Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/63

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37
AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

still more players are clamoring for admission. The game of Four Old Cat has been developed all right, but, unlike the feline from which its name has been derived, the game is never a howling success; but it does afford pastime for Eight Boys, Four Bats, Four Bases and a Ball.

In Two, Three and Four Old Cat games, each individual player had his own score, and the players did not engage collectively as teams. Each tally was credited to the striker only. Every base gained by the striker was counted as a tally for himself alone. At the close of the game, if any record was kept, the player who was found to have the greatest number of tallies was declared the victor. Thus, in the days when a game which would accommodate no more than eight players would suffice, the "Old Cat," or "Individual Score," system of ball-playing answered the purpose; but as the pastime became more popular, and more boys wanted to play, it became necessary to devise a new form of the game which would admit a greater number of participants and at the same time introduce the competitive spirit that prevails in teamwork.

We are indebted to Four Old Cat for the square-shaped ball field, with a base at each corner. A natural step was then made by eliminating the four throwers and four batters of the Four Old Cat game, and substituting in place of them one thrower, or pitcher, and one batter. The pitcher was stationed in the center of the square and the striker, or batter, had his position at the middle of one of the sides of the square. In this form of the game,