“[Mike] Morrison is a mere boy, but with a good batting eye, fine speed and command of the ball and a great drop.” The Times [Philadelphia], January 30, 1887, p11
“Fogarty is again getting his batting eye, and is cracking the ball out, ‘just like he used to.’” The Daily Examiner [San Francisco], July 18, 1887, p3
- NOTE: The first one is about a pitcher, but could be referring to his hitting skill anyway. (Ken Liss)
Previous earliest use (Dickson Baseball Dictionary, 3rd edition, 2009):
1888. “Donahue…is also regaining his batting eye” (San Francisco Examiner, Apr. 2; Peter Morris).