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Baseball

 

Home of the first recorded baseball game in 1838

The group of men who gathered in a Beachville pasture on June 4, 1838 to enjoy a friendly game of baseball had little idea that they were making history. Their match was the first recorded baseball game in North America. It occurred one year prior to the famous Cooperstown game. Beachville's claim is based upon a Dr. Adam E. Ford's letter to "Sporting Life" magazine, detailing the rules and recalling the names of various players. The two teams playing that day were the Beachville Club and the Zorras. The Zorras hailed from the north townships of Zorra and Oxford. The site selected for the chief event was the field just behind Enoch Burdick's shops, (today near Beachville's Baptist Church).

 

The terminology

A lot has changed since 1838, the baseball terminology is no exception. Here are some terms from the first game in 1838

 

Tally - Run

Fair Ball - one thrown to the knocker at any height between the bend of his knee and the top of his head, near enough to be in fair reach

Plugging - when a fielder hits the runner with the ball when he is between bases. If "plugged" you are "out"

Knocker - Batter

Knocker's Stone - Home Base

Thrower - Pitcher

Bye - Base

Base running was even more exhilarating because you did not have to follow a straight path to the next bye, (or base). If in danger of being plugged you could take off into the outfield, and while fielders then had the chance to "plug" you, other runners could advance.

 

The equipment

According to Dr. Ford, the ball was made of double-twisted, woolen yarn and covered with good, honest calfskin. It was sewn by Edward McNames, the local shoemaker. The club was generally made of the best cedar, blocked out with an axe and finished on a shaving horse with a draw knife. A wagon spoke or any nice straight stick would do.

 

On April 26, 1886, Dr. Adam E. Ford, a physician who had grown up in Beachville and emigrated to Denver, Colorado, wrote a letter to "Sporting Life" magazine describing the June 4, 1838 match. Ford's letter confirmed that the game had a long history in his community since: "certain rules for the game" were insisted upon by two of the older "gray haired" players, "for it was the way they used to play when they were boys." The importance of Ford's letter lies in the fact that it provides the first formally recorded account of baseball as a formal game.

dr. adam ford