Chronology: 1701 - 1780
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The chronology from 1701 to 1780 (122 entries)
1704.1 Traveler Observes Ball-Playing in CT
Madame Knight, "in her inimitable journal of her ride from Boston to New York in 1704, speaks of ball-playing in Connecticut."
"The Game of Wicket and Some Old-Time Wicket Players," in George Dudley Seymour, Papers and Addresses of the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut, Volume II of the Proceedings of the Society, [n. p., 1909.] page 284. Submitted by John Thorn, 7/11/04. John notes 9/3/2005 that Seymour observes that Madame Knight does not specifically name the sport as wicket, but he excludes cricket as a possibility because cricket was not then known to have been played in America before 1725; however, John adds, we now have a cricket reference in Virginia from 1709. [See #1709.1, below.]
1704.2 While the Rurals Had Stool-ball and Cricket, the Londoner Had "Blood-Stirring Excitement"
"[T]he growth of a commercial London failed to raise the tone of sporting tastes. While the countryman exercised vehemently at football, stool-ball, cricket, pins-on-base, wrestling, or cudgel-playing, there was fiercer and more blood-stirring excitement for the Londoner. Particularly at Hockley-in-the-Hole, one could find bear-baiting, bull-baiting and cock-fighting to his heart's content."
Chamberlayne, Edward, Anglia Notitia: The Present State of England [London, 1704 and 1748], page 51. Submitted by John Thorn, 7/9/04.
1704.4 Earliest Published Rules of Cricket [?]
"[The following] text is, as far as we know, the earliest published rules of cricket that have come down to us. They are more than eighty years older than the first official Laws of Cricket, published in 1789." The ensuing text calls for the 4-ball over, unregulated runner and fielder interference, and has no rule to keep a batsman from deflecting bowled balls with his body.
http://www.seatllecricket.com/history/1704laws.htm, accessed 10/2/02. The site offers no source. Most sources date the easiest rules to 1744; could this date stem from a typo? No source is given for the rules themselves. Beth Hise, on January 12, 2010, expressed renewed skepticism about the 1704 date. Caution: we have requested confirmation and sources from this website, and have not had a reply as of Feb. 2010.
1705.1 Early Cricket Match "To Be Plaid . . . for 11 Guineas a Man"
An account in the July 24 issue of The Postman reads, "This is to give notice that a match of cricket is to be plaid between 11 gentlemen of the west part of Kent, against as many of Chatham, for 11 guineas a man at Maulden in Kent on August 7th next." Thomas Moult, "The Story of the Game," in Thomas Moult, ed., Bat and Ball: A New Book of Cricket (Sportsmans Book Club, London, 1960; reprint of 1935), page 27.
1706.1 Poem Suggests Cricket is Becoming "Respectable"
Goldwin, William, In Certamen Pilae. Per John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 15. Ford does not provide a full citation for this source. He reports the poem, written Latin, as "describing the early game and suggesting, perhaps, that it is becoming 'respectable.' He adds that "there was academic controversy over its translation in 1923." John Thorn offers that the poem was published in Goldwin's Musae Juveniles in 1706, and was translated by Harold Perry as "The Cricket Match" in 1922 [email of 2/1/2008]. John also sent Protoball the original text, for you Latin speakers out there.
1706.2 Book About a Scotsman Mentions "Cat and Doug" and Other Diversions
[Author?] The Scotch rogue; or, The life and actions of Donald MacDonald, a Highland Scot [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 176. The [apparently fictional] hero recalls; "I was but a sorry proficient in learning: being readier at cat and doug, cappy-hole, riding the burley hacket, playing at kyles and dams, spangboder, wrestling, and foot-ball (and such other sports as we use in our country) than at my book."
Block identifies "cat and doug," or cat and dog, as a Scots two-base version of the game of cat that was most commonly played in Scotland. It was the likely forbear of the American game of two-old-cat."
David Block, Baseball Before Knew It (U Nebraska Press, 2007), page 176.
For more on cat-and-dog, see http://protoball.org/Cat-and-Dog.
1709.1 A Form of [Two-man and Four-man] Cricket Played in Virginia
In an April 25, 1709 diary entry, William Byrd, owner of the Virginia plantation Westover, wrote: "I rose at 6 o'clock and said my prayers shortly. Mr. W-l-s and I fenced and I beat him. Then we played at cricket, Mr. W-l-s and John Custis against me and Mr. [Hawkins], but we were beaten. I ate nothing but milk for breakfast . . ."
On May 6 of the same year he noted: "I rose about 6 o'clock and Colonel Ludwell, Nat Harrison, Mr. Edwards and myself played at cricket, and I won a bit [presumably an eighth of a Spanish dollar]. Then we played at whist and I won. About 10 o'clock we went to breakfast and I ate some boiled rice." Another undated entry showed that cricket was not just an early-morning pastime: "About 10 o'clock Dr. Blair, and Major and Captain Harrison came to see us. After I had given them a glass of sack we played cricket. I ate boiled beef for my dinner. Then we played at shooting with arrows...and went to cricket again till dark."
Wright, Louis B., and Marion Tinling, eds., The Secret Diary of William Byrd of Westover 1709-1712 [Dietz Press, Richmond, 1941], pages 25-26 and 31. We have no page reference for the third mention of cricket, which appears in a short article on Smithsonian.com, as accessed 1/20/2007. Thanks to John Thorn for reference data [email of 2/1/2008].
1709.2 Cricket's First County Match?
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1697_to_1725_English_cricket_seasons, accessed 10/17/08:
"The earliest known match involving county teams or at any rate teams bearing the names of counties. The match was advertised in the Post Man dated Saturday June 25, 1709. The stake was £50.
"Some authors have suggested the teams in reality were "Dartford and a Surrey village", but this contradicts evidence of patronage and high stakes. It is likely that Dartford, as the foremost Kent club in this period, provided not only the venue but also the nucleus of the team, but there is no reason at all to doubt that the team included good players from elsewhere in the county. The Surrey team will equally have been drawn from a number of Surrey parishes and subscribed by their patron."
The Wikipedia entry credits the website "From Lads to Lords: The History of Cricket 1300-1787", at http://www.jl.sl.btinternet.co.uk/stampsite/cricket/main.html
1709.3 Cat and Trap-ball Seen as Boys' Games [The Men Play Foot-ball]
W. Winstanley and Successors, Poor Robin 1709. An almanack after a new fashion [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 176. A selection begins, "Thus harmless country lads and lasses/ In mirth the time away so passes:/ Here men at foot-ball they do fall;/ There boys at cat and trap-ball."
1711.1 Betty Was "a Romp at Stool-Ball"
"James before he beheld Betty, was vain of his strength, a rough wrestler . . . ; Betty [was] a publick Dancer at May-poles, a Romp at Stool-Ball. He was always following idle Women, she playing among the Peasants; He a Country Bully, she a Country Coquet."
Steele, Spectator number 71, May 22, 1711, page 2. Provided by John Thorn, emails of 6/11/2007 and 2/1/2008. The implication of the passage appears to be that women who played a game like stool-ball were unlikely to be chaste.
1712.1 Two Noblemen Blasted for Sunday Cricket Play, and for Betting Too
The Duke of Marlborough and Viscount Townsend are publicly criticized for currying favor with electors by playing cricket with children "on a Sabbath day," and for wagering 20 guineas on the outcome. Bateman cites and quotes from a broadsheet report on this match at The Devil and the Peers, or a Princely Way of Sabbath Breaking [source not otherwise identified] at Bateman, Anthony,"'More Mighty than the Bat, the Pen . . . ;' Culture,, Hegemony, and the Literaturisaton of Cricket," Sport in History, v. 23, 1 (Summer 2003), page 30. John Thorn identifies the broadsheet as having been published by J. Parker [email of 2/1/2008].
1713.1 Boston Magistrate Finds Trap Ball Clogging a Gutter
"The Rain-water grievously runs into my son Joseph's Chamer . . . . I went on the Roof, and found the Spout next Slater's stopped . . . . Boston went up . . . came down a Spit, and clear'd the Leaden-throat, by thrusting out a Trap-Ball that stuck there."
Diarist Samuel Sewall (1652-1730)is known as a Salem Witch Judge. He later apologized.
Thomas, M. H., ed., The Diary of Samuel Sewell 1674 - 1729, Volume II, 1710 - 1729 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1973), p. 718. Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 18.
Trap ball is not believed to be a baserunning game.
1715.1 Men Top Women in "Merry-Night" of Stoole Balle
"The Young Folks of this Town had a Merry-Night . . . . The Young Weomen treated the Men with a Tandsey as they lost to them at a Game at Stoole Balle."
T. Ellison Gibson, ed., Blundell's Diary, Comprising Selections from the Diary of Nicholas Blundell, Esq. (Gilbert G. Walmsley, 1895), diary entry for May 14, 1715, page 134. Note: "Tandsey" presumably refers to tansey-cakes, traditionally linked to springtime games.
1719.1 Trap and Stool-ball Help Set the Mood . . . Again
"Thus all our lives we're Frolick and gay,/And instead of Court Revels we merrily Play/ At Trap and Kettles and Barley-break run,/ At Goff, and at Stool-ball, and when we have done/ These innocent Sports, we Laugh and lie down,/ And to each pretty Lass we give a green Gown."
D'Urfey, Thomas, Wit and Mirth: or Pills to Purge Melancholy [London], Vol. 3, per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 177. Note: This closely mimics the verse found above at #1671.1.
1720.1 Puritans Thwarted Fun, "Even at Stool-ball"
In a strong anti-Presbyterian tract, Thomas Lewis noted that among Puritans "all Games where there is any hazard of loss are strictly forbidden; as Tennis, Bowles and Billiards; not so much as a Game at stool-ball for a Tansy, . . . upon Pain of Damnation."
Thomas. Lewis, English Presbyterian Eloquence: Or, Dissenters Sayings Ancient and Modern (T. Bickerton, London, 1720), page 17. Citation provided by John Thorn, email of 2/1/2008.
1720.2 Holiday in Kent: Cricket, Stool-Ball, Tippling, Kissing
In 1907, a kindred spirit of ours reported [in a listserve-equivalent of the day] on his attempts to find early news coverage of cricket. He reports on a 1720 article he sees as "the first newspaper reference I have yet found to cricket as a popular game:"
"The Holiday coming on, the Alewives of Islington, Kentish Town, and several adjacent villages . . . . The Fields will swarm with Butchers'; Wives and Oyster-Women . . . diverting themselves with their Offspring, whilst their Spouses and Sweethearts are sweating at Ninepins, some at Cricket, others at Stool-Ball, besides an amorous Couple in every Corner . . . Much Noise and Cutting in the Morning; Much Tippling all Day; and much Reeling and Kissing at Night."
Alfred F. Robbins, "Replies: The Earliest Cricket Report," Notes and Queries: A Medium of Intercommunication for Literary Men, General Readers, Etc, September 7, 1907, page 191. Provided by John Thorn, 2/8/2008, via email. He reports his source as Read's Weekly Journal, or British-Gazeteer, June 4, 1720, and advises that he has omitted phrases not "welcome to the modern taste. Accessed via Google Books 10/18/2008.
