Menomonie Blue Caps
1860 Base Ball Rules

The rules and regulations adopted by the National Association of Base Ball Players in March 1860, govern the game of base ball as played by The Dunn County Blue Caps, with some adaptations. There are fewer than 40 written rules for base ball of that era, all else was left to the codes of general behavior of the time. A summary of the rules appears below. Read the full rules and regulations at the Vintage Base Ball Association website.
  • Prior to a match, the umpire assembles the opposing nine for a review of the ruleshome field ground rules..

  • The pitcher delivers the ball in an underhand manner to the striker. Strikes are called only on a clean swing and miss. Foul balls don’t count as strikes. The umpire may warn a striker who is not swinging at good pitches and begin calling strikes. He may not call balls. Calling balls was not added until 1864.

  • The umpire calls a baulk whenever the pitcher fails to complete a delivery after beginning his throwing motion or has either foot in advance of the line when delivering the ball. The umpire calls all baulks and foul balls immediately in a forceful manner. Fair balls are not called.

  • A hit ball is considered fair or foul by where it first hits the ground, or a player, first. A fair ball remains in play anywhere. Balls that hit trees, will be discussed in the home field ground rules by the umpire before the match.

  • A ball caught in the air or on the first bound, fair or foul, puts the striker out. Base runners may advance at their own risk on a fair ball caught on one bound. On a fair ball caught on the fly, base runners may advance at their own risk after first returning to tag their base. Base runners may not advance on a foul ball, caught on the fly or the bound, until the ball has settled in the hands of the pitcher.

  • A baserunner is out if he is forced at any base or tagged in a non-force situation. He may not over run any base, including first, and can be put out when doing so. Running more than three feet from the base path to avoid making an out is not allowed.

  • There are no free backs to base for base runners. They may be doubled off the base on a foul ball that is first returned to the pitcher. They may be doubled off base on a fair ball the fielder returns to the base before the runner reaches it; the ball does not have to return to the pitcher first.

  • An ace (run) is scored by the base runner successfully making all four bases.

  • At a match, spectators will see base ball when it was in its youth. It was truly a gentleman’s game played for pleasure. Soldiers returning from the Civil War camps brought the game home to their communities for all to enjoy, and the game continued to spread.

1860s Base Ball Terms
Ball Field Diagram
Ace = a run scored

Artist =
proficient player

Ash, Timber =
the bat

Base Ball
is two words

Captain =
team manager

Club Nine =

Corker =
a hard hit ball

Daisy Cutter =
a sharp grounder

First Nine =
best nine players

Hands down =
number of outs

Hurrah or Huzzah =
cheer used to celebrate

Judgement =
an appeal to umpire

Match = game

Muffin = inexperienced player

Muff = error

Play =
used by umpire to start game.

Put some steam on =
run faster

Sky ball = high fly ball.

Spectators = fans, audience.

Stinger = hard hit ball

Striker = batter

Tally = a run scored

Three Hands Out =
end of half inning

Throng =
large group of spectators


bat and balls

Why Should Any Man Swear?

I can conceive no reason why he should but ten thousand reasons why he should not.

1. It is mean. A man of high moral standing would almost as soon steal a sheep as swear.

2. It is vulgar; altogether too mean for a decent man.

3. It is cowardly; implying a fear either of not being believed or obeyed.

4. It is ungentlemanly; A gentleman, according to Webster, is a genteel man. Well bred—refined. Such an one will no more swear, than go into the streets to throw mud with a clod-hopper.

5. It is indecent; offensive to delicacy, and unfit for human ears.

6. It is foolish. “Want of decency is want of sense.” — Pope.

7. It is abusive; to the mind which conceives the oath, to the tongue which utters it, and to the person at whom it is aimed.

8. It is venomous; showing a man’s heart to be a nest of vipers, and every time he swears, one of them sticks out his head.

9. It is contemptible; forfeiting the respect of all the wise and good.

10. It is wicked; violating the divine law, and provoking the displeasure of Him who will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

Red Wing Sentinel.
September 24, 1859,
page 1, col. 5.


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