19th Century Resources

a website of the
Nineteenth Century Committee

The Nineteenth Century Committee of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) focuses its research, writing, and discussion on baseball, 1840-1900, but its epoch begins in antiquity and several members are privately working on the baseball family before 1840. SABR has a Deadball Era Committee whose official scope is 1901-19. The demarcation during the 1900-1901 offseason fits both the conventional turn of the century and an important historical event, the organization of the American League as a second "major league". Visit Deadball Era Resources.

19th Century Resources is an official website of the 19th Century Committee maintained by Paul Wendt, Chair. The "Resources" feature private research projects, books and websites about 19c base ball, 19c players and teams, as well as Committee business. Acknowledgments appear at the foot of each page where "ack" is appropriate. Contributions are welcome.

The '19cBB' egroup is sponsored by the 19c Cmtee but is open to all SABR members and open to non-members for a trial period. Contact Paul Wendt, Chair, about joining the committee or the egroup.

What's New? - red marks what is new here
Jump to: Committee Business ; Players and Teams ; Miscellaneous ; Contributions

Special Feature: 1880s-1890s Trades

  • David Ball, Nineteenth Century Transactions Register (3rd ed., Aug 2004)
    Congratulations to David Ball for this pioneering work on player transactions between major league ballclubs through May 1900, the aftermath of the National League contraction from 12 to 8 teams. It is a chronological list of transactions, about ten per page with a rich paragraph or three on many pages.



  • 1982 Invitation or call to arms : : 1983 Welcome to the new research committee : : Overview of 1982-1987 letters
  • Publication Record, 1987-2005 - revised, May 2006
  • Newsletter Archive - guide to contents, 1987-2004; this is the cover letter for the print archive, a guide to contents
  • #2003, Anniversary Issue ( pdf )
  • #2004:1, Special Issue: In the Projects ( pdf )
  • #2004:2 ( pdf )
  • #2005:1 ( pdf )
  • #2005:2 ( pdf ) - new, May 2006

    Completed Projects

  • National Association Box Scores and Statistics
    The National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, 1871-1875, was the first professional baseball league. Major League Baseball doesn't recognize the Association but outsiders commonly begin major league history in 1871. In the "NA Project" led by Bob Tiemann, the 19c Cmte used daily newspaper coverage of the games to compile a nearly complete set of standard box scores and, in turn, season playing statistics, attendance records, and umpire rosters.
       Most of the season records were gradually published by Total Baseball and they appear in many baseball encyclopedias today. The project was "completed" in 1996, in time for TB5, but there have been some revisions; those are most likely to appear in Pete Palmer's database and derivative works. Some minor statistics have never been unpublished. A volunteer at Retrosheet is computerizing the play-by-play which is not complete and consistent but is remarkably close.

  • "Stars" Biographies
    In the late eighties and early nineties, the 19c Cmte produced two volumes of short biographies, Nineteenth Century Stars (SABR, 1989) and Baseball's First Stars (SABR, 1996). The books cover 289 biography subjects including numerous owners and executives and a several people who were principally field managers, umpires, writers or publishers.
       Both Stars books are still available from SABR's backlist distributor, the University of Nebraska Press. Use "Quick Search" for "910137" to get a list of all available SABR publications.

    19c Committee Documents

  • Annual Reports (June) : 2002 : 2003
  • Early Rules and Practices Project
    2001-11-05 letter from project director Chip Atkison (header by Paul Wendt, Jul 2003)
  • American Association History Project - under review, Winter 2005
    2002-01-06 letter from former project director Jonathan Dunkle (updated, Jun 2003)
  • Early Baseball Music, with the SABR Music & Poetry Committee
    - approved Jul 2004, to be directed by Jeffrey Sackmann with John Thorn and Jeff Campbell.
    - A description by Jeff Sackmann is expected. - Jun 2005

    Some Neighboring Projects

  • The newsletter 19c Notes 2004.1, In the Projects provides an overview of 20 baseball research projects including 15 organized by eleven SABR research committees and five that are private. The standpoint is Winter 2004, but only a few articles are dated in essential respects. 19th century examples are used for illustration but the meaning is general and there is no better introduction. The feature continues in 19c Notes 2005.1, pages 3-6, beginning with what must be updated.
  • Book Indexing Project of Bibliography Committee, SABR
    2004-04-28 notice by Paul Wendt. Skip McAfee is project director.

