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New York Knickerbockers New York Knickerbockers
Twenty-Eight Ballists - 1845 Baseball History

On September 23, 1845, twenty-eight young ballists from the New York City area joined together to form the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club. They consisted of prosperous' merchants, bankers, insurance executives, Wall Street clerks and included a doctor, cigar broker, and photographer.

They named their team after a volunter fire department in which Alexander Cartwright and several other ballists belonged to. One of these wrote in his notes, "We were all men who were at liberty after 3 o'clock in the afternoon and played only for health and recreation... and merely wanted to join a club to set up new uniform rules". Old scorebooks indicate that the Knickerbockers did not play their top squad in the 23-1 loss to the 'New York Nine'.

Old manuscripts indicate that winning was unimportant to the ballists, they played for pleasure and for the champagne suppers that followed their games. One of the members, James Whyte Davis, wrote in his will, "All relations and immediate friends are well informed that I desire to be buried in my base ball suit, and wrapped in the original flag of the old Knickerbockers of 1845, now festooned over my bureau." baseballhistorian.com archives Research Department




Old Letter Honolulu Old Letter Honolulu
Mailed from Hawaii; from 'The Hall of Fame' Archives - Early Baseball History

After Alexander Cartwright left New York for California, his business' ventures turned sore. He took what little money he had left and went to Hawaii, where he became a very wealthy merchant. When he left Manhattan, Cartwright took with him a bat, ball and a copy of the old manuscript rule book, that he helped to draft. Fifteen years later, he sent a letter from Honolulu:

'Dear old Knickerbockers, I hope the club is still kept up, and that I shall some day meet again with them on the pleasant fields of Hoboken. I have in my possession the orginal ball with which we used to play on Murray Hill. Many is the pleasant chase I have had after it on Mountain and Prairie and many an equally pleasant one on the sunny plains of Hawaii..... Sometimes I have thought of sending it home to be played for by the clubs, but I cannot bear to part with it, so linked in it, is it with cherished home memories.'




Penalties 1848 Article V Penalties 1848 Article V
Knickerbockers' Constitution Revised; From the 'Hall of Fame Records'

Article V Penalties

Kickerbocker's Constitution Revised in 1848 setting penalties.

Section 1. Members when assembled for field exercise, who shall use profane or improper language, shall be fined 12 1/2 cents for each offense... Sec. 2. Any member disputing the decision of an Umpire, during the time of exercise, shall be fined 12 1/2 cents... Sec. 3. Any member who shall audibly express his opinion on a doubtful play, before the decision of the Umpire is given, (unless called upon by him so to do) for each offensive, shall pay a fine of 12 1/2 cents... Sec. 4 Any member refusing obedience to his Captain, in the excerise of lawful authority, shall pay a fine of 50 cents... Section 5. All penalties incurred by violation of any proceeding sections, must be paid to the Umpire before leaving the field; and any member refusing to pay such fines, shall be suspended from field exercise until such fines are paid.




Early Base Ball Games - Baseball History Early Base Ball Games - Baseball History
1858; baseballhstorian.com Arhives Research Dept. Baseball History

By 1858, special trains went out to the Fashion Race Course on Long Island and over 4,000 fans saw the New York All-Stars beat the Brooklyn All-Stars, two games out of three. For the first time fans were charged admission, 50 cents each, by the person who owned the field. There were nearly fifty teams playing in the area around Manhattan and the new game of base ball was sweeping the country.

Thousands of fans were attending base ball games to see what the new improved, faster game was all about. Base ball was becoming a money making proposition and the people owning the playing fields were starting to reap the rewards.




Massachusetts Ruffians Massachusetts Ruffians
Base Ball During the Late 1850s - Baseball History

Ballists of New England in the late 1850's were still playing town ball and formed an association to combat the growing popularity of the 'New York Game'. Already a trend setter for the country, the New York version of base ball was gaining in popularity because it was faster, more civil, had set rules, and because the ball was no longer thrown at the base runner.

The teams from Massachusetts played a hard-nosed type of ball and their ballists were mainly single men from boarding houses, that frequent saloons, and were referred to as ruffians. These ruffians thought New York's game was too tame for their liking. When the New York game started to draw paid attendance, the Massachusetts players abandoned town ball and set up new leagues following New York's style of base ball.

'It's the money after all that determines the play'.

baseballhistorian.com archives




Walt Whitman Brooklyn Eagle Walt Whitman Brooklyn Eagle
A Certain Game of Ball 1846

Writer Walt Whitman wrote in the July 1846 Issue of the 'Brooklyn Eagle'- In our sun-down perambulations of late, through the outer parts of Brooklyn, we have observed several parties of youngsters playing 'base', a certain game of ball.'

Later in 1846, Walt Whitman wrote: 'I see great things in base ball. Its' our game... The American game. It will take our people out of doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a large physical stoicism. Tends to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set. Repair these losses, and be a blessing to us.'




