1310.1

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Documents Said to Describe Baseball-like Romanian Game of Oina

Salience Noteworthy
Game Xenoball
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According to an otherwise unidentified clip in the Origins file at the Giamatti Center, an AP article datelined Bucharest Romania [and which appeared in the Oneonta Times on March 29, 1990], the still popular Romanian game of oina can be traced back to a [unspecified] document dating to the year 1310. The game itself "was invented by shepherds in the first century."

The article is evidently based on an interview with Cristian Costescu, who sees baseball as "the American pastime derived from the ancient game of oina." Oina reportedly has eleven players per side, an all-out-side-out rule, tossed pitches, nine bases describing a total basepath of 120 yards, plugging of baserunners, the opportunity for the fielding side to score points, and a bat described as similar to a cricket bat. Costescu is reported to have served as head of the Romanian Oina Federation in the years when baseball was banned in Romania as "a capitalist sport."

The Oneonta Times headline is "Play Oina! Romanians Say Their Game Inspired Creation of Baseball." Note: Can we find additional documentation of oina's rules and history? Is the 1310 documentation available in English translation? Have others followed the recent fate of oina and the work of Costescu?

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