Ellard covers the the history of baseball in the Queen City from its
townball roots through the downfall of the champion
Red Stockings in late 1870. As one of the most important teams in the
history of the sport, the coverage of the Red Stockings is perhaps the
most compelling reason this book remains popular with historians.
Ren Mulford, Jr., a friend of Ellard's and a sportswriter with both the
Cincinnati Post and Enquirer, briefly covers the history of
baseball in Cincinnati from 1876 to the early 20th Century at the end of
the book. But this book is really about the NABBP
days in Cincinnati.
The 251 page, self-published book was sold by subscription when it
first appeared in 1907. Whether or not it was well received is somewhat
difficult to discern now, but the fact that his 1913 obituary fails to
mention the book at all yet does go on about his works on frontier life
may lead you to believe that it failed to find an audience.
What may be most unusual about the author himself, of which not a lot
is known, is that he was neither a former player nor a sportswriter
(though he did write non-baseball articles that were published in Denverwhere
he lived in the 1890sand perhaps elsewhere). Virtually ever other
non-fiction baseball book to this point had been written by one or the
The author's father (George B. Ellard) and uncle (John V. Ellard) had
each been members of the Cincinnati Base Ball Club (the Red Stockings). In
a letter to the editor of the New York Times the following year
regarding an unrelated matter, Harry Ellard relates that he was in
possession of "all of the... score books, the minute books, the
account books, record books, bills, and photographs pertaining to the
Cincinnati Baseball Club from 1866 to its disbandment in the latter part
of 1870, and am able to speak officially on my subject." That he was
related to an original member (his father) and that he had mostif not
allof the existing documentation makes him an ideal candidate to write
such a work. One only wishes we had access to his full collection today.
To make the large book somewhat easier to view, we have published it
on ten web pages (one for each chapter). This is the first. A link to
the other pages is at the bottom of each page.
Everything from the original book is
included though a number images have been slightly cropped (for
consistency). As always we will point out any obvious factual errors in
the text and have corrected minor textual errors. To avoid confusion,
commentary we add to the text is enclosed by double brackets and in color
like this: [[BaseballChronology
is a sample.]]
Originally published in Cincinnati, Ohio
From a recent photo Hon. August Herrmann, President Cincinnati Baseball
To Hon. August
Volume is Respectfully Dedicated
From a recent photo Col. Max C. Fleischmann, Secretary-Treasurer Cincinnati Baseball
During the past few years the history of Cincinnati, with its many
business interests and its active connection in all progressive movements,
has been faithfully written.
The record of the early pioneers has been graphically described.
Events, scenes and incidents have all received their full share of
attention from the community, so that nothing pertaining to the honor and
glory of Cincinnati, has been neglected.
There is, however, one feature in connection with our local history
which has been wholly overlooked, a feature which has carried the name and
fame of Cincinnati over the whole country. For it can truly be said that
no correct and detailed history of our national game of baseball, which
has attracted the attention of thousands of our citizens, has ever been
From time to time fragmentary accounts of the origin and progress of
baseball, as it existed in our community, have appeared in the papers and
magazines, but it has remained to the writer to present for the first time
a full and complete history of the game of baseball from its first
organization in midst until the present day.
The author is in possession of many of the books, scores, photographs
and documents pertaining to the Cincinnati Base-Ball Club, especially
during the years from 1866 to 1871, to which no one has ever had access,
thus enabling him, by the publication of this work, to give to the public
the most authentic and complete history ever written concerning the game
as played within our city.
For the first time the connected story has been told of all the clubs
and games, associating, as it will be seen, the names of ninny of the
prominent men of Cincinnati, both in professional and business life with
the early history of baseball
The career of the victorious Red Stockings has become a traditional
heritage to all lovers of the game. There is scarcely an enthusiast, young
or old, who does not dwell with pride upon this record of unparalleled
success, which has never been equaled, and the achievements of the old Red
Stockings of 1869 will always act as a stimulus to the present players to
approach the high standard once established for the game.
The author desires to thank many of the old members of the Cincinnati
Baseball Club, during the years previous to 1871, for much valuable
information they have given him, and for the great interest they have
manifested in the writing of this book.
