Let's Play Ball!
Origins of Baseball
The distinct evolution of baseball from among the various bat-and-ball games is difficult to trace with precision. While there has been general agreement that modern baseball is a North American development from the older game rounders, the 2006 book Baseball Before We Knew It: A Search for the Roots of the Game, by David Block, argues against that notion.
Several references to "baseball" and "bat-and-ball" have been found in British and American documents of the early eighteenth century.
The earliest known description is in a 1744 British publication, A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, by John Newbery. It contains a wood-cut illustration of boys
playing "base-ball," showing a baseball set-up roughly similar to the modern game, and a rhymed description of the sport.
The earliest known unambiguous American discussion of "baseball" was published in a 1791 Pittsfield, Massachusetts, town bylaw that prohibited the playing
of the game within 80 yards (70 m) of the town's new meeting house.
The English novelist Jane Austen made a reference to children playing "base-ball" on a village green in her book Northanger Abbey, which was written
between 1798 and 1803 (though not published until 1818).