|Misc BB Firsts|
|Add a Misc BB First|
|About the Chronology|
|Add a Chronology Entry|
1796.1 Gutsmuths describes [in German, yet] "Englische Base-Ball"
Johann Gutsmuths, an early German advocate of physical education, devotes a chapter of his survey of games to "Ball mit Freystaten (oder das Englische Base-ball)" that is, Ball with free station, or English base-ball. He describes the game in terms that seem similar to later accounts of rounders and base-ball in English texts. The game is described as one-out, side-out, having a three-strike rule, and placing the pitcher a few steps from the batsman.
Block advises [11/6/2005 communication] that Gutsmuths provides "the first hard, unambiguous evidence associating a bat with baseball . . . . We can only speculate as to when a bat was first employed in baseball, but my intuition is that it happened fairly early, probably by the mid-18th century."
Gutsmuths Johann C. F., Spiele zur Uebung und Erholung des Korpers und Geistes fur die Jugend, ihre Erzieher und alle Freunde Unschuldiger Jugendfreuden [Schnepfenthal, Germany] per David Block, page 181.. This roughly translates as: Games for the Exercise and Recreation of Body and Spirit for the Youth and His Educator and All Friends of Innocent Joys of Youth.
For Translated Text: David Block carries a four-page translation of this text in Appendix 7, pages 275-278, of Baseball Before We Knew It.
In 2011, David Block added to his assessment of Gutsmuth in "German Book Describes das Englische Base Ball; But Was it Baseball or Rounders?," in Base Ball Journal (Special Issue on Origins), Volume 5, number 1 (Spring 2011), pages 50-54. He notes the absence of the use of bats in base-ball in England, except in this single source, while rounders play commonly involved a bat.