Early Baseball Milestones

What are your baseball origins? Where did you play your first game? Baseball traces its roots through the annals of history, well before the founding of Major League Baseball. This chronology, from Protoball (an extensive gathering of early materials documenting the origins of baseball), records the order of events related to the development of baseball starting in 2500 B.C. Enjoy, and share with us your own baseball milestones.

About Early Baseball Milestones »

  • 1523 - Baron's Trespass Records Mention Stoball


    "Item, quod petrus frankeleyne vid posuit iiiixx ovesin le stoball field contra ordinacionem."

    Source: National Stoolball Association, "A Brief History of Stoolball," [mimeo, author and date unspecified], page 2. This wording is reportedly found in "an extract from the rolls of the Court Baron of the Royal Manor of Kirklington, belonging to the Duchy of Lancaster (16th Century), under the heading of trespass." Note: We need a citation here, and a reason for assigning the 1523 date. The relation of stoball to stoolball remains under dispute, with many observers seeing stoball as an early golf-like game. Can we obtain a good translation and interpretation of this quotation?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1533 - Skelton Poem Traces Cricket to Flemish Immigrants?


    "O lodre of Ipocrites/ Nowe shut vpp your wickets,/ And clappe to your clickettes/ A! Farewell, kings for crekettes!"

    "The Image of Ipocrisie" (1533) attributed to John Skelton. This verse is interpreted as showing no sympathy to Flemish weavers who settled in southern and eastern England, bringing at least the rudiments of cricket with them. Heiner Gillmeister and John Campbell noted publicly in June 2009 that this is relevant evidence of cricket's non-English origin. Note: the first written reference to cricket was nearly 70 years in the future in 1533. Contributed by Beth Hise, January 12, 2010. Query: are cricket historians accepting this poem as valid evidence of cricket's roots?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1538 - Easter Ball Play at Churches Ends in France


    "Certain types of ball games had a prominent place in heathen rituals and were believed to promote fertility. Even after Christianity had gained the ascendancy over the older religion, ball continued to be played in the churchyard and even within the church at certain times. In France, ball was played in churches at Easter, until the custom was abolished in 1538. In England, the practice persisted up to a much later date."

    Brewster, Paul G., American Nonsinging Games [University of Oklahoma Press, Norman OK, 1953] pp. 79-89. Submitted by John Thorn, 6/6/04. Brewster gives no source for the French dictum, nor for the "later date" when Easter play ceased in England.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1540 - A Pitcher, a Catcher and a Batter in a Golf History Book?


    Cary Smith [ZinnBeck@aol.com] has noted an alluring illustration in a 1540 publication, and we seek additional input on it. In a posting to the 19CBB listserve in March 2008, Cary wrote:

    "On the British Library web site in the turning pages section there is a book called the Golf Book, but it is labeled as 'Flemish Masters in Miniature.' On page seven of the book there is a small grisalle border at the bottom. It looks like what today would be considered a pitcher, catcher, and batter. The book is from 1540. To access the web site you will need to have Flash running. If on a Macintosh that is intel based you will need to click the Rosetta button in the info window of your web browser." Note: can you help us interpret this artwork?

    The URL is http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/ttp/ttpbooks.html.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1550 - No English Reference Claimed for the Word "Cricket" Found Before 1550


    "The medieval origin of the national game of the English is beyond doubt, but not so its Island roots. There would have been ample opportunity for it to figure on the lists of banned games set out by their kings, but there is no written mention of it before 1550. It is, of course, not impossible that its forerunner was one of the many ball games played with unidentifiable rules, as for instance club ball."

    From an unidentified photocopy in the "Origins of Baseball" file at the Giamatti Center at Cooperstown. Note: the inconsistencies among the preceding cricket entries [see #1478.1,] need to be resolved . . . . or at least addressed.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1550 - Cricket Play Recalled at Southern England School


    [Cf #1598.3 below.] A 1598 trial in the Surrey town of Guildford includes a statement by John Derrick, then aged 59. According to a 1950 history of Guildford's Royal Grammar School, "[H]e stated that he had known the [disputed] ground for fifty years or more and that 'when he was a scholar in the free school of Guildford, he and several of his fellows did run and play there at cricket and other plays.' This is believed to be the first recorded mention of cricket."

    Brown, J. F., The Story of the Royal Grammar School, Guildford, 1950, page 6. Note: it would be interesting to see the original reference, and to know how 1550 was chosen as the reported year of play.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1555 - English Poet Condones Students' Yens "To Tosse the Ball, To Rene Base, Like Men of War"


    "To shote, to bowle, or caste the barre,

    To play tenise, or tosse the ball,

    Or to rene base, like men of war,

    Shall hurt thy study naught at all."

    Crowley, Robert, "The Scholar's Lesson," circa 1555, in J. M. Cowper, The Select Works of Robert Crowley [N. Truber, London, 1872], page 73. Submitted by John Bowman, 7/16/2004. Citation from Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, see pages 230 and 312.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1562 - Cricket Forerunner an "Unlawful Game?"


    "The Malden Corporation Court Book of 1562 contains a charge against John Porter alias Brown, and a servant, for 'playing an unlawful game called "clycett."'"

    Brookes, Christopher, English Cricket: the Game and its Players Through the Ages (Newton Abbot, 1978), page 16, as cited in 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 29.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1564 - Formal Complaint in Surrey: Stoolball is Played on Sunday


    "1564 - complaints were made to the justices sitting at the midsummer session, at Malden, Surrey, that the constable (himself possibly an enthusiast with the stool and ball) suffered stoolball to be played on Sunday."

    M. S. Russell-Goggs, "Stoolball in Sussex," The Sussex County Magazine, volume 2, no. 7 (July 1928), page 318. Surrey is the adjoining county to Sussex. Note: we need to locate the full citations for this and all other Russell-Goggs references.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1565 - Bruegel's "Corn Harvest" Painting Shows Meadow Ballgame


    "We had paused right in front of [the Flemish artist] Bruegel the Elder's "Corn Harvest" (1565), one of the world's great paintings of everyday life . . . .[M]y eye fell upon a tiny tableau at the left-center of the painting in which young men appeared to be playing a game of bat and ball in a meadow distant from the scything and stacking and dining and drinking that made up the foreground. . . . There appeared to be a man with a bat, a fielder at a base, a runner, and spectators as well as participants in waiting. The strange device opposite the batsman's position might have been a catapult. As I was later to learn with hurried research, this detain is unnoted in the art-history studies."

    From John Thorn, "Play's the Thing," Woodstock Times, December 28, 2006. See thornpricks.blogspot.com/2006/12/bruegel-and-me_27.html, accessed 1/30/07.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1567 - English Translation of Horace Refers to "the Stoole Ball"


    "The stoole ball, top, or camping ball/If suche one should assaye/As hath no mannour skill therein,/Amongste a mightye croude,/Theye all would screeke unto the frye/And laugh at hym aloude."

    Drant, Thomas, Horace His Arte of Poetrie, Pistles, and Satyrs Englished, and to the Earle of Ormounte, [London], per David Block, page 166. There is no implication that Horace himself refers to a stool ball.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1570 - Five Indicted for Stoolball Play on Sunday


    "A few years later [than 1564], at the Easter Sessions in the same town [Malden, Surrey], one Edward Anderkyn and four others were indicted for playing stoolball on Sunday."

