The moral codes and dramatic constructions developed by D. Griffith in the teens set a pattern that popular cinema has embellished and continuously brought up to date. In the dominant cinema that America created and shared with the world, the dominant ideology was rarely questioned and a political context rarely recognized, analyzed, or criticized. Filmmakers developed a style that became as manageable as the content the style expressed. Narrative elements and their construction—the arranging of shots and sequences— were experimented with in the early part of the twentieth century, perfected by Griffith during his Biograph period , and became a universal standard by the time sound was adopted.
The mark of this style is continuity, an uninterrupted and unquestioned or unquestioning flow of events, a narrative construction so smooth and assured of its ability to promote its content that it becomes invisible. The flow of images on the screen assumes the reality of the given, as immediate and self-sufficient— self-evident— as the ideology it promotes. What is more, it is a complex style, based on conventions that, because they were repeated so often and accepted so thoroughly, are looked upon by most viewers and filmmakers as the natural way to tell cinematic stories.
Cutting from an establishing shot into various parts of the action; always completing actions by, for example, following a character in matched cuts from one place to another so that all action is accounted for; breaking up a dialogue into a series of overthe- shoulder shots, from one character to another, with eyelines perfectly matched—these and other small details of construction make up a pattern of storytelling that the neorealists felt the need to reconsider. Within this small but complete world the passions of both character and spectator would be large but manageable, directed in assimilable curves and, above all, predictable and resolved.
Small matters, such as the use of the over-theshoulder shot—the so-called ping-pong method of dialogue construction— were not universally adopted by the European studios. More important, there were early reactions to the dominant form that prepared the ground for their work. The most significant is found in the films and critical theory of Sergei Eisenstein, who provided the first major alternative to the kind of cinema being developed by Griffith in America.
He understood, more thoroughly than did Griffith himself, the possibilities of editing, regarded montage as the essential structuring principle of filmmaking, and sought to use it to transpose reality into a cinema that prodded consciousness, attacked traditional politics and morality, and stimulated thought as well as emotion.
In the collision of images that made up the structure of his films, Eisenstein sought to create a dynamics that would impel the viewer to a recognition and understanding of revolution. Among Americans the term is attached to viewpoint. Among us—to the value of what is seen. In this comparison immediately the first thing to appear clearly relating to the principal function of the close-up in our cinema is—not only and not so much to show or to present, as to signify, to give meaning, to designate.
The leap proved beyond the limits of the possibilities of the stage—a leap beyond the limits of situation: a leap into the field of montage image, montage understanding, montage as a means before all else of revealing the ideological conception. The rhythm of images is the rhythm of historical analysis and revolutionary change. And each sequence is formed by a dynamic, often violent, rhythm of images that provoke the spectator and demand an intellectual and emotional reaction to the events.
In social attitudes Griffith was always a liberal, never departing far from the slightly sentimental humanism of the good old gentlemen and sweet old ladies of Victorian England His tender-hearted film morals go no higher than a level of Christian accusation of human injustice and nowhere in his films is there sounded a protest against social injustice But montage thinking is inseparable from the general content of thinking as a whole. The structure that is reflected in the concept of Griffith montage is the structure of bourgeois society And this society, perceived only as a contrast between the haves and the have-nots , is reflected in the consciousness of Griffith no deeper than the image of an intricate race between two parallel lines.
But he saw that these structures never moved beyond the self-satisfied repetition of middle-class social ideals. The pleas against injustice voiced in Intolerance are so broad and sentimental that they avoid any analysis or adequate understanding of history. In response to American film, he promoted not only an explicit political content, but a political form and an alternative to the conventions of continuity begun by Griffith and advancing through the twenties.
Against the pretenses of illusory realism—the form that hides itself so that content may appear to emerge effortlessly and without mediation—Eisenstein held out the possibility of a realism of the cinema itself, which spoke clearly in its own voice, not hiding its means, but using them to manifest and clarify political and social realities, transposing them into the dynamism of the image. It is simply the function of a certain form of social structure. Against this attempt Eisenstein, and other major figures outside America and a few inside , fought.
Few postwar filmmakers did. His intrusive style, his insistence that the shot—the single unit of a recorded image—is only the raw material to be manipulated into the montage construction, went against their desire to use film as a disengaged observer of social existence. But if they did not explicitly recognize his importance to their own work, it is there nonetheless. Yet it is an important precursor. The shots made by Eisenstein and his cinematographer, Edward Tisse, though always put to the service of the larger montage structure, are carefully constructed and composed, dynamically calibrated reinventions of historical events—or events that should have occurred in history.
Even in Ivan the Terrible , which reflects an expressionist influence, the images are at the service of history. But expressionism denied history, at least the history of external human events, and created instead closed and distorted images of psychological states. The expressionist image. The Cabinet of Dr. But the dependence upon the image in all three forms an important link. When one thinks of an expressionist film, one recalls a background or more accurately a backdrop , the shape of a window painted on a wall or a frozen gesture.
Expressionist film was the cinema of the designer; in it the formal organization of strained lines and figures is of predominating interest. It ran counter to all the other cinematic movements of the time. Even the French avant-garde of the twenties, who borrowed from expressionism, still based their images very much on the possibility of things actually seen.
The images of expressionist film have little effect apart from themselves, apart from the fascination of the image itself. Expressionism was a short-circuited form, and as such has been reviled by most critics and filmmakers of a realist bent. Smith Goes to Washington , or for rather effective special effects as in the earthquake sequence of San Francisco. Expressionism, on the other hand, had an effect on the Hollywood style. Its major directors were brought to America, and their style influenced the Universal horror films of the thirties and was taken up by Orson Welles in Citizen Kane, which in turn influenced forties film noir, which in its turn influenced the New Wave filmmakers.
When the German cinema was revitalized in the seventies, expressionism became more than an influence; it emerged as a problematic. Rainer Werner Fassbinder understood the expressionist urge. However, Fassbinder, like his contemporary Wim Wenders, may have gotten his expressionist tendencies as much from American film noir as from his own cinematic tradition. The reactions to the Griffith tradition examined so far all came from outside the United States, but the approach to cinema he fostered did not go uncontested in America.
The most predominant was a fantasy, late-nineteenthcentury Middle Europe, a place of aristocratic decadence, the diabolical corner of the operetta kingdom—the dark capital of Ruritania, where noblemen drank blood and crippled girls were forced into marriage by pitiless fathers engaged in whorehouse orgies, and murdered bodies were deposited in sewers. Cruelty takes the place of virtue, squalid death the place of rescued honor, perversity wins out over innocent passion.
Its world is contemporary, its characters working class, its physical detail built out of locations as well as sets. The tenements, offices, bars, amusement parks they inhabit reflect their economic and social status as well as their diminished spirits. The inhabitants of Greed are among the meanest and most brutal in cinema, American or European, up to that time. They are perverse and obsessed, murderous in the extreme.
