Baseball: An Early History: Background information when reading The Art of Fielding

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The Art of Fielding

A Novel

By Chad Harbach

The Art of Fielding
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  • Hardcover: Sep 2011,
    528 pages.
    Paperback: May 2012,
    544 pages.

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Baseball: An Early History

Though The Art of Fielding is not about baseball per se, there are still large segments of the book devoted to the game. It is used as a metaphor for the human condition and is the frame around which the story is built.

Baseball has been referred to as the "national pastime" of the United States since the mid-1800s, though it is difficult to trace the exact origins of the sport. There are written references to the game that go back to the 1700s - most famously in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey (1796) - although a French illustration dating from the 14th century depicts a similar ball and bat game. Most sources agree that baseball was imported to the U.S. by English and Irish immigrants as a game called "rounders" (also called "townball," "base" and "baseball"), and is related to the British sport cricket.

Elysian Fields 1866 The invention of baseball in its modern form was originally credited to Abner Doubleday, a Civil War hero who, in 1839, allegedly wrote the rules for the game. However, ...

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