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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'.

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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.

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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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Yankee Rookies (1952) Waiting In The Wings
In looking over a "Who's Who In the Major Leagues - Baseball Magazine" (1952 Edition), we note a special section titled "Rookies" along-side each team's "Regulars". A few of the rookies became stars during the late 1950's, the others had their hearts broken and never made it in the big leagues. "Who's Who" profiled 14 rookies who were given the chance to play for the New York Yankees. In case some family members, and friends are researching players of the early 1950's here's a nice list. Actual Wording from "Who's Who".

Don Bollweg (B & T left; Ht. 6'1"; Wt. 175), 1st baseman, Kansas City, '51. Had a great season with the Blues with a .303 BA and a collection of 20 homers, 12 triples and 26 doubles.

Jim Brideweser (B & T right; Ht 6'; Wt 163); Shortstop, San Francisco, '51. Second best fielding shortstop in the PCL last season. Hit .283.

Dick Carr (B & T right; 6'2", 195); Pitcher, Kansas City '51. Appeared in 13 games, W 3, L 6.

Tom Gorman (B & T right; 6'2", Wt 195) Pitcher, Beaumont, '51. His league leading 1.94 ERA last year won him a Yankee trial. He won 12 and was beaten 8 times.

Gene Mauch (B & T right; 5'10", 165) He's been a good field, no hit 2nd baseman bigtime. Was with the Braves at the start of '51, then went to Milwaukee where his BA soared to .303 in 37 games.

Jim McDonald (B & T right; 5'11", 162) Came to the Bombers in a trade with the Browns last winter. In '51 he was W 4, L 7 for the Browns; W 10, L 7 for Louisville. Showed good stuff.

Bill Miller (B & T left; Ht. 6' Wt. 180) Pitcher. Syracuse '51. brings up a fine record from last season. Pitched 14 complete games, W 16, L 10, ERA 2.96. Led IL hurlers in strikeouts with 131.

Fenton Mole (B & T left; 6'1", 195) 1st baseman, San Francisco- Beaumont '51. Up for trial No. 2. Had a .260 BA with Beaumont.

Ernie Nevel (B & T right; 5'11", 190 lbs.) Pitcher, Kansas City, '51. In 31 games; W 14, L 11; ERA 3.86.

Hugh Radcliffe (B & T right; 6'1", 185 lbs.) Pitcher, Beaumont, '51. Appeared in 22 games; W 6, L 8; ERA 3.97.

Harry Schaeffer (B & T left; 6'2", 178 lbs.) Pitcher, Beaumont, '51. Came thru with 19 wins, 6 loses and an ERA of only 2.58. Hurled 20 complete games.

Jerry Snyder (B & T right; 5' 11', 165 lbs.) 3rd baseman, Beaumont, 1951. Led all Texas loop 3rd sackers in the 100 game class defensively - and batted .290.

Archie Wilson (B & T right, 5'11", 175 lbs.) Outfielder, Buffalo, '51. On loan to the Bisons from KC, he became a power hitter; led the IL in RBI (112), was second in homers (28); and was named the Circuit's MV. Will get a chance to show major league caliber this year.

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