The final shootout between the two male characters handcuffed together in the middle of Death Valley presents images grim in their expression of a willed, unsentimental destruction. In his films reality lays itself bare like a suspect confessing under the relentless examination of the commissioner of police. He has one simple rule for direction.
Take a close look at the world, keep on doing so, and in the end it will lay bare for you all its cruelty and its ugliness. One could easily imagine Like von Stroheim in Greed , they are attracted to working-class characters, though they come to these with a compassion von Stroheim would scorn. He was the first major figure to suffer from the growth of filmmaking into a heavy industry, with the capital-conservation, maximum-profit, minimum-expenditure mentality that goes with such growth.
Von Stroheim was fired from both Universal Studios and MGM for his obsession with detail and his profligacy with time and money. Greed was originally forty-seven reels long. Von Stroheim himself cut it almost in half; then Goldwyn Studios, at the point of the merger which would create MGM, had it cut to ten reels, the only form in which it is available, the rest having presumably been destroyed.
The few films he was able to direct after that were almost all re-cut by their studios. He was too slow, too meticulous, too arrogant for the line. The neorealists reacted as strongly against the methods of American film production as against the form and content of the films those methods produced. In turning away from studios to location shooting with non-professional players they joined economic necessity and aesthetic desire in an attack against the complex of events that made it difficult for a filmmaker like van Stroheim to work.
And so his career had a double influence. Both what he did in his films and what was done to him and his films by the studios gave future filmmakers much to consider. His career reflects the political, economic, and aesthetic shifts that have occurred in cinema over a great period of time—almost its entire history, from the silent era to the late sixties. The other movements and figures we have been observing are limited in comparison. His use of camera movement and cutting creates a scope of activity, an interplay of face, gesture, and landscape that invite connection and enlargement.
Bazin writes:. It is the very opposite of a frame. The screen is a mask whose function is no less to hide reality than it is to reveal it. The significance of what the camera discloses is relative to what it leaves hidden. But this invisible witness is inevitably made to wear blinders; its ideal ubiquity is restrained by framing, just as tyranny is often restrained by assassination.
In his use of deep focus, his persistent but gentle panning and tracking, the respect he shows to the spaces his camera organizes and to our orientation as spectators within those spaces, he indicates always an awareness of more. In his films of the thirties there is always something beyond what is immediately before the camera. But what is beyond is not a fearful otherness, but a with ness, a continuation and an expansion.
Von Stroheim locked in on the details of sordidness. The expressionists denied an expansion into the world by ignoring it. For them reality was the space created within the frame; if not a stage space, certainly a staged one. Eisenstein was open to the realities of history, but his montage encouraged the viewer to create an intellectual, historically relevant space from the dialectical images juxtaposed on the screen.
He provided the material and its initial structure; the viewer completed the design. The elegiac attitude toward class structure in The Grand Illusion, the open embrace of the multitude of political and social perspectives in The Rules of the Game, do create problems of ascertaining point of view. But there is no uncertainty about the fact that Renoir introduces the important elements of trust and respect into his cinema.
He is a director of movement and attitude, of characters who work through and are affected by historical as well as personal change. Renoir moved away from the rigid and determining structures of the figures and schools that preceded and surrounded him and replaced them with observed emergences of characters and situations that are fluid and changing. The closest formal analogy to The Rules of the Game is a symphony.
As in a complex work of music, the inhabitants and events of this film work by statement and variation, through themes and characters taking dominant and recessive positions, through the crossing and recrossing of lines of movements. It is no accident that Octave is a wouldbe orchestra conductor.
Unlike music, of course, these movements are created by human figures acting with and reacting to each other in a precise narrative pattern. But in orchestrating their movements and actions rather than setting them on a trajectory within a predetermined space, Renoir is able to create an illusion of multiplicity and interdependence. The movements of the participants in the rabbit hunt, the interpenetration of servants and masters during the ball, the seemingly spontaneous series of decisions and mistaken identities that lead to the shooting of Jurieu, mark out a pattern of social imbalance, collapsing order, and characterological weakness that grows from no fixed point, but instead a number of points, moving, converging, departing.
The Rules of the Game is a rich film; Renoir made no other as rich. Yet all of his best work creates to some extent this flow of chance and counter-chance and shares a generous visual and narrative field with the viewer. Truffaut attempted to emulate him most directly, while Godard took his openness of form to its limits. All the major filmmakers of the sixties shared to some degree the respect Renoir had for his viewer. Although, as Raymond Durgnat points out, the subject of Toni is romantic passion and the crime passionnel , Renoir smuggles it through a quasiobjective study of working-class life in the manner the neorealists were to favor.
The film is about a migrant worker in France, whose barren life in a quarry is mitigated by opportunities for love, ruined and here Renoir cannot escape from thirties stereotypes by a fickle woman. But more important than the story of the film is its treatment. Twenty years after making Toni, Renoir himself spoke about it in the language of a neorealist:. Good photography At the time of Toni The same thing for the sets. There is no studio used in Toni. The landscapes, the houses are those we found. The human beings, whether interpreted by professional actors or the inhabitants of Martigues, tried to resemble people in the street No stone was left unturned to make our work as close as possible to a documentary.
Our ambition was that the public would be able to imagine that an invisible camera had filmed the phases of a conflict without the characters unconsciously swept along by it being aware of its presence. It contains no preconceived thesis, because ideas are born in the film from the subject. It has no affinity with the superfluous and the merely spectacular, which it refuses, but is attracted to the concrete. Nevertheless neorealism lies as a possibility in his work, as it does in expressionism and Kammerspiel , in Eisenstein, and even in the dominant melodramatic forms of American cinema.
For in cinema, as in any art, the creation of any one form predicates the possibility of a response to that form. The neorealists wanted the image to deal so closely with the social realities of postwar Italy that it would throw off all the encumbrances of stylistic and contextual preconception and face that world as if without mediation. An impossible desire, but in it lay the potential for yet other assaults on cinema history, another modification of the role of filmmaker and spectator. I have noted some of its basic elements—location shooting, poor working-class subjects played by non-professionals, use of the environment to define those subjects, an attitude of unmediated observation of events—and have examined some movements in cinema that preceded it.
But something was needed to bring those various elements and the responses to earlier movements together, and that immediate cause was the end of World War II and the defeat of fascism. Only once before had a major historical event created a new cinema—when Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, and their colleagues responded to the Russian Revolution with cinematic languages that spoke of changed perceptions of individual and social life. The end of the war in Italy did not signal major change, only devastation; years of repression were ended and an occupied country was suddenly on its own, free to look at itself and its past.
The left and liberal sectors shifted their attention from the bourgeoisie and attempted to come to terms with the social and cultural conditions of those suffering most after the war. With the right momentarily in retreat and the center beginning to form, something of a Marxist position was able briefly to take hold. In film, that position was made manifest in the choice of the working class as subject and expressed formally in a desire to observe representatives of that class in day-to-day activities of survival without, as Rossellini says, the interference of the superfluous and the spectacular.