History of Our National Game of Baseball.
Cincinnati Was Always a Stronghold for Fans. Prominent Men Started It.
Rounders and Townball Preceded Baseball on Local Lots. First Rules of
How the First Cincinnati Baseball Club Was Organized. Prominent Men Took
an Active Part in the Game. History of Early Days.
Rivalry and Enthusiasm Were Unbounded When Teams played.
The Great Baseball Tournament of 1867.
Formation of the Ohio Association.
Scores Made by the Cincinnati Baseball Club in 1866 and 67.
How the Famous Reds of 1868 Were Organized.
Men of National Fame Later in Life Played Ball in Those days.
Adoption of the First Uniforms of the Club.
Short Trousers Inaugurated.
The Cincinnati Juniors Figured.
Youngsters in All Our Suburbs Had Good Nines.
Baseball Clubs in Cincinnati in 1868.
Harry Wright Married.
Indians Play on Cincinnati Ball Grounds.
Charter Roll of Membership of the Original Cincinnati Baseball I Club.
Scores Made by the Cincinnati Baseball Club in 1868. Scores Made by the
Buckeye Baseball Club in 1868.
The Famous Reds of 1869 and Their Victories.
Were the First Professional Team in the Country.
Players Were Secured by a Cincinnatian from All Parts of the Country.
Detailed Account of Each Player.
Their Eastern Tour.
The Great Game with the Mutuals of New York City.
The Unbeaten Redlegs of 1869.
Great Reception upon Their Return Home. Most Famous of Ballplayers.
Their Western Tour.
The Reds of Sixty-nine.
Official Scores for the Season.
The Cincinnati Baseball Club of 1870. The Players of the Year.
The Season Opens Very Successfully. Larger Scores Made than in 1869. Their
Their First Defeat.
The Historic Game with the Atlantics.
Red Stockings Lowered Their Banner on the Capitoline Grounds Back of
It Came to Pass, but It Took Eleven Innings to Defeat the Invincible Ball-tossers.
Presentation of Banner by President Champion. Resignation of Officers of
Election of New Officers of the Cincinnati Baseball Club. Scores Made by
the Cincinnati Baseball Club in 1870.
Dissolution of the Old Red Stockings.
Disbanding of the Original Cincinnati Baseball Club. Formation of
Association of Professional Baseball Players. The Old Reds Quit
Championship Clubs from 1859 to 1876.
The Reds Invade England.
The Ball-fields from 1876 to the Present Day.
Formation of the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs.
The Baseball Wars.
Cincinnati Took Prominent Part.
The Cincinnati Baseball Club as Pennant Winners.
The Players of the Club of 1882. The American Association.
Championship Clubs from 1882 to 1892.
Championship Clubs of the National League from 1876 to and Their Managers.
The Cincinnati Baseball Club of Today.
HISTORY OF OUR NATIONAL GAME OF BASEBALL-CINCINNATI
WAS ALWAYS A STRONGHOLD FOR FANS.
Probably no athletic game has gained greater prominence in
the United States than that of baseball. Although many claim it is of
English origin, still I am convinced that the game is strictly American,
being an evolution of the old game called "Cat Ball," or what
was known in some parts of New England as "Two Old Cat."
Other athletic games have come forth from time to time, in
which great interest has been taken, but their lives have been of short
duration and they soon sank almost into oblivion; but baseball still
remains, and there is every indication that it will survive for many years
Rounders was begun in the early '30s in England, as a
pastime for healthy outdoor exercise both for men and boys, and was
introduced into this country about 1840. In order to give my readers an
idea of what the game was, I quote from an old English work on outdoor
sports a description of the game as it was played in the early part of the
last century. It will be plainly seen that it is but the merest outline of
what is now known as the great national game:
game is played with a ball and bats, or sticks, something the form of a
policeman's truncheon. A hole is first made about a foot across and half a
foot deep. Four other stations are marked with pegs stuck in the ground
topped with a piece of paper, so as to be readily seen. Sides are then
chosen, one of which goes in. Suppose that there are five players, yet
more can play on each side, to start the game. One player on the side that
is out stands in the middle of the five-sided space, and pitches the ball
toward the middle of the hole. He is called the feeder. The batsman hits
it off, if he can; in which case he drops the stick and runs to the
nearest station, thence to the third, and all around if the hit has been a
far one. The other side are scouting and trying to put him out, either by
hitting the batsman as he is running or by sending the ball into the hole,
which is called grounding. The player at the hole may decline to strike
the ball, but if he hits at it and misses twice running he is out. When a
player makes the round of the stations back to the hole, his side counts
one toward the game. When all the players are out, either by being hit or
the ball being grounded, the other side get their innings. When there are
only two players left, a chance is given to prolong the innings by one of
them getting three balls from the feeder, and if he can give a hit such as
to enable him to run the whole round, all his side come in again and the
counting is resumed. The feeder is generally the best player on his side,
much depending on his skill and art. The scouts should seldom aim at the
runners from a distance, but throw the ball up to the feeder or to some
one near, who will try to hit or to ground, as seems the most advisable. A
caught ball also puts the runner out."