    M. S. Russell-Goggs, "Stoolball in Sussex," The Sussex County Magazine, volume 2, no. 7 (July 1928), page 318. Surrey is the adjoining county to Sussex. Note: we need to locate the full citations for this and all other Russell-Goggs references.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1575 - Gascoigne's Poem "The Fruits of War" Refers to Tut-ball


    Gascoigne, George, The Posies of George Gascoigne Esquire, Corrected, perfected, and augmented by the Authour [London, Richard Smith], per Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 166. The key lines: "Yet have I shot at master Bellums butte/And throwen his ball although I toucht no tutte."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1583 - Pre-teens Risk Dungeon Time For Selves, or Their Dads, by Playing Ball


    "Whereas this a great abuse in a game or games used in the town called "Gede Gadye or the Cat's Pallet, and Typing or hurling the Ball," - that no mannor person shall play at the same games, being above the age of seven years, wither in the churchyard or in any of the streets of this town, upon pain of every person so playing being imprisoned in the Doungeon for the space of two hours; or else every person so offending to pay 6 [pence] for every time. And if they have not [wherewithal] to pay, then the parents or masters of such persons so offending to pay the said 6 [pence] or to suffer the like imprisonment." [Similar language is found in 1579 entry [page 148], but it lacked the name "Typing" and did not mention a ball.]

    John Harland, editor, Court Leet Records of the Manor of Manchester in the Sixteenth Century (Chetham Society, 1864), page 156. Accessed 1/27/10 via Google Books search: "court leet" half-bowls. Note: The game gidigadie is not known to us, but the 1864 editor notes elsewhere [page 149, footnote 61] that was "not unlikely" to be tip-cat, and he interprets "typing" as tipping. As later described [see "Tip-Cat" and "Pallet" at http://retrosheet.org/Protoball/Glossary.htm], tip-cat could be played with a cat or a ball, and could involve running among holes as bases. Caveat: we do not yet know what the nature of the proscribed game was in Elizabethan times.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1585 - Stoole-ball, Nine Holes Included Among Country Sports


    In a 1600 publication attributed to Samuel Rowlands [died 1588], the fourth of six "Satires," presents a catalog of about 30 pastimes, including "play at stoole-ball," and "play at nine-holes." Other diversions include pitching the barre, foote-ball, play at base, and leap-frog.

    Rowlands, Samuel, The Letting of Humour's blood in the head-vein (W. White, London, 1600), as discussed in Brydges, Samuel E., Censura Literaria (Longman, London, 1808), p.279. Virtually the same long verse - but one that carelessly lists stoole-ball twice - is attributed to "Randal Holme of Chester" in an 1817 book: Drake, Nathan, Shakspeare and His Times (Cadell and Davies, London, 1817), pages 246-247. Drake does not suggest a date for this verse. Caveat: Our choice of 1585 as the year of Rowlands' composition is merely speculative. Note: This entry needs to be reconciled with #1630c.1 below.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1586 - Sydney Cites Stoolball


    "A time there is for all, my mother often sayes/

    When she with skirts tuckt very hie, with gyrles at stoolball playes"

    [Sir Philip?] Sydney, Arcadia: Sonnets [1622], page 493. Note: citation needs confirmation.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1586 - Possible Early Rounders Reference?


    In his entry for Rounders, W. C. Hazlitt speculates: "It is possible that this is the game which, under the name of rownes (rounds) is mentioned in The English Courtier and the Countrey Gentleman: A Pleasant and Learned Disputation, 1586 [printed by Richard Jones, London]. One source attributes this work of Nicholas Breton. Protoball has not located this book.

    Hazlitt, W. C., Faiths and Folklore: A Dictionary of National Beliefs, Superstitions, and Popular Customs (Reeves and Turner, London, 1905), vol. 2, page 527. Note: Can we find this early text and evaluate whether rounders is in fact its subject? Caveat: It would startle most of us to encounter any species of rounders this early; the earliest appearance of the term may be as late as 1828 - see #1828.1 below.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1591 - Early Spanish-English Dictionary Mentions the "Trapsticke"


    Pericule [Percival], Richard, Bibliotheca hispanica: containing a graamar, with a dictionarie in Spanish, English, and Latine, gathered out of diuers good authors: very profitable for the studious of the Spanish toong [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 166. The dictionary's entries include "paleta - a trapsticke" and paletilla - a little trapsticke."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1592 - Canterbury Stoolballer Bloodies Pious Critic


    "We present one Bottolph Wappoll, a continual gamester and one of the very lewd behaviour, who being on Mayday last at stoolball in time of Divine service one of our sidesmen came and admonished him to leave off playing and go to church, for which he fell on him and beat him that the blood ran about his ears."

    Source: National Stoolball Association, "A Brief History of Stoolball," [author and date unspecified], page 2. The original source is not supplied but is reported to have been a presentation from the parish of St Paul in Canterbury to the Archdeacon of Canterbury. Note: can we find this source?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1592 - Moralist Lists Things for Scholars to Avoid, Including Playing "Stoole Ball Among Wenches"


    "Time of recreation is necessary, I graunt, and think as necessary for schollers . . . as it is for any. Yet in my opinion it were not fit for them to play at Stoole-ball among wenches, nor at Mumchance or Maw with idle loose companions; not at trunks in Guile-halls, nor to dance about Maypoles, nor to rufle in alehouses, nor to carowse in tauernes, nor to steale deere, nor to rob orchards. Though who can deny that they may doe these things, yea worse."

    Attributed to Dr. Rainoldes in J. P. Collier, ed., The Political Decameron, or Ten Conversations on English Poets and Poetry [Constable and Co., Edinburgh, 1820], page 257. This passage is from the "ninth conversation" and covers low practices during the reigns of Elizabeth and of James I. Note: we need to ascertain the source, date, and context of the original Rainoldes material. It appears that Rainoldes' cited "conversation" with Gager took place in 1592.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1598 - Youth Ball Games Widespread at London Schools.


    "After dinner all the youthes go into the fields to play at the bal…. The schollers of euery schoole haue their ball, or baston, in their hands: the auncient and wealthy men of the Citie come foorth on horsebacke to see the sport of young men."

    Stow, John, Survey of London [first published in 1598]. David Block [page 166] gives the full title as A Survey of London: Contayning the Originall, Antiquity, Increase, Modern Estate, and Description of that Citie: written in the yeare 1598 [London]. Block adds that the term "baston" is described by the OED as a "cudgel, club, bat or truncheon."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1598 - Italian-English Dictionary Includes Cat, Trap


    Florio, John, A world of wordes or Most copious, and exact dictionarie in Italian and English [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 167. This dictionary defines lippa as "a cat or trap as children use to play with."

    1598.3 - First Known Appearance of the Term "Cricket"

    [Cf #1550c.2 above.] A 1598 trial in the Surrey town of Guildford includes a statement by John Derrick, then aged 59. According to a 1950 history of Guildford's Royal Grammar School, "[H]e stated that he had known the [disputed] ground for fifty years or more and that 'when he was a scholar in the free school of Guildford, he and several of his fellows did run and play there at cricket and other plays.' This is believed to be the first recorded mention of cricket."

