About Early Baseball Milestones

The information in this collection is taken from the ballplaying chronology compiled by the Protoball Project, a cooperative arrangement among those doing research on baseball's origins and roots. Additions, corrections, and comments are welcome by reaching out to baseballmemorylab@mlb.com

The current collection follows the roots of ballplaying back to 2500BC and up to the year 1862, with the goal of eventually extending to 1871, when the first professional baseball league appeared. The primary emphasis is on the class of "safe haven" ballgames, especially baseball and its predecessor games, such as the Massachusetts form of base ball and Philadelphia town ball.

For each entry we have tried to provide the original source of the information that is included.

This resource is made freely available in the hope that new research on baseball's early history will be facilitated. Users are asked to credit Protoball if they make use of the compilation.

Origins research has become, we find, one of the most dynamic fields of baseball research. That is because of so much of the documentation is now searchable electronically. Arguably we today enjoy two or three times (one leading research estimates a tenfold increase) as much detailed references to baseball’s roots than were available to even the best origins researchers 10 or 20 years ago. Our hope is that this collection will provide, in one place for today's writers the full range of written knowledge through continual self-correction we hope to help weed out any past generalizations that were based on necessarily limited data.

Users should also take care to distinguish contemporary accounts (like letters, newspaper articles, diary entries, etc.,) from those that are only recollected long after the event. Seasoned researchers strongly prefer to cite contemporary evidence, knowing that later events and partiality to self-interest in particular story lines can distort memory. In origins research, the relative scarcity of contemporary information leads us to include remembered facts here too, despite the fallibility of human memory. Users will want to remain cautious about the veracity of remembered events that are found in this data base.

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