1860 – 1869

 

  • 1860

February

22nd The first match game on the West Coast is played between the Eagle Club and the Red Rovers. With the score tied 33–33 at the end of 9 innings, the game is awarded to the Eagles after an argument about the fairness of the pitching.

MARCH

14th  At Cooper Union, the 4th annual convention of the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP )opens with 62 teams represented. The new rules provide for called strikes on a batter who does not swing at good repeatedly pitched to him. The umpire must warn the batter before he calls the first strike on him.

April

7th The Athletic club of Philadelphia organizes under the “Town Ball” rules, the prevailing rules in Philadelphia. The local Olympic club, organized in 1833, plays those rules. But after seeing the New York style of ball, the Athletics will switch to those rules.

May

16th The first “New York” game of baseball ever played in Philadelphia takes place between 2 teams of members of the Winona Club.

16th At Charter Oak grounds on Smith Street, between Sackett and Degraw Streets, Charter Oak edges Excelsior, 12-11, before a crowd of two to three thousand spectators.

25th At the Atlantic grounds at Bedford, the host Atlantic club trounces the Star club , 30 to 11 – “Fully six thousand people were assembled.” (NYC)

JUNE

1st The Bowdoin Club of Boston sends three men, Messrs. Lowell, Gill and Forbush, to observe the New York style of baseball. Upon their return, the club will extend an invitation to the Excelsiors of Brooklyn to visit Boston and teach their players the game.

29th Henry Chadwick, writing in the July 14th New York Clipper about today’s game between the Atlantic and Putnam clubs, describes a ‘sacrifice bunt play’ as follows: “A circumstance occurred in the 2d innings which we deem worthy of notice: Brown [of the Putnam Club] was at the bat, and Price pitched him a low ball, which, in bringing his bat down, Brown hit with the bat in a similar manner to that in which a cricketer blocks a straight ball; judgment was asked, and as the umpire [Thomas Miller of the Empire Club] deemed it an accident, it was decided “no hit,” but we think it should have been considered fair, for the reason that had a player been on the first base at the time, he could have easily have made his second base before the pitcher could have fielded it, and the decision may lead to similar accidents on other occasions when such play would have a more important bearing on the game. If, in the act of striking, the ball be hit forward of the home base, however light the touch, it ought to be considered a fair ball, otherwise accidents similar to the above will be of frequent occurrence.”

30th  The Excelsior’s of Brooklyn leave for Albany, starting the first tour ever taken by a baseball club. They will travel 1,000 miles in 10 days and play games in Albany, Troy, Buffalo, Rochester, and Newburgh.

JULY

19th A huge crowd of 10,000 gathers in South Brooklyn to watch the first game in the championship series with the Atlantics and Excelsiors. Jim Creighton holds the Atlantics to 4 runs as Excelsior wins, 23–4.

22nd  One of the first triple plays in baseball is triggered by Jim Creighton, playing LF for the Excelsior’s of New York. With Baltimore runners on 2B and 3B, Creighton makes a spectacular catch of a fly ball. The subsequent throws to 3B and then to 2B complete the triple play.

August

9th A crowd of 12,000 watch the 2nd match between the Atlantics and Excelsiors. Trailing 12–6, the Atlantics score 9 runs in the bottom of the 7th off Jim Creighton and hang on for a 15–14 win. Henry Chadwick, in the New York Clipper, writes that this was “the best played contest ever witnessed.”

23rd The 3rd match between the Atlantics and Excelsiors is played on the Putnam Club Grounds at Broadway and Greene in Brooklyn before a large and rowdy crowd of 20,000. So rowdy that in the 6th inning, some of the crowd breaks loose and tries to mob the Excelsiors. Excelsiors captain Joe Leggett, his team down 8–6, hustles his team into their stages and drives off amid a shower of stones and other missiles thrown by the mob. Umpire R.J. Thorn declares it a draw. The Excelsiors will never play the Atlantics again.

September

22nd The Excelsiors of Brooklyn begin their 2nd road tour playing the Excelsiors of Baltimore. Jim Creighton gives the host team a good lesson in the New York game, winning 51–6.

The first “fly game” of baseball is played in Boston, with the Bowdoin club beating Tri-Mountain, 36–19.

28th The Unknowns of Weeksville, NY, an African American team, shuts out the Union Club of Williamsburg, NY, 11-0. (According to historian Harry Simmons, The Negro Leagues: A Photographic History, ed. By Phil Dixon and Patrick Hannigan).

OCTOBER

15th In the opening match of a home and home series, a crowd of 4,000 see the Atlantics score 4 in the 9th to beat the Eckfords, 17–15. Eckford pitcher Frank Pigeon tells his team before the match to “go in and play the game just as if you are playing with a common club.”

22nd  On a damp and cloudy day, the Eckfords hand the Atlantics just their 2nd loss of the year, 20–15. The Ecks break a 13–13 tie with 7 runs in the 7th. “[the match] brought together nearly 5,000 spectators, notwithstanding the cold weather” (NY Times, as noted by Craig Waff)

The Nassau Base Ball Club of Princeton University plays a 42–42 tie game against a team of former Yale and Princeton collegians.

29th In the match for the 1860 whip-pennant, emblematic of the championship of the U.S., the Atlantics top the Eckfords, 20–11 before a crowd estimated at 6,000. With the game tied at 5 each after 5, the Atlantics score 6 in the 6th, 5 in the 7th, and 4 in the 8th to win. Asa Brainard of the Excelsior club umps the game. As agreed upon, all umpires are players from another club.

NOVEMBER

8th  The first shutout game ever recorded is won by the Excelsior’s of Brooklyn against the St. George Cricket Club, 25–0. Harry Wright is the loser.

DECEMBER

12th  The NABBP holds its second meeting of the year, this time at the Mercantile Library Rooms, Clinton Hall, NY. “The attendance numbered over one hundred representatives of the base-ballclubs from different parts of the country.” At this meeting D. Milliken of the Union Club of Morrisania is elected President, with D.C. Moore of the Athletic Club of Philadelphia elected the first vice president.

