Baseball has it roots far back in history. A manuscript from France in 1344 has an illustration of monks and nuns playing a game of bat and ball. The modern beginnings most likely date back to the early 1700s in America. In 1744, the term “base-ball” was printed in an English book and in 1791 the town of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, kicked the ball players off their field by ordinance.
The records and photos of those days show a game gaining in popularity. Teams were popping up all over for recreation (after work, weekends). Mostly playing themselves but occasionally playing teams across the river, down the road.
In the 1800s the game went huge, particularly in New York where journalists referred to it as the “national pastime”. Leagues were formed, stadiums were built, and players were paid to play the game.
By the turn of the century baseball looked like the modern-day game, with owners, presidents, managers, and star players.
Here are some photos of that era pulled from the Library of Congress Archives.
**Note: It is commonly believed that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in 1839. This founding myth was fabricated by the prominent baseball figure A.G. Spalding to increase popularity for the game.**