    Brown, J. F., The Story of the Royal Grammar School, Guildford, 1950, page 6. Note: it would be interesting to see the original reference, and to know how 1550 was chosen as the reported year of play.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1598 - Italian Dictionary's "Cricket-a-wicket" doubted as reference to the Game of Cricket


    "People have often regarded Florio's expression in his Italian Dictionary (1598) cricket-a-wicket as the first mention [cf #158.2 and #1598.3, above] of the noble game. It were strange indeed if this great word first dropped from the pen of an Italian! I have no doubt myself that this is a mere coincidence of sound. . . . [C]ricket-a-wicket must pair off with 'helter-skelter,' higgledy-piggledy, and Tarabara to which Florio gives gives cricket-a-wicket as an equivalent."

    A.G. Steel and R. H. Lyttelton, Cricket, (Longmans Green, London, 1890) 4th edition, page 6. Note: do later writers agree that this was mere coincidence?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1600 - Austrian Physician Reports on Batting/Running Game in Prague; One of Two Accounts Cites Plugging, Bases


    [A] Guarinoni, Hippolytis, Greuel der Verwustung der menschlichen Gesschlechts [The horrors of the devastation of the human race], [Ingolstadt, Austrian Empire], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 167. Guarinoni describes a game he saw in Prague in 1600 involving a large field of play, the hitting of a small thrown ball ["the size of a quince"] with a four-foot tapered club, the changing of sides if a hit ball was caught, and, while not mentioning the presence of bases, advises that the game "is good for tender youth which never has enough of running back and forth."

    [B] "German Schlagball ["hit the ball"] is also similar to rounders. The native claim that these games 'have remained the games of the Germanic peoples, and have won no popularity beyond their countries' quite obviously does not accord with facts. It is enough to quote the conclusion of a description of "hit the ball" by H. Guarnoni, who had a medical practice in Innsbruck about 1600: 'We enjoyed this game in Prague very much and played it a lot. The cleverest at it were the Poles and the Silesians, so the game obviously comes from there.' Incidentally, he was one of the first who described the way in which the game was played. It was played with a leather ball and a club four-foot long. The ball was tossed by a bowler who threw it to the striker, who struck it with a club rounded at the end as far into the field as possible, and attempted to make a circuit of the bases without being hit by the ball. If 'one of the opposing players catches the ball in the air, a change of positions follows.'"

    Source: from page 111 of an unidentified photocopy in the "Origins of Baseball" file at the Giamatti Center of the Baseball Hall of Fame. The quoted material is found in a section termed "Rounders and Other Ball Games with Sticks and Bats," pp. 110-111. This section also reports: "Gyula Hajdu sees the origin of round games as follows: 'Round games conserve the memory of ancient castle warfare. A member of the besieged garrison sets out for help, slipping through the camp of the enemy. . . . '" "In Hungary several variants of rounders exist in the countryside." Note: Can we verify the Gyula Hajdu source? Is it Magyar Nepraiz V. Folklor

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1600 - Shakespeare Mentions Rounders? Pretty Doubtful


    "Shakespeare mentions games of "base" and "rounders. Lovett, Old Boston Boys, page 126."

    Seymour, Harold - Notes in the Seymour Collection at Cornell University, Kroch Library Department of Rare and Manuscript Collections, collection 4809. Caveat: We have not yet confirmed that Lovett or Shakespeare used the term "rounders." Gomme [page 80], among others, identifies the Bard's use of "base" in Cymbeline as a reference to prisoner's base, which is not a ball game. John Bowman, email of 5/21/2008, reports that his concordance of all of Shakespeare's words shows has no listing for "rounders" . . . nor for "stoolball," for that matter [see #1612c.1, below], 'tho that may because Shakespeare's authorship of Two Noble Kinsmen is not universally accepted by scholars..

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1609 - Polish Origins of Baseball Perceived in Jamestown VA Settlement


    "Soon after the new year [1609], [we] initiated a ball game played with a bat . . . . Most often we played this game on Sundays. We rolled up rags to make balls . . . Our game attracted the savages who sat around the field, delighted with this Polish sport."

    The source is Zbigniew Stefanski, Memorial Commercatoris [A Merchant's Memoirs], (Amsterdam, 1625), as cited in Block's Baseball Before We Knew It, page 101. Stefanski was a skilled Polish workingman who wrote a memoir of his time in the Jamestown colony: an entry for 1609 related the Polish game of pilka palantowa (bat ball). Another account by a scholar reported adds that "the playfield consisted of eight bases not four, as in our present day game of baseball." If true, this would imply that the game involved running as well as batting.

    "For your information and records, I am pleased to inform you that after much research I have discovered that baseball was introduced to America by the Poles who arrived in Jamestown in 1609. . . . Records of the University of Krakow, the oldest school of higher learning in Poland show that baseball or batball was played by the students in the 14th century and was part of the official physical culture program."

    Letter from Matthew Baranski to the Baseball Hall of Fame, March 23, 1975. [Found in the Origins file at the Giamatti Center.] Matthew Baranski himself cites First Poles in America 1608-1958, published by the Polish Falcons of America, Pittsburgh and unavailable online as of 7/28/09. We have not confirmed that sighting. Note: Per Maigaard's 1941 survey of "battingball games" includes a Polish variant of long ball, but does not mention pilka palantowa. Query: The next Protoball reader finding himself/herself in Krakow might drop by the University and find out more? And could a Polish speaker try some online searches for pilka palantowa and its history?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1610 - Very Early Cricket Match


    A match is thought to have been played between the men of North Downs and men of the Weald.

    Contributed by Beth Hise January 12, 2010. Beth is in pursuit of the original source of this claim. North Downs is in Surrey, about 4 miles NE of Guildford, where early uses of both "cricket" and "base-ball" are found. It is about 30 miles SW of London. The Weald is apparently an old term for the county of Kent, which is SW of London.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1611 - French-English Dictionary Cites "Cat and Trap" and Cricket


    Dictionary-maker R. Cotgrave translates "crosse" as "the crooked staff wherewith boies play at cricket."

    "Martinet" [a device for propelling large stones at castles] is defined as "the game called cat and trap."

    Cotgrave, Randle, A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues [London, 1611], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 168. "

    Cricket historians Steel and Lyttelton: "Thanks to Cotgrave, then, we know that in 1611 cricket was a boy's game, played with a crooked bat. The club, bat, or staff continued to be crooked or curved at the blade till the middle of the eighteenth century or later: and till nearly 1720 cricket was mainly a game for boys." A.G. Steel and R. H. Lyttelton, Cricket, (Longmans Green, London, 1890) 4th edition, page 6.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1612 - Play Attributed to Shakespeare Cites Stool-ball


    A young maid asks her wooer to go with her. "What shall we do there, wench?" She replies, "Why, play at stool-ball; what else is there to do?"

    Fletcher and Shakespeare, The Two Noble Kinsmen [London], Act V, Scene 2, per W. W. Grantham, Stoolball Illustrated and How to Play It [W. Speaight, London, 1904], page 29. David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 170, gives 1634 as the publication date of this play, which was reportedly performed in 1612, and mentions that doubts have been expressed as to authorship, so Shakespeare [1564-1616] may not have contributed. Others surmise that The Bard wrote Acts One and Five, which would make him the author of the stoolball reference. See also item #1600c.2 above. Note: can we find further specifics? Russell-Goggs, in "Stoolball in Sussex," The Sussex County Magazine, volume 2, no. 7 (July 1928), page 320, notes that the speaker is the "daughter of the Jailer."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1613 - His and Her Stool-ball Banter: Play or Foreplay?


    "Ward: Can you play at shuttlecock forsooth?

