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Dutch Publication Covers "Engelsch Balspel," "Kat," Other Batting Games

Salience Peripheral
City/State/Country: Holland
Immediacy of Report Contemporary
Age of Players Juvenile

John Thorn passed along text of a Dutch book of games printed in 1845.

This book, comprising about 170 pages, describes about 110 juvenile pastimes, including nine listed as ball games.

English language versions of the "English Game," Kat, and Wall Ball are offered in the Supplementary Text, below.




John Thorn supplies this online source for the book:


The book is: Jongens! Wat zal er gespeeld worden?: handboekje voor knapen bij hunne, (Leeuwarden, G.T.E. Suringar, 1845).  The author is not specified.








Translations of the English game, kat, and Wall Ball are provided in  the Supplemental Text, below.

David Block (email of October 20, 2016) explains:

" . . . the Dutch account of Engelsch balspel was clearly taken almost verbatim from the 1828 description of rounders that appeared in The Boy's Own Book. The Dutch version leaves out the first sentence that begins with "In the west of England..." but from there on follows the English original with only minor changes (such as converting the base path dimensions from yards to feet). It replicates the exact diagram and lettering of the base and pitcher positions from The Boy's Own Book. Mareike's translation abridges some of the detail in the text, but conveys the general idea."

The 1845 Introduction to the Dutch book indicates that it was a translation of the the German book "Womit soll ich mich belustigen?" (1842?) which was a translation of an 1828 English work The Boys Own Book.

As of October 2016, we are unsure whether the successive translations are direct and literal or allowed for modification to reflect German and Dutch preferences and practices.




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Submitted by John Thorn, Mareike Kuypers (translation)
Submission Note Email of October 10, 2016
Has Supplemental Text Yes


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Supplemental Text

Notes on Engelsch balspel (pages 30-31)by Mareike Kuypers, Translator (email of October 19, 2016)  

So, the English Ballgame on pages 30-31 is, as it appears, a version of baseball and was likely translated from English.  The field is played out with four stones or other markers placed 36-60 feet from each other and a fifth marker is placed where the guy who is going to throw the ball stands (we can call him the pitcher.) Players are divided into two equal size teams and "fate determines" which team goes first. (I just thought that was funny, I imagine they tossed a coin or smoothing and lightening didn't have to strike or anything.)

  The team that goes second goes into the field. The pitcher stands on his marker and the other players are spread around the field.  The first player stands on the marker we can call home base with a "ball stick," the pitcher throws the ball to him and he attempts to hit it.  If he misses it or if he hits it and it is caught by a member of the other team he steps off and the next player steps in.  If the ball is hit and not caught the batter "throws the bat down and runs to the first marker. He runs on to the next and the next  if he can but the player in the field who "found" the ball tries to "hit" him when he is running between the bases and if he does the runner leaves the field. If he is stopped on a base he can run on to the next as the pitch is thrown to the next batter.

  So far we have baseball kinda as we know it. Unfortunately there isn't much more of a description and I'm left with lots of questions. If the guy at bat misses the ball he is responsible for returning it to the pitcher so I'm wondering if the baserunner just got to go home.

   I'm assuming team scores when a player makes it all the way around the bases but the information isn't actually there.

  After each player on the first team has had a turn at bat they take the field and the second team is up. (so it wasn't after a certain number of "outs")

    there is no information on how many times each team gets up.  My imagination has it as the games we played in our neighborhood when I was a kid. The game ended when it got too dark to play, (more often) an argument broke out over whether or not a runner was safe, or the ball got lost in the bushes.


Notes on Kat (pages 32-33) by Mareike Kuypers, October 25, 2016

The Kat is a piece of wood about 6 inches long, 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide at the midpoint and comes to a point at both ends making the form of a double cone. The Kat is placed on the ground in the middle of a big circle and a player uses a "ball stick" to hit one end of it to launch it into the air. As it comes down he tries to hit it out of the circle. If he fails to hit it or doesn't hit it out of the circle he steps off and the next player takes his turn.  If he's successful he's assigned a certain number of points depending on how far he hit it.  


Notes on Wall Ball (pages 25-26), by Mareike Kuypers, email of October 16, 2016

Wall Ball:  A line is drawn on a wall about three feet high and another on the ground about six feet in front of the wall. The first player throws the ball against the ground and it has to hit the wall above the line and bounce back and hit the ground in front of the line on the ground. The second player catches it and then does the same. When a player fails to either hit the wall above the line or the ground in front of the line or the ball hits the ground a second time before he catches it, the other scores a point. The first to 15 points wins.