Many theories have been developed in an attempt to describe the origin of baseball but what we know is that this game was developed from the original folk games in England. These folk games included hit-and-run games such as cricket and rounders as well as baseball. Baseball in the earlier days was not known by the same name ‘baseball’ as is the case today but instead it had related names such as stool ball, dog and cat, trap ball, rounders or simply base, just to mention a few.
These names changed as the game advanced over the years. The concept of the game however was retained; the participating players or teams for that matter pitched to themselves. Batters in the earlier games could be knocked out of the game with a single hit of the ball but this has evolved to an allowance of three strikes in the modern game. But how exactly has this game evolved?
Evolution Of Baseball
This game dates back to around the 11th century and basically involves a player throwing a ball to a target at which is defended by another player in the opposing team. Stool ball also had other related names such as stow ball and stob ball, which were formed due to regional differences in dialects and what they meant also differed in the various regions. Stow meant either stump or a mining frame.
During the game play, a player would defend the target-a stool, with naked hands in the earlier versions of the game but in the later stages, bats were used for that purpose. The primary objective initially was to protect the stool from being hit after which the player was awarded a point upon successfully accomplishing that objective. There were no movements. In the later stages however, two stools were introduced and points were awarded just like in cricket. Then came several stools years later in which one had to run around them to score points.
Trap ball was played in England in the 14th century and can be considered a ‘relative’ of baseball. The game involves a batsman hitting and fielding a ball that has been launched into the air. The ball could be thrown into the air in different ways; a fielding team member could do it for the batter. The batter would use levers to achieve the elevation or simply flick the ball up by himself. The game did not involve running either.
Dog and Cat
This game was known to trace its roots from Scotland and was played using wood. This game was played by throwing a piece of wood called ‘cat’ into a small hole on the ground which was guarded by an opposite layer by use of a stick called ‘dog’. This game was very much similar to cricket in game play. In the later versions of the game, more than one hole was involved and the player protecting the holes had to run in between all of them in an effort to prevent the fielders from scoring into them. The fielders would knock the batters out by putting the cats into the holes.
Cricket is a direct replica of baseball since it also involves running bases as well as batting. The earliest mention of cricket was in the 15th century bur the game became more popular in the 18th century when colonialists from England adopted it alongside other games they used to play. Just like in softball where you need the softball bats to excel, cricket too requires a good bat that perfectly fits the batter’s attributes such as body strength and batting power. As a result the bats shape, length and most importantly the bat’s weight are factors to consider.
Rounders has its origin from Britain in the 17th century since the Tudor times and has similarity to baseball as well. In order to succeed at it, you have to run a round of four bases after hitting a pitched ball with a bat or paddle. The game consists of teams of around five to fifteen members. Points,which in this game are referred to as rounders, are earned if the player of the batting side successfully completes the four bases without being knocked out.
The main distinguishing feature between rounders and baseball is in the bats. In rounders, bats are usually shorter and each batter in this game has only one chance and must run the bases whether he hits the ball or not. It is therefore logical that the most appropriate bat for this game should be short and fitting for instance the MikenMaxload USSSA 100 composite bat, one of the best softball bats that exist in today’s market. Though meant for softball, anyone who wants to play rounder should consider a bat with its qualities. Swinging in rounders is also done using one hand.
Baseball In Early America
Baseball had its origin in the early English culture and English speaking nations or countries such as Britain and America. They have had the game for years even though they referred to it with different names and as such have created two trains of thought as to where the game has its roots. The English version is believed to be rounders while the American version is believed to have evolved from related games especially Old Cat games. The very first game of baseball in North America was played and recorded in Ontario in the year 1838.
Baseball, softball and cricket as well as other batting games require fairly the same analysis and approach when evaluating their rules and tools to be used during game play. Considering the above trend, the name of the game may change with time but its basic concepts still remain intact.
 Block, D. (2005). Baseball before we knew it: A search for the roots of the game. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
 Fingleton, J. (1958). Masters of cricket from Trumper to May. London: Heinemann
 Origins of baseball (2016, May 15) Retrieved from: Origins of baseball – BR Bullpen; http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Origins_of_baseball
 National Rounders Association. (2006). Rounders. London: A. & C. Black
 Early Baseball Milestones (2011, June 6) Retrieved from: Early Baseball Milestones | MLB.com; http://mlb.mlb.com/memorylab/chronology/index.jsp?sub_section=females