Knickerbocker Rules (New York) 1854

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At a meeting held November 18, 1853, a communication was received from the Eagle Club, asking for a committee to join them in arranging a set of rules for playing and Dr.:Adams, Curry, and Tucker were appointed.

The annual meeting, for 1854, was held at Smith’s, 35 Howard street, on the 1st of April. The committee on rules presented the following as having been arranged to govern the three clubs, viz. the Knickerbockers, Gotham, and Eagle.

  1. The bases shall be “Home” to second base, forty-two paces; and from first to third base, forty-two paces, equidistant; and from Home to pitcher not less than fifteen paces.
  2. The game to consist of twenty-one counts, or aces, but at the conclusion an equal number of hands must be played.
  3. The ball must be pitched, not thrown, for the bat.
  4. A ball knocked outside the range of the first or third base is foul.
  5. 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.
  6. A ball being struck or tipped and caught, either flying or on the first bound, is a hand out.
  7. A player must make his first base after striking a fair ball, but should the ball be in the hands of an adversary on the first base before the runner reaches that base, it is a hand out.
  8. Players must make the bases in the order of striking, and when a fair ball is struck and the striker not put out, the first base must be vacated as well as the next base or bases if similarly occupied; players may be put out, under these circumstances, in she same manner as when running to the first base.
  9. A player shall be out, if at any time when off a base he shall be touched by the ball in the hands of an adversary.
  10. A player who shall intentionally prevent an adversary from catching or getting the ball, is a hand out.
  11. If two hands are already out, a player running home at the time a ball is struck, cannot make an ace if the striker is caught out.
  12. Three hands out, all out.
  13. Players must take their strike in regular rotation; and after the first inning is played the turn commences at the player who stands on the list next to the one who lost the third hand.
  14. No ace or base can be made on a foul stroke.
  15. A runner cannot be put out in making one base when a balk is made by pitcher.
  16. But one base allowed if the ball, when struck, bounds out of the field.
  17. The ball shall weigh from five and a half to six ounces, and be from two and three-quarters to three and a half inches in diameter.


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