Doc Adams Base Ball Biography (Retirement)
On March 26, 1862 at the annual meeting of the Knickerbockers, Doc presented a letter to the club secretary, James Whyte Davis:
“I shall not be able to attend the meeting of the Club this evening and furthermore feel compelled to tender my resignation of membership. I do this with great reluctance but in accordance with a determination long since formed, never to remain an inactive non-playing member. It will be impossible for me to play during the coming season, but although absent in body, I shall be present in spirit. My interest in the Club will never cease, nor can I forget the many happy hours spent in communion with its members.”⁵
“Adams…was immediately named an honorary member and presented (in 1863) with a set of resolutions thanking him for his long and meritorious service to the club.”⁵ This proclamation/resolution (The Nestor* of Ball Players) was presented in 1863 to Doc as “a most gorgeously engrossed”² scroll. And so, Doc’s active participation in the game he loved and over which he had a significant and pioneering influence came to a close.
When Doc no longer practiced medicine and considered himself fully retired, he became an involved, prominent and respected citizen of the town. In 1870, he was elected to one term in the Connecticut State Legislature. In 1871, he became the first President of the Ridgefield Savings Bank (now the Fairfield County Bank where his photo still hangs in the lobby of the main office), a position he would hold in two separate terms for ten of the next fifteen years. He was the first treasurer of the Ridgefield Library (founded in 1871) and involved in the Land Improvement Association. He also played flute duets with Walter Avery both in Ridgefield and on Long Island at Mr. Avery’s home. Mr. Avery was a former Knickerbocker teammate and a distant cousin of Cornelia’s.
In 1875, at the invitation of his former Knickerbocker teammate, James Whyte Davis, Doc returned to Hoboken for a reunion base ball game to celebrate Davis’s twenty-fifth year with the club. Doc was the catcher for the older members of the club who played against the younger members. They managed five innings of play before ‘retiring’ to Duke’s Hotel for a meal and no doubt toasts and the sharing of stories of the old days! It was Doc’s last known visit to New York and Hoboken.
*A King of ancient Greece who advised the Greeks at Troy; a patriarch in his field, wise counselor, or leader.
² Nestor of Ball Players by R. C. Adams [Doc Adams’ youngest child, 1874-1962]; Buffalo, New York; August 1939. (unpublished).
⁵ Adams of the Knickerbockers by Robert W. Henderson; undated and unpublished; Paul J. Reiferson, Weston, CT (courtesy of John R. Husman).
Baseball’s Pioneers: The History Of The Knickerbocker Baseball Club, 1845-1866 by Charles Peverelly. Originally published in: Book of American Pastimes; 1866.
This is part 5 of a 6-part series. Part 1, Part 2. Part 3, Part 4.
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