TOWNBALL IN AMERICA.
The first townball club organized in this country of which
we have any record, was known as the Olympic Ball Club, which was
organized in Philadelphia on July 4, 1833, and was established by the
union of two associations of Townball Players. One of these organizations
began playing at Camden, N. J., as early as the spring of 1831. On the
first day there were but four players who joined in the game "Cat
Ball" or "Two Old Cat" as mentioned above.
A REAL OLD-TIME BASEBALL GAME DURING THE FIFTIES
Note the position and dignity of the umpire
When this association of ball players was organized it had no constitution
or by-laws, or elected members, but the absence of these formalities was
not felt, and was no disadvantage, for there were no quarrels or disputes
among the players, who always found the principles of good-fellowship and
gentlemanly intercourse a sufficient rule for their guidance.
KNICKERBOCKER WAS FIRST CLUB.
To get at the origin of baseball in America it will be
necessary for us to go back to the pioneer club of the country. It has
been conceded by all who have studied the history of baseball that the Knickerbocker
Club, of New York, organized September 23, 1845,
was the first.
There was, however, a club called the New York Club, which
existed before the Knickerbocker, but we shall not be far wrong if we
award to the latter club the honor of being the pioneer of the present
game of baseball.
is practically word-for-word what
Henry Chadwick wrote in 1860. That is not meant as an indictment of
Ellard. In fact many baseball histories quote Chadwick without
Before the organization of this club the rule of play in
reference to putting a player out was to throw the ball at him and hit
him, but, owing to the fact that this practice resulted in some very
severe accidents, the rules were changed to placing men on bases and
making it requisite for a player to be touched by the ball while in the
hands of his adversary.
Alexander J. Cartwright is credited the formation of the Knickerbocker
Club. He was quite an enthusiast in the old game and he soon gathered
around him a number of faithful followers. One day upon the field he
proposed the organization of a permanent regular club to several devotees
of the game; so on the date which we mention above, the Knickerbocker
Baseball Club was formed with the following officers: President; Duncan
F. Curry; Vice-President, William R. Wheaton; Secretary and Treasurer,
William Tucker. It was thus that these gentlemen formed an organization
which was the nucleus of the now great American game. As Mr. Alexander J.
Cartwright conceived the idea of the formation of the first baseball club
in America, he is certainly deserving of the title "Father of
The Knickerbockers played
their first match game on June 19, 1846, with a party of New York
gentlemen who styled themselves the "New York Club," but who had
no permanent organization. Only four innings were played; the game in
those days being determined in favor of the side that made the first
twenty-one runs. The score stood: New York, 23; Knickerbockers, 1. The
first uniform of the club was adopted at a meeting held April 24, 1849.
This consisted of blue woolen pants, white flannel shirts and straw hats.
The following are the first regular rules of baseball of
which we have any record. They are those adopted by the Knickerbocker Club
in 1845. These rules were in vogue until the formation of the National
Association of Baseball Players in 1857:
Section 1. The bases shall be from "home" to
second base forty-two paces; from first to third base forty-two paces
Sec. 2. The game to consist of twenty-one counts or aces, but at the
conclusion an equal number of hands must be played.
Sec. 3. The ball must be pitched and not thrown for the bat.
