Baseball – 1861

Baseball in 1861

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February 4With the players wearing skates‚ the first baseball game played on ice in the New York area is played on Litchfield Pond in South Brooklyn. The champion Atlantics defeat the Charter Oak Club 36-27. Each team is allowed 10 players‚ the extra player being a back-up catcher. The first cricket game on ice will take place on ice on January 29‚ 1867‚ in New York.


March 18What would be one of the most prominent clubs in New England‚ the Lowell club‚ named after James Lowell‚ president of the Bowdoin Club‚ is organized.


April 12The Confederate Army fires on Ft. Sumter‚ marking the start of the Civil War. Henry Chadwick will write that the War “has laid an embargo on outdoor sports‚ especially ball playing.”:


June 5The first grand match of the year takes place at Bedford‚ Long Island with the Eckford Club whipping Enterprise‚ 53-19. All clubs will cut back on their matches this year. With Captain Joe Leggett in the army‚ the Excelsiors play no games this year and Knickerbockers play no games in 1861 or 1862. The Atlantics and the Unions of Morrisania cut their schedules in half.


August 5As Henry Chadwick writes‚ The Atlantics visit Newark to play their first match with the club of that interesting village.” They play poorly but still win‚ 21-11.


September 21A unique match is played on the St. George Cricket Club Grounds. One team is composed of 9 players‚ including Jim Creighton and Dickey Pearce. The other team is composed of 18 players‚ 9 cricketers from St. George and 9 all-stars from the different area clubs. The 18 players are all in the field at once. When they bat‚ they are allowed 6 outs per inning. Eight innings are played with Creighton’s team winning 45-16.
September 23In Hoboken‚ a team selected from teams occupying the North grounds (Mutual and Gotham) play a team from the South grounds (Eagle and Empire). The North wins the mini-Civil War‚ 19-9.


October 3At Hoboken‚ in one of the few grand matches of the year‚ the Mutuals beat the Atlantics‚ 23-18.
October 16At the Atlantic Grounds on Bedford‚ Long Island‚ a crowd of 8‚000 see the Atlantics score a record 26 runs in the 2nd inning to whip the Mutuals‚ 52-27 in 6 innings. Because the 3rd game in the series will not be played‚ the Atlantics retain the whip-pennant for 1861.
October 21In Hoboken‚ the greatest event of the season‚ the Grand Match for the Silver Ball‚ takes place on the Mutuals’ Grounds at Hoboken between all-star teams from Brooklyn and New York. The Silver Ball Trophy is the same size as a regular baseball and will be kept by the club whose members score the most runs during the match. Fifteen thousand fans see the Brooklyn team‚ behind their star Jim Creighton‚ defeat New York 18-6.


December 11The 5th annual convention of the National Association of Base Ball Players is held at Clinton Hall in New York‚ but the War cuts the attendance down to 34 delegates. This number won’t be topped until 1865.