The Rise of College Baseball
"Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America," wrote Jacques Barzun at mid-twentieth century, "had better learn baseball, the rules and realities of the game." 1 Barzun's aphorism was particularly true when applied to the heart of the collegiate extracurriculum in the nineteenth century. Baseball was the dominant sport of the 1800s in most American colleges, as it was in all of America until well into the twentieth century. Cricket, on the other hand, was played rather widely by collegians before intercollegiate competition began in the mid-nineteenth century. Though England gave America nearly all of its sports, cricket, the "national pastime" of England in the nineteenth century, never became popular in American society. Baseball, described by Mark Twain as the "very symbol, the outward and visible expression, of the drive and push and rush and struggle of the raging, tearing, booming nineteenth century," 2 became the landed symbol of intercollegiate pride that crew had become for a select group of eastern colleges. Baseball also showed that the freedom of students to pursue intercollegiate athletics led to commercialism and professionalism. That process challenged the concept of amateurism which Americans had borrowed from the British.
Amherst vs. Williams
Seven years after the first intercollegiate crew meet, two other New England colleges, Amherst and Williams, met and inaugurated base