Base Ball Founders

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


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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

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.