Most Wanted Research

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A Lingering Death for Old-Style Plugging?

Long Title:

Protoball Chronology Item 1837.1 reports that William Wheaton said that the plugging of base-runners had been outlawed in the late 1830s in New York. However, Henry Chadwick (item 1850s.24)reported that, nearly two decades later, some base ball clubs in Greater New York still retained the practice.

Protoball Sub-area: Chronology

Objective and Expected Result:

Do we have any other contemporary evidence that plugging was still found in modern base ball into the 1850s?


Scale of Effort: Mini-task

Suggested by: Larry McCray February 2013

Berber Base Ball in the Stone Age?

Long Title:

As recounted at, 66 years ago an Italian researcher reported that Berbers in Libya were playing a two-base safe-haven game with several base-ball-like rules. He suggested that the game had come to Africa centuries earlier. It’s time to poke a bit at that conjecture. Is this the only claim for a base ball predecessor game in Africa? If it were a common pastime, shouldn’t we now have many additional sightings by now? Can we at least locate someone who might do some web searches in Arabic? Can we rule out the possibility that later forms of base ball were taught to locals, say 70 or 100 years ago?

Protoball Sub-area:


Scale of Effort:

Suggested by: Larry McCray October 2013

A Special Chronology for Early Female Play

Long Title:

Protoball's Chronology includes about 1500 key events in the evolution of base ball, but this far has fewer than 10 accounts of female in the United States.

Deb Shattuck's Bloomer Girls has much new information on the pioneering women players, and we think is will enrich the Protoball data base.  One goal might be to fashion a Special Chronology on women's play n the US. 

Protoball Sub-area: Chronology, PrePro data base of early games and clubs.


Scale of Effort: A short-term contribution might be to capture key data from "Bloomer Girls"; a broader task is to serve as Protoball's curator fjor distaff play.

Suggested by: Protoball Functionary December 2019

Adding Links to You-Tube-Style Clips on Baserunning Games

Long Title:

We have identified nearly 150 baseball varients.  For many. YouTube clips show how such baserunning games are or were played.  Such clips often convey a sense of the game that words alone cannot describe.

Protoball Sub-area: Protoball's Glossary of Games

Objective and Expected Result:

Add links to sources of such clips to Protoball's material on the listed game.


Scale of Effort: Variable; a volunteer could easiiy focus first on games of special current interest

Suggested by: PBall Functionary August 2018 Assigned to: Larry McCray has researched a few such links, But there's much more easy harvesting to do.

Contribute by adding new data on early ballplaying in your area

Long Title:

Protoball is undertaking to document the local origins of modern base ball -- and the baserunning games than may have preceded base ball -- throughout the US.  

Protoball Sub-area: Pro Pro database on early games, clubs, etc.

Status: On-going This request is ongoing: Protoball's Pre-Pro Data Base records known early games and clubs. But local sources may have more to add.

Scale of Effort: Continuous

Suggested by: Protoball Project January 2018

How Many of the 14 Knickerbocker Playing Rules Can be Traced Back to English Baserunning Games?

Long Title:

While base ball has long been seen as an American game, many of the modern game's earliest rules are known in juvenile games in Britain.  Which of the Knickerbocker's initial 14 playing rules had precedents in prior English games?

Protoball Sub-area: Potential Protoball article on the influence of English base ball on the American game

Status: Unassigned This request is unassigned as of January 2018.

Scale of Effort: Mini-task

Suggested by: Larry McCray January 2018

Locate Depictions of Less Well-Known Baserunning Games

Long Title:

YouTube and other sources have videos that help conveys the nature of various baseball-like games, including many listed on Protoball’s Glossary of Games.  URLs cos such can be added to the Glossay entries.

Protoball Sub-area: Glossary of Games


Scale of Effort:

Suggested by: December 2019

Support Host Chapters of SABR Conventions in Documenting Local Base Ball Origins

Long Title:

To support the presentation of local origins of base ball in cities that will host Annual SABR Conventions, it may be useful to support local chapter members on available data on earliest base ball -- and local predecessor games -- for summary in Convention handouts, possibly including a article in the National Pastime. 

Protoball Sub-area: PrePro Data Base, Chronlogies


Scale of Effort: Variable, depending on local chapter interest in local origins

Suggested by: PBall Functionary August 2018

The Origins of the Hungarian game of Longa Meta

Long Title: We do not know if Hungarian game of "meta," a baserunning game, has been documented prior to 1945.

Protoball Sub-area: Glossary of Baserunning Games Objective and Expected Result: Can someone do online and/or bibliographic searches in Hungarian and report findings in Protoball? Status: Unassigned This request is unassigned as of January 2018.

Scale of Effort: Micro-task

Suggested by: Larry McCray January 2018

Track Newly-Released Research Reports

Long Title:

Add new research findings to appropriate parts of the Protoball site.

Protoball Sub-area: General Maintenance


Scale of Effort: Variable; tasks can be broad or limited in topic or time range.

Suggested by: Larry McCray July 2018

Was the 'Double Eight' Style of Base Ball Cover Invented in the United States?

Long Title:

The now-familiar single-seam base ball covering appears to have been introduced to base ballin about 1876 [?]  Was it a new innovation, or had prior ballgames (real tennis, cricket, stoolball) already adopted the pattern in earlier days?

Protoball Sub-area: Potential Protoball article on the evolution of the base ball

Status: dip-dive This subject will be explored as one element in a Protoball "dip-dive" project in 2018. Corky Gaskell has agreed to moderate this effort, and to post initial results on Protoball.

Scale of Effort: Mini-task

Suggested by: Corky Gaskell, Larry McCray January 2018

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