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Old 12-02-2004, 05:37 PM
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Default Baseball Dying Out?

Posted By: Steve Tuttle

"There is really reason to believe that baseball is gradually dying out in this country. It has been openly announced by an athletic authority that what was once called the national game is being superceded by cricket, and the records of our hospitals confirm that fewer games of baseball have been played during the past year than were played during any other single year since 1868."

This is from a NYTimes editorial dated 1881. It goes on to say that the Pilgrims! played an early form of baseball and that soon all of America's kids would be playing cricket. I stumbled over this looking for Peck & Snyder references.

One question: "The records of our hospitals confirm..."??? Did so many people get hurt playing baseball that hospitals kept records of baseball injuries?

There's another great editorial from 1870 chiding the Cincinnati Red Stockings for charging 50 cents a game and then dogging it on the field. Sound familiar?

A snippet: "...they are as much open to criticism as the performers in a circus, burnt cork artists or disciples of the sock and buskin." One player is compared unfavorably to a donkey.

What's a sock and buskin? Anybody? A burnt cork artist?

I don't post that often but must say this is the greatest bulletin board around. I read it religiously.

Steve Tuttle

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Old 12-02-2004, 07:58 PM
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Default Baseball Dying Out?

Posted By: Scott M

Reading that article reminds me of the addage that the more things change, the more they stay the same.. Who would of thunk it.. players dogging it even back then

A quick internet search on sock and buskin reveals that its a term that goes back to the early days of theatre when bands of Greek traveling actors would wear particular footwear to denote the type of play they were presenting - socks in the case of comedy and buskin (big boots) in the case of tragedy (taken from the website of a theatre company in Canada which goes by that name).

The burnt cork reference also appears to have its roots in early theatre and traveling minstrels based upon a google search.

If the article was written today I would imagine that it would read that "ball players are as open to criticism as movie stars and rock stars..."

Considering what they make, the logic holds just as true today as it did in 1881

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Old 12-02-2004, 11:05 PM
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Default Baseball Dying Out?

Posted By: jay behrens

Not sure whent he rules changed, but you used to bea ble to throw the ball at a base runner and if you hit him, he was out. This may have been a source of alor injuries in the early game.

Jay

Recently there was a fistfight between fans and players at a professional basketball game. Not to be outdone, the National Hockey League has announced that when they resume their season, not only will several fans be beaten every period, but one lucky fan each game will be run over by the Zamboni.

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Old 12-03-2004, 02:03 PM
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Default Baseball Dying Out?

Posted By: Rhys

They stopped throwing the ball at people in the late 1850's and it was essentially not used by any club by 1860.

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Old 12-03-2004, 02:40 PM
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Default Baseball Dying Out?

Posted By: T206Collector

...is an old-fashioned way of making charcoal to draw with or paint faces with. As a kid, I used to take old wine bottle corks, flame up the bottoms on the stove, and then use it to draw or make designs on my face. It was quite fun.

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Old 12-03-2004, 02:56 PM
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Default Baseball Dying Out?

Posted By: jay behrens

The burnt cork was also used as eye black, under the eyes.

Jay

Recently there was a fistfight between fans and players at a professional basketball game. Not to be outdone, the National Hockey League has announced that when they resume their season, not only will several fans be beaten every period, but one lucky fan each game will be run over by the Zamboni.

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