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Aging Prince Spends "Several Hours" Playing Bass-Ball in Surrey
|Tags||English Base Ball, Famous, Pre-modern RulesEnglish Base Ball, Famous, Pre-modern Rules|
|Game||Bass BallBass Ball|
|Immediacy of Report||Contemporary|
|Age of Players||AdultAdult|
|Notables||Prince of Wales, Lord Middlesex|
"On Tuesday last, his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and Lord Middlesex, played at Bass-Ball (sic), at Walton in Surry (sic); notwithstanding the Weather was extreme bad, they continued playing several Hours."
Whitehall Evening Post, September 19. 1749.
David Block's 2013 find was reported at the SABR.org website on 6/19/2103, and it includes interview videos and links to related documentation. Confirmed 6/19/2013 as yielding to a web search of <block royal baseball sabr>.
Block points out that this very early reference to base-ball indicates that the game was played by adults -- the Prince was 38 years old in 1749, further weakening the view that English base-ball was played mainly by juveniles in its early history.
The location of the game was Walton-on-Thames in Surrey.
Comparing the 1749 game with modern baseball, Block estimates that the bass-ball was likely played on a smaller scale, with a much softer ball, with batted ball propelled the players' hands, not with a bat, and that runners could be put out by being "plugged" (hit with a thrown ball) between bases.
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Only two players were named for this account. Was that because the Prince and Lord Middlesex both led clubs not worthy of mentioning by name, or was there a two-player version of the game then (in the 1800s competitive games of cricket were similarly reported with only two named players)?Edit with form to add a query
|Submitted by||David Block|
|Submission Note||Email of 5/31/2013|
|Has Supplemental Text|
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