Slight Antedating of Modern Sense of "Baseball"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 17 03:13:31 UTC 2014

On Fri, May 16, 2014 at 10:46 PM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
> On Fri, May 16, 2014 at 9:30 PM, Shapiro, Fred wrote:
>> baseball (OED, 1.b., 1845 [23 Oct.])
>> 1845 _Brooklyn Daily Eagle_ 21 Oct. 2/3 (  A GREAT MATCH AT
>> BASE BALL. -- This afternoon, at 2 o'clock, the New York Bass Ball Club play
>> a match at ball with the Brooklyn Club at the Elysian Fields, Hoboken.  The
>> interest attached to this match will attract large numbers from this and the
>> neighboring city.
> There was an item the same day in the New York Herald:
> 1845 _N.Y. Herald_ 21 Oct. 2/4 The New York Base Ball Club will play a
> match of base ball against the Brooklyn Club, to-morrow afternoon, at
> 2 o'clock, at the Elysian Fields, Hoboken.
> visible here:
> The date there is confusing, suggesting there was a game on 10/22. But
> there were only games on 10/21 and 10/24, according to this:

The Herald reports that the two teams were originally scheduled to meet on 10/6:

1845 _N.Y. Herald_ 6 Oct. 2/4 Sporting Events. A Base Ball match
between eight players of Brooklyn and eight of New York, was announced
to take place in Brooklyn to-day, and also a shooting match among the
members of the Anglo-American Club of this city. It is not believed,
however, that either of the events will "come off," in consequence of
some mal-arrangement or misunderstanding among the several parties.

1845 _N.Y. Herald_ 7 Oct. 3/3 A True Prophecy. We stated yesterday
that the proposed Base Ball match between eight players of New York
against eight players of Brooklyn, would turn out to be a failure; and
so it was, for the New Yorkers did not make their appearance on the
ground, and the supper provided by their order was necessarily


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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