Sec. 4. A ball knocked outside the range of the first base or third base
Sec. 5. Three balls being struck at and missed, and the last one caught,
is considered fair and the striker is bound to run.
Sec. 6. A ball being struck or tipped and caught either flying or on the
first bound, is a hand out.
Sec. 7. A player running the bases shall be out if a ball is in the hands
of an adversary on the base, or the runner is touched by it before he
makes his base, it being understood, however, that in no instance is a
ball to be thrown at him.
Sec. 8. A player running, who shall prevent an adversary from catching or
getting the ball before making his base, is out.
Sec. 9. If two hands are already out, a player running home at the time a
ball is struck can not make an ace if the striker is caught out.
Sec. 10. Three hands out, all out.
Sec. 11. Players must take their strikes in regular turn.
Sec. 12. No ace or base can be made on a foul strike.
Sec. 13. A runner can not be put out in making one base when a balk is
made by the pitcher.
Sec. 14. But one base allowed when the ball bounds out of the field when
there were 20 rules,
but this too is a direct quote from Chadwick and shows one of the pitfalls
of not doing your own original research (of which most of us are at least
occasionally guilty ).]]
All those who are familiar with the rules of the present
day will at once see the great difference between the game as played then
and that which is now the attractive feature of American sports.
A BASEBALL GAME IN FULL SWING DURING THE EARLY
Note the position of the catcher while runner is stealing second
The Knickerbocker Club had its grounds on what was then known as the
Elysian Fields, and so successful was it there in arousing interest in the
game that the formation of other clubs soon followed.
The next club formed was the Gotham
Baseball Club, organized in March, 1852,
with Mr. Tuche as President. It was then that the Knickerbockers had their
first rivals, and many were the interesting contests between them. On June
30, 1854, was played one of the
greatest games, in which the Knickerbockers suffered their first defeat,
on the Gotham grounds, Red House, Harlem. The game lasted three hours and
sixteen innings were played, resulting in a score of 21 to 16, in favor of
Baseball Club, of New York, was the third one to spring into
existence, organized in April of 1854, and among its founders are the
names of John W. Mott and William C. Conner. The Empire
Club, of New York, organized October 23, 1854, is fourth on the list,
with thirteen members. This supposed unlucky number, however, had the
opposite effect upon them, for their success in the field in these first
years of baseball is well known.
The position of umpire was a dignified one in the early
days. The man occupying it seemed to be perfectly conscious of the honor
conferred upon him in being assigned to this office, not less, in his
estimation, to one of high political importance.
He donned Prince Albert coat, silk hat and cane, and often
wore long, flowing side whiskers. His position on the field was between
home plate and first base, given a stool on which to rest one foot as he
viewed the game. He gave his decisions deliberately, for the action of the
game was not as rapid as at the present time. The swift manner in which
baseball is played now would scarcely demand the services of so dignified
The scorer's position on the field was about twenty feet
to t he right of the catcher. He was given a large table and plenty of
paper, and inasmuch as refreshments, both liquid and solid, were served at
every game, the scorer came in for a full share, and fared sumptuously.
The following is a list of the charter clubs of the
association, who were represented at the first convention, with the date
of organization and the location of the grounds of each:
As will be seen from the above record, the years 1855
and 1856 were prolific of new clubs,
and, of course, a great number of exciting contests took place, the result
of which was the creation of a thorough furor for the game, and the
manifestation of a great degree of interest in the welfare and progress of
this manly pastime by the rapidly increasing numbers of the advocates of
The enthusiasm over the victories of the year 1855 and
1856 seemed to give a new impetus to baseball. Interest was widespread,
new clubs were organized, which created a spirit of emulation and rivalry,
which led to many well-contested matches between the different clubs. The
game now appears to have had such a strong hold upon the community that it
was deemed advisable at this time to revise the rules to meet in some
respects the new conditions which had now arisen. For this purpose the
different clubs held preliminary meetings, and it was finally decided to
hold a convention, in which delegates from each State would be present.
Consequently, the call was issued by the Knickerbocker Club, and the first
convention was held in New York City in May of 1857, when was formed
the National Association of Baseball Players.
