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"There were no bats, no nything except a lot of boys, as a ball with which they were trying to hit one another. But if one threw and missed, or his ball was caught, he was out. When all but one, or an agreed number, were out, the game was ended."
Thus, "sockball" seems to have been a game we might now call dodgeball.
Henry J. Philpott, "A Little Boys' Game with a Ball," Popular Science Monthly, volume 37 (May to October 1890), page 651.
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