BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


Esoteric Buddhism

A. P. Sinnett


The Characters of Theophrastus

Theophrastus


Shakti and Shakta

John Woodroffe


The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely


Baseball

by William Jones Clarke

Excerpt:

INTRODUCTION

The present position of the game of baseball in the United States, the enthusiasm with which it is played, and the interest with which it is watched by the American people have made it very evident that it would be valuable both to players and spectators to have easily available a book formulating what has been found to be the best way of playing the game. Although it is a sport which is most widely followed, yet comparatively few players, and fewer spectators, really understand it thoroughly. The reason for this will be apparent when one realizes that the leaders of the game, with a knowledge gained through years of experience and careful study, have, for the most part, reserved this knowledge for those immediately under their control, while the average player and spectator must be content to play and watch the game as best he can.

A brief review of the development of the game will help to bring out the facts that have to do with the writing of this book.

Baseball originated here in America in the simple pastime of tossing, hitting, and catching a

ball. At first two, then three, boys played the game. Gradually the number of players was increased; an infield and an outfield were formed; play became more complicated; and rules were drawn up. When the game had assumed definite form, its popularity spread throughout the country; for here was a sport which was good fun— it including throwing, batting, running, and catching under the most exciting of conditions; and eighteen men could take part in it at one time. Year after year the game was played with increasing interest—boys were playing it in their early teens, and continued to do so in manhood. In the meantime, after years of pure fun, men began to specialize in the game. They studied it, for they realized that, in addition to purely natural physical skill, other things were necessary; and these were to be acquired only through observation and practice. Pitchers, instead of being contented to throw a straight ball, began to curve it. Combination play—team-work—was developed. Men took advantage of knowledge gained through experience and began to diagnose plays ahead of time.

Certain principles were deduced, laws were discovered, and years of experience produced a class of experts—men who were skilful in physical execution and keen in mental activity—skilful in handling the ball, in running the bases, and in batting; keen in observing and putting into effect the laws of probability.

And from among these experts leaders were selected to manage the various clubs which were soon formed. It became the duty of these managers to determine the style of play to be followed by their respective teams and to teach the recruits the fine points of professional baseball. These fine points, subsequently known as "in"side baseball," acquired by the managers only after years of experience, were imparted to the chosen few; that is, to the members of the clubs. Amateur players and the general public were left to pick up baseball knowledge as they could—all the while considering the "inside baseball" of professionalism as something sacred and unknowable. As a result, we have baseball played in two ways: one in which the players have not had the opportunity of learning the best methods of play; and the other, in which the players are all schooled by experienced masters of the game. One class of players is carried away by the thrill of bodily action and the excitement of contest, failing to bring their minds properly into the play. The other class of players, through experience and careful instruction, are made to bring all their faculties into play at all stages of the game.

In the present work, the authors, after careful study based on personal experience, inquiry, and comparison, have formulated for the geoeral public, including the amateur and professional player, the whole subject of baseball as it is played in the most advanced circles, namely, in the major leagues.


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