New York Knickerbockers

The New York Knickerbockers were one of the first organized baseball teams which played under a set of rules similar to the game today. In 1845, the team was founded by Alexander Cartwright, considered one of the original developers of modern baseball. In 1851, the New York Knickerbockers wore the first ever recorded baseball uniforms.[1]

New york knickerbockers 1858
The team (at left) posing with their rivals in 1858

Origins and rules

While a member of Knickerbocker Engine Company No. 12 of the New York City Fire Department, Alexander Joy Cartwright became involved in playing town ball (a similar game to baseball, and an older one) on a vacant lot in Manhattan. In 1845, the lot became unavailable for use, and the group was forced to look for another location. They found a playing field, the Elysian Fields, a large tree-filled parkland across the Hudson River in Hoboken, New Jersey run by Colonel John Stevens, which charged $75 a year to rent. In order to pay the rental fees, Cartwright organized a ball club so that he could collect the needed money. The club was named the "Knickerbockers", in honor of the fire company where Cartwright was a member. The Knickerbockers club was organized on September 23, 1845. The first officers were Duncan F. Curry, president, William R. Wheaton, vice-president, and William H. Tucker, secretary-treasurer.

Creating a club for the ball players called for a formal set of rules for each member to adhere to, foremost among them to "have the reputation of a gentleman". Wheaton and Tucker formalized the Knickerbocker Rules, a set of twenty rules for the team:

  1. Members must strictly observe the time agreed upon for exercise, and be punctual in their attendance.
  2. When assembled for exercise, the President, or in his absence, the Vice-President, shall appoint an umpire, who shall keep the game in a book provided for that purpose, and note all violations of the By-Laws and Rules during the time of exercise.
  3. The presiding officer shall designate two members as Captains, who shall retire and make the match to be played, observing at the same time that the players opposite to each other should be as nearly equal as possible, the choice of sides to be then tossed for, and the first in hand to be decided in like manner.
  4. The bases shall be from "home" to second base, forty-two paces; from first to third base, forty-two paces, equidistant.
  5. No stump match shall be played on a regular day of exercise.
  6. If there should not be a sufficient number of members of the Club present at the time agreed upon to commence exercise, gentlemen not members may be chosen in to make up the match, which shall not be broken up to take in members that may afterwards appear; but in all cases, members shall have the preference, when present, at the making of a match.
  7. If members appear after the game is commenced, they may be chosen in if mutually agreed upon.
  8. The game to consist of twenty-one counts, or aces; but at the conclusion an equal number of hands must be played.
  9. The ball must be pitched, not thrown, for the bat.
  10. A ball knocked out of the field, or outside the range of first or third base, is foul.
  11. Three balls being struck at and missed and the last one caught, is a hand out; if not caught is considered fair, and the striker bound to run.
  12. If a ball be struck, or tipped, and caught, either flying or on the first bound, it is a hand out.
  13. A player running the bases shall be out, if the ball is in the hands of an adversary on the base, or the runner is touched with it before he makes his base; it being understood, however, that in no instance is a ball to be thrown at him.
  14. A player running who shall prevent an adversary from catching or getting the ball before making his base, is a hand out.
  15. Three hands out, all out.
  16. Players must take their strike in regular turn.
  17. All disputes and differences relative to the game, to be decided by the Umpire, from which there is no appeal.
  18. No ace or base can be made on a foul strike.
  19. A runner cannot be put out in making one base, when a balk is made by the pitcher.
  20. But one base allowed when a ball bounds out of the field when struck.

It is likely that Wheaton picked some of his twenty rules based upon his previous experience in town ball play in Manhattan. According to his own account some fifty years later, his written rules for the Gotham Base Ball Club in 1837 eliminated "plugging" the runner and laid out the infield as a regular diamond. The twenty rules differed in several respects from other early versions of baseball and from rounders, the English game commonly considered the closest relative of baseball. "Two of these rules—the one that abolished soaking [putting a runner out by hitting him with a thrown ball] and the one that designated a foul as a do-over—were revolutionary, while the others gave the game a new degree of uniformity."[2]

First "officially recorded" game and subsequent history

The formation of the Knickerbockers club across the Hudson River created a division in the group of Manhattan players. According to Wheaton, "The new game quickly became very popular with New Yorkers, and the numbers of the club soon swelled beyond the fastidious notions of some of us, and we decided to withdraw and found a new organization, which we called the Knickerbocker."[3] Membership in the Knickerbockers was by invitation and required the payment of dues; those Gothams or "New Yorks" who were excluded continued to play among themselves.

