March 18, 2025

Early Baseball and the Civil War – Bruce Allardice

March 18, 2025

The relatively new game of Baseball was labeled the “national pastime” even before the Civil War began. By 1861 it was being played througout the nation. For example, as early as 1858, baseball clubs organized in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was natural that the volunteers of 1861 and after, both North and South, carried their baseball playing enthusiasm with them into the army. In fact, Civil War soldiers spent more time playing baseball that they did fighting battles. And baseball games were common “back home” in the North, war or no war.

Professor Allardice takes a usually serious, sometimes humorous, look at the “National Pastime” and how it was played before, during, and right after the war. He’ll show that the war destroyed most existing baseball teams, but also helped to spread the game across the nation.

A recently retired professor of history at South Suburban College, Bruce S. Allardice is president of the Northern Illinois Civil War Round Table, and past president of the Civil War Round Table of Chicago. He has authored or coauthored six books and numerous articles on the Civil War. Prof. Allardice has presented numerous lectures and presentations on the Civil War for Civil War Round Tables, museums, and civic organizations.

An avid sports historian, Prof. Allardice currently heads up the “Civil War Baseball” subcommittee for the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR). He is currently newsletter editor of the SABR Origins of Baseball Newsletter, and has made numerous presentations on baseball during the Civil War era.