Here and There at Tufts

Doane, Lewis

1907

Baseball and football in the Seventies

When it is remembered that American baseball is not older than the sixties, it will be seen that the writer's title brings him very close to the beginning of things. The game could not have been played more than four or five years when he entered College in 1866. But it had then taken a strong hold, and during the years he knew it in College, developed very rapidly. Those were the days when the pitcher must stand with his feet placed on the ground, and deliver the ball with a stiff arm; all his speed must come from what twist and snap he could get from his wrist, and the only way he could "fool" a striker, was by varying the pace of the ball. The catcher of those games stood up without a mask, pad, or gloves, and often carried a black eye or a broken nose as a souvenir " off the bat." Scores were something tremendous especially in class games, in which the lame, the halt, the near-sighted and the left handed were pressed into service to fill the nine. In the memorable game between '69 and '70, in the fall of '66 the score mounted to 64 for the Freshmen and 56 for the Sophomores at the end of the eighth inning when the game was called on account of darkness. One hundred and twenty runs in the whole game!

Some of the players of those days will never be forgotton by their contemporaries. For a plucky catcher, at once nervous and nervy, we are always ready to refer our juniors to " Stetson," who back-stopped many a fine game for Tufts. Henry Harris at left field was a sure captor of anything that came his way, and his long throws from out field to home base trapped many an unwary runner, who had not seen "Our Henry" get them back. Everett White or " Alba Longa " was literally a tower of strength at first base. He was nearly as tall as the Tower of Babel, and had a hand like a steam-shovel. If ever he missed an over-

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throw, it was because the ball landed among the constellations or inside the Rez. Perhaps the coolest and the boldest of players in those days was Cornell of '69, shortstop for several years and surnamed " Hoosier." He was deliberate and slow almost to the point of laziness. But somehow he was always "there " and had the ball. When a hot grounder would come sizzling towards him at short field he would begin a conversation with the batsman, pick up the ball as quietly as if he were digging potatoes, straighten up, and address a few remarks to first baseman as to what was coming, and then send the sphere down to first so far ahead of the runner that the baseman would run up the line to meet him on the way and tell him the news; and then Hoosier would chuckle and make pleasant remarks as to the futility of bucking against Tufts.

Yes; we had good men in those days, and they could play ball. Baseball in the seventies was a purely amateur game, and we played it for the honor of Alma Mater, and for the love of a noble sport.

So strong did the football team become, that in 1875 a crushing defeat was administered to Harvard, on their own field. The make-up of this famous team has become a matter of historical interest about the college and the names of the players are here given. L. W. Aldrich, '76, Captain; P. B. Harrington, '77: A. B. Fletcher, '76; P. N. Branch, '77; H. D. Nash, '77; C. L. Cushman, '78; A. P. French, '76; C. A. Sprague, '76; H. L. Whithed, '77; W. M. Perry, '78; L. M. Ballou, '78. The strength of these teams lay to a great extent in the way in which the entire college took part in athletic sports, making easier the selection on account of the number of men participating.

J. C. A.

 
Description
  • Here and There at Tufts, was published by the class of 1909 as an early form of a yearbook. The text includes photographs and histories of academic buildings, dormitories, former deans and presidents, classrooms, fraternities, athletic teams, and student organizations.
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