First Uniforms Archives First Uniforms Archives
Straw Hats; Baseballhistorian.com archives

In 1849, The New York Knickerbockers were the first team to wear uniforms for a base ball game. Their outfits consisted of straw hats, white dress shirts, bow ties and dark blue dress trousers.

Fans: for more interesting old time baseball facts - type into our Search - archives




Alexander Cartwright Alexander Cartwright
First Modern Game of Baseball 1845

Baseball History

First Modern Game of Base Ball - 1845 From 'The Hall of Fame Records'

According to old manuscripts and note pads, Alexander Cartwright, of New York, organized the 'modern' game of baseball in 1845. He was a clerk in the business world and joined other young employees of New York City in 1839 to play a game of rounders; an English version of cricket. One of the game's members, Dr. Daniel Adams wrote in a letter "that we called our new game base ball". This is the oldest known manuscript that refers to the 'Game of Base Ball' A group of players met and picked Alexander Cartwright as their leader.

Cartwright wrote in his note pad in 1845 that he was "one of the finer players" and was picked as its' leader when it wrote a formal constitution for the team that named itself 'The Knickerbocker Base Ball Club" Alexander Cartwright was the club's first secretary and vice-president. He wrote the original 14 rules; which were similar to the game of rounders with these three exceptions: (#1) The field will be laid out diamond shape rather than square, (#2) Foul territory was introduced, (#3) The practice of retiring a runner by hitting him with a thrown ball was discarded. With these new rules 'The Knickerbockers' placed ads for opponents, the new rules being clearly posted in the ads. On June 19, 1846 they played the New York Nine, in what is called by the Hall of Fame as "the first modern base ball game". The New York Nine won base ball's first game, trouncing 'The Knickerbockers' 23 to 1. Alexander Cartwright went to California during the gold rush of 1849 and introduced 'base ball' to everyone on his way to the west. He arrived in San Francisco and taught the new game there. Base ball then started to evolve all over the country. On his plaque in the Hall of Fame are engraved these words: Alexander Cartwright - Father of Modern Baseball

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Early Baseball History - Alexander Cartwright

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Big League Prospects - 1960-1970
Checking our vast archives we have come up with a list of big league hopefuls. Perhaps some of our fans can locate an uncle, long lost cousin or long-ago friend. All were rookie prospects around 1960-1970. Some players made the big time, many did not. Anyway, here's our list:

John Charles Ellis, Catcher, 1B, 3B, Right-handed, Born New London, Conn., 8/21/1948 - 6-2, 220 pos., - Played for Ft. Lauderdale in 1967-68 as 19 year-old, scouts give 3+Stars for catching skills, 4-Stars for hitting ...... 1969 hit .361 at Kingston, Carolina League and caught 22 games for New York Yankees, hitting .290, 4 Ds, 1 Hr .... started 1969 at Syracuse brought up to Yankees and played 1B, 3B, C .... hit .248, blasted 12 Ds, 7 Hrs in only 78 games, 226 at-bats. Appears ready, willing and able.

Oscar Gamble, Outfielder, Bats LH Throws RH, Born Ramer, Alabama, 12/20/1949 ... looks impressive, started minor league ball with Treasure Island, Pioneer League in 1968 ... moved up to San Antonio, Texas League in '69 ... joined Chicago Cubs late in year, (only 20 years-old) ... played 24 games hit .225 ... scouts rate 4-Stars ... likeable, smiling personality ... does show batting power ... traded to Philadelphia Phillies in November '70 with pitcher Dick Selma for OF John Callison .... Gamble has speed, good arm ... tab for big future.

Ralph Garr, OF, Bats LH Throws RH, 5-11, 185 pos., Born Monroe, La., 12/12/1945 ... appears ready for big leagues, possesses 5-Star speed, good hitter ... in 1969, at Richmond, led International League in batting (.329) and stolen bases (63) ... joined Atlanta Braves in late-August in '69, played 22 games, in 27 at-bats scored 6-runs, hit .222. In '70, with Braves played 37 games, 96 at-bats, scored 18 runs, hit .281 ... Highly regarded by Braves' management.

Michael Robert McQueen, Pitcher Left-handed, Born Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 8/30/1950 ... Throws rapid Fastball ... scouts rate 5-Stars ... As a 18-year-old in '68, Fanned 64 batters in 49 innings (wow!) at Twin Falls, Pioneer League ... has been plagued with injuries ... called up by Braves in '70, posted a 1-5 mark in 22 games, 66 innings, 54 Ks, 31 Ws, 5.59 ERA ... needs more minor league experience ... tab for future date.

