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Old 11-03-2020, 11:18 AM
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Default 1894 - Very Early Vintage Basket Ball Find

I recently picked up this extremely rare 1894 copyright Official Rules and Score Blanks for the 1895-1896 Basket Ball season. This was in a veteran's old Spanish-American War chest. It was produced just a little over two years after Naismith's invention of the game at the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA. What makes this particularly interesting is that it includes the scoring for three of the earliest recorded games of which one of these teams being the New Britain YMCA team that claimed to be the 1895-1896 World Champions. Keep in mind, the YMCA teams were the strongest teams out there up until around 1896. College teams didn’t even exist until that time.

An interesting side note is that I purchased some glass slides earlier this year that contained images of some of the earliest basket ball teams. One of these was the New Britain team. One of their players was Bert Loomis, whom some credit with being the first ever to dribble a basket ball in a game.

You'll notice five players per team shown in one of the games and seven players per team in another. In the first couple of years most games were 7 on 7 or 9 on 9. Starting in 1895 they started transitioning into mostly 5 on 5 games. Dribbling also started becoming more common as part of the game.

Rob M

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New Britain YMCA team photo.jpg

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Last edited by ramram; 11-03-2020 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 11-03-2020, 12:24 PM
bgar3 bgar3 is online now
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That is a great historical find. Wonderful.
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Old 11-03-2020, 12:33 PM
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Exactly what I though. Many of the things we collect depict or remind us of history, but that IS history. Tremendous.
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Old 11-03-2020, 11:19 PM
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Very cool item!
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Old 11-06-2020, 06:37 PM
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Default congrats

Congratulations on a really great piece!!!
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Old 11-06-2020, 07:28 PM
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Just brilliant!

For perspective, if you have already researched - how many such 19th Century rule books have turned up?

Early Baseball rule books show up reasonably often but my impression is that far fewer from the beginning of the game of Basketball have been found...?
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Old 11-06-2020, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68Hawk View Post
Just brilliant!

For perspective, if you have already researched - how many such 19th Century rule books have turned up?

Early Baseball rule books show up reasonably often but my impression is that far fewer from the beginning of the game of Basketball have been found...?
I have only seen three of these show up over the years. Even rarer is the YMCA Triangle magazine of 1892 that contains the rules. I think there are only two in private hands.

Rob M
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Old 11-06-2020, 09:53 PM
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Default Ymca

Not to highjack, but instead to push this thread forward, here is my early YMCA basketball jersey.
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Old 11-07-2020, 06:02 PM
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Incredible find...congrats!
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Old 11-18-2020, 09:33 AM
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In further researching New Britain star player Bernardotte "Bert" Loomis as being the originator of the dribble (Loomis is holding the basketball in the above photo and also noted in the scorebook), I found some interesting information online, one of which says: "Bernardotte Loomis, a timekeeper at Stanley and later the city tax collector, bounced the ball in the title game that was witnessed by James Naismith, who approved the move - and dribbling was born".

Also, this excerpt gives a good idea of the impact of Loomis:

Article.jpg


In addition, a newspaper article dated March 23, 1896, when New Britain beat the powerhouse Central YMCA team of Brooklyn, says: "The style of play of the two teams was entirely different. The Brooklyn boys played a high game entirely with much passing and many free throws. In the latter they were weak, however, not being able to reach the basket. The New Britain team played a low game exclusively, seldom passing the ball, and depending entirely upon bounding [dribbling] and eluding in preference to reach the goal. Loomis was particularly expert in this style of play, and landed the ball safely, time after time." This new way to move the ball, dribbling, was done to circumvent the rule of not walking with the ball.

Newspaper Article 1.jpg
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