|The Introduction of Baseball to Victorians
From Early Base and Ball games to Baseball as we currently know it, the "game" has always had its place in the World.
Through it’s evolution into today’s game from the old English Anglo-Saxon culture, dating back to the late 1700’s - 1800’s, and perhaps 100’s of years earlier; baseball has always had a historical presence that lends a ghostly effect and has shaped communities.
Known across the Eastern pond (Atlantic Ocean) as Stool ball, Goal-ball and Cats, Great Britain definitely has its early stamp on the game and helped to develop Bat and Ball games. There are also documented accounts showing town-ball being played by George Washington and his troops during the American Revolution.
Canada claims the first recorded account of a baseball game, occurred in Beechville, Ontario on June 4, 1838, which was described in a detailed letter written by Dr. Adam E. Ford, published on May 5, 1886, in a magazine called Sporting Life. The earliest known newspaper account of a Baseball game in the United States was published 7 years later on September 11, 1845, in the New York Morning News, which announced a game that occurred the previous day. (source:19cbaseball.com)
The “historians” say base-ball’s first organized game was played by two New York squads in Hoboken, New Jersey.
The New York Knickerbockers and the New York Nine, played under the new Kickerbocker Rules set in place by Alexander Cartwright on June 16th, 1846, which laid the groundwork of the rules for the game as we know it today.
Alexander Cartwright was a banker, umpire and very serious looking man, featuring a very thick earlier 19th century hair style, mustache and beard. He took the rules and watched how the Old English as well as other bat and ball games were being played and turned it into something that fit the New World Culture.
We where blessed with organized base-ball, featuring the first 20 rules known as the Kickerbocker Rules.
In August 19, 1848 news of gold discovered in California made it's way to the East Coast,(where Cartwright resided);
The New York Herald published news of the discovery which was confirmed officially by President James Polk. (source: kipnotes.com/Mining1.htm)
Here is where it gets interesting for Victoria Baseball fans.
Later in 1849, three years after the first game between the Knickerbockers and the NY Nine, and the following year after that New York Herald announcement of the discovery of Gold, Cartwright travelled to San Francisco, California.
There is documentation that says, Cartwright brought with him a NY Knickerbockers baseball and taught everyone he met along his journey out West, the "new game" of baseball as they were playing it back in New York under the 20 new rules.
There were natives etc., playing the game before those in Boston or Chicago, and historians say that it was even played earlier in the Hawaiian Islands where Cartwright would later retire.
However, Victoria’s first introduction to the game of baseball took place in San Francisco during the time of 1849 Gold Rush.
Did a Victoria cricket player learn of the game through Alexander Cartwright and bring it home?
Sure, eventually baseball would have made it up north or across the country from back east but these events and perhaps others shaped the cornerstone foundation for Baseball today in our little corner of the globe, Victoria.