Baseball History: 19th Century Baseball

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Baseball History: 19th Century BaseballClick Image To Visit SiteI think there are only three things America will be known for 2,000 years from now when they study this civilization: the Constitution, jazz music and baseball.

oday a multi-billion dollar industry, Baseball has come a long way from its crude and humble beginnings in the fields of 19th century America. More than a game, Baseball remains an inseparable part of the American heritage and an intrinsic part of our national psyche. For many of us, notions of team, fair play, and athletic excellence first occurred on a red clay diamond cut from a grassy field. Referred to as "America’s Pastime" since 1856, Baseball today is played by men and women of all ages and skill levels all around the world. Despite its recurrent scandals and woes, Baseball remains synonymous with the best that America has to offer.

Contrary to popular belief, Baseball was not invented by a single individual, but evolved from various European "bat and ball" games. Russia had a version of Baseball called Lapta, which dates back to the fourteenth century. It consisted of two teams (five to ten members) with a pitcher and batter. The ball would be thrown to the batter who would attempt to hit it with a short stick and then run to the opposite side and back before being hit by the ball.

England has played Cricket and Rounders for several centuries. The first recorded cricket match took place in Sussex, England in 1697. Cricket is played in a large open circular field and has two sides of eleven players that attempt to "put out" a "batsman" who tries to prevent a ball thrown by a "bowler" from knocking over "bails" placed on "wickets," or three upright sticks. If the batsman makes contact with the ball, he runs to the opposite side of the "pitch" and continues running back and forth until the ball is retrieved by the opposing team.

Rounders, which shares more technical similarities to Baseball, dates back to Tudor times in England. This game consisted of two teams, six to fifteen players, including a pitcher, batter, "bowling square," "hitting square" and four posts, similar to bases used in Baseball. Each player had to bat in each "inning" and the game lasted two innings. The pitcher tossed the ball to the batter who attempted to hit it. If contact was made the batter ran to the first post. Points were awarded depending on what post was reached by the batter and the manner in which the post was reached.

Germany played a game called Schlagball, which was similar to Rounders. The ball was tossed by the "bowler" to the "striker," who struck it with a club and attempted to complete the circuit of bases without being hit by the ball. Americans played a version of Rounders called "Town Ball," which dates back to the early 1800’s. In this game, the first team to score one hundred "talleys" won the game. In 1858 the rules were formalized as the… Read more…

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