Who Invented Baseball?

Baseball today is one of the most popular sports in the United States.
Baseball today is one of the most popular sports in the United States.

The Origins of Baseball

The origin of baseball is unclear, and the subject sparks a controversial debate of whether the sport began in Europe or America. It is undoubted that sports similar to modern day baseball was developed in Europe and played in Britain, France, and Germany. The sports had different names depending on the region including base ball, stool ball, round ball, and base. Some key aspects of the past sport are still practiced to date including players running around the bases and the dismissal of the batter after three strikes.

Folk Games in Europe

Various folk games in Europe portrayed several characteristics that can be seen in modern day baseball, rounders, and cricket. These sports involved throwing a ball a target and an opposition batter protected the target by hitting the ball away from the target and scored points by running around the bases. The games developed in different places and each evolved differently from the other leading to a similar sport with variant forms. Most did not have documented rules, and the players would agree on specific rules before playing. Apart from the names, the games also differed in the tools used. The ball was the standard unifying factor but the way it was used in the game differed.

Evolution of the Term Baseball

The term "baseball" appeared in the early 18th century when religious leader Thomas Wilson disapproved cricket, cudgel-playing, and Morris-dancing from being performed on Sunday. Another model reported by David Block in his book “Baseball Before We Knew It” describes that the term “baseball” evolved from "stoolball" in the early third quarter of the 17th century. The early form of modern baseball was played by the close relatives and family members of the Prince of Wales in mid-1748. The royal family called the game "Bass-Ball." Several written accounts of famous people in Britain contain the name "baseball" to refer to a sport they engaged in between 1740 and 1770. In 1768 the term was included as an English word in the General Dictionary of the English Language.

The Development of Baseball in America

Records of baseball in America before 1845 are rare and uncertain. Some English historians theorize that baseball evolved from a similar game played in Britain. American historians disregard the version and claim baseball is a purely an American game that was developed in 1839 at Cooperstown in New York State. However, both accounts proved to be wrong as a sport referred to as "base ball," had been played in the country as early as the 1750s. In 1791 Pittsfield, Massachusetts banned all sports involving bats and wickets from within 80 yards of building to prevent of glass hardware in houses. On July 13, 1825, the Delhi Paper of New York published an advertisement undersigning the residents to turn up and compete against the residents of County of Delaware. By the end of 1825 baseball clubs had begun playing the game regularly in Rochester, New York. Although New York was an industries place, the citizens engaged in the sport regularly for recreation and health purposes. Clubs of up to fifty members met daily during the baseball season to practice and engage in competitions. In 1838 the first officially recorded baseball game the continent was played in Beachville, Ontario.


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