About The Game

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1860's Base Ball Terminology

  • Ace or Tally – Run
        Ace and Tally were slang, 'run' was also used in 1860 and later
  • Ballist – Base Ball Player
  • Bully – Compliment To A Ballist After They Make A Good Play
  • Caught Napping – Picked Off Base
  • Club – Team
  • Corker/Liner – Line Drive
  • Country Club – Rural, Less Skilled Club
  • Daisy Cutter – Ground Skimming Hit
  • Get His Second – Steal Second
  • Ginger – Pluck and Perseverance
        Ginger is from the 1890's
  • Given In/Not Out – Safe
  • Hands Down – The Number of Outs
        Hands down and hands lost as well as dead were active slang in the 1860's. But they also used "outs".
  • Home Base – Home Plate
  • Hurrah (American version of Huzzah) – Cheer
  • Innings – At Bats
  • Leg It – Run
        No documented usage
  • Match – Game
        A match was a game resulting from the challenge, otherwise they were 'friendly' games.
  • Muffins – Less Skilled Ballists
  • Muff – Error
  • Put some steam on – Run quickly
  • Side Out – Three Outs
  • Spectators - Fans
  • Striker – Batter
  • Striker To The Line – Batter Up
        No documented usage
  • Tally Keeper – Score Keeper
        No documented usage
  • Tip Out – Caught Out By Catcher
  • Wrong Hander – Left Handed Batter
        No documented usage
  • 3 x 3 With A Tiger – Three Cheers and A Growl

Earliest Base Ball


Baseball was two words through the end of the 19th century. The term "base ball" has recently been found in texts from as early as the late 16th century in Germany and after, in France and Britain. The English child's game of Rounders, its' American variant Townball, the "Massachusetts" game of Base Ball, "New York" Base Ball, Cricket, as well as other bat and ball games were played in Early America. It was the New York Game, with influences from all of the others that evolved to modern baseball. One of the early clubs, the New York Knickerbockers Base Ball Club, helped popularize baseball when they printed and distributed their preferred version of the rules in 1845. There were several notable advances made in the early 1800's, including: The establishment of fair and foul territory. A "diamond" shaped infield. Base paths approaching ninety feet, much longer than prior lengths. A game of nine innings, instead of being won by the firs club to reach 21 runs. Three outs to a half inning and the elimination of "soaking"; the rule that allowed runners to be put out by being hit with a thrown ball!!!


1860's Base Ball Rules and Customs

  • Matches are conducted according to the highest standards of Victorian sportsmanship, gentlemanly behavior, courtesy and respect for others.
  • Fine play is cheered by both ball clubs.
  • Runners would leave the field when they are out without waiting for the umpire to rule.
  • The bottom half of the ninth inning is always played regardless of the score.


The Striker

  • May not overrun first base without risk of being put out (Until 1871)
  • Is out if his batted ball is caught in the air or on one bound. (Until 1865)
  • A struck ball first hitting anywhere in fair territory and then bounding foul is played as a fair ball.


The Umpire

  • Renders decisions on the bases only when appealed to for "judgment".
  • May ask players and spectators for assistance in making decisions
  • Calls strikes after a warning, but only if the batsman is intentionally delaying or waiting for runners to steal a base. Begins calling "balls" in 1863.
  • Determines a ball fair or foul by where it first hits, Regardless if it is before or beyond the bases.
  • Must be an active member of a Base Ball Club.



  • The pitch is evolved from the 'bowl' in cricket. As an attempt to regulate his speed, the pitcher may not bend his elbow and his arm must swing underhand. (Until 1884)
  • Pitches from 45 feet away behind a 12-foot long line. Pitcher's 'box' appears in 1863.
  • Is required to place the ball where the batsman requests it.



  • No gloves! By the early 1860's some catchers and first basemen began to use just a leather work glove worn on both hands, with the fingertips cut off for ease of throwing. They weren't used as fielding aids, but solely for protection. Initially regarded as unmanly, most players chose not to use them although finger injuries were common. The webbed glove appeared in the 1920's.
  • Balls were hand wound and stitched with a one-piece leather cover. They were a bit heavier and larger and much more bouncy having a larger rubber core. The size and weight of an 1872 ball is the same as the ball used today.
  • Home base is a round metal disc; a square in 1868 and the modern shape arrived in 1900.

The Doubleday Myth


Abner Doubleday was a general in the American Civil War and is widely credited with having "invented" base ball in 1839. In fact, General Doubleday had no hand in the creation of baseball nor the myth that credits him. Following Doubleday's death in 1893, a commission lead by Albert Spalding (yes, co-founder of Spalding sports equipment) intended to 'prove' that base ball was an American invention. In 1907, the commission presented as sole "proof" of Doubleday's invention, a letter from an elderly gentleman's recollection of a day when he was the age of five. Although many historians knew from the day it was published in 1907 that it is untrue, the myth persists today. Modern baseball is a splendid example of American evolution.



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