  • 1861

FEBRUARY

4th  With the players wearing skates, the first baseball game played on ice in the New York area is played on Litchfield Pond in South Brooklyn. The champion Atlantics defeat the Charter Oak Club 36–27. Each team is allowed 10 players, the extra player being a back-up catcher. The first cricket game on ice will take place on ice on January 29, 1867, in New York.

March

18th What would be one of the most prominent clubs in New England, the Lowell club, named after James Lowell, president of the Bowdoin Club, is organized.

April

12th The Confederate Army fires on Ft. Sumter, marking the start of the Civil War. Henry Chadwick will write that the War “has laid an embargo on outdoor sports, especially ball playing.”

June

5th The first grand match of the year takes place at Bedford, Long Island with the Eckford Club whipping Enterprise, 53–19. All clubs will cut back on their matches this year. With Captain Joe Leggett in the army, the Excelsiors play no games this year and Knickerbockers play no games in 1861 or 1862. The Atlantics and the Unions of Morrisania cut their schedules in half.

August

5th As Henry Chadwick writes, “The Atlantics visit Newark to play their first match with the club of that interesting village.” They play poorly but still win, 21–11.

SEPTEMBER

21st  A unique match is played on the St. George Cricket Club Grounds. One team is composed of 9 players, including Jim Creighton and Dickey Pearce. The other team is composed of 18 players, 9 cricketers from St. George and 9 all-stars from the different area clubs. The 18 players are all in the field at once. When they bat, they are allowed 6 outs per inning. Eight innings are played with Creighton’s team winning 45–16.

23rd In Hoboken, a team selected from teams occupying the North grounds (Mutual and Gotham) play a team from the South grounds (Eagle and Empire). The North wins the mini-Civil War, 19–9.

OCTOBER

3rd At Hoboken, in one of the few grand matches of the year, the Mutuals beat the Atlantics, 23–18.

16th At the Atlantic Grounds on Bedford, Long Island, a crowd of 8,000 see the Atlantics score a record 26 runs in the 2nd inning to whip the Mutuals, 52–27 in 6 innings. Because the 3rd game in the series will not be played, the Atlantics retain the whip-pennant for 1861.

21st  In Hoboken, the greatest event of the season, the Grand Match for the Silver Ball, takes place on the Mutuals’ Grounds at Hoboken between all-star teams from Brooklyn and New York. The Silver Ball Trophy is the same size as a regular baseball and will be kept by the club whose members score the most runs during the match. Fifteen thousand fans see the Brooklyn team, behind their star Jim Creighton, defeat New York 18–6.

December

11th The 5th annual convention of the National Association of Base Ball Players is held at Clinton Hall in New York, but the War cuts the attendance down to 34 delegates. This number won’t be topped until 1865.

  • 1862

MAY

15th  The Union Baseball Grounds at Marcy Avenue and Rutledge Street in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn opens, the first enclosed ball field to charge an admission fee. The property has been used as a skating pond in winter months. No rent will be charged to the clubs playing there as the admission fee will pay for the upkeep. [This opening date is sometimes listed as May 16. See Seymour The Early Years].

June

5th In New York, an all-star team from the 4 top clubs of Philadelphia plays an all-star from the 4 top clubs of Brooklyn. Jim Creighton and Charley Smith divide the pitching to beat the Quakers, 27–10.

6th The new Union Grounds is the site of 2nd Philley-Brooklyn all-star match, with Brooklyn winning 23–16. Shortstop Al Reach scores 5 runs for the winners.

July

1st A pair of all-star teams (A and B) from Brooklyn play their counterparts in Philadelphia. Brooklyn loses both, the A team losing to the Quaker A’s, 16–10 and the Philley B’s winning, 22–9.

3rd In Philadelphia, the Brooklyn A team beats the Philley B team, 18–15. In the nightcap, the Philadelphia A’s beat the Brooklyn B’s, 41–5. In the 7th inning of game 2, the Brooks are retired on 3 pitched balls, believed to be the first time this has occurred.

10th The Excelsiors of Brooklyn, the first NY club to journey to Boston, play the Bowdoin club on the Common. Jim Creighton pitches as the visitors win 45–15 in a game that takes 4 hours to play.

21st A crowd of 8,000 witness the 2nd game in the series for the Silver Ball, with the proceeds to benefit the U.S. Sanitary Commission. The Atlantics decisively defeat the Eckfords, 39–5.

26th The Excelsior Club loses a rain-shortened game to the Union Club of Morrisania, 12–4. Jim Creighton is hit hard but also hits a home run.

September

18th The grand match for championship of 1862 draws a record crowd of 10,000 to the Union Grounds. For an hour before game time of 2:45 p.m. all the avenues leading to the grounds are full of people. The Eckfords beat the Atlantics, 8–3 to win the series, 2–1.

22nd The 3rd game in the home and home series, started last year between the Mutuals of N.Y. and the Atlantics, takes place on the Mutuals Grounds, at 63rd Street and Third Avenue. The Atlantics, playing without Charley Smith and John Chapman, lose to the Mutes, 15–10.

OCTOBER

14th  The Excelsior’s defeat the Unions of Morrisania 13–9. Jim Creighton hits 4 doubles and scores 4 runs, but reportedly suffers “an internal injury occasioned by strain” hitting a HR. In fact, as historian Tom Shieber points out in 1995, Creighton suffers from a strangulated intestine, the result of a hernia incurred well before today’s game, and he did not hit a homer in this his final game. Considered the premier baseball player of the day, he dies four days later at the age of 21.

December

25th At Hilton Head, SC, a baseball game is played between teams selected from the 165th New York Volunteer Infantry, Duryea Zouaves, and a team picked from soldiers of the 47th and 48th New York Infantry Regiments. According to Abraham Mills, former president of the National League, a] crowd of 40,000 spectators watched the game, certainly an inflated number. The historian Valerie Josephson found that 10 regiments, or about 10,000 soldiers, were stationed on Hilton Head Island at the time; even counting sailors from ships who docked at Hilton Head for rest and recreation, she concluded, “there is no way there could be 40,000 men on the island for the game.” The match is the talk of the military world for weeks after.

  • 1863

June

17th The Athletics of Philadelphia make their first trip to New York and lose to the Eckford Club, 10–5. Eckford P John Sprague is now considered the finest pitcher in the country. The A’s will go 2–4 during their NY visit.