    Isabella: Ay, and stool-ball too, sir; I have great luck at it.

    Ward: Why, can you catch a ball well?

    Isabella: I have catched two in my lap at one game

    Ward: What, have you, woman? I must have you learn to play at trap too, then y'are full and whole."

    Dutton, Richard Thomas, Women Beware Women and Other Plays [Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1999], page 135. The play itself is generally dated 1613 or 1614. Submitted by John Thorn, 7/9/2004

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1614 - Poet Yearns to "Goe to Stoole-Ball-Play"


    Breton, Nicholas, I Would, and Would Not [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 168. Stanza 79 reads "I would I were an honest Countrey Wench/ . . . / And for a Tanzey, goe to Stoole-Ball-Play." Tansy cakes were reportedly given as prizes for ball play.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1615 - Stoole Ball Goes North with Early Explorer


    "And some dayes heare we stayed we shott at butts and bowe and arrows, at other tymes at stoole ball, and some tymes of foote ball

    William Baffin, from "The Fourth Recorded Voyage of Baffin," in C. M. Markham, ed., The Voyages of William Baffin, 1612-1622, [Hakluyt Society, 1881], page 122. This voyage started in March 1615, and the entry is dated June?? 19th, 1615. The voyage was taken in hope of finding a northwest passage to the East, but was thwarted by ice, and Baffin returned to England in the fall of 1615. Note: Ascertain the month, which is obscured in the online copy. Was location of play near what is now known as Baffin Island?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1616 - Translation of Homer Depicts Virgins Playing Stool-Ball, Disturbing Ulysses' Snooze


    Translator Chapman described a scene in which several virgins play stool-ball near a river while Ulysses sleeps nearby: "The Queene now (for the upstroke) strooke the ball/Quite wide off th' other maids; and made it fall/Amidst the whirlpools.

    Chapman, George, The whole works of Homer: prince of poets, in his Iliads, and Odysses [London, 1616], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 168.

    Steel and Lyttelton indicate that Chapman's translation may date "as early as 1614," and say report that Chapman calls the fragment "a stoolball chance." See A.G. Steel and R. H. Lyttelton, Cricket, (Longmans Green, London, 1890) 4th edition, page 2. Note: The year of the translation needs to be confirmed;. It would be interesting to see how other translators have treated this scene.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1617 - King James' Controversial "Book of Sports" Omits Mention of Ballplaying


    Reacting to Puritans' denunciations of Sabbath recreations, James I in 1617 listed a large number of permitted Sunday activities -including no ball games - and cited as unlawful only "beare and Bull beatinge enterludes & bowlinge. . . ." Axon, Ernest, Notes of Proceedings. Volume 1 - 1616-1622-3 (Printed for the Record Society for the Publication of Original Documents, 1901), page xxvi. There was adverse reaction to this proclamation, which is said to have surprised the King.

    Another source lists the Sunday bans as "Bull-baiting, bear-baiting, interludes, and bowls:" Keightley, Thomas, The History of England, volume II (Whittaker and Co., London, 1839), page 321. One chruchman listed "bear-baiting, bull-baiting, common plays, and bowling:" Marsden, J. B., History of Christian Churches and Sects (Richard Bentley, London, 1856), page 269. Thus, unless "enterludes" then connoted a range of games or "common plays" that included ballplay, contemporary ballgames like stoolball and cricket - and cat games - remained unconstrained.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1619 - Bawdy Poem Has Wenches Playing "With Stoole and Ball"


    "It was the day of all dayes in the yeare/That unto Bacchus hath its dedication,/ . . . / When country wenches play with stoole and ball,/And run at Barley-breake until they fall:/And country lads fall on them, in such sort/That after forty weekes the[sic] rew the sport."

    Anonymous, Pasquils Palinodia, and His Progress to the Taverne; Where, After the Survey of the Sellar, You Are Presented with a Pleasant Pynte of Poeticall Sherry [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 169, who credits Henderson, page 74. Block notes that "Barley-Break" [not a ball game] was, like stoole ball, traditionally a spring courtship ritual in the English countryside.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1621 - Some Pilgrims "Openly" Play "Stoole Ball" on Christmas Morning in Massachusetts, So Bradford Clamps Down


    Governor Bradford describes Christmas Day 1621 at Plymouth Plantation, MA, "most of this new-company excused them selves and said it wente against their consciences to work on ye day. So ye Govr tould them that if they made it mater of conscience, he would spare them till they were better informed. So he led away ye rest and left them; but when they came home at noone from their worke, he found them in ye street at play, openly; some at pitching ye barr, and some at stoole-ball and shuch like sport. . . . Since which time nothing hath been attempted that way, at least openly."

    Bradford, William, Of Plymouth Plantation, [Harvey Wish, ed., Capricorn Books, 1962], pp 82 - 83. Henderson cites Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1856. See his ref 23. Full text supplied by John Thorn, 6/25/2005. Bradford explained that the issue was not that ball-playing was sinful, but that playing openly while others worked was not good for morale.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1622 - Bad, Bad Batts!


    A Chichester churchwarden indicted a group of men for ballplaying, reasoning thus: "first, for it is contrarie to the 7th Article; second, for they are used to break the Church window with the balls; and thirdly, for that little children had like to have their braynes beaten out with the cricket batt."

    Brookes, Christopher, English Cricket: the game and its players through the ages (Newton Abbot, 1978), page 16, as cited in 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 29.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1629 - Play Refers to Weakling Who Was "Beat . . . With a Trap Stick"


    Shirley, James, The Wedding. As it was lately acted by her Mauesties seruants at the Phenix at Drury Lane [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 170. A servant in the play describes his master as so mild in manner that "the last time he was in the field a boy of seven year old beat him with a trap-stick."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1629 - Curate Can't Beat the Rap as Cricketer


    "In 1629, having been censured for playing 'at Cricketts,' the curate of Ruckinge in Kent unsuccessfully defended himself on the grounds that it was a game played by men of quality."

    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 29. Bateman does not provide his source for this anecdote. Note: Can we find and extend this story?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1630 - "Ancient Cheshire Games" Include Stooleball, Nine Holes


    "Any they dare challenge for to throw the sleudge,/To Jumpe or leape over dich or hedge,/ To wrastle, play at stooleball, or to Runne,/ To pitch the bar, or to shoote off a Gunne/ To play at Loggets, nine holes, or ten pins. . . .[list continues, mentioning stool ball once more at end.]"

    This verse, titled "Ancient Cheshire Games: Auntient customes in games used by boys and girles merily sett out in verse," is attributed to "Randle Holmes's MSS Brit Mus." Is in Medium of Inter-communications for Literary Men, Artists, Antiquaries, Genealogists, Etc, July - December 1856, page 487. Note: Can we learn why is this account associated with 1630? This entry needs to be reconciled with #1585.1 above. Add online search detail?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1630 - Stoolball Play Makes Maidstone a "Very Profane Town"


    "About 1630 a Puritan records that 'Maidstone was formerly a very profane town, where stoolball and other games were practiced on the Lord's Day."

    M. S. Russell-Goggs, "Stoolball in Sussex," The Sussex County Magazine, volume 2, no. 7 (July 1928), page 318. Note: we need to locate the full citations for this and all other Russell-Goggs references.. We need to sort out how this claim relates to the very similar wording in the quote by Reverend Wilson in entry #1672.1 below.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1630 - City Women's Shrovetide Customs Include Stooleball


    "In the early seventeenth century, an Oxford fellow, Thomas Crosfield, noted the customs of Shrovetide as '1. frittering. 2. throwing at cocks. 3. playing at stooleball in ye Citty by women & footeball by men.'" Shrovetide was the Monday and Tuesday [That Tuesday being Mardi Gras in some quarter] preceding Ash Wednesday and the onset of Lent.

