As will be seen from the above record, the years 1855 and 1856 were prolific of new clubs, and, of course, a great number of exciting contests took place, the result of which was the creation of a thorough furore for the game, and the manifestation of a great degree of interest in the welfare and progress of this manly pastime, by the rapidly increasing numbers of the advocates of out-door sports.
At the close of the season of 1856, a review of the many contests that had taken place, led to the knowledge of the benefit that would accrue to the game, if a proper revision of the rules were to be had, and a new code established. After several preliminary meetings had been held by the prominent clubs among themselves, it was decided to call a convention of delegates from each of the clubs, for the purpose of establishing a permanent code of rules by which all could, in future, be governed. In pursuance of this resolve, a call, signed by the officers of the Knickerbocker Club-as the senior organization of the kind, was issued, and the ultimate result was the assembling of the delegates to the first Convention of Base-Ball Players, which convention was held in New York City, in May, 1857.
At this convention a series of rules and regulations were adopted, by which the various clubs, who were represented in the convention, were governed during the season of 1857. In March, 1858, the second convention was held, and at this meeting the annual convention was declared a permanent organization, and the requisite constitution and by-laws having been formed, the "NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BASE-BALL PLAYERS" sprang into existence, and commenced its useful career, which has thus far been one as beneficial to the interests of the game, as it has been creditable to its respective members.
The first annual meeting of this Association was held at the Cooper Institute, March 9, 1859, at which convention the rules and regulations were again revised and amended, in accordance with the improvements the experience of the previous season's play had rendered necessary. The officers of the Association, too, were re-elected. It was at this convention that the abolition of the custom of furnishing refreshments on the occasion of matches, was unanimously recommended. This custom, which originated in a desire to promote friendly intercourse between the members of the several clubs, had degenerated into one, seriously detrimental to the interests of the game, owing to the spirit of emulation that arose among the clubs, each aspiring to excel each other in the expense and splendor of these entertainments. It almost led to the dismemberment of three or four of the leading clubs, and the abolishing of the custom was as desirable as it was prudent. Since then it has never exceeded the bounds of moderation, and therefore has lost all its objectionable features.
For the benefit of those clubs desirous of belonging to the National Association-as all should that have the interest and welfare of the game at heart-we present the following articles of the Constitution which refer to the admission of clubs, etc. We would premise that the objects of the Association are to improve, foster, and perpetuate the American game of Base Ball, and the cultivation of kindly feelings among the different members of Base-Ball Clubs.
ARTICLE 3, SECTION 1, of the Constitution reads as follows: This Association shall be composed of two delegates from each of the Base-Ball Clubs which have been duly admitted to a representation in the Convention forming this Constitution, and from each of the clubs which may be admitted to a representation in the manner hereinafter provided.
SECTION 2. Any Base-Ball Club desiring to be represented in this Association, shall present to the Recording Secretary (J. Ross Postley, 23 North William st., New York, for 1860, at least thirty days previous to the annual meeting of this Association (which takes place the second Wednesday in December of each year), a written application, signed by its President and Secretary, setting forth the name of the club, date of its organization, days and places of playing, names of its officers and delegates, and the number of members composing it, which shall be immediately submitted to the Committee on Nominations; but no such application shall be received by said Secretary unless presented thirty days previous to the annual meeting. Said Committee shall, thereupon, ascertain the condition, character, and standing of such club, and report the same to the annual meeting, together with the said application, and their written opinion thereon; and a ballot shall thereupon be had at such meeting upon the admission of such club, when, if two-third vote of the members present at the annual meeting.
SECTION 3. No Club shall be represented in this Association by any delegate under twenty-one years of age; nor shall any Club be so represented until its delegates have signed the Constitution and paid the fee hereafter designated. (The fees are five dollars initiation fee, and five dollars annual dues.)
It is also requisite that delegates have certificates of their election, signed by the President and Secretary of the club they represent.