1) Elysian Fields (1845-1888)
Home to: Knickerbocker Club of New York City, several others
Notes from Adam Dorhauer: No one really knows when and where baseball was first played, or if it is even possible to make such a distinction in the gradual evolution from the early bat-and-ball games of Colonial America to what we play today. One thing we do know, however, is that the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, NJ were the game’s first truly prominent staging grounds.
As the site of the famed 1846 contest between Alexander Cartwright’s Knickerbocker nine and their New York rivals, the field is popularly regarded as the birthplace of baseball. It was here that Henry Chadwick (the revolutionary baseball writer who developed many of the ways in which baseball is reported) was first hit with the inspiration that he was witnessing America’s national pastime.
The importance of the Elysian Fields waned as baseball grew more organized and teams built permanent ballparks within the city in the 1860s and ‘70s. Much like many of the early details of the game’s history, the exact location of the famed Knickerbocker diamond within the fields (which have long since been paved over and covered with housing) has been forgotten, shrouded in the impressionistic haze of history.
Notes from John Dorhauer: Though not technically a stadium, the Elysian Fields were where the modern game of baseball developed, and it became the site of the first known game of organized baseball on June 19 (my birthday!), 1846. The airy sounds and dark chorales are constructed using the piece’s primary nine-pitch motive introduced at the beginning, and they paint the pastoral imagery of these first games.
All artwork by Adam Dorhauer. Music written by John Dorhauer.