“A Perfect Mania”: The Origins of “Base Ball” in Knoxville, Tennessee

East Tennessee History Center
Wednesday, May 10, 2023 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

While Knoxville has a rich tradition of success on the gridiron, its history of championship titles on the baseball field stretches back to the end of the American Civil War. Dr. Hardy will speak about the first “base ball” (two words in the 19th century) clubs to organize in Knoxville. He will highlight a number of the original baseballists who made up the city’s first clubs, many of whom helped rebuild Knoxville following the Civil War and, as political and business leaders, helped guide the city into the 20th century. Dr. Hardy will share insights into the various personalities of these men who comprised the early clubs, the grounds on which they played, some of the early games, and the 1867 state champion Holston Club of Knoxville. Dr. Hardy will also discuss how the Knoxville Holstons and Emmett Machinists Vintage Base Ball Clubs, who currently play at the Historic Ramsey House, honor the national game by playing the bare-handed Civil War era game by the rules and customs of 1864.

About the Speaker:

Dr. William E. Hardy is an Assistant Professor of History and the Lincoln Scholar at Lincoln Memorial University where he specializes in 19th century American history. He has taught at Tennessee Tech, Chattanooga State Community College, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. From 2005 to 2013, he worked at the East Tennessee Historical Society in the Education Department on various programs such as the Teaching American History Grant and National History Day. 

The program is presented by the East Tennessee Historical Society and is and free and open to the public. The lecture will begin at noon at the East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay Street, Knoxville. Guests are invited to bring a “Brown Bag” lunch.

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