Entry in progress—B.P.
Wikipedia: Fan (person)
A fan, aficionado or supporter is someone who has an intense, occasionally overwhelming liking of a sporting club, person, group of persons, company, product, work of art, idea, or trend. Fans of a particular thing constitute its fanbase or fandom. They may start a fan club, hold fan conventions, create fanzines, write fan mail, or engage in similar activities.
In a few cases, individual fans may become so fascinated with the objects of their infatuation that they become obsessive. These fans engage in behaviors that are considered extreme or abnormal. This includes idolatry or other forms of worship, such as creating a personal shrine dedicated to the idol at one’s home, and can sometimes extend to the point of the fans becoming stalkers.
There is some confusion as to the origin of the word fan. Paul Dickson, in his Dickson Baseball Dictionary, cites William Henry Nugent’s work that traces it to fancy, a 19th century term from England that referred mainly to followers of boxing. It was originally shortened to fance then just to the homonym fans. The word emerged as an Americanism around 1889. Many assume that it’s a shortened version of the word fanatic, and the word did first become popular in reference to an enthusiastic follower of a baseball team. (Fanatic itself, introduced into English around 1525, means “insane person”. It comes from the Modern Latin fanaticus, meaning “insanely but divinely inspired”. The word originally pertained to a temple or sacred place [Latin fanum, poetic English fane]. The modern sense of “extremely zealous” dates from around 1647; the use of fanatic as a noun dates from 1650.) However, the term “fancy” for an intense liking of something, while being of a different etymology, coincidentally carries somewhat the same connotation as “fanatic”.
Supporter is a synonym to “fan” which predates the latter term and as such is still commonly used in British English, especially to denote fans of sports teams. However, the term “fan” has become popular throughout the English-speaking world, including the United Kingdom. The term supporter is also used in a political sense in the United States, to a fan of a President, political party, and a controversial issue.
The term “krank” (or crank) is a now-obsolete term for baseball fans in particular, and also carried much the same connotation as both “fanatic” and “fancy”, of devoted attachment to something, in this case a team.
Wikipedia: Ted Sullivan (baseball)
Timothy Paul “Ted” Sullivan (March 17, 1851 – July 5, 1929) was an Irish-American manager and player in Major League Baseball who was born in County Clare, Ireland.
Sullivan is considered a pioneer of early baseball; he founded both the Northwest League and the Texas League, both minor leagues that still exist and thrive today. Credited with discovering Charles Comiskey, he is considered by some to be the first person to emphasize the importance of scouting. Comiskey joined the St. Louis Browns in 1882, and replaced Sullivan as the team’s manager in mid-1883; it had been Sullivan’s first managerial post, as he compiled a record of 53-26 to begin the year. Also, Sullivan was a great promoter of the game; he would tell stories of baseball’s beginnings, and of its many star players. He authored books detailing these, including a barnstorming trip around the world in 1913-1914 by Comiskey’s Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants. He also credited himself as the originator of the word “fan”, as in baseball fan. Sullivan later became a team executive and owner.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
[Abbrev. of FANATIC. Re-formed in 19th c.]
A fanatic; in mod.E. (orig. U.S.): a keen and regular spectator of a (professional) sport, orig. of baseball; a regular supporter of a (professional) sports team; hence, a keen follower of a specified hobby or amusement, and gen. an enthusiast for a particular person or thing.
1682 New News from Bedlam 13 The Loyal Phans to abuse. Ibid. 40 To be here Nurs’d up, Loyal Fanns to defame, And damn all Dissenters on purpose for gain.
1889 Kansas Times & Star 26 Mar., Kansas City base~ball fans are glad they’re through with Dave Rowe as a ball club manager.
1896 ADE Artie xvii. 158 I’m goin’ to be the worst fan in the whole bunch.
1901 Dialect Notes II. 139 Fan, a base ball enthusiast; common among reporters.
10 May 1885, Kansas City (MO) Times, pg. 4:
I am more or less a base ball fan myself, and this reminds me that the man who is not thoroughly up on base ball slang nowadays is looked upon with pity. Of course a fan. is a fanatic; that is simple enough to grasp. But when your base ball enthusiast tells you to “get on to Baldwin’s south paw,” you are excusable if you grope.I see from the base ball reports in THE TIMES that the sporting editor is tolerably conversant with the language of the game. I suppose he is what they call “a lily.” If so, he will tell you that Baldwin is a left-handed pitcher, hence the south paw. When my generation participated in the game they used to drive the ball into the left field; now they cork it into left garden. Then they hit it fair and square; now they paste it in the nose. I never before so fully realized the possibilities of the language.
16 June 1885, Kansas City (MO) Times, pg. 4:
The base ball “fans” of the ploice (sic) force and the fire department engage in a ball game.
3 August 1885, Kansas City (MO) Times, pg. 8:
It was full of laudable incidents, and hugely enjoyed by the base ball fans who witnessed it.
31 May 1886, Sporting News, pg. 5:
The Boston fans explain the poor playing of their nine so far by saying that Radbourne does not get effective until June, while Buffinton has had a lame shoulder, Sam Wise has been sick and Burdock has been slow about getting down to work.
20 July 1886, St. Louis (MO) Globe-Democrat, pg. 5:
A SIGH of relief has gone up from the heart of many a base ball fan owing to the fact that the cowboys left for the East last night. They will still lose games, but we won’t have to see them.—Kansas City Times.
1 December 1886, The Sporting Life, pg. 1, col. 2:
Joe is the president of our base ball association and attributes his success in no small degree to the untiring efforts of base ball “fans.”
1 May 1892, Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, pg. 4:
A BASE BALL DICTIONARY
Technical Terms of the Diamond Explained for the Uninitiated.
...the San Francisco News Letter...
The glossary contains all the important base ball words and slang…
Fan—An enthusiast who talks base ball incessantly.
April 1897, Kansas University Quarterly, vol. 6, no. 2, “Dialect Word-List - No. 4” by W. H. Carruth and Paul Wilkinson, pg. 87:
fan: an enthusiast. From fanatic (?).—General.