By 1860, baseball was commonly played and records of Dickinson baseball can be traced to the 1867-1868 season. The phrase "College Nine" was derived from the 1867-1868 season as the club was composed of the most talented base ball players from all four classes. The Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball's first professional team which was established in 1869, helped give baseball notoriety. Evidence of the first game played by the club is from 1873 when Dickinson played a Carlisle baseball team. Dickinson won 63-4. The club was originally administered by the players and received minimal financial support from the school. The club did not begin to receive substantial sums of money from the College until 1890 when the team was given a $100 budget.
On May 27, 1876, Dickinson played its first intercollegiate game against the Cumberland Valley Normal School of Shippensburg and won 28-8. By 1885, baseball became the first Dickinson sport to be played in the fall as well as the spring. As baseball increased in popularity, the Athletic Association (AA) was established. The Athletic Association held talent shows and lectures to raise funds for the baseball club.
The railroad system had a significant impact on the Dickinson baseball schedule. The club played in areas such as Harrisburg and Hagerstown because they were located on routes traveled by the Cumberland Valley Railroad. Transportation by railroad was so important that some games, the Dickinson club was forced to forfeit so they could catch the train for their ride home.
Dickinson's oldest base ball rival is Gettysburg. This rivalry began in 1881. Franklin & Marshall is Dickinson's second oldest rivalry. The man behind organizing these was Dr. Fletcher Durell, who, according to W.J. Gobrecht's 125 Years of Dickinson Baseball History, was the "Father of the Dickinson's sport program." Dr. Durell played first base for the club. In 1885, the club continued to be student operated and had played a total of thirty-three games.
In 1886 the first varsity baseball season began. From 1890-1895 the club posted six straight winning seasons and were led by Willard G. Lake and William F. Patton, two of the best athletes in Dickinson history. The stretch of six winning seasons from 1890-1895 is known as the Golden Era and has not been matched nor broken since. By 1897, a seasonal coach was hired and the handing out of varsity letters was established. To earn a varsity letter, a player had to play in a minimum of six games. In the next few years, the team would play approximately twelve to twenty games. Dickinson would often play against schools such as State College, Bucknell, Mt. Saint. Marys, and Lehigh. In 1904, the team had a 12-3 record and in 1906 the team had a 10-4 record. After the 1906 season, the team would experience little success.
Si Pauxtis, in 1912, was the first seasonal baseball coach. By 1918, Richard H. "Mac" McAndrew took over the program and proceeded to coach baseball for the next twenty-four years. Beginning in Mac's early tenure as the coach, popularity in baseball decreased due to World War I. During the World War I era, the team averaged five games per season because many schools dropped their programs as students were drafted for the war.
Beginning in 1946 and through the 1992 baseball season, there have been sixteen baseball coaches. Overall, these coaches have had minimal success as Dickinson experienced its last winning season in 1946 with an 11-5 record. However, during the 1996-1997 season under head coach Brad Shover, the Dickinson baseball team posted a 17-16-1 record. Perhaps more Dickinson baseball success lies in the future.
The Dickinsonian 1889-1912
W.J. Gobrecht -Associate Professor Emeritus - 125 Years of Dickinson Baseball History