1838.4

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<p>Ford, Dr. Adam E., <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Sporting Life</span>, May 5, 1886. Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908</span> [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 9-11. For more historical data on this event, see Nancy B. Bouchier and Robert Knight Brown, "A Critical Examination of a Source on Early Ontario Baseball: The Reminiscences of Adam E. Ford," <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Journal of Sport History</span>, volume 15 [Spring 1988], pp. 75-87. This paper concludes that the New York game reached Ontario no earlier than 1849. <strong>Caveat:</strong> Richard Hershberger, email of 1/14/2008, expresses the possibility that aspects of the Ford account are the result of a "confused recollection, with genuine old features and modern features misremembered and attributed to the old game." One problem is that the foul territory as described in 1886 is hard to fathom; Richard also notes that use of the 3-out-all-out rule would make this game the only non-NYC game with three-out innings. Ford also implies that games were then finished at the end of an agreed number of innings, not by reaching an agreed number of tallies. He also states that older players in the 1838 game had played a like game in their youth. Adam Ford was seven years old in 1838.</p>
 
<p>Ford, Dr. Adam E., <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Sporting Life</span>, May 5, 1886. Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908</span> [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 9-11. For more historical data on this event, see Nancy B. Bouchier and Robert Knight Brown, "A Critical Examination of a Source on Early Ontario Baseball: The Reminiscences of Adam E. Ford," <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Journal of Sport History</span>, volume 15 [Spring 1988], pp. 75-87. This paper concludes that the New York game reached Ontario no earlier than 1849. <strong>Caveat:</strong> Richard Hershberger, email of 1/14/2008, expresses the possibility that aspects of the Ford account are the result of a "confused recollection, with genuine old features and modern features misremembered and attributed to the old game." One problem is that the foul territory as described in 1886 is hard to fathom; Richard also notes that use of the 3-out-all-out rule would make this game the only non-NYC game with three-out innings. Ford also implies that games were then finished at the end of an agreed number of innings, not by reaching an agreed number of tallies. He also states that older players in the 1838 game had played a like game in their youth. Adam Ford was seven years old in 1838.</p>
 
<p>For full text of Dr. Ford's 1886 letter, see the supplemental text.</p>
 
<p>For full text of Dr. Ford's 1886 letter, see the supplemental text.</p>
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|Supplemental Text=<p>Very Like Base Ball</p>
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<p>A GAME OF THE LONG-AGO WHICH CLOSELY RESEMBLED OUR PRESENT NATIONAL GAME</p>
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<p>Denver,&nbsp;Col., April 24 &ndash; Editor&nbsp;<span style="text-decoration: underline;">Sporting Life</span>&nbsp;&ndash;</p>
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<p>The 4<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;of June, 1838, was a holiday in&nbsp;Canada, for the Rebellion of 1837 had been closed by the victory of the Government over the rebels, and the birthday of His Majesty George the Fourth was set apart for general rejoicing.&nbsp;&nbsp;The chief event at the&nbsp;village&nbsp;of Beechville, in the&nbsp;County&nbsp;of&nbsp;Oxford, was a base ball match between the Beechville Club and the Zorra, a club hailing from the townships of Zorra and&nbsp;North Oxford.</p>
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<p>The game was played in a nice, smooth pasture field just back of Enoch Burdick&rsquo;s shops.&nbsp;&nbsp;I well remember a company of Scotch volunteers from Zorra halting as the passed the grounds to take a look at the game.&nbsp;&nbsp;Of the Beechville team I remember seeing Geo. Burdick, Reuben Martin, Adam Karn, Wm Hutchinson, I. Van Alstine, and , I think, Peter Karn and some others.&nbsp;&nbsp;I remember also that there were in the Zorras &ldquo;Old Ned&rdquo; Dolson, Nathaniel McNames, Abel and John Williams, Harry and Daniel Karn, and, I think, Wm. Ford and William Dodge.&nbsp;&nbsp;Were it not for taking up too much of your valuable space I could give you the names of many others who were there and incidents to confirm the accuracy of the day and the game.&nbsp;&nbsp;The ball was made of double and twisted woolen yarn, a little smaller than the regulation of to day (1886) and covered with good, honest calf skin, sewed and waxed ends by Edward McNamer (McNames?), a shoemaker.&nbsp;</p>
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<p>The infield was a square (well, it was sorta square, but after all it did had five sides; four long ones and the short one from home to first base -- LMc), the base lines of which were twenty-one yards long, on which there were placed five bags (Ford diagram goes here).&nbsp;&nbsp;The distance from the thrower to the catcher was eighteen yards; the catcher standing three yards behind the home bye.&nbsp;&nbsp;From that home bye, or &ldquo;knocker&rsquo;s&rdquo; stone, to the first bye was six yards (Note: On the diagram, the distances from second to third base and from third to fourth base are labeled as 21 yards; the distances from first to second, and from fourth to home look to measure about 18-20 yards: the basepaths trace a symmetrical but irregular polygon with no right angles.&nbsp;&nbsp;LMc) The club&nbsp;(we had bats in cricket but we never used bats in playing base ball)&nbsp;was generally made of the best cedar, blocked out with an ax and finished on a shaving horse with a drawing knife.&nbsp;&nbsp;A wagon spoke, or any nice straight stick would do.</p>
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<p>&nbsp;</p>
 
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|Reviewed=Yes
 
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First Recorded Base Ball game in Canada [as reported in 1886]?

Salience Noteworthy
Location Canada
Game Cricket
Text

Residents of Oxford County gather near Beachville, Ontario, to play the first recorded game of baseball in Canada (reported only in 1886). The Canadian version uses five bases, a three strikes rule and three outs to a side. Foul lines are described.

Ford, Dr. Adam E., Sporting Life, May 5, 1886. Reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 9-11. For more historical data on this event, see Nancy B. Bouchier and Robert Knight Brown, "A Critical Examination of a Source on Early Ontario Baseball: The Reminiscences of Adam E. Ford," Journal of Sport History, volume 15 [Spring 1988], pp. 75-87. This paper concludes that the New York game reached Ontario no earlier than 1849. Caveat: Richard Hershberger, email of 1/14/2008, expresses the possibility that aspects of the Ford account are the result of a "confused recollection, with genuine old features and modern features misremembered and attributed to the old game." One problem is that the foul territory as described in 1886 is hard to fathom; Richard also notes that use of the 3-out-all-out rule would make this game the only non-NYC game with three-out innings. Ford also implies that games were then finished at the end of an agreed number of innings, not by reaching an agreed number of tallies. He also states that older players in the 1838 game had played a like game in their youth. Adam Ford was seven years old in 1838.

For full text of Dr. Ford's 1886 letter, see the supplemental text.

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