1720.3 Cricket in Kent; Londoners Beat Kent Eleven, But Two Are Konked Out
A month later [see #1720.2, above], Islington was in the news again. The Postman reported on July 16, 1720 that:
"Last week a match was played in The White Conduit Fields, by Islington, between 11 Londoners on one side and elevent men of Kent on the other side, for 5s a head, at which time being in eager pursuit of the game, the Kentish men having the wickets, two Londoners striving [p.27/p.28] for expedition to gain the ball, met each other with such fierceness that, hitting their heads together, they both fell backwards without stirring hand or foot, and lay deprived of sense for a considerable time, and 'tis not yet known whether they willl recover. The Kentish men were beat." Thomas Moult, "The Story of the Game," in Thomas Moult, ed., Bat and Ball: A New Book of Cricket (Sportsmans Book Club, London, 1960 - reprint from 1935), pp 27-28.
1720c.4 Game of Base was "A Peculiar Favorite"
"Notwithstanding bloody affrays [in war times] between the English and Indians, they were generally of familiar terms in times of peace, and often mingled together in athletic sports. The game of 'base' was a peculiar favorite with our young townsmen, and the friendly Indians, and the hard beach of 'Garrison Cove' afforded fine ground for it."
W. Southgate, The History of Scarborough, 1633 - 1783, Collections of the Maine Historical Society, Volume III (Portland, 1853), page 148. G-Books search <"bloody affrays like these">, 4/2/2013.
One wishes there was more evidence that this form of "base" was a ball-game, and not a game like tag or capture-the-flag. If "base" was a ball-game, this report of native American play nearly 3 centuries ago is certainly remarkable.
Scarborough Maine is about 8 miles SW of Portland ME (then still a part of Massachusetts).
1725.2 Duke of Richmond Issues Challenge to Play Single-Wicket Cricket
"In 1725, he [the Duke of Richmond] challenged Sir William Gage in a two-a-side single-wicket competition. . . ."
Simon Rae, It's Not Cricket: A History of Skulduggery, Sharp Practice and Downright Cheating in the Noble Game (Faber and Faber, 2001), page 57. Note: is there a fuller account for tis match? A primary source?
1725c.1 Wicket Played on Boston Common at Daybreak
Judge Samuel Sewell
"March, 15. Sam. Hirst [Sewall's grandson, reportedly, and a Harvard '23 man -- (LMc)] got up betime in the morning, and took Ben Swett with him and went into the [Boston MA] Common to play at Wicket. Went before any body was up, left the door open; Sam came not to prayer; at which I was most displeased.
"March 17th. Did the like again, but took not Ben with him. I told him he could not lodge here practicing thus. So he lodg'd elsewhere. He grievously offended me in persuading his Sister Hannam not to have Mr. Turall, without enquiring of me about it. And play'd fast and loose in a vexing matter about himself in a matter relating to himself, procuring me great Vexation."
Diary of Samuel Sewall, in Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society (Published by the Society, Boston, 1882) Volume VII - Fifth Series, page 372. As cited by Thomas L. Altherr, “There is Nothing Now Heard of, in Our Leisure Hours, But Ball, Ball, Ball,” The Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture 1999 (McFarland, 2000), p. 190.
While this is the first known reference to ballplaying on Boston Common, there are several later ones. See Brian Turner, "Ballplaying and Boston Common; A Town Playground for Boys . . . and Men," Base Ball Journal (Special Issue on Origins), Volume 5, number 1 (Spring 2011), pages 21-24.
A letter in "The Nation," July 7, 1910, dates this play in 1726. Cites George Dudley Seymour's address to the CT Society of Colonial Wars. [ba]
1726.1 Cricket Crowd is Eyed Nervously as Possibly Seditious
An Essex official worries that a local game of cricket was simply a way of collecting a crowd of disaffected people in order to foment rebellion. Per John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 16. Ford does not provide a citation for this account.
1727.1 First Documented Cricket Playing Rules Agreed to, for One-time Use
Two sides forged "Articles of Agreement" that specify 12 players to a side, a 23-yard pitch, two umpires to be named by each side, and "mentions catches but not other forms of dismissal." Per John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 16. Note: Ford does not provide a citation for this account.
1727.2 How To Score at Cricket, Olde Style
In order to score a run, a batsman/runner had to touch a staff held by an umpire with his bat. The modern rule appeared in the 1744 rules.
Scholefield, Peter, Cricket Laws and Terms [Axiom Publishing, Kent Town Australia, 1990], page 22.
1728.1 Delaware Resident Writes of Playing Trap Ball, with Cider as Reward
"James Gordon & I Plaid Trabbel against John Horon and Th Horon for an anker of Syder We woun. We drunk our Syder."
Hancock, H. B., ed., "'Fare Weather and Good Helth:' the Journal of Caesar Rodeney, 1727 - 1729," Delaware History, volume 10, number 1 [April 1962], p. 64. Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 19.
1729.1 At Harvard, Batt and Ball "Stirs Our Bloud Greatly"
From Harvard College,
In a letter written from Harvard College dated March 30, 1729 to Nicholas Gilman, John Seccomb wrote: “The Batchelors Play Batt & Ball mightily now adays which Stirs our bloud greatly”
Nicholas Gilman papers, Massachusetts Historical Society, as cited in Clifford K. Shipton, New England Life in the Eighteenth Century (Harvard University Press, 1995), p. 287.
Brian Turner notes that this find "predates by 33 years the 1762 ban on bat-and-ball (along with foot-ball, cricket, and throwing snow-balls and stones in the streets of Salem -- see entry 1762.2). It also predates by two decades a reference in a 1750s French & Indian war diary kept by Benjamin Glazier of Ipswich." (See entry 1758.1)
Gilman was from a leading family of New Hampshire, mainly centered in Exeter, a bit inland from Portsmouth, where Elwyn gave a description of 1810's "bat & ball," in which he certainly seems to name a specific game. (See entry 1810s.9). Seccomb, also spelled Seccombe, was born and lived in Medford, Mass., and later in life wound up in Nova Scotia -- not because he was a Loyalist, but for other reasons.
Brian notes that "By “Batchelors,” Gilman probably means students pursuing a bachelor’s degree, hence the categorization of this entry under "Youth." For over two centuries, 14 was the age at which boys entered Harvard." (Email of 9/1/2014.)
1730c.1 Low Wicket and Circular Hole Said Still Found in Cricket
"In the infancy of the game [cricket] the batsman stood before a circular hole in the turf, and was put out, as in 'rounders,' by being caught, or by the ball being put in this hole. A century and a half ago this hole was still in use, though it had on each side a stump only one foot high, with a long cross-bar of two feet in length laid on top of them."
Robert MacGregor, Pastimes and Players (Chatto and Windus, London, 1881), page 4, accessed 1/30/10 via Google Books search ("pastimes and players"). MacGregor gives no source for this claim. Note that MacGregor does not say that such practice was uniformly used in this period. Query: have later writers specified in more detail when the hole and the low long wicket disappeared from cricket?
1730c.2 Cricket Play at Eton Seen as Common
"I can't say I am sorry I was never quite a school-boy: an expedition against bargemen or a match at cricket may be very pretty things to recollect; but thank my stars, I can remember things very near as pretty."
Letter from Horace Walpole to George Montagu, May 6, 1736. One interpretation of this letter: "Horace Walpole was sent to Eton in 1726. Playing cricket, as well as bashing bargemen, was common at that time:" Pycroft, John, The Cricket Field; or, The History and the Science of the Game of Cricket, second edition (Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, London, 1854), page 43.
1731.1 Patient Thousands Watch First Known Drawn Match in Cricket
"The Great Cricket Match, between the Duke of Richmond and Mr. Chambers, 11 men on each side, for 200 Guineas, was begun to be played on Monday at two in the Afternoon, on Richmond Green. By agreement they were not to play after 7 o'clock. . . . when the Hour agreed being come, they were obliged to leave off, tho' beside the Hands then playing, they [chambers' side] had 4 or 5 more to have come in. Thus it proved a drawn Battle. There were many Thousand Spectators, of whom a great number were Persons of Distinction of both Sexes."
Source: The Daily Journal, August 25, 1731, as uncovered by Alfred Robbins in his 1907 digging. Robbins finds the article of "historical interest, for it is the earliest I have yet traced of a drawn game." Alfred Robbins, "The Earliest Cricket Report," Notes and Queries: A Medium of Intercommunication for Literary Men, General Readers, Etc., September 7, 1907, page 192. Note: does this match still stand as the first recorded drawn match?
1732.1 "Struck a Ball Over the (163-foot) Weather-cock" in New York
"The same Day a Gentleman in this City, for a Wager of 10l [ten pounds] struck a Ball over the Weather-Cock of the English Church, which is above 163 Feet high. He had half a Day allow'd him to perform it in, but he did it in less than half the Time."
American Weekly Mercury, Philadelphia, July 6, 1732, page 3, column 2;
from a series of paragraphs/sentences datelined *New-York, July 3. The preceding paragraph had begun "On Friday last."
Protoball doesn't know of other early references to pop-fly hitting.
Is it fair to assume that the gentleman used a bat to propel the ball?
Are such feats known in England?
Is a 160-foot weather-vane plausible? That's well over 10 stories, no?
1733.1 Long Poem Describes Stool-Ball in Some Detail; First Evidence of Use of a Bat?
David Block calls this account "the most complete and detailed portrayal of the game to date." It provides the earliest reference to the use of a bat, describes a game that does not involve running after the young [female] players hit the ball, and includes a description of the field and the assembled audience.
See Supplemental Text for more.
The London Magazine, vol 2, December 1733 [London], page 637, per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 177-8.
Note: A bat had been described in Willughby's c.1672 account of hornebillets. See 1672c.2.
Some actual text should be added here, if it can be captured.
1737.1 Surreymen Play Londoners in Cricket for 500 Pounds a Side
"On Wednesday next a great Match at Cricket is to be play'd at Moulsey-Hurst in Surrey, between eleven Men of the said County, chose by his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and the same Number chose out of the London Club by his Grace the Duke of Marlborough, for 500 [pounds] a Side." Country Journal of The Craftsman (London), July 16, 1737. Excavated by John Thorn, 2/1/2008. Note: So who won? And was the bet really paid off?
1737.2 Doctor Writes of North Carolina Game Resembling Ireland's Trap Ball
Brickell, an Irishman, writes of NC Indians: "They have [a] game which is managed with a Battoon, and very much resembles our Trap-ball."
Brickell, John., The Natural History of North Carolina [James Carson, Dublin, 1737], p. 336. Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 20.
1737.3 Cricket Played in Georgia Town Square
Georgia planter William Stephens: "Many of our Townsmen, Freeholders, Inmates, and Servants were assembled in the principal Square, at Cricket and divers other athletick Sports."
A Journal of the Proceedings in Georgia, II, page 217, as cited in Lester, ed., A Century of Philadelphia Cricket [U Penn, 1951], page 4. Lester cites this account as the first mention of American cricket.
1739.1 First Known Picture of Cricket Appears
"The earliest known cricket picture was first displayed in 1739. It is an engraving call "The Game of Cricket", by Hubert-Francois Gravelot (1699-1773) and shows two groups of cherubic lads gathered around a batsman and a bowler. The wicket shown is the "low stool" shape, probably 2 feet wide and 1 foot tall, with two stumps and a single bail." Received in an email from John Thorn, 2/1/2008. Source:
Another fan's notes: "Art is immortal, and the M.C.C. has acquired a new work of Art in connection with cricket. This is a drawing in pencil on grey paper, representing a country game in the [eighteenth] century. . . . The two notched stumps with one bail are only about six inches high, and the bowler appears to be "knuckling" the ball like a marble. I have very little doubt that the artist was Gravelot." Andrew Lang, "At the Sign of the Ship," Longmans' Magazine (London) Number LXIX, July 1888, page 332.
