I have been a little obsessed with baseball history since I started reading Bill James’ Historical Baseball Abstract. As I read, I would love to post baseball history fun facts to share cool new content!
Did you know that in the 1870s pitchers had to have a completely stiff arm and throw underhand from only 45 feet away? Baseball was originally closer to fast-pitch softball than the game it is now days! Instead of the four balls for a walk now days, back in the 1870s you were allowed 9 balls. The batter had the choice of whether he wanted a high or low pitch. The most interesting rule that I found about early baseball was that if a ball ever bounced in fair territory, in the infield, it was always fair. You could theoretically hit a line drive in the dirt and have it ricochet into foul territory and have it considered a fair ball. Baseball has the richest history of any sport! So, I look forward to sharing more interesting stories as I dive deeper into my research!
4 thoughts on “Softball…The Original Baseball?”
I heard that you used to be able to steal 1st base & if a batted ball bounced over the fence it was called a home run. Can you see if these are true? I also know that there was a play where the bases were loaded & the batter hit a grand slam HR but dropped dead or one of the runners dropped dead while running the bases. How did all the runs score?
There are some leagues out there that still play by these 1800’s ‘Base Ball’ rules. It’s fun to watch them play with NO gloves and try to catch line drives and throws to first. They’re usually played in a large open park or field, and sometimes before a real baseball game.
Vintage Base Ball teams try to stay true to the game “the way it way meant to be played”. The Vintage Base Ball Association (VBBA) is a great source to find vintage base ball teams in various states, rules of the 1860s, terminology, vendors, etc. The Kent Base Ball Club (kentbaseball.com) is a good example of a vintage base ball team playing the game as it was played in the 1860s. Mike “Stoneman” Page.