Tom Altherr

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First Name Tom
Last Name Altherr
Location aurora CO
Special Interest Antecedents to Base Ball in the US
Active Yes

Tom Altherr has made many new finds of very early ballplaying. Protoball's Chronology is dedicated to Tom.

Essays and Articles

"A Good Many Different Kinds of Ball" by Tom Altherr
In 1867 story, a father recollects boyhood ballplaying
A New Find on Early Wicket and Old Fashioned Base Ball by Tom Altherr
A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball by Tom Altherr
Tom Altherr Contemplates His Favorite Finds by Tom Altherr
"I did exclaim several choice phrases"
New Englander Confronts Impious Sunday Ball-playing in Virginia by Tom Altherr
"Great numbers of people of all ages, ranks, and colors"
New England Woman Observes Ball Play in Norfolk, Virginia in 1802 by Tom Altherr

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Submitted Entries: 13

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A monograph on pre-1845 North American games played with a ball or some other projectile is a goal for Tom Altherr. The work would include, but not be limited to, safe haven games, and would include indoor a well as outdoor games.  He notes that some of this work has appeared in the journal Base Ball, the SABR Originals newsletter, and Protoball’s online chronology and its Next Destin’d Post newsletter.  Tom is also interested in ball-playing among slave and free African Americans before 1865 and in the possible contributions of German schlagball, and perhaps other mid-European games, to the evolution of base ball.  He remains convinced that ball-playing was more common in North America than most sports historians allow . . . and he continues to confirm that view with fresh finds most every month.

Tom Altherr contributed two essays to the Special Protoball Issue of Base Ball this May:

Tom has brought to light another big slug of references to early ballplaying.  His article in the spring 2008 issue of Base Ball, "Chucking the Old Apple; Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," resulted in 33 new entries for the Protoball Chronology.  Included are references to ballplaying by slaves between 1797 and the 1840s, soldierly play between 1775 and 1815, and numerous accounts of campus ballgames between 1813 and about 1840.

Tom has revised a paper he presented at NASSH in 2006 (“Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries in Pre-1839 North American Ball Games History”) for possible publication. His 2007 contribution at theCooperstown symposium is based on further research and more theoretical speculations why baseball emerged in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It may appear in the next biennial anthology.  After his week in Cooperstown, Tom spent a very solid week researching at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester.  This has all led him to see a possible book on all pre-1840 North American games – base ball and beyond -- played with a ball.

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