Base Ball 1835
from The Boy's Book of Sports. New Haven: S. Babcock (1835).
“Base ball” is played by a number, who are divided into two parties by the leader in each choosing one from among the players alternately. The leaders then toss up for the innings. Four stones for gaols [sic] are then placed so as to form the four points of a diamond, as seen in the margin:
The party who are out then take their places; (see picture.) one stands near the centre of the diamond, to toss the ball for one of the in-party who stands with his bat at *. Another stands behind the striker to catch the ball, if he fail to hit it. A third stands still farther behind, to return the ball when necessary. The remainder of the out-party are dispersed about the field to catch the ball when knocked, or to return it if not caught. If the striker miss the ball three times, or if he knock it and any of the opposite party catch it, he is out, and another of his party takes his place; if none of these accidents happen, then, on striking the ball, he drops his bat and runs to 2, or, if the ball be still at some distance, to 3, or 4, or even back to *, according to circumstances; but he must be cautious how he ventures too far at a time, for if any of the opposite site [sic] party hit him with the ball while he is passing from one goal to another, he is out. When the first has struck the ball, another takes the bat and strikes and runs in like manner; then a third, and so on through the party, and as they arrive at * one after another, each, who are not out, take their turns again, until til all are out. Then, of course, the other party takes their places.