Richard Hershberger

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First Name Richard
Last Name Hershberger
Location Baltimore, MD
Regional Focus Philadelphia, PA
Special Interest Spread of New York Game, Town Ball, Early Newspaper Coverage
Active Yes

Essays and Articles

Sliding by Richard Hershberger
Evidence on Sliding in Early Base Ball Accounts (4 pages)
Judgment! by Richard Hershberger
At first, most umpiring calls were only made on appeal, and then things changed (7 pages)
Called Pitches by Richard Hershberger
When Did Umpires Start Calling Balls and Strikes? (8 pages)
Pitchers Covering First by Richard Hershberger
When did pitchers start covering first base on grounders to the right side? (2 pages)
The Backstop by Richard Hershberger
Were Foul-Ground Barriers Always Part of Base Ball? (3 pages)
The Play-Testing of Early Base Ball Rule Modifications, version 1.0 by Richard Hershberger
Early Evidence on Base Stealing by Richard Hershberger
Very Early (pre-1857) Rules on Base Advancement After Caught Fly Balls by Richard Hershberger
Did Runners Have to Tag Up?

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Richard discloses that he will begin working on a book for the University of Missouri Press, with a tentative  title of  "The Rise of Baseball, 1744 to 1871." 

Introducing . . . Hershie's Nuggets!

Richard Hershberger has offered to supply short pieces on assorted sweet subtopics in early base ball history. The first of these, Sliding in the Amateur Era, is a 3-page summary of contemporary news accounts' evidence on sliding.

It begins: "Did base runners slide in the amateur era, and if so, how frequently? Looking at period reports, the most striking feature is that the evidence is thin. There are undoubted reports of runners sliding, but they are few and far between. The problem then is to determine if reports of sliding are rare because sliding was rare, or because it was commonplace and therefore unremarkable: are they man bites dog reports, or dog bites man? Or something in between?"

Nugget #1 is found at

Richard Hershberger continues with his collection of data on as many early base ball clubs as he can find.  At this point he has rounded up over 850 clubs that formed prior to the Civil War and that played by New York rules.  Richard has generously shared his collection with Protoball, and all of the clubs are entered into the PBall Pre-Pro data base.  Richard’s quest parallels the effort started in 2008 by Craig Waff to build a directory of early ball games before the War, and we are trying to  systematically link clubs and games for PBall users.

Richard Hershberger contributed two essays to the Special Protoball Issue of Base Ball this May:

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