Bull Pen

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Game Bull Pen
Game Family Hook-em-snivy Hook-em-snivy
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Invented No

per Brewster [1953]. “Basemen” stand at each corner of a bounded field of play, and try to plug other players inside the bounds. Each player has three “eyes” [lives]. A player loses an “eye” if plugged or if a target player catches a ball thrown at him. There is no batting or baserunning in this game.


Paul G. Brewster, American Nonsinging Games (U Oklahoma Press, Norman OK, 1953), page 82-83.


See Chronology for 1863 mention of Confederate soldiers playing "bull pen" near Kinston, NC. Also 1862.106.

See the Lexington (MS) Union, Oct. 12, 1839, which compares the Whig Party rejecting candidates to boys playing bull pen.

Edward Eggleston's 1882 novel "The Hoosier School-Boy" (stories of his growing up in southern Indiana c. 1850--he was born in Vevay, IN in 1837) contain on page 52 a long explanation of "bull-pen." Chapter VII is titled "Hat ball and bull-pen."

See also the Troy Kansas Chief, Jan. 5, 1882, for a reply to Eggleston, where the author says he played bull-pen 40 years ago.

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