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josepp BS: Baseball code (19) RE: BS: Baseball code 03 Jul 11


The Tigers don't need a code right now--they need a new rotation. Other than Verlander, every other starter needs to be replaced. Interestingly, the Detroit Tigers are the only major league team that has never changed cities, team name or logo throughout their history. The Cleveland Indians, for example, have always been in Cleveland but were originally known as the Blues. Even when the Tigers were a minor league team known officially as the Creams, they wore the Old English "D" and were still called the Tigers because everyone hated the name "Creams." When they became a major league team in 1900, they were officially registered on the charter as the Tigers. Detroit's major league team in the 1880s was a National League team called the Wolverines. One member of the team, Dan Brouthers, still holds the National League batting average record of .343 while the Tigers' Ty Cobb holds the American League record of .367. The catcher of the Wolverines, Charlie Bennett, later worked in the front office of the Tigers. He is the only connection between the Tigers and the Wolverines. The Wolverines disbanded around 1888 after Bennett fell under a train and lost both his legs. He worked for the Tigers until his death in 1927.

All the original 8 American League teams still exist but all except the Tigers have changed names, locations and logos. For example, the original Baltimore Orioles became the New York Highlanders in 1903 and then 10 years later became the Yankees. The original Milwaukee Brewers (who were originally in the same minor league as Detroit) became the St. Louis Browns and then in 1954 became the Baltimore Orioles. The Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee and became the Milwaukee Braves and then moved to Atlanta where they remain. A new Milwaukee Brewers team formed in the AL and then went defunct but were resurrected as an NL team which they remain to this day. The old Washington Senators became the Texas Rangers but Washington has a franchise today called the Nationals.

In Ireland they play rounders. But it was often called baseball or base-ball. The ball, from what I gather, is called a sliotar and looks superficially like an American baseball but it's softer. The cricket ball is hard and compact like the American baseball but looks nothing like it other than being round.

In American baseball, the play starts when the pitcher sets. He must be stock still during his set. If he moves, it's a balk which allows all baserunners to move up and the batter automatically goes to first and a third base runner comes home and scores a run. That's not the only way a pitcher can balk but he must be stock-still when he sets and the play begins as he then goes into his wind-up. In cricket, the pitcher or bowler gets a running wind-up. Consequently, they throw the ball much faster--120 mph is not unusual. The bowler also skips the ball off the ground. A lot of people get hurt when they catch a 120 mph pitch in the ribs.

The batsman has three wickets behind him as the bowler and these serve as bases. While in originall baseball, the runner was out if he was hit by the ball while running between bases, this is not permitted in cricket or American baseball because people would get killed. In cricket, a half-inning is over when 10 or the 11 players on the team are out or dismissed as they say.

Baseball early in America resembled rounders a great deal. There were poles marking the bases, the bat was small and swung with one arm, home plate and fourth base were two different areas and so on. This game was called town ball. Town ball is still played in the US with such teams as the Cooperstown Leatherstockings and use the old Massachusetts rulebook of 1858. The modern rulebook is based on the Knickerbocker rulebook of 1845 although many changes have crept in over the years.

In some rounders-type games in the US, there was only one batter at a time and this was called one-ol'-cat. Another type could have two batters and this was called two-ol'-cat. One-ol'-cat may be a corruption of "one-hole-catapult" which was played in the colonies and was very much like rounders. The catapult developed from a 14th century game called trap-ball where this device would launch the ball. Players would then chase the ball and bat it around making the game somewhat like polo. Without the catapult, trap-ball was called tip-cat, where players with sticks ran around trying to knock a stick called a cat lying on the ground into the air and then bat it before it hits the ground—the same principle behind pee-wee.

However, there was also a game in Scotland called cat-and-dog that involved trying to throw a ball called a cat (often just a piece of wood) into a hole which another player attempted to prevent it by swatting at the cat with a stick called a dog. In another version of cat-and-dog, there are two holes and after hitting the cat, the batter would run between the holes while another player tried to throw the cat in the hole before the runner could get to it. He was thereby out. The two-hole version was very much like cricket. These were probably the original version of one-ol'-cat and two-ol'-cat but the names were applied to town-ball in the colonies for the numbers batters rather than the number of holes. Cat may also refer to the animal since the town ball was essentially a ball of yarn sewn up inside a leather casing—a common cat toy. We sometimes read old-timers talking about playing a game of "old cat" or "cat ball" and this would be generally recognizable to us as baseball with a few strange extra rules thrown in.

One major difference between rounders and cricket was that the ladies were far more likely to play the former than the latter. All-female rounder clubs are very common in Ireland and Britain. In fact, stoolball is a form of cricket played by milkmaids who used their overturned milking stools as wickets. A girl standing before her wicket would throw a ball at the batter's wicket and the batsgirl would try to block the ball with a frying pan-like bat. There were fielders who would get an out if they caught a fly or popup or who could throw out the runner by hitting the stool the girl was running towards. This is similar to cricket.

From what I have been given to understand, stoolball is still played in Sussex, England and the teams are still primarily all-female although some men have played it. Originally, the game was played when one girl would use her hands to try to block another from hitting her stool with a ball—something like soccer—but bats and fielders were added in at some point as the competition evolved. In 1801, Joseph Strutt asserted that baseball descended from stoolball in his book, The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England.

In her 1798 novel (not published until 1803), Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen has the protagonist of her story, Catherine Moreland, playing "baseball." And so this has always been as much a female sport as male. In many parts of Great Britain and Ireland to this day, baseball is considered more a girl's sport than a boy's. In fact, I once met a British lady in the US who told me baseball was a girl's sport in the UK.

Other names for baseball include patch-ball, barn-ball, field-base, feeder, stool-ball, poison-ball, goal-ball, anti-i-over, round-ball, and bass-ball. There is also a Swedish/Danish version of rounders called brännboll.

The 1907 Mills Commission which concluded baseball was invented by a Civil War officer in the Union Army named Abner Doubleday is bogus. They said the first game was played in Elihu Phinney's cow pasture in Cooperstown, New York which is also bogus. The baseball Hall of Fame was founded in Cooperstown based on this false history and the supposed pasture is designated there as Doubleday Field which never existed until the WPA built for the Hall of Fame. All the known correspondence of Abner Doubleday bear no mention of the game or even any awareness that there was such a game. Why the commission picked him as the inventor of a game known to have been played in teh UK for centuries is a mystery.


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