Cover image for The National Association of Base Ball Players, 1857-1870
The National Association of Base Ball Players, 1857-1870
Wright, Marshall D.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, [2000]

Physical Description:
xix, 388 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV875.N18 W75 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Before the onset of professional baseball, there existed a myriad of teams and players going back to the 1840s. The early years centered around an organization known as the National Association of Base Ball Players. This group, the antecedents of which date to 1857, governed the world of baseball until the formation of the first all-professional league in 1871. This book is the definitive statistical reference to that organization, from its humble beginnings through its explosive growth after the Civil War, culminating with its coast-to-coast inclusion of several hundred amateur and professional clubs. Relying for the most part on primary sources, the author has included introductory essays for each year, complete team statistics, every game score, and individual batting and pitching statistics for all players.

Author Notes

Marshall D. Wright is a certified archivist and sports statistician.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Professional baseball as we know it today began in 1871 with 10 teams forming the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players. But U.S. baseball had a rich tradition prior to this date. From 1857 to 1870 there were amateur teams organized as the National Association. In 1858 there were 25 teams, which grew to more than 80 by 1860. Play was curtailed during the Civil War, but by 1869 there were nearly 1,000 amateur teams in the association. This volume details the history of those teams. Each chapter covers one year and includes an introduction to baseball events for that year. Following the overview are statistics that the author compiled from a variety of historical sources. Each team is listed with dates of each game, score, and whether the game was a win, loss, or tie (a possible outcome during this point in baseball's development). Also included is a listing of players and such individual information as position(s) played, games played, hands lost (otherwise known as outs), average and over, and runs with average and over. The "average and over" statistics are holdovers from the game of cricket. Beginning in 1868, hits and total bases are added, and statistics are presented in decimal form, familiar to modern fans. Beginning in 1869 and 1870, pitching totals are available, including innings pitched, hits or runs allowed, and average hits or runs per inning. At the end of each chapter are team totals with games played, wins, losses, ties, winning percentage, runs scored, and runs scored against. The later years have more detailed individual statistics than the early years, and as rules changed the game, so did they change the type of statistics that were reported in the newspapers and guides of the time. This well-researched, if specialized, book on America's favorite pastime in its earliest years is recommended for large reference collections.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Prelude: The Knickerbocker Clubp. 1
1857 The Association Beginsp. 7
1858 New York vs. Brooklynp. 15
1859 Baseball Clubsp. 28
1860 Spreading the Gospelp. 41
1861 Home and Homep. 54
1862 Throwing and Pitchingp. 64
1863 Battlefields and Ballfieldsp. 73
1864 The Fly Gamep. 82
1865 The Atlantics of Brooklynp. 94
1866 Country Clubsp. 110
1867 National Tourp. 139
1868 Bases on Hitsp. 186
1869 The Reds of Sixty-Ninep. 238
1870 End Gamep. 284
Postlude: Breaking Awayp. 328
Selected Bibliographyp. 330
Indexp. 334