Salt print of the 1848–1850 New York Knickerbockers, taken December 1862

What was long considered the first "officially recorded" baseball game was played on June 19, 1846 at the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey. The "Knickerbockers" and the "New York Nine" (also known as the New York Baseball Club, probably identical with the Gothams), played with Cartwright's twenty rules. Cartwright's team, the Knickerbockers, lost 23 to 1 to the New Yorks in four innings. Some say that Cartwright's team lost because his best players did not want to make the trip across the river. Cartwright was the umpire during this game and fined one player six cents for cursing. The lineups for the teams:

Knickerbockers New York Nine
Turney Davis
Adams Winslow
Tucker Ransom
Birney Murphy
Avery Case
H. Anthony Johnson
D. Anthony Thompson
Tryon Trenchard
Paulding Sandy Rantos

However, there were several other recorded games prior to this. On October 6, 1845 the Knickerbocker Club played a 3 inning game between its own members, and on October 22, 1845 the "New York Club" beat the "Brooklyn Club" 24 to 4, with the box score included in the next day's morning newspaper.

Charles Schuyler De Bost, a catcher with the club for over 10 years, would be named club director in the mid 1850s. Over the next few years, the rules of baseball spread throughout the country. Baseball was becoming a popular sport with Americans and drew spectators by the thousands. The Knickerbocker rules would soon become part of the rules of the National Association of Base Ball Players in 1857. These rules slowly evolved into today's rules of baseball.

One century later, the Knickerbockers name itself was adopted by the New York Knickerbockers National Basketball Association team, although it is more commonly known by its shortened form, the Knicks.

See also


  • Orem, Preston D. (1961), Baseball (1845–1881) From the Newspaper Accounts, Altadena, CA: Self-published ASIN B0007HTB88
  • Peterson, Harold (1969, 1973), The Man Who Invented Baseball, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons ISBN 978-0-684-13185-6


  1. ^ "History Of Baseball Uniforms In The Major Leagues". Archived from the original on 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2008-05-05.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  2. ^ Peter Morris, But Didn't We Have Fun?: An Informal History of Baseball's Pioneer Era, 1843–1870 (Ivan R. Dee, 2008: ISBN 1-56663-748-1), p. 28.
  3. ^ "Gotham Club Rules (1837) - Protoball".

External links

1946–47 New York Knicks season

The 1946–47 New York Knicks season was the first season of the franchise in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Knicks, the shortened form of Knickerbockers, named for Father Knickerbocker (a popular symbol of New York), are one of only two teams of the original National Basketball Association still located in its original city (the other being the Boston Celtics). The Knickerbockers first head coach was Neil Cohalan.

1946–47 Toronto Huskies season

The 1946–47 BAA season was the Toronto Huskies' inaugural season. The NBA's first game was played at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on November 1, 1946. The New York Knickerbockers defeated the Toronto Huskies 68–66 at Maple Leaf Gardens. The teams were part of the Basketball Association of America, the forerunner to the NBA. The Huskies finished last in their division and folded after one season. Throughout the season, the Huskies had four head coaches: Ed Sadowski 3–9, Lew Hayman 0–1, Dick Fitzgerald 2–1, and Red Rolfe 17–27.

1951 NBA All-Star Game

The 1951 NBA All-Star Game was an exhibition basketball game played on March 2, 1951, at Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, home of the Boston Celtics. The game was the first edition of the National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Game and was played during the 1950–51 NBA season. The idea of holding an All-Star Game was conceived during a meeting between NBA President Maurice Podoloff, NBA publicity director Haskell Cohen and Boston Celtics owner Walter A. Brown. At that time, the basketball world had just been stunned by the college basketball point-shaving scandal. In order to regain public attention to the league, Cohen suggested the league to host an exhibition game featuring the league's best players, similar to the Major League Baseball's All-Star Game. Although most people, including Podoloff, were pessimistic about the idea, Brown remained confident that it would be a success. He even offered to host the game and to cover all the expenses or potential losses incurred from the game. The Eastern All-Stars team defeated the Western All-Stars team 111–94. Boston Celtics' Ed Macauley was named as the first NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award. The game became a success, drawing an attendance of 10,094, much higher than that season's average attendance of 3,500.

