Origins Research Committee

The Origins Committee’s research focus is on the early forms of baseball and its predecessor games. It extends from the earliest roots — European and American folk games that involved balls, bats, and running — to roughly the establishment of professional baseball leagues after 1870.

Origins work is now experiencing renewed growth, owing in part to electronic search capabilities and to a few highly significant publications, including David Block’s seminal work Baseball Before We Knew It, Peter Morris’ encyclopedic two-volume set, A Game of Inches, and the new journal, Base Ball, edited by John Thorn.

If you have suggestions about potential initiatives, or for how the Origins Committee itself can best facilitate SABR members’ interest, and new work, on the origins of the American pastime, we want to hear from you.

SABR’s Origins Committee comprises SABR members who are interested in the origins and precursors of baseball, and in its spread within the United States and abroad. Its scope extends from the early evolution of baseball’s key components — batting, baserunning, ways of making outs, etc., to the advent of the professional game in the 1870s.

Update: Visit the new Protoball website at

  • Announcements: To sign up for email announcements from this committee, click the “Announcements” button above, then click “Join Group” (). All SABR members are eligible to sign up for announcements from any committee.
  • Newsletters: To find current and past Origins committee newsletters, click here.
  • Discussion group: To sign up and participate in a 19th Century/Origins of Baseball email discussion group, visit

Committee Contacts: