Base Ball: A Journal of the Early Game, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Spring 2011)

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About the Book

This is a single back issue only. To order a current subscription, or for more information, please visit the journal’s web page at  Print copies of back issues from volumes 1-6 are available for $30.

About the Author(s)

John Thorn is the author of countless articles on baseball history and has written, co-written, and edited dozens of baseball books, including The Hidden Game of Baseball, Total Baseball, and The Armchair Book of Baseball. He was founding editor of The National Pastime: A Review of Baseball History and founding publisher of Total Sports Publishing in 1998. Thorn writes “Play,” a regular column for the VOICES, the semiannual publication of the New York Folklore Society, and appears irregularly in the Boston Globe, New York Times and NYTBR. He serves as a publishing and curatorial consultant to the Museum of the City of New York, with whom he created the recently published coffee-table book New York 400.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by John Thorn

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 156
Bibliographic Info:
Copyright Date: 2011
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Essays are keyed to Protoball Chronology
Editor’s Note      3

1609.1 Polish Workers Play Ball at Jamestown, Virginia: An Early Hint of Continental Europe’s Influence on Baseball
David Block      5
1621.1 Pilgrim Stoolball and the Profusion of American Safe-Haven Ballgames
Brian Turner and Larry McCray      10
1672c.1 The Amazing Francis Willughby, and the Role of Stoolball in the Evolution of Baseball and Cricket
Larry McCray      17
1726.2 Ballplaying and Boston Common: A Town Playground for Boys … and Men
Brian Turner      21
1744.1 “How Is It, Umpire?” The 1744 Laws of Cricket and Their Influence on the Development of Baseball in America
Beth Hise      25
1744.2 John Newbery Publishes A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, and with It Our First Glimpse of the Game of English Baseball
David Block      32
1755.6 “The Bat and Ball”: A Distinct Game or a Generic Term?
Brian Turner      37
1781.2 Protoball at Harvard: From Pastime to Contest
Harry Lewis      41
1791.1 The Pittsfield “Baseball” Bylaw: What It Means
John Thorn      46
1796.1 German Book Describes das englische Base-ball: But Was It Baseball or Rounders?
David Block      50
1805.4 An Enigmatic 1805 “Game of Bace” in New York
George A. Thompson      55
1821.5 New York Mansion Converted to Venue Suitable for Ballplaying: An Early Sighting of Baseball Clubs?
Richard Hershberger      58
1823.1 Game of Baseball Reported in the National Advocate
George A. Thompson      61
1825.1 Thurlow Weed and the Growth of Baseball in Rochester, New York
Priscilla Astifan      65
1829.2 The Rise and Fall of New England–Style Ballplaying
Larry McCray      69
1830c.2 Thoreau’s Diary Entry, and Other Tiny Clues as to Who Played Early Ball, and on What Occasions (Especially Holidays)
Larry McCray      73
1831.1 The Olympic Ball Club of Philadelphia
Richard Hershberger      77
1837.1 The Evolution of the New York Game—The Arbiter’s Tale
Randall Brown      81
1841.12 Barn Ball
Thomas L. Altherr      85

2 BaseBall 5/1 (Spring 2011)
1843.6 Magnolia Ball Club Predates Knickerbocker
John Thorn      89
1845.1 The Knickerbocker Rules—and the Long History of the One-Bounce Fielding Rule
Larry McCray      93
1845.4 Baseball in Brooklyn, 1845–1870: The Best There Was
David Dyte      98
1850.38 Southern Ball-Games: Chermany, Round Cat, Etc.
Thomas L. Altherr      103
1853.5 The Baseball Press Emerges
John Thorn      106
1854.9 William Van Cott Writes a Letter to the Sporting Press: December 1854
William Ryczek      111
1856.4 The New York Game in 1856—Poised for National Launch
Craig B. Waff and Larry McCray      114
1857.1 Nine Innings, Nine Players, Ninety Feet, and Other Changes: The Recodification of Baseball Rules in 1857
Eric Miklich      118
1858.2 The Changes Wrought by the Great Base Ball Match of 1858
Robert H. Schaefer      122
1858.46 Diffusion of the New York Game in Maryland
Marty Payne      127
1859.24 State Championship Wicket Game in Connecticut: A Hearty Hurrah for a Doomed Pastime
Larry McCray      132
1860.6 The Sunday Mercury Summarizes the 1860 Season
Robert Tholkes      136
1860.60 Atlantics and Excelsiors Compete for the “Championship,” July 19, August 9, and August 23, 1860
Craig B. Waff      139
1862.3 American Cricket in the 1860s: Decade of Decline or New Start?
Beth Hise      143
1863.11 On the Battlefront, the New York Game Takes Hold, 1861–1865
Patricia Millen      149

Contributors      153

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “One of the more compelling sports-related publications to come along in a great while…unostentatious, solid, and a great read”—Library Journal
  • “The journal both embodies recent trends and provides a forum for expanding upon them. Base Ball thus represents an exciting and important contribution to literature on the sport. John Thorn, a respected historian of early baseball history, is the journal’s editor and Base Ball has a first-rate editorial board and, as a result, already appears poised to be among the finest journals dedicated to the history of sports”—Arete
  • “Never comes up short in the quality of its content. In addition to the fine research articles there is a valuable section of book reviews, mostly dedicated to books pertaining to 19th century baseball”—Nineteenth Century Notes
  • “An exciting and important contribution to literature on the sport…seeks to chronicle, analyze, and expand our understanding of the game during its long, and seemingly getting longer, pre 1920 phase”—Society for American Baseball Research Bibliography Committee Newsletter.