Philadelphia, October 1866: The Center of the Baseball Universe

By Jeff Laing

This article was published in the 2013 The National Pastime.

In the late nineteenth century, Philadelphia was a hotbed of baseball activity, and specifically of idiosyncratic match-ups. For three weeks in October 1866, Philadelphia was the scene of two “world” championship series that helped determine the future course of baseball in the areas of professionalism and race. The 1860s were a decade of rapid social change and radical perceptions of what it meant to be an American. The growth of the railroads and affordable train travel; the development of communication services, such as the telegraph and the typewriter; and . . .

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