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Exhibition Baseball Americana

Amherst Express. Extra, July 1859. Broadside. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (016.00.00)

The First College Game

In an unusual doubleheader held in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the first intercollegiate baseball game was paired with a chess match. Amherst and Williams used the Massachusetts Game rules and boasted thirteen players to a side. Amherst’s victory in both events hinted at the popularity of college sports and the nature of fandom that was to come, as its spirited supporters rang the chapel bells, lit a bonfire, and “celebrated with a copious display of enthusiasm and rockets.”