Remembering 19th Century Base Ball - 1864 Rules
By 1860, base ball was an established pastime and had already evolved to a diamond with ninety feet between the bases, nine players on each team, nine innings of play and the rules all modern folks would recognize.
But the differences are what attract and hold attention:
The pitching area is 45 feet from home base - not the standard 60' 6" of today's game and is marked by two parallel lines 12 feet long drawn 45' and 48' from the plate
Three balls constitute a walk after the pitcher is given a warning. All runners advance one base on a walk whether they are forced or not.
Three strikes constitutes a strike out after the striker is given a warning
The pitcher delivers the ball underhand into a strike zone that is from the head to the ankles.
The striker must stand straddling a line drawn through home base.
A batted ball is determined fair by where the ball hits the ground first regardless of whether it passes first or third base.
Foul balls are not strikes, but a batter may be put out on a foul tick at any time if the catcher catches the ball in the air or on one bound.
Runners must return to their bases on a foul ball and can be put out after the ball first goes through the pitcher's hands.
The striker is out if a fair ball is either caught on the fly or on one bound.
Runners can not overrun first base.
Control of the ball is not necessary on a tag out.
The first batter in an inning is the person who follows the player who made the last out - not necessarily the last batter.
There is no infield fly rule.
A hit batsman is not awarded first base.
Only the captain may speak to the umpire or call for a time out.
Base ball then was a gentleman's game, so all in attendance dress in their Sunday best because a baseball game is an important event; second only to the 4th of July parade. A parade, picnic, and brass band were often scheduled as part of the festivities.
Some 19th Century BASEBALL TERMS
Loose fielding… bad fielding
Air ball… A fly ball
Outcurve - Outside curveball
Muckle….. Slang for a player with muscle power
Over pitch…. Pitching error by throwing overhand, results in a balk
Skyer… A towering fly ball
Muffin…. An unskilled player; a team of beginners