On 2/24/10, an image was available via a Google Web search (christies "gravelot (1699-1773)" cricket).
1740.2 Almanack Sees Time Wasted at Stool-ball
"Much time is wasted now away/ At pigeon-holes and nine-pin play/. . . ./ At stool-ball and at barley-break,/Wherewith they at harmless pastime make."
W. Winstanley and Successors, Poor Robin 1740. An almanack after a new fashion [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 178.
1740.3 Lord Chesterfield Nods Approvingly at Cricket - and Trap Ball!
"Dear Boy: . . . Therefor remember to give yourself up entirely to the thing you are doing, be it what it will, whether your book or play: for if you have a right ambition, you will desire to excell all boys of your age at cricket, or trap ball, as well as in learning." P.D.S. Chesterfield, Lord Chesterfield's Letters of His Son (M. W. Dunne, 1901), Volume II, Letter LXXI, to his son. Citation provided by John Thorn, email of 2/1/2008.
Cited by Steel and Lyttelton, Cricket, (Longmans Green, London, 1890), pp 8 - 9.. Steel and Lyttelton introduce this quotation as follows: "When once the eighteenth century is reached cricket begins to find mention in literature. Clearly the game was rising in the world and was being taken up, like the poets of the period, by patrons."
1741c.1 Does Alexander Pope "Sneer" at Cricket in Epic Poem?
"The judge to dance his brother serjeant call,
The senator at cricket urge the ball"
Pope, "The Dunciad," per Steel and Lyttelton, Cricket, (Longmans Green, London, 1890) 4th edition, page 9. Steel and Lyttelton date the writing to 1726-1735. Their remark: "Mr. Alexander Pope had sneered at cricket. At what did Mr. Pope not sneer?"
Alexander Pope, The Dunciad, Complete in Four Books, According to Mr. Pope's Last Improvements (Warburton, London, 1749), Book IV, line 592, page 70. Note; This fragment does not seem severely disparaging. Is it clear from context what offense he gives to cricketers? It is true that this passage demeans assorted everyday practices, particularly as pursued by those of high standing. Book IV, the last, is now believed to have been written in 1741. Other entries that employ the "urge the ball" phrasing are #1747.1, #1805c.7, #1807.3, and #1824.4.
1743.1 Editorial: Cricket is OK, But Only for Rural Holiday Play
"Cricket is certainly a very innocent and wholesome, yet it may be abused if either great or little people make it their business. It is grossly abused when it is made the subject of publick advertisements to draw together great crowds of people who ought all of them to be somewhere else.
"The diversion of cricket may be proper in holiday time, and in the country, but upon days when men ought to be busy, and in the neighbourhood of a great city, it is not only improper, but mischievous, to a high degree. It draws number of people from their employments to the ruins of their families . . . it gives the most open encouragement to gaming."
British Champion, September 8, 1743. Provided by Gregory Christiano, 12/2/09, as reprinted in The Gentlemans Magazine, 1743. The piece appears, perhaps in its entirety, in W. W. Read, Annals of Cricket (St. Dunston's Press, 1896), page 27ff [accessed 1/30/10 via Google Books search ("very innocent" "annals of cricket")].
1743.2 Three-on-Three Cricket Match, A Close One, Draws Reported 10,000 Fans
"July 11. In the Artillery Ground. Three of Kent - Hodswell, J. Cutbush, V. Romney vs. Three of England - R. Newland, Sawyer, John Bryan. Kent won by 2 runs."
Cited in Thomas Moult, "The Story of the Game," Thomas Moult, ed., Bat and Ball: A New Book of Cricket (Sportsmans Book Club, London, 1960 - reprinted from 1935), page 29. Moult's commentary: "Several features of this match are to be emphasized [besides the fact that the score was reported, not simply the name of the winning side - LM]. The convention of eleven a side was not yet established . . . . Also the match was played before 10,000 spectators." Note: Moult does not cite the original source.
1743.3 When Cricket Still Had Foul Ground?
"We may see how the game was played about this time from the picture, of date 1743, in the possession of the Surrey County Club. The wicket was a 'skeleton hurdle,' one foot high and two feet wide, consisting of two stumps only, with a third laid across. The bat was curved at the end, and made for free hitting rather than defence. The bowling was all along the ground, and the great art was to bowl under the bat. All play was forward of the wicket, as it is now in single wicket games of less that five players a side. With these exceptions, the game was very much the same as it is today ."
Robert MacGregor, Pastimes and Players (Chatto and Windus, London, 1881), page 16. Note that the circular hole, described in #1730.1, is not seen. Caveat: It is not clear from this account whether forward hitting was common in the 1740s or whether MacGregor is simply drawing inferences about this single painting.
1744.1 First Laws of Cricket are Written in England
[A] Ford's crisp summary of the rules: "Toss for pitching wickets and choice of innings; pitch 22 yards; single bail; wickets 22 inches high; 4-ball overs; ball between 5 and 6 ounces; 'no ball' defined; modes of dismissal - bowled, caught, stumped, run out, obstructing the field."
The 5-ounce ball is, likely, heavier than balls used in very early US ballplaying.
[B] Includes the 4-ball over, later changed to 6 balls. [And to 8 balls in Philadelphia in 1790 -LMc]. The 22 yard pitching distance is one-tenth of the length of a furlong, which is one-eighth of a mile.
[A] John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 17.
[B] Cashman, Richard, "Cricket," in David Levinson and Karen Christopher, Encyclopedia of World Sport: From Ancient Times to the Present [Oxford University Press, 1996], page 87.
The rules are listed briefly at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1744_English_cricket_season [as accessed 1/31/07]. The rules were written by a Committee under the patronage of "the cricket-mad Prince of Wales" -- Frederick, the son of George II.
For a recent review of the 1744 cricket rules and their relevance to base ball, see Beth Hise, "How is it, Umpire? The 1744 Laws of Cricket and Their Influence on the Development of Baseball in America," Base Ball (Special Issue on Origins), Volume 5, number 1 (Spring 2011), pages 25-31.
1744.2 Newbery's Little Pretty Pocket-Book Refers to "Base-Ball," "Stooleball, "Trap-Ball," Cricket
John Newbery's A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, published in England, contains a wood-cut illustration showing boys playing "base-ball" and a rhymed description of the game:
"The ball once struck off,/Away flies the boy/To the next destined post/And then home with joy."
This is held to be the first appearance of the term "base-ball" in print. Other pages are devoted to stool-ball, trap-ball, and tip-cat [per David Block, page 179], as well as cricket. Block finds that this book has the first use of the word "base-ball."
Little Pretty Pocket-Book, Intended for the Instruction and Amusement of Little Master Tommy and Pretty Miss Polly [London, John Newbery, 1744]. Per Henderson ref 107, adding Newbery's name as publisher from text at p. 132. The earliest extant version of this book is from 1760 [per David Block].
Note: we may want reassurance that the "Base-ball" poem appeared in the 1744 version. According to Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, the 1767 London edition also has poems titled "Stoolball" [p. 88] and Trap-Ball.[p. 91]. According Zoernik in the Encyclopedia of World Sports [p.329], rounders is also referred to [we need to confirm this, as Rounders does not appear in the 1760 edition or the one from 1790.]. There was an American pirated edition in 1760, as per Henderson [ref #107]; David Block dates the American edition in 1762. He also notes that a 1767 revision features engravings for the four games.
1744.3 Earliest Full Cricket Scorecard for the "Greatest Match Ever Known"
The match it describes: All England vs. Kent, played at the Artillery Ground. The same year, admission at the Ground increased from tuppence to sixpence. Per John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 17.
John Thorn [email of 2/1/2008] located an account of the match: "Yesterday was play'd in the Artillery-Ground the greatest Cricket-Match even known, the County of Kent again all England, which was won by the former [the score was 97-96 - LM] . . . . There were present the their Royal Highnesses the Princeof Wales and Duke of Cumberland, the Duke of Richmond, Admiral Vernon, and many other Persons of Distinction." The London Evening-Post Number 2592, June 16-19, 1744, page 1 column 3, above the fold. Note: Is the scorecard available somewhere?
1744.4 Poet: "Hail Cricket! Glorious Manly, British Game!
Writing as James Love, the poet and actor James Dance [1722-1774] penned a 316-line verse that extols cricket. The poem, it may surprise you to learn, turns on the muffed catch by an All England player [shades of Casey!] that, I take it, allows Kent County to win a close match. Protoball's virtual interview with Mr. Dance:
Protoball: Are you a serious cricket fan?
Dance:" Hail, cricket! Glorious manly, British Game! / First of all Sports! be first alike in Fame!" [lines 13-14]
PBall: Isn't billiards a good game too?
Dance:"puny Billiards, where, with sluggish Pace / The dull Ball trails before the feeble Mace" [lines 40-41]
PBall: But you do appreciate tennis, right?"
Dance: "Not Tennis [it]self, [cricket's] sister sport can charm, /Or with [cricket's] fierce Delights our Bosoms warm".[lines 55-56] . . . to small Space confined, ev'n [tennis] must yield / To nobler CRICKET, the disputed field." [lines 60-61]
PBall: But doesn't every country have a fine national pastime?
Dance: "Leave the dissolving Song, the baby Dance, / To Sooth[e] the Slaves of Italy and France: / While the firm Limb, and strong brac'd Nerve are thine [cricket's] / Scorn Eunuch Sports; to manlier Games [we] incline" [lines 68-71]
PBall:Manlier? You see the average cricketer as especially manly?
Dance: "He weighs the well-turn'd Bat's experienced Force, / And guides the rapid Ball's impetuous course, / His supple Limbs with Nimble Labour plies, / Nor bends the grass beneath him as he flies." [lines 29 - 32]
James Love, Cricket: an Heroic Poem. illustrated with the Critical Observations of Scriblerus Maximus(W. Bickerton, London, undated)" The poet writes of a famous 1744 match between All England and Kent [#1744.3, above.] Thanks to Beth Hise for a lead to this poem, email, 12/21/2007. John Thorm, per email of 2/1/2008, located and pointed to online copy. Note: Are we sure the versified game account is from the 1744 Kent/England match - not 1746, for example?
1745c.1 John Adams Recalls Youthful Bat and Ball Play
Saying that his first fifteen years "went off like a fairy tale," John Adams [1735-1826] wrote fondly "of making and sailing boats . . swimming, skating, flying kites and shooting marbles, bat and ball, football, . . . wrestling and sometimes boxing."
David McCullough, John Adams [Touchstone Books, 2001], page 31.
1747.1 Poet Thomas Gray: "Urge the Flying Ball."
"What idle progeny succeed
Thomas Gray, "Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College," lines 28-30. Accessed 12/29/2007 at http://www.thomasgray.org. "Rolling circle" had been drafted as "hoop," and thus does not connote ballplay. Cricket writers have seen "flying ball" as a cricket reference, but a Gray scholar cites "Bentley's Print" as a basis for concluding that Gray was referring to trap ball in this line. Steel and Lyttelton note that this poem was first published in 1747. Note: is it fair to assume that Gray is evoking student play at Eton in this ode? Do modern scholars agree with the 1747 publication date?
