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Americans in London Play "A Game Called Ball," Seen as a "Novelty" By Locals

Salience Prominent
Tags Pre-modern Rules
Location London
City/State/Country: London, England
Game Ball
Immediacy of Report Contemporary
Age of Players Adult

"On Wednesday a match for 80 guineas, at a game called Ball. was played by Eight American Gentlemen, in a field on the side of the Commercial-road.  The novelty of the game attracted the attention of the passing multitude, who departed highly gratified."


Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser (London), June 23, 1809, page 2.  See David Block, Pastime Lost: The Humble, Original, and Now Completely Forgotten Game of English Baseball (University of Nebraska Press, 2019), page 237.


Block adds: "Other games besides baseball, of course, could haave borne the label Ball on that occasion, but none seem obvious.  Cricket, football, trsp-ball, stool-ball, golf, and various games in the hockey family ,including bandy, hurling, and shinty,all had a presence in the British Isles in that era, but there is no reason the passing multitude in London that day would have considered any of them a "novelty."   

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Does the sum of 80 guineas as the game's stakes imply anything about the players?

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Submitted by David Bliock
Submission Note Email of 8/24/2020


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