Baseball and Hoboken – A Brief History

On June 19, 1846, Hoboken’s Elysian Fields hosted the first recorded baseball match played by recognizably modern rules. The New York Nine defeated Alexander Cartwright’s Knickerbocker squad in a game reported in New York newspapers. According to many baseball historians, this event marked the birth of modern baseball.

At the time, “base ball” clubs had been largely chased out of Manhattan by real estate development and rules enacted to protect buildings against broken windows. Just a short ferry ride across the Hudson, however, Col. John Stevens invited sports clubs of all types to use his Elysian Fields, a grass-covered field stretching roughly from present-day 9th to 12th Streets from Washington Street to the river’s edge.

In an article from the Hoboken Museum’s 1998 historical magazine, Nicholas Acocella explains the significance of the game and Alexander Cartwright’s contributions to America’ pastime. Click here to view a PDF of the article.

In 2012, the Hoboken Historical Museum encouraged a group of dedicated amateur baseball and softball players to form a vintage base ball club, now called the 1859 Hoboken Base Ball Club. They play other vintage base ball clubs from the area from April through October. Visit the team’s website to learn more and find out when they’re playing nearby.

— Melissa Abernathy, Communications & Volunteer Manager