Who invented baseball?

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The answer as to who invented baseball wages a great debate. Was it Rounders? Abner Doubleday? Alexander Cartwright?

The following are views from WikiAnswers contributors:

  • The English invented baseball (see Baseball Before We Knew It, by David Block)
  • Baseball was invented in England.

    "The game of Rounders has been played in England since Tudor Times, with the earliest reference being in 1744 in "A Little Pretty Pocketbook" where it is called Baseball. It is a striking and fielding team game, which involves hitting a small hard leather cased ball with a round wooden or metal bat and then running around 4 bases in order to score" (see related link)

  • The British invented baseball ("rounders" is the other name for it). As inactive children in England needed some mild exercise, the game was created as a result. In Commonwealth nations, it's played by many kids up to age 11. Historically, it is a that was intended for children. It is very popular as a girl's game, with organized nationwide Leagues in the UK.
  • The earliest-known reference to baseball from England is in a 1744 publication, A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, by John Newbery. It contains a woodcut illustration of boys playing "baseball" (showing a similar set-up to the modern game) and a rhymed description of the game.
  • Also, a British letter (dating from 1748) by Lady Hervey describes how the then-Prince of Wales diverted his time playing baseball. The English author Jane Austen specifically mentions the game of baseball in her novel, Northanger Abbey (1798), being played by the young protagonist, Catherine Moreland.
  • 1744 in England is the first-known specific reference to baseball. The reason it never became professional in England is because the game was invented for children; it was never intended to be for adults. Hence, it is commonly played in the UK up the age of 11 (which is the age when primary school ends). It is immensely popular with girls. In a Jane Austen book from 1798, the main girl in the book plays baseball.
  • The English lawyer William Bray recorded a game of baseball on Easter Monday 1755 in Guildford, Surrey, England; Bray's diary was verified as authentic in September 2008.
  • By 1796, the rules of the English game were well enough established to earn a mention in German scholar Johann Gutmut's book on popular pastimes. It described "Englische Base-ball" involving a contest between two teams, in which "the batter has three attempts to hit the ball while at the home plate"; only one out was required to retire a side. These rules predate any from America by over 50 years.
  • Rounders = baseball. Essentially baseball is "rounders" renamed. Go to the UK (or any of the former British colonies throughout the commonwealth) and rounders is a major pastime for pre-teens... mainly girls, though.
  • Abner Doubleday invented baseball sometime in the late 1800s. I learned this when I went to Cooperstown, New York - where it is said the game was invented - and where the Baseball Hall of Fame is. There is also a field there in honor of Abner Doubleday.
  • Baseball comes directly from rounders that the British invented for small children - pitch, bat and run around 4 bases (yes, 4). It is still very popular today among kids up to 10 years old. Girls even have baseball leagues.
  • Actually, the claim that Abner Doubleday invented baseball is a myth. The game developed from a British game called "rounders," which inactive small children were encouraged to take up. A variation of rounders in America, called "town ball," was played until 1845, when Alexander Cartwright of Hoboken, N.J., started creating a variation of town ball with different rules. This is what came to be known as baseball. Cartwright formed the first baseball team - the New York Knickerbockers - who had to play their first game against a cricket team. There were Boston and New York variations of baseball for a time, but the New York version won out.
  • I believe that, indeed, Alexander Cartwright invented baseball.
  • I was on the BBC sport site and someone from Canada claims that baseball was invented there or by a Canadian. They often take credit for inventing basketball because James Naismith was a Canadian. But has anybody heard of this claim before?
  • I don't know the name of the guys in England who invented rounders - but whoever they are, that's the answer. Any names after the English are only those who copied or renamed; the game is the same as rounders.
  • The real person who invented baseball goes by the name of Alexander Cartwright. He invented the game and wrote a set of rules for it in 1845.
  • The origins of baseball actually came from Egypt, when pharaohs and people played games consisting of balls and bats? From Egypt, the game traveled to England and was finally brought to America, where rules for the game were written and the name of "baseball" was decided upon.
  • Swinging a stick at a ball is ancient. But the first formalized rules come from the game of rounders in the UK, where bases, pitcher, batter, etc. were used. The answer, therefore, is rounders.
