Tag Archives: base-ball

A STORY FROM FEB 12 IN BASEBALL HISTORY – ABRAHAM LINCOLN & THE SPREAD OF BASE BALL

TODAY IN BASEBALL TAKES US TO FEBRUARY 12, 1809 IN HODGENVILLE, KENTUCKY – THE BIRTHDAY AND BIRTHPLACE ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Some believe the Civil War helped spread the game of Base Ball. The war brought men from all over the country together. In their leisure, they took up the game.

Others, such as Patricia Millen, author of From Pastime to Passion, say the Civil War more likely slowed down the spread of Base Ball, which had already become quite popular in the Northeast in the decades before the war, and spread like wildfire after the war ended.

According to George B. Kirsch, author of Baseball in Blue and Gray“Abraham Lincoln’s rise to political prominence… occurred during the years when the game was achieving increasing popularity in all regions.

The earliest association between Lincoln and Base Ball appeared in a Currier & Ives political cartoon published in November 1860, shortly after Lincoln defeated three rivals to claim the presidency.

In the cartoon, each has a bat in his hands. Lincoln also has the ball and is saying, “Gentleman, if ever you should take a hand in another match at this game, remember that you must have a good bat to strike a fair ball and make a clean score and a home run.”

Additional reading:
Baseball and American Culture: Across the Diamond, by Edward J. Rielly

March 31st in baseball history-EARLIEST REFERENCE TO “BASE BALL”

1755 | SHERE, ENGLAND – The earliest known reference to “base ball” was made on this date in 1755.

That was not a misprint – 1755.

And it was made in England, not America. The entry was made by William Bray, a successful lawyer and meticulous recorder of daily life in County Shere outside London. Here’s what he wrote some 260 years ago :

“Went to stoke church this morn. After dinner went to Miss Jeal’s to play at base ball with her, the three Miss Whiteheads, Miss Billinghurst, Miss Molly Flutter, Mr, Chandler, Mr. Ford, Mr. Parsons. Drank tea and stayed til 8.”

It was a startling discovery considering, while influenced by British games like “Rounders,” “Town Ball,” and “Cricket,” baseball was thought to be a purely American invention. If that was the case, what’s it doing in the diary of a Brit in the 18th Century?

Contributing sources:
John Thorn is the Official Biographer for Major League Baseball
David Block, baseball historian, author of “Baseball Before We Knew it: A Search For the Roots of the Game”
Origins of Baseball