Perhaps even without melodrama. At such a time misery could no more be embellished than it could be ignored. The poverty and neglect were real, and the ideology responsible for them was no longer operating to negate its responsibility and to transpose reality into a mockery of itself. Fascism is essentially a politics of melodrama and spectacle. In its political shows, its emotional excess, demand for sacrifice, and apotheosis of death as the most noble act of the hero, it manipulates emotion toward predetermined ends. The neorealists wanted no ends predetermined; not even means. They wanted to observe the postwar world freed of the mediations and diversions that had helped create the war in the first place, and felt that if they allowed the movie camera to gaze at the world without interference, the lives of the poor would reveal themselves and their stories would grow from the simple act of observation.
Some neorealist theory called for doing away with anything that might interfere with the raw material of raw life—even narrative itself. Morlion, wrote:. He is not eager to obtain effects through sensational editing in the manner of Eisenstein and Orson Welles. His goals are different: humble cinematography, seemingly unoriginal editing, simplicity in his choice of shots and his use of plastic material [the visual design of the film]: all go to give his interior vision substance The Italian neorealist school is based on a single thesis diametrically opposed to that thesis which regards the cinema only in terms of lighting effects, words, and purely imaginary situalions.
The neorealists theorized a Reconstruction of all the formative elements of film and of the tensions between form and content that might manipulate the subject of the film or the spectator. No more actors, no more story, no more sets, which is to say that in the perfect aesthetic illusion of reality there is no more cinema. End of Cinema. But to the Italian intellectuals of the time, and to Bazin in France who saw in their ideas not only a vindication of his own theories but a way to revitalize all of cinema, overstatement was necessary.
It is the tradition of aesthetic manifestos to declare the death of the forms they challenge and to claim they begin the art anew. If film was to become a tool, a way of getting at the lives of people whose lives never were the subject of cinema; if film was to be an eye, a way of looking at a world rarely seen clearly in cinema, then all the methods film had used to evade observation of this world had to be eschewed.
Not merely must the white telephones go, and the entire class those telephones signified, but also the cinematic constructions that perpetuated their irrelevance must be repudiated. The neorealists would return to zero another call repeated by Godard. For the first time an image of the world is formed automatically, without the creative intervention of man. But its theoretical impact was enormous. Both Bazin and the neorealists were looking at the cinematic medium as just that, a medium, a means of getting to the world and getting the world to us without intervening in it.
The neorealists believed that the cinematic image could be depended upon to reveal the world seen by the filmmaker if the filmmaker merely looked and kept his counsel, interfered as little as possible. These are in a sense the centrifugal properties of the images—those which make the narrative possible. Each image being on its own just a fragment of reality existing before any meanings, the entire surface of the scene should manifest an equally concrete density. For Eisenstein the shot is only valuable in relation to the montage. Neither Bazin nor the neorealists regarded the image as being in service to a larger montage structure.
And in practice, the neorealist film does not draw attention to its cutting. While not quite in the Hollywood zero-degree style, its editing is invisible, as Morlion said it must be. Rossellini and De Sica in particular cut mainly to reposition the gaze, center it on the major event in the sequence or the major participants in a dialogue.
Their cutting rarely adds information, but is functional in the very best sense, guiding our concentration without manipulating it. Closeups and point-of-view shots in which we see the character and what the character sees are used sparingly, and whenever possible the environment figures as strongly as the individuals within it.
The image generates all the meaning it can; commentary is inside it. Ricci, the central character, is in his first morning on his new job, pasting up posters on walls. A co-worker is showing him how to do it. With significant irony, they are putting up a poster of Rita Hayworth—a premier sign of forties Hollywood with all the connotations of glamor, artificiality, and contrivance that De Sica was attempting to abjure.
The sequence begins with the camera to the left of the characters, at a diagonal to them and the wall on which the poster is going up neorealist characters, as I noted earlier, are always observed by walls, the urban boundaries of their lives. The shot is framed by two ladders. De Sica then cuts unobtrusively to a more distant shot from the other side, again diagonal to the characters and the wall. The camera is far enough from them so that we can see two little boys on the street whom we had barely glimpsed previously , beggars, one of whom is playing an accordion.
As the boy walks away, another man walks into the frame from screen right, moving down the diagonal in front of the men at their work. He is well dressed, a tidy middle-aged bourgeois with a pipe. As he walks along the wall, the boys walk after him, and the camera, as if taking a casual interest in this event, pans away from Ricci and his colleague to follow the man with the two children in calm pursuit.
It merely pans away from its central concern to observe this seemingly peripheral event. The accordion player plays. The well-to-do man ignores the boy, who turns and walks back to his friend. At this point there is a cut back to Ricci and his co-worker, who continues his instructions, the shot framing them in basically the same diagonal position as before. The two men then get on their bikes and the camera pans with Ricci as he heads off on his own, passing the two boys on the sidewalk. Ricci pastes up the Rita Hayworth poster.
Here, we might term the sequence milieu gathering, the expansion from direct concentration on the central character to his immediate world. As observer, the camera attempts to be nonjudgmental and non-provocative as well. Its movements do not provoke us or confront the characters, do not lead us on or compromise them through a prearranged strategy, a reframing meant to excite expectation or anxiety.
We are asked only to share an interest in the commonplaces of this particular world, which become less common by the simple and unexpected attention given them. Ricci and Bruno walk the streets. Anxiety is created when Ricci—and we—think Bruno may have drowned, and when father and son discover the thief and are surrounded by the people in his neighborhood.
De Sica even indulges in a commentative montage. During their search, Ricci and Bruno stop at a restaurant. Nor is the digression with the street urchins entirely innocent of narrative import and emotional preparation. The beggars foreshadow his later situation, bicycle stolen, himself almost turned thief in desperation, walking the streets hopelessly. Certainly not as great as, for example, Godard in Sauve qui peut La Vie Every Man for Himself , where he pans or cuts from a central narrative event to anonymous people on the street. But this is not yet the moment for criticism.
Godard could indulge in radical dislocations of attention precisely because De Sica had pointed the way. As I indicated, neorealism was a delicate concatenation of theory and practice, and at this point I am more interested in ways in which the theory was successfully realized than in how it was compromised. The images have become reality, not seen with lucid detachment as in a mirror, but grasped in their actuality and very substance.
The formal presence of the filmmakers has dissolved in that reality. The Hollywood style of the thirties did not concentrate on the image, but on the way the image could present stock characters in excessive situations, knitting these images into a smooth continuity that made up the narrative. The neorealists did not defy continuity, but neither did they sacrifice the image to it. They allowed the image to create a world, casually, and with as little embellishment as possible.
Rossellini tries to restrain the image, holding it to the observation of poor people doing heroic things—resisting and fighting the Nazi occupation—rather than making them appear heroic. The heroism emerges from their acts and their deaths. No comment is made upon it because no comment is needed. This is what neorealism discovered and what was passed on to the next generation. There is an admiration of these people and their struggle which does not make them more than they are; perhaps just what they are. Visconti is not dealing in the exaggerations of early socialist realism, the poster nobility of workers and peasants, but with a class of people in a particular geographical area Sicily to whom attention needed to be paid.
