Base Ball

Articles from Vol. 5, No. 1, 2011

1609.1 Polish Workers Play Ball at Jamestown, Virginia: An Early Hint of Continental Europe's Influence on Baseball
Soon after the new year [we] initiated a ball game played with a bat.... We rolled rags to make balls.... Our game even attracted the savages who sat around the field, delighted with this Polish sport.1At the Jamestown Colony in Virginia in the year...
1621.1 Pilgrim Stoolball and the Profusion of American Safe-Haven Ballgames
[M]ost of this new-company excused them selves and said it wente against their consciences to work on ye day. So ye Govr tould them that if they made it mater of conscience, he would spare them till they were better informed. So he ... left them; but...
1672c.1 the Amazing Francis Willughby, and the Role of Stoolball in the Evolution of Baseball and Cricket
Hornebillets. Hornebillets is when they make 2 round holes in the ground, 7 or 8 yards asunder, or further or neerrer as they think good. They play 2 of a side, and have one Cat & a pare of Dogstaffes betweene them.... If 6 play they must have 3...
1726.2 Ballplaying and Boston Common": A Town Playground for Boys ... and Men
Sam. Hirst got up betime in the morning, and took Ben Swett with him and went into the [Boston] Common to play at Wicket.1Since 1634, Boston Common has been celebrated as "the outdoor stage on which many characteristic dramas of local life have been...
1744.1 "How Is It, Umpire?" the 1744 Laws of Cricket and Their Influence on the Development of Baseball in America
Last Monday afternoon, a match at cricket was play'd on our Common for a considerable Wager, by eleven Londoners, against eleven New Yorkers: The game was play'd according to the London Method; and those who got most notches in two Hands, to be the Winners.1The...
1744.2 John Newbery Publishes A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, and with It Our First Glimpse of the Game of English Baseball
"Away Flies the Boy"1We know, beyond a reasonable doubt, that American baseball derived from an earlier 18th century English game that was also called baseball. True, we don't have any smoking-gun proof of this; no diary entry from, say, the 1750s, detailing...
1755.6 "The Bat and Ball": A Distinct Game or a Generic Term?
Even at the celebration of the Lord's supper [the Dutch boys] have been playing bat and ball the whole term around the house of God.1Early American sources often refer to "playing ball" or "ball-playing" or "games of ball." When one reads such references,...
1781.2 Protoball at Harvard: From Pastime to Contest
The Freshmen shall furnish Batts, Balls, and FootBalls, for the use of the students, to be kept at the Buttery.1Early Harvard records refer more often to football than to baseball and its forebears. What early Harvard baseball references exist, however,...
1791.1 the Pittsfield "Baseball" Bylaw: What It Means
In Pittsfield, Massachusetts, to promote the safety of the exterior of the newly built meeting house, particularly the windows, a by-law is enacted to bar "any game of wicket, cricket, baseball, batball, football, cats, fives, or any other game played...
1796.1 German Book Describes: Das Englische Base-Ball but Was It Baseball or Rounders?
One plays the game with two teams, of which one is serving the ball and the other batting.... Likewise the process is as in the German ball game: hitting, running, etc.It was one of the most satisfying moments of my hunt for the roots of baseball, and...
1805.4 an Enigmatic 1805 "Game of Bace" in New York
Sporting Intelligence.-Yesterday afternoon a contest at the game of Bace took place on "the Gymnasium," near Tylers' between the gentlemen of two different clubs for a supper and trimmings. One of these clubs has taken the very classical appellation...
1821.5 New York Mansion Converted to Venue Suitable for Ballplaying: An Early Sighting of Baseball Clubs?
The grounds of Kensington House are spacious and well adapted to the playing of the noble game of cricket, base, trap-ball, quoits and other amusements; and all the apparatus necessary for the above games will be furnished to clubs and parties.1In June...
1823.1 Game of Baseball Reported in the National Advocate
COMMUNICATION. I was last Saturday much pleased in witnessing a company of active young men playing the manly and athletic game of "base ball" at the Retreat in Broadway ( Jones'). I am informed they are an organized association, and that a very interesting...
1825.1 Thurlow Weed and the Growth of Baseball in Rochester, New York
Though an industrious, and busy place, its citizens found leisure for rational and healthy recreation. A base-ball club, numbering nearly fifty members, met every afternoon during the ball playing season. Though the members of the club embraced persons...
1829.2 the Rise and Fall of New England-Style Ballplaying
Mr. Lawrence says, as a boy [h]e played Round Ball in 1829. So far as [his] argument goes for Round Ball being the father of Base Ball, it is all well enough, but there are two things that cannot be accounted for; the conception of the foul ball, and...
1830c.2 Thoreau's Diary Entry, and Other Tiny Clues as to Who Played Early Ball, and on What Occasions (Especially Holidays)
April 10. Thursday. Fast Day.... I associate this day, when I can remember it, with games of base-ball played over beyond the hills in the russet fields toward Sleepy Hollow, where the snow was just melted and dried up.1Henry David Thoreau's 1856 journal...
1831.1 the Olympic Ball Club of Philadelphia
A small distance from the woods, I beheld a party of young men, (the majority of whom I afterwards distinguished to be Market street merchants,) and who styled themselves the "Olympic Club," a title well answering to its name by the manner in which the...
1837.1 the Evolution of the New York Game-The Arbiter's Tale
We first organized what we called the Gotham Base Ball club ... in 1837. Among the members were Dr. John Miller, a popular physician of that day; John Murphy, a well-known hotelkeeper, and James Lee, president of the New York Chamber of Commerce.*Creation...
1841.12 Barn Ball
Who has not played "barn ball" in his youth, and "wicket" in his manhood?1This question appeared in an 1841 New Orleans Daily Picayune reprint of a Cleveland Herald editorial defending boys' ball games against charges by a local letter-writer complaining...
1843.6 Magnolia Ball Club Predates Knickerbocker
NEW YORK MAGNOLIA BALL CLUB-Vive la Knickerbocker.-A meeting of the members of the above club will take place this (Thursday) afternoon, 2nd instant, at the Elysian Fields, Hoboken [N.J.]. It is earnestly requested that every member will be present,...
1845.1 the Knickerbocker Rules-And the Long History of the One-Bounce Fielding Rule
If a ball be struck, or tipped, and caught, either flying or on the first bound, it is a hand out.2The famous Knickerbocker rules of 1845 may not be comprehensive enough to fully define a playable game, and may not even be baseball's first written rules,3...
1845.4 Baseball in Brooklyn, 1845-1870: The Best There Was
The Base Ball match between eight Brooklyn players, and eight players of New York, came off on Friday [October 10] on the grounds of the Union Star Cricket Club. The Yorkers were singularly unfortunate in scoring but one run in their three innings. Brooklyn...
1850.38 Southern Ball-Games: Chermany, Round Cat, Etc
Chumney was similar to baseball, played with two teams, and had batters, pitchers, catchers, and fielders.1Two games with roots in the mid-19th century, both of them pastimes associated with the American South, have come to light only recently: chermany...
1853.5 the Baseball Press Emerges
"BASE BALL AT HOBOKEN: The first friendly game of the season, between the Gotham and Knickerbocker Base Ball Clubs was played on the grounds of the latter on the 5th inst. The game was commenced on Friday the 1st, but owing to the storm had to be postponed,...
1854.9 William Van Cott Writes a Letter to the Sporting Press: December 1854
[T]he game has been thoroughly systematized, and ... the players have attained a high degree of skill in the game.1In mid-December 1854, members of the Knickerbocker, Gotham, and Eagle Clubs held a dinner at Fijux's, a restaurant located at 11 Barclay...
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