Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/674

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became his catcher, and his catcher, pitcher—just as in the lower animals the same organ often has various functions to perform by turns. Just so, too, in rude societies, trades afterward widely separated may be united in the same person—as, for instance, the professions of barber and physician used to be united.

In the town-ball games, the pitcher was always pitcher until the game was ended or his arm was tired. The catcher was always catcher one game through, unless his hands blistered or his incompetency became apparent. In the professional games these two have permanent and well-paid positions. All the advantages mentioned by economists as resulting from "division of labor" are here illustrated.

In these games the conspiracy against the batter's peace of mind reaches appalling proportions. The conspirators are an organized band of indefinite numbers. Their lives are consecrated to the single end of putting him out. Even in "town-ball" one man has nothing to do but pitch him deceptive balls. Another has nothing to do but catch the balls he misses or only "ticks" or knocks foul. All the rest are scouring the field for his "flies," or stopping his "grounders" and crossing him out.

To add to his burdens, he is forced to run four bases instead of one. It was sufficient for any one of his numerous enemies to throw the ball across his path between him and the base to which he was running. This hardship is somewhat mollified in professional base-ball.

In "town-ball" there was as yet no distinction between basemen and fielders. After the pitcher and catcher had been selected, the others on that side went where they pleased; and they did not get the bat until they had put all the batters out. Nay, when all but one had been put out, he could sometimes call back to his assistance any one he chose of his slaughtered comrades; and he often had a rubber ball which, if he did not burst it, he could drive to the other side of the hay-field.

The professional batter has to contend with a curved ball, and go out when three of his comrades are out. But, on the other hand, the ball has to be pitched to him within definite limits, and he has to be touched with it when running.

Except mechanical details and minor rules changeable from year to year, these are all the differences between town-ball and base-ball. The rules were not so strict in the former, and there was no umpire to enforce them. They were often adopted by unanimous consent at the beginning of the game. One rule, often but not always adopted, was that the batter who knocked the ball over the fence was out. Another was that, when all the batters but one were out, one might be called back to "run bases." He had to make home runs—three of them within a maximum limit