Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/193

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AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

cago, Cleveland, Mansfield (Conn.), New York, Philadelphia, Troy and Washington, entered for the National Championship series of 1872. Two clubs entered from Washington—the Nationals and Olympics; but the Nationals withdrew before the close of the season and had no standing in the race, which closed with clubs in the following order: Bostons, Athletics, Marylands, Mutuals, Haymakers, Forest Citys, of Cleveland; Atlantics, Olympics, Mansfields and Eckfords.

In 1873 Mr. Robert Ferguson was elected to succeed himself as President of the National Association of Professional Ball Players.

As indicating the crudity of the game as played even so late as that year (1873), it may be remarked that it was thought necessary to adopt a rule forbidding the catching of a fly ball in hat or cap, and giving the base runner his base as penalty for any ball so caught.

It was further provided by this rule, that a ball so caught became a dead ball, and could not be put in play until returned to the pitcher, in his position. I recall an amusing incident growing out of this "cap catch" rule. In those early days of Base Ball, when the game was in its formulative period, it was quite customary for bright players to study out new schemes of play that would show up defects in the playing rules, and, by applying these technicalities in a regular match, attract the attention of rule-makers and effect the desired change.

The players of our team—the Bostons—were sitting in the hotel one evening, at Cleveland, when someone, commenting on the rule, asked what would happen in case the