“He’s the true father of baseball and you’ve never heard of him.” John Thorn, Official Historian of Major League Baseball.“Who’s your Daddy? Modern baseball may have new founder“, AP
Well, thanks to Thorn, for rediscovering Doc Adams. Thanks to his research and writing, other baseball historians, Marjorie Adams, Vintage Base Ball enthusiasts and the re-discovery of Doc Adams’ handwritten “Laws of Base Ball”, more people have now heard of Daniel Lucius “Doc” Adams, M.D.
When Doc Adams set to work in late 1856, none of these aspects of the game were settled,” said Thorn. “This was some seven years after Cartwright had left New York for Hawaii, never to return. For his role in making baseball the success it is, Doc Adams may now be counted as first among the Founding Fathers of Baseball.“Discovery of 1857 Baseball Documents Could Rewrite History of the Game’s Invention“, SCP Auctions
Daniel Lucius Adams, a physician known to his friends as “Dock,” was the man who in 1857 actually set the bases at 90 feet apart, who fixed the pitching distance at 45 feet, and who advocated tirelessly for the fly game, seeking to eliminate the sissy rule of permitting outs to be registered with catches on the first bounce. (I first wrote about Adams’ signal role in shaping the modern game in 1992 for Elysian Fields Quarterly.) He also added the position of shortstop to the Knicks’ scheme in 1848 — not as an extra infielder, but to assist in relays from the outfield. The early Knick ball was so light that it could not be thrown even 200 feet; thus the need for a short fielder to relay the ball in to the pitcher’s point and stop the runners’ advance.“Four Fathers of Baseball”, Thorn Pricks
Twenty years ago I rediscovered Daniel Lucius “Doc” Adams with the publication of my article “The True Father of Baseball” in the debut issue of the Elysian Fields Quarterly. I expanded upon this offering several times over the ensuing years, notably in Total Baseball; it appears in its latest incarnation at the SABR Bioproject site. I also wrote about Adams and his key innovations — setting the basepaths at ninety feet and inventing the position of shortstop — in my most recent book, Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game. I have spoken about Adams at the Smithsonian.“Doc Adams Remembers”, Our Game
What I have not done, however, is to present to my readers the complete article that started my enduring fascination with this character. I stumbled upon it in the late 1980s in a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame Library in Cooperstown and retyped it on site with the aid of a lightweight electronic typewriter (I had not brought my “portable,” or rather luggable, Kaypro computer with me). This fundamentally important story appeared in The Sporting News, February 29, 1896.
For his role in making baseball the success it is, Doc Adams may be counted as first among the Fathers of Baseball.“Doc Adams“, SABR Baseball Biography Project
First among equals, Doc Adams: Born in Mont Vernon, New Hampshire, he attended Amherst and Yale as an undergraduate and received his degree from Harvard Medical School in 1838. When he came to New York in the following year, he commenced to play ball “just for exercise” with some medical colleagues; surely he had played baseball in the New England style beforehand. Joining the Knickerbockers in October 1845, the month after their founding, he became the club’s president and headed the committee to review and modify its rules.“The Laws of Baseball … and the “Unchanging Game“, Our Game
Doc Adams “is baseball’s most important figure not in the Hall of Fame.”“5 Inventors”, Our Game
With the recent discovery of his ‘Laws of Base Ball’ we have tangible primary evidence of his genius. More than anyone else, he created our game of nine innings, nine men, and ninety-foot base paths.