    Griffin, Emma, "Popular Recreation and the Significance of Space," (publication unknown), page 36. The original source is shown as the Crosfield Diary for March 1, 1633, page 63. Thanks to John Thorn for supplementing a draft of this entry. One citation for the diary is F. S. Boas, editor, The Diary of Thomas Crosfield (Oxford University Press, London, 1935).

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1631 - Drama by Philip Massenger Refers to Cat-Stick


    "Page: You, sirrah sheep's-head/ With a face cut on a cat-stick, do you hear?/ You, yeoman fewterer, conduct me to/ the lady of the mansion, or my poniard/ Shall disembogue thy soul."

    "The Maid of Honour," Scene 2, in The Plays of Philip Massinger, Volume 1 (John Murray, London, 1830), page 327.

    Notes written in 1830 by W. Gifford: "Cat-stick. This, I believe, is what is now called a buck-stick, used by children in the game of tip-cat, or kit-cat." Query: Is it clear why an abusive address like this would employ a phrase like "cut on a cat-stick?" Does it imply, for instance a disfigured or pock-marked visage?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1632 - In Germany, Ballplaying Associated With Scabies, Other Diseases


    "The [preceding] reference to Fuchsius should be to Institutiones 2.3.4: . . . 'Whereby the habit of our German schoolboys is most worthy of reprehension, who never take exercise except immediately after food, either jumping or running or playing ball or quoits or taking part in other exercises of a like nature; so that it is no surprise, seeing they thus accumulate a great mass of crude humours, that they suffer from perpetual scabies, and other diseases caused by vicious humours':p. 337)"

    Burton, Robert E., The Anatomy of Melancholy, vol. 4 [Clarenden Press, Oxford, 1989], page 285. [Note: We need to confirm date of the Fuschius quote; we're not sure why it is assigned to 1632.]. Submitted by John Thorn, 10/12/2004.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1633 - Ambiguous Reference to Stoole Ball Appears in a Drama


    "At stoole ball I have a North-west stripling shall deale with ever a boy in the Strand."

    Cited in W. C. Hazlitt, Faiths and Folklore: A Dictionary of National Beliefs, Superstitions and Popular Customs [Reeves and Turner, London, 1905], page 569. Hazlitt attributes this mysterious fragment to someone named Stickwell in Totenham Court, by T. Nabbes, appearing in 1638. Note: Can we guess what Stickwell was trying to say, and why? I find that Nabbes wrote this drama in 1633 or before, and surmise that "Stickwell" is the name of the fictional character who speaks the quoted line. Can we straighten out, or interpret, the syntax of this line? [The Strand, presumably, refers to the London street of that name?]

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1634 - That Archbishop Laud, He Certainly Doesn't Laud Stoolball


    "In his visitation and reference to churchyards, he [Archbishop Laud, in 1634] is troubled because 'several spend their time in stoolball.'"

    M. S. Russell-Goggs, "Stoolball in Sussex," The Sussex County Magazine, volume 2, no. 7 (July 1928), page 318. Note1: we need to locate the full citations for this and all other Russell-Goggs references.

    Another source quotes Laud as saying "This whole churchyard is made a receptacle for all ydle persons to spend their time in stopball and such lyke recreacions." OED, Abp Laud's Visit, in 4th Rep Hist. MSS Comm. App 144/1, provided by John Thorn, email of 6/11/2007. Note2: is this from the same source?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1637 - Conservative Protestants Decry Sunday Play, See Grave Danger in it


    Burton, Henry, and William Prynne, A Divine Tragedie Lately Acted [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 171. In a denunciation of King Charles' approval of after-church play on Sundays, the authors cite as one of the "memorable examples of Gods judgements" a case in which youths "playing at Catt on the Lords day, two of them fell out, and the one hitting the other under the eare with his catt, he therwith fell downe for dead." Cited by David Block in Baseball Before We Knew It, page 171: Block notes that the weapon here was a cat-stick.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1637 - Play Mentions Trap


    Shirley, James, Hide Park: A Comedie [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 171. A beautiful young woman, to a servant who is fishing for a compliment: "Indeed, I have heard you are a precious gentleman/ And in your younger days could play at trap well."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1638 - Bishop Sees Churchyard as Consecrated Ground: No Stool Ball, Drinkings, Merriments


    Bishop Mantague admonishes Norwich Churchmen to consider the churchyard as consecrated ground, "not to be profaned by feeding and dunging cattle . . . . Much less is it to be unhallowed with dancings, morrises, meetings at Easter, drinkings, Whitson ales, midsummer merriments or the like, stool ball, football, wrestlings, wasters or boy's sports."

    Barrett, Jay Botsford, English Society in the Eighteenth Century as Influence from Oversea [Macmillan, New York, 1924], page 221. Barrett cites this passage as Articles of Enquiry and Direction for the Diocese of Norwich, sigs. A3-A3v.

    1638.2 - Archdeacon: Churchyards Are Not For Stoole-ball or "Other Profane Uses"

    "Have any playes, feasts, banquets, suppers, churchales, drinkings, temporal courts or leets, lay juries, musters, exercise of dauncing, stoole-ball, foot-ball, or the like, or any other profane usage been suffered to be kept in your church, chappell, or churchyard?

    Attributed to Mr. Dr. Pearson, Archdeacon of Suffolke, in Heino Pfannenschmid, Das Weihwasser [Hahn'sche Hofbuchhandlung, Hannover, 1869], page 74n.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1640 - Stoolball Attracts Gentry, Rascals, Boys


    "J. Smythe, in his Hundred of Berkeley (1640) gave the following admonition: 'Doe witness the inbred delight, that both gentry, yeomanry, rascallity, boyes, and children, doe take in a game called stoball. . . And not a sonne of mine, but at 7 was furnished with his double stoball staves, and a gamester thereafter.'"

    M. S. Russell-Goggs, "Stoolball in Sussex," The Sussex County Magazine, volume 2, no. 7 (July 1928), page 320. John Smyth's three-volume Berkeley Manuscripts were published in 1883 by J. Bellows; Volume Three is titled "A description of the hundred of Berkeley in the County of Gloucester . . . ." Citation supplied by John Thorn, email of 1/30/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1648 - Short Herrick Poem Proposes a Wager on Stool-ball Game


    "At Stool-ball, Lucia, let us play," offers the poet, then proposing that if he wins, he would "have for all a kisse."

    Herrick, Robert, Hesperdes: or, the Works Both Human and Divine of Robert Herrick, Esq. [London], page 280, per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 171.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1652 - Traveler in Wales Reports "Laudable" Sunday Games of "Trap, Cat, Stool-ball, Racket &c"


    Taylor, John, A Short Relation of a Long Journey Made Round or Ovall [London], book 4, per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 172. A versifier recounts his journey to Wales, where he notes a lack of religious fervor, "so that people do exercise and edify in the churchyard at the lawful and laudable games of trap, cat, stool-ball, racket, &c., on Sundays."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1653 - Play Refers to Trapsticks


    A character is asked how he might raise some needed money: "If my woodes being cut down cannot fill this pocket, cut 'em into trapsticks."