The documentary urge inherent in much of the neorealist aesthetic also leads him a step further; the rich images are accompanied by a voice-over commentary which, even though it often merely repeats or sums up what we have already seen or will soon see, also attempts to provide an extra objective perspective, a concerned voice to match the concerned eye that forms the images.
But some contradictions begin to emerge. Within this documentary impulse, almost contrary to it, there is a desire to go beyond creation of an illusion of unmediated reality. Visconti will not drop all aesthetic pretense. He observes his world, coaxes it into being, frames and composes it, regards it in the light of his own admiration and compassion, honors it, and finally monumentalizes it. There are images in the film that call for an aesthetic response, an appreciation of the way they are lit and composed. And the manipulation of the narrative, like that of the images, is designed to move us in particular ways.
The outstanding fact about the movement is that they were committed to making fiction films, not documentaries, despite the impulse toward documentary in their theory and occasionally in their practice. The subjective urge was always present, and finally recognized. There was nothing for the postwar Italians to chronicle with documentary.
There was no revolution and they did not find lyricism in work or sponsorship by government and business to create such lyricism as Grierson and his followers had. Instead they chose to dramatize and give structure to postwar events and to a class of people rarely considered worthy of narrative in the cinema. They invented characters, but allowed them to be played by individuals who were close to those characters in their own lives. They told a story but at the same time attenuated it, subordinating conventional continuity and character development to the observation of detail.
Seeing an image of life itself is a dramatic event; it need not be manipulated into something greater than itself. The neorealists sought a form that would attenuate the structures of fantasy in traditional film. The spectator would be offered small, unelaborated images built from the lives of a certain class of people at a certain moment and in a certain place.
The film integrates at least three approaches: it is a quasi-newsreel documenting the movement of American troops from Sicily northward to the Po; within this historical structure it presents six episodes, in specific geographical locations, sketching small dramas occurring between the soldiers and Resistance fighters and the people; and within these episodes it reveals, tersely and without embellishment, some attitudes, agonies, defeats, and victories, military and personal, that resulted from the deprivation of war and two foreign invasions, German and American.
In the Naples episode a black American MP meets a small boy, another of those street beggars who populate the neorealist universe. The episode is built out of a series of small ironies and understandings. When they first meet, at a street fair complete with fireeater, the soldier is drunk, and a group of young children try to rob him. The boy follows the soldier and the two of them visit a puppet show, which depicts the white crusader Orlando battling a Moor. The black American liberator watches a display of ancient racism and in his drunkenness attacks the white puppet.
The boy leads him away through the ruined streets to a rubble heap where the two sit. The image fades to black. The soldier comes to a quiet understanding of the poverty that makes thievery an ordinary childhood activity. He does not take the shoes offered him by the little boy which are not the ones he stole from him anyway and simply leaves. Swelling music provides the only punctuation. Rossellini need only suggest the horror that often proceeds from understanding, or, in more precise neorealist terms, permit revelation to occur through observation.
He need not expand on these self-contained and self-expressive images: the poor children in primitive conditions who must steal to live; the black American soldier, hero, drunkard, understanding the poverty, unable to have any effect on it. Recognition passes in the exchange of glances within the film and across the film to the audience, who are then left between the look of the child and the soldier in the distant jeep. Some are a bit more melodramatic, such as the Roman episode, about an American soldier who spends the night with a prostitute he does not recognize as the woman he once loved.
Or the Florence episode, in which an American nurse seeks her Partisan lover, only to discover he has been killed. In every art movement engaging with abstraction, women were at the forefront, side by side with the men, whom alone our cultural institutions have canonised, allowing so many women to be forgotten or sidelined.
From the Russian constructivists to the founders of the American Abstract Artists, through to the first and second generations of the New York School, and across Europe from Sweden to Prague and Warsaw, you will find, if you look, the names and oeuvres of remarkable women artists in abstraction. He also highlighted the effect of weaker exchange rates between the pound and euro. But he doubts the bats directly infected the victims.
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And if so how? The intelligent class of pitchers, who excel in strategy in the box, were successful not only in deceiving the eye of the batsman in judging the speed of the delivery, and as to the ball being sent in fast or slow, but also in puzzling his judgment in regard to the direc- tion the ball is sent to him, as well as to its being sent in higher or lower than he wants it. All of these features of strategic pitching insure a degree of success in the box unknown to the pitcher who relies solely on intimidating speed, technically known as "cyclone" pitching, which is wild, swift delivery of the ball without command of it.
All of the improved methods in delivery were pitching features of the best work of the occu- pants of the box in in the big leagues in question. Just here we want to state that the essentials for effective strategic skill in pitching may be briefly summed up as follows : First — The power of fully commanding the ball in delivery, so as to insure the ball's being pitched over the plate and within the legal range, just as the pitcher's knowledge of the strong and weak points of the opposing batsmen may suggest.
Especially is this command of the ball essential in the working of the "curves" of his delivery, for without complete control of the ball in using the "curves" they are largely wasted, and result in more bases on balls than strike-outs or of chances for outs off the bat. And, by the way, it has to be stated that the essential of , "command of the ball" in pitching was exhibited by more pitchers of the first division teams of the major leagues the past season than ever before recorded.
Second — The possession of speed in delivery, which is of great effect when judiciously used and aided by thorough command of the ball, but very costly without the required control. Third — The use of the various curves known to the expert class of pitchers. But these curves, like the element of speed, equally need command of the ball to make them effective, otherwise they do not trouble any batsmen, save, the stupid "slugging" class, whose forte is chance hits for "homers," and those who indulge in the regular "fungo" hitting style. Fourth — Control of temper, which in a Base Ball pitcher is as essential to success as it is to a billiard expert, and in that game no quick-tempered player can possibly succeed.
The want of control over a hot, quick temper, is never more strikingly exhibited than it is when a pitcher angrily disputes an umpire's decision on "called balls" and "strikes," or when he indulges in fault finding with his infield support. Both of these acts of folly are only committed by pitchers who lack the brain power to excel in their positions.
Fifth — The absolute necessity of avoiding the folly — in fact, the downright stupidity — of "kicking" against the umpire's decisions. Nothing possible can be gained by it, while a great deal is lost. All such decisions are fixtures and cannot be reversed, as they are, at the worst, but errors of judgment, and no such error on the part of the umpire can legally be disputed.
Besides which the folly of such "kicking" is shown in the fact that disputing decisions of the kind implies either dishonesty or misjudgment on the part of the umpire, and naturally forces him to deprive the offending pitcher of the benefit of the doubt he would otherwise have profited by. Sixth — The necessary endurance to stand the pressure of a long and fatiguing contest. Seventh — The nerve and pluck to discharge the onerous duties of the position, under the trying circumstances of either poor field support of his pitching, or of.
