Base Ball Founders

The Clubs, Players and Cities of the Northeast That Established the Game


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SKU: 9780786474301 Categories: ,

About the Book

This book completes the series of histories of the clubs and players responsible for making baseball the national pastime that began with Base Ball Pioneers, 1850–1870 (McFarland 2011). Forty clubs and hundreds of pioneer players from the first hotbeds of New York City, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts are profiled by leading experts on baseball’s early years. The subjects include legendary clubs such as the Knickerbockers of New York, the Eckfords and Atlantics of Brooklyn, the Athletics of Philadelphia, and Harvard’s first baseball clubs, and fabled players like Jim Creighton, Dickey Pearce, and Daniel Adams, but space is also given to less well remembered clubs such as the Champion Club of Jersey City and the Cummaquids of Barnstable, Massachusetts. What united all of these founders of the game was that their love of baseball during its earliest years helped to make it the national pastime.

About the Author(s)

Baseball historian Peter Morris is a two-time winner of the Seymour Medal for best baseball book of the year and was an inaugural winner of the Henry Chadwick Award for lifetime achievement in baseball research. He lives in Haslett, Michigan.
William J. Ryczek is a finance professional from Wallingford, Connecticut, who writes about early baseball, football, the Yankees, and the Mets.
Jan Finkel, a retired English professor, serves as chief editor of the SABR Biography Project. He lives in Swanton, Maryland.
Leonard Levin, a retired newspaper editor, is a SABR member and twice a national officer of the society. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
Richard Malatzky has worked with Bill Haber through SABR’s Biographical Committee researching missing players. He lives in the Bronx, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Peter Morris, William J. Ryczek, Jan Finkel, Leonard Levin and Richard Malatzky
Format: softcover (8.5 x 11)
Pages: 340
Bibliographic Info: 28 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7430-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0378-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction (William J. Ryczek)  1
Timeline of the Pioneer Era (Robert Tholkes)  3
Note on Sources and Usage (Peter Morris)  5
Chapter One: New York City and Vicinity E
Introduction (William J. Ryczek)  7
Knickerbocker Base Ball Club (John Thorn, William J. Ryczek and Peter Morris)  10
New York Base Ball Club (a.k.a. Washington BBC, Gotham BBC) (John Thorn)  46
Magnolia Base Ball Club (John Thorn)  62
Active Base Ball Club (Gregory Christiano)  65
Eagle Base Ball Club (Gregory Christiano)  69
Empire Base Ball Club (Gregory Christiano)  76
Mutual Base Ball Club (William J. Ryczek)  80
Union Base Ball Club of Morrisania (Aaron W. Miller)  93
Chapter Two: Brooklyn E
Introduction (Peter Morris)  98
Excelsior Base Ball Club (William J. Ryczek and Peter Morris)  101
Putnam Base Ball Club (William J. Ryczek)  111
Atlantic Base Ball Club (Craig B. Waff and William J. Ryczek)  117
Pastime Base Ball Club (Peter Morris)  140
Star Base Ball Club (Craig B. Waff, William J. Ryczek and Peter Morris)  144
Eckford Base Ball Club (William J. Ryczek and Peter Morris)  167
Contest Base Ball Club (Peter Morris)  187
Chapter Three: New Jersey E
Introduction (John G. Zinn)  191
Pioneer Base Ball Club of Jersey City (John G. Zinn)  194
Excelsior Base Ball Club of Jersey City (John G. Zinn)  197
Liberty Base Ball Club of New Brunswick (John G. Zinn)  199
Nassau Base Ball Club of Princeton (John G. Zinn)  202
Eureka Base Ball Club of Newark (John G. Zinn)  207
Irvington Base Ball Club (John G. Zinn)  214
Olympic Base Ball Club of Paterson (John G. Zinn)  218
Champion Base Ball Club of Jersey City (John G. Zinn)  222
Chapter Four: Philadelphia E
Introduction (John Shiffert)  226
Olympic Base Ball Club (Richard Hershberger)  228
Athletic Base Ball Club (Richard Hershberger)  234
Equity Base Ball Club (Peter Morris)  241
Keystone Base Ball Club (Peter Morris)  246
Pythian Base Ball Club (Jared Wheeler)  251
Chester Base Ball Club (Peter Morris)  254
Marion Base Ball Club (Richard Hershberger)  257
Chapter Five: Massachusetts E
Introduction (Peter Morris)  260
Lowell Base Ball Club (Benjamin Dettmar)  264
Pioneer Base Ball Club of Springfield (Peter Morris)  270
Lawrence Base Ball Club of Harvard (Peter Morris)  281
Harvard Class of ’66 Base Ball Club (Peter Morris)  284
Eagle Base Ball Club of Florence (Brian Turner and John S. Bowman)  296
Lightfoot Base Ball Club of North Brookfield (Peter Morris)  299
Chemung Base Ball Club of Stoughton (Peter Morris)  302
Kearsarge Base Ball Club of Stoneham (Peter Morris)  304
Clipper Base Ball Club of Lowell (Peter Morris)  307
Cummaquid Base Ball Club of Barnstable (Peter Morris)  315
General Bibliography  321
About the Contributors  323
Index  325

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “A comprehensive reference source on the genesis of baseball”—Library Journal
  • “The early history of baseball has witnessed a tremendous growth in research into its origins, teams, and players in recent years. Base Ball Founders makes a major contribution to this expanding knowledge base…the vast information that is added to the pioneers’ era of baseball by this volume and the previous volume of Base Ball Pioneers makes them essential to a library of nineteenth-century baseball”—Against the Grain
  • “This is the new holy grail of early baseball”—19 to 21.