Chronology:English Base Ball

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1744.2 Newbery's Little Pretty Pocket-Book Refers to "Base-Ball," "Stooleball, "Trap-Ball," Cricket

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John Newbery's A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, published in England, contains a wood-cut illustration showing boys playing "base-ball" and a rhymed description of the game:

"The ball once struck off,/Away flies the boy/To the next destined post/And then home with joy."

This is held to be the first appearance of the term "base-ball" in print. Other pages are devoted to stool-ball, trap-ball, and tip-cat [per David Block, page 179], as well as cricket. Block finds that this book has the first use of the word "base-ball."



Little Pretty Pocket-Book, Intended for the Instruction and Amusement of Little Master Tommy and Pretty Miss Polly [London, John Newbery, 1744]. Per Henderson ref 107, adding Newbery's name as publisher from text at p. 132. The earliest extant version of this book is from 1760 [per David Block]. 


Note: we may want reassurance that the "Base-ball" poem appeared in the 1744 version. According to Thomas L. Altherr, "A Place Leavel Enough to Play Ball," reprinted in David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, the 1767 London edition also has poems titled "Stoolball" [p. 88] and Trap-Ball.[p. 91]. According Zoernik in the Encyclopedia of World Sports [p.329], rounders is also referred to [we need to confirm this, as Rounders does not appear in the 1760 edition or the one from 1790.]. There was an American pirated edition in 1760, as per Henderson [ref #107]; David Block dates the American edition in 1762. He also notes that a 1767 revision features engravings for the four games.