The Prehistories of Baseball

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About the Book

Baseball’s roots lie deep in our ancestral past. The ancient arts of throwing (distance warfare), hitting (close quarters combat), and running (attack and retreat) were woven into the earliest forms of baseball. Early humans recognized the importance of the sun and sought to placate it with sacrificial offerings, imitating its movements and deifying it. Myths and relics of these foundational practices and beliefs were carried westward across the Old World by Indo-European peoples.
Games for the early British and Continental Europeans (notably the Celts and Druids) served military, religious, social and educational needs. As the Celts and Druids came under the control of the Roman Empire, and later the Christian Church, their customs and practices, including games, fell out of favor. Despite persecution, some folk games survived the millennia under such names as “stool-ball,” “tut-ball,” and “base-ball.”
Descendants of these peoples brought their variant games to the New World where the standardization of various informal rules led to their rapid spread. Baseball, with its underlying beliefs, superstitions and practices, still brings us together with familiar and comforting rituals as we assemble under the sun.

About the Author(s)

Seelochan Beharry lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. Visit his website at http://seelochanbeharry.com.

Bibliographic Details

Seelochan Beharry
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 332
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7797-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1363-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments vii

Preface 1

Introduction 5

Part I. Primal Beginnings

1. Throwing 7

2. Hitting 14

3. Warfare, Games and Play 20

Part II. Roots and Foundations

4. Baseball Emerges 29

5. European Roots and North American Expressions 52

6. Religion, Culture and Sports 63

7. Grounded in Religion 68

8. Shaped by Functional, Sacred and Communal Places 79

9. Special Features of the Diamond and Game 94

10. Early Language, Folklore and Myths 109

11. Superstitions and Traditions 126

Part III. Modern Times

12. Baseball and the Sun 138

13. Not Mere Observers but Participants 147

14. Baseball Within Our Culture and Its Relevance Today 154

Conclusion 168

Appendix A. A Brief Background of the Early Insular British and Related Peoples 173

Appendix B. ­Socio-Economic Conditions Affect Games 176

Appendix C. Further Documented Descriptions of Rounders, Tut-Ball and ­Stool-Ball 179

Appendix D. The Game of Prisoner’s Bars or Prison Base 184

Appendix E. Roots of the ­Indo-European Peoples in Ancient India 185

Appendix F. A Brief Background of the Early Germanic and Scandinavian Peoples 200

Chapter Notes 211

Bibliography 297

Index 309