An organized and formalized baseball game played in Beachville On was documented a full year before the American claim at Cooperstown NY
Photo Credit: CBC

Canada: today’s anniversary of where baseball began

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We know basketball was invented by a Canadian, and that American style football was developed on Canadian rules after Harvard played against Canada’s McGill University and preferred the Canadian game, and now today is the anniversary of the first recorded baseball game, which also originates in Canada.

It was in the small southwestern Ontario town of Beachville. The year is 1838, and the date was June 4. Handlebar moustaches were the fasion and are seen on the group of Beachville men gathered in a field behind Enoch Burdick’s shop, near where the Baptist Church stands today.

Another group of men, from Zorra and Oxford township, calling themselves the Zorras, arrive.  A crowd gathers, pleasantries are exchanged and a sporting match between the two teams begins.

It’s the first officially recorded baseball game, a full year before the Cooperstown NY game which Americans claim as the beginning of baseball.

The proof that Canada was playing baseball long before the Americans comes from a letter by Dr Adam Ford , then of Denver Colorado and published in  “Sporting Life” magazine in 1886. The doctor, formerly of the Ontario town of St Mary’s describes in detail the rules of the game of “baseball” along with the names of the players of that historic game which occurred on Militia Muster Day in 1838,  June 4, the anniversary of King George III’ birthday

In addition, Ford’s letter indicates that the game had a history long before that 1838 game. He stated that, “certain rules for the game” were insisted upon by two of the older “gray haired” players, “for it was the way they used to play when they were boys”, thus showing that the game was already formalized in Canada, long before the US claim.

Thus the game of baseball, derived from the British game of “rounders” was officially recorded first in Canada.

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