Thorn: The first intercollegiate ballgame, 1859

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on December 4, 2012:

I’m in Nashville this week for Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings, but wanted to toss at least one post up before my return home and the resumption of a regular schedule. Seeing so many fresh faces at the job fair I thought about their high hopes upon their recent graduations from college.

A baseball match between Amherst and Williams, at a neutral site in Pittsfield, Massachusetts on July 1, 1859, is the first collegiate baseball game. It was played on a lot in front of the Young Ladies Institute by Massachusetts Game rules, which is by no means a disqualifier, as that game was indeed baseball.  The first collegiate ball game under New York rules occurred several months later on November 3, when the Rose Hill Baseball Club of Fordham, which was then called St. John’s College, defeated St. Francis Xavier College 33-11.

A surviving broadside, an “extra edition” of the “Amherst Express,” gave more or less equal treatment to the game of baseball on July and chess on the following day: “Muscle and Mind.” The Pittsfield Sun of July 7, 1859 reported …

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Originally published: December 4, 2012. Last Updated: December 4, 2012.