Thorn: The origins of the New York Game

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on October 31, 2018:

I have written elsewhere … about the Massachusetts Game of baseball and the Philadelphia Game, and why, despite their abundant virtues, they succumbed to the onslaught of the New York Game. To sum up without getting bogged down in playing rules and field configurations, let me say that the Massachusetts Game, better termed round ball, was livelier and called for more skill in all aspects-batting, fielding, throwing, and strategy. The Philadelphia Game was organized along club lines before any in New York or New England; however, played with 20-foot baselines, it may have lacked the scale that would appeal to an expanding nation.

The more refined — or less countrified — New York Game, on the other hand, gave promise of utility, of somehow becoming, to those with deep-seated England Envy, “our cricket.” And it was this game that may be seen on the playing fields of America today, thanks largely to the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club, notably in their rules adopted on September 23, 1845. Or so the story goes.

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Originally published: October 31, 2018. Last Updated: October 31, 2018.