Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/74

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48
AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME
To the Editor of The Tribune.

Sir: I find this morning in The Tribune an article on the "Origin of Base Ball" quoted from another periodical. In this article it is said that Base Ball probably grew out of the English game of "rounders."

I am in my eighty-third year, and I know that seventy years ago, as a boy at school in a country school district in Erie County, Pa., I played Base Ball with my schoolmates; and I know it was a common game long before my time. It had just the same form as the Base Ball of to-day, and the rules of the game were nearly the same as they are now.

One bad feature of the old game, I am glad to say, is not now permitted. The catchers, both the one behind the batter and those on the field, could throw the ball and hit the runner between the bases with all the swiftness he could put into it—"burn him," it was called. That cruel part of the game has been abolished; the ball is now thrown to the base before the runner reaches it, if possible, and this puts him out.

I never heard of the game called "rounders." "One old cat" or "two old cat" was played then as now; but it was in nothing like the Base Ball of my boyhood day's. Real Base Ball, with some slight variation of the rules, as it has came down to the present day must be at least a hundred years old; it may be a thousand. Perhaps it has come down to us from the old times of the Greeks' and Romans, as many games and other good things have done.

Erie, Pa., April 8, 1910. Andrew H. Caughey.

At a Puritan banquets held at Detroit, Mich., December 17, 1908, among the speakers were Ray Stannard Baker, the Michigan author; R. F. Sutherland, of Windsor, Speaker of the Canadian Parliament, and Samuel J. Elder, the prominent Boston lawyer. Mr. Elder replied to the toast, "The Puritans," and treated the subject in a rather anecdotal way. He told a number of instances of the humor of the early Puritans, among other things mentioning Gov. Bradford's account of a ball game at Plymouth. It seemed that some of the newcomers refused to work on Christmas Day because it was "against their conscience" to work on that day, and were