New York Knickerbockers
The New York Knickerbockers were one of the first organized baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

 teams which played under a set of rules similar to the game today. The team was founded by Alexander Cartwright
Alexander Cartwright
Alexander Joy Cartwright, Jr. is one of several people sometimes referred to as a "father of baseball". Cartwright is thought to be the first person to draw a diagram of a diamond shaped baseball field, and the rules of the modern game are based on the Knickerbocker Rules developed by Cartwright...

, considered one of the original developers of modern baseball.

In 1849, the New York Knickerbockers wore the first ever recorded baseball uniform
Baseball uniform
A baseball uniform is a type of uniform worn by baseball players. Most baseball uniforms have the names and uniform numbers of players who wear them, usually on the backs of the uniforms to distinguish players from one other. Baseball shirts , pants, shoes, socks, caps, and glove are parts of...


Origins and rules

While a member of Knickerbocker Engine Company No. 12 of the New York City Fire Department
New York City Fire Department
The New York City Fire Department or the Fire Department of the City of New York has the responsibility for protecting the citizens and property of New York City's five boroughs from fires and fire hazards, providing emergency medical services, technical rescue as well as providing first response...

, Alexander Joy Cartwright
Alexander Cartwright
Alexander Joy Cartwright, Jr. is one of several people sometimes referred to as a "father of baseball". Cartwright is thought to be the first person to draw a diagram of a diamond shaped baseball field, and the rules of the modern game are based on the Knickerbocker Rules developed by Cartwright...

 became involved in playing town ball
Town ball
The term town ball, or townball, describes the bat-and-ball, safe haven games played in North America in the 18th and 19th centuries, which were similar to rounders and were precursors to modern baseball. In some areas - such as Philadelphia and along the Ohio River and Mississippi River - the...

 (a similar game to baseball, and an older one) on a vacant lot in Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

. In 1845, the lot became unavailable for use, and the group was forced to look for another location. They found a playing field, the Elysian Fields
Elysian Fields, Hoboken, New Jersey
Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey is believed to be the site of the first organized baseball game, giving Hoboken a strong claim to be the birthplace of baseball....

, a large tree-filled parkland across the Hudson River
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

 in Hoboken, New Jersey
Hoboken, New Jersey
Hoboken is a city in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 50,005. The city is part of the New York metropolitan area and contains Hoboken Terminal, a major transportation hub for the region...

 run by Colonel John Stevens
John Stevens (inventor)
Col. John Stevens, III was an American lawyer, engineer and an inventor.-Life and career:Born the son of John Stevens , a prominent New Jersey politician who served as a delegate to the Continental Congress, and Elizabeth Alexander, daughter of New York lawyer and statesman James Alexander. His...

, which charged $75 a year to rent. In order to pay the rental fees, Cartwright organized a ball club
A club is an association of two or more people united by a common interest or goal. A service club, for example, exists for voluntary or charitable activities; there are clubs devoted to hobbies and sports, social activities clubs, political and religious clubs, and so forth.- History...

 so that he could collect the needed money. The club was named the "Knickerbockers", in honor of the fire company where Cartwright was a member. The Knickerbockers club was organized on September 23, 1845. The first officers were Duncan F. Curry, president, William R. Wheaton, vice-president, and William H. Tucker, secretary-treasurer.

Creating a club for the ball players called for a formal set of rules for each member to adhere to, foremost among them to "have the reputation of a gentleman". Cartwright formalized the Knickerbocker Rules
Knickerbocker Rules
The Knickerbocker Rules are a set of baseball rules formalized by Alexander Cartwright in 1845. They are considered to be the basis for the rules of the modern game.-The rules:...

, a set of twenty rules for the team:
  1. Members must strictly observe the time agreed upon for exercise, and be punctual in their attendance.
  2. When assembled for exercise, the President, or in his absence, the Vice-President, shall appoint an umpire
    Umpire (baseball)
    In baseball, the umpire is the person charged with officiating the game, including beginning and ending the game, enforcing the rules of the game and the grounds, making judgment calls on plays, and handling the disciplinary actions. The term is often shortened to the colloquial form ump...

    , who shall keep the game in a book provided for that purpose, and note all violations of the By-Laws and Rules during the time of exercise.
  3. The presiding officer shall designate two members as Captain
    Captain (sports)
    In team sports, a captain is a title given to a member of the team. The title is frequently honorary, but in some cases the captain may have significant responsibility for strategy and teamwork while the game is in progress on the field...

    s, who shall retire and make the match to be played, observing at the same time that the players opposite to each other should be as nearly equal as possible, the choice of sides to be then tossed for, and the first in hand to be decided in like manner.
  4. The bases shall be from "home" to second base, forty-two paces; from first to third base, forty-two paces, equidistant.
  5. No stump match shall be played on a regular day of exercise.
  6. If there should not be a sufficient number of members of the Club present at the time agreed upon to commence exercise, gentlemen not members may be chosen in to make up the match, which shall not be broken up to take in members that may afterwards appear; but in all cases, members shall have the preference, when present, at the making of a match.
  7. If members appear after the game is commenced, they may be chosen in if mutually agreed upon.
  8. The game to consist of twenty-one counts, or aces; but at the conclusion an equal number of hands must be played.
  9. The ball must be pitched, not thrown, for the bat
    Baseball bat
    A baseball bat is a smooth wooden or metal club used in the game of baseball to hit the ball after the ball is thrown by the pitcher. It is no more than 2.75 inches in diameter at the thickest part and no more than 42 inches in length. It typically weighs no more than 33 ounces , but it...