1747.2 Well-Advertised Women's Cricket Match Held, with 6-Pence Admission
In July 1747 two ladies' sides from Sussex communities played cricket at London's Artillery-Grounds, and the announced admittance fee was sixpence. At a first match, according to a 7/15/1747 news account, play was interrupted when "the Company broke in so, that it was impossible for the [match] to be play'd; and some of them [the players? - LM] being very much frighted, and others hurt . . . ." That match was to be completed on a subsequent morning . . . . "And in the Afternoon they wil play a second Match at the same Place, several large Sums being depended between the Women of the Hills of Sussex, in Orange colour'd Ribbons, and the Dales in blue!"
This item was contributed by David Block on 2/27/2008. David notes that the source is a large scrapbook with thousands of clippings from 1660 to 1840 as collected by a Daniel Lysons: "Collectanea: or A collection of advertisements and paragraphs from the newspapers, relating to various subjects. Publick exhibitions and places of amusement," Vol IV, Pt 2, page 227, British Library shelfmark C.103.k.11. David adds, "Unfortunately, Lysons, or whoever assembled this particular volume, neglected to indicate which paper the clippings were cut from."
1748.1 Lady Hervey Reports Royals' "Base-ball" in a Letter
Lady Hervey (then Mary Leppel) describes in a letter the activities of the family of Frederick, Prince of Wales:
"[T]he Prince's family is an example of innocent and cheerful amusements All this last summer they played abroad; and now, in the winter, in a large room, they divert themselves at base-ball, a play all who are, or have been, schoolboys, are well acquainted with. The ladies, as well as gentlemen, join in this amusement . . . . This innocence and excellence must needs give great joy, and well as great hope, to all real lovers of their country and posterity."
[The last sentence may well be written in irony, as Lady Hervey was evidently known to be unimpressed with the Prince's conduct.]
Hervey, Lady (Mary Lepel), Letters (London, 1821), p.139 [Letter XLII, of November 14, 1748, from London]. Google Books now has uploaded the letters: search for "Lady Hervey." Letter 52 begins on page 137, and the baseball reference is on page 139. Accessed 12/29/2007. Note: David Block, page 189, spells the name "Lepel," citing documented family usage; the surname often appears as "Leppell." In a 19CBB posting of 2/15/2008, David writes that it is "George III, to whom we can rightly ascribe the honor of being the first known baseball player. The ten-year-old George, as [Prince] Frederick's eldest son, was surely among the prince's family members observed by Lady Hervey in 1748 to be 'divert[ing] themselves at base-ball.'"
1749.1 Early Cricket: Addington Club Takes On All-England, Five on Five
"A newspaper advertisement announced a match on the [London Artillery] ground on July 24th, 1749, between five of the Addington Club and an All England five. The advertisement gave the names of the players, and thus concluded: NB - The last match, which was played on Monday the 10th instant, was won by All England, notwithstanding it was eight to one on Addington in the playing.'"
Joseph Strutt, The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England [Methuen, London, 1903], page 102. This edition of Strutt [originally published in 1801] was "much enlarged and corrected by L. Charles Cox;" the cited text was inserted by Cox.
1749.2 Aging Prince Spends "Several Hours" Playing Bass-Ball in Surrey
Lord Middlesex, Prince of Wales
"On Tuesday last, his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and Lord Middlesex, played at Bass-Ball (sic), at Walton in Surry (sic); notwithstanding the Weather was extreme bad, they continued playing several Hours."
Whitehall Evening Post, September 19. 1749.
David Block's 2013 find was reported at the SABR.org website on 6/19/2103, and it includes interview videos and links to related documentation. Confirmed 6/19/2013 as yielding to a web search of <block royal baseball sabr>.
Block points out that this very early reference to base-ball indicates that the game was played by adults -- the Prince was 38 years old in 1749, further weakening the view that English base-ball was played mainly by juveniles in its early history.
The location of the game was Walton-on-Thames in Surrey.
Comparing the 1749 game with modern baseball, Block estimates that the bass-ball was likely played on a smaller scale, with a much softer ball, with batted ball propelled the players' hands, not with a bat, and that runners could be put out by being "plugged" (hit with a thrown ball) between bases.
Only two players were named for this account. Was that because the Prince and Lord Middlesex both led clubs not worthy of mentioning by name, or was there a two-player version of the game then (in the 1800s competitive games of cricket were similarly reported with only two named players)?
1750c.1 Cricket No Longer Played Only With Rolled Deliveries to Batsmen
"Originally bowling literally meant 'to bowl the ball along the ground' as in the style of lawn bowls. By 1750, however, a mixture of grubbers and fully pitched balls were seen."
Peter Scholefield, Cricket Laws and Terms [Axiom Publishing, Kent Town Australia], page 34.
1750s.2 Town Ball and Cat Played in NC Lowlands?
"Of formalized games, choices for males [in NC] appear to have been 'town-ball, bull-pen,' 'cat,' and 'prisoner's base,' whatever exhibitions of dexterity they may have involved."
-- Biographer C. G. Davidson, on local pastimes in North Carolina
Chalmers G. Davidson, Piedmont Partisan: The Life and Times of Brigadier-General William Lee Davidson (Davidson College, Davidson NC, 1951), page 20. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 32.
This is a very early claim for town ball, preceding even New England references to bat-and-ball, roundball or like games. It would be useful to examine C. Davidson's sources on town ball and cat. Are we content that these games were found in NC in the 1750s?
Prisoner's base is not a ball game, and bull-pen is not a safe-haven game.
Note: Can we determine what region of NC is under discussion here? Text of the biography is unavailable via Google Books as of 11/15/2008.
1750s.3 1857 Writer Reportedly Dates New England Game of "Base" to 1750s
"Dear Spirit: . . .
"I shall state [here] that which has come under my observation, and also some of my friends, during the last four years of the ball-playing mania . . .
Base ball cannot date back to so far as [cricket], but the game has no doubt, been played in this country for at least one century. Could we only invoke the spirit of some departed veteran of he game, how many items of interest might we be able to place before the reader.
"New England, we believe, has always been the play-ground for our favorite game; and the boys of the various villages still play by the same rules their fathers did before them. We also find that many games are played, differing but little from the well-known game of Base.
" . . . Although I am a resident of State of New York, I hope to do her no wrong by thinking that the New England States were, and are, the ball grounds of this country, and that many of our present players were originally from those States.
"The game of Base, as played there, was as follows: They would take the bat, 'hand over hand,' as the present time, 'whole hand or none.' After the sides were chosen, the bases would be placed so as to form a square, each base about twenty yards from the other. The striker would stand between the first and fourth base, equi-distant from each. The catcher was always expected to take the ball without a bound and it was always thrown by a player who would stand between the second and third bases. A good catcher would take the ball before the bat cold strike it. A hand was out if a man was running the bases should be struck with the ball which was thrown at him while he was running. He was allowed either a pace or a jump to the base which he was striving to reach; or if a ball was caught flying or on first bound. There was no rule to govern the striker as to the direction he should knock the ball, and of course no such thing as foul balls. The whole side had to be put out, and if the last man could strike a ball a sufficient distance to make all the bases, he could take in one of the men who had been put out. The ball was not quite the same as the one in present use, and varied very much in size and weight, it also was softer and more springy.
"The bats were square, flat, or round -- some preferring a flat bat, and striking with it so that th4 edge, or small side, would come in contact with the ball. Another arrangement of bases is, to have the first about two yards from the striker (on this right), the second about fifty down the field, and the third, or home, about five. . . .
"Yours, respectfully, X"
Base Ball Correspondence," Porter's Spirit of the Times, Volume 3, number 8 (October 24, 1857), page 117, column 2. The full text of the October 20 letter from "X" is on the VBBA website, as of 2008, at:
The writer present no evidence as to the earliest dates of known play.
The game described by "X" resembles the MA game as it was to be codified a year later except: [a] "a good catcher would frequently take the ball before the bat cold strike it," [b] the runner "was allowed either a pace or jump to the base which he was striving t reach," [c] the bound rule was in effect, [d] all-out-side-out innings were used, [e] the ball was "softer and more spongy" than 1850's ball, [f] the bats were square, flat, or round," and [g] there was a second field layout, with three bases. [This variation reminds one of cricket, wicket, and "long town or "long-town-ball, except for the impressive 150-foot distance to the second base]."
Can we interpret the baserunning rule allowing "a pace or jump to the base [the runner] was striving to reach?" Plugging didn't count if the runner was close to the next base," perhaps?
1751.1 First Recorded US Cricket Match Played, "For a Considerable Wager," in NYC; New Yorkers Win, 167-80
"Last Monday afternoon, a match at cricket was play'd on our Common for a considerable Wager, by eleven Londoners, against eleven New Yorkers: The game was play'd according to the London Method; and those who got most notches in two Hands, to be the Winners: The New Yorkers went in first, and got 81; Then the Londoners went in, and got but 43; Then the New Yorkers went in again, and got 86; and the Londoners finished the Game with getting only 37 more."
This was the first recorded cricket match played in New York City, and took place on grounds where Fulton Fish Market now stands, "by a Company of Londoners - the London XI - against a Company of New Yorkers." (The New Yorkers won, 167-80.)
New YorkPost-Boy, 4/29/51. Per John Thorn, 6/15/04: John reports that the sources are multiple: clip from Chadwick Scrapbooks; see also, "the first recorded American cricket match per se was in New York in 1751 on the site of what is today the Fulton Fish Market in Manhattan. A team called New York played another described as the London XI 'according to the London method' - probably a reference to the 1744 Code which was more strict that the rules governing the contemporary game in England. Also, and dispositively, from Phelps-Stokes, I. N. Phelps Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909 : compiled from original sources (New York, Robert H. Dodd), 1922), Volume IV, page 628.Vol. VI, Index—ref. against Chronology and Chronology Addenda (Vol. 4A or 6A); [CRICKET] Match on Commons April 29, 1751; and finally, Phelps Stokes, V. 4, p. 628, 4/29/1751: "…this day, a great Cricket match is to be played on our commons, by a Company of Londoners against a Company of New-Yorkers. New-York Post-Boy, 4/29/51." The New Yorkers won by a total score of 167 to 80. New York Post-Boy, 5/6/51. This game is also treated by cricket historians Wisden  and Lester .
Also see New York Gazette, May 6, 1751, page 2, column 2, per George Thompson..
1751.2 Cricket Lore: Ball Kills the Prince of Wales, Pretty Slowly
RIP, sweet Prince. [The prince was the father of King George III.]
[A] "Death of Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales, as a result of a blow on the head from a cricket ball."
[B] "It's generally said his late Royal Highness the Prince of Wales got a Blow on his Side with a Ball about two Years ago, playing at Cricket, which diversion he was fond of, and 'tis thought was the Occasion of his Death . . . ."
[A] John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 17. Ford does not give a citation.
[B] London Advertiser, March 26, 1751.
In Pastime Lost (U Nebraska Press, 2019, p 26), David Block writes that "Whether Frederick's death was the consequence of a lingering cricket injury has been the subject of debate ever since, with most modern observers . . . expressing skepticism." Today, some fans of the old game of Royal tennis believe that it was a (stuffed) tennis ball that felled the Prince.
