SABR member David Block discovers new reference to baseball in 1749

From the BBC on June 10, 2013, with mention of SABR member David Block:

The first recorded game of baseball took place in Surrey [England] in 1749, a specialist in the game’s history says.

Author David Block has discovered the reference in the Whitehall Evening Post, dated 19 September 1749.

The Prince of Wales and the Earl of Middlesex played the game on what is now Ashley Park, Walton on Thames.

The previous earliest known mention of baseball was in William Bray’s diary which referred to a game played in 1755 in Guildford.

The Whitehall Evening Post item reads: “On Tuesday last, his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and Lord Middlesex, played at Bass-Ball, at Walton in Surry; notwithstanding the weather was extreme bad, they continued playing several hours.”

The Earl of Middlesex, Charles Sackville, was an ally of Frederick, the Prince of Wales and before inheriting his title had served as an MP for Kent, East Grinstead and Sussex.

Julian Pooley, from the Surrey History Centre, said the discovery of the early reference to baseball in Surrey was “particularly exciting”.

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Related link: For more insights into baseball’s early history, visit

Originally published: June 12, 2013. Last Updated: June 12, 2013.