Baseball on Skates

28 Aug

In the winter of 1866 the Athletic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia had a novel idea.  The Philadelphia Inquirer said:

“It would naturally be supposed that, with the advent of ‘winter’s rude blasts,’ the noble game of base ball would be laid on the shelf and kept there until the season when the earth brings forth its products in the shape of green leaves and budding flowers, but not so, for our base ball devotees are such enthusiasts in the game that they have resorted to the novelty of playing it on skates, thus indulging in two exhilarating recreations at the same time.”

The Athletics were scheduled to play the team from the Hamilton Club of Philadelphia.  When several of the Hamilton players were unable to participate, an ad hoc team was assembled which also included players from the Camden, Olympic, Philadelph’s, and Keystone clubs.


Al Reach batted third for the Athletics on skates

The Inquirer said:

“The game was “witnessed by several hundred persons, and excited great amusement, owing to the trouble experienced by the players endeavoring  to do two difficult things at the same time, i.e. keep their equilibrium on skates and play base ball well.  The game was remarkably well-played, taking into account the pedal difficulties.”

The Athletics won 76-35

The Box Score

The Box Score

Within two weeks a “base ball match on skates” was played between the  Active and Eureka clubs in Newark, New Jersey.  The Trenton State Gazette said Eureka won 26-16, and that the game was “very interesting,” and “witnessed by five thousand people, including many ladies.”

For the next 50 years games played on ice would occasionally be staged, usually with amateur teams.

One Response to “Baseball on Skates”


  1. Al Reach | Baseball History Daily - December 12, 2013

    […] Alfred James “Al” Reach opened his first sporting goods store in Philadelphia in 1874 while playing for the Athletics in the National Association.  Within a decade he had built a hugely successfully business, began publishing “Reach’s Official Baseball Guide,” and established a National league franchise in Philadelphia. […]

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