Note: You've seen the Prince before, as a bass ball player. See 1749.2
1751.3 New Yorkers Beat London Players in "Great Cricket Match", 167-80
“…this day, a great Cricket match is to be played on our commons, by a Company of Londoners against a Company of New-Yorkers. New-York Post-Boy, 4/29/51.
The game played for “a considerable Wager,” there being 11 players on each side, and “according to the London Method: and those who got most Notches in two Hands, to be the Winners.” The New Yorkers won by a total score of 167 to 80. New York Post-Boy, 5/6/51.
I. N. Phelps Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909 : compiled from original sources (New York, Robert H. Dodd), 1922), Volume IV, page 628.
1754.1 Marylanders Play "Great Cricket Match for a Good Sum"
"We hear that there is to be a great cricket match for a good sum played on Saturday next, near Mr. Aaron Rawling's Spring, between eleven young men of this city [Annapolis] and the same number from Prince George's County [now a Washington suburban community]"
Bradford's Journal, August 1, 1754, as cited in Lester's A Century of Philadelphia Cricket (UPenn Press, Philadelphia, 1951), page 5.
1754.2 Ben Franklin Brings Copy of Cricket Rules Back to U.S.
Several sources, including the Smithsonian, magazine, report that "The rules of the game on this side of the Atlantic were formalized in 1754, when Benjamin Franklin brought back from England a copy of the [ten year old - LMc] 1744 Laws, cricket's official rule book." Simon Worrall, "Cricket, Anyone?" Smithsonian Magazine, October 2006. The excerpt can be found in the seventh paragraph of the article [as accessed 10/19/2008] at:
Lester adds this: "Benjamin Franklin was sufficiently interested in the game [cricket] to bring back with him from England a copy of the laws of cricket, for it was this very copy which was presented to the Young America Club . . .on June 4, 1867." Lester, A Century of Philadelphia Cricket (U Penn, 1951), page 5. Caveat: we have not located a contemporary account of the Franklin story.
1755.1 Johnson Dictionary Defines Stoolball and Trap
Stoolball is simply defined as "A play where balls are driven from stool to stool," and trap is defined as "A play at which a ball is driven with a stick."
Johnson, Samuel, A dictionary of the English language [London, 1755], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 179.
1755.2 Laws of Cricket are Revised
"1755: Minor revision of the Laws of Cricket." John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 18. Ford does not give a source.
1755.3 Young Diarist Goes to "Play at Base Ball" in Surrey
On the day after Easter in 1755, 18-year-old William Bray recorded the following entry in his diary:
"After Dinner Went to Miss Seale's to play at Base Ball, with her, the 3 Miss Whiteheads, Miss Billinghurst, Miss Molly Flutter, Mr. Chandler, Mr. Ford, H. Parsons & Jolly. Drank tea and stayed till 8."
The story of this 2006 find is told in Block, David, "The Story of William Bray's Diary," Base Ball, volume , no. 2 (Fall 2007), pp. 5-11.
See also John Thorn's blog entry at http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2013/09/05/the-story-of-william-brays-diary/.
see also Sam_Marchiano_and_the_1755_Bray_Diary_Find for an interview with film-maker Sam Marciano, whose documentary Baseball Discovered led to this new find in 2005.
Block points out that this diary entry is (as of 2008) among the first four appearances of the term "base ball," [see #1744.2 and #1748.1 above, and #1755.4 below]. It shows adult and mixed-gender play, and indicates that "at this time, baseball was more of a social phenomenon than a sporting one. . . . played for social entertainment rather than serious entertainment." [Ibid, page 9.]
William Bray is well known as a diarist and local historian in Surrey. His diary, in manuscript, came to light in England during the 2008 filming of Ms Sam Marchiano's award-winning documentary, "Base Ball Discovered." (As of late 2020, ITunes lists this documentary at https://itunes.apple.com/us/tv-season/base-ball-discovered/id385353782. Its charge is $10. Another route is https://www.mlb.com/video/base-ball-discovered-c7145607)
As of 2019 the diary was missing again -- Block tells the sad story in Pastime Lost (U Nebraska Press, 2019), p. 37.
1755.4 Satirist Cites Base-Ball as "An Infant Game"
". . . the younger Part of the Family, perceiving Papa not inclined to enlarge upon the Matter, retired to an interrupted Party at Base-Ball, (an infant Game, which as it advances in its Teens, improves to Fives [handball], and in its State of Manhood, is called Tennis)."
Kidgell, John, The Card (John Newbery, London, 1755), page 9. This citation was uncovered in 2007 by David Block. He tells the story of the find in Block, David, "The Story of William Bray's Diary," Base Ball, volume , no. 2 (Fall 2007), pp. 9-11.
1755.5 Authoritative Rules of Cricket Published Nationally in England
The publication is The Game at Cricket; as Settled by the Several Cricket-Clubs, Particularly that of the Star and Garter in Pall Mall (London, 1755).
Contributed by Beth Hise, January 12, 2010. Beth adds: "This is the first discrete publication of the laws of cricket, a version of which was printed in the New Universal Magazine, and as such enabled the laws to be widely distributed. This is the version generally regarded as containing the original laws of cricket."
1755.6 NYS Traveler Notes Dutch Boys Playing "Bat and Ball"
Gideon Hawley (1727-1807), traveling through the area where Binghamton now is, wrote: "even at the celebration of the Lord's supper [the Dutch boys] have been playing bat and ball the whole term around the house of God."
Hawley, Gideon, Rev. Gideon Hawley's Journal [Broome County, NY 1753], page 1041. Collection of Tom Heitz. Per Patricia Millen, From Pastime to Passion , page 2.
Writing in 2011, Brian Turner discerns that "bat and ball" maybe the name of a defined game, and not just a generic term. See Brian Turner, "Bat and Ball: A Distinct Game or a Generic Term?", Base Ball Journal (Special Issue on Origins), Volume 5, number 1 (Spring 2011), pages 37-40. He finds several uses of the phrase in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, most of them north and east of Boston.
1755c.7 Prominent Patriot Regrets Wasting Time Playing Cat (and Fives)
"I have been ashamed, likewise, in recollecting how much time I have wasted when a boy in playing cat and fives and steal-clothes, &etc . . . . that might have been been more profitably employed in getting my lessons or reading instructing books . . . '
(Letter from Philadelphia dated April 21, 1812 from Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, to the young son of a friend.)
"Letter of Dr. Benjamin Rush," The Weekly Register (Baltimore), July 24, 1813. Cited in Thomas L. Altherr, “There is Nothing Now Heard of, in Our Leisure Hours, But Ball, Ball, Ball,” The Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture 1999 (McFarland, 2000), p. 191.
1756.1 First Recorded Game by Hambledon Cricket Club
"1756: The Hambledon Club plays its first recorded game." John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 18. Ford does not give a source.
1758.1 Military Unit Plays "Bat and Ball" in Northern NYS
In 1758, Benjamin Glazier recorded in his diary that "Captain Garrish's company played 'bat and ball'" near Fort Ticonderoga.
Benjamin Glazier, French and Indian War Diary of Benjamin Glazier of Ipswich,1758-1760. Essex Institute Historical Collections, volume 86 (1950), page 65, page 68. The original diary is held at the Peabody-Essex Museum, Salem MA.
Note: Brian Turner notes, August 2014, that: "I've had to cobble together the above citation without seeing the actual publication or the original ms. The Hathi Trust allows me to search for page numbers of vol. 86, but not images of those pages, and when I put in "bat and ball" I get hits on p. 65 and p. 68. P. 65 also provides hits for "Ticonderoga" and "Gerrish's," so that would be the most likely place for all the elements to be cited. The original clue came from a website on the history of Fort Ticonderoga, but I can no longer find that website."
Fort Ticonderoga is about 100 miles N of Albany NY at the southern end of Lake Champlain. Ipswich MA is about 10 miles N of Salem MA.
Can the date of the diary entry be traced?
1760s.1 Harvard Man Recalls Cricket, "Various Games of Bat and Ball" on Campus
Writing of the Buttery on the Harvard campus in Cambridge MA, Sidney Willard later recalled that "[b]esides eatable, everything necessary for a student was there sold, and articles used in the play-grounds, as bats, balls, &c. . . . [w]e wrestled and ran, played at quoits, at cricket, and various games of bat and ball, whose names perhaps are obsolete."
Sidney Willard, Memories of Youth and Manhood [John Bartlett, Cambridge, 1855], volume 1, pp 31 and 316. Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 44.
1760.2 Bat and Ball . . . in Paris?
A description of Parisian sights: "The grand Walk forms a most beautiful Visto, which terminates in a Wood called Elysian Fields, or more commonly known by the name "La Cours de la Rein (Queen's Course). This is the usual place where the Citizens celebrate their Festivals with the Bat and Ball, a Diversion which is much used here." Provided by David Block, 2/27/2008. Note: Is this the same location as what we now know as the Champs Elysee? Can we learn what bat/ball games were so popular the mid 1700s - Soule? Some form of street tennis? A form of field hockey? Not croquet, presumably.
1761.1 Princeton Faculty [NJ] Disparages "Playing at Ball"
"A minute of the Princeton faculty of May, 1761, frowns upon students "playing at ball."
Bentley, et. al., American College Athletics [Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, New York, 1929], pages 14-15. Submitted by John Thorn, 6/6/04.
Note: Princeton was known as the College of New Jersey until 1896.
1761.2 School Rule in PA; No Ballplaying in the College Yard, Especially in Front of Trustees and Profs
"None shall climb over the Fences of the College Yard, or come in or out thro the Windows, or play Ball or use any Kind of Diversion within the Walls of the Building; nor shall they in the Presence of the Trustees, Professors or Tutors, play Ball, Wrestle, make any indecent Noise, or behave in any way rudely in the College Yard or Streets adjacent."
Sack, Saul, History of Higher Education in Pennsylvania, vol. 2 [Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, 1963], page 632. Submitted by John Thorn, 10/12/2004. Note: do we know the college? UPa?
1761.3 School Trustees Prohibit Playing Ball and Other Diversions, Ignoring Advice of Ben Franklin
" in Woody(ed.), "Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsilvania, 1761, pp. 156-57.)
"But physical education as a consciously organized activity in the college program was almost completely lacking before the late nineteenth century. Viewed in many instances as a contributor to indecorous behavior, Minutes of Trustees, Educational Views of Benjamin Franklin, Academy and Charitable School of Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin
"A sound mind in a sound body is a maxim to which our collegiate forbears of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries would probably have subscribed, I, March 10, Professors or Tutors, Wrestle, and as a possible source of distraction from the pursuit of serious study, and swimming, and to strengthen and render active their bodies, but about which they did little. Benjamin Franklin, etc." (Source: Benjamin Franklin, for example, in 1761, leaping, make any indecent Noise, or behave in any way rudely in the College Yard or Streets adjacent.'" (Source: College Academy and Charitable School, or come in or out thro the Windows, or play Ball or use any Kind of Diversion within the Walls of the Building; nor shall they in the Presence of the Trustees, play Ball, pp. 131 ff)., tended to place a damper upon the exuberant spirit of youth: 'None shall climb over the Fences of the College Yard, the early tendency was to discourage rather than to foster participation in it. Thus, the rules for student deportment formulated by the trustees of the College, they be frequently exercised in running, urged that in order to keep the scholars of his proposed academy "in health, wrestling
"A sound mind in a sound body is a maxim to which our collegiate forbears of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries would probably have subscribed, but about which they did little. Benjamin Franklin, for example, urged that in order to keep the scholars of his proposed academy "in health, and to strengthen and render active their bodies, they be frequently exercised in running, leaping, wrestling, and swimming, etc." (Source: Benjamin Franklin, "Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsilvania, " in Woody (ed.), Educational Views of Benjamin Franklin, pp. 156-57.)
