Clipping:'no strike' after stepping into the pitch

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Date Sunday, August 25, 1867

[Athletics vs. Unions of Morrisania 8/19/1867] Rudolph [sic: probably actually Radcliffe] being at the bat, when in the act of striking he stepped forward, and the umpire promptly called “no strike, “ that call, or “dead ball”, being the only call the umpire can legally make on such an infringement of rule 21, for rule 40 makes any play resulting from an infringement of the rules “null and void”. This call, though made the moment the ball was hit, was not heard by the players or the crowd, and consequently when the ball was passed to first in time to put the player out, and yet the crowd saw him return and strike over again, the call of “no strike” being repeated, they began to hiss at [the umpire] and charge him with favoritism. New York Sunday Mercury August 25, 1867

the reason for the rule against stepping forward or back while batting

Rule 21 was originally designed to prevent strikers from standing back of their bases to prevent being subject to the penalty of a poor hit, inasmuch as a hit from the bat perpendicularly to the ground, if the striker does not stand on the line of the home-base, becomes a foul bound, difficult to catch; whereas such a hit, if he were standing as the rule requires, would give the infielder an easy chance to put him out a first base. Hence the necessity of requiring the striker to stand on the line of the home-base, and the amendment preventing stepping backward was made to enforce this rule more thoroughly. The rule does not prevent the movement of the feet, but simply the stepping backward or forward, the latter movement being of no account, except that, with some batsmen, it gives them an impetus in hitting which is of advantage; but it does not, like the step backward, relieve them of the penalty of a poor hit, except that at some times they may get a ball hit close to the base made fair, when otherwise it would be foul. New York Sunday Mercury August 25, 1867

Source New York Sunday Mercury
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Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings


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