Baseball’s “Magna Carta”
Long stashed away and forgotten, these manuscripts are the founding documents of the national pastime. In December 1856, Daniel “Doc” Adams, a physician and president of New York’s Knickerbocker Base Ball Club, drafted a set of game rules. Club member William Grenelle prepared another document with slightly different rules that also discussed umpires and playing fields. The rules put forth by Adams, with some material from Grenelle’s document, were then compiled as the “Laws of Base Ball.” This last document was used and edited by the rules committee appointed at the first Base Ball Convention, held in New York City in 1857. Delegates representing local teams convened to establish a uniform set of rules, and by agreeing to them, the players hoped to schedule more games and promote the sport. Adams served as president of the convention, which approved essential rules still in use today.