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Baseball History


Baseball is a widely popular sport, not just in the United States, where it is nicknamed the Great American Pastime, but in other countries such as Canada and Japan. It has its roots in antiquity, but exactly how far back do those roots go? Lingering remains of a game that utilized a ball and a bat date as far back as ancient Egypt. The British Museum in London has a ball on display that was used for play over 2000 years in the past.

Games that share some semblance with Baseball experienced popularity across the continents of Europe and Asia. Romania and Russia had one such sport in the 1300s. Monks in France had another popular game later in the 14th century. Around that same time, a poem that was penned by William Pagula makes mention of a game played by milkmaids called Stoolball; the maids used their stools for milking as wickets. Germany boasted a game that is still enjoyed in the Kiel area: Schlagball.

One popular suggestion to the answer of the origin of Baseball is the game of Rounders. Rounders did make it to America in the 1800s, but an evolution of it became known as Town Ball and has some fairly large diversions from the rules of baseball, not least of which is that a hitter can run without first hitting the ball. There is a greater likelihood that Rounders and Baseball both share an origin with that of Cricket. One early mention of Baseball in England in the 1790s can be found in the novel “Northanger Abbey” by Jane Austen.

The 18th century is when the clear turning point to Baseball arrives, despite the story found by Al Spalding, a prior pitcher who is famed for sporting goods manufacturer. A New York seller of books established the rules in the year 1845. It was not even a decade, but only a few years, before Baseball became the first professional sport.