1886 March

2nd  The American Association meets and overrules president Denny McKnight (also owner of the Pittsburgh club) and suspends Sam Barkley for signing with Pittsburgh before the dispute over his sale is settled.

The AA adopts new rules. The number of balls needed for a walk is reduced from 7 to 6; the pitcher’s box is one foot deeper, giving the pitcher 7 feet behind the 50-foot front line in which to execute his delivery; Stolen bases are adopted as an official statistic, although the definition is rather vague initially.

4th  The NL meets and adopts the stolen base and the 4 foot by 7 foot pitcher’s box. But the NL retains 7 balls for a walk and rejects the AA rule giving a batter first base on HPB.

5th A business wrangle in the NL ends in a weakening of the league’s famous 50 cents admission standard. St. Louis and Philadelphia, the two clubs facing rival AA teams with an admission of 25 cents, are allowed to charge a minimum of a quarter. Newcomers Washington and Kansas City are stuck with the 50 cents minimum, but are given the option of selling 3 tickets for a buck.

12th Louisville opens the spring training season by playing a game in Savannah, Georgia.

13th  Via a transatlantic telegraph from Paris, 40-game winner Bob Caruthers agrees to terms with St. Louis Browns owner Von der Ahe. Caruther’s well-publicized holdout will earn him the nickname “Parisian Bob.”

17th  The Sporting News, the weekly that will become “The Baseball Paper of the World,” publishes its first issue. The paper is owned by Al and Charles Spink.

18th  The New York State League admits Buffalo, Toronto, and Hamilton. The inclusion of the Canadian teams causes the league to change its name to the International League.

22nd  The AA ousts H. D. McKnight from the presidency for his partisan handling of the Barkley case. Wheeler Wikoff is the new president.

27th The Cincinnati Reds announce that the pennant they won in 1882 will be flown at home games this season “for luck.”

29th According to today’s Sporting News, the Reds are placing “telephone bulletins” in the suburbs to inform fans of the “exact conditions of the grounds” one hour before game time.