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Old September 29th, 2014, 08:26 PM   #11

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Originally Posted by Linschoten View Post
"It was not very wonderful that Catherine, who had nothing heroic about her, should prefer cricket, base-ball, riding on horseback, and running about the country at the age of fourteen, to books." from Northanger Abbey. That was written in 1798-9, and 'Rounders' is not recorded as the name of a game before the early 19th Century. This base-ball would seem to have been an ancestor both of rounders and the later baseball.
I had read some time ago that there are sources (poems etc) that refer to Stoolball as base ball, and given that Stoolball was a ladies game it would not be to unreasonable to suggest that this is the game Jane is referring to.
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Old September 30th, 2014, 01:26 AM   #12

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But the point is that Catherine engaged in un-ladylike activities, baseball is mentioned along with cricket here. Though I don't pretend to know anything about these matters!
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Old September 30th, 2014, 05:25 AM   #13
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So if baseball evolve from cricket,then American Football evolve from rugby?
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Old September 30th, 2014, 05:33 AM   #14

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Originally Posted by Zoopiter View Post
So if baseball evolve from cricket,
It didn't, though both probably shared a common ancestry.
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Old October 3rd, 2014, 05:34 AM   #15

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Originally Posted by Linschoten View Post
But the point is that Catherine engaged in un-ladylike activities, baseball is mentioned along with cricket here. Though I don't pretend to know anything about these matters!
Well that matches stoolball if you read the sources on the game it'd be easy to assume that by the end of a game couples would be rolling around and making hay even in the time of Shakespeare it was a euphemism for sex, perhaps she used it with that meaning in mind?
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Old October 3rd, 2014, 06:07 AM   #16

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Originally Posted by redcoat View Post
It didn't, though both probably shared a common ancestry.
Which is where some hold up stoolball as an example, it is a much older game (15th century) looks some what like cricket but the ball is the key here in that aside from size it shares the same stitch pattern as an American baseball, although Stoolball has been relegated petty much back to the region it is supposed to originate from (Sussex/Surrey/Kent/Hampshire) there is still a wealth of material to compare.

Modern Stoolball ball
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Baseball ball
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The stoolball bat has changed little.

Modern Gray Nickols Stoolball bat
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Stoolball Bat from Mayfield Sussex 1891
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Even in 1910 when the bat made it's way into a museum it was considered old fashioned.

Stoolball bats inscription
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Autioned 1960s Atlas Stoolball bats and Cliff stoolball balls
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the standard stoolball ball is the one on the lower right hand side

If the bats have changed little over the last 100 years then it is easy to see why some feel that the ball has not changed either and that the ball provides a demonstrable link between baseball and stoolball, just as in the way stoolball is played creates links to rounders and cricket, and as stoolball dates from atleast the 15th century could be the ancestor of them all.

Last edited by Broc; October 3rd, 2014 at 06:21 AM.
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Old October 10th, 2014, 08:59 AM   #17
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Bat and ball games have been played for probably thousands of years. Sticks and stones and bones of various sizes were readily available to early man. At some point they started using these tools for killing and capturing food. This implies some sort of practicing of the skills needed to kill with these tools.

It's not hard to imagine variations in practice leading to some sort of contest between participants even if it was a simple as who was the best at hitting a tree with a rock.

Some organized forms and citations over the centuries can be found here:

Chronologies - Protoball

What is essentially being discussed at Historum is the current incarnation of baseball that we recognize in the 21st century. The basis of that comes from the essential prerequisite of any game/sport -- the need for a common set of rules. We cannot play a specific contest without having a known set of rules - one team cannot be playing under one set and their opponent under another. The set of rules we play by today stems from clubs formed in New York City in the mid-1800s.

The onset of the Industrial Revolution led to people clustering in larger numbers than ever before, forming major cities. People then worried about the health aspects of this - were they getting the right amount of exercise? and so forth.

Clubs such as literary or political societies are age old. It brought men with common interests together. Eventually, men started forming clubs based on physical activity rather than mental exercise. Pulling from their youth, men started forming social institutions based around what we might call baseball.

Throughout the nation, there were probably as many forms of baseball (a loose terminology at this point) as there were communities or even households.

In New York City, the first baseball clubs seem to be formed in the 1830s - before the famed Knickerbockers many are aware of. Each club typically codified their rules and style of play within their own group. Others started to do the same. One club, the New Yorks, were an early one. The seem to have disbanded and some members joined the Knickerbockers. It seems today that we can link the Knickerbocker rules as originally pulled from the New Yorks.

