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Where did baseball begin?

Pick-off attempt on runner (in red) at first base

Abner Doubleday, a general in the United States Army, was supposed to have laid out the first baseball field in Cooperstown, a village in Otsego county; New York State, in the summer of 1839 and there conducted the first game of baseball ever played. The belief was so strong in this story that in 1920 the playing field was established as a permanent memorial with the title Doubleday Field. Doubts begin to arise later upon the story, and attempts were made to prove that the game had evolved from the English children's game known as rounder. 

Then, in their attempt to tie up baseball with rounder, researchers came across The Boy's Own Book, published in London in 1828, and so popular that it ran into many editions. The book was about boys' sports and listed all the rules. The second edition includes a chapter entitled “Rounder” with a note that the game was called “feeder” in London and “baseball” in the southern countries.

It was played on a diamond with a base at each corner, the goal or fourth base being the same as the plate beside which the batter stood. A batter might run whenever he hit the ball across or over the diamond. If he struck at it and missed it three times, he was out. Many English immigrants to America in colonial times were from the southern and it seems probable that they took both the name and game with them.


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