1952–53 Minneapolis Lakers season

The 1952-53 Minneapolis Lakers season was the fifth season for the franchise in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Lakers continued to be the dominant force in the league as they won the Western Division with a 48–22 record. In the playoffs, the Lakers would sweep the Indianapolis Olympians in 2 straight. In the Western Finals, the Lakers would win the first 2 games at home. Against the Fort Wayne Pistons, the Lakers were pushed to a 5th game. The series returned to Minneapolis, where the Lakers won the 5th game 74–58. In the Finals, the Lakers vanquished the New York Knickerbockers for their 2nd straight Championship, and 4th Championship overall in the franchise's first five seasons in the NBA.

Alexander Cartwright

Alexander ″Alick″ Joy Cartwright Jr. (April 17, 1820 – July 12, 1892) was a founding member of the New York Knickerbockers Base Ball Club in the 1840s. Although he was an inductee of the Baseball Hall of Fame and he was sometimes referred to as a "father of baseball," the importance of his role in the development of the game has been disputed.

The rules of the modern game were long considered to have been based on the Knickerbocker Rules developed in 1845 by Cartwright and a committee from the Knickerbockers. However, later research called this scenario into question.After the myth of Abner Doubleday having invented baseball in Cooperstown in 1839 was debunked, Cartwright was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a pioneering contributor, 46 years after his death. Although it has been stated that Cartwright was officially declared the inventor of the modern game of baseball by the 83rd United States Congress on June 3, 1953, the Congressional Record, the House Journal, and the Senate Journal from June 3, 1953, did not mention Cartwright.

Andrew Levane

Andrew Joseph "Fuzzy" Levane (April 11, 1920 – April 30, 2012) was an American professional basketball player and coach. A 6'2" guard, he played collegiately at St. John's University. He spent three years in the NBA and its predecessor league, the Basketball Association of America, playing for the Rochester Royals, the Syracuse Nationals and the Milwaukee Hawks. In his final year with the Hawks he was a player-coach.

Levane coached the Hawks for one additional season, then coached the New York Knickerbockers. He returned to the Hawks, now playing in St. Louis, for a final season in 1962.

Levane's son, Neil, a.k.a. Fuzzy, was a basketball star at Great Neck South high school on Long Island, New York from 1963 to 1967. Following his senior season, he was listed as a fifth-team Parade Magazine All-American. After playing for a year on the freshmen team at the University of Houston, he transferred to St. John's University in Queens where he played from 1968–70.Andrew Levane died April 30, 2012, of heart failure, at the age of 92.

Charles Schuyler De Bost

Charles Schuyler De Bost (August 5, 1826 – May 26, 1895) was an American baseball pioneer, who was a player and director with the New York Knickerbockers from 1845 to 1859.

Doc Adams

Daniel Lucius "Doc" Adams (November 1, 1814 – January 3, 1899) was an American baseball player and executive who is regarded by historians as an important figure in the sport's early years. For most of his career he was a member of the New York Knickerbockers. He first played for the New York Base Ball Club in 1840 and started his Knickerbockers career five years later, continuing to play for the club into his forties and to take part in inter-squad practice games and matches against opposing teams. Researchers have called Adams the creator of the shortstop position, which he used to field short throws from outfielders. In addition to his playing career, Adams manufactured baseballs and oversaw bat production; he also occasionally acted as an umpire.

From 1847 to 1861, the Knickerbockers selected Adams as their president six times, and as a vice president, treasurer, or director in six other years. As president of the club, Adams was an advocate of rule changes in baseball that resulted in nine-man teams and nine-inning games. When the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP) was formed in 1858, he led the rules and regulations committee of the new organization. In his role, Adams ruled that the fields' bases should be 90 feet (27 m) apart, the modern distance, and supported the elimination of the "bound rule", which allowed for balls caught after one bounce to be recorded as outs. He resigned from his positions with the Knickerbockers and NABBP in 1862. Adams' contributions in creating baseball's rules went largely unrecognized for decades after his 1899 death, but in 1980 a letter about him appeared in The New York Times; by 1993, researcher John Thorn had written about Adams' role. Other historians have given him credit for helping to develop the sport, and Thorn has called Adams "first among the Fathers of Baseball".A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Medical School, Adams began working in the medical field in the late 1830s, and practiced in New York City during his time as a member of the Knickerbockers. In 1865, he left medicine and later became a bank president and member of the Connecticut legislature. He and his wife had five children.