July

22nd The first match of the series for the championship between the Eckfords and the Mutuals takes place in Hoboken, with the Eckfords winning, 10–9.

30th The Eckfords double the Union Club of Morrisania, 8–4.

September

8th The Atlantics host the champion Eckfords at Bedford, with the visitors winning 21–11 behind the hitting and pitching of John Sprague.

October

6th The Eckfords remain undefeated in first class matches this year by winning their 10th in a row, as John Sprague pitches his team to a 18–10 win over the Mutuals. The Eckfords will finish the year undefeated.

  • 1864

June

27th The Atlantics play their first game of the season, beating the Mutuals, 26–16. These 2 teams are the favorites for the championship.

30th The Atlantics and the Empire Club meet for the first time since 1856. Frequent rain interrupts the game, which ends in a 5–5 tie after 5 innings.

July

1st The Gothams and Eagles meet for the first time with the Gothams winning, 22–16, in a brisk 2 hours. The game marks the first appearance of George Wright, 17-year-old catcher for Gotham. His brother Harry plays 1B.

6th The Atlantics play their strongest game ever, both in batting and fielding, defeating a strong Nassau club, 42–7. Dickey Pearce is the catcher for the Atlantics, having slowed down too much to play SS. He’ll return to SS in the future and end his 22-year-long career in 1877.

21st At Newark, the Champion Eckfords play their first match of the year with 2 new players, Pinkham, a pitcher and Wes Fisler, an infielder from Philadelphia. The Eckfords win 37–22, their only win in 5 games this year. According to custom, if the Champion refuses to honor a challenge to a match, it is treated the same as a forfeit.

30th The Resolute Club of Brooklyn winds up a 3-day visit to Philadelphia by losing, 24–23, to the Olympic Club. The Resolutes lost on the 28th to the Athletics, 29–12 and beat Camden yesterday 14–13.

The Atlantic Club plays the Stars of Brooklyn at the Stars grounds in the first “fly-game” match the Atlantics have ever played. The Atlantics prevail 35–16 and will win the rematch on August 4 by a similar, 35–17.

August

11th The Atlantics of Brooklyn finish a 4-game series in Philadelphia, beating the Athletics, 43–16. The visitors whipped Camden, 64–10 on the 8th, beat the Keystone Club, 65–10 on the 9th, and 58–11 over the 30-year-old Olympic Club yesterday.

23rd Atlantic plays Gotham for the first time in 6 years. Dickey Pearce misses the match due to the death of his child this morning. The Atlantics score 4 unneeded runs in the 9th and prevail, 14–9.

September

12th The return match between the 2 rival clubs for the championship is played on the Capitoline Grounds in Bedford with the Atlantics whipping the Mutuals, 21–16. The Atlantics have yet to defeat last year’s champs, the Eckfords, but the Ecks do not accept the Atlantic’s challenges and thus acknowledge defeat. The Atlantics will end this year at 20–0.

22nd In a friendly match at Jones Square Ground in Rochester, NY, the Brooklyn Atlantics beat the Canada Woodstock Young Canadians, 75-11. Six thousand fans are on hand (as noted by Bob Tholkes).

October

13th The Atlantic nine of 1860 plays this season’s Atlantic nine in a benefit match for the new first baseman, Joe Start. Bad weather keeps the attendance down at the Capitoline Grounds in Bedford as the 1864 team beats the old-timers, 19–11.

DECEMBER

14th  The 8th annual meeting of the National Association of Base Ball Players is held at Clinton Hall with 30 clubs in attendance. The rules committee recommends adoption of the “fly game,” making bounced outs in fair territory illegal and it will be adopted for next season as the “regular” game.

  • 1865

June

6th At Hoboken, the first game of the year for the Gotham Club against the Enterprise Club of Brooklyn goes 13 innings. Gotham scores a pair in the bottom of the 13th to win, 19–18.

16th The Athletics of Philadelphia finish a successful 3rd tour of the North with a 28–20 win over Gotham. The tour started at the new Eureka Club grounds in Newark on June 12 with a 12–9 win. he A’s won the next day, 24–13 over Eagle at Hoboken; 31-21 over the Unions at Morrisania, and yesterday beat the Resolutes, 39–14 at the Union Grounds in Brooklyn.

21st The champion Atlantics play their first match of the year with the same lineup as last year and defeat Alphonse “Phoney” Martin and the Empire Club, 21–10. The Atlantics trail 7–6 after 5 innings before solving Martin’s unusual style of slow pitching.

July

28th Playing for the amateur Philadelphia Keystones, 20-year-old Ned Cuthbert records the first stolen base in history. This will be uncovered by researchers in the 1970s. On July 28, 1980 Cuthbert’s name will result in a putout when Ron LeFlore of the Expos steals his league-leading 62nd base. The scoreboard flashes the information that Cuthbert stole the first base 115 years earlier and LeFlore, engrossed in reading the message while he dusts off his uniform, is tagged out.

AUGUST

3rd  Twenty thousand spectators watch a match in Hoboken between the Mutuals and the Atlantics. The game is a 5-inning, rain-shortened 13–12 Atlantic victory. Henry Chadwick writes, ” these championship games are informal matches, there being no established rules for such contests, the title being one established by custom only.” This particular game would be immortalized in the Currier and Ives print: The American National Game of Baseball.

28th The Athletics of Philadelphia visit Washington D.C. and the White House in the morning before trouncing the host National Club in the afternoon, 87–12. Today’s match was organized by A.P. Gorman, later a Senator, and Col. Fitzgerald, the editor of the Philadelphia City Item. President Johnson allows government workers time off to attend the game, and is there himself. Johnson will also attend tomorrow’s match between the Nationals and the Atlantics, in which the Atlantics win 33–19 (Sport magazine, May, 1929). Benjamin Harrison, in 1892, will be the first President to attend a professional game.

SEPTEMBER

28th  Four thousand spectators gather at Hoboken to watch the Mutuals lose to the Eckford Club 23–11. The Mutual Club meets after the game and charges William Wansley of “willful and designed inattention” with the view of causing Eckford to defeat Mutual. A committee formed to investigate the matter later reports that C Wansley, 3B Edward Duffy, and SS Tom Devyr, received the sum of $100 from Kane McLoughlin to allow McLoughlin to win money on the game. The players will be barred from baseball at the next convention, but are reinstated several years later, Devyr in 1867, Duff in 1869, and Wansley in 1870.

