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Baseball as a Sport: Creating Power

Baseball as a Sport: Creating Power

(p.9) First Base Baseball as a Sport: Creating Power
Smart Ball
Robert F. Lewis
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter first covers the history and roots of baseball, a beginning that is ultimately difficult to place. As David Block contends in Baseball before We Knew It, baseball’s roots were planted when the first cave kid hit a stone with a club. The progression of the game thereafter proves difficult to figure out. The chapter looks at Block’s work and tries to uncover certain insights into the roots of baseball itself. Baseball-like games are mentioned in English town records dating to the thirteenth century. In a fourteenth-century French illuminated manuscript, a portrayal of baseball can also be gleamed. Also, a Polish worker’s memoir recalls a form of baseball in the Jamestown settlement in 1609. Essentially, Block records eight different attempts to describe baseball before 1845, when the New York Knickerbockers club established rules that formed the basis of the U.S. game. This chapter, then, focuses on baseball as a sport and its creation of power, and in particular on how it has transitioned into being a national pastime and a quasi-religion in the Progressive Era.

Keywords:   baseball, David Block, baseball’s roots, baseball-like games, New York Knickerbockers club, baseball as a sport, national pastime, quasi-religion, Progressive Era

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