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We have references to bat-ball from 1791 (when it was banned in both Pittsfield and Northampton MA), but the basic rules of this game as first played are unclear. Writers have diversely compared it to bandy, to schlagball, and to punchball. It is clear that a club was not always required for hitting, as the ball could instead be slapped into play by the hand.
See Protoball Chronology entries for 1791.
D Wise and S. Forrest, Great Big Book of Children’s Games (McGraw-Hill, 2003), pages 219-220.
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