October

13th The Eckford play a return match against the Atlantics at the Union Grounds with the latter prevailing, 35–8.

20th The Athletic Club of Philadelphia defeats the Alert club of Denville, Pa., by one of the largest scores on record, 162 to 11. This score is all the more remarkable since the Athletics played a game this morning with the Williamsport club, in which they made 101 to 8. In playing the afternoon game all the bats that could be procured are broken by the Athletics, and they are compelled to use the handle of a shovel as a substitute bat at the finish.

30th The final series for the championship opens in Philadelphia with the Atlantics defeating the Athletics, 21–15.

November

6th The last grand match of the season takes place at the Capitoline Grounds before 15,000. Henry Chadwick waxes, “is there another sport attractive enough to draw such attendance under such circumstances? In the summer it is not surprising as the weather is pleasant. . . but on a cold November day, in the busiest time of the year, it must be indeed an attractive sport to collect such an assemblage that is present on this occasion.” The Atlantics lead all the way to win, 27–24, and claim the 1865 championship with a record of 17–0.

December

13th The 9th convention of the National Association of Base Ball Players is held at Cooper Union. There are 90 clubs represented there, three times last year’s attendance.

  • 1866

April

30th The champion Atlantics have their first practice game of the year. Some differences in this year’s team are the addition of Bob “Death to Flying Things” Ferguson, from the Enterprise club, and the absence of Pearce and Norton, who now play for the Excelsiors.

June

16th  At Morrisania, the Union Club defeats the Enterprise Club of Brooklyn by the score of 42–16. The Unions led all the way and, according to the New York Times, “did some tall batting after the third inning. The fielding of the Enterprise nine was very loose, while the Unions, although, they were short Abrams at third and Austin at right, fielded very well. The attendance was quite large, the belles of Morrisania gracing the scene with their presence in unusual numbers. At the conclusion of the game the Brooklyn boys were nicely entertained by the victors.”

12th Leading 26–22 going into the 9th inning at Morrisania, the visiting Eureka Club of Newark seem headed for their 3rd straight win over the Unions. But the Unions rally for 6 runs and win, 28–26.

20th At Morrisania, the Mutuals play their first match of the year before 7,000 fans. The Mutes score 2 runs in the 9th and beat the Unions, 25–23.

JULY

2nd At the Philadelphia depot, the Athletics greet the National Club of Washington and escort them to lunch and the game at the grounds at 15th street and Columbia. A crowd of 12,000 encircles the field and the ladies stand is completely filled. The Athletics win, 22–6. In the evening there is a dinner at Augustin’s.

16th  Lipman Pike of the Athletics of Philadelphia hits 6 HRs, 5 in succession, against the Alert Club of Philadelphia. Final score is 67–25.

23rd  The Cincinnati Baseball Club is organized.

26th  The Olympics of Louisville lure Rochester P Ives to join them for a key game. Three years later Ives will join the Kentucky club and will profit from a special “benefit” game honoring him and two recent Cincinnati transfers. Baseball is growing rapidly in Louisville.

August

14th The Excelsior club, missing 5 of their regulars, loses to a strong Mutual club, 32–13. The Excelsiors use 17-year-old William “Candy” Cummings, the pitcher for the Star Juniors, a team of young players the Excelsiors are training.

15th At Newark, the champion Atlantics get soundly whipped, 36–10, by the Eureka Club, the worst defeat for the Atlantics since 1860. Bergen subs in CF for the Atlantics, his first appearance with the team since 1857.

28th Young Candy Cummings subs for Asa Brainard and leads the Excelsiors to a 24–2 whipping of the Eurekas. Chadwick writes, “the pitching and general play of young Cummings in this match marks him as a future Excelsior player of note.”

September

13th At Hoboken, a crowd of 15,000 watch the Mutuals take a14–3 lead on the Atlantics after 6 innings, only to lose 17–15. Dicky Pearce is back at SS for the champions.

14th Enterprise has little trouble hitting Cummings, handing the young Candy and the Excelsiors an 18–16 defeat. Enterprise scores 5 in the 9th.

17th The Excelsiors play the first match of their southern tour against the National team in Washington, winning 33–28. The game starts at 4 p.m. President Johnson watches the game for a brief time. His carriage parks behind the right fielder. The Excelsiors will beat Union on the 19th, 40–23 and on the 20th, beat the Pastime Club of Baltimore, 28–19. They will wind up the tour on the 21st with an 18–18 tie against the Keystones of Philadelphia.

27th At the Capitoline grounds, the Visiting Eureka Club take a lead, 15–11, after 5 innings, before losing 30–20.

OCTOBER

1st In Philadelphia, the greatest crowd in baseball history, 30,000, gather to watch the first match in a home-and-home series between the champion Atlantics from Brooklyn and the Athletics of Philadelphia. Batting first, the A’s score a pair but the press of the crowd makes play impossible and the game is called.

11th  The visiting Star Club loses to the Atlantic Club by a 46–18 score. The game is played in one hour, 50 minutes, with not a ball or a strike called. According to the rules of the day, the ump must warn the batter before calling a strike.

15th Before a crowd of 18,000, the Atlantics host the Athletics, beating them, 27–17, behind pitcher Tom Pratt and hitter Joe Start. Start scores 6 runs. Game stats include Errors of Fielding show that the Atlantics make 10 errors while the Athletics have 44!

22nd In Philadelphia, 20,000 show up for the rematch between the Atlantics and the Athletics. This time the A’s overwhelm the visitors, 31–12, in a rain-shortened 7 innings. Because of a disagreement over dividing the gate receipts, no rubber game is played.

27th In Philadelphia, the Unions of Morrisania, with George Wright playing shortstop, upset the Athletics, 42–29.

29th The final championship match of the season is between the Irvington (NJ) club and host Atlantics, with the 2 clubs playing a rubber match to determine the champion of 1866. The Atlantics break a 5–5 tie by scoring 7 in the 10th inning and winning, 12–6 to keep the Championship.