In ordinary busi- ness affairs the governing rule of action is "business is business, you know," and the only consideration, as regards its practical working, is to remove from the management every phase of mere sentiment and to bring to bear in its control that spirit of selfish commercialism which governs every business man who enters the great race for the Almighty Dollar, which was so characteristic of American business men of half a century ago, and which in these present days is the basis of all the financial evils which afflict business men in the country at large.
In other words, a president or director of a professional Base Ball club should allow a certain amount of sentiment to govern his method of running his club, as the charter members of the old National League did during the decades of the seventies and eighties. The latter thought more of building up the game and of making it deservedly popular than they did of the dividends on the investment of their capital.
A writer on the game recently said, in commenting on senti- ment in professional Base Ball : "For a professional sport it has everything in this country beaten across the board in the quality of sentiment ; and don't forget that sentiment will go a. When a club engages the services of a team manager it should place in his hands the power not only to discipline the players, but also that of selecting them, and also that , of dis- missing them when they fail to obey his command or rules.
If this power is not granted to him, or if his directions are ignored, discipline is out of the question, and the manager is thereby deprived of the opportunity to fully display his innate abilitv to manage his team up to the point of pennant- winning success. Because of the absence of any governing body or league in this branch of sport several of the leading teams of this section did not meet on the diamond and attempts to estimate their respective strength by means of comparative scores results in "confusion worse confounded.
While all of the players did not measure up to the standard set by the teams in the big leagues, many performed in a manner which would warrant their entrance into minor leagues had they so desired. In several cases during the early season college nines defeated professional combinations of excellent caliber.
Despite these performances it is an exceedingly hard matter to select any one of the leading quartette as the best college team in the East for the year. Among close followers of the sport it is generally conceded that the honor lay between Princeton, Cornell and Brown. Taking the season as a whole, regardless of any special series, the Brown team won sixteen out of eighteen games, lost one and tied the other, a thirteen- inning struggle with Yale.
The Providence collegians, however, did not meet either Princeton or Cornell. They defeated Am- herst twice and Pennsylvania, Harvard and Yale each once in their big games and a forfeited contest with Dartmouth is also down among the list of victories. Cornell was second in percentage, winning twenty out of twenty-seven games played.
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Virginia, Amherst, Fordham and a number of other teams ; broke even with the Syracuse professionals, Columbia and Harvard in two two-game series, and lost to Penn State, North Carolina and two other colleges, while on the Southern trip. Princeton, next to Pennsylvania, played the longest schedule of the year among the Eastern nines. Out of thirty-one contests the Tigers captured twenty-two. Georgetown and Syracuse Univer- sity broke even in a similar series. The team also won single games from Columbia, Dartmouth, Newark professionals, Penn State and several minor institution teams, while games were lost to Fordham, Lafayette, Wesleyan, Virginia and Mercers- burg Academy.
During the season, however, Princeton did not play either Brown or Cornell, so no actual comparison can be made with either of those teams. Holy Cross, with a record of sixteen victories out of twentv- four games played, held a high place in the season's record. The Worcester team figured in several long-drawn out contests, extra inning games being played with Princeton, Harvard and Fordham. One of the largest scores of the year in college Base Ball in the East was also made by Holy Cross in a game against Tufts, when 25 runs were scored against 3 by their opponents.
Fordham broke even in a two-game series with the team, while Dartmouth, Columbia, Williams, Yale, Syracuse, Georgetown and other teams were defeated. Lafayette also performed well on the diamond, winning nineteen games, losing eight and tieing two out of a twenty- nine-game schedule. In a four-game series with Lehigh each team won two contests and the Mili- tary Academy and North Carolina both tied in games with Lafayette.
The Naval Academy team won sixteen out of twenty-five games. Syracuse, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Dickinson figured among the teams defeated by the Middies. The victory of Harvard in a three-game series with Yale completed a fairly successful season for the Crimson, in which thirteen out of twenty-two games were won. Williams and Amherst broke better than even on the season's play, as did Yale and Pennsylvania. The Quakers had the longest schedule of the spring, playing thirty-three games, seventeen of which were won and sixteen lost.
Yale captured fifteen out of twenty-eight games and tied in another. The Elis' victories included games from Amherst, Navy. Syracuse, Dartmouth, Lafayette and Columbia. The West Pointers and Columbia both fell below the. The Military Academy team played fifteen games, winning seven, losing seven and tieing one. Columbia won five out of twenty-one games, lost fifteen and tied one.
The following records show the games played, with the results and percentage, among the leading teams of the East : College. Brown 18 16 1 1. Michigan was out of the "Big Nine" circle and for that reason there was no satisfactory way for any club to win general recognition as the "Champions of the West. Chicago and the other western teams would have added a great amount of interest to the campaign. Despite the absence of the Wolverines, there were many encouraging signs of healthy activity in quarters where College Base Ball had laid dormant for a season or two. Wis- consin came to the front with a capable team, which, while being far from championship caliber, made a good record : Drake University revived the sport and Minnesota made the best record it ever held in Base Ball.
The Gophers won a decisive series from the University of Chicago and also surprised the strong Notre Dame team. In a game with Minnesota on that date, Coach Dickinson used ten men, vainly trying to stall off defeat. Mefford, a good fielder, played part of the game in the middle field, but when his turn to bat came Stehling. The unworthy trick shocked the faculty and Professor Stagg, who was present at only an inning or two of the game. Dickinson was dismissed with a severe reprimand by the faculty and the team not allowed to finish its season.
For a time it seemed that the players, who had worked hard to make the team, would not be awarded their "C's", but the faculty relented, realizing that the players should not be made to suffer on account of the disgraceful mistake of a coach. The high standard always set by Illinois in Base Ball was again lived up to. Although the Illini lost the invaluable services of George Huff in mid season, when Huff went to Boston to take the management of the American League team of that city, they held together well and pulled out without losing a series. The best trick turned by the State University team was to take four straight from Chicago and defeat the Williams College team — rated quite high in the East — an a stirring 3 to 2 contest.
Notre Dame took the measure of Illinois early in the season, but later the Illini proved their superiority over Notre Dame in a hot 1 to affair. Notre Dame was satisfied with its glory in winning the undisputed championship of Indiana. Always a host on the diamond, the Notre Dame players were lords in their own State and often invaded other territory with success, as note their 5 to 4 victory over the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. But Minnesota proved able to hold her own with the crafty Notre Dame team. Northwestern was most erratic. Coach Cunningham, the old league pitcher, had the purple team going fairly well in the early season, when a victory over Wisconsin was scored, but the nine went to pieces later.
Hugh Nicol's Purdue team gave a good account of itself and of particular interest were the games in the Missouri valley, with Washington University and Missouri as the con- quering teams. Beloit had a fairly good team and derived much satisfaction in defeating its old enemy, Knox. But Knox had a successful season at that, winning from Missouri and Nebraska. Mills Mr. Young Sen. Morgan G. Bulkeley Mr. Spalding Mr. Reach Mr. AND MR. In the Guide of there appeared an article from Mr. Spalding, taking issue with Mr.
