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Street Team Games played by boys in Balkans of early 20th Century

Street Team Games played by boys in Balkans of early 20th Century


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In today's world, probably the most typical neighborhood game played in teams by boys in most countries is football (soccer).

I would like to ask what were the team Games played by boys (let's say aged 8 to 14) of the Balkans (then Ottoman Empire) during early 20th century or late 19th century.

The important aspect is the game to have a team spirit, and played in the neighborhood (streets etc). Even though teams are not official, boys typically make teams of their own neighborhood, or schools, or ethnic groups etc.


You must remember that (in example of Serbia) during Ottoman Empire, late 19th century country was mostly dotted with villages, town population were small.

Here is one example of game played in villages:

http://www.srbijuvolimo.rs/media/k2/items/cache/7c7c638ef981276293e3733a3f885395_L.jpg">http://www.srbijuvolimo.rs/moja-srbija/tradicija/item/5231-kako-je-nekada-bilo-de%C4%8Dije-igre-u-srbiji.html

Text mentions this book from 1868 "Srpske narodne igre, koje se zabave radi po sastancima igraju" use google search too.

Title of book can be roughly translated as "Serbian Folk Games Played For Fun"


Many games have altered baseball’s basic rules to derive new games to fit special circumstances or playing populations. Each one has stood as an enduring tribute to the pervasiveness of our national pastime. Among the most common of these derivative games are softball, stickball, kickball, and wiffleball, each played widely today.

Below is a working list of known or likely derivative games. Even if chance-based tabletop games, rotisserie games, and other non-athletic games are set aside, we now have well over a hundred distinct games that may have branched off from baseball. If you can add other local variants to this list, or can add to the descriptions of the games already listed, please contact Official Baseball Historian John Thorn at [email protected]

A hybrid cricket-baseball game reportedly introduced in Chicago in 1870. The game is described as having cricket rules, except with no LBW rule, and with the addition of a third base, so that the bases form a triangle with sides of 28-yards. We have no other accounts of this game.

Reportedly in the Philadelphia Mercury .   An account of the article  appeared in the Penny Illustrated Paper  ( London ), December 17, 1870 (page 370).   Contributed by Tom Shieber, email of 2/25/2009.

From the 1860s to the 1880s, Navahos in NM played a gmae that evolved from one (possibly the Massachusetts game?) taught to them on a NM reservation mannned by the US Cavalry. This game is recalled as involving plugging, very feisty baserunning customs, no foul ground, four strikes, one-out-side-out innings, and multiple batters at the same time.

S. Culin, Games of the North American Indians, 1907.

Elmore (1922) describes this as a game of attrition for ages 8-12 that involves throwing a ball against a wall. One player is named to catch it. If the player does, “stand” is shouted, and other players are to freeze in their places. If the player with the ball can plug someone, that player is out if not, the thrower is out. This game has not batting or baserunning.

Emily W. Elmore, A Practical Handbook of Games , (Macmillan, NY, 1922), pages 16-17.

per Perrin (1902). A school-time running game of one-on-one contests between a pitcher and a batter, who propels the tossed ball with the hand and runs bases while the pitcher retrieves the ball. Caught flies and a failure to reach third base before the pitcher touches home with the ball in hand are outs. Batters receive one point for each base attained, and five for a home run. Three-out half innings are used.

E. Perrin, et. Al., One Hundred and Fifty Gymnastic Games  (G. H. Ellis, Boston, 1902), pages 58-59.

Balagu ("foot-baseball") is identified as a form of kick-ball in Korea, a "staple in PE classes within elementary schools."

"Kickball" article in Wikipedia, accessed October 25, 2012. No further source is given.

Elmore (1922) describes this game as a form of Square Ball (Corner Ball) for 7th graders through high schoolers in which a player can prevent being called out by catching a ball thrown at him. An “indoor baseball” is used. The game involves no batting or baserunning.

Emily W. Elmore, A Practical Handbook of Games , (Macmillan, NY, 1922), pages 19-20.

America’s national pastime since about 1860. Writing about rounders in 1898, Gomme mused that “An elaborate form of this game has become the national game of the United States.”  The term “baseball” actually arose in England as early as 1748, referring to a simple game like rounders, but usage in England died out, and was soon forgotten in most parts of the country.  The term first appeared in the United States in 1791.

Gomme, Traditional Games of England, Scotland, and Ireland, Volume 1.2, page 146.

The first known game of base ball played on ice skates occurred on in January 1861 near Rochester NY. Skating was very popular, and the hybrid game was played in the late 1800s.

A few special rules are known from the 1880s, a key one being that runnders were not at risk when they overskated a base. Deliveries were pitches, not throws a dead ball was used and the bound rule was in effect. A ten-player team deployed a left shortstop and a right shortstop.

Priscilla Astifan, "Baseball in the Nineteenth Century," Rochester History LII (Summer 1990), page 9.

Peter Morris, A Game of Inches (Ivan Dee, 2010 Single-volume edition), page 500.

Baseball for blind players. The balls emit beeps, and a base buzzes once a ball is hit. Runners are out if the ball is fielded before they reach base. Sighted players serve as pitcher and catcher for the batting team, but cannot field. There is a national association for the game, and annual World Series have been held since 1976.

The National Beep Baseball Association: see http://www.nbba.org/ , accessed 11/9/2009.

per Fraser (1975) - A game played in Dundee, Scotland, in about 1900 and later understood as a “corruption of baseball.” Balls were hit with the hand instead of a bat, and the game evidently sometimes used plugging.

Amy Stewart Fraser, Dae Ye Min’ Langsyne?  (Routledge, 1975), pages 59-60.

Maigaard (1941) notes they while most forms of rounders and longball are now lost, three - baseball, cricket, and bo-ball - remain vigorous. He places Bo-Ball in Finland. The only known source on this game, called Lahden Mailaveikot in Finnish, is a Finnish-language website, one that shows photographs of a vigorous game with aluminum bats, gloves, helmets, and much sliding and running but no solid hints for English-speakers about the nature of the game. Similarities to Pesapallo, including the gentle form of pitching, are apparent.

P. Maigaard, “Battingball Games,” reprinted in Block, Baseball Before We Knew It,  Appendix 6.   See page 274.

per Perrin (1902) – Apparently an indoor game derived from baseball. A member of the in-team throws the ball to an area guarded by the pitcher, and runs if and when the ball passes through. There is tagging but no plugging.

E. Perrin, et. Al., One Hundred and Fifty Gymnastic Games  (G. H. Ellis, Boston, 1902), pages 59-63.

per Bronner [1997]. Using three sidewalk squares, a “pitcher” throws the ball into the box closest to his opponent, who tries to slap the ball into the box closest to the pitcher. If he missed the box or the pitcher catches ball on the fly, it is an out. There is no baserunning. Also called “Boxball.”

Simon J. Bronner, "Concrete Folklore: Sidewalk Box Games," Western Folklore  36, no. 2 (1977) ., page 172.

A Swedish game, also played in Germany and Denmark. A batting and running game with four bases, this game involved fungo-style hitting to start a play. As in some forms of longball, a base can be occupied by more than one runner. A caught fly ball gives a point to the out team, but the runner is not thereby retired. Innings are timed. A home run is six points. A 90-degree fair territory is employed. This