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A Ballplayer's Progress: "Bound and Catch," "Barn Ball," "Town Ball"

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Game Town Ball

H. H. Waldo told the Mills Commission: "I commenced playing ball seventy years ago (1835). I was the only one in the game and it was called "Toss up and Catch," or "Bound and Catch." A few years later I played "Barn Ball." Two were in this game, one a thrower against the barn, and catcher on its rebound, unless the batter hit it with a club; if so, and he could run and touch the barn with his bat, and return to the home plate before the ball reached there, he was not out - otherwise he was.

"A few years later the school boys played what was called "Town Ball." That consisted of a catcher, thrower, 1st goal, 2nd goal and home goal. The inner field was diamond shape: the outer field was occupied by the balance of the players, number not limited. The outs were as follows: Three strikes," "Tick and catch," ball caught on the fly, and base runner hit or touched with the ball off from the base. That was sometimes modified by "Over the fence and out." [Note: this places Town Ball at about 1840 or so.]

Letter from H. H. Waldo, Rockford IL, to the Mills Commission, July 7, 1905.

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