Early Baseball Pioneer Dr. Daniel L. “Doc” Adams Needs Help for HOF Bid
Players and baseball pioneers whose accomplishments occurred between 1876 (foundation of the first professional baseball league, now The National League) and 1946 can now be considered for enshrinement in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. They need to be selected by the Pre-Integration Era Committee, only every three years beginning in 2012.
However, since baseball has evolved over the centuries (“stick and ball” games are referenced as early as the 1300s), there are certainly significant contributions to the game we know today prior to 1876.
One such pioneer is Dr. Daniel L. “Doc” Adams, a Yale and Harvard Medical School graduate who played in New York in the mid-1800s. His contributions to baseball are many, including:
1. Played for the New York Knickerbockers, one of the first organized baseball teams playing under rules similar to what we know today. He also served on the board of the Knickerbockers for 12 years, 6 as president.
2. Headed the Committee to Revise the Constitution and By-Laws of the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP).
3. Advocated and/or established the following:
- Fixed the distance between bases at 30 yards(90 feet) – previously this important distance was set at the less-than-consistent 42 paces.
- Distance from “pitchers base” to home set at 45 feet (later changed to the current 60’6″). This may seem terribly close, but at the time, pitchers threw underhand.
- Established 9 innings as the length of a game.
- Supported nine-man baseball teams, essentially establishing the shortstop as a new position (allowing for someone to catch relay throws from the outfield). Adams is credited as the first to play the position.
- Advocated the fly-game – a batter would no longer be out on a first bounce catch.
- Personally made baseballs, not only for the Knickerbockers but also for other New York City-based clubs.
Currently, a petition is circulating to have the Pre-Integration Era Committee consider Dr. Adams. It is undoubtedly a long shot, but Dr. Adams, and probably others whose contributions have been obscured by time, deserves consideration.