Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/99

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69
AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

to supervise and control Base Ball in America? And so the situation continued, full of embarrassments, full of disappointments, full of delays.

Finally a compromise was effected. It was agreed that the Great and Only Knickerbocker Base Ball Club, the First Base Ball Organization in all the Wide, Wide World, should, by reason of its seniority and lofty standing, call a convention in the interests of the game. This first convention was held in May, 1857, but, beyond adopting certain rules regulating matches for the ensuing year, no business affecting the game was transacted.

The second convention was also called by the Knickerbockers, on March 10th, 1858, but before this call was issued, the Knickerbockers, always refined and courteous, permitted the presidents of the Gotham, Eagle and Empire Clubs to add their signatures to the call.

Twenty-five clubs were represented at this convention by three delegates each, and the business transacted was of great importance to the future of Base Ball.

Hitherto the game had been controlled as to its playing rules largely by local prejudices. It was played under one set of rules in New York and another in New England, and other still widely different regulations were applied to the game elsewhere. In New York, batsmen were out on balls caught on the first bound; in New England, base runners were out by being "soaked" by thrown balls, and everywhere a batsman might wait all the afternoon for a strike ball, he alone being the judge of what he would strike at.

The organization of the National Association of Base