Henry Chadwick, as to the origin of Base Ball. Chadwick has contended for many years that the present American game of Base Ball derived its origin from, and was a direct descendant of the old English schoolboy game of "Round- ers," "while Mr. Spalding contends that Base Ball is distinc- tively American, in origin as well as development, and has no connection whatever with "Rounders" or any other foreign game.
As these well-known Base Ball authorities could not reach an agreement between themselves on this question, it was good- naturedly decided by the contending forces to refer the whole matter to a Special Base Ball Commission for full consideration and decision. The following gentlemen, well-known men in the Base Ball world, accepted positions on this Commission, viz.
Mills of New York, an enthusiastic ball player before and during the Civil War, and the third president of the National League.
Arthur P. Gorman since deceased , ex-United States Senator from Maryland. Young of Washington, D. C, a veteran ball player, and the first Secretary and afterward the fourth Presi- dent of the National League. Alfred J. Reach of Philadelphia, and Mr. George Wright, of Boston, both well-known business men and two of the most famous ball players in their day.
This controversy as to the origin of Base Ball, and the ap- pointment of a commission of such high standing, aroused con- siderable public 'interest, especially among the old-timers of the game. The Secretary was deluged with communications from different parts of the country, all having a more or less bearing on this question. For the past three years the Secretary has conducted an extensive correspondence in collecting data and following up various clues, suggested by this correspondence, that would aid the Commission in arriving at a decision as to the origin of the game.
Having collected all the data and evidence it was possible to obtain, the Secretary compiled the whole matter together, and at the close of laid it all before the Special Base Ball Commission for its consideration and decision. The Secretary has recently received notice of this final decision, just in time to promulgate it for the first time in this issue of the Guide.
Space in the Guide will nut permit the publication of all the data and evidence that was collected and submitted to the Commission, but it is the intention of the publishers of Spalding's Athletic Library to add to that series a special book on the "Origin of Base Ball," which will contain the whole matter in detail.
In this issue of the Guide, in addi- tion to the full decision of the Commission, there will appear the letters, or "briefs," that were addressed to the Commission by Mr. Henry Chadwick in support of his contention, and also by Mr. Spalding and Mr. John M. Ward, who fought on the American side of this "Origin" controversy. The thanks of the Base Ball public are due the members of the Special Commission for the time and thought they have given to this subject, and their decision should forever set at rest the question as to the Origin of Base Ball.
To Messrs. Mills, Morgan G. Bulkeley, N. Young, Alfred J. Reach and George Wright. Gentlemen : In relation to the existing controversy between Mr. Spalding and myself as to the origin of the established Ameri- can game of Base Ball, I shall be "brief and to the point" in my discussion of the question at issue between us ; and, in pre- senting my argument, I shall not occupy even an hour of your valuable time, inasmuch as the facts I present for your im- partial consideration are simply incontrovertible.
In the first, the basic principle involved in the point at issue is the use of a ball, a bat, and of bases, in the playing of a game of ball ; and, secondly, the date of the period when this self-same basic principle was first carried into practical effect on the field of play. Now I claim, on behalf of my English clients, that the estab- lished American national game of Base Ball had for its origin the old English school-boy game of "Rounders," and that this latter game existed in England as far back as two centuries ago ; and, in fact, it is a question at issue in England as to whether "Rounders" did not antedate the time-honored game of Cricket itself.
This, in fact, was the basic principle of the old English game of "Roundel's," and it is, to this day, the basic principle of the American na- tional game of Base Ball.
N As to the various methods of playing the two games, and the difference in their respective details of play, that matter in no way affects the question of the origin of the American game of Base Ball. In regard to the point, made by the opposing counsel, In which he refers to the game of ball played in "Colonial" days, I claim that the Canadian national game of "Lacrosse," a game played by the aborigines of North America, and the old English game of Cricket, played in New York as far back as , were the only games of ball known to our Colonial ancestry in the old revolutionary period he refers to.
So his argument in that regard falls to the ground "as dead as a door nail," as the saying is. On this statement of incontrovertible facts I present my clients' case to your final judgment, feeling confident that your decision will be in my favor. Very respectfully yours, Henry Chadwick, Counsel for the Defence. Gentlemen : I claim that the game of Base Ball is entirely of American origin, and has no relation to or connection with any game of any other country, except in so far as all games of ball have a certain similarity and family relationship.
While it is to be regretted that the beginning of Base Ball is more or less shrouded in mystery, I believe ample evidence has been collected that will convince the most skeptical that Base Ball is entirely of American origin, and had its birth and evolution in the United States.
The game is so thoroughly in accord with our national characteristics and temperament that this fact in itself tends to confirm my opinion that it is of purely American origin, and no other game or country has any right to claim its parentage. During my Base Ball trip around the world in , in company with the Chicago and Ail-American Teams, we were frequently reminded of the resemblance between Base Ball and some local game in nearly every country we visited. Whenever a Base Ball exhibition was given before an English audience, whether in New Zealand, Australia, Ceylon, Egypt or England, it was not infrequent to hear an expression some- thing like this : "Why, this American game of Base Ball is nothing more than our old English game of 'Rounders' that we used to play with the girls when we were boys, you know!
This ' challenge brought an acceptance from the Champion Rounders Club of England, and the game took place at Liverpool early in Books of the playing rules of both games, as then played, were exchanged between the English and American teams, but a careful study of these books of rules revealed very little similarity between the two games. In fact, about the only point of similarity seemed to be in the smaller size of the "Rounders" playing field, which was square in shape, the four corners of which were about 50 or 60 feet apart, marked by four small sticks about 3 feet high, with a tiny flag on the top ; whereas the Base Ball field is diamond-shaped with flat bases at each corner and 90 feet apart.
Eleven men compose a "Rounders" team, and two innings constitute a game, it being necessary to put out the eleven bat- ting side to complete an innings ; all of which indicates that either Rounders was an offshoot from Cricket, or possibly Cricket had its origin in Rounders, which is very much more plausible, and certainly more likely, than that Base Ball orig- inated from Rounders.
The miniature one-handed bat used in Rounders is of the same general flat shape as a cricket bat, but much smaller — another indication of the relationship be- tween Cricket and Rounders. The Rounders ball is a small and a rather soft affair, about the size of a golf ball, whereas the Base Ball and Cricket ball are about the same size and weight, though differently constructed. Another similarity between Cricket and Rounders is the peculiar manner of scoring runs in the latter game, which provides that a run be counted as the runner or, as we would call it in Base Ball, the base runner touches each post ; thus a complete circuit around the four posts would count as four runs.
In thus comparing Cricket with Rounders, it must not be understood that I am claiming that Cricket originated from Rounders, but simply to bring out and emphasize the fact that Cricket resembles Rounders more than Base Ball does, but any comparison with Rounders only tends to belittle both games. For your information I might add that the one innings Liverpool Rounders match between our American Base Ball team and England's Champion Rounders Club resulted in favor of the Englishmen by a score of 11 to 8.
