Early baseball in Massachusetts/Game 1

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Location Massachusetts
Year 1858
Month 9
Date 9
City Boston
State MA
Country US
Was NY rules baseball Yes
Played by Locals
Team 1 Tri-Mountains
Team 2 Portland (ME)
Team 1 Score 42
Team 2 Score 47
First in Massachusetts Yes

From Protoball Entry #1858.35 -- New York Game Seen in Boston: Portland [ME] 47, Tri-Mountains 42.

The Boston Herald article on this game is reprinted in Troy Soos, Before the Curse: The Glory Days of New England Baseball 1858-1918 (Parnassus, Hyannis MA, 1997), page 5. Soos reports that this is the first time that the Tri-Mountains had found a rival willing to play the New York game [Ibid.]. Here is how the new game was explained to Bostonians: “The bases are placed at the angles of a rhombus instead of a square, the home base being the position of the striker; provision is made for “foul hits,” and the ball is caught on the ‘bound’ as well as on the ‘fly.’ The game consists of nine innings instead of one hundred tallies, and the ball is pitched, not thrown.” The absence of stakes and plugging is not mentioned. Nor is the larger, heavier ball.

The New York Clipper (date and page omitted from Mears Collection) reprinted a Boston news account that remarked: “Unusual interest attached to the game among lovers of field sports, from the fact that it was announced to be played according to the rules of the New York clubs which differ essentially from the rules of the game as played here., and also from the fact that one of the parties to the match came from a neighboring city.” Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008.

Mainers see the game thus: “It took awhile but this modern game – and its popularity – moved steadily north. By 1858 we know it had arrived in Maine . . . because an article in the September 11th issue of the Portland Daily Advertiser heralded the fact that the Portland Base Ball Club had ventured to Boston to play the Tri-Mountain Base Ball Club of that city. The game was played September 9th on the Boston Common.” Portland won, 47- 42.

This watershed game was also noted in Wright, George, “Base Ball in New England,” November 15, 1904, retained as Exhibit 36-19 in the Mills Commission files

"Anderson, Will, Was Baseball Really Invented in Maine? (Will Anderson, publisher, Portland, 1992), page 1. Note: Can we find the original Portland article?


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