History of baseball: First known game recorded in England 270 years ago

Last updated at 08:22
red-sox-baseball-player.European Photopress Agency
Today marks the 270th anniversary of the first known game of baseball, which took place in England

It's been 270 years since the first ever known game of baseball was played - and it might surprise you to learn that it was in fact played in England!

David Block, who is an author and research professor, found a reference to baseball being played in Surrey by the Prince of Wales and the Earl of Middlesex, in the Whitehall Evening Post on the 19 September 1749.

The article in the old London newspaper states: "On Tuesday last, his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and Lord Middlesex, played at Bass-Ball, at Walton in Surry; notwithstanding the weather was extreme bad, they continued playing several hours."

Nowadays, baseball is more typically seen as an American sport, and even the American poet Walk Whitman described the sport as "our game, that's the chief fact in connection with it: America's game".

But this newspaper article suggests otherwise!

That said, the game played by the Prince and Earl in the 18th Century was very different to the game of baseball as we know it today.

Mr Block explains: "The ball was much softer than today's and instead of a bat, the palm of the batter's hand was used to strike the ball".

baseball-and-bat-on-the-pitch.Getty Images
Baseball in the 18th and 19th centuries was played very differently to the modern US version

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