The rules and regulations for governing the game were
revised and amended at the second
meeting of this association, held at Cooper Institute, March 9, 1859.
Many important changes were made and a new code was established. At this
time it was decided to abolish refreshments in connection with the
matches. This custom, which was originally intended to create friendly
feeling between participants in the game, finally became a very
extravagant exhibition of emulation between the clubs, each one striving
to excel the other in the quantity and quality of the feast presented. As
these elaborate refreshments seemed unnecessary to the welfare of the
game, it was considered prudent to discontinue them altogether.
DIAGRAM OF A BASEBALL FIELD,
FORMED STATE ASSOCIATION.
They also formed State associations, so that each year
delegates were sent to the annual convention by each State belonging. In 1857
there were sixteen clubs enrolled, in 1858
twenty-nine clubs, in 1859 forty-nine
clubs, in 1860 sixty-two clubs, and in 1861
thirty-four clubs. As the war broke out in 1861, which took many of the
active young men to the front, interest in baseball ceased to a great
In these dark days of the Union, baseball was a minor
consideration and many clubs were disbanded, so that the membership in the
association dropped off considerably in the years of 1861-'62-'63-'64.
When the war was over, new clubs were formed, and at the convention
of 1865 there were ninety-one clubs represented.
annual convention of the National Association of Baseball Players was
held at Clinton Hall, New York, December 12, 1866, with 202 clubs
represented. Dr. John Draper, of Cincinnati, was delegate from Ohio to
this convention, representing the Live Oak Club, as was also Mr. Philip
Lishawa, representing the Buckeye Club. Clubs from Oregon, in the West, to
Maine, in the Fast; Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia, in the South, to
Vermont, in the North, sent delegates to this convention, and the
flattering reception given them as their names were announced, and
especially the applause which greeted the Southern clubs, afforded ample
proof of the truly conservative feeling which prevailed at this
The bitter sectional feeling between the North and the South was quite
strong at this time. It had been difficult to subdue the antagonism which
had been engendered by the war, but it is well worthy of comment to
mention the influence exerted by a manly sport as a means of reconciling
these diverse factions. When it came to a game of baseball, all difference
of opinion was laid aside. Fraternal feeling was uppermost, old political
scores were forgotten in the attempt of each club to make a record score
for itself, and it is pleasant to note that the applause and cheers were
never stronger than when the name of one of the Southern delegates was
proposed as a candidate for the presidency of the Association.
THE INTRODUCTION OF TOWNBALL INTO CINCINNATI.
From a old portrait made at the time
GEORGE F. SANDS
Buckeye Townball Club, 1863. President National Association of Base Ball Players, 1867.
Townball, from which baseball is an evolution, was first
introduced into Cincinnati in 1860. This game is played on a field with
bases marked at about one-half the distance of baseball. A short bat,
which is used with one hand only, was employed in knocking a ball that was
much smaller and much softer than a baseball. Four innings only were
played, and the number playing on each side could vary from ten to
fifteen. The scores ranged about the same as early baseball, yet in
looking over the old score-book of games of townball played in Cincinnati
during the war, we find one of 146 to 21. This game was played here by a
number of school-teachers and their friends upon a lot upon which the
Cincinnati Hospital now stands.
The Hospital then was a small building at one end, and
frequently the young interns would join in the game. Among them are
recalled the names of Dr. Williams, the oculist, Dr. Cilley, and Dr.
Although not regularly organized, these old players called
themselves the Excelsior Townball Club. They played under this name for
three years. In 1861 they obtained permission from the City Council to
play in the Orphan Asylum lot, on Elm Street, where the Music Hall was
At the suggestion of Geo. F. Sands, one of the prominent
members of this club, a meeting was called at the office of Luke Kent, the
jeweler, at Main and Fourth Streets, for the purpose of establishing the
club upon a permanent basis.
SANDS WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT.
As a result, the Cincinnati Buckeye Townball Club was
organized October 1, 1863, with George F. Sands as President; James
Sherwood, Vice-President; Frank Harvey, Secretary; John B. Sheidemantle,
Treasurer. Among the members at that time were John B. Sheidemantle,
George W. Smith, James E. Sherwood, B. O. M. DeBeck, Jesse DeBeck, W. D.
