Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/127

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AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

saw the Eighth New York, recruited from Manhattan, playing a new game. It looked like cricket, for which his soul thirsted; he begged into the game. It was Nicholas E. Young, for a quarter of a century President of the National League. A volunteer private returned invalided to Rockford, Illinois, in 1863. He saw the boys batting up flies, and he told them that he knew a better game. He had learned it in the army. One tall, wiry boy took a special interest. It was Al. Spalding, great pitcher, great manager, great organizer—prime figure in Base Ball from that day to this. On Roanoke Island Hawkins' Zouaves formed two scrub teams. A young volunteer pitcher won for his side by a weak, puzzling delivery which baffled the batsmen. It was Alphonse Martin, first in the line of great American pitchers.

"The same leaven was working in the Confederate ranks. The New Orleans boys also carried base balls in their knapsacks. A few of them found themselves in a Federal prison stockade on the Mississippi. They formed a club. Confederate prisoners from Georgia and South Carolina watched them, got the hang of it and organized for rivalry. In the East and West Series that followed the West won triumphantly by unrecorded scores."

James L. Steele, writing in Outing Magazine, has the following relative to newspaper treatment of the sport in days before the war:

"The first newspaper report of a Base Ball game that I remember reading was an account of a game played at Hoboken. N. J., in 1859. It appeared in an illustrated weekly, and was such a novel and interesting event that the weekly gave a double-page illustration.

"There were no Base Ball schedules in those days, and nobody lay awake nights hatching up reasons why Harvard should not play Princeton and why Yale should play Pennsylvania. All that was needed was an occasion such as a Fourth of July celebration, a county fair, a house-raising, or some other event of that nature. The occasion for this particular game was the entertainment given to a team of English cricketers then touring this country and defeating 'United States Twenty-Twos' with commendable regularity. We had evolved a game called Base Ball, and we wanted to show our cousins what a high old game it was.

"It may have been the 'humors of the day' editor who wrote the report, which was as follows:

"'Base Ball differs from cricket, especially in there being no wickets. The bat is held high in the air. When the ball has been struck, the "outs" try to catch it, in which case the striker is out;