“Called balls” were introduced (at the umpire’s discretion) into the National Association rule book for the 1863 season*, but this new rule did not apparently disseminate at the same pace throughout the nation. Below, the October 7, 1866 Nashville Republican Banner records the moment the local base ball community adopted the practice.
“Base Ball.–The match between the Eureka and Rock City Clubs yesterday, on the grounds near Fort Gillem, resulted as follows, the game being played with great spirit on both sides and lasting two hours and twenty-five minutes:
The game was a well conducted one, and until the fourth inning the Eureka were in the lead, owing to excellent fieldings.
Crockett took Pitcher’s position in place of Flagg, filling it with credit.
A new feature was introduced by Mr. Sullivan, Umpire, in calling balls, with have heretofore passed unnoticed.
A pretty fly-catch, straight from the bat, was made by Castine.
It is thought that another game will soon be played between these clubs.”
*Called strikes had been around since 1858.