"But physical education as a consciously organized activity in the college program was almost completely lacking before the late nineteenth century. Viewed in many instances as a contributor to indecorous behavior, and as a possible source of distraction from the pursuit of serious study, the early tendency was to discourage rather than to foster participation in it. Thus, the rules for student deportment formulated by the trustees of the College, Academy and Charitable School of Philadelphia, in 1761, tended to place a damper upon the exuberant spirit of youth: 'None shall climb over the Fences of the College Yard, or come in or out thro the Windows, or play Ball or use any Kind of Diversion within the Walls of the Building; nor shall they in the Presence of the Trustees, Professors or Tutors, play Ball, Wrestle, make any indecent Noise, or behave in any way rudely in the College Yard or Streets adjacent.'" (Source: College Academy and Charitable School, Minutes of Trustees, I, March 10, 1761, pp. 131 ff).
Saul Sack, History of Higher Education in Pennsylvania Volume: 2. (Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg PA, 1963) , p.632.
John Thorn adds (email of 9/25/16):
"Possibly of interest: Franklin had dissociated himself from the Academy of Philadelphia (the "college" in question) in 1756:
1762.1 Pirated Version of Little Pretty Book Uses Term "Base-ball."
Note: This version, published in 1762 by Hugh Gaine, was advertised in The New York Mercury on August 30, 1762, but no copy has been found. Per RH, p. 135. Henderson says that this is the first use of "base-ball" in an American source. In his note #107, RH gives 1760 as the year of publication.
1762.2 Salem MA Ordinance Outlaws Bat-and-Ball, Cricket
". . . no Person shall use the Exercise of playing or Kicking of Foot-ball, or the Exercise of Bat-and-Ball, or Cricket . . . within the Body of this Town, under a Penalty of One Shilling and Six Pence."
By-Laws and Orders of the town of Salem MA, July 26, 1762.
December 13, 1768, The Essex Gazette (Salem, MA), Volume 1, Issue 20, p. 81.
(“Following is an Extract of the By-Laws and ORDERS of the Town of Salem, of the 26th of July, A.D. 1762, approved by His Majesty’s Court of General Sessions of the Peace holden at said SALEM in the same month, and now published by Order of the Select-Men, viz.)
(Detailed source received from Brian Turner, 8/31/2014.)
Brian Turner, 8/31/2014, notes that the wording of this order could be taken to mean that the game itself was seen as a form of cricket, and was not a distinct game.
1766.1 Cricket Balls Advertised in US by James Rivington
In 1766 "James Rivington imported battledores and shuttlecocks, cricket-balls, pillets, best racquets for tennis and fives, backgammon tables with men, boxes, and dice."
Singleton, Esther, Social New York Under the Georges [New York, 1902], page 265. [Cited by Dulles, 1940.] Caveat: Singleton does not provide a source at this location; however, from context [see pp. 91-92] her direct quotation seems likely to be taken from a contemporary Rivington advertisement. Caution: John Thorn is unable to find online evidence of cricket ball imports before 1772, per email of 2/2/2008.
1766.2 Cricket [or Wicket?] Challenge in CT
"A Challenge is hereby given by the Subscribers, to Ashbel Steel, and John Barnard, with 18 young Gentlemen . . . to play a Game of BOWL for a Dinner and Trimmings . . . on Friday next." Connecticut Courant , May 5, 1766, as cited in John A. Lester, A Century of Philadelphia Cricket [University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1951], page 6. Note: is "game of bowl" a common term for cricket? Could this not have been a wicket challenge, given the size of the teams?
1767.2 North-South Game of Cricket in Hartford CT
"Whereas a Challenge was given by Fifteen Men South of the Great Bridge in Hartford . . . the Public are hereby inform'd that that Challenged beat the Challengers by a great majority. And said North side hereby acquaint the South Side, that they are not afraid to meet them with any Number they shall chuse . . . ." Source: "Hartford and Her Sons and Daughters of the Year The Courant was Founded," Hartford Daily Courant, 10/25/1914. The original Courant notice was dated June 1, 1767. Sleuthwork provided by John Thorn, email of 2/2/2008.
1768.1 "Old Boys of Westminster" Play Harrow in Cricket
"William Hickey plays in a match at Moulsey Hurst for the old boys of Westminster School against eleven old boys of Harrow." John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 18. Ford does not give a source.
1768.2 Baseball in English Dictionary
"BASEBALL, (From base and ball) A rural game in which the person striking the ball must run to his base or goal."
Additionally, the dictionary lists the following as one of its definitions for the word "base":
BASE "A rural play, also called baseball."
"A General Dictionary of the English Language, Compiled with the Greatest Care from the Best Authors and Dictionaries Now Extant." Its authors are identified only as "A Society of Gentlemen." per 19cbb post by David Block, Dec. 2, 2011
Still, it's fairly significant in that it becomes, by far, the earliest known appearance of baseball in a dictionary. The next earliest one we know of was almost 80 years later, in James Orchard Halliwell's 1847 "Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words."
It is quite interesting that "baseball" appears as one whole word, not the two-word "base ball," or hyphenated "base-ball" that were customary in the era.
Also of note is the dictionary's indication that the word "base" was an alternate name for baseball.
"A Society of Gentlemen" was the pseudonym under which the Encyclopaedia
Britannica was first published, also in 1768.
1770s.1 British Soldiers Seek Amusements, Rebels Yawn
"the presence of large numbers of British troops quartered in the larger towns of the [eastern] seaboard brought the populace into contact with a new attitude toward play. Officers and men, when off duty, like soldiers in all ages, were inveterate seekers of amusement. The dances and balls, masques and pageants, ending in Howe's great extravaganza in Philadelphia, were but one expression of this spirit. Officers set up cricket grounds and were glad of outside competition. . [text refers to cock-fighting in Philadelphia, horseracing and fox hunts on Long Island, bear-baiting in Brooklyn].
"There is little indication, however, that the British occupation either broke down American prejudices against wasting time in frivolous amusements or promoted American participation and interest in games and sports."
Krout, John A., The Pageant of America: Annals of American Sport (Oxford U Press, 1929), page 26.
1770.2 Three-on-Three Cricket Match Played on 100-Guinea Bet
"On Friday last a cricket match was played on Barnet Common between Mess. Cock, and Draper and Athey, against Mess Grey, Langley, and Tapiter, for 100 guineas, which was won with great difficulty by the latter; they went against 44 notches, and beat by only one notch."
Bingley's Weekly Journal, Saturday, September 15, 1770. Contributed by Gregory Christiano, 12/2/09. Barnet is a borough of London located to the northwest of the city.
1770c.3 Future Professor Sneaks a Smoke When He Can't Play Bat and Ball
"When Saturday afternoon chanced to be rainy, and no prospect of bat and ball on the common, some half a dozen of us used now and then, to meet in an old wood-shed, that we shall never forget, and fume it away to our own wonderful aggrandizement."
"Use of Tobacco from Dr. Waterhouse's Lecture before Harvard University," American Repertory, September 3, 1829 ("from the Columbian Centinel.") Accessed via subscription search, May 5, 2009. From internal references, this appears to be an account of the well-known public anti-smoking lecture by Professor Benjamin Waterhouse in November 1804.
Caution: dating this reference requires some assumptions. Waterhouse was born in 1754, and thus, if this recollection is authentic, he speaks of a penchant for ballplaying [and smoking] he held in his teens. He was born at Newport, RI and remained there until 1780.
1771.1 Dartmouth President Finds Gardening "More Useful" Than Ballplaying
Dartmouth College's founding president Eleazar Wheelock thought his students should "turn the course of their diversions and exercises for their health, to the practice of some manual arts, or cultivation of gardens and other lands at the proper hours of leisure." That would be "more useful" than the tendency of some non-Dartmouth students to engage in "that which is puerile, such as playing with balls, bowls and other ways of diversion."
Eleazar Wheelock, A Continuation of the Narrative , as quoted in W. D. Quint, The Story of Dartmouth College (Little, Brown, Boston, 1914) , page 246. Submitted by Scott Meacham, 8/21/06. Dartmouth is in Hanover NH.
1771.2 Province of New Hampshire Prohibits Christmas "Playing With Balls" in the Streets
"WHEREAS as iit often happens that many disorders are occasioned within the town of Portsmouth . . . by boys and fellows playing with balls in the public street: . . . [when] there is danger of breaking the windows of any building, public or private, may be ordered to remove to any place where there shall be no such danger."
"An Act to prevent and punish Disorders usually committed on the twenty-fifth Day of December . . . ," 23 December 1771, New Hampshire (Colony) Temporary Laws, 1773 (Portsmouth, NH), page 53. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 25.
1771.3 A Wider Bat? Even in Cricket, There's Always a Joker
"There was no size limit [on a cricket bat] until 1771, when a Ryegate batsman came to the pitch with a bat wider than the wicket itself! A maximum measurement was then drawn up, and this has remained the same since." The Hambledon Committee new resolution, appearing two days later, specified that the bat much be no wider than 4.25 inches. The rule stuck.
Peter Scholefield, Cricket Laws and Terms [Axiom Publishing, Kent Town Australia, 1990], page 15.
1771.4 Newspaper Quotes Odds for 2-Day London Cricket Match
"On Wednesday and Thursday Last a grand match at cricket was played in the Artillery ground, between the Duke of Dorset and ___ Mann, Esq; which, being a strong contest, was won by his Grace, notwithstanding the odds on the second day were 12 to one in favor of Mr. Mann.
Bingley's Weekly Journal, Saturday, September 14, 1771. Contributed by Gregory Christiano, 12/2/09.
1773.1 Surrey/Kent Cricket Match Draws 12,000, Spawns Poetic Duel
Surrey beat Kent at Bourne Paddock, July 19-21, 1773. The Rev J. Duncombe described the match in a poem entitled "Surrey Triumphant; or, the Kentish-Men's Defeat. A New Ballad, Being a Parody on 'Chevy Chase'," which [cheeeeeky indeed] appeared in the Kentish Gazette of July 24. Then "a Gentleman" penned a reply, "Kentish Cricketers." This exchange is amply told in H. T. Waghorn, compiler, Cricket Scores, Notes, Etc. from 1730-1773 (Blackwood, London, 1899)pp 116 - 126. Accessed via Google Books 10/19/2008.
1773.2 "Best" Cricket Bats Sold for Four Shillings Sixpence
Pett's of Sevenoaks was selling "best bats" for 4s 6d. Per John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 18. Ford does not give a citation for this account.
1773.3 Ball-Playing by Slaves Is Eyed in SC
"We present as a growing Evil, the frequent assembling of Negroes in the Town [Beaufort, SC] on Sundays, and playing games of Trap-ball and Fives, which is not taken proper notice of by Magistrates, Constables, and other Parish Officers."
