Monday, September 15, 2003

The First College Baseball Game 

I found an interesting account on the first intercollegiate baseball game on a chess history website. It turns out that Amherst and Williams competed in this curious biathlon, a "trial of mind as well as muscle," on July 1st and 2nd in 1859. It wasn't played under the rules of the New York game (the forerunner to modern baseball codified by Alexander Cartwright in 1845.) It was played under the Massachusetts Rules. Pittsfield was the site of the game, which Amherst won 77-32. But I suspect that Amherst was using a ringer. There were reports that their pitcher was actually a local blacksmith. The balls used in the game still exist and are part of Amherst College's Special Collection. According to The Hurrah Game by Brian Turner and John Bowman, the two teams had a rematch in Westfield, Massachusetts the next year.

This game is on my wishlist to research; Western Mass being only a quick drive for me.

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