November

24th The first ever board version of a baseball game is offered for sale. A description of “Sebring’s Parlor Base Ball game” is published in Wilkes Spirit of the Times (as note by historians Ted Hathaway and John Thorn). Sebring is Francis Sebring, a noted pitcher for the Empire Nine. A patent application is made on February 4, 1868.

DECEMBER

12th  The 10th annual convention of the National Association of Base Ball Players is held at Clinton Hall in NYC with a record 202 clubs sending delegates. Rule changes include the introduction of called balls, after a warning of course, with 3 called balls allowing the batter to 1B. This session introduces the pitcher’s box, an area 6 feet wide and 4 feet deep, from which the pitcher must deliver the ball.

  • 1867

MAY

1st  Bat and Ball magazine, in its second year of publication, reports in its May 1 issue that in a game played in San Francisco on February 22 the Eagles routed the Pacifics, 70–22. The editorial in the 4-page publication states “this season, which is now opening, bids fair to be one of the most exciting that our National Game is likely to know.” Another article urges umpires to be more diligent in insuring that pitchers throw where the strikers indicate they want the pitches to be.

4th  Princeton wins the first game of its series with Yale, 58–52.

15th On the Boston Common, the first of three games for the championship of New England is played. The Lowell Club, holder of the Silver Ball Trophy, defeats the Harvard Club, 37–28. Harvard will win the next match.

June

1st In the deciding game for the New England championship, Harvard scores 12 runs in the 4th and defeats Lowell, 39–28.

JULY

2nd With 5,000 fans on hand for the return match between the Unions of Morrisania and the visiting Irvington club, the New Jerseyites break a 14–14 tie with 7 runs in the 7th. Irvington wins, 26–22.

4th The Cincinnati Baseball Club plays its first match a the Union Grounds, in back of Cincinnati’s Lincoln Park, whipping Louisville, 60–24. It is the first game in Cincinnati at which the general public attends, an admission is charged, and a newspaper writes up the game.

9th The champion Atlantics win their 2nd game of 2 with Eckford, 11–4, with the game called after 6 innings. John Chapman, the Atlantics star outfielder, is out for the year with injuries from lifting heavy weights.

11th  The National Club of Washington departs on the first western trip ever made by a ball club. They will travel a total of 3,000 miles and cover 5 states. The Nationals have the same team as last season with the addition of George Wright at SS.

15th In Cincinnati, the Nationals hand the Cincinnati Red Stockings their only loss of 1867, 53–10. The Cincinnati club will finish the year at 17–1.

26th The largest crowd to see a ball game in Chicago pay $.50 each watch the Nationals snap back from their loss yesterday to Rockford by whipping the Excelsiors of Chicago, 49–4.

27th The Nationals wind up their Western trip with a 76–17 win over the Chicago Atlantics.

31st The Champion Atlantics play a Championship match with the Union Club of Morrisania at the home park in Melrose, NY. A crowd of 8,000+ see the Unions humble the champs, 32–19.

August

8th A Grand match for the benefit of the Masonic Hall and Asylum Fund is played between picked nines from New York and Brooklyn at the Union Grounds. New York wins the well-played game, 13–7.

12th The Atlantics beat the Mutuals, 18–15, in the first match of the season series between the 2 clubs. George Zettlein pitches the win.

14th In one of the best-played games of the year, Union of Morrisania edges the Mutuals, 9–8, in 10 innings. John Goldie hits a game-winning home run.

16th In an exciting game before 7,000 fans at the Union Grounds, the visiting Athletics beat the Mutuals, 18–16.

20th William Buckley of New York patents a table-top baseball game which uses a pinball principle (as noted by John Thorn). This is similar to Francis Buckley’s Parlor Base-Ball, which is being marketed the past 2 years but will not receive a patent application until next year.

26th Six thousand fans are on hand at the new grounds of the Washington Nationals for a 3 p.m. game with the Mutuals. Two hours later, President Johnson and several members of his staff arrive and a re assigned seats on the balcony of the clubhouse. Johnson, who it is said of played baseball as a youngster, stays to the end of the game and shows great interest. The Mutes win, 40–16.

28th The Mutuals play the Athletics in Philadelphia, winning 23–21.

September

2nd The Cincinnati Club beats up on the Holt Club of Newport, KY, winning 109–15. Two Red Stocking players, John C. How and Harry Wright, hit 7 homers each. Wright, the old NY Knickerbocker was hired in August, 1865, by George Ellard to come to Cincinnati to be a bowler for the Union Cricket Club at a salary of $1,200 a year. He switched back to baseball after the Reds were organized. When the Reds moved their games from the foot of 9th Street to the Union Cricket Club grounds, many cricket players switched to baseball.

16th The Champion Atlantics play host to the Athletics of Philadelphia and draw a crowd of 15,000. The Atlantics win, 28–16.

18th The Athletics of Philadelphia play another game at the Union Grounds, this time losing a close game, 18–17, to the Mutuals. The A’s are unable to solve the slow pitches of “Phonney” Martin and lose the game on a passed ball in the bottom of the 9th.

October

4th At Brooklyn’s Satellite Grounds, two black teams play a match called by the Daily Union, “the championship of colored clubs.” The Philadelphia Excelsior’s outscore the Brooklyn Uniques, 37–24, in a game called after 7 innings on account of darkness.

10th The Union Club of Morrisania takes the 1867 Championship, winning their 2nd game of the series, 14–13, over the Atlantics. Charley Pabor is the winning pitcher.

16th At the convention of the Pennsylvania BaseBall Association at the Court House in Harrisburg, the application of the Pythians, a prominent black club from Philadelphia, to join the organization is withdrawn after it is clear that a majority of the delegates are against it. The Pythian representative later writes “Before closing this already too lengthy report your delegate feels bound to state that all the delegates seemed disposed to show their sympathy and respect for our club by [crossed out: their] showing him every possible courtecy [sic] & kindness. While at dinner Messrs. Hayhurst, Rogers and others invited him to attend the base ball match that was to be played that afternoon in company with them, which was accepted. And on the [“road”?, illegible] & at the match, your delegate cannot speak too highly of the kind attentions which these gentlemen showed him and their expressions of friendship for our club.”