Donnie Butcher

Donnis "Donnie" Butcher (February 8, 1936 – October 8, 2012) was an American basketball player. A 6'1" guard from Pikeville College, Crum was selected by the New York Knickerbockers in the seventh round of the 1961 NBA Draft.

Eddie Donovan

Eddie Donovan (June 2, 1922 in Elizabeth, New Jersey – January 20, 2001) was a professional basketball coach and executive.

He coached the New York Knickerbockers from 1961 through 1965, and was the coach on the opposing sideline when Philadelphia Warriors center Wilt Chamberlain had his record-setting 100-point game in Hershey, Pennsylvania on March 2, 1962.He later became the team's general manager. In that role, he drafted Willis Reed and traded for Dave DeBusschere, two moves leading up to the Knicks winning the NBA title in 1970.

Donovan later became an executive with the Buffalo Braves, where he won the NBA Executive of the Year Award for the 1973–74 season.Prior to his career with the Knicks, Donovan was the head men's basketball coach at St. Bonaventure University from 1953 through 1961.

Harry Wright

William Henry "Harry" Wright (January 10, 1835 – October 3, 1895) was an English-born American professional baseball player, manager, and developer. He assembled, managed, and played center field for baseball's first fully professional team, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. It was there where he is credited with introducing innovations such as backing up infield plays from the outfield and shifting defensive alignments based on hitters' tendencies. For his contributions as a manager and developer of the game, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1952 by the Veterans Committee. Wright was also the first to make baseball into a business by paying his players up to seven times the pay of the average working man.

Joe Wall

Joseph Francis Wall (July 24, 1873 – July 17, 1936) was a Major League Baseball player..

List of New York Knicks seasons

The New York Knickerbockers, better known as the New York Knicks, are a professional basketball team based in New York City that competes in the National Basketball Association (NBA). An original member of the NBA, the Knicks play in the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division. In its 73 seasons, the franchise has reached the NBA Finals eight times and won two championships. As of the end of the 2018–19 season, New York has won more than 2,700 regular season games, and the team has the fourth-highest victory total in NBA history. Since 1968, the Knicks have played home games at Madison Square Garden.One of the Basketball Association of America's (BAA) eleven teams during its inaugural season, the Knicks won the league's first game, defeating the Toronto Huskies 68–66 on November 1, 1946. The club qualified for the playoffs in the league's first three seasons before the BAA merged with the National Basketball League in 1949 to form the NBA. Following the merger, New York extended its streak of playoff appearances to nine consecutive years, and reached the NBA Finals each year from 1952 to 1954. The Knicks returned to the Finals in 1970 and defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games for the team's first title. New York and Los Angeles faced each other again in the 1972 Finals, a series that the Lakers won four games to one. The Knicks earned their second NBA championship the following year, as they won a rematch with Los Angeles in five games.

From 1988 to 2001, the franchise reached the playoffs in fourteen consecutive seasons, but did not win an NBA title. The team reached its first NBA Finals in twenty-one seasons during the 1993–94 season, but lost to the Houston Rockets in seven games. Five years later, New York again lost in the NBA Finals, this time in a five-game series against the San Antonio Spurs. After the 2000–01 season, the Knicks had nine consecutive losing seasons between 2001–02 and 2009–10. The Knicks made the postseason in the next three seasons, but declined to their worst-ever record of 65 losses in 2014–15. In the most recent season, 2018–19, New York missed the playoffs with a 17–65 win–loss record, which matched the worst mark in team history.

Louis F. Wadsworth

Louis Fenn Wadsworth (May 6, 1825 – March 26, 1908) was an American baseball pioneer, who was a player and organizer with the New York Knickerbockers in the 1840s. He is credited with helping develop the number of innings and players on each team.

Born in either Hartford, Connecticut, Litchfield, Connecticut or Amenia, New York, Wadsworth graduated from Washington College (now Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.), and worked as a naval office attorney in the New York Custom House. "A tempestuous character," wrote MLB's official historian John Thorn, "Wadsworth commenced his ball playing days with the Gothams, a venerable club that actually predated the Knickerbockers, with whom he quickly achieved prominence as the top first baseman of his time. Then, on April 1, 1854, he switched his allegiance to the Knickerbockers … perhaps for 'emoluments,' as recompense was euphemistically known then; his skilled play would increase the Knickerbockers’ chances of victory. It is these circumstances that incline me to believe that Wadsworth may thus be termed baseball’s first professional player."He was mentioned in the 1908 Spalding guide, in regards to the Mills Commission's findings of the origins of baseball. A statement by Duncan Curry revealed that “a diagram, showing the ball field laid out substantially as it is today, was brought to the field one day by a Mr. Wadsworth.”

