Scrub (Family of Games)
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Safe-Haven games featuring running among bases, pitching, and a bat (but no teams).
Games belonging to the Scrub Family (16)
"Anauligatuk or mukpaun is played on a court of two wooden bases, approximately ten feet in length, spaced from 70 to 100 feet apart. A single batter stands at one of the bases and faces a pitcher and a group of fielders. The ball is thrown, the batter hits the ball and tries t run to the opposite base and back before the ball can be fielded and returned. If the ball is returned before the runner reaches 'home,' he is out and is replaced by the fielder who made the successful throw. The game is not limited to sex and age group and is played in some contexts such that one team is pitted against another"
The author here is describing Inuit games.
|Barn Ball (House Ball)||Predecessor|
A two-player game set against a wall or barn. The pitch is made from about ten feet away against the wall, and the batter tries to hit it on the rebound. If successful, he runs to the wall and back. If he misses the ball, and the pitcher catches the rebounding pitch on the fly or on one bound, the batter is out. Beard (1896) calls a similar game House Ball. It specifies a brick house, perhaps for the peace of mind of occupants.
per “The Boy’s Own Book.” A non-team form of rounders using three bases in which a player who is put out then takes on the role of feeder [pitcher]. An 1859 handbook describes feeder as a game with four or five stones or marks for bases. Plugging is permitted.
|Ins and Withs||Derivative||Philadelphia, PA|
A name for Scrub used in Philadelphia in the 1930s and possibly before/after that.
|Kick the Can||Derivative||Brooklyn|
per Culin. A game identical to Kick the Wicket [below] but using a can instead of a wicket.
|Kick the Wicket||Derivative||Brooklyn|
per Culin. The wicket is a piece of wood or a short section of a hose. Players kick the wicket, and then run among [usually four] bases. An “it” player tries to catch the ball, or to retrieve and reposition it while baserunners are between bases. The game is not described as a team game.
per Brewster. Baseball for small groups. This game is very similar to Scrub, Work-up and Rounds, but sets the usual number of players at 12, and specifies a rotation of 1B-P-C-batter instead of 1B-C-P-batter. A variant name is Move-up Piggy.
per Gomme. A boy throws a small stick to another boy standing near a hole, who tries to hit it with a three-foot stick, and then to run to a prescribed mark and back without being touched by the smaller stick, and without that stick being thrown into or very near the hole. Any even number of boys can play this game.
|One O’ Cat||Predecessor||Brooklyn|
per Culin. A non-team variety of base ball entailing fly outs and four bases and a three-strike rule, but no plugging. Players rotate through a series of fielding positions with each out, until they become one of two batters. “An ordinary base-ball bat is used.”
|One, Two, Three||Predecessor||Brooklyn|
per Culin. Identical to Culin’s One O’Cat, differing only in the way that players call out their initial positions.
McCurdy (1911) lists this game, along with Old Cat and Fungo, as minor forms of bat-and-ball. One might speculate that it is a non-team game like Scrub and Move-Up, in which players rotate among positions on the field as outs are made.
per Brewster. Baseball modified for small groups. Players count off, the first two or three becoming batters, the next the pitcher, the next the catcher, the next first base, etc. For most outs, the retired player goes to the last fielding position, and others move up one position, the pitcher becoming a batter. For fly outs, the batter and the successful fielder exchange places. The game is not notably different from Scrub and Workup.
Scrub appears to usually denote non-team games, as seen with the games of Work-up and Move-Up: A handy way to get a game going when two full teams cannot be mustered, the available players are fed initially divided between several defensive positions and a smaller number of batters. If a batter is put out, he/she becomes the fielder who is last in line [in right field, perhaps] to return to the batting position, and must work the way back, advancing position by position. A fielder who catches a fly ball exchanges places immediately with the batter. Because the small number of player precludes team play, “ghost (imaginary) runners” and special ground rules are sometimes required. Plugging is allowed, at least when the ball is soft enough to permit that. Once called Ins and Withs in the Philadelphia area (Source?).
