An Enigmatic 1805 ‘Game of Bace’ in New York

From SABR member George A. Thompson at John Thorn’s “Our Game” blog on August 15:

Sporting Intelligence.— Yesterday afternoon a contest at the game of Bace took place on “the Gymnasium,” near Tylers’ between the gentlemen of two different clubs for a supper and trimmings. One of these clubs has taken the very classical appellation of Gymnastics, and the other the no less classical one of The Sons of Diagoras, (not confined however to the number there [sic: properly “three”] but with great submission to the taste of the gentlemen we think a plain English name would have sounded quite as well as either. Great skill and activity it is said was displayed on both sides, but after a severe and well maintained contest, Victory which had at times fluttered a little from one to the other, settled down on the heads of the Gymnastics, who beat The Sons of Diagoras 41 to 34.

A few years ago, while reading an early–19th century New York newspaper, I came upon this report.


But what was the game of “bace”?

“Bace” was possibly an early version of baseball, but another possibility is that it was an adult form of “prisoner’s base,” known primarily as a chasing and tagging game played by children.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: August 19, 2011. Last Updated: August 19, 2011.