New York Knickerbockers (1912)

The New York Knickerbockers were one of 8 teams in the short-lived United States Baseball League, which collapsed after just over a month of play. The Knickerbockers were owned by Charles White and managed by William Jordon.

New York Knicks

The New York Knickerbockers, more commonly referred to as the Knicks, are an American professional basketball team based in the New York City borough of Manhattan. The Knicks compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. The team plays its home games at Madison Square Garden, an arena they share with the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL). They are one of two NBA teams located in New York City; the other is the Brooklyn Nets. Alongside the Boston Celtics, the Knicks are one of two original NBA teams still located in its original city.

The team, established by Ned Irish in 1946, was one of the founding members of the Basketball Association of America (BAA), which became the NBA after merging with the rival National Basketball League (NBL) in 1949. The Knicks were successful during their early years and were constant playoff contenders under the franchise's first head coach Joe Lapchick. Beginning in 1950, the Knicks made three consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals, all of which were losing efforts. Lapchick resigned in 1956 and the team subsequently began to falter.

It was not until the late 1960s when Red Holzman became head coach that the Knicks began to regain their former dominance. Holzman successfully guided the Knicks to two NBA championships, in 1970 and 1973. The Knicks of the 1980s had mixed success that included six playoff appearances; however, they failed to participate in the NBA Finals.

The playoff-level Knicks of the 1990s were led by future Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing; this era was marked by passionate rivalries with the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, and Miami Heat. During this time, they were known for playing tough defense under head coaches Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy, making two appearances in the NBA Finals, in 1994 and 1999. However, they were unable to win an NBA championship during this era.

Since 2000, the Knicks have struggled to regain their former glory, but won its first division title in 19 years in 2012–13, led by a core of forwards Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. They were eventually eliminated in the Eastern Conference semi-finals by the Indiana Pacers, and have failed to make the playoffs since.

New York Mutuals

The Mutual Base Ball Club of New York was a leading American baseball club almost throughout its 20-year history. It was established during 1857, the year of the first baseball convention, just too late to be a founding member of the National Association of Base Ball Players. It was a charter member of both the first professional league in 1871 and the National League in 1876. Failing on the field and in the coffer, it declined to make its last western trip of the inaugural season. For the transgression it was expelled in December, and soon found itself defunct.

The Mutual club initially played its home games at Elysian Fields in Hoboken, with the New York Knickerbockers and many other Manhattan clubs, but moved to the enclosed Union Grounds in Brooklyn in 1868. Though historically identified as "New York", they never staged any home games in Manhattan.

The Mutuals chose open professionalism in 1869–70 after NABBP liberalization. They joined the first professional league, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, for its 1871 to 1875 duration. In 1876, the Chicago White Stockings initiated the National League and recruited its members from West to East, partly to wrest control of professional baseball from Eastern interests. The Mutuals were one of eight charter members, six of whom were from the National Association. Weak (sixth place at 21–35) and cash-poor, the club refused to complete its playing obligations in the West; and was expelled.On May 13, 1876, the Mutuals executed the first triple play in major-league history in a game against the Hartford Dark Blues.

Union Grounds proprietor William Cammeyer, often listed today as the Mutual club owner, signed the Hartford Dark Blues to play at his Union Grounds in 1877. The team was effectively a one-year replacement for the defunct Mutuals, and was sometimes called "Hartford of Brooklyn".

Sam Hope

Samuel Everett Hope (December 4, 1878 – June 30, 1946) was an American Major League Baseball pitcher. He played for the Philadelphia Athletics during the 1907 season.

William H. Tucker (baseball)

William H. Tucker (ca. 1819 – December 5, 1894) was an American baseball pioneer, who was a player and organizer with the New York Knickerbockers in the 1840s.

On September 23, 1845, Tucker along with William Wheaton served on a committee which formalized the Knickerbocker's rules. He served as both club secretary and treasurer. Historian John Thorn stated that Tucker, Wheaton, Doc Adams and Louis F. Wadsworth are four figures who can claim serious credit for the development of the sport. Tucker worked as a tobacconist and died in Brooklyn at the home of his son-in-law. His father, Abraham W. Tucker, was named an honorary member of the Knickerbockers in 1846.


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