Historians in England have uncovered evidence that baseball may not be as American as apple pie. The BBC reports that baseball was played in England in 1755, more than twenty years before America’s independence in 1776. This may come as a shock for lovers of America’s national game, who believe baseball is an American creation. A recently discovered diary is “proof” that Englishmen were hitting home runs long before their cousins across the Atlantic. The diarist was a man called William Bray, who wrote about the game being played in the county of Surrey, south of London. The Surrey History Centre confirmed the diary was authentic and that it contains an entry describing the game of baseball. The BBC says Major League Baseball officials are aware of this news.
It will come as no surprise to many sports fans that baseball originated in England. The English invented the world’s most popular sports, including football, tennis, rugby and cricket. What might come as a surprise is that the original form of baseball was played by both sexes. William Bray’s diary describes a game of baseball played on a spring afternoon in which “young ladies” took part. A Washington Post journalist, Kevin Sullivan, told the BBC that he was not surprised baseball came from Britain. He said: “It's a great American tradition to take things from other places and improve them. We've always known that baseball evolved; it wasn't invented like basketball.” Despite the recent discovery, it seems unlikely that England will overtake the USA as the number one baseball power.