Did English Girls originally invent Baseball?

Did English Girls originally invent Baseball?

I have set my self the task to prove that Baseball. The great American past time was actually invented and played by girls in England. The information below can be found across the Internet, and reputable publications. I realize a number of knucklehead Americans will not be happy with my findings, but tough sh*t!

The Origins of Baseball

The origins of baseball most likely have roots in the British game called rounders. In the earliest days, the American version of rounders was known as ‘Town Ball’. Rules varied from town to town and there was no widely accepted way to play. The slow evolution of rounders to today’s game of baseball, as we know it now, became evident in 1845 when Alexander Cartwright published the first set of rules. Several of these rules are still used in baseball today.

Rules of Town Ball

The rules of town ball were made up by the locals of each town and varied widely from one location to another. In formal town ball play, wooden pegs were used for bases. In informal play, rocks or anything that was available were used for bases. 

Although rules varied depending upon the location in the country, the following describes a general overview of how the game was played. The batter was allowed unlimited swings until he hit the ball. If the batter did not like the way the pitcher was throwing the ball, he could request a new pitcher. There was no foul territory and foul tips were considered in play. Once the batter made contact with the ball, the batter would run around the wooden pegs. The wooden pegs (or rocks) were considered safe areas as bases are in modern baseball. An out was scored when the fielder caught the ball in the air or on the first bounce. A runner could also make an out if the fielder hit the runner with the ball (ouch!). Outs were known as ‘stingers’ for obvious reason. Once the runner had traversed all the way around the bases without being hit, a score was credited to his/her team. The last base was not at the same location as where the runner originally hit.

First Rules of Baseball

Alexander Cartwright established for the first time the rules of baseball in 1845. The game he established was broadly based upon town ball. His modifications made the distances between the bases equal, three strikes and a batter is out, three outs to an inning, the addition of an umpire, and the creation of fair and foul territory. 

The first organized baseball game was played on June 19, 1846 at Elysian Field in Hoboken, New Jersey between the Knickerbockers and the New York Nine club. Cartwright’s team, the Knickerbockers, lost 23 to 1 to the New York Nine baseball club.

The Myth behind the legend of ‘Who Invented Baseball?’

Through out my search the name of Abner Doubleday is found through out my research. For 50 years, it was thought that he was the founding father of baseball in 1839, and that it had no connection to the game of Rounders. However this was proved false at the birth of Baseball’s Hall of Fame. The following piece will explain why they came to that opinion, and why Baseball has derived from the game of ‘Rounders’.

Albert Goodwill Spalding, a former player turned sporting goods magnate, convinced himself that baseball must be a purely American invention and, like many true believers, he wanted to convince everyone else as well. When baseball writer and historian Henry Chadwick boldly stated, in Spalding’s own Baseball Guide of 1903, that baseball had come from rounders, an English game, Spalding was upset.

He wrote a rebuttal in the 1905 Baseball Guide and proposed that a commission should be formed to investigate the origins of baseball. The members were hand-picked by Spalding himself. Although Abraham Mills was the chairman, most of the “research” was done by James Sullivan of the American Sports Publishing Company, which Spalding owned.

Actually, there wasn’t much research involved. But the commission received a letter from Abner Graves, a retired Denver miner in his eighties, who had lived in Cooperstown, New York, as a youth. Graves said that Abner Doubleday had created baseball in 1839, when he was supposedly a student at Green’s Select School in Cooperstown.

Graves’s statement was warmly embraced by the commission–or, at least, by Mills. When he finally published his report on December 30, 1907, he accepted most of the story. He did make one major change, unsubstantiated by any other evidence: He said that Doubleday had eliminated the practice of throwing the ball at the runner while between bases.

Spalding, of course, was delighted. Abner Doubleday, the major general who had fired the first shot of the Civil War at Fort Sumter, was an ideal candidate to be the inventor of baseball. But there were, and are, a lot of problems with the story.

First, there’s no evidence that Doubleday ever even set foot in Cooperstown. A native of Ballston Spa, New York, he went to school in Auburn. Second, in 1839 he was a student at West Point, and the school had no summer vacation at that time.

Third, Doubleday left extensive writings and diaries, and never mentioned baseball. Recalling his youth, he wrote, “In my outdoor sports I was addicted to topographical work and even as a boy amused myself by making maps of the country around my father’s residence which was in Auburn.”

Still, the Mills report was accepted as gospel, although Henry Chadwick called it “a masterpiece of special pleading which lets my dear old friend Albert escape a bad defeat.”

In 1937, the State of New York, Cooperstown, and Organized Baseball began making plans to celebrate the sport’s supposed centennial by establishing the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. In the midst of the planning, Bruce Cartwright Jr. wrote a letter to baseball officials claiming that his grandfather, Alexander Cartwright of the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club had invented baseball in 1845, and he offered his grandfather’s diaries as proof. About the same time, researcher Robert Henderson of the New York Public Library submitted irrefutable proof that baseball had been derived from rounders.

The Hall of Fame was, of course, established at Cooperstown, anyway. But Abner Doubleday was not enshrined. Alexander Cartwright was.

History of Rounders

Rounders is a game dating to at least the 1500’s in England. It was similar to baseball because players hit a ball with a bat and run around bases. Colonists brought the game to America where it is later believed to have evolved to baseball. Rounders is still played in the United Kingdom, mostly by schoolgirls.

The first reported writings date back 400 years earlier with “Stool ball” described in the 1085 Doomsday Book census of England. Variations were rounders, town ball, and one-o-cat.
Stool Ball is believed to be adapted into both cricket played by men and rounders played by women.

On Christmas Day 1621, Governor Bradford at Plymouth Plantation noted that women & men of the colony “frolicking in ye street, at play openly; some at pitching ye ball, some at stoole ball and such-like sport.”


The course of this short paper was to show that Alexander Cartwright wrote the very first rules and information in 1845. This was the formal birth of baseball. If you check your history books you will see this is the case. Alexander Cartwright credited how baseball was derived from town ball, which in turn came from rounders. I have ensured an independent slant by showing you rounders itself derived from the game ‘stoole ball’. Dating back to 1085.

However rounders a very popular girls game in England and is still the earliest form of baseball. The rules for both games have so many similarities that it cannot be otherwise. As women invented the game of rounders as an adaptation of ‘Stoole ball’, where men played cricket.

Therefore I stand by my opening statement ‘English Girls invented Baseball?’


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