Tom Altherr, Originals, Volume 2, Number 11 (November 2009), page 1. Tom sees this reference as "possibly the earliest which refers to African Americans, slaves or also possibly a few free blacks, playing a baseball-type game [although it is not clear if it involved any running], and playing frequently. Beaufort SC is about 40 miles NE of Savannah GA, near the coastline.
1774.1 Cricket Rules Adjusted - Visitors Bat First, LBW Added
A "Committee of Noblemen and Gentlemen of Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Middlesex, and London" agree on rule changes. Ford's summary: "Particular reference is made to the requirements of gambling. Ball between 5.5 and 5.75 ounces. LBW [leg-before-wicket, a form of batman interference - LM] for the first time; short runs; visiting side gets the choice of pitch and first innings. Per John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 18. Ford does not give a citation for this account.
Writing in 1890, Steel and Lyttelton say that "[t]he earliest laws of the game, or at least the earliest which have reached us, are of the year 1774:" See A.G. Steel and R. H. Lyttelton, Cricket, (Longmans Green, London, 1890) 4th edition, page 12.
1774.2 Ah, The Good Ol' Days: Cricket Now No Longer "Innocent Pastime"
"The game at cricket, which requires that utmost exertion of strength and agility, was followed, until of late years, for manly exercise, animated by a noble spirit of emulation. This sport has too long been perverted from diversion and innocent pastime to excessive gaming and public dissipation." Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (London) August 23, 1774, Column 1, seventh paragraph.
1775.1 Soldier in CT "Played Ball All Day"
"Wednesday the 6. We played ball all day"
Lyman, Simeon, "Journal of Simeon Lyman of Sharon August 10 to December 28, 1775," in "Orderly Book and Journals Kept by Connecticut Men While Taking Part in the American Revolution 1775 - 1778," Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, volume 7 (Connecticut Historical Society, 1899), p. 117. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 26. Lyman was near New London CT.
1775.2 Soldier in MA Played Ball
Thomas Altherr writes in 2008: "Ephriam [Ephraim? - TA] Tripp, a soldier at Dorchester in 1775, also left a record, albeit brief, of ball playing: 'Camping and played bowl,' he wrote on May 30. 'Bowl' for Tripp meant ball, because elsewhere he referred to cannonballs as 'cannon bowls.' On June 24 he penned: 'We went to git our meney that we shud yak when we past muster com home and played bawl.'" Note: Dorchester MA, presumably? Is it clear whether Tripp was a British soldier? May 1775 was some months before an American army formed.
E. Tripp, "His book of a journal of the times in the year 1775 from the 19th day," Sterling Memorial Library Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University: "Diaries (Miscellaneous) Collection, Group 18, Box 16, Folder 267. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 39.
1776.1 Book on Juvenile Pastimes Comments on Trap Ball
Michel Angelo, Juvenile Sports and Pastimes [London], 2nd edition. per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 179. The text decries the use of a broad flat bat instead of a thin round one, which had evidently been used formerly.
1776.2 NJ Officer Plays Ball Throughout His Military Service
Lt. Ebenezer Elmer, a New Jersey office, noted several instances of ball-playing in New York State in 1776 and in New Jersey in 1777. His initial entries cite the game of whirl, and later ones note that ball was played "again."
"Journal of Lieutenant Ebenezer Elmer, of the Third Regiment of New Jersey Troops in the Continental Service," Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society , volume 1, number 1, pp. 26, 27, 30, and 31, and volume 3, number 2, pp.98. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball before We Knew It, ref # 29.
What was the game of "whirl?"
1776c.3 Revolutionary War Officer Plays Cricket, Picks Blueberries
"The days would follow without incident, one day after another. An officer with a company of Pennsylvania riflemen [in Washington's army] wrote of nothing to do but pick blueberries and play cricket." David McCullough, 1776 (Simon and Schuster, 2005), page 40. McCullough does not give a source for this item. Provided by Priscilla Astifan, 19CBB posting of 8/5/2008 and email of 11/16/2008. McCullough notes that the majority of the army comprised farmers and skilled artisan [ibid, page 34].
The army was near Boston at the time
1777.1 Revolutionary War Prisoner Watches Ball-Playing in NYC Area
Jabez Fitch, an officer from Connecticut, noted in March 1777, as a prisoner in British-held New York: "we lit [sic] a number of our Offrs . . . who were Zealously Engaged at playing ball . . . .
His diary mentioned two other times he saw comrades playing ball.
Sabine, William H. W., ed., "The New York Diary of Lieutenant Jabez Fitch of the 17th (Connecticut) Regiment from August 22, 1776 to December 15, 1777 [private printing, 1954], pp. 126, 127, and 162. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball before We Knew It; see p.237.
The numbers of players seems to weaken the suggestion that "playing ball" meant hand ball in these cases.
1777.2 Mass. Sailor Plays Ball in English Prison
Held as a POW in Plymouth, England, Newburyport MA sailor Charles Herbert wrote on April 2, 1777: "Warm, and something pleasant, and the yard begins to dry again, so that we can return to our former sports; these are ball and quoits . . . "
A Relic of the Revolution, Containing a Full and Particular Account of the Sufferings and Privations of All the American Prisoners Captured on the High Seas, and Carried to Plymouth, England, During the Revolution of 1776 [Charles S. Pierce, Boston, 1847], p. 109. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball before We Knew It [ref # 35]; see p. 237
1777.3 Cricket Gets Improved Wicket - A Third Stump Added
Says Ford: "Third (middle) stump introduced." Per John Ford, Cricket: A Social History 1700-1835 [David and Charles, 1972], page 18. Ford does not give a citation for this account.
1777.4 British POWs Linger in Colonies -- Did They Help Sew Base Ball's Seeds?
Nearly 5000 of British General Burgoyne's troops, surrendered in their 1777 loss at Saratoga, remained in American camps for several years. They were known to play the game of "bat and ball" as they were interned variously in Cambridge MA, Virginia, and central Pennsylvania, and to have maintained a store of hickory sticks, ostensibly for the purpose of such play. Nearly a third of them deserted over the years, some settling in America. Could they not have helped acquaint the new nation with their English game?
Brian Turner, "Sticks or Clubs: Ball Play Along the Route of Burgoyne's "Convention Army", Base Ball, volume 11 (2019), pp. 1 -16.
In 1778, a court-martial reviewed a claim that interned soldiers outside Boston possessed some dangerous weapons, and in defense "Burgoyne introduced into evidence a set of 'hickory sticks designed to play at bat and ball'."
1778.1 American Surgeon Sees Ball-Playing in English Prison
"23rd [May 1778]. This forenoon as some of the prisoners was playing ball, it by chance happened to lodge n the eave spout. One climbed up to take the ball out, and a sentry without the wall seeing him, fired at him, but did no harm."
Coan, Marion, ed., "A Revolutionary Prison Diary: The Journal of Dr. Jonathan Haskins," New England Quarterly, volume 17, number 2 [June 1944], p. 308. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball before We Knew It, ref # 36; see pages 237-238.
1778.2 Teamster Sees Soldiers Play Ball.
[Joslin, Joseph], "Journal of Joseph Joslin Jr of South Killingly A Teamster in the Continental Service March 1777 - August 1778, in "Orderly Book [sic?] and Journals Kept by Connecticut Men While Taking Part in the American Revolution 1775 - 1778," Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, volume 7 Connecticut Historical Society, 1899, pp. 353 - 354. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, ref # 27.
1778.3 MA Sergeant Found Some Time and "Plaid Ball"
Benjamin Gilbert, a Sergeant from Brookfield MA, mentioned ball-playing in his diary several times between 1778 and 1782. The locations included the lower Hudson valley.
Symmes, Rebecca D., ed., A Citizen Soldier in the American Revolution: The Diary of Benjamin Gilbert of Massachusetts and New York (New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown, 1980), pp. 30 and 49; and "Benjamin Gilbert Diaries 1782 - 1786," G372, NYS Historical Association Library, Cooperstown. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball before We Knew It, ref # 30. (See page 236.)
1778.4 Ewing Reports Playing "At Base" and Wicket at Valley Forge - with the Father of his Country
[A] George Ewing, a Revolutionary War soldier, tells of playing a game of "Base" at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania: "Exercisd in the afternoon in the intervals playd at base."
Ewing also wrote: "[May 2d] in the afternoon playd a game at Wicket with a number of Gent of the Arty . . . ." And later . . . "This day [May 4, 1778] His Excellency dined with G Nox and after dinner did us the honor to play at Wicket with us."
"Q. What did soldiers do for recreation?
"A: During the winter months the soldiers were mostly concerned with their survival, so recreation was probably not on their minds. As spring came, activities other than drills and marches took place. "Games" would have included a game of bowls played with cannon balls and called "Long Bullets." "Base" was also a game - the ancestor of baseball, so you can imagine how it might be played; and cricket/wicket. George Washington himself was said to have took up the bat in a game of wicket in early May after a dinner with General Knox! . . . Other games included cards and dice . . . gambling in general, although that was frowned upon."
Valley Forge is about 20 miles NE of Philadelphia.
[A] Ewing, G., The Military Journal of George Ewing (1754-1824), A Soldier of Valley Forge [Private Printing, Yonkers, 1928], pp 35 ["base"] and 47 [wicket]. Also found at John C. Fitzpatrick, The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. Volume: 11. [U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, 1931]. page 348. The text of Ewing's diary is unavailable at Google Books as of 11/17/2008.
[B] From the website of Historic Valley Forge;
see http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/youasked/067.htm, accessed 10/25/02. Note: it is possible that the source of this material is the Ewing entry above, but we're hoping for more details from the Rangers at Valley Forge. In 2013, we're still hoping, but not as avidly.
See also Thomas L. Altherr, “A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball: Baseball and Baseball-Type Games in the Colonial Era, Revolutionary War, and Early American Republic.." Nine, Volume 8, number 2 (2000)\, p. 15-49. Reprinted in David Block, Baseball before We Knew It – see page 236.
Caveat: It is unknown whether this was a ball game, rather than prisoner's base, a form of tag played by two teams, and resembling the game "Capture the Flag."
Note: "Long Bullets" evidently involved a competition to throw a ball down a road, seeing who could send the ball furthest along with a given number of throws. Another reference to long bullets is found at http://protoball.org/1830s.20.
Is Ewing's diary available now?
1778.5 Cricket Game To Be Played at Cannon's Tavern, New York City
"The game of Cricket, to be played on Monday next, the 14th inst., at Cannon's Tavern, at Corlear's Hook. Those Gentlemen that choose to become Members of the Club, are desired to attend. The wickets to be pitched at two o'Clock"
Per John Thorn, 6/15/04: from Phelps-Stokes, Vol. VI, Index—ref. against Chronology and Chronology Addenda (Vol. 4aA or 6A); also, Vol. V, p.1068 (6/13/1778): Royal Gazette, 6/13/1778. Later, the cricket grounds were "where the late Reviews were, near the Jews Burying Ground " Royal Gazette, 6/17/1780.
I. N. Phelps Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909 : compiled from original sources (New York, Robert H. Dodd), 1926), Volume V, page 1068.
Phelps Stokes cites Royal Gazette, 6/13/1778 and that a later 1780 note that the cricket grounds were "where the late Reviews were, near the Jews Burying Ground" (Royal Gazette, 6/17/1780.)