DECEMBER

9th The National Association of Base Ball Players bans blacks “on political grounds.” The Nominating Committee, in issuing a blanket acceptance of new applicants, states that, “It is not presumed by your committee that any club who have applied are composed of persons of color, or any portion of them; and the recommendations of our committee in this report are based upon this view, and they unanimously report against the admission of any club which may be composed of one or more colored persons.” The Base Ball Chronicle of December 19 reports that “the report of the Nominating Committee…was presented, the feature of it being there commendation to exclude colored clubs from representation in the Association, the object being to keep out of the Convention the discussion of any subject having a political bearing, as this undoubtedly had.”

  • 1868

FEBRUARY

4th  Francis Sebring, the pitcher for the Empire Base Ball Club, applies for a patent on his Parlour Base-Ball game, a table top game that has been on the market for the past two years. It is a pinball type table-top game (as noted by John Thorn) that propels a coin instead of a ball. As Thorn and David Dyte note, the 1865-66 game reflects the positioning of the shortstop as an infielder rather than as a fourth outfielder.

APRIL

25th  The New York Clipper announces that it will give a Gold Ball of regulation weight and size to the club proclaimed Champions of 1868. In addition, gold medals will be given to the 9 best players at their positions.

May

12th The second all-star game of the year is played between players selected from the New York and Brooklyn clubs. New York has only 8 players and go without a shortstop, but last until the 11th inning before losing 36–33. Lipman Pike and George Wright play for New York.

23rd In a battle of the top 2 Cincinnati teams, the Red Stockings cut down the Buckeyes, 28–10. Asa Brainard, from the Excelsior Club, makes his first appearance with the Reds as a number of players have changed teams this year. Those who do so while having a valid contract with their original team are called “revolvers.”

June

1st The Champion Unions of Morrisania, with George Wright at SS, play their first game of the season winning, 31–16, over the Olympic Club of Patterson, NJ.

6th The Athletics of Philadelphia beat the Reds, 20–13, before 5,000 at a soggy Union Grounds in Cincinnati. The Reds, with new players Mart King (from the Haymakers) and John Hatfield (Mutuals) are unable to stop the A’s heavy hitting.

The Champion Unions are almost upset by a team of Yale students in New Haven, and need 2 runs in the last of the 9th to tie, and 2 in the last of the 10th to win, 16–14.

10th In Buffalo, the Atlantics are defeated by the Niagaras and pitcher Atwater, 19–15. The Niagaras jump to a 9–0 lead, then fall behind before rallying to win.

18th Continuing their western tour, the Athletics of Philadelphia face the Forest City of Rockford club, winning decisively, 94–13.

24th Playing without their injured star, 2B Al Reach, the Athletics of Philadelphia have no trouble defeating the Forest City Club of Cleveland, 85–11. The New York Clipper observes, “The Athletic Club, unlike the Atlantics, have no compassion on their opponents—whoever they might be—and the game is played as though upon each run depends the result of the game.”

In Chicago, the Atlantics trip Al Spalding and the Forest City of Rockford Club, 31–29. The Atlantics need 12 runs in the 8th to win.

29th The touring Athletics of Philadelphia finally lose as Excelsior of Rochester, NY wins, 26–20. The Excelsiors take advantage of A’s pitcher Dick McBride, who has a sore arm.

JULY

1st The Atlantics play in Indianapolis, soundly beating the Active Club, 103–8.

2nd In Hoboken at the once pristine Elysian Fields, the Gramercy Club, occupying the old Mutual Grounds, loses to the Actives, 28–17. Most of the top New York teams have abandoned Elysian Fields and crowd have dropped from the thousands to the hundreds.

4th Before a crowd of 2,500 at Chicago, the Forest City Club of Rockford beats the Chicago Excelsiors, 36–27, and, with 2 wins over them, claims the championship of the Northwest.

9th  The Red Stockings have a field meet at Cincinnati and John Hatfield throws a baseball a record 396 feet, breaking his own record of 349 feet, done in 1865.

25th  The game for the Championship of American Colleges is played at Worcester, MA, with Harvard defeating Yale, 25–17.

AUGUST

4th  The quickest game on record is played at the Union Grounds, Brooklyn. Al Martin holds the Uniques to one run against 37 for the Eckfords in the 50-minute game.

6th The Union of Morrisania, on their Western tour, travel to Chicago where a good crowd sees the Champions defeat the Atlantic Club of Chicago 41–12. George Wright and John Goldie each score 7 runs.

The Champions of Marshalltown (Iowa) travel to Omaha, winning 32–16. Three Ansons play for Marshalltown: Henry, and his sons Sturgis and Adrian.

11th In Rockford, IL, the Unions of Morrisania play before 5,000, their biggest crowd on their tour. They win their 11th straight, beating the Forest City Club, 23–17. George Wright hits a homer off Al Spalding.

17th the first match for the Championship of 1868 is played before 15,000 people— who take a “stretch” after the first half of the 5th inning—at the Brooklyn’s Union Grounds between the Atlantics of Brooklyn and the Mutuals of New York. Home runs by Ferguson and Mills lead the Atlantics to a 12–11 win. Lipman Pike’s 3-run homer in the 9th makes it close for the Mutuals. John C Chapman, the Atlantics RF, makes a fine running catch with the tying run on 3B in the 9th. Dickey Pearce, the master of the “tricky hit” is cited in the New York Clipper with bunting, in which he “rolled a little hit” here or there. This is the first note about bunting and The Sporting News of January 1, 1898 will credit Pearce with bunting in this game and the match on September 10. TSN will also credit him with the “fair-foul” hit but without specific game citations. The article credits Tommy Barlow with bunts, but in 1871, with his “favorite two-foot bat.”

25th In Cincinnati, the Union of Morrisania club loses their first game after 25 straight wins, including a 12–8 win over the local Red Stockings yesterday. The Cincinnati Reds club wins, 13–12. Harry Wright plays SS for the Reds while his brother George plays for the Unions.

September

7th The 2nd meeting between the Atlantics and the Athletics draws a crowd of 15,000 to the Union Grounds. The Athletics flex their muscles beating Zettlein and the Atlantics, 37–13. Every member scores 4 runs except Ned Cuthbert who scores 5.