Bernard Williams, OF, RH, 6-1, 175 pos., Born Alameda, CA, Fast, good fielder, has big league power ... played for Medford, NW League in '67, hit .271 in 225 at-bats, 11 Ds, 14 Hrs, Scored 58 runs, 55 RBIs ... for Amarilio, Texas League '69 Played mostly OF but was tried at 3B ... Hit .309 for Phoenix, P.C. League, collected 346 at-bats 15 Ds, 47 at-bats before Being called up by the San Francisco Giants late in season, In 7 games hit .313 with 2 doubles ... promising future.

Nolan Ryan, Pitcher Right-handed, 6-2, 190 pos., Born Refugio, Texas, 1/31/1947 - highly sought by all big league clubs ... hails from farming town in Texas ... throws a 100 mph fastball, as a 18-year-old in '65, fanned 115 in only 78 innings at Marion, Appal. League, ... Scouts rate 5-Stars with a note that he allows too many walks. Fastball approaches batters as a blur. In '66, wore New York Mets' jersey for 2 games, 3 innings - struck out 6 in 3 innings but - 15.00 ERA ... rest of '66 was awesome at Greenville, W. Carolina L. Where he went 17-2, led league in wins in Ks with 272 in 183 innings, and in walks 123, posted a 2.51 ERA. In '68, with Mets was 6-9, fanned 133 in 134 innings, 3.09 ERA.

Kenneth George Sanders, Pitcher RH, Born St. Louis, Mo., 7/8/1941- been pitching in professional ball since 1960, when he was 19-10 at Sanford, Florida St. League ... drafted by Boston Red Sox in Nov. '65 and as changed from starter to reliever .. at Vancouver, PC League in '65 led league in games 57 ... hurled 92 innings, 2.74 ERA ... Pitched for Red Sox and Royals in '66, 62 games 6-10 record, 3.74 ERA, In '67 at Vancouver 9-6, 84 innings, nice 2.04 ERA. Again at Vancouver in '68 in 35 games - 3.41 ERA ... Joined Oakland A's in late-'68, 7 games, 11 innings 3.27 ERA ... looks good, just can't seem to break in for good ????? Signed with Brewers in '70 after pitching 10 years, mainly in the minors ... in 50 games with Milwaukee an outstanding 1.76 ERA, 5-2 record.

Charles Richard McKinney, SS, 3B, Of, RH - 6 ft., 185 pos., Born Piqua, Ohio, 11/22/1946 - good hitter, fine fielder ... Scouts rate 3-Stats ... played shortstop at Evansville, Southern League in '68, hit .261, 12 Ds, 9 Ts, 7 Hrs, 37 RBIs in only 86 games - impressive big league future ... Batted.326 in '69 with Columbus, moved up in mid-year to Tucson and in mid-'70 after hitting .303 joined the Chicago Cubs ... played 3B-SS in 43 games, 119 at-bats hit 5 Ds, 4 Hrs, but batted only .168 ... needs more minor league experience, still only 24-years- old.

James Harlan York, Pitcher Right-handed, 6-3, 200 pos., Born Maywood, California, 8/27/1947 ... debuted in pro ball in '69 at age 22 for Winnipeg, Northern League ... posting a 3-1 record, racked up 61 Ks in just 36 inning, 0.75 ERA... throws an outstanding rising fastball ... 4+-Stars ranking ... in '70 pitched for Elmira and Omaha going a combined 13-5, 101 Ks in 102 innings ... joined The Kansas City Royals in mid-Aug. and recorded a 1-4, 5.32 ERA in 44 innings, 4 games ... tab for future.

James Holt, OF-1B, Bats LH, T RH, 6 ft., 190 pos., Born Graham, No. Car., 5/27/1944 ... Speed to burn, excellent and aggressive play-to-win player ... At Leesburg, Florida St. League, stole 22 bases, batted .286, scored 62 runs in 126 games. Moved up to Peninsula, Carolina League racked up 60 RBIs while hitting .312 ... In '68 wore Minnesota Twins uniform for 70 games, 106 at-bats but hit only .208 ... at Denver in '69, hit .336 in 139 games, led league with 37 doubles ... lined 12 triples, powered 11 homers, batted .336 ... rejoined Twins late in season and hit .357 in 12 games .... looks ready ... Coaches all think big things ahead for Holt ... played 142 games For Twins in '70, rapped 15 extra base hits, 40 RBIs, hit .266 ... Rates 3-Stars ... fine athlete, good speed, excellent team player.

Amos Otis, OF-3B, Right-handed Born Mobile, Alabama, 8/29/1947 ... debuted with Harlen, Appal. League in '65 ... scouts rank - high speed, power, 4+-Star athlete ... started '67 at Jacksonville, joined Mets late in season - hit .220 in 19 games. In '68 at Jacksonville stole 21 bases, scored 71 runs, batted .286, lined 29 doubles, 15 home runs in 139 games, 500 at-bats ... traded to Royals in Dec. Of '69 ... In rookie season, led the AL with 36 doubles .. batted .284, including 9 triples, 11 Hrs and scored 91 runs ... promising big league future. Baseballhistorian.com archives



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