Meeting of October 28, 2008

Fred Bohmfalk on “Baseball During the Civil War”

Civil War “buffs” and baseball enthusiasts alike were in for a real treat as Fred Bohmfalk’s presentation of “Baseball during the Civil War” enlightened us relative to the origin and somewhat obscure beginning of the game to its reputation as our “national pastime” of the modern era.

Fred revealed Abner Doubleday’s role and contribution to the game of baseball. More specifically, Fred examines baseball as it existed and was played and enjoyed by soldiers during the Civil War—its impact on troop morale and its distraction from the din of battle.

Fred’s presentation was filled with facts and noteworthy information relative to the evolution of the game—such as in the early days there were no innings, no errors, no three bases, no limits on strikes, etc. The ball, larger than today, was dark in color—and was always thrown underhand.

Of specific interest were the events, growing out of Civil War baseball, that led to the recognition of talented players, the formation of professional baseball clubs, leagues, rule changes and the orderly progression of baseball as we know it today—millionaire owners and “bonus baby players.”

Newsletter October 2008