10th At Brooklyn’s Union Grounds, the Athletics cuff the Champion Unions of Morrisania, 31–7. The winners have 34 hits and 7 errors while the losers have 9 hits and 21 errors.

18th The first game of the Championship Series between the Unions of Morrisania and the Mutuals is played before 6,000 at the Union Grounds. The Champions, helped by 3 home runs from George Wright—2 in the 7th—win, 28–12.

21st In Philadelphia, the Mutuals of New York beat the Athletics, 51–24, before a crowd of 10,000. Dockney has a pair of homers in a losing cause.

30th In Philadelphia, the visiting Cincinnati Red Stockings lose to the Athletics, 15–12. A controversy occurs before the game when the Reds introduce a completely dead ball made expressly for their own use. Philadelphia refuses to play with the dead ball and finally McBride yields and the game is played.

October

1st The Cincinnati Reds visit the New York area for the first time, losing to the Atlantics, 31–12. Tomorrow, they will beat the Mutuals, 29–28.

6th In a match that decides the Championship of 1868, the Atlantics pound the Unions, 24–8, at Morrisania. The Atlantics win the best-of-three from the Champions, from the title holders and await a challenge from the Athletics.

12th The Mutuals of New York defeat the current champion Atlantics of Brooklyn, 25-22, and threaten to capture the 1868 championship.

14th The Athletics of Philadelphia travel to the Union Grounds to play the Mutual Club which had defeated the Atlantics two days ago. On a cold, rainy day, several hundred spectators watch the Athletics win, 25–15.

26th A crowd of 10,000 are at the Union Grounds in Brooklyn to see the Mutual Club of NY capture the championship of 1868 by defeating the Atlantics of Brooklyn for the 2nd time, 28-17. This is the first time a NYC club has won the title.

29th With the Atlantics no longer the champions, the Athletics of Philadelphia cancel their game. The New York Clippers will ask the Mutual Club to schedule a series with the A’s to afford them an opportunity to contend for the Gold Ball and the championship. The Athletics will say they challenged; The Mutuals will say they did not. The Clipper will refuse to award the gold ball until next year. According to the custom, the Mutual Club is declared the year’s champions, despite the Athletics having a better record (Athletics: 47-3; Atlantics: 47-7; Union of Morrisania: 38-6; Mutuals: 31-10). The Clipper awards individual medals to Radcliffe, McBride, Fisler, Reach, Sensenderfer (all 5 with the A’s), Waterman, Geo Wright, Hatfield, and J. Henry Johnson.

NOVEMBER

11th  The New York State Base Ball Convention at Albany expels the Mutual Club from the Association for reinstating Duffy, a player found guilty of throwing a game in 1865. Their championship is not at stake for the association does not recognize any team as official champions. Because their motives in reinstating Duffy were honorable, the penalty is waived.

26th The first enclosed Baseball grounds in San Francisco is opened, called Recreation Grounds, at the corner of 25th and Folsom streets. The first game sees the Eagle Club defeat the Wide Awakes, 37-23.

DECEMBER

9th  The 12th annual convention of the National Association of Base Ball Players is held in Washington, DC. A new rule states that “no game shall be considered as played unless 5 innings on each side have been completed.” The National Association decides to divide the players into classes, and for the first time recognizes professionals.

  • 1869

April

3rd A reporter for the New York Clipper comments on pitcher Alphonse “Phoney Martin, writing, “His style is peculiar, being neither slow nor swift, but a ‘happy mean.’ He is an extremely hard pitcher to hit for the ball never comes in a straight line, but in a tantalizing curve.” This argues that Martin predates Candy Cummings, generally given credit for inventing the curve.

5th The first practice game of the year takes place on the Capitoline Grounds in Brooklyn, with members of the Atlantic, Mutual, and Eckford clubs participating. It snowed yesterday.

20th The first appearance of the Champion Mutuals occurs on their home grounds, the Union Park in Brooklyn, there being no baseball grounds in NYC. Several hundred spectators braves the brisk breezes to see a 5-inning game. The Mutuals win over a picked nine, 30–7.

MAY

4th  The Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball’s first admittedly all-professional team, play their first game of the year, defeating the Great Westerns 45–9.

23rd The Mutuals of NY journey to Boston on a 3-day visit, during which time they will beat the Tri-Mountains (69-17), the Harvards (43-11), and the Lowells (26-21).

27th The heavy hitting Atlantics of Brooklyn demolish the Olympics, 89-7. Lipman Pike hits 4 home runs for the winners.

31st The Red Stockings leave Cincinnati for a month-long Eastern tour, playing 25 games.

JUNE

5th The first championship match of the year takes place at the Union Grounds between the Mutuals and the Eckfords. Alphonse Martin handcuffs the Mutuals, allowing a run and 3 hits in 5 innings. The umpire calls the game in the 6th because of rain. The Eckfords win, 6–1.

8th  The largest score on record occurs in a 3-hour game between the Niagara and Colombia clubs, both of Buffalo, NY. The final score is Niagaras 209, Colombias 10. Niagara scores 58 runs in the 8th. Three hours only were occupied in amassing this mammoth total.

12th In a rematch of their June 5 game the Mutuals pound the slow-ball Martin and win, 24-8 before 5,000 fans.

15th After a rainy morning the skies clear and before 1,500 fans the Cincinnati Red Stockings defeat the champion Mutuals, 4–2. The Reds have 6 hits to the Mutuals 8. Asa Brainard scores the lead run in the last of the 9th on a passed ball.

16th The largest crowd of the year—12,000—watch Cincinnati give the Atlantics their first loss of the year, 32–10.

19th At the new Union Baseball Grounds in Boston, the first game takes place between the Brooklyn Atlantics and a picked nine from Boston. The stadium has seats for 3,000, and is 396 feet by 635 feet, and enclosed with a 12-foot fence. The game ends in a 28-28 tie.

21st The Cincinnati Red Stockings continue their triumphal tour of the East with a 27-18 victory over the Athletics in Philadelphia. A crowd of 20,000 is on hand. Dick McBride, the star of the A’s, is still indisposed, and the team is lackluster without him.

