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Baseball Fever Policy

I. Purpose of this announcement:

This announcement describes the policies pertaining to the operation of Baseball Fever.

Baseball Fever is a moderated baseball message board which encourages and facilitates research and information exchange among fans of our national pastime. The intent of the Baseball Fever Policy is to ensure that Baseball Fever remains an extremely high quality, extremely low "noise" environment.

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This document was based on a similar policy used by SABR.

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Sincerely,

Sean Holtz, Webmaster of Baseball Almanac & Baseball Fever
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What If.... Al Spalding and International baseball

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  • #16
    Originally posted by rrhersh View Post

    The Liverpool/North Wales game is "British Baseball" but it isn't a hybrid. There were established rounders clubs in various parts of Britain from the 1870s onward, but without a nationally standardized rules. Liverpool was one center of rounders activity. In the early 1890s they changed the name of their game from "rounders" to "baseball" but didn't change the rules. I suspect that they thought the push for American baseball would be more successful than it was, and this was a counter-move. While American baseball died out (and has been reintroduced a couple of times since) they never changed the name back.
    Cheers for the info.

    I'd only heard of the "hybrid" British baseball via wikipedia.

    Typical of them to muddy the waters.

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by Meadowlark View Post
      Cheers for the info.

      I'd only heard of the "hybrid" British baseball via wikipedia.

      Typical of them to muddy the waters.
      Wikipedia has its strengths, but this sort of thing isn't one of them. You need a fair amount of background context to understand what is going on here. Context is not Wikipedia's strength.

      American sources are no help, and British sources aren't much more. Part of the context is that rounders clubs were a working class phenomenon: respectable working class, but working class nonetheless. The upper classes played rounders as a school game, but if they were inclined to bat-and-ball sports as adults they played cricket. Also, rounders clubs were not evenly spread throughout Britain: in particular, they never caught on in the London metropolitan area.

      Putting this together, there are several implications. The first is that British sport histories aren't much help. They tend to be histories of the upper class sports, or histories of football clubs (by no means upper class, but immensely popular). There is an unbroken tradition of rounders clubs, but they are something of a niche sport.

      The good news is that rounders clubs were reported in the press. Depending on the specific newspaper, working class activities did receive some attention. But not the London press, since there were very few London rounders clubs. You have to go looking at the provincial papers.

      Finally, when you read contemporary discussions of rounders, you have to keep in mind who the writer is. A Londoner will have a different take on rounders than someone from Liverpool. To the Londoner it is an informal children's game. To the Liverpudlian it is a game for children of all classes and for working class adults. In its adult form it is a standardized, regulated game with formal rules. So when during the 1889 tour you see an Englishman comparing baseball and rounders, the Londoner will often interpret baseball as a modified version of rounders while the Liverpudlian will interpret baseball and rounders as distinct, albeit related, games. They are both right. They just mean different things by "rounders".

      Bringing this back to "British baseball", if you don't know any of this stuff, "British baseball" is hard to interpret. It obviously is not the same thing as American baseball, but it obviously is related. There is some vague reference to an earlier "rounders" but this is called "baseball", which reasonably (though wrongly) suggests that this is different from rounders. So the "hybrid" interpretation is not implausible: it is merely incorrect.

      And how do I know that "British baseball" is the same as rounders? Those British newspapers told us so. The change to the name was reported, along with the fact that they were keeping their old rules unchanged. I would have to check my notes, but I think this was around 1892.

      If anyone finds themselves with time to kill in a library with access to the Gale Thompson databases, there are several databases of British newspapers from the 19th century. There is some fascinating stuff there.

      Comment


      • #18
        Spalding is, arguably, the most important historical figure in baseball history. Certainly....his stature is truly resounding when viewed through the prism of his ambitions and actions, with respect to:

        1. Making baseball "Our National Pastime".

        And, also:

        2. The impetus and audacity to attempt to spread baseball around the world.

        Fantastic brief Bio from SABR:
        https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/b99355e0

        Because of Al Spalding, Baseball visited 5 continents and 14 countries. And...this undertaking took place in 1888....when circling the globe on a "World Tour" was not only fairly outrageous in scope, but also, *quite* dangerous and risky when actualized!

        "Everything is possible to him who dares." - Spalding's Motto

        "For better or worse, the place of sports in American society owes a great deal to a man who creatively shaped the culture of his own time."
        - Paul Levine, A.G. Spalding biographer

        "Historic Facts Concerning Baseball, Evolution, Development and Popularity of Baseball With Personal Reminiscences of Its Vicissitudes, Its Victories, and Its Votaries."

        (This served as the grandiose subtitle of the 1911 Spalding book: "Baseball - America's National Game").

        Comment


        • #19
          Try the 1951 book, "Baseball and Mr. Spalding" by Arthur C. Bartlett. Tremendous detail, although it's ceratainly a very favorable biography.

          Cap Anson's autobiography also gives a lot of amusing details, especially on the World Tour. Also very mixed since it was written shortly after Anson and Spalding's bitter falling-out.

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by StarStar00 View Post
            Try the 1951 book, "Baseball and Mr. Spalding" by Arthur C. Bartlett. Tremendous detail, although it's ceratainly a very favorable biography.

            Cap Anson's autobiography also gives a lot of amusing details, especially on the World Tour. Also very mixed since it was written shortly after Anson and Spalding's bitter falling-out.
            StarStar,
            Fantastic! I will check it out!! Thank you, Sir!

            Comment

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