    Books about 19c Baseball

    Which bibliographic projects should the 19c Cmtee undertake? - revised, Jun 2005
    Scope Notes - should we track the 19c baseball scope of all new books?
    Reviews of new books - how broadly should we give serious reviews to new books?
    catch up Reviews - which 21c books should we "catch up" and review?
    Recommended Reading - the essential Researcher's Library? a few paradigms of excellent work?
    Book Indexing - should we recruit indexers for some books without indexes? (Book Indexing Project)
    extending The Baseball Index - which 19c works should have priority?
    Best Book - should we name the best new book on 19c baseball each year?

    Players and Teams

    Player Awards
    Annual Awards - hypothetical or retroactive
  • Creighton Award ( John Thorn & John Holway )
  • Rookie of the Year ( STATS ) - new, Jun 2005
  • Most Valuable Player ( STATS ) - new, Jun 2005
    Decade Awards
  • All Stars, 1870s-1890s ( Bill James )
    Career Awards
  • Hall of Fame members


  • Nineteenth Century Transactions Register ( David Ball, 3rd ed., Aug 2004 )
    - annotated list of players transactions between major league ballclubs


  • SABR Annual Convention presentations on 19c baseball - with abstracts
    : 2002 : 2003 : 2004

  • Length of Early MLB Seasons (Paul Wendt)
    -- annual, 5-yr, and 15-yr measures of MLB playing opportunity in number of games

  • "Return to Team" players in Total Baseball (Pete Palmer)
    -- players who moved from one MLB team to another and back, within one season; with Call for more  

    Special Feature: 1837 Club Constitution

  • Constitution of the Olympic Ball Club of Philadelphia. Instituted December 7th, 1837 (Jan 2004, 10MB image)
    Thanks to John Thorn. This large file comprises photo images of the Olympic club house and members (1 page) and the club constitution (17 pages). "WHEREAS--Field Sports having from time immemorial been the favorite recreation of all classes of men . . . . The undersigned ... hereby unite ourselves in social compact." The constitution is partly reprinted in Dean Sullivan, ed., Early Innings.

    Special Feature: 1796 Rules, electronic publications by David Block and SABR (2001)

  • David Block, "Baseball's Earliest Rules?" (2001) - historical interpretation
  • J.C.F. Guts Muths, "English Base-ball" (1796; transl. 2001) - a modern English translation of "Ball mit Freystäten (oder das englische Base-ball)". A rearrangement of the SABR website has broken the links within this edition (gr-r-r):
    first announcement and early reactions ; 1796 rules and description of the game ; two 1796 diagrams ; about the diagrams and translation
    Of English baseball, physical education specialist and author Guts Muths observed:
    "It is mostly equivalent to the German ball game. . . . This game has all of the complexities of the German game, but it requires less use of strength and more attentiveness, because it is bound by more rules."

    Block has published a more recent translation as an appendix to his Baseball Before We Knew It (U Nebraska, 2004), a dramatic expansion of his inquiry into the origins of American baseball. - new Jun 2005


    Contributions are welcome. I will be happy to use available space for 19th Century Resources contributed by others. Visit Deadball Era Resources for some examples of baseball reference material. Please provide lists and tables in digital plain text format, or discuss the format with me in advance. Please include 1900 in the 19th century.

    Material from published sources.
    Published lists and tables are one important source, which is worth illustration and explanation here. STATS, Inc., named retroactive winners of several popular annual awards for every MLB season from 1876, in The All-Time Major League Baseball Sourcebook (1998). John Thorn and John Holway conferred the Creighton Award on one pitcher in each MLB league-season from 1876, in The Pitcher (1987).

    Data such as the names of pitchers honored by STATS and by Thorn & Holway are copyright-free. The rationale for an honor, like any other discourse, is covered by copyright.

    Last updated: 2006-06-04 (#2005.2 in contents)
    Paul Wendt
    © Society for American Baseball Research, 2001-2006