1778.6 NH Loyalist Plays Ball in NY; Mentions "Wickett"
The journal of Enos Stevens, a NH man serving in British forces, mentions playing ball seven times from 1778 to 1781. Only one specifies the game played in terms we know: "in the after noon played Wickett" in March of 1781.
C. K. Boulton, ed., "A Fragment of the Diary of Lieutenant Enos Stevens, Tory, 1777-1778," New England Quarterly v. 11, number 2 (June 1938), pages 384-385, per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball before We Knew It, reference #33; see p. 337. Tom notes that the original journal is at the Vermont Historical Society in Montpelier VT.
1778.7 Cricket Club To Play at New York Tavern
Vol. V, p.1068 (6/13/1778): “The game of Cricket, to be played on Monday next, the 14th inst., at Cannon’s Tavern, at Corlear’s Hook. Those Gentlemen that choose to become Members of the Club, are desired to attend. The wickets to be pitched at two o’Clock” Royal Gazette, 6/13/1778.
Later, the cricket grounds were “where the late Reviews were, near the Jews Burying Ground.” Royal Gazette, 6/17/1780.
I. N. Phelps Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909 : compiled from original sources (New York, Robert H. Dodd), 1926), Volume V, page 1068.
Corlear's Hook was a noted ship landing place along the East River. Today there's a Corlears Hook Park on the site.
1779.1 Cricket Played On Grounds near NYC's Brooklyn Ferry.
August 9, 1779, match between Brooklyn and Greenwich Clubs: "A Set of Gentlemen" propose playing a cricket match this day, and every Monday during the summer season, "on the Cricket Ground near Brooklyn Ferry." The company "of any Gentleman to join the set in the exercise" is invited. A large Booth is erected for the accommodation of spectators:" New York Mercury, 8/9/1779
I. N. Phelps Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909 : compiled from original sources (New York, Robert H. Dodd), 1922), Volume IV, page 1092.
1779.2 Lieutenant Reports Playing Ball, and Playing Bandy Wicket
"Samuel Shute, a New Jersey Lieutenant, jotted down his reference to playing ball in central Pennsylvania sometime between July 9 and July 22, 1779; 'until the 22nd, the time was spent playing shinny and ball.' Incidentally, Shute distinguished among various sports, referring elsewhere in his journal to 'Bandy Wicket.' He did not confuse baseball with types of field hockey [bandy] and cricket [wicket] that the soldiers also played." Thomas Altherr.
"Journal of Lt. Samuel Shute," in Frederick Cook, ed., Journals of the Military Expedition of Major General John Sullivan against the Six Nations of Indians in 1779 [Books for Libraries Press, Freeport NY, reprint of the 1885 edition], p. 268. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball before We Knew It, ref # 28. Also cited in Thomas L. Altherr, “There is Nothing Now Heard of, in Our Leisure Hours, But Ball, Ball, Ball,” The Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture 1999 (McFarland, 2000), p. 194.
On bandy: Alice Bertha Gomme, The Traditional Games of England, Scotland, and Ireland, Dover, 1964 (reprint: originally published in 1894), volume I. [Page not shone; listed games are presented alphabetically]
Shinny, Wikipedia says, denotes field hockey and ice hockey. Thus, by "ball," Shute was not referring to field hockey. If he was not denoting handball, he may have been adverting to some early form of base ball.
According to Alice B. Gomme, Bandy Wicket refers to the game of cricket, played with a bandy (a curved stick) instead of a bat.
Can we locate and inspect Shute's reference to bandy wicket?
1779.3 Revolutionary War Soldier H. Records Regimental Ball-Playing PA
"In the spring of 1779, Henry Dearborn, a New Hampshire officer, was a member of the American expedition in northeast Pennsylvania, heading northwards to attack the Iroquois tribal peoples. In his journal for April 3rd, Dearborn jotted down . . . 'all the Officers of the Brigade turn'd out & Played at a game of ball the first we have had this yeare.'
On April 17th, he wrote: 'we are oblige'd to walk 4 miles to day to find a place leavel enough to play ball.'
Dearborn's two notations, meager as they were, suggests that the game of ball that they played was more than whimsical recreation."
Brown, Lloyd, and H. Peckham, eds., Revolutionary War Journals of Henry Dearborn 1775 - 1783 Books for Libraries Press, Freeport NY, 1969 (original edition 1939), pp 149 - 150. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball before We Knew It, ref # 1.
The above account is found in Thomas L. Altherr, “There is Nothing Now Heard of, in Our Leisure Hours, But Ball, Ball, Ball,” The Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture 1999 (McFarland, 2000), p. 193
When don't know the nature of this game, nor whether it was a base-running game.
1779.4 French Official Sees George Washington Playing Catch "For Hours"
"To-day he [George Washington] sometimes throws and catches the ball for whole hours with his aides-de-camp."
-- from a letter by Francois Marquis de Barbe-Marbois, September 1779. Observed at a camp at Fishkill NY.
Chase, E. P., ed., Our Revolutionary Forefathers: The Letters of Francois Marquis de Barbe-Marbois during his Residence in the United States as Secretary of the French Legation 1779 - 1785 (Duffield and Company, NY, 1929), p. 114. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," Nine, v. 8, no. 2, (2000); reprinted in David Block, Baseball before We Knew It; see pp. 236-237.
Note: An online source has Washington at Fishkill in late September 1778.
1779.5 Army Lieutenant Cashiered for "Playing Ball with Serjeants"
Lieutenant Michael Dougherty, 6th Maryland Regiment, was cashiered at a General Court Martial at Elizabeth Town on April 10, 1779, in part for a breach of the 21st article, 14th section of the rules and articles of war "unofficer and ungentlemanlike conduct in associating and playing ball with Serjeants on the 6th instant."
Fitzpatrick, John C., ed., The Writings of George Washington from the Original Sources, 1745-1799, vol. 14 [USGPO, Washington, 1931], page 378.
1780.1 NYC Press Cites Regular Monday Cricket Matches Again
A cricket match is advertised to be played on this day, and continued every Monday throughout the summer, "on the Ground where the late Reviews were, near the Jews Burying Ground."
I. N. Phelps Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909 : compiled from original sources (New York, Robert H. Dodd), 1926), Volume V, page 1111, also citing New York Mercury, June 19, 1780.
Regular Monday matches had been noted in the previous summer: see Chronology entry 1779.1
The "Jews Burying Ground" refers to the first burial ground of the Shearith Israel Congregation, which existed 1683-1828. It was located at 55 St. James Place, near modern Chatham Square in Chinatown. [ba]
1780.2 Challenges for Cricket Matches between Englishmen and Americans
On August 19, 11 New Yorkers issued this challenge: "we, in this public manner challenge the best eleven Englishmen in the City of New York to play the game of Cricket . . . for any sum they think proper to stake." On August 26, the Englishmen accepted, suggesting a stake of 100 guineas. On September 6, the news was that the match was on: "at the Jew's Burying-ground, WILL be played on Monday next . . . the Wickets to be pitched at Two O'Clock." We seem to lack a report of the outcome of this match.
Royal Gazette, August 19, 1780, page 3 column 4; August 26, 1780, page 2 column 2; and September 6, 1780, page 3 column 4.
Also cited in I. N. Phelps Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909 : compiled from original sources (New York, Robert H. Dodd), 1926), Volume V, page 1115.
1780c.4 "Round Ball" Believed to be Played in MA
"Mr. Stoddard believes that Round Ball was played by his father in 1820, and has the tradition from his father that two generations before, i.e., directly after the revolutionary war, it was played and was not then a novelty."
Letter from Henry Sargent, Grafton MA, to the Mills Commission, May 23, 1905. Stoddard was an elderly gentleman who had played round ball in his youth. Note: The Sargent letter also reports that Stoddard "believed that roundball was played as long ago as Upton became a little village." Upton MA was incorporated in 1735. Caveat: One might ask whether a man born around 1830 can be certain about ballplaying 50 years and 100 years before his birth.
1780s.5 Diminished in its Range, Stoolball Still Played at Brighton
"The apparent former wide diffusion of stoolball was reduced in the 18th century to a few geographical survivals. It was played in Brighton to celebrate a royal birthday in the 1780s and by the early 19th century appeared to be limited to a few Kent and Sussex Wealden settlements."
John Lowerson, "Conflicting Values in the Revivals of a 'Traditional Sussex Game,' SussexAchaeological Collections 133 , page 265. Lowerson's source for the 1780s report seems to be F. Gale, Modern English Sports [London, 1885], pages 8 and/or 11.
1780s.6 Newell Sees Baseball's Roots in MA
Writing on early baseball in the year 1883, W. W. Newell says:
"The present scientific game . . . was known in Massachusetts, twenty years ago, as the 'New York game.' A ruder form of Base-ball has been played in some Massachusetts towns for a century; while in other parts of New England no game with the ball was formerly known except "Hockey." There was great local variety in these sports."
Newell, William W., Games and Songs of American Children (Dover, New York, 1963 - originally published 1883) page 184. Note: The omission of wicket - and arguably cricket - from Newell's account is interesting here. The claim that hockey was seen as a ball game is also interesting.
The early forms of "hockey" (aka Bandy) were what we today would call Field Hockey, and WERE played with a ball rather than a puck. See Giden et al., "On the Origin of Hockey" [ba]
1780c.7 The Young Josiah Quincy of MA: "My Heart was in Ball"
Josiah Quincy was sent off to Phillips Academy at Andover MA in about 1778 at age six. It was a tough place. "The discipline of the Academy was severe, and to a child, as I was, disheartening. . . [p24/25]. I cannot imagine a more discouraging course of education that that to which I was subjected. The truth was, I was an incorrigible lover of sports of every kind. My heart was in ball and marbles." Note: Biographer Edmund Quincy sets this passage in direct quotes, but does not provide a source.
Edmund Quincy, Josiah Quincy of Massachusetts (Fields, Osgood and Company, Boston, 1869), pages 24-25..Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 36. Accessed on 11/16/2008 via Google Books search for <life of josiah quincy>. Also cited in Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 36.
1780.8 Regular Monday NYC Cricket Matches Planned Again.
A cricket match is advertised to be played on this day, and continued every Monday throughout the summer, “on the Ground where the late Reviews were, near the Jews Burying Ground.” New York Mercury, June 19, 1780
I. N. Phelps Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909 : compiled from original sources (New York, Robert H. Dodd), 1926), Volume V, page 1111.
1780.9 Americans and Englishmen Encouraged to Meet on NYC Cricket Field
Challenges for cricket matches between ‘Americans’ and ‘Englishmen” are issued through the newspaper Royal Gazette, 8/19. 8/26, 1780.
The cricket field is at the Jews’ Burying ground.” Royal Gazette, 9/6/80.
I. N. Phelps Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909 : compiled from original sources (New York, Robert H. Dodd), 1926), Volume V, page 1115.
1780.10 Dartmouth College Fine for Ballplay - Two Shillings
"If any student shall play ball or use any other diversion that exposes the College or hall windows within three rods of either he shall be fined two shillings . . . " In 1782 the protected area was extended to six rods.
-- Dartmouth College, 1779.
John King Lord, A History of Dartmouth College 1815-1909 (Rumford Press, Concord NH, 1913), page 593. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 35 and refs #38 through 40. See also Chron entry #1771.1.