Jun 14, 2013, 5:39 PM EST
Longtime readers of my stuff — back to the Shysterball days — will recall my fascination with the early roots of baseball. The really early roots. Games like rounders, bat and trap, and stool ball. The games which, over time, meshed together in important ways to form what we now know of as baseball. It’s a fascinating history, featured in a great documentary, which reveals that baseball wasn’t truly invented. Rather, it evolved like many other bat and ball games, from some primordial common ancestor, probably in England.
Those who study all of this have spent a lot of time trying to find the earliest recorded reference to baseball. Before today that earliest reference was thought to be from the 1755 personal journal of an English nobleman named William Bray. Yes, Bill Bray. Yes, an actual ancestor of the major league relief pitcher Bill Bray. That was pretty cool. This news from the BBC, however, is cooler. UPDATE: way, way more information here at the SABR site.
The first recorded game of baseball took place in Surrey in 1749, a specialist in the game’s history says. Author David Block has discovered the reference in the Whitehall Evening Post, dated 19 September 1749 … The Whitehall Evening Post item reads: “On Tuesday last, his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and Lord Middlesex, played at Bass-Ball, at Walton in Surry; notwithstanding the weather was extreme bad, they continued playing several hours.”
They continued playing, I presume, because it was Ye Olde Getaway Day and the schedule didn’t have The Prince of Wales and Lord Middlesex meeting again for the rest of the season. This is what happens when you don’t like to schedule Ye Olde Doubleheaders because clubs are trying to horde as many pounds as possible. Either way, you’d think with people as important as royalty playing games that those cheapos at Walton in Surrey would get a retractable roof.
UPDATE: More from David Brock, describing his discovery:
Nov 24, 2014, 6:05 PM EST
Pablo Sandoval felt disrespected by the Giants, so he chose to sign with the Red Sox.
Nov 24, 2014, 5:05 PM EST
“Hi, I’m Pablo,” and “Hi, I’m Hanley,” they’ll say. “Good to meet you.”
Nov 24, 2014, 4:48 PM EST
Nicasio was designated for assignment by the Rockies last week.
Nov 24, 2014, 4:16 PM EST
Lucas gets an invitation to spring training after hitting .255 with five homers and a .624 OPS in 163 games for the Marlins.
Nov 24, 2014, 3:48 PM EST
A huge day for the Red Sox starts out with a Panda.
Nov 24, 2014, 2:44 PM EST
Baltimore acquired Miller from Boston on July 31 and he pitched brilliantly down the stretch and into the playoffs.
Nov 24, 2014, 2:30 PM EST
Both will be 38 in the 2015 season.
Nov 24, 2014, 2:15 PM EST
No token votes for these guys.
Nov 24, 2014, 1:55 PM EST
The parts match up.
Nov 24, 2014, 1:30 PM EST
Hanley Ramirez is a $20 million+ man.
Nov 24, 2014, 1:19 PM EST
He played 11 seasons in the majors for the Marlins, Twins, Nationals, A’s, and Royals.
Nov 24, 2014, 1:00 PM EST
The Giants share is a record high.
Nov 24, 2014, 12:12 PM EST
Seager has emerged as one of MLB’s best all-around third basemen at age 27.
Nov 24, 2014, 11:50 AM EST
Presley has been the Orioles’ hitting coach since 2011.
Nov 24, 2014, 11:03 AM EST
Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson should be shoe-ins. But which newbies — and which holdovers — also have a shot?
Nov 24, 2014, 10:47 AM EST
Allen was the Triple-A pitching coach for the Rays from 2007-2014.
Nov 24, 2014, 10:33 AM EST
I assume it will only be a matter of time.
Nov 24, 2014, 10:15 AM EST
Perhaps not as weird as it may seem.
Nov 24, 2014, 9:37 AM EST
One person says so.
Nov 24, 2014, 8:57 AM EST
It’s easy to say “it didn’t work before, so it won’t work this time,” but doing so is to misread the current situation with the Boston Red Sox.
- UPDATE: The Pablo Sandoval-Red Sox deal is done, pending a physical 127
- Kyle Seager, Mariners close to $100 million extension 21
- The 2015 Hall of Fame ballot is out — Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez are new on the ballot 234
- So what would the Red Sox look like with Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval? 49
- UPDATE: Red Sox finalizing a 4-year, $88 million deal with Hanley Ramirez, with a vesting option 35
- MLB players react to Odell Beckham, Jr. catch on Sunday Night Football 25
- Report: Red Sox make $95 million offer to Pablo Sandoval 77
- White Sox sign Adam LaRoche to two-year, $25 million deal 35
- The 2015 Hall of Fame ballot is out — Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez are new on the ballot (234)
- Braves and Cardinals swap Jason Heyward and Shelby Miller in blockbuster deal (157)
- Giancarlo Stanton’s contract is backloaded. REALLY backloaded. (148)
- Blue Jays sign Russell Martin to five-year, $82 million deal (135)
- Report: “There is a 90 percent chance that Pablo Sandoval will sign with the Red Sox” (130)