    Middleton, Thomas, and William Rowley, The Spanish Gipsie [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 172. Block observes that this snippet suggests that "trapstick" was by then commonly understood as a trap-ball bat.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1653 - Early Use of "Cricket" Seen in Rabelais Translation


    "So far as is known, the first mention [of the word "cricket"] occurs in Sir Thomas Urquhart's translation of the works of Rabelais, published in London in 1653, where it is found enumerated as one of the games of the Gargantua."

    Editorial, "The Pedigree of Cricket," The Irish Times, 5/9/1931. Reprinted in The Times, 5/9/2001. From the MCC Library collection.

    Caveat: We now have at least four pre-1653 claims to the use of "cricket" and similar terms: see #1598.3, #1598.4, #1611.1, #1622.1, and #1629.2 above. Note: Rabelais' "games of Gargantua" is a list of over 200 games supposedly played at one sitting by the fictional character Gargantua. Urquhart's translation includes several familiar pastimes, including cricket, nine-pins, billiards, "tip and hurl" [?], prison bars, barley-break, and the morris dance . . . along with many games that appear to be whimsy and word-play ["ramcod ball," "nivinivinack," and "the bush leap"]. Not included are: club ball, stick ball, stoolball, horne billets, nine holes, hat ball, rounders, feeder, or base ball. Francis Rabelais - Completely Translated into English by Urquhard and Motteux (the Aldus Society, London, 1903), pp 68-71. Text chased down by John Thorn, email of 1/30/2008.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1656 - Dutch Prohibit "Playing Ball," Cricket on Sundays in New Netherlands.


    In October 1656 Director-General Peter Stuyvesant announced a stricter Sabbath Law in New Netherlands, including fine of a one pound Flemish for "playing ball," cricket, tennis, ninepins, dancing, drinking, etc. Source: 13: Doc Hist., Volume Iv, pp.13-15, and Father Jogues' papers in NY Hist. Soc. Coll., 1857, pp. 161-229, as cited in Manual of the Reformed Church in America (Formerly Ref. Prot. Dutch Church), 1628-1902, E. T. Corwin, D.D., Fourth Edition (Reformed Church in America, New York, 1902.) Provided by John Thorn, email of 2/1/2008.

    Note: It would be useful to ascertain what Dutch phrase was translated as "playing ball," and whether the phrase denotes a certain type of ballplay. The population of Manhattan at this time was about 800 [were there enough resident Englishmen to sustain cricket?], and the area was largely a fur trading post. Is it possible that the burghers imported this text from the Dutch homeland?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1656 - Two English Counties Agree: Stoolball Gets "Too Much Attention."


    "The game [Stoolball] cropped up in 1656 in a pronouncement by the Counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland which said that "too much attention was being paid to 'shooting, playing at football, stoolball, wrestling.'"

    SRA website, accessed 4/11/07. Note: we need a fuller citation and perhaps further text and motivation for these pronouncements.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1656 - Cromwellians Needlessly Ban Cricket from Ireland


    Simon Rae writes that the "killjoy mentality reached its zenith under the Puritans, during the Interregnum, achieving an absurd peak when cricket was banned in Ireland in 1656 even though the Irish didn't play it." Evidently, hurling was mistaken for cricket.

    Simon Rae, It's Not Cricket: A History of Skulduggery, Sharp Practice and Downright Cheating in the Noble Game (Faber and Faber, 2001), page 46. Note: Rae does not document this event.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1658 - English Parish Rewards Informant for Ratting on Sunday Trap-baller


    Nichols, John, Illustrations of the Manners and Expences of Ancient Times in England [London, 1797], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 182. Included is an account from the parish of St. Margaret's, Westminster, from 1658: "Item to Richard May, 13 shillings for informing of one that played at trap-ball on the Lord's day."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1658 - Milton's Nephew Eyes Cricket with Apprehension


    "Cricket was . . . emerging in a written sense, not through the form of a celebratory discourse, but as the target of Puritan and sabbatarian ire. Even in the first reliable literary reference to cricket - in The Mysteries of Love and Eloquence (1658) [a poem] by John Milton's nephew, Edward Philips - the game is represented as synonymous with brutality: 'Ay, but Richard, will you not think so hereafter? Will you not when you have me throw a stool at my head, and cry, "Would my eyes had been beaten out with a cricket ball ["batt?" asks Bateman], the day before I saw thee"'."

    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. Bateman does not give the original source for the Philips quotation. Note: Can we find the original Philips source? A few citations give the year of publication as 1685.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1659 - Stuyvesant: No Tennis, Ball-Playing, Dice on Fast Day


    "We shall interdict and forbid, during divine service on the [fasting] day aforesaid, all exercise and games of tennis, ball-playing, hunting, plowing and sowing, and moreover all unlawful practice such as dice, drunkenness . . ." proclaimed Peter Stuyvesant. Stuyvesant was Director-General of New Netherlands.

    Manchester, Herbert, Four Centuries of Sport in America (Publisher?, 1931). Email from John Thorn, 1/24/097. Query: Can we determine what area was affected by this proclamation? How does this proclamation relate to #1656.1 above?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1660 - Village Life: The Men to Foot-Ball, Maids and Kids to Stoolball


    The biography of a 17th century lord includes "a nostalgic description of the little town of Kirtling" by the lord's son Roger, born in 1651, as follows:

    "The town was then my grandfather's . . . it was always the custom for the youth of the town . . . to play [from noon when chores ended] to milking time and supper at night. The men [went to play] football, and the maids, with whom we children were commonly mixed, being not proof for the turbulence of the other party, to stoolball and such running games as they knew." Dale B. J. Randall, Gentle Flame: The Life and Verse of Dudley, Lord North (1602 - 1677 (Duke Univ. Press, 1983), page 56. The town of Kirtling is in Cambridgeshire, northeast of London.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1660 - Ben Franklin's Uncle Recalls Ballplaying On an English Barn


    "That is the street which I could ne'er abide,/And these the grounds I play'd side and hide;/ This the pond whereon I caught a fall,/ And that the barn whereon I play'd at ball."

    The uncle of U.S. patriot Benjamin Franklin, also named Benjamin Franklin, wrote these lines in a 1704 recollection of his native English town of Ecton. The uncle lived from 1650/1 to 1727. Ecton is a village in Northamptonshire.

    Loring, J. S., The Franklin Manuscripts. The Historical Magazine, and Notes and Queries Concerning the Antiquities, History, and Biography of America (1857-1875), Volume 3, issue 1, January 1859, 4 pages. Submitted by John Thorn, 4/24/06.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1661 - Galileo Galilei Discovers . . . Backspin!


    The great scientist wrote, in a treatise discussing how the ball behaves in different ball games, including tennis: "Stool-ball, when they play in a stony way, . . . they do not trundle the ball upon the ground, but throw it, as if to pitch a quait. . . . . To make the ball stay, they hold it artificially with their hand uppermost, and it undermost, which in its delivery hath a contrary twirl or rolling conferred upon it by the fingers, by means whereof in its coming to the ground neer the mark it stays there, or runs very little forwards." Galileo Galilei, Mathmatical Collections and Translations. "Inglished from his original Italian copy by Thomas Salusbury" (London, 1661), page 142.

    Provided by David Block, email of 2/27/2008. David further asks: "could it be that this is the source of the term putting "English" on a ball?"

