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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Postcard Thursday: The Birth of Baseball

The House That Ruth Built, ca. 1929
June 19 marks the anniversary of the modern game of baseball, which was played in Hoboken, New Jersey, at Elysian Fields in 1846. The New York Base Ball Club (also known as the "New York Nine") destroyed their rivals, the New York Knickerbockers, by a score of 23-1, even though it was a member of the Knickerbockers, Alexander Cartwright, who'd codified the new rules to baseball.

Cartwright, a Wall Street broker and member of the Knickerbocker volunteer fire company, formed his baseball club in 1845. Though "base ball" had been around since at least 1791, Cartwright is credited with introducing the diamond-shaped playing area, foul lines, three strikes per out, and--perhaps most crucially for the players--eliminating the old rule that you could get somebody out by hitting him with the ball.

There is still an Elysian Fields park in Hoboken near the spot where the modern game was born.

* * * *
Hoboken makes a few cameo appearances in
Footprints in New York: Tracing the Lives of Four Centuries of New Yorkers


If you haven't had a chance to pick up a copy of Footprints yet, you can order it from independent bookstores across the country

And, of course, Inside the Apple is available at fine bookstores everywhere.

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