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Historic Rules

1860s Rules

You’ll be amazed at the rules that guided the 1860s teams. See them in practice at our historic base ball games. These historic rules, using historic terminology, add a new — or rather old — dimension to the game.

The ball must be pitched, not jerked or thrown to the bat.

The striker is out after swinging and missing three balls if the behind catches the third strike on the fly or first bounce.

If three balls are struck at, and missed, and the last one is not caught, either flying or upon the first bound, it shall be considered fair, and the striker must attempt to make his run.

The striker is out if a fair ball is struck, and the ball is caught either without having touched the ground, or upon the first bound.

If an adversary stops a ball with his hat or cap, or takes it from the hands of a party not engaged in the game, no player can be put out unless the ball shall first have settled in the hands of the pitcher.

Clubs may adopt such rules respecting balls knocked beyond or outside of bounds of the field, as circumstances of the ground may demand; and these rules shall govern all matches played upon the ground, provided that they are distinctly made known to every player and umpire, previous to the commencement of the game.

The player is out if the ball is in the hands of a base tender before the runner steps on the base.

If two ballists are already out, no player running home at the time the ball is struck can make ace if the striker is put out.

The hurler must deliver the ball as near as possible over the center of home for the striker.

Foul balls do not count as strikes.

Any ball first touching the ground or touched by a player within the base lines is fair, even if it goes foul thereafter.

An ace shall be tallied when a base runner steps on the home base.

No person engaged in a match, either as umpire, scorer or player shall be, either directly or indirectly, interested in any bet upon the game.

Source: Beadle’s Dime Base Ball Player, 1860