Knickerbocker Rules (New York): 1845

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Rules of 1845, as adopted by the Knickerbocker Club, New York.

Members must strictly observe the time agreed upon for exercise, and be punctual in their attendance. 
When assembled for exercise, the President, or in his absence, the Vice-President, shall appoint an Umpire, who shall keep the game in a book provided for that purpose, and note all violations of the By-Laws and Rules during the time of exercise. 
The presiding officer shall designate two members as Captains, who shall retire and make the match to be played, observing at the same time that the players opposite to each other should be as nearly equal as possible; the choice of sides to be then tossed for, and the first in hand to be decided in like manner. 
The bases shall be from “home” to second base, forty-two paces; from first to third base, forty-two paces, equidistant. 
No stump match shall be played on a regular day of exercise. 
If there should not be a sufficient number of members of the Club present at the time agreed upon to commence exercise, gentlemen not members may be chosen in to make up the match, which shall not be broken up to take in members that may afterwards appear; but, in all cases, members shall have the preference, when present, at the making of a match. 
If members appear after the game is commenced, they may be chosen in if mutually agreed upon. 
The game to consist of twenty-one counts, or aces; but at the conclusion an equal number of hands must be played. 
The ball must be pitched, and not thrown, for the bat. 
A ball knocked out of the field, or outside the range of the first or third base, is foul. 
Three balls being struck at and missed and the last one caught, is a hand out; if not caught is considered fair, and the striker bound to run. 
If a ball be struck, or tipped, and caught, either flying or on the first bound, it is a hand out. 
A player running the bases shall be out, if the ball is in the hands of an adversary on the base, or the runner is touched with it before he makes his base; it being understood, however, that in no instance is a ball to be thrown at him. 
A player running who shall prevent an adversary from catching or getting the ball before making his base, is a hand out. 
Three hands out, all out. 
Players must take their strike in regular turn. 
All disputes and differences relative to the game, to be decided by the Umpire, from which there is no appeal. 
No ace or base can be made on a foul strike. 
A runner cannot be put out in making one base, when a balk is made by the pitcher. 
But one base allowed when a ball bounds out of the field when struck.

Interpretation Notes
  • The transcript from the 1860 Beadle’s differs from another set found on Baseball-Almanac. It appears Henry Chadwick edited out sections that applied to the club and retained only rules for the play on the field.
  • Those who have played the 1845 game found it to be rather exhausting. Skilled modern players tend to take a long time to score 21 aces.
Places where these are the home rules.
Typically vintage base ball clubs will play 1845 rules for special occasions. There are no regularly-scheduled games of this type.


There are no upcoming events at this time.

Learn More:

Check back soon for more updates!


rulebookstutorialsvendorsrec-reading threads-final


Login to update your public profile and add events to the calendar.