Other References

Before the celebrations of the centenary of Doubleday's invention of baseball, the New York Times interviewed historian Robert W. Henderson. His studies showed that the game of baseball was played in Manhattan as early as 1823, some 16 years before Doubleday invented it. A game was also played in Ontario, Canada, in 1838.

Bat and ball games had been popular in Europe since the Middle Ages. Cricket probably originated from stoolball, that evolved later in what is today known as Welsh Baseball.

During the XVIII century a game called balle empoisonnée was popular in France. The Germans played ballspiel. Mary Lepell wrote in 1748 that "Base-Ball" is "a play all who are or have been school boys are acquainted with."

In 1796 Johann Cristoph Friedrich Gustmuths, one of the pioneers of Physical Education, published the rules of a game he called English Baseball in German.


Jane Austen mentioned the game of base-ball in her novel Northanger Abbey, published after her death in 1817, but completed by 1803.

The origin of baseball may be even older. Statistician Corrado Gini reported in 1937 about the game named Takurt Om El Mahag he had descovered in a Berber community. Gini believed the game had originated thousand of years before.

German Historian Erwin Mehl published in 1948 a book titled Baseball in the Stone Age. His point is that games of bat and ball were common during the stone age.

Ball games were played by Native Americans as early as the Mayan age, but recent research by the Cambridge University confirmed that they are not related to bat and ball games. The story of young Lucy Ford, who learned a game of bat and ball from Native Americans, is narrated in a work of fiction: the novel Female Robinson Crusoe, by an unknown author, published in 1837.

In Summary

We will never know the true origin of baseball. What we know is that the game we know as baseball developed in the United States of America after 1845. Various bat and ball games were imported from Europe to North America in the early decades of 1800.

Americans may not have invented baseball, but as a matter of fact, Americans spread all over the world the game that is their National Pastime since the early years of 1900.