On Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 10:36:53 AM UTC-5, Richard Hershberger wrote:
> Not a specific maker,
Well, now, wait a minute....
> but an example of equipment influencing the development of a game is the baseball glove. Catchers started wearing pairs of gloves in the 1870s, cutting
> off the fingers so they could better throw the ball. Manufacturers started making purpose-designed gloves, still matched pairs, with some padding in the
> palms and serious thought put into the seams, which bit into the flesh. Then around 1884 some unsung genius realized
So that means this COULD be credited to a specific person. We just don't know who it was, but maybe some day we will.
> that the left-hand glove (for a right-handed thrower) could be a full glove, and heavier. This rapidly grew into a full padded pillow mitt, while catchers
> gradually abandoned the right-hand glove entirely. It also wasn't long before infielders, and then outfielders, started wearing mitts and gloves on their left
> hands. There was some talk in the early 1890s of outlawing them for anyone other than catchers, or perhaps catchers and first basemen, but the end result
> in 1895 was merely to regulate their size and construction.
> Up to that point this development was entirely outside the scope of the rules. It also had a huge effect on the game. One can speculate how the game would be
> different if only catchers and first basemen could wear hand protection. Small ball strategies would work a heck of a lot better, for one.
> The influence goes beyond baseball. Toss a ball at any strapping American lad. He will instinctively catch it one-handed, with his non-dominant hand.
> This seems normal due to baseball gloves, but it actually is really weird. Toss a ball at a strapping English lad and he will catch it two-handed, as it is done in cricket.
> I offer to any budding detective novelists this idea for our hero to suss out the true origin of the suspect.
Good one! I was thinking about the development of balls for baseball and for table tennis. It was only recently that I learned Parker Brothers does not have
a defensible trademark on Ping Pong, but that the term was in common use as a synonym for table tennis in India.
What stick out for me are "odd" measurements for layouts of play fields. I haven't investigated, but the fact that so many of the distances in use in the
field markings for hurling and Gaelic football are integer multiples of 7 yards suggests some traditional Irish unit of length measure. The one I'd really like
to know about, though, is the 18'6" for the width of the goals in rugby (and by derivation American and Canadian) football. Like, did they use some fence post
holes and later find them to be that far apart? But there IS a story about the 23'4" wide goals used for decades in NCAA and then Federation football; they
recently reverted to 18'6".
David Nelson records that the rules committee decided to widen the goals to 24' -- a nice round measurement equaling 8 yards and the width of soccer goals --
and then after adjourning, reconvened in a semi-kosher way to alter that to 23'4". But it's John Waldorf who explains, if he may be believed, that the
revision was made necessary by someone outside the committee who wondered what they'd be using for lumber, when standard 2" X 4" boards came 24' long. What
that implies is that they needed to be nailed or screwed together with overlap, the crossbar going fully across the width of each 4" wide upright. While that
is indeed how rugby goals were traditionally built, I've seen plenty of American and rugby football goals where the ends of the crossbar were simply flush to the
inner faces of the uprights, and that was commonly done at the time of the proposed change as well. And that's how soccer goals were constructed of 4" X
4" lumber until very recently too.
So this is a mystery whose "solution" leaves something to be desired. Let alone how the twenty-FIVE foot wide goals for Epler's Six Man Football were built!
Bob in Andover