My grandson and I was talking about baseball the other day, and he asked where it came from. I couldn’t answer his question, so I did some research. There is quite a bit of controversy, but I will tell you some of what I found out and you can form your opinion.
Stick Ball Games
Daven Hiskey writes about when baseball started. He reiterates what Henry Chadwick says, that baseball wasn’t invented but is a culmination of stick ball games, of which he played as a child in England. These games date back before 1796 called “Englische Base-ball” which consisted of two teams, batter gets three attempts to hit the ball and the team gets one out. Another similar game was called “Rounders”, where it was played on a diamond shape with bases. They would hit the ball and try to run to the bases without being hit by the ball. From some of the cases I read, many fights broke out over getting hit.
Townball was being played by men and boys, mostly in big cities such as Manhattan and New York. They played the same game basically, but each had their own unwritten rules. It was said to be a fun way to get exercise. One adult group formed a team called “The Gotham’s” in 1837 and soon became so big they had to split into two groups. The second group named after the Fire Engine Company was named “The Knickerbockers” and together they adopted the same rules and made sure it was for fun, so no more hitting people with the ball.
The New York Knickerbockers were the first of many clubs and they gathered in Hoboken, New Jersey on the Elysian Fields led by Alexander Cartwright who was not only a volunteer fire fighter but also a bookseller. They developed the “20 rules and regulations of the baseball club” and this became the official rules of this “new sport”. The first recorded baseball game was on June 19, 1846 between the New York Nine and the New York Knickerbockers who lost 23 to 1.
Heart of Americans
Becoming popular with the gamblers, baseball took on a rise and for some people became a religion. Baseball has had its ups and downs but lives in the hearts of Americans. Although some say it was not born here, I say it was. Without the trials and tribulations throughout the years it would not be where it is today. Ideas start from somewhere and when we put things together and unite, we create wondrous things.