What made the Knickerbockers famous is that they published their rules. (It's important to realize that at this point rules were basically about how to organize the club and the responsibility of members. There was no codification of playing rules at this time - 1840s.)

For years the Knickerbockers and other NY clubs played on various lots on and around Manhattan, Brooklyn and across the Hudson River on the banks of Hoboken. Typically, the clubs just played among themselves but at times match games were played for bragging rights (as eating/drinking celebrations typically followed the contests).

To play another club, playing rules first had to be hashed out. As can be understood, this led to arguments, hard feelings and a measure of conciliation. This went on during the 1850s until the Knickerbockers called for meeting between clubs in 1856.

The first meetings almost immediately called for a subcommittee to draw up a common set of rules. They were eventually drawn up, amended and still evolving to this day.

As business men moved in and out of New York and as others did as well, the New York game began to catch on. For example, a Baltimore businessman was friends with a prominent Brooklyn ballplayer which brought the NY game to Baltimore. And, the Gold Rush, brought several Knickerbockers to San Francisco, especially one who actually wrote the original New Yorks and Knickerbockers rules. Another, Alexander Cartwright, eventually settled in Hawaii.

Other ball games were prevalent throughout the country, especially what we call Town Ball in and around Philadelphia and what is called the Massachusetts game. Eventually, hap hazardously, the New York game became the prominent form of the sport during the 1860s. The first pro league was formed in 1871. The surviving National League that we know today was formed in 1876 as the successor of the 1871-league.

The American League we also recognize today was formed as a minor league in 1893 (Western League) and forced its way into major league status in 1901.
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Old October 17th, 2014, 02:26 PM   #18
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Yeah, the Doubleday myth was debunked long ago, and it is generally accepted these days that baseball is a spin-off from an old English game called "Rounders."
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Old November 3rd, 2014, 03:58 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Sam-Nary View Post

It's doubtful that Jane Austin mentioned baseball in any of her novels, as the American version of the game never caught on outside the US prior to the Twentieth Century. More than likely what Austin mentioned was rounders, one of the sports from which baseball evolved and was still played in England, as all of Austin's novels take place in England during the end of George III's reign and the beginning of George IV's reign.
This may be a case where the same game was referred to by some people as "rounders" and others as "base ball". The word "base ball" persisted in the US, but fell out of usage in America, just as the word "fall" for autumn remained popular in America, but fell out usage in England.

While it probably true that the game Jane Austen mentions was quite a bit different from the game we know of baseball, the same was probably equally true for cricket, the "cricket" played by Catherine could be quite a bit different than today's cricket.

I think that what you had was a game, like ancestors of modern football (both American and British), that had a lot of variations in the way it was played. I recall reading about the early "football" games that the teams would agree on the rules just before the game. What happened in the 19th century was that the rules and equipment became standardized, so everyone used the same type of baseball bat or cricket bat, and played by the same rules.

I remember a Saturday Night Comedy show had series of live skits, called the "Joe Pesci Show", where supposedly the actor Joe Pesci in the persona of his Mafia roles had a talk show where he beat up the his guest, often with a baseball bat. One time, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was one of the guest (yes, the real Mayor Giuliani), where Rudy said "in New York, we didn't play baseball, we played stickball" (or similar words) and proceeded to beat up the Pesci character with a stickball bat.

Stickball was American game played in some of the large Eastern US cities, where it was difficult for poorer kids to find a regular baseball field to play.

Stickball is a street game related to baseball, usually formed as a pick-up game played in large cities in the Northeastern United States, especially New York City and Philadelphia. The equipment consists of a broom handle and a rubber ball, typically a spaldeen, pensy pinky, high bouncer or tennis ball. The rules come from baseball and are modified to fit the situation, for example, a manhole cover may be used as a base, or buildings for foul lines. The game is a variation of stick and ball games dating back to at least the 1750s. This game was widely popular among youths growing up from the 20th century until the 1980s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stickball
I am sure before the rules were standardize, there were a lot more local varieties of "base ball".

(PS - On a side note - when I read P.D. Wodehouse's, a Jeeves and Wooster story refer to a "football" game that resembled American football or rugby far more than modern soccer. Apparently, in the 20's, "football" didn't exclusively mean soccer.

Last edited by Bart Dale; November 3rd, 2014 at 04:42 PM.
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