William Bray's journal
The history of America's national sport has been re-written, thanks to a discovery made by a BBC South Today viewer.
The Major League Baseball Constitution, which sets out the rules by which modern baseball is played, was written more than 100 years ago - but the game itself is older.
Until 2007 it was believed that the earliest recorded mention of a game called baseball was around 1790.
However, after BBC South Today reported on an American TV crew visiting the south of England to make a documentary, history was re-written.
Our Sports Reporter, Tony Husband, followed the American TV crew from the Major Baseball League while they were filming in Sussex.
Realising that there might be more to discover, Tony decided to ask the audience - making a plea to South Today viewers for any information which might throw more light on the subject.
Luckily, Trisha St. John Barry was watching at her home in Rudgwick on the Surrey/Sussex border.
Trisha remembered an old manuscript which had been in her possession for many years. It belonged to William Bray, a Surrey diarist and historian who wrote about the game when he was a teenager.
She recalls her reaction to seeing the South Today report: "They said '1790' as though this was quite early and I thought; wait a minute, young William Bray was playing baseball in 1755!"
At first, Trisha couldn't find the manuscript but after searching her cottage she located it in a drawer and contacted South Today to say that William Bray had indeed played baseball in 1755 and recorded the fact in his journal.
The diaries have since been verified by The Surrey History Centre.
The date clearly written
"After dinner, went to Miss Jeale's to play at Base Ball with her the three Miss Whiteheads, Miss Billinghurst, Miss Molly Flutter, Mr. Chandler, Mr. Ford and H. Parsons. Drank tea and stayed 'til eight."
On hearing about the journal, the American film crew and baseball historians were understandably very keen to meet Trisha.
The American film crew have now finished their documentary - with a significant change to the original script!
Acknowledging South Today as having played a major role, the director explains that they had set out to reflect on the game's history but ended up making a historical discovery.
"If the BBC hadn't done the story on us being in England then Trisha wouldn't have known about us and none of this would have happened."