By Ken Zurski
In the heart of Brooklyn, in 1858, a group of men known as the Pastimes, hiked up their wool trousers, buttoned-down their flannel shirts, and ran onto an open grassy field to play a game they fondly referred to as base ball. The team was one of several in the New York area, but the Pastimes were different. Instead of being a ragtag group of patchwork players, the Pastimes billed themselves as more refined and high-toned. Many of the members were prominent citizens, some even held government jobs. They enjoyed spending the day together, socializing and being seen. Base ball, the game, they said, was just good exercise.
To announce their importance, the Pastimes arrived at away games in carriages, usually in a line. It was showy and effective, “like a funeral procession passing,” remarked one observer. After the game they invited their rivals, win or lose, to a…
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