Doc Adams

  • Card series: Pioneer Portraits I: 1850-1874
  • City: New York
  • Team: Knickerbockers

Daniel Lucius Adams (1814-1899) was playing baseball before the game was well organized or codified. He and other young doctors in New York simply found the game a great outdoor exercise. He was part of the New York Base Ball Club by 1840, five years before joining the Knickerbockers, considered by many to be the developers of the game we know today. Whatever he called it, Doc would go on to write the book on the national pastime, literally. Adams was a perennial leader among the founding fathers of the day. He advocated or arbitrated the evolving rules that came to shape the game: nine players, nine innings, ninety feet between the bases (forever to be the gold standard of human perfection). Historian John Thorn has decreed Doc as “first among the Fathers of Baseball.” The list of credentials supporting that title are too numerous to detail here. The origins of the American Game have always been curiously shrouded. The luminaries who invented the game were largely anonymous for decades. Once the Abner Doubleday myth was finally punctured, it has remained for modern historians to fill the gaps and Doc Adams has rightly assumed a prominent place in the pantheon.

  • Credited with creating the shortstop position, first as a relay man when the flimsy balls made outfield throws difficult, then as a key spot in the infield defense
  • In 2016, Adams’ 1857 “Laws of Baseball” brought the phenomenal sum of $3.26 million at auction amid a trove of documents from that era
  • Doc Adams was SABR’s Overlooked 19th Century Baseball Legend for 2014
  • Doc Adams’ candidacy for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame was finally put to vote when he appeared on the Pre-Integration Era Committee Ballot for 2016. Needing 12 of the 16 committee members’ votes for election, Doc unfortunately fell two votes short.

Auction History