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Where was Baseball invented

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Chris Teague
304979.  Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:04 am Reply with quote

Having read the Book of General Ignorance recently I am surprised that your researchers failed to recognize that 'Real' Baseball is still being played in Wales and England (Cardiff, Newport and Liverpool) and every year there is an international match between the two countries. The Welsh Baseball Union has its own website that I'm sure you will find very informative.
Perhaps in the next edition of the book you will add this information to the chapter on Baseball.

 
zomgmouse
305009.  Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:27 am Reply with quote

Everybody knows that Jane Austen invented baseball!

 
suze
305117.  Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:14 am Reply with quote

I believe the phrase is "lol".

She didn't of course, but did refer to it in Northanger Abbey (written from 1798, although not published until after her death).

The first reference to baseball is usually said to come from 1744, in a work called A little pretty pocket-book. But there's some doubt as to whether the game meant there is baseball as now known; the book also mentions rounders, and it seems improbable that baseball as we now know it and rounders were clearly different games by them. What's more, there's a woodcut of "base-ball" reproduced in that book - and no bat is apparent.

In fact, there is an earlier reference to a game called baseball. One Rev Thomas Wilson, writing in either 1672 or 1700 (accounts vary), expressed his distaste for people indulging in "morris dancing, cudgel-playing, baseball and cricketts" on a Sunday. That said, baseball historian David Block thinks that he meant stoolball* rather than baseball as we now know it.

Stoolball is known to have been played by the eleventh century, and is often regarded as the ancestor of baseball, rounders, and cricket.

As for Welsh baseball, from the description at http://www.weltchmedia.com/baseball.html, it seems to be a development of rounders influenced more by cricket than by American baseball. A minority of sport of interest undoubtedly, but it doesn't predate the American game - indeed, it wasn't clearly distinguished from rounders until 1892.


Sources:
http://www.bestsyndication.com/Articles/2006/p/penn_f/05/050206_history_of_baseball.htm
http://www.hickoksports.com/history/baseba01.shtml
http://www.sabruk.org/examiner/11/stoolball.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origins_of_baseball


* I wasn't familiar with stoolball, but husband tells me that it shares features of both cricket and rounders. The bowling is underarm and the ball isn't expected to bounce between bowler and batsman, but there's a wicket, and one runs back and forth rather than around a diamond. It was at one time popular throughout rural southern England, but is now largely restricted to Sussex.

 
Tas
305169.  Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:52 am Reply with quote

Can we assume the use of three-legged stools to explain three stumps at each end of a cricket pitch?

:-)

Tas

 
suze
305192.  Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:05 am Reply with quote

That's a good question, and one which is currently causing some confusion at a home office in Kent!

Histories of cricket (I've just been shown two different ones, and they concur) state that there were only two stumps until about 1775, and that the third was then added because it seemed unfair that the batsman was not put out if the ball passed between the two.

But stoolball does seem to be so named because a three legged milking stool served the purpose of the wicket. Quite why it was that the ancestor of cricket should have used three, but that cricket then went with two until it was realised that three was a better idea after all, I have no clue.

 
Tas
305195.  Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:09 am Reply with quote

Actually, I do seem to recall the two-stumps being unfair thing, now that you mention it Suze.

Pity. The three-legged stool idea seemed quite fitting, somehow.

:-)

Tas

 
Sadurian Mike
305841.  Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:39 pm Reply with quote

Tas wrote:
Actually, I do seem to recall the two-stumps being unfair thing, now that you mention it Suze.

Pity. The three-legged stool idea seemed quite fitting, somehow.

:-)

Tas

A stool would only have two legs on the line, though, with the third being propped at the back, out of the way.

 
Ian Dunn
435996.  Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:52 pm Reply with quote

This whole issue looks like it is going to be mentioned again in a new book called Can we Have our Balls Back, Please? by Julian Norridge. The book looks at Britain's role in writing the rulebooks for a long list of sports. He mentions the Northanger Abbey reference in his book.

Story from CNN

 

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