“Base Ball” (circa 1890)

“Base Ball” (circa 1890)

(circa 1890)

These town boys, barefoot and in overalls, pause for a team tintype (1890’s). Perhaps one of them will go on to play for the Elmira Gladiators, the Oswego Starchboxes, or the Chicago Orphans (now the Chicago Cubs).

I enjoy obscure history. Would it shock you (as it did me) to learn that Lewis and Clark’s return journey home from the Pacific Ocean included playing a game of “Base” (a form of Baseball) with the Nez Perce Indians? Would it surprise you to learn that Alexander Joy Cartwright, Jr., who some consider the “Father of Baseball”, made an ‘expedition’ out west (in 1849) to teach the game of base ball across the new continent….from New York, to Colorado, to California, and even to Hawaii? Would your mind question the truth of famed Apache warrior, Geronimo, while a prisoner at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, engaging in a game of baseball?

Why competition? Is it for personal or community pride? Is it to test the limits of both body and mind? Does it help establish pecking orders (non-violently)? It may serve for each of us to answer that question for ourselves. Perhaps part of the human experience is that it comes with the innate need to see ‘who can be the best at a thing’, and as history shows, it really doesn’t matter what that ‘thing’ is. Be it chariot racing, tug-o-war, marbles or who can best ride a horse at a full gallop….lean over, reach for a buried chicken’s head and try to pull it off.


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