I am aware that quite a general impression exists in the public mind that Base Ball had its origin in the English schoolboy game of Rounders, which has been occasioned largely, if not entirely, by the very able Base Ball writings of my esteemed and venerable friend, Mr. Henry Chadwick, who for the past forty years has continued to make the assertion that Base Ball had its origin in "Rounders," without as yet pro- ducing any satisfactory evidence to sustain his theory.
If Mr. Chadwick had been born in this country, and not in England, he might be as totally ignorant of Rounders as the rest of us, but it so hap- pened that before he came to this country, when he was about ten years of age, he had seen or possibly played in a game of Rounders, but I do not recall that he claims to have ever seen or played a game of Rounders since his arrival in America, nor have I ever seen or heard of his producing any convincing proof in support of his contention.
The oft-repeated assertion that Base Ball did derive its origin from the English schoolboy game of Rounders may possibly convince some that it is a fact, but I won't be convinced of it until more satisfactory evidence has been produced, and your Honorable Commission has rendered a decision to that effect. A careful search has failed to find a copy of any printed "Rounders" rules published previous to , when the Knicker- bocker Base Ball Rules first made their appearance.
Any mod- ern rules of Rounders should not be accepted as evidence, for it is well known that friends of that game have in recent years appropriated bodily many of the Base Ball rules, and, in fact, a noticeable effort has been made to make Rounders as much like Base Ball as possible in everything except in name.
There is no doubt but that the present-day game of "Rounders" has derived much of its modern origin from Base Ball, and I am as equally positive that our Base Ball of derived none of its origin from the ancient game of Rounders. What- ever similarity may be found between ancient Rounders and early Base Ball does not in itself constitute evidence that the latter game derived its origin from the former, and therefore should be treated simply as a coincidence and not as an estab- lished fact.
The fact that not even one scrap of evidence has been produced showing that the game of Rounders was ever played in the United States, or that it was even known by name, clearly substantiates my position in declaring that Base Ball was not derived from Rounders, but is of American origin. The tea episode in Boston Harbor, and our later fracas with England in , had not been sufficiently forgotten in for anyone to be deluded into the idea that our national preju- dices would permit us to look with favor, much less adopt any sport or game of an English flavor.
My rather exhaustive research and study of the subject leads me to the conclusion that Base Ball derived its origin from the old colonial game of "One Old Cat," which was played by three boys — a thrower, a catcher and a batsman — the batsman after striking the ball running to a goal about thirty feet distant, and by returning to his batting position counted one tally. All the batsmen were forced to run to the next corner of this square, or "goals," as they were called, whenever any one of the batsmen struck the ball, but if the ball was caught on the fly or first bound, or any one of the four batsmen was hit by a thrown ball between goals, that runner was out, and his place was taken by the fielding flayer who put him out.
These "Old Cat" games correspond to the present day so-called "Scrub Games" of Base Ball, and were changed from one, two, three and four "Old Cat" to take in additional boys as they arrived on the field. At some time in the remote past, to accommodate a greater number of players, and to change the individual players of the "Old Cat" games into competing teams, probably some ingenious American boy figured it out that by placing one thrower in the center of the "Four Old Cat" square field and having one catcher, with the players divided into sides, this desired result would be accomplished.
This style of game produced what has become generally known as "Town Ball," which was played in this country for many years before Base Ball ap- peared, and in fact was played up to and for several years after Base Ball was established by the Knickerbocker Club in Waldo, of Rockford, The number of players on a side was unlimited, and it was the custom of the losing side to buy the gingerbread and cider. I have always; regarded the game of Base Ball as now played as a modification of 'Town Ball. We had too much national pride in those days to adopt anything that was English in our sporting life.
The goals were numbered first, second, third and fourth goals. The batsman's position was located half-way between first and fourth goal, distant 30 feet from each goal.
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The catcher was stationed back of the batsman and outside the square, and the thrower was placed in the center of the square field. A circuit of the four goals counted one "tally" or run. A batsman could select any thrown ball to strike at, but if he missed the ball and the catcher caught it he was out. If a batted ball was caught on the fly or first bound the bats- man was out. If hit by a thrown ball while running between goals the runner was out. Three out, all out ; when the fielding side took their innings at the bat.
Foul balls being unknown, the more skilled batsman would deflect the ball back of him, which was considered one of the scientific features of "Towr Ball. The designated number of such tallies varied from 21 to The score was kept by making a notch on each side of a flat stick. The same game with different names existed in different parts of the country. In certain parts of New England it was known by the name of "Round Ball," but I have been unable to And any evidence where it was ever called "Rounders.
In the early sixties the so-called game of Massa- chusetts Base Ball, like Town Ball, died a natural death, and the so-called New York game, or present game of Base Ball,, has become thoroughly nationalized, and at present is the only game of "Base Ball" now played anywhere in the world. Abner Graves, at present a mining engineer of Denver, Colo. It also antedates by three years the first authentic account of games of Base Ball being played in a desultory sort of way by the young business men of New York City in Graves tends to locate its birth at Cooperstown, N. In this connection it is of interest to know that this Abner Doubleday was a graduate of West Point in , and after- ward became famous in the Civil War as the man who sighted the first gun fired from Fort Sumter, April 12, , which opened the War of the Rebellion between the North and South.
He afterward became a Major General in the United States Army and retired from service in , and died January 26, Graves, who is still living, says that he was present when Doubleday first outlined with a stick in the dirt the present diamond-shaped Base Ball field, indicating the location of the players in the field, and afterward saw him make a diagram of the field on paper, with a crude pencil memorandum of the rules for his new game, which he named "Base Ball. Graves was one of the youths that took part in this new game under Doubleday's direction his interest- ing and positive account of this incident is certainly entitled to serious consideration.
Personally, I confess that I am very much impressed with thfc straightforward, positive and apparently accurate manner in which Mr. Graves writes his narrative, and the circum- stantial evidence with which he surrounds it, and I am very strongly inclined to the belief that Cooperstown, N. The intrinsic merits of the game itself can be depended upon to overcome all prejudice and opposition that may show itself.
Enclosed herewith you will find a very interesting letter bear- ing on this -subject from Mr. Ward, a celebrated player in his time, and now a prominent lawyer in New York City. Ward has made an extended research and study into the origin of the game, and has come to the same conclusion that I have, viz. You will also find attached hereto see page a copy of the original Base Ball Playing Rules, formulated and published by the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club, September 23, In connection with these original Base Ball rules you will find a comparison I have drawn between these original Knickerbocker rules and the present playing rules of the game of , which show practically no change in the underlying principles of the rules of the game from its inception to the present time.
A careful comparison and analysis of the original Knicker- bocker Base Ball rules of with the rules or description of the so-called English game of "Rounders" will show the total dissimilarity of the two games, and should convince the most skeptical that there is absolutely no resemblance between the two games, and consequently it is impossible that one of these games should trace its' origin to the other. Respectfully submitted, A. JOHN M. Ward, Broadway. New York, June 19, Spalding, Point Loma, Cal. My Dear Albert : I have carefully read over the letters and manuscripts you sent me bearing upon the question of the origin of Base Ball, and I am very much in sympathy with your effort to obtain some exact information upon that question.
