Carbone: New Hampshire’s role in creating baseball

From Ray Carbone at New Hampshire Magazine on March 14, 2019, with mention of SABR member John Thorn:

For a small state in northern New England, New Hampshire has played an uncommonly significant role in the development of our National Pastime.

It started back in 1770, when Puritan minister Eleazar Wheelock moved his Moor’s Indian Charity School from Connecticut to the Granite State. Wheelock probably wasn’t thinking about sports at the time, but his school, now known as Dartmouth College, is where the first connection occurred. It’s found in one of its school’s oldest illustrations called “A front View of Dartmouth College.” The engraving, originally published 23 years after the Hanover re-founding, shows two buildings and, in the foreground, five young men engaged in a sporting activity.

Historians have long suggested that the lads are playing cricket, but John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball, says they’re wrong. After studying the boys’ poses and playing equipment, Thorn declared in 2017 that they are actually playing an Americanized variation of the game known as “wicket.”

“[It’s] also the first image of bat-and-ball play in America,” Thorn added on his Wicket was not baseball, but the now-obsolete game was played on a field with a batting offense and fielding defense, and it had innings. Thorn calls it the “uniquely American game,” because George Washington played it at Valley Forge.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: March 14, 2019. Last Updated: March 14, 2019.