Play Ball!: Henry Chadwick’s 1866 Base Ball Player’s Book of Reference

Cabinet card portrait of Henry Chadwick seated with a book in his hands. / G. Frank E. Pearsall, 289 Fulton St. [Brooklyn, N.Y.], [1874].
Cabinet card portrait of Henry Chadwick seated with a book in his hands. / G. Frank E. Pearsall, 289 Fulton St. [Brooklyn, N.Y.], [1874]. (BL-13-58a National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)
base ball title page
Title Page

To celebrate the beginning of the 2017 Major League Baseball season, Special Collections has digitized and made available The Base Ball Player’s Book of Reference, an exceedingly rare book of baseball rules and statistics written by Henry Chadwick. Only one other institution, the American Antiquarian Society, reports holding the 1866 edition of this work. The copy held by Lehigh is a unique presentation copy signed by the author, containing the note “Compliments of H Chadwick.”

 

An early spokesperson for the sport of baseball, Henry Chadwick gained renown as a pioneering sports journalist. Seeking to describe the events of games in greater detail and make it easier to follow by a wider fan base, Chadwick invented many basic terms and statistics, including:

  • The batting average (BA), used to analyze the skill of a batter
  • The earned run average (ERA), used to measure runs scored as a result of a pitcher
  • The letter K to denote a strike
  • The box-score, used to record the runs, hits, put-outs, assists and errors that occurred during a game
  • Numbering defensive positions and abbreviating plays to aid in score-keeping

Henry Chadwick Baseball Hall of Fame Plaque
Henry Chadwick Baseball Hall of Fame Plaque (http://baseballhall.org/hof/chadwick-henry)

All of these innovations are still commonly used to describe and analyze the game of baseball. Since Chadwick’s initial use of statistics, a plethora of new and increasingly complex statistics have been created to better analyze players and their abilities, the practice now described as Sabermetrics. For his significant contributions to the national game of baseball, Chadwick was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1938, just the third year of its existence. Lehigh’s holding is not the first baseball rule book, written by Chadwick in 1858 as recognized by the Hall of Fame, but it still provides a fascinating glimpse into the early days of baseball.

While many of the rules in the book will be familiar to modern baseball fans, there are several differences. What we now refer to as balls, Chadwick describes as “Delivering Unfair Balls,” for which an umpire should warn the pitcher before keeping count of unfair balls and allowing the batter to take a base after three such calls, not the modern four. It is difficult to imagine baseball without the iconic home run, but according to Chadwick,

Home runs are not recognized by the rules. Custom considers a home run as being made, if the home base is reached before the ball passes the line of the home base from the outer field, provided the batsman has not been obliged to stop on any base for fear of being put out. A “ clean home run” — and none other should be counted in the score— is a run made from home to home, from a hit made to long field beyond the reach of the out-fielders.

Chadwick also allows for foul balls to be caught for outs after a single bounce, a rule that would later be eliminated. Before Chadwick’s rules, it was commonly accepted that fair one bounce balls could be caught by fielders for outs. However, Chadwick preferred fielders to get outs by catching balls directly hit from the bat, which is how the game is played today.

As the new baseball season begins, it is interesting to take a retrospective look at how America’s pastime has developed since its creation and popularization in the 19th century. Lehigh’s digitized copy of Chadwick’s 1866 The Base Ball Player’s Book of Reference can be read or downloaded in its entirety on the Internet Archive. For more information about this book, visit Lehigh’s library catalog. You can read more about Henry Chadwick on his Baseball Hall of Fame page.

 

 

Steve Kreider: The Game Changer

Lehigh University Photograph Collection
Steve Kreider with Outstanding Player Trophy in 1978.

The Lehigh-Lafayette Rivalry Week is upon us again. We were flipping through past issues of the Brown and White, and decided to spotlight a year where Lehigh was victorious over the Leopards (surprise, surprise.) In the 1978 rivalry game, the 113th to be played, Lehigh triumphed, 35-17.
Lehigh trailed Lafayette until the third quarter of the game, but then had a 21-point burst.  Who is especially interesting is the game-changer we found.  His name is Steve Kreider.  He’s cited as a major player in the game.  Upon further research, we discovered that Steve Kreider may just be one of the most well-rounded people alive.
Kreider had a stellar college football career.  He was named an All-American Wide Receiver by the Associated Press in 1977.  That year, he helped the Lehigh Engineers snatch the Division II national championship.  He had 72 catches, 1,567 yards, and 19 touchdowns (we don’t know much about football, but we assume this is all very good). His academics weren’t shabby either- he was a Rhodes Scholar candidate.
Kreider would go onto further success in the National Football League.  After his senior year of college, he was drafted to the Cincinnati Bengals. He served as a wide-receiver for the team for seven years.  He even played in the Super Bowl game against the 49er’s.
He dedicated himself to his studies in his spare time away from football. Though he was an exceptional electrical engineering student at Lehigh, he went on to graduate school for business (a bold jump from engineering).  He studied at the University of Cincinnati and received his MBA and doctorate in finance from there.
Now, what is Steve Kreider up to?  He’s was Chief Investment Officer of Legg Mason Inc.’s Western Asset Management and was hired in 2014 to be Chief Investment Officer of Western & Southern Financial Group Inc.
So, essentially, Steve Kreider may be one of the most impressive people you’ll ever hear about.

Brown and White Vol. 90 no. 23: Kreider eyes his football future: pro career beyond the horizon?
Brown and White Vol. 91 no. 17: Ex-QB Kreider makes it big
“Ex-Bengal Kreider to Run Western & Southern’s $46 Billion” on Bloomberg

Lehigh University Turkey Trot

“The turkey squawked, the people gawked, and William Mountain got the bird as he won the  Turkey Trot…”

Thus was the headline in the Brown and White after the first Turkey Trot was held on Wednesday, November 14, 1956.  Drinker 4 was the triumphant hall.  The Turkey Trot has remained a Lehigh University tradition ever since.  It is a grueling 2.6 mile race with an ever shifting course.  As it is Lehigh’s campus, there is always a vertical run up “the hill” that leaves participants feeling the effects days after.  It was originally exclusively for residential halls and living fraternities.  Now, the Turkey Trot is open to all students.  The Turkey Trot celebrates two holidays: Thanksgiving and the Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry.

Recent years have amassed as many as 800 participants in the race.  Racers join in teams.   Runners are known to show up in outlandish outfits for the race.  One can see neon blobs and even the occasional Santa running the cross-country style race.  The Turkey Trot is entering its 58th year at Lehigh University.  It is one of the longest traditions Lehigh has and many are dedicated keeping it alive.

turkeytrot
Runners of the Turkey Trot, circa 1970

 

“Pick Billy Sheridan”

19510210_bill_sheridan
1951 newspaper clipping

February 10, 1951 issue of the Nassau Review (Hempstead, NH) reports that Lehigh’s legendary wrestling coach William “Billy” Sheridan was selected as the coach in charge of the United States team in the Pan-American in Buenos Aires.

The Brown and White’s story states that Lehigh freshman Werner Seel qualified to be in the team along with Coach Sheridan. However, Seel chooses not to go “due to studies”:

bill-sheridan-2