Scorekeeping and Statistics, 19th Century Style

By John "Mr. New Jersey" Zinn

Like almost everything else in 19th century base ball, scorekeeping and statistics were handled differently than today.  Henry Chadwick, sometimes known as the Father of Base Ball, was an early innovator in this field, using his experience as a cricket writer to develop a base ball scoring system that he continually refined.  The Flemington Neshanock has begun using Chadwick’s 1860’s system to keep score during matches and compile player statistics.

The scoring system is very different from today.  Instead of the modern 1 (pitcher), 2 (catcher), etc., Chadwick assigned fielding positions based on the player’s position in the batting order so the lead off batter is number 1 regardless of position.  Chadwick used this system because of the frequency with which players changed position during a game.  Perhaps somewhat ironically, this approach works well in today’s vintage game where teams frequently use more than nine players and position changes are also frequent.  The only part of Chadwick’s system that survives today is the symbol "K" for a strikeout, which is based upon the last letter in the word "struck." 

Chadwick’s system for compiling and reporting statistics also evolved over his long involvement in base ball.  During the 1860’s, the primary emphasis was on runs and outs, with no reference to batting averages, runs batted in or even home runs.  The 2011 statistical results for the Flemington Neshanock use Chadwick’s system for the 1863 season.  Clear scores refer to games where a striker scored every time he appeared at the plate while blank scores refer to matches where the striker failed to score even once.  Averages refer to the average number of runs scored and outs made during a match.


Player Matches Outs Avg
Outs
Runs Avg
Runs
Clear
Scores
Blank
Scores
A.A. 1 1 1.0 0 0.0 0 1
Bootleg 12 26 2.2 7 0.6 0 7
Bones 5 10 2.0 4 0.8 0 3
Brooklyn 10 20 2.0 8 0.8 0 5
Bugs 1 2 2.0 0 0.0 0 1
Creamy 11 27 2.5 10 0.9 0 4
Cuz 5 11 2.2 6 1.2 0 2
Danny 28 60 2.1 33 1.2 0 10
Doc 23 52 2.3 15 0.7 0 12
Eric 3 5 1.7 2 0.7 0 1
Gaslight 31 64 2.1 37 1.2 0 10
Hammer 21 45 2.1 22 1.0 1 9
Illinois 32 68 2.1 33 1.0 0 11
Irish 13 21 1.6 8 0.6 0 7
Israelite 2 5 2.5 2 1.0 0 1
Jacks 15 36 2.4 10 0.7 0 7
Jersey 21 43 2.0 21 1.0 0 10
Lowball 20 27 1.4 25 1.3 0 7
Melky 20 55 2.8 10 0.5 0 13
Mick 18 45 2.5 13 0.7 0 9
Midnight 22 52 2.4 14 0.6 0 13
Peaches 22 37 1.7 38 1.7 1 1
Rooter 15 30 2.0 17 1.1 0 7
Shad 1 4 4.0 0 0.0 0 1
Sledge 16 21 1.3 30 1.9 1 2
Sluggo 2 7 3.5 3 1.5 0 0
Snuffy 6 14 2.3 5 0.8 1 3
Southwark 17 24 1.4 28 1.6 0 2
Thumbs 30 52 1.7 46 1.5 1 7
Tumbles 9 22 2.4 8 0.9 0 4



© flemington neshanock 2001-2014