The year 1869 was a significant year in the development of baseball, only in Washington but throughout the nation. It was a game changer. Mention the year 1869 to any baseball fan and the response will be about the great Cincinnati nine of that year and rightly so. The reader should understand that the Red Stockings of 1869 were not the first professional team. What is significant is the way the nine was run by Harry Wright that made the difference.
The rise of the Washington National Club, following the Civil War, changed the landscape of the game. It proved that a team outside New York and Brooklyn could challenge the top teams for dominance. The trip out west added greatly to the excitement and interest in the game.
By 1869, Arthur Gorman, the architect for the Nationals success, shifted his attention to a career in politics. The Nationals, still a good team rested on their laurels. Meanwhile a new nine, the Olympics of Washington, set their sights on challenging them for dominance.
Baseball was set to move to a new phase. The National Association, the first professional league, was two years off. The National League, five years after that. The rules would be modified over time but the drive to innovate and dominate started by Harry Wright would continue.
This is another in our series about baseball in Washington, “Baseball in the District.”
Like the other books in the series we use original source material. This is how the game was presented to “base ball” enthusiasts in 1869. Page count is 109.
1869 Rise of the Olympics
1877 to 1885 Renaissance
1886 A League City
1888 The Last Hurrah
1889 Ward Sold
1890 to 1891 The Dark Ages
1892 to 1899 The Wagner Years
1900 to 1904 An Orphan in an Upstart League
1918 Uncle Sam’s Game
The Washington National Republican and Washington Star provide the primary source material for this book. We also rely on Marshall Wright’s “The National Association of Base Ball Players, 1857 to 1870.”
Records are often incomplete making it tricky to collect enough information to give the reader a complete picture. The papers tend to follow public opinion and most early games are not covered. Coverage of away games is sparse; the papers often rely on reprinting articles from other publications. Biographical information is incomplete and players during the period would often not use their real name. Case in point is Billy Williams, the noted pitcher for the Nationals, who was listed as Graham several times.
We hope you enjoy this unusual view of baseball during its early years.
The rules of the game are in Appendix 1. In 1869 the bound rule was still enforced. On any fly ball hit by a striker that was caught after the first bound, the striker was out. Statistical information for the season is also listed.
|Publisher:||Kevin and Karen Flynn|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||135 KB|
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