"Slapball. The game is similar to Stickball but there are fewer players, no teams, pitchers, or strike zones, and the ball is slapped instead of hit by a stick or bat. It is usually played when there are not enough players aaround fjor a game of Stickball.
Players: Three to five.
Supplies: Pinky Ball, four bases or chalk.
Object: To slap the ball hard and far enough to run around all the bases without being tagged or forces out at a base.
To play: All the players except the hitter are out in the field or covering the bases. The hitter throws the ball up, fungo-style, slaps the ball in mid-air with the palm of her hand, and runs around the bases."
If the batter completes the circuit, she is given a run and bats again. If put out, she takes the last field position and rotates until having another batting turn.
"Variation: Punchball. In this game, the hitter throws the ball fungo style and punches it instead of slapping it with her hand."
|Two Old Cat||1800s||United States|
From glossary of games supplemental entry on "Cat"
Old cat (also known as ol' cat or cat-ball) games were bat-and-ball, safe haven games played in North America. The games were numbered according to the number of bases. The number of bases varied according to the number of players. Only one old cat continues to be commonly played in the 21st century.
One old cat, one eyed cat, or the contracted one-o'-cat was the basic version of the game, with a pitcher or giver; a batter or striker; a catcher, and sometimes another fielder or two. The striker, upon hitting the ball thrown by the giver, attempted to run to a single base (often the giver's position) and back again. The fielders tried to sting the striker-runner with a thrown ball while he or she was not touching the base. The striker would also be put out if the struck ball were caught in the air, or if they swung three times at the giver's deliveries and missed. One old cat, like scrub baseball, was a game of individuals—one against all—and not a team sport. Each base touched before 'out' (or just home) would score a point, although score was often not kept.
In his book Base-Ball, John Montgomery Ward wrote that to initiate a game of one old cat, players called out a number to claim a position: one, two, etc.—one being the striker, two being the pitcher, and three the catcher. When an out was made the striker moved to the last position (e.g. five), five became four, four moved to three, three moved to two, and two took a turn as striker—the coveted position. Ward said that if more players were available for the game, there would be two batters opposite each other (as in cricket), and they ran to the opposite base when the ball was hit. This was two old cat. 
Three old cat had a triangular base layout and three strikers, while four old cat had four strikers and four bases in a square pattern. The Mills Commission, formed in 1905 to ascertain the origins of baseball, recorded many reminiscences of people playing three and four old cat in their youth. Baseball historian Harold Seymour reported that old cat games were still being played on the streets and vacant lots of Brooklyn in the 1920s.
Albert Spalding suggested that four old cat was the immediate ancestor of town ball, from which baseball evolved. David Block's recent research indicates that old cat games evolved alongside baseball, as informal or practice versions when there were not enough players for a full game. The Detroit Tigers used old cat as a training exercise at least as late as their 1928 spring training trip to San Antonio, Texas, under manager George Moriarity.
One old cat is seeing a resurgence as a batting and fielding training game for younger little league and girl softball teams. Two games are played simultaneously on one diamond, one on the home third line and the other on the first-second line. Because the game is faster-paced than baseball and includes position rotation as a normal element, the chief objection young people voice about baseball, idle time in the field or waiting to bat, is directly addressed. The usual version is one-against-all and otherwise similar to that described above except, for safety, no stinging. The game is also well played with light plastic substitute balls where space is restricted.
-- Wikipedia entry as of 2/2/2021.
Variants include "old Cat," "One Old Cat," "Three Old Cat," "Four Old Cat" etc.
Another label for the game Scrub/Move-Up: The available number of players is initially divided between several defensive positions and a smaller number of batters. A batter who is put out, becomes the fielder who is last in line to return to batting [right field, when there are enough fielders], and must work the way back position by position. A fielder to catches a fly ball exchanges places immediately with the batter. Because the small number of player precludes team play, “ghost runners” and special ground rules are sometimes required. Plugging is allowed when the ball is soft enough to permit that.
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