On June 15, 1832, Doc Adams received a letter from his 11-year old sister that has become known as the “Bat and Ball letter“. In the letter his sister Nancy sent to him at school, she said, “I have not played with your bat and ball as you bid me. I forget it every morning and indeed I have not seen it since you went away”.
It is the earliest known evidence of Doc’s interest in the game.
Doc was at Yale when he received this letter from his father with all the usual admonitions of you’re not studying hard enough and don’t spend any money.
Every single letter has that in it but there was also a postscript written by Doc’s younger sister, Nancy. She was 11 years old. In it she writes and again I’m going to quote, “I have not played with your bat and ball as you bid me. I forget it every day and indeed I have not seen it since you went away.”
I think the father took it away from her. There are a lot of references of her being rather sickly. I also think she stammered badly which is a whole other tangent of conversation which I’ve just gathered from reading between the lines in these letters, and I also thought the father thought that his daughter should apply herself to her studies more than running around playing any bat and ball game.
Now, the bat and ball game that he might have been playing then, would have been playing then, I don’t know if they called it baseball. They probably didn’t. It could have been wicket, which was a popular form of a bat and ball game in Connecticut at least. There was one cat, two cat, all sorts of cats. I don’t know what that was about. So we don’t know, and it’s not fair to call it baseball. It is fair to say it just is a testament to his interest in sports that he became interested in while he was in college.“202 – Marjorie Adams“, My Baseball History, Marjorie Adams