Long Ball

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Game Long Ball
Game Family Baseball Baseball
Regions Europe, US
Eras Predecessor, 1800s, Post-1900
Invented No
Description

Maigaard sees Long Ball as the oldest ancestor of rounders, cricket and baseball, a game that was played in many countries. Long Ball is described as using teams of from 4 to 20 players. It involved a pitcher, batter, and an “out-goal” or base that the batter-runner tried to reach after hitting (or after missing a third swing) and without being plugged. Caught flies signaled an immediate switch between the in-team and the out-team. Many members of the in-team could share a base as runners. Runs were not counted, as the objective was to remain at bat for a long period. A 1914 US text describes Long Ball in generally similar terms, but one that uses a regular "indoor baseball." There is a single base to run to, scoring by runs, a three-out-side-out rule, and no foul ground. Plugging is allowed.

A weblog written in the Australian outback in 2007 described a version of contemporary Long Ball. Modern variants of Long Ball are still played on a club or school basis, including Danish Longball in Denmark and England, Schlagball in Germany and Silesia and Palant in Poland.

Sources

Per Maigaard, "Battingball Games," Genus 5 (1941).  Reprinted as Appendix 6 in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It (U. Nebraska, 2005), pages 260ff.

Henry S. Curtis, Play and Recreation for the Open Country (Ginn, 1914). pages 62-63.



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