Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/121

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CHAPTER VII.

THE FIRST SERIOUS BACKSET TO THE GAME—WIDESPREAD DEMORALIZATION FOLLOWING THE OUTBREAK OF THE CIVIL WAR—BASE BALL PLAYED IN CAMPS OF BOTH CONTENDING ARMIES.

1860-65

AS HAS been already stated, the years 1857-8-9 saw rapid progress in the multiplication and quality of Base Ball organizations. The decade of the fifties had developed the game from one of crude beginnings to a sport that was attracting widespread attention because of its easily discernible possibilities. The year 1860, however, was the banner year in early Base Ball history. The triumphal tour of the Excelsiors had wrought wonders in the way of creating public sentiment favorable to the game. The contests at Albany, Troy, Buffalo, Philadelphia and Baltimore had inspired the young men of those cities to emulate the example of the youth of New York and Brooklyn, and had begotten within them the hope that they might win for their cities a glory akin to that which had been achieved for the city on Long Island. As a result, clubs were organized by the hundreds, the fever spreading to all parts of the country, East, West, North and South, and matches, which developed strong new players, were scheduled everywhere.

But in 1861 a serious check was given to the progress of Base Ball. The news that Fort Sumter had been fired upon turned the thoughts of men of the North to a sub-

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