf16riTacFVEUV9CUi1UQ3c/

Year
1868
Item
1868.2
Edit

1869.5 Hits Elevated to Prominent Status in Box Scores

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

 

In the September 19, 1867 issue of The Ball Players’ Chronicle, hits are placed side-by-side with runs and outs for the first time in a series of box scores throughout the periodical. They are abbreviated with the letter “B” for the number of at-bats in a game for which “bases are made on hits."

 

Sources:

The Ball Players' Chronicle (New York City, NY), 19 September 1867.

Comment:

For a short history of batting measures, see Colin Dew-Becker, “Foundations of Batting Analysis,”  p 1 – 9:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0btLf16riTacFVEUV9CUi1UQ3c/

Year
1869
Item
1869.5
Edit

1869.6 Slugging Stat Arrives in Early Form

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

“Average total bases on hits to a game” first appears in the New York Clipper on December 4, 1869.  It would continue to be used in 1870 and 1871 before falling out of favor. Slugging average—total bases on hits per at-bat—would be adopted by the National League in 1923 as one of two averages, along with batting average, tracked by the official statistician.

 

Sources:

New York Clipper (New York City, NY), 4 December 1869: p. 277. 

Comment:

For a short history of batting measures, see Colin Dew-Becker, “Foundations of Batting Analysis,”  p 1 – 9:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0btLf16riTacFVEUV9CUi1UQ3c/

Year
1869
Item
1869.6
Edit

1871.4 National Association Urged to Adopt Modern Batting Average

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

In a letter published in the New York Clipper on March 11, 1871, H. A. Dobson, a correspondent for the periodical, wrote to Nick E. Young, the Secretary of the Olympic Club in Washington D.C., and future president of the National League. Young would be attending the Secretaries’ Meeting of the newly formed National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, and Dobson urged him to consider a “new and accurate method of making out batting averages.”

“According to a man’s chances, so should his record be. Every time he goes to the bat he either has an out, a run, or is left on his base. If he does not go out he makes his base, either by his own merit or by an error of some fielder. Now his merit column is found in ‘times first base on clean hits,’ and his average is found by dividing his total ‘times first base on clean hits’ by his total number of times he went to the bat. Then what is true of one player is true of all…In this way, and in no other, can the average of players be compared.”

Dobson included a calculation, for theoretical players, of hits per at-bat at the end of the letter; the first published calculation of the modern form of batting average.

 

Sources:

Dobson, H.A. “The Professional Club Secretaries’ Meeting.” New York Clipper (New York City, NY), 11 March 1871: p. 888.

Comment:

While "hits per at-bat" has become the modern form of batting average, and was the only average calculated by the official statistician beginning in the inaugural season of the National League in 1876, the definition of a "time at bat" has varied over time. To Dobson, a time at bat included any time a batter made an "out, a run, or is left on his base." However, walks were excluded from the calculation of at-bats beginning in 1877, with a temporary reappearance in 1887 when they were counted the same as hits. Times hit by the pitcher were excluded beginning in 1887, sacrifice bunts in 1894, times reached on catcher's interference in 1907, and sacrifice flies in 1908 (though, they went in and out of the rules multiple times over the next few decades and weren't firmly excluded until 1954).

 

Consequently, based on Dobson's calculation, walks would have counted as an at-bat but not as a hit, so a negative result for the batter. This was the case in the first year of the National League as well, but was "fixed" by the second year. A fielder's choice would  have been recorded as an at-bat and not a hit under Dobson's system, as it is today.

 

 

For a short history of batting measures, see Colin Dew-Becker, “Foundations of Batting Analysis,”  p 1 – 9:

 

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0btLf16riTacFVEUV9CUi1UQ3c/

 

Query:

 

 

Year
1871
Item
1871.4
Edit