Origins of Baseball

Did you know that an estimated 42 million people play baseball every year in the U.S. alone? Well out of those 42 million people not many even know how the beloved sport began. Baseball’s past has always been sort of a mystery. But if you want to find the truth about this awesome game then read this story and be one of the few people who knows the truth about our national pastime as it was first mentioned by the New York Mercury newspaper in 1856. Even though it’s thought to be a bit premature.

Rounders and Town Ball

Although it wasn't always known what sport baseball came from. It’s now known that it was based off a game called town ball. And town ball was based off a game called rounders. Which was based off of a game called cricket. Town ball was a game that changed from town to town that had no exact way of playing. But the basic way of playing was, the batter could have unlimited swings and if he didn't like the pitcher he could request a new pitcher. There was no foul and everything was a live ball. The defense got outs when they caught the ball in the air, on the first bounce, or when they hit the runner with the ball. The runner ran around wooden pegs instead of bases. A score was credited to a team when they ran around the pegs, but they didn't score at the base that they started at.

Alexander Cartwright

When Alexander Cartwright wrote down the first set of rules this was the first game of baseball but not all the rules are still in the game today. He made many modifications to town ball. Some of the rules he made were three strikes and you're out, foul territory, an umpire, a diamond field, and outlawed the balk and throwing the ball at people for an out. In 1846 June 19 Cartwrights team the knickerbockers played the New York nines in Hoboken new jersey the nines dominated 23-1. This would be remembered as the first game of baseball.

Doubleday Wrongly Credited

In the early 1900’s everyone in america was obsessed with baseball. But no one knew who invented the game. When Henry Chadwick -British native- said that the game started from rounders a game started in Britain. His boss Al Spalding was mad with him, because Spalding was certain that the game had been completely american. So Spalding set out an investigation to find the creator of the game. When three years of investigating had passed and there was no sign of finding anything. Abner graves wrote a letter saying that his long time friend Abner Doubleday had made the game. And since Cartwright died in 1892 there was no one to prove him wrong, so Doubleday was considered inventor until 1947. 1947 is when Robert Henderson proved in a book he wrote that Cartwright was in fact the creator of the beloved game. He also found that Doubleday couldn't have because he was a military cadet at west point academy during the time of the creation of the game. He also proved that Henry Chadwick was correct in his assumption that the game was based off of rounders.


Throughout baseballs history there were always many teams. Some of the first teams ever were the Knickerbockers the first team ever. Also the New York Nines, the first team to ever win a game. There were also the first professional teams like the Cincinnati red stockings. The Cincinnati red stockings along with 8 other teams from Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, troy, fort Wayne, Rockford, and Cleveland. Made the first Major League. Some teams from the first league are still in the league today like the Philadelphia Athletics. But there were also many teams that didn't make it like the fort Wayne Kekiongas.

Fun Facts

The game was played at civil war camps, where they taught others how to play. When the men got back from the civil war the game was booming because the men could play. The American league was made first but when the national league was formed it caused the American league to split up. In 1891 the two leagues were rivals. In 1903 they played the first world series. But life wasn't easy for the players, they were paid very poorly and if they complained about pay they were fired and often blacklisted (this was when a player was fired and the teams would make sure that nobody would take him). But because of a short amount of money there was gambling. The first report of gambling was in 1876 when 4 players of the Louisville grays threw a game because gamblers had paid them to do so. The players later said they had not been paid enough by the team.
Of those who read this article, hopefully you now understand the game of baseball better. If you’re one of the 42 million who play baseball annually. I hope when you go out on the field you have a sense of pride for being a part of this amazing game. And you now know baseballs confusing but very interesting past.