America’s Favorite Pastime in Full Swing
By Laura Everly
Peanuts! Get your Peanuts Here! Baseball, America’s favorite pastime is in full swing. Just for fun, I thought I would share some of the different terms used in base ball in the early years. No, base ball wasn’t a typo, that is how it was spelled in the 1850’s. Hurrah!
Base ball players were called ballist. Before 1860, a batter was called striker or batsman. The bats were known as ash, hickory or timber. Pitchers threw the ball underhand. The ballist would call the outs rather than the umpire. If a ballist did question a call the umpire made the player would say judgement and an appeal was made. When the player disagreed with the appeal it was called chafing.
In the 1850’s and 1860’s, the batsman would show the pitcher where he wanted the ball. The striker had three choices of where he wanted the pitch to be: waist high, shoulder high or knee high. A corker was a hard-hit ball. In the 1850’s and early 1860’s, if the ball bounced once and then was caught by a ballist in the playing field, it was an out.
New York City claims the honor of being the home of base ball. The New York Knickerbockers were the first organized club. The top nine players, the starting nine players of each club were called artists. The players that didn’t make the second team, but were still a part of the club were called muffins.
In 1857, the National Association of Base Ball Players was formed. Fifteen teams were part of the National Association of Base Ball players.
Who was the first baseball star? Now we’ll leave that to the discretion of each baseball fan, but here are a few early stars to consider. It is documented that Jim Creighton’s slight of hand pitching style created the first fastball. Jim Creighton would then counter with a slow ball or dewdrop.
Paul Hines should be coined the first iron horse in baseball. During 19 consecutive seasons of baseball, 1872-1891, Paul Hines played in 1,659 games. Paul Hines baseball career began in 1852. His last year of play was 1935, Two other baseball iron horses in the history of baseball were Lou Gehrig who played 2,130 games straight for the New York Yankees and Cal Ripkin Jr. who played in 2,632 successive games for the Baltimore Orioles. We can’t leave out Babe Ruth. Not only was he an unbelievable slugger, but he added so much flair, excitement and even controversy on and off the diamond we have to love his spirit.
Baseball fans know what the great Jackie Robinson did for professional baseball; he was an inspiration and icon. However, he was not the first Afro-American to play baseball. Bud Fowler was the first to play professional baseball in 1878.
Speaking of the favorite pastime, thank you Harry Caray for “Take Me Out to The Ball Game.”
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