1744 Cricket Laws and Their Influence on Baseball in America

From SABR member Beth Hise, via John Thorn’s “Our Game” blog at MLBlogs.com on July 1:

Last Monday afternoon, a match at cricket was play’d on our Common for a considerable Wager, by eleven Londoners, against eleven New Yorkers: The game was play’d according to the London Method; and those who got most notches in two Hands, to be the Winners.

The earliest surviving laws of cricket are preserved on the edge of a handkerchief titled “The Laws of the Game of Cricket.” In small crowded text, the laws frame a picturesque scene of an early cricket match. The batsmen wield archaic curved bats in front of two-stump wickets, the bowler is poised to release an underhand delivery, and two umpires stand on the field. Clearly modeled after one of cricket’s most enduring paintings, Francis Hayman’s Cricket in the Mary-le-bone Fields, the handkerchief also shows scorers with their tally sticks in the foreground. Eight and a half years later in November 1752, these same laws were typeset for the first time in the New Universal Magazine as “The Game at Cricket, as settled by the Cricket-Club, in 1744, and play’d at the Artillery Ground, London.” And finally, these same laws were printed in pamphlet form in 1755 as The Game at Cricket, as Settled by the Several Cricket-Clubs, Particularly That of the Star and Garter in Pall-Mall.

Read the full article here: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2011/07/01/1744-laws-of-cricket/

Originally published: July 15, 2011. Last Updated: July 15, 2011.