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The History And Origin Of Baseball

Read about the origin and the history of baseball.


Baseball was invented so much as it evolved. By the early 1840s, changes in games called “town ball” and “one old cat,” which were common in New England, were being tried in New York. In 1845, the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club wrote a list of rules, which are often still in place today. Club members Daniel “Doc” Adams, William Wheaton, and Alexander Cartwright — the latter a surveyor, and generally credited with the crucial judgment on the shape of the field, including putting the bases 90 feet apart — are normally credited with addressing those rules.


So, like most of the world’s other popular sporting games, baseball wasn’t invented but evolved. Like many games we still see today, this one was based on the principle, “I bet I can propel this object to hit that target better than you.” Get javier baez jersey here.


We see lots of games or competitions in which players take turns trying to hit a target with an object. But then the idea of defense was introduced and turn-taking eliminated, and when you break it down you can see that an enormous variety of games are about trying to hit a defended target with an object. It’s obvious that games like soccer and hockey are based on that principle, but the connection to baseball is not as obvious. In baseball’s ancestor, stoolball, the defense became the major focus.


It’s tempting to think stoolball was devised by children, and maybe it was. However, since the target by which historians know this game was a stool (which maybe wasn’t the original version), and since stools were used by milkmaids, it is commonly believed stoolball was originated by milkmaids.


Players would gather around and throw a ball at the stool, trying to hit it, while a defender would try to deflect their shots. Originally they used no tool in defense but their hands, like a goalie in a cutthroat game of goal scoring where the goal was in the middle and it was all against whoever was currently defending it. Whether the goalie was allowed to turn the tables by catching the ball and immediately attacking with it.


Although, the game became more recognizable as the ancestor to both baseball and cricket when the goalie was given a bat with which to deflect the shots. Maybe it was a leg from another, broken stool, or maybe it was even an entire stool at first. Stoolball was said to have been played at the first American Thanksgiving, having been known to the Pilgrims and fellow travelers from England, and maybe they’d played it in Holland too.


At some point, base running was introduced, and then you have all the elements of baseball in all its versions and cricket. Baseball is best understood as like football in having been a family of games in the British Isles that evolved and shook out both there and across the British Empire and its descendant countries.


As to how baseball impacted the USA, it provided recreation and spectatorship the same as other forms of entertainment.

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  • Aug 3 2021
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