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1665 - Poet Depicts Fleet-footed Mercury as Wielding a Kit-Cat Bat


    This translation of a French parody of Virgil's Aeneid includes these lines on the god Mercury: "Then in his hand he take a thick Bat,/ With which he us'd to play at kit-cat;/ To beat mens Apples from their trees, . . . " Ouch.

    Scarron, Paul, Scarronnides, or, Virgile travestie a mock poem [London], trans. Charles Cotton, Book Four, per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 172.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1666 - John Bunyan is Very Seriously Interrupted at Tip-Cat, a "Chief Sin"


    "I was in the midst of a game of cat, and having struck it one blow from the hole, just as I was about to strike the second time a voice did suddenly dart from Heaven into my soul which said, 'Wilt thou leave thy sins and go to Heaven or have thy sins and go to hell?'"

    Bunyan, John, Grace abounding to the chief of sinners [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 173. Autobiographical account by Bunyan, the author of The Pilgrim's Progress. David notes on 5/29/2005 that this reference was originally reported by Harold Peterson, but that Peterson had attributed it to Pilgrim's Progress itself.

    Writing of Bunyan in 1885, Washington Gladden revealed that as a youth, "[t]he four chief sins of which he was guilty were dancing, ringing the bells of the parish church, playing at tip-cat, and reading the history of Sir Bevis of Southampton." Letter to the Editor, The Century Magazine, Volume 30 [May-October 1885), page 334. Q

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1669 - Shadwell Play Said to List Rural Games, including Stool-ball.


    "The writer who took most interest in popular pastimes was Shadwell, whose rococo play The Royal Shepherdess was produced before the king in 1669. It included country folk who danced and sand of a list of genuine English rural games, such as trap, keels, barley-break, golf [and] stool-ball . . . ."

    Hutton, Ronald, The Rise and Fall of Merry England: the Ritual Year, 1400-1700 (Oxford U Press, Oxford, 1994), page 235. Provided by John Thorn, email, 7/9/2004. Note: can we retrieve the full original list?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1671 - Lusty Little Song Mentions Trap as "Innocent" Prelude to Heavy Petting


    "Thus all our life long we are frolick and gay,/And instead of Court revels, we merrily play/At Trap, at Rules, and at Barly-break run:/At Goff, and at Foot-ball, and when we have done/These innocent sports, we'l laugh and lie down,/And to each pretty Lass/We will give a green Gown.

    Ebsworth, Joseph W., Westminster Drolleries, Both Parts, of 1671, 1672 [R. Roberts, Lincolnshire, 1875], page 28. Note: Yes, the player's method for turning the gown to green is what you suspect it is. We'll see this gown again at #1719.1, below.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1672 - Rev. Wilson Decries Sunday "Stool-Ball" and "Cricketts" Playing


    In his memoirs, the Rev. Thomas Wilson, a Puritan divine of Maidstone, England, states: "Maidstone was formerly a very profane town, in as much as I have seen morrice-dancing, cudgel-playing, stool-ball, cricketts, and many other sports openly and publicly indulged in on the Lord's Day."

    Note: Henderson covers Wilson, but doesn't reference him. In the text, he says that Wilson wrote a memoir in 1700, but doesn't use a year for the events that were then recalled. I assume that the 1672 date is taken from date clues in the whole text. Henderson's source may be his ref #167: see Woodruff, C.H., "Origin of Cricket," Baily's Magazine [London, 1901], Vol. 6, p. 51. David Block [page 173ff] describes how "base ball" was substituted for "stool-ball" in later accounts of Wilson' s biography, which he cites as Swinnick, George, The Life and Death of Mr. Tho. Wilson, Minister of Maidstone [London].

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1672 - Francis Willughby's "Book of Games" Surveys Folkways: First Stoolball Rules Appear


    Warwickshire scientist Francis Willughby [1635-1672] compiled, in manuscript form, descriptions of over 130 games, including, stoolball, hornebillets, kit-cat, stowball, and tutball [but not cricket, trapball or rounders]. He died at 36 and the incomplete manuscript, long held privately, became known to researchers in the 1990s and was published in 2003.

    Willughby described stoolball as a game in which a team of players defended an overturned stool with their hands. Hornebillets, unlike stoolball, involved batting and running [between holes placed 7 or 8 yards apart], but it used no ball - a cat was used as the batted object. A runner [running was compulsory, even for short hits] had to place his staff in a hole before the other team could put the cat in that hole. The number of holes depended on the number of players available. Stowball appears as a golf-like game. Kit Cat is described as a sort of fungo game in which the cats can be hit 60 yards or more. He does not mention cricket, trap, or other games.

    David Cram, Jeffrey L. Forgeng, and Dorothy Johnston, Francis Willughby's Book of Games: A Seventeenth Century Treatise on Sports, Games, and Pastimes [Ashgate Publishing, 2003].

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1676 - The "Citty of New Yorke" Sets a Fine for Sunday "Gameing or Playing: Ten Guilders


    The Mayor and Aldermen of New York that none should "att any Time hereafter willfully or obstinately prophane the Sabbath daye by . . . Playinge att Cards Dice Tables or any other Vnlawful Games whatsoeuer," banning "alsoe the disorderly Assemblyes of Children In ye Streets and other Places To the disturbance of Others with Noyse." Consequences? "Ye Person or Persons soe found drinkinge Gameing or Playing Either in Priuate or Publicke Shall forfeict Tenn Guildrs for Euery such offence." Note that ballplaying was not specifically prohibited. Dated November 13, 1676. Laws of the City of New York [Publication data?], page 27. Submitted by John Thorn 9/29/06.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1676 - Early Limeys Take "Krickett" to Far Mediterranean Coast


    The chaplain assigned to three British ships at Aleppo [now in northern Syria] wrote this in his diary for May 6, 1676:

    As was the custom all summer long, this day [in May 1676] "at least 40 of the English, with his worship the Consull, rod [sic] out of the citty about 4 miles to the Greene Platt, a fine vally by a river side, to recreate them selves. Where a princely tent was pitched; and wee had severall pastimes and sports, as duck-hunting, fishing, shooting, handball, krickett, scrofilo . . . . and at 6 wee returne all home in good order, but soundly tyred and weary."

    A.G. Steel and R. H. Lyttelton, Cricket, (Longmans Green, London, 1890) 4th edition, page 8. The passage is at Teonge, Henry, The Diary of Henry Teonge (Charles Knight, London, 1825), page 159. Accessed on Google Books, 12/28/2007.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1677 - Almanac's Easter Verse Mentions Stool-ball


    "Young men and maids,/ Now very brisk,/ At barley-break and/ Stool-ball frisk."

    W. Winstanley, Poor Robin 1677. An almanack after a new fashion, by Poor Robin [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 174.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1680 - Political Tract Uses Trap-stick Metaphor


    Anon., Honest Hodge and Ralph Holding a Sober Discourse in Answer to a late Scandalous and Pernicious Pamphlet, by "a person of quality" [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 174. The anonymous author of this tract sees the pamphlet as a tool used to trigger civil unrest in England, calling it "a mere trap-stick to bang the Phanaticks about."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1680 - Cricket Pitch Thought to be Established at 22 Yards


    While the length of the cricket pitch [distance between wickets] was formally set at 22 yards in the 1744 rules, that distance is already "thought to have been 22 yards in the 1680's." [John Thorn points out that 22 yards is one-tenth of a furlong (and is also one-eightieth of a mile), and that a 22-yard chain was commonly used as a standard starting in the 1600's; in fact, the "chain" became itself a word for this distance in 1661; email of 2/1/2008.]

