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Exhibition Baseball Americana

Daniel “Doc” Adams. “Laws of Base Ball.” Manuscript, December 1856. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.00.00)
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Daniel “Doc” Adams. “Laws of Base Ball.” Manuscript, December 1856. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.00.00)
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Daniel “Doc” Adams. “Laws of Base Ball.” Manuscript, December 1856. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.00.00)
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William Grenelle. “Rules for Match Games of Base Ball.”” Manuscript, January 1857. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.01.00)
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William Grenelle. “Rules for Match Games of Base Ball.” Manuscript, January 1857. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.01.00)
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William Grenelle. “Rules for Match Games of Base Ball.” Manuscript, January 1857. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.01.00)
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William Grenelle. “Rules for Match Games of Base Ball.” Manuscript, January 1857. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.01.00)
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William Grenelle. “Laws of Base Ball.” Manuscript, January–February 1857. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.02.00)
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William Grenelle. “Laws of Base Ball.” Manuscript, January–February 1857. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.02.00)
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William Grenelle. “Laws of Base Ball.” Manuscript, January–February 1857. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.02.00)
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William Grenelle. “Laws of Base Ball.” Manuscript, January–February 1857. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.02.00)
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William Grenelle. “Laws of Base Ball.” Manuscript, January–February 1857. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.02.00)
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William Grenelle. “Laws of Base Ball.” Manuscript, January–February 1857. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.02.00)
Enlarge
William Grenelle. “Laws of Base Ball.” Manuscript, January–February 1857. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.02.00)
Enlarge
William Grenelle. “Laws of Base Ball.” Manuscript, January–February 1857. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.02.00)
Enlarge
William Grenelle. “Laws of Base Ball.” Manuscript, January–February 1857. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.02.00)
Enlarge
William Grenelle. “Laws of Base Ball.” Manuscript, January–February 1857. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.02.00)
Enlarge
William Grenelle. “Laws of Base Ball.” Manuscript, January–February 1857. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.02.00)
Enlarge
William Grenelle. “Laws of Base Ball.” Manuscript, January–February 1857. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.02.00)
Enlarge
William Grenelle. “Laws of Base Ball.” Manuscript, January–February 1857. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.02.00)
Enlarge
William Grenelle. “Laws of Base Ball.” Manuscript, January–February 1857. Courtesy of Hayden Trubitt, a baseball fan (007.02.00)
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New Fundamental Rules

  • Nine players required on a side
  • Nine innings to a game (New York clubs had usually played until a team scored twenty-one runs)
  • The distance between bases was set at ninety feet, a length that had not been used before

Adams had wanted only balls caught on the fly to count as outs, but that rule did not come into use until the 1865 season. Instead, the convention agreed to continue also counting balls caught after one bounce as an out, in part because most of the teams in attendance were newly formed and their players not as experienced as the Knickerbockers.

These documents were first recognized as the “Magna Carta of Baseball” just before they were auctioned in April 2016. The “Laws of Base Ball” (1857) manuscript consists of fourteen pages; by contrast, the 2018 edition of the Official Baseball Rules is 151 single-spaced typed pages, excluding appendices.

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