  10. A ball knocked out of the field, or outside the range of first or third base, is foul
    Foul ball
    In baseball, a foul ball is a batted ball that:* Settles on foul territory between home and first base or between home and third base, or* Bounds past first or third base on or over foul territory, or...

  11. Three balls being struck
    Strike zone
    In baseball, the strike zone is a conceptual right pentagonal prism over home plate which defines the boundaries through which a pitch must pass in order to count as a strike when the batter does not swing.-Definition:...

     at and missed and the last one caught, is a hand out
    Out (baseball)
    In baseball, an out occurs when the defensive, or fielding, team effects any of a number of different events, and the umpire rules a batter or baserunner out. When a player is called out, he is said to be retired...

    ; if not caught is considered fair, and the striker bound to run.
  12. If a ball be struck, or tipped, and caught, either flying or on the first bound, it is a hand out.
  13. A player running the bases shall be out, if the ball is in the hands of an adversary on the base, or the runner is touched with it before he makes his base; it being understood, however, that in no instance is a ball to be thrown at him.
  14. A player running who shall prevent an adversary from catching or getting the ball before making his base, is a hand out.
  15. Three hands out, all out.
  16. Players must take their strike in regular turn.
  17. All disputes and differences relative to the game, to be decided by the Umpire, from which there is no appeal.
  18. No ace or base can be made on a foul strike.
  19. A runner cannot be put out in making one base, when a balk
    In baseball, a pitcher can commit a number of illegal motions or actions that constitute a balk. In games played under the Official Baseball Rules, a balk results in a dead ball or delayed dead ball. In certain other circumstances, a balk may be wholly or partially disregarded...

     is made by the pitcher
    In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throwsthe baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the...

  20. But one base allowed when a ball bounds out of the field when struck.

It is likely that Cartwright picked some of his twenty rules based upon his previous experience in town ball play in Manhattan. The original rules of play at the vacant lot in Manhattan were not documented so it cannot be said which rules were Cartwright's own invention. Most likely, Cartwright's rules are based upon the Manhattan rules that he converted at his own discretion. The twenty rules differed in some respects from other early versions of baseball and from rounders
Rounders is a game played between two teams of either gender. The game originated in England where it was played in Tudor times. Rounders is a striking and fielding team game that involves hitting a small, hard, leather-cased ball with a round wooden, plastic or metal bat. The players score by...

, the English game commonly considered the immediate ancestor of baseball. "Two of these rules — the one that abolished soaking [putting a runner out by hitting him with a thrown ball] and the one that designated a foul as a do-over — were revolutionary, while the others gave the game a new degree of uniformity."

First "officially recorded" game and subsequent history

The formation of the Knickerbockers club across the Hudson River created a division in the group of Manhattan players. Several of the players refused to cross the river on a ferry to play ball because they did not like the distance away from home. Those players stayed behind and formed their own club, the "New York Nine".

The first "officially recorded" baseball game between two different teams was played on June 19, 1846 at the Elysian Fields in Hoboken. The two teams, the "Knickerbockers" and the "New York Nine" (also known as the New York Baseball Club), played with Cartwright's twenty rules. Cartwright’s team, the Knickerbockers, lost 23 to 1 to the New York Nine club in four innings. Some say that Cartwright's team lost because his best players did not want to make the trip across the river. Cartwright was the umpire during this game and fined one player six cents for cursing
Profanity is a show of disrespect, or a desecration or debasement of someone or something. Profanity can take the form of words, expressions, gestures, or other social behaviors that are socially constructed or interpreted as insulting, rude, vulgar, obscene, desecrating, or other forms.The...

. The lineups for the teams:

{| class="wikitable"
!New York Nine
| Turney || Davis
| Adams || Winslow
| Tucker || Ransom
| Birney || Murphy
|-CC Sabathia
| Avery || Case
| H. Anthony || Johnson
| D. Anthony || Thompson
| Tryon || Trenchard
| Paulding ||Sandy Rantos

However, there were several other recorded games prior to this. On October 6, 1845 the Knickerbocker Club played a 3 inning game between its own members, and on October 22, 1845 the "New York Club" beat the "Brooklyn Club" 24 to 4, with the box score included in the next day's morning newspaper.

Over the next few years, the rules of baseball spread throughout the country. Baseball was becoming a popular sport with Americans and drew spectators by the thousands. Cartwright's rules would soon become part of the rules of the National Association of Base Ball Players
National Association of Base Ball Players
The National Association of Base Ball Players was the first organization governing American baseball. The first, 1857 convention of sixteen New York City clubs...

 in 1857. These rules slowly evolved into today's rules of baseball.


  • Orem, Preston D. (1961), Baseball (1845-1881) From the Newspaper Accounts, Altadena, CA: Self-published ASIN B0007HTB88
  • Peterson, Harold (1969, 1973), The Man Who Invented Baseball, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons ISBN 978-0-684-13185-6

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.