While I’ve heard the name Doc Adams before, though my familiarity was merely a vague one — and, really, continues to remain vague at the present time. Clearly, however, I’m going to have to change this. Headlines yesterday announced the sale of 1857 papers called the “Laws of Baseball” for $3.26 million at an auction. Written by Daniel Lucius “Doc” Adams in 1856 or 1857 (sources vary), the documents seem to indicate that Adams is the true father of modern baseball, rather than Alexander Cartwright.
Adams had played for the New York Base Ball Club in 1840 and started playing for the New York Knickerbockers five years later, continuing to play into his forties. Adams is credited with creating the shortstop position, thus named for the task of fielding short throws from outfielders. He also determined that the bases should be 90 feet 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.
Personally, I would love the opportunity to sit down with those papers and read them over. I would really be curious to see someone compare them to the present-day MLB rule book and analyze the evolution of the game in that fashion.
More information about the sale can be found at:
– ‘Laws of Base Ball’ documents dated 1857 establish new founder of sport (ESPN)
– Historic ‘Laws of Baseball’ documents sell for more than $3M (USA Today)
– ‘Laws of Base Ball’ sold for more than $3 million at auction (Sporting News)
– Laws of Baseball documents turn a $12K investment into $3.26 million at auction (Examiner.com)