The Knickerbocker Rules required fielders to tag or force the runner, as is done today, and avoided a lot of the arguments and fistfights that resulted from the earlier practice.
Writing the rules didn't help the Knickerbockers in the first known competitive game between two clubs under the new rules, played at Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey on June 19, 1846.
There were dozens of leagues, large and small, at this time. Control of the major cities, particularly New York City, the edgy, emotional nerve center of baseball with several clubs.
They had both the biggest national media distribution systems of the day, and the populations that could generate big enough revenues for teams to hire the best players in the country.
An unknown number of African-Americans played in the major leagues as Indians, or South or Central Americans.
And a still larger number played in the minor leagues and on amateur teams as well.
In 1857, sixteen New York area clubs, including the Knickerbockers, formed the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP).
The NABBP was the first organization to govern the sport and to establish a championship.
The professional National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs, which still exists, was established in 1876 after the National Association proved ineffective.
The emphasis was now on "clubs" rather than "players".
Competitive leagues formed regularly, and also disbanded regularly.