Tuesday, July 7, 2009

1800s baseball: The Rules

To understand how great baseball is today, we must appreciate the evolution of the game from its most ancient phase. I always knew that the baseball rules adapted gradually over time, but I had no idea just how different baseball was back in the 1860s. Hell, you can make the case it was a completely different game.

Take a look:

-A walk was six balls, not four

-A "bamboozle" is when a foul ball is caught after the first bounce and results in the batter being out.

-There is no hit by pitch; if a batter is hit by a pitched ball, it only counts as a ball.

-There is no infield fly rule

-No gloves

-Pitchers were called hurlers

-Catchers were known as "the behind"

-fans were called cranks

-Hurlers threw underhand (did not throw overhand until 1880)

-No spitting, swearing, or acting in a manner that in unacceptable to a lady

-If a batter did not swing at 5 or more hittable pitchers, he got a warning

-If a pitcher failed to throw enough strikes, he got a warning and then the Umpire would begin to call balls

Strangely enough, I would love to see two major league teams play by these rules for a game. Maybe then they could fully appreciate the value of taking first base after a hit by pitch!


Jason said...


My name is Jason and I am the founder of SportsSoundOff.net. We are a new blog, but re-established. It had to be shut down because of technical issues. I was wondering if we could exchange links.

Let me know if this is possible.



jorgesaysno said...


Shoot me an email and we'll talk.