I fear, however, that your efforts must, in the nature of the case, meet with failure, though your investigations may result in throwing some side lights upon the inquiry- The game of Base Ball had its origin in this country so. Base Ball was orig- inally a boy's game. We know this much, at least, from the testimony of the men who first took it up and formulated its rules for the purpose of making it a manly pastime. Adams, Alexander J. Curry, E. Dupignac, William F. Ladd and other prominent business and professional men of New York City, seeking some medium for outdoor exercise, turned to the boy's game of Base Ball, there was not a code of rules nor any written records of the game, and their only guide to the method of playing was their own recollection of the game as they themselves, when boys, had played it and the rules of the game then in existence, which had come down, like folklore, from generation to generation of boys.
Indeed it was not until several years later, upon the organization of the Knickerbocker Ball Club in , that the rules of the game were first put in writing. William F. Ladd was at that time a jeweler in Wall Street, a fine, handsome old gentleman, eighty-four years of age, with an" intellect as clear as a jewel. He told me many interesting incidents about those early days of the game. One of these -was that Col.
James Lee, who was, at the time of the organiza- tion of the Knickerbocker Ball Club, about sixty years of age, was one of the moving spirits in the organization of that club. That Col. Lee had told him that he, Col. Lee, had played Base Ball as a boy ; that it was upon the recollection of Col. Lee and other men of mature years among that little coterie of health-seeking enthusiasts, that the rules were formulated. Another interesting tale told me by Mr. Ladd was that the reason they chose the game of Base Ball instead of — and in fact in opposition to — cricket was because they regarded Base Ball as a purely American game ; and it appears that there was at that time some considerable prejudice against adopting any game of foreign invention.
In the infancy of sport in this country New York, Phila- delphia and Boston were the three principal centers and an examination of the earliest records in each one of these sections will disclose the same old popular game of Cat Ball as played among the boys. The rules of Cat Ball, as some of your cor- respondents point out, were exceedingly simple, such as any crowd of boys of ordinary intelligence, possessing a ball and bat.
From Cat Ball to the Knickerbocker game of Base Ball is only a step, though the game may have been passed through several intermediate stages. The old game of "Scrub" lies between Cat Ball and Base Ball, though whether it preceded or followed the game of Base Ball in point of time no man can now say. The Knickerbocker game of Base Ball was itself a very sim- ple game requiring no great inventive genius, and one of the secrets of the immense popularity of the game and its quick spread through the country was its very simplicity. The simplicity of the central idea of the game of Base Ball makes it adaptable to the changing disposition of the times ; and so it has gone along still holding its original place in our affections and increasing the number of its votaries year by year with the country's growth.
Those who have sought to attribute its origin to the English game of "Rounders" were persons who became acquainted with Base Ball years after its inception as a sport for adults, and they have ignored entirely so much of the early history of the game as we have been able to find. But most important of all it seems to me they overlook the great dissimilarity between the original central and controlling ideas of the two games.
The great feature of Rounders, that from which it derives its name, is "the rounder" itself, meaning that whenever one of the "in" side makes a complete continuous circuit of the bases, or, as we would call it in Base Ball, a "home run," he thereby reinstates the entire side ; and it then becomes necessary to begin all over again to retry each one of the side at bat, until all of them have been put out, such being one of the rules of that game.
Not one of these detractors of the American game has ever shown or claimed that any such rule ever had a place in the game of Base Ball ; yet it is not only fair but reasonable to suppose that, if Base Ball were a descendant of the English game of Rounders, there would be some place somewhere in Base Ball of this distinctive feature of the other game. As I have said before, however, all exact information upon the origin of Base Ball must, in the very nature of things, be unobtainable.
Boys do not make records of the rules of their boyish games and we have never had in this country the "Year Books" or a "Badminton Library" to do the work for us. America has no "Stonehenge" and therefore we are handicapped in any discussion of this nature by the entire absence of con- temporary data. But from what investigations I have made and from such information as I have been able to get from one source and another, and from the innate probabilities, I have never had any doubt myself but that Base Ball was a. Yours very truly, John M. American origin of the game as against its English origin as contended for by Mr.
Chadwick, on "patriotic ground. As a matter of fact, the game of ball which I have always regarded as the distinctive English game, i. Indeed, the earliest field sport that I remember was a game of cricket, played on an open field near Jamaica, L. Then, and ever since, I have heard cricket spoken of as the essentially English game, and, until my perusal of this testimony, my own belief had been that our game of Base Ball, substantially as played to-day, originated with the Knickerbocker club of New York, and it was frequently referred to as the "New York Ball Game.
It does seem to me, however, that, in the last analysis, his contention is based chiefly upon the fact that, substantially, the same kind of implements are employed in the game of Base Ball as in the English game of "Rounders" to which he refers ; for if the mere tossing or handling of some kind of ball, or striking it with some kind of a stick, could be accepted as the origin of our game, then "Father" Chadwick would certainly have to go far back of Anglo-Saxon civiliza- tion — beyond Rome, beyond Greece, at least to the palmy days of the Chaldean Empire!
Nor does it seem to me that he can any more successfully maintain the argument because of the employment, by the English schoolboy of the past, of the im- plements or materials of the game. Surely there can be no question of the fact that Edison, Frank Sprague and other pioneers in the electrical field were the inventors of useful devices and processes whereby electricity was harnessed for the use of man, although they did not invent electricity, nor do they, nor does anybody, know to-day what electricity is!
As I have stated, my belief had been that our "National Game of Base Ball" originated with the Knickerbocker club, organized in New York in , and which club published cer- tain elementary rules in that year ; but, in the interesting and pertinent testimony for which we are indebted to Mr. Spalding, appears a circumstantial statement by a reputable gentleman, according to which the first known diagram of the diamond, indicating positions for the players, was drawn by Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, N. Abner Doubleday subsequently graduated from West Point and entered the regular army, where, as Captain of Artillery, he sighted the first gun fired on the Union side at Fort Sumter in the Civil War.
Later still, as Major General, he was in command of the Union army at the close of the first day's fight in the battle of Gettysburg, and he died full of honors at Mendham, N. It happened that he and I were members of the same veteran military organization — the crack Grand Army Post Lafayette , and the duty devolved upon me, as Commander of that organization, to have charge of his obsequies, and to command 'the veteran military escort which served as guard of honor when his body lay in state, January 30, , in the New York City Hall, prior to his interment in Arlington.
In the days when Abner Doubleday attended school in Cooperstown, it was a common thing for two dozen or more of school boys to join in a game of ball. Doubtless, as in my later experience, collisions between players in attempting to catch the batted ball were frequent, and injury due to this cause, or to the practice of putting out the runner by hitting him with the ball, often occurred.