  • Baseball was, in fact, derived from Egypt, where it was called stick ball.
  • Rounders... period. In England, kids play up to the equivalent of the US 5th grade.
  • Baseball was invented in 1845 by Alexander Cartwright. He and his friends started a baseball team called the Knickerbockers. In a game that took place in New Jersey on June 19, 1846, they played against a team called the New York Nines, who won the game 23-1! Although the Egyptians may have played something similar to baseball, it was Cartwright who made the actual baseball rules and the game.
  • Yes, Alexander Cartwright invented it in 1845!
  • The difference between Boston-style baseball and NYC-style is that the latter is what is played these days. Boston-style baseball had the plate and batters box halfway between 1st and 4th (what we would call "home"). The main difference is that, if you hit the ball, you only had to run 45 feet to first base, I think it was.
  • A special Commission of 1907 concluded that baseball had been "invented" by the Civil War hero Abner Doubleday (1819-1893), in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839. But it was actually Alexander Joy Cartwright (1820-1892) of New York who established the modern baseball field (1845). In Cartwright's rules of play, however, plugging was allowed; a ball fielded on one bounce was an out; pitching was underhand; and the game was won by the first team to score 21 "aces" (runs), in however many innings that took.
  • I am pretty sure baseball was started by the Indians, back in the day.
  • It comes from the British game rounders, I've read. A teacher from Florida lived in London and coached a girl's rounders team - the British form of baseball. Also my cousins played it in England, until about the 5th grade.
  • Abner Doubleday invented baseball.
  • Nobody knows, but for sure it was not Doubleday. It evolved. It was not created in a grand gesture. It was the evolution from several English games, including rounders. Many communities throughout America adapted their own version of the game. What we know today came from the New York version.
  • Doubleday did invent it. There is proof in Cooperstown, New York.
  • Rounders is baseball... and I know the British invented it. The British called it both baseball and rounders, either name was acceptable.
  • I wish there were a time machine so we could go ask it.
  • Alexander Cartwright in 1845 wrote and invented the formal and official rules of baseball which are still used to this day. As for the claim of England inventing baseball, that is preposterous. Rounders has a completely different set of rules contrary to anything which baseball uses. They are related cousins of a bat and ball game... they are not the same.
  • Alexander Cartwright, without any doubt, established the rules. Therefore he deserves the credit.
  • Obviously the British invented baseball, aka rounders.
  • Granted that baseball has an ancestry that includes earlier games such as rounders, modern baseball was "invented" by a group of young business professionals in New York City who called themselves the "Knickerbockers".
  • In 1845, a 4-man committee was appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws, which included the rules of the game as played by the Knickerbockers. Dr. Daniel L. Adams was the president of the team and of the committee, and Alexander J. Cartwright was secretary. Since the rules developed by the Adams committee were written by Cartwright in his role as secretary, some people mistakenly assume that he was the author of the "Knickerbocker" rules. Cartwright left NYC, but Dr. Daniel L. Adams continued to be a driving force in the continued development of modern baseball as long-time president of the Knicks and later as president of the Rules Committee of the National Association of Ball Players. In 1857, Doc Adams introduced the 9-inning game, the 9-man team, the shortstop position, the 30-yard baselines and the 15-yard pitching mound. At that time, a hitter was out if the ball was caught after the first bounce, and it was Doc Adams who lobbied for years for the "fly catch" rule until it was finally adopted. Doc Adams even began the standardization of the modern baseball and bat, searching out leather workers and woodworkers who could turn his ideas into reality. You can argue all you want about ancient Egyptians and British schoolchildren and the preposterous Abner Doubleday promotional gimmick and Alexander Cartwright's committee notes, but we should seriously consider the possibility that Dr. Daniel L. Adams was a major force in its "invention."
  • Popular legend says that Abner Doubleday invented baseball on a cow pasture in Cooperstown, New York some time in 1839, but it's just a rumor. A century later, the National Baseball Hall of Fame was founded not far from the supposed location.
  • Baseball is believed to have evolved from the game rounders, and shares its origins with cricket (though it has been disputed in recent years). No one "invented" baseball, it just evolved until it turned to what it is today.

Nobody knows for sure but we think it was Abner Doubleday in the 1800s who formulated the rules of the game as mostly used today..