Kilgannon: Late rally for Doc Adams, a Jeter before there were mitts

From Corey Kilgannon at the New York Times on September 22, 2015, with mention of SABR members Marjorie Adams and John Thorn:

efore Derek Jeter made his mark as New York’s most illustrious shortstop, there was another player, popularly known as Doc Adams, who in the mid-1800s invented the position while playing for a different local powerhouse, the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club.

Daniel Lucius Adams (that was his formal name) was a pioneering figure in the sport’s early years, when mitts were unheard-of, balls were spongy, pitches were thrown underhand and the game’s rules were far from standardized — including the number of players allowed on the field, how many innings constituted a game and the dimensions of the diamond.

Adams is credited with establishing the modern diamond by setting the distance between bases at 90 feet, the current standard.

He was also a standout player at the position he created to relay throws from the outfielders to the infield.

Despite his accomplishments, Adams’s descendants lament that he has been largely overlooked by history. He has never even made the ballot for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

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Originally published: September 22, 2015. Last Updated: September 22, 2015.