28th The first championship match between the Atlantic club and the Mutuals is played on the Capitoline Grounds before a crowd of 10,000. The game is scoreless until the 5th when Zettlein singles, steals 2B, and scores on a hit by McDonald. Swandell scores in the top of the 6th for the Mutuals, and in the last of the 6th John Chapman’s double scores Smith with the lead run for the Atlantics. The Atlantics score 5 runs in the 7th before torrential rains stop play and the game is called. The final is 2–1. The New York Clipper comments, “Leading off the last of the first Pearce took his stand and, after watching and waiting a little, just tapped the ball and sent it along the ground slowly and reached first safely.”

July

1st The victorious Red Stockings reach Cincinnati after the tour through the East, and are met at the depot with a brass band and driven to a reception at the Gibson House. In the afternoon they go to the ball park where they are presented with a huge bat made of ash, 27 feet in length and weighing over 1,000 pounds. It is a gift from the Cincinnati Lumber Company.

3rd With the series tied at one apiece, the Eckfords and the Mutuals meet at the Union Grounds. With the Mutual backers confident of the outcome, only 3,000 fans are on hand. The betting is 10-3 in favor of the Mutuals, and very few place bets even at those odds. But Eckford scores 8 in the 2nd and 15 in the 5th, while “Phonney” Martin holds the Mutuals to 5 runs on 10 hits. The Eckfords win easily, 31–5, and are now considered the Champions of 1869. They’ll remain that way until some team defeats them in a home and home series.

5th The largest score on record in a game between professional nines marks the game between the Atlantics of Brooklyn and the Athletics of Philadelphia, won by the former, 51 to 48. Fifteen thousand spectators are present. The Atlantics make six home runs and the Athletics 3.

19th The Olympic Club of Washington, on their way home after a 3-week tour of the West, makes a stop in Brooklyn to play the amateur Star Club. With Candy Cummings pitching, the Olympics are held to 15 hits, and the Stars win, 49-11.

24th The Red Stockings host a match with the Forest City of Rockford, and Harry Wright pitches against Al Spalding. Cincinnati scores 3 runs in the 9th to pull out a 15–14 victory.

26th In Cincinnati, Forest City takes on the Buckeye Club and wallops them 40–1. Al Spalding is the winning pitcher.

31st At Ogden Park in Chicago, the Red Stockings whip the Rockford Forest Citys, 53–32, before a crowd of 8,000. It is the third game in the series that the Red Stockings have won.

AUGUST

2nd The Brooklyn Atlantics take a steamboat up the Hudson to Troy, where they are trounced by the Haymakers, 17-10. The winning pitcher is Cherokee Fisher.

4th A unique game is played between the Champion Eckford Club and a team of veterans of the 1863 Champion Eckford team. Frank Pidgeon is on hand but does not play. Al Reach plays 3B, while Jimmy Wood plays 2B. The “youngsters” are too strong, winning 30–7.

16th In Cincinnati, a crowd of 8,000 show up to watch the Champion Eckford play the Red Stockings. Led by Cal McVey, who has 7 hits and 7 runs, the locals overwhelm the Eckfords, 45-18.

26th  The Red Stockings gain their toughest and most controversial victory in their incredible winning streak. Tied with the Troy Haymakers 17–17 after 5 innings, Troy C William Craver claims to catch a foul tip off the bat of Cal McVey on the first bounce for an out, but the umpire disagrees. After a fierce argument, Troy leaves the field, and Cincinnati is awarded the game by forfeit. The ump’s decision is later overruled, and the game is officially recorded as a tie.

September

1st The champion Eckford Club begins a new Championship series with the ex-champion Mutuals, a most unusual event to occur so soon after the title changes hands. Despite a high wind, the Mutuals defeat the Eckfords with 5 runs in the bottom of the 9th to win, 28-25.

6th The Eckford Club starts another championship series for the pennant with the Atlantic club of Brooklyn at the Capitoline Grounds. 8,000 spectators watch the Atlantics whip the champs, 45–25, behind 4 homer runs by Joe Start.

8th In the start of a much-anticipated series in Philadelphia, the Athletics beat the visiting Mutuals, 45–28.

14th The Cincinnati Red Stockings leave on a month-long tour of California.

15th At the Union Grounds in Brooklyn, the Mutuals tie the score at 22 with a run in the top of the 9th, but the Athletics score 2 in the bottom to win, 24–22. The New York Clipper, which had asked that the match be arranged, awards a Gold Ball to the Athletics.

18th The Pythians of Philadelphia become the first black team to play a white team when they take the field against the City Items. The Pythians win 27–17.

28th While the Cincinnati Red Stockings are playing in San Francisco, there is a short break. A Cincinnati writer notes: “One thing noticeable in this game was a ten minutes’ intermission at the end of the sixth inning—a dodge to advertise and have the crowd patronize the bar.” (Cincinnati Commercial).

October

1st A social game (as opposed to a championship match) is played between the Champion Eckfords and the visiting Haymakers, with the Eckfords winning, 23–19, in 8 innings. Alphonse Martin is effective on the mound, giving up 23 fly outs and foul ball flies. Jimmy Wood, 2B, catches 7 flies.

9th In the 2nd game of the Championship Series at the Union Grounds, Eckford defeats the Atlantics, 23–9. Surprise starter Pinkham is the winning pitcher.

12th The Chicago Baseball club organizes with an express object of employing a picked nine of professional players for the 1970 season. The impetus behind the move is thought to be the success of the Cincinnati team.

18th The Philadelphia Athletics travel to Cincinnati for a return match. 8,000 fans cheer the Reds on to a 17–12 win, their 58th win of the year without a loss. Asa Brainard is the winner over Dick McBride.

NOVEMBER

5th  Seven thousand Cincinnati fans brave the cold weather to watch the Red Stockings win their 60th game of the season without a defeat, beating the visiting Mutual Green Stockings of New York 17–8.

8th In a chilly final game of the Championship Series in Brooklyn between the Atlantics and the Eckfords, Pinkham’s double in the 5th with the bases loaded gives the Eckfords a 9–8 lead. But the Atlantics score 4 in the 6th and go on to win, 16–12, winning the U.S. Championship A controversy arises when the Atlantics claim the pennant based on the custom of defeating the current title holder in a home and home series. The undefeated Red Stockings are hailed as the best team in baseball.

 

 

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