Massachusetts Game

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Game Massachusetts Game
Game Family Baseball Baseball
Location New England, WNY, Upper Midwest
Regions US
Eras 1800s, Predecessor
Invented No

This is the game played according to rules that were codified in May 1858 in Dedham Massachusetts. It featured short basepaths, an absence of foul ground, plugging of runners, a smaller and softer and lighter ball, wooden stakes in place of sascks as bases,winners definied as the first team to reach 100 “tallies,” and a one-out-side-out rule. It remains unclear how close these rules -- written 13 years after the Knickerbocker rules were codified -- were to round ball, goal ball, and/or base games played in MA for the previous 50-75 years.

The Massachusetts Game declined fairly rapidly after 1860.


The Mass game rules appeared in Mayhew and Baker,  Base Ball. A
Manual of Cricket and Base Ball, With Rules and Regulations Illustrated
(Boston, Mayhew and Baker, 1858), pages20 - 24.

For a more modern treatment, see John Thorn's Our Game blog at


See the article on the Massachusetts game in the Origins Committee Newsletter, September, 2021.

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