    Scholefield, Peter, Cricket Laws and Terms [Axiom Publishing, Kent Town Australia, 1990], page 16. Note: Scholefield does not provide a citation for this claim; keep an eye out!

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1683 - Cricket's First Wicket is Pitched


    "We know that the first wicket, comprising two stumps with a bail across them, was pitched somewhere about 1683, as John Nyren recalled long afterward." Thomas Moult, "The Story of the Game," in Thomas Moult, ed., Bat and Ball: A New Book of Cricket (The Sportsmans Book Club, London, 1960: reprint from 1935), page 31.

    Note: We should locate Nyren's original claim. Does this imply that cricket was played without wickets, or without bails, before 1683?

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1685 - Juicy Early Description of Stool-ball is Written, Then Unread for 162 Years


    Aubrey, John, Natural History of Wiltshire [London, Nichols and Son, 1847], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 210. Folklorist Alice Gomme [see below] called this the earliest description of stool-ball. Aubrey says "it is peculiar to North Wilts, North Gloucestershire, and a little part of Somerset near Bath. They smite a ball, stuffed very hard with quills and covered with soale leather, with a staffe, commonly made of withy, about three feet and a half long. Colerne down is the place so famous and so frequented for stobbal playing. The turfe is very fine and the rock (freestone) is within an inch and a halfe of the surface which gives the ball so quick a rebound. A stobball ball is of about four inches diameter and as hard as stone. I do not heare that this game is used anywhere in England but in this part of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire adjoining." From A. B. Gomme, The Traditional Games of England, Scotland, and Ireland, 1964 reprint of 1898 text [New York, Dover], page 217.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1688 - New Royals Reportedly Watch Stoolball


    "It is reported that William III watched the game soon after he landed at Torbay, and that subsequently Queen Anne was an interested spectator."

    M. S. Russell-Goggs, page 320. Note: we need to locate the full citations for this and all other Russell-Goggs references; short of this, we need to confirm the date of the Torbay landing. A cursory Google search does not reveal confirming evidence of this anecdote.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1690 - Literary Simile: "Catch it Like a Stool-Ball"


    Anon., The Pagan Prince: or a Comical History of the Heroik Atchievements of the Palatine of Eboracum [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 175. In this comical prose work, protection in battle was said to be provided by four Arch Angels - who, "when they see a Cannon Ball coming toward ye from any corner of the Wind, will catch it like a stool-ball and throw it to the Devil."

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1694 - Musical Play Includes Baudy Account of Stoolball


    D'Urfey, Thomas, The comical history of Don Quixote [London], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 175. Block sees a "long, silly, bawdy rap song" in this play. It starts "Come all, great, small, short tall, away to Stoolball," and depicts young men and women becoming pretty familiar. It ends "Then went the Glasses round, then went the lasses down, each Lad did his Sweet-heart own, and on the Grass did fling her. Come all, great small, short tall, a-way to Stool Ball." Sounds like fun.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1694 - Thaw Arrives; Cricket Added to Old List of "Evening" English Pastimes


    "With a relaxation of attitudes towards sports at the Restoration cricket began to emerge from its position of relative obscurity with the printed word beginning to define it, along with other folk games, as an element of the national culture. Edward Chamberlyne's Anglia Notitia, a handbook on the social and political conditions of England, lists cricket for the first time in the eighteenth edition of 1694. 'The natives will endure long and hard labour; insomuch, that after 12 hours of hard work, they will go in the evening to foot-ball, stool-ball, cricket, prison-base, wrestling, cudgel-playing, and some such vehement exercise, for their recreation.'"

    Source: 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.

    Upon further examination, Protoball notes that Anglia Notitia actually has two ongoing areas of special interest. The first is the text above in part 1, chapter V, which had evolved through earlier editions - the 1676 edition - if not earlier ones - had already mentioned stow-ball [changed to "stoolball" as of 1694 or earlier], according to Hazlitt's Faith and Folklore. Cricket historian Diana Rait Kerr agrees that cricket was first added in the 18th edition of 1694.

    Another section of Anglia Notitia catalogued English recreations. Text for this section - part 3, chapter VII - is accessible online for the 1702, 1704, 1707, and later editions. These recreations were listed in three parts: for royalty, for nobles and gentry, and for "Citizens and Peasants." Royal sports included tennis, pell mell and billiards. The gentry's sports included tennis, bowling, and billiards. And then: "The Citizens and Peafants have Hand-ball, Stow-ball, Nine-Pins, Shovel-board [and] Goffe," said the 20th edition [1702]. In the 22nd edition [1707], cricket had been inserted as something that commoners also played. We find no reference to club ball, stick ball, trap ball, or other games suggested as precursors of baseball. The full title of Chamberlayne is Anglia Notitia, or the Present State of England: With Divers Remarks on the Ancient State Thereof. Chamberlayne's first edition apparently appeared in 1669; the 37th was issued in 1748. Another Chamberlayne excerpt is found at entry #1704.2 below.

    John Thorn supplied crucial input for this entry. Note: It would be interesting to see whether earlier and later editions of Chamberlayne cite other games of interest.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1697 - "A Great Match at Cricket" for a Tidy Purse


    The Foreign Post, July 7, 1697 reports that in Sussex, two sides of eleven each, eyeing a prize of 50 guineas, played "a great match at cricket."

    Contributed by Beth Hise, January 12, 2010.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1700 - First Public Notice of a Cricket Match?


    "Of course, there are many bare announcements of matches played before that time [the 1740's]. In 1700 The Postboy advertised one to take place on Clapham Common."

    Thomas Moult, "The Story of the Game," in Moult, ed., Bat and Ball: A New Book of Cricket (The Sportsmans Book Club, London, 1960; reprinted from 1935), page 27. Moult does not further identify this publication.

    Note: A Wikipedia entry accessed on 10/17/08 states: "A series of matches, to be held on Clapham Common [in South London - LMc] , was pre-announced on 30 March by a periodical called The Post Boy. The first was to take place on Easter Monday and prizes of £10 and £20 were at stake. No match reports could be found so the results and scores remain unknown. Interestingly, the advert says the teams would consist of ten Gentlemen per side but the invitation to attend was to Gentlemen and others. This clearly implies that cricket had achieved both the patronage that underwrote it through the 18th century and the spectators who demonstrated its lasting popular appeal." Caveat: This entry is has incomplete citations and cannot be verified.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012

  • 1700 - Wicket Seen on Boston Common . . . But Never on Sunday


    "Close of the 17th century: . . . The Common was always a playground for boys - wicket and flinging of the bullit was much enjoyed . . . . No games were allowed to be played on the Sabbath, and a fine of five shillings was imposed on the owner of any horse seen on the Common on that day. People were not even to stroll on the Common, during the warm weather, on Sunday."

    Samuel Barber, Boston Common: A Diary of Notable Events, Incidents and Neighboring Occurrences (Christopher Publishing, Boston, 1916 - Second Edition), page 47. Note: This book is in the form of a chronology. Barber gives no source for the wicket report.

    Last Updated: March 12, 2012


Note: ID numbers for milestone entries include the (often approximated) year of the observation, followed by serial number reflecting the order it was added. A date is approximated when an ID is denoted with a "C".