For several years in the late 1950s, the Nashville newspapers had been exhorting the men of Nashville to begin playing baseball and other outdoor sports. In 1857, the Hickory Club had shown some promise of organizing a baseball nine, and in 1858, the Nashville Union and American lamented the lack of organized outdoor athletics. But in 1860, there was finally some evidence of Nashvillians playing baseball. From the Nashville Republican Banner, July 25, 1860:
“Base Ball.–This healthful and exciting exercise was very generally popular last fall, especially in the Northern States, and we hope it will be introduced here as soon as the heated term passes off. We noticed the other evening a party engaged in Base Ball on the Edgefield side of the river, all apparently enjoying themselves. The early closing of the stores gives a fine opportunity to the young men engaged in mercantile pursuits.
No better exercise can be indulged in. The difference between Base Ball and the exercise of the gymnasium is so obvious that we need scarcely mention it. In the former, not only every muscle of the body is brought into active play, but the desire to win produces a healthy excitement of the mental faculties, without which any physical exercise is not only useless but positively injurious. On the other hand, in ordinary gymnastic exercises, the mental incentive is entirely wanting, and the so-called gymnastic exercise is simply reduced to ox-labor.
Let us have Base Ball Clubs organized, then, and the fun commenced.”
Assuming these people actually were playing baseball–and not a similar bat-and-ball game–this was the first and last documented evidence of baseball in Nashville until 1866.