The Early Years and Origins of Baseball

The origin story of baseball is quite simple. In 1839, in the town of Cooperstown, New York, Abner Doubleday developed the game of baseball, with the first game held there according to the rules and regulations established by the future General of the Union. From there, the game spread across the country, and when the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame was established in the 1930s, the sport’s birthplace was the natural venue for it.

It’s a nice story, but it’s just that – a story. There is actually no real evidence that Abner Doubleday invented the game of baseball. For starters, he wasn’t even in Cooperstown in 1839, but rather West Point. No mention, written or otherwise, of in or around Cooperstown has even a cursory mention of “baseball,” nor is there any significant mention of the sport in Doubleday’s own personal writings. When the Civil War general died in 1893, the sport was not mentioned at all.

So how was a random general credited as the inventor of America’s national pastime? Based on the testimony of one man—Abner Graves, who was five years old in 1839—a National League committee declared Doubleday the inventor of the sport in 1908; the reason for this seems to be a desire to reject other proposed origins that would give baseball an English origin in favor of one that made it all-American.

If Abner Doubleday isn’t responsible for the genesis of baseball, where did it really begin? Well, answering that question is a bit complicated. Very little documentation exists of early bat and ball games, the forerunners of baseball and cricket, for the twofold reasons that they were primarily games of the lower classes and they were often banned by overbearing Puritan governments who tried to legalize the leisure activities of these lower classes. to arrange . From the little references we have, these sports were united by the concept of a “pitcher” throwing something trying to hit the “hitter” with something vaguely resembling a bat, although regional variations differed in what the thrower threw, what happened next the batter hit it, how runs were scored and how everything was called in the first place. Many of them were called “baseball” at one time or another, even if they had absolutely nothing to do with the modern sport that bears his name.

The first major game of bat-and-ball, known as chairball, dates back to at least the 15th century (and possibly as early as the 11th) and originated in Sussex, England. In defecation, one player tries to hit an object (usually a tree stump or pew, but what is convenient can also suffice) with a ball, while another player tries to defend the object, initially with a bare hand, then with a bat. -like object. If the ball hit the object, the batter was out. If not, depending on the regional variation, he either scored a point immediately or had to run to another object to score (as in cricket) or around a series of objects (as in baseball). Associated in literature with churches and the Easter season, the feces spread across the British Isles, eventually coming to North America during the colonial era.

Within England, stool ball evolved in a way into a game known as rounders. Called “baseball” in the 1744 children’s book A small beautiful pocket book – the first reference we have to the name in print – rounders appears to be the first documented case of a bat-and-ball sport played on a four-base diamond, and has been played in England since the second half of the 15th century. The sport has many similarities to baseball, with nine players including a “bowler”. The batter would try to hit a “good ball” with a bat and circle the bases, which were arranged in the shape of a square. Unlike baseball, batters had to run whether or not they hit the ball, and there is no foul territory (although the batter cannot get past first base if he touches the ball into foul territory).

It seems likely that stools and rounders evolved into what appears to be baseball’s immediate predecessor, the city ball. Even within the loosely defined early bat and ball games, town ball is a bit of an enigma, because while it developed in cities in the northeastern United States during the latter third of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century, Most of the records we have about the game are personal memories of the game decades later. The one that appears to be baseball’s predecessor was the general layout of the baseball diamond we have today, with the exception that the batter was not on home plate, but halfway between home plate and first base. In addition, depending on the regional variation, you eliminated a runner by hitting him with the ball (for example, in the modern schoolyard kickball) or by throwing the ball in front of him down the basepath. Innings took the form of either one out all out or all out all out, the former needed one batter to close the end, while the latter needed every batter.

From 1830 to 1860 we have records of the Olympic Ball Club in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which seemed to have played their own version of the city ball for thirty years. At Philadelphia Town Ball, every plate appearance was either a home run or an out, with the bases not being the safe havens they were in other variations of the sport. However, in 1860 they adopted the “New York Rules” as part of the city ball that was incorporated into the variant that became the modern game of baseball.

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