Gould, Samuel Hughes, George Wehmer, W. J. Ogden, Eugene Hammett, Ben
Brookshaw, Charles Jones and others.
Later on they secured grounds in the Millcreek bottoms,
just north of Lincoln Park, where are now located the buildings of the
American Oak Leather Company, which were afterward fenced in and a
clubhouse and seats erected. Under the name of the "Cincinnati
Buckeye Townball Club" games were played until the fall of 1866, when
the club was re-organized and henceforth was known as the "Buckeye
Baseball Club." New member were added. Among them were Charles F.
Wilstach, then Mayor; Harry Tatem, John F. Wiltsee, Steven Faulkner. The
players which constituted the Buckeye Baseball Club nine in 1866 were:
During the baseball period of the club John B.
Shiedemantle was considered one of the best players, and much of the
success of a game was dependent upon him. If one was unfortunately lost
during his absence, the club members consoled themselves in the face of
their defeat, by saying to the victors, "You just wait until 'Sheiddy'
comes home, then the tables will turn."
The Buckeye nine of 1867 had the following players:
From a recent photo
MATTHEW M. YORSTON, Organizer
First Baseball Club in Cincinnati in 1860.
Through the efforts of Matthew M. Yorston, the first baseball club in
Cincinnati was formed. So unknown were baseballs in that time that Mr.
Yorston made with his own hands the first ball ever used by the club,
which began to play in the fall of 1860. This club played baseball, and
sometimes town-ball, all through the war, and among its members were Dr.
John Draper, Octavius Tudor, John C. Davis, Matt Yorston, James Fogerty,
Theodore Frost, J. R. Brockway and others. This club at one time played on
grounds at the foot of Eighth Street, near the site where the factory of
the Crane & Breed Manufacturing Company now stands, and at another
time on the old potter's field where is now Lincoln Park. The increase in
membership after the war led them to form a regular organization, and the
club was then called the Live Oak Baseball Club, which was really the
first baseball club here.
ORGANIZATION OF THE LIVE OAK BASEBALL CLUB.
The Live Oak Baseball Club was organized at a called
meeting on Thursday evening, July 15, 1866, when the following officers
were elected for the first year: John C. Davis, President; R. B. Lee,
Vice-President; E. McCammon, Secretary; C. McCammon, Treasurer.
The directors of the club were: M. M. Yorston, T. C.
Frost, Dr. John Draper.
The first match game of baseball ever played in Cincinnati
was played by this club on September 8, 1866, with the Eagle Baseball
Club, then located across the river in a place known as Brooklyn, Ky.,
which was near Dayton. The members of the teams were as follows :
LIVE OAK BASEBALL CLUB.
Dr. John DraperCatcher and Captain
T. C. FrostPitcher
D. R. PowersFirst Base
Si HicksSecond Base
James FogartyThird Base
R. B. LeeRight Field
J. HicksCenter Field
John R. BrockwayLeft Field
M. M. YorstonShortstop
EAGLE BASEBALL CLUB.
MahaffeyCatcher and Captain
The scorers of the game were J. W. Rorer and Washington 'I' Porter.
Mahaffey, the catcher for the Eagles, was one of the strongest batters
that ever hit a ball. He used only one hand and a short bat eighteen
This game was full of excitement and interest, notwithstanding the
great discrepancy in runs. It ended with a score of 52 to 12 in favor of
the Live Oak Club, which took the ball that was played with during the
game, as a trophy. This was the custom during these early days of baseball
The next game was played by the Live Oak Club on September 15, 1866, when
they were matched against the Covington Baseball Club. This was the first
game ever played in Covington, Ky., and it was played near the residence
of B. W. Foley. The Covington Club was composed of the following players :
B. W. FoleyCatcher and Captain
Moses GrantSecond Base
W. L. PorterThird Base
Thomas FallonRight Field
W. GrantCenter Field
Holmes Hoge was the umpire.
This game saw the defeat of the Live Oak Club in a score of 28 to 21 in
favor of the Covington Club, which captured the ball as the trophy of the
day. One of the old rules in vogue at this time was that if a ball was
knocked over the fence only one base was allowed.
continues with Chapter 2.]]
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