1868 baseball advice (that is not a typo)


The Weekly Alta California, October 10, 1868:

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Hints to Base Ballists

Now that the national game is so universally played, the following hints and suggestions may not prove inopportune. They are the result of long and arduous study of the game–practically and theoretically, and are worthy, it is thought, of the attention of all players:

1-Never admit a grocer to your “nine” lest your Club be denominated “butter fingers.”

2-Admit no furriers; they are suggestive of “muffs;” nor bakers, for they are redolent with “muffin.”

3-Never charge your “bases;” as a matter of military necessity this is sometimes advisable, but in ball-play, never.

4-Don’t stop short in a match because your “short stop” muffs a ball.

5-Don’t accuse your catcher of chicken stealing because he catches a “foul.”

6-If your “long field” catches a “fly” don’t laugh at him because he held his mouth open.

7-If a newly married member makes a “home run,” don’t accuse him of being hen-pecked.

8-When you “whitewash” your opponents don’t get any into their eyes; it might hurt.

9-A bricklayer or two would be valuable acquisitions; they would be sure to be good “strikers.”

10-A detective would be useful as a “catcher.”

11-As a “pitcher,” we would recommend Bob Brettle, the pugilist; he may not be much of a ballist, but he says he always “pitches in.”

12-If you can prevail on Billy Edwards to join your club, you may be sure of having a “heavy hitter.”

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I spent yesterday physically reading several issues of The Daily Alta California and The Weekly Alta California from the 1850s, 1860s, and 1870s in the San Francisco History Center on the 6th floor of the San Francisco Public Library. Among many gems, I fished out the one posted above. A thoroughly delightful day, since I love doing research, but my eyes were about to fall out of my head by the end of the afternoon.

Newsprint was tiny in those days.

The contents of most California newspapers are available on-line through the California Digital Newspaper Collection organized by UC Riverside. It’s an excellent tool, but reading online isn’t the same thing as holding an actual copy of the paper, and I wanted that experience, hence the trip to the SFPL.

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