The Model Baseball Player
This is an individual not often seen on a ball ground, but he nevertheless exists; and as a description of his characteristics will prove advantageous, we give a pen photograph of him, in the hope that his example will be followed on all occasions, for if it were, an end would at once be put to many actions which now give rise to unpleasantness on our ball grounds.
His moral attributes:
The principal rule of action of our model base ball player is, to comport himself like a gentleman on all occasions, but especially on match days, and in so doing he abstains from profanity and its twin and vile brother obscenity, leaving these vices to be alone cultivated by graduates of our penitentiaries.
• He never censures errors of play made by a brother member or an opponent, as he is well aware that faultfinding not only leads to no improvement in the play of the one who blunders, but on the contrary is calculated to have the very reverse effect.
• He was never known to dispute the decision of an Umpire, for knowing the peculiar position an Umpire is placed in, he is careful never to wound his feelings by implying that his judgment is weak.
• He never takes an ungenerous advantage of his opponents, but acts towards them as he would wish them to act towards himself.
His physical qualifications
• To be able to throw a ball with accuracy of aim a dozen or a hundred yards.
• To be fearless in facing and stopping a swiftly batted or thrown ball.
• To be able to catch a ball either on the “fly” or bound, either within an inch or two of the ground, or eight or ten feet from it with either the right or left hand or both.
• To be able to hit a swiftly pitched ball or a “slow twister” with equal skill, and also to command his bat so as to hit the ball either within six inches of the ground or as high as his shoulder, and either towards the right, centre or left fields.
To conclude our description of a model base ball player, we have to say, that his conduct is as much marked by courtesy of demeanor and liberality of action as it is by excellence in a practical exemplification of the beauties of the game; and his highest aim is to characterize every contest in which he may be engaged, with conduct that will mark it as much as a trial as to which party excels in the moral attributes of the game, as it is one that decides any question of physical superiority.
From “Haney’s Base Ball Book of Reference” from 1867 by Henry Chadwick