Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York

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The Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York was the first organized baseball club. This claim does not include any teams that would have been created to play such things as Bat and Ball (referenced in William Winterbotham's 1796 work "An Historical View of the United States", where it stated that it was "common in America before the Revolutionary War"), or Jane Austen's "base-ball" (referenced in her 1798 novel Northanger Abbey, in which one of the main characters, a woman, is mentioned as playing cricket, base-ball, etc.).

1847 Knickerbockers

The club first started play in 1842 (playing in Manhattan), but it was not until 1845 that the club formally organized. Under the leadership of club president and committee chairman Dr. Daniel Lucius Adams, the Committee to Revise the Constitution and By-Laws created a set of 20 rules to govern the club. Instrumental in forming these rules was Alexander Cartwright.

The team practiced during 1845 in Hoboken, NJ and on October 6, 1845 the club played a game with teams made up of club members. And then on June 19, 1846, the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club faced off against the New York Nine at Elysian Fields in Hoboken. The New York Nine won 23-1, with Cartwright serving as umpire (with the power to fine players on the spot for swearing).

1859 Photo: Knickerkbocker Baseball Club and Excelsior Base Ball Club


  • 1842: Club informally organized.
  • 1845: Club formally organized. Alexander Cartwright joins the club.
  • 1846: June 19: first game, lost to the New York Nine (score 23-1)
  • 1849: the position of short-stop is created, and for the first time the Knickerbockers wear uniforms. Alexander Cartwright leaves the New York area.
  • 1854: June: first game to go past 9 innings: Knickerbockers lose to Gothams 21-16 after 16 innings of play.
  • 1856: Base ball is named the national game by the New York Clipper; baseball is the National Pastime (New York Mercury). Also in 1856: the bunt is "invented" by Dickey Pearce ("tricky hit").
  • 1857: The first league is formed (National Association of Base Ball Players, which includes the Knickerbockers and 15 other New York City clubs, playing according to the original Knickerbocker rules plus additions).
  • 1860: 62 clubs in the National Association of Base Ball Players (not to be confused with the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players to be formed in 1871).
  • 1861: Civil War begins.
  • 1862: Dr. Daniel Lucius Adams resigns as Knickerbockers president.
  • 1868: 100 clubs in the National Association of Base Ball Players.

List of known Knickerbockers players[edit]

Note: This list includes all people who are known to have played for the team so some undiscovered/unconfirmed players may be missing.

1845 New Members[edit]

1846 New Members[edit]

  • Alfred Cartwright
  • John Mumford
  • Charles Birney
  • Walter Titus Avery
  • George Ireland Jr.
  • Abraham W. Tucker
  • David Hart
  • Walter Oakley
  • John Lalor
  • James Lee
  • David Haight Anthony
  • James Turney Jr.
  • W. Lippincott
  • Fanning?
  • Paulding?

1847 New Members[edit]

  • Alexander Drummond
  • Michael McCarty

1848 New Members[edit]

1849 New Members[edit]

  • Benjamin K. Brotherson
  • Edward Talman

1850 New Members[edit]

  • James Whyte Davis
  • William Henry Grenelle

1851 New Members[edit]

  • William Talman

1852 New Members[edit]

  • John Murray Jr.
  • William F. Ladd
  • Peter S. Henderson
  • McDonald?

1853 New Members[edit]

  • Otto Parisen Jr.

1854 New Members[edit]

1855 New Members[edit]

  • William Eager Jr.

1856 New Members[edit]

  • Richard Fowler Stevens

1857 New Members[edit]

  • Harry Wright
  • Daniel Stansbury
  • Napoleon Bonaparte McLaughlin
  • Alfred Vredenburgh
  • Richard S. Conover
  • Norman M. Welling
  • Edgar Lasak
  • William A. Woodhull
  • William F. Ladd
  • DeMott?
  • Stephens?

1858 New Members[edit]

  • Beverly Clarke
  • James H. Leggett

1859 New Members[edit]

1860 New Members[edit]

  • David B. Keeler

1861 New Members[edit]

  • Henry Thomas
  • Anson S. Palmer

1862 New Members[edit]

  • Alonzo Slote
  • Thomas O'Brien
  • William P. Bensel

1863 New Members[edit]

  • William LaMont Taylor

1864 New Members[edit]

  • None confirmed

1865 New Members[edit]

  • James Everett Vail
  • Thomas Grierson
  • Richard Hinsdale

1866 New Members[edit]

  • Charles Righter

1867 New Members[edit]

  • Herman Cohen

1868 New Members[edit]

  • None confirmed

People who joined the Knickerbockers in unknown years[edit]

  • William Vail
  • Edwin Constantine Fronk
  • Henry Anthony
  • Lambert Suydam Jr.
  • William Henry Westervelt
  • Gershom Lockwood
  • Edward A. Ebbets
  • John D. Dixon
  • William H. Tucker
  • Charles Pierson
  • John Storm
  • John Murphy
  • James Montgomery
  • Henry L. Slote
  • James Landsdown
  • Abner Hayward
  • Samuel Nichols
  • William Tyson
  • John Simpkins
  • Peter Kissam
  • James Wenman
  • Henry C. Ellis
  • Sam Yates
  • George Brown
  • Andrew J. Carl
  • Henry Flender
  • E. Dick
  • A. Kirkland
  • B. Kirkland
  • E.H. Birdsall
  • W.H. Kirby
  • H.L. Butler
  • J.C. Smith
  • C.H. Parisen
  • Benson?
  • Homans?
  • Rogers?
  • Marshall?
  • Talmadge?
  • Robinson?
  • Van Zandt?
  • Coe?
  • Langworthy?
  • Watson?
  • Moore?
  • Arthur?
  • Wood?
  • Rutherford?
  • Greenleaf?
  • Morrow?
  • Walston?
  • Bunker?
  • Schack?
  • Churchill?
  • Brodie?
  • Hatfield?
  • Dillon?


Further Reading[edit]

  • Howard Burman: Gentlemen at the Bat: A Fictional Oral History of the New York Knickerbockers and the Early Days of Base Ball, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2010. ISBN 978-0-7864-4720-6