By Sally Deering
Hoboken gave birth to baseball? That’s right. Just take a stroll over to 11th and Washington Streets and you’ll be standing where Elysian Field used to be and where first, second, third and home bases were designated on June 19, 1846. That’s the day the first game was ever played and its cemented in Hoboken’s history and as well as those street corners – just read the plaques in the sidewalk.
Some folks disagree with baseball’s Hoboken origins, especially those affiliated with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, which throws its own curveball claiming the first game was played in Cooperstown in 1839. To most Hudsonites, though, Hoboken is the birthplace of baseball. The city even has its own vintage baseball team.
They call themselves the Hoboken Nine Vintage Base Ball Club and they play baseball the way it was originally played – by 19th century rules. They wear uniforms designed like the ones worn in 1846 and their balls and bats are replicated from that period, too. The Hoboken Nine competes against other vintage teams to promote the history of baseball and for the sheer pleasure of playing baseball as a gentleman’s sport.