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Abner Doubleday

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Brig. Gen. Abner Doubleday (June 26, 1819 – Jan. 26, 1893). He was a U.S. Army officer and Union general in the Civil War. He fired the first shot in defense of Fort Sumter, the opening battle of the war and saw combat action at Second Bull Run, South Mountain, and Antietam. He had a vital role in the early fighting at the Battle of Gettysburg. After the war, he continued to serve in the Army and even obtained a patent on a cable car railway. He left the Army in 1873 and became a lawyer. Doubleday is often credited with inventing baseball.

From Arlington National Cemetery


Baseball And The American Civil War

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The 
Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York was the first organized baseball club. 1859 Photo: Knickerkbocker Baseball Club and Excelsior Base Ball Club

The club first started play in 1842 (playing in Manhattan), but it was not until 1845 that the club formally organized.

The American Civil War was actually a boon for the fledgling sport of base ball (so described as two words in most publications until the change to a single word somewhere between 1910 and 1930).  Although the NABBP was founded by clubs from the New York City area, base ball was being played in the north and the south during the War Between the States.  The movements of soldiers over great distances, as well as the exchange of prisoners, helped spread the game’s rules and style of play over a wide area of the country and among men from a variety of cultural backgrounds.  The game provided soldiers with a means of escape from the hardships of war, and in so doing, a foundation was planted for the sport to become America’s pastime.  The sport allowed a further kinship to be developed between the men, the importance of teamwork was accentuated, and the boosts in morale that the game afforded helped to weave the game of base ball into the lives of Civil War soldiers. 

A private in the 10thMassachusetts wrote:

“The parade ground has been a busy place for a week or so past, ball-playing having become a mania in camp.  Officer and men forget, for a time, the differences in rank and indulge in the invigorating sport with a schoolboy’s ardor.” 

http://lovewarandbaseball.blogspot.com/2010/10/baseball-and-civil-war.html

http://www.ohiocivilwar150.org/2012/04/the-game-of-baseball-before-during-and-after-the-civil-war/

From the Civil War Parlor


Civil War Base Ball

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Just in time for opening day!

Organized baseball has been played in America since before the Civil War. The game evolved from bat and ball games brought to the “new country” during the 17th and early 18th centuries. From the late 1850s throughout the 1860s, baseball exploded in popularity and became, as Walt Whitman famously said, “Our game…America’s game, [with the] snap, go, fling of the American atmosphere.”

During the War Between the States, the game was played on the battlefields and even in wartime prison camps. Baseball was, after all, portable, and even amid the horrors of war, soldiers sometimes found opportunities to play on the vast open fields where they needed only a bat, a ball, and a few willing participants.

This ball was found and retrieved in 1862 in Shiloh, in southwestern Tennessee, on the grounds of one of the Civil War’s bloodiest battles. The ball is inscribed: “Picked Up on the Battle Field at Shiloh by G.F. Hellum.” Giles Hellum was an African-American who worked as an orderly for the Union Army at Shiloh. He later enlisted as a soldier in the 69th Colored Infantry.

The artifact is a “lemon peel ball,” looser and softer than today’s baseballs, and it is hand-stitched in a figure 8 pattern with thick twine. 

Along with other artifacts, this rare ball will be unveiled on Opening Day this year at the new online baseball museum and archivewww.TheNationalPastime.com.

From The Slate.com


Vintage Baseball

 From KETC, St. Louis.

Vintage Base Ball is base ball (yes, it was spelled two words prior to the 1880s) played by the rules and customs of the 19th Century. The players (sometimes called ballists) wear period reproduction uniforms, either with long trouser and shield shirt, or a later style lace shirt and knickers. They recreate the game based on rules and research of the various decades of the mid-to-late nineteenth century.

The playing of vintage base ball can be seen at open-air museums, tournament re-enactments and city parks. It is played on both open grass fields and modern baseball diamonds. Spectators may consider vintage base ball to be a new sport, however, some clubs have been in existence since the 1980s. Vintage base ball is a reflection of how baseball existed at an earlier time.

Most vintage base ball clubs in the VBBA play the game of base ball according to the rules of the late 1850s, 1860s and 1880s. Many clubs have adopted the rules recorded in the first Beadle's Dime Base Ball Player, published in 1860, which recounted the third meeting of the National Association of Base Ball Players. Proper rules interpretation is an important aspect to the game.

The American Legion Post in Smithton, Illinois and the Lt. George E. Dixon Camp of the Sons of Confederte Veterans will be a hosting a Vintage Base Ball game in the fall of 2012. Details will be announcd soon.


Former congressman, 'Dukes of Hazzard' star blasts NASCAR on Confederate flag issue

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The General Lee will not be in a parade lap next month before a Cup race at Phoenix. (AP Photo)

By Jim Utter - jutter@charlotteobserver.com

Former Georgia congressman Ben Jones, who starred as ace mechanic "Cooter" Davenport on the hit television series "The Dukes of Hazzard", issued a statement on Friday criticizing NASCAR for its decision to prevent the use of the popular "General Lee" 1969 Dodge Charger at the Phoenix Sprint Cup race in March.

"At a time when tens of millions of Americans are honoring their Union and Confederate ancestors during this Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, NASCAR has chosen to dishonor those Southerners who fought and died in that terrible conflict by caving to 'political correctness' and the uninformed concerns of corporate sponsors," Jones said in a release.

"This is also an extraordinary insult to rural Southerners, who are NASCAR's oldest and most fervent fan base, and it sends a message against inclusion and against the need for diversity. Many of us who are descended from ancestors who fought for the South see this as a crude dishonoring of our kinfolks and our heritage. Our ancestors were proud Americans who had fought for our Nation before the Civil War and have served honorably in every conflict since then...

Read More at the Sun Herald


Bats, Balls and Bullets

By GEORGE B. KIRSCH

Union prisoners playing ball at Salisbury, N.C., ca. 1863
Library of Congress - Union prisoners playing ball at Salisbury, N.C., ca. 1863.

In late March and early April 1861, ballplayers in dozens of American towns looked forward to another season of play. But they were not highly paid professionals whose teams traveled to Florida or Arizona for spring training. Rather, they were amateur members of private organizations founded by men whose social standing ranged from the working class through the upper-middle ranks of society. There were no formal leagues or fixed schedules of games, although there were regional associations of clubs that drew up and enforced rules for each type of bat and ball game. Contests between the best teams attracted large crowds (including many gamblers), and reporters from daily newspapers and weekly sporting magazines wrote detailed accounts of the games.

The English national game of cricket was the first modern team sport in the United States. During the 1850s, an estimated 10,000 English immigrants and native-born men and boys founded about 500 clubs in at least 22 states in the Union. By 1861, Philadelphia had become the cricketing capital of the nation, boasting the most organizations and the largest contingent of proficient, American-born players. But cricket also faced major challenges from two upstart versions of baseball that had recently exploded in popularity. “The Massachusetts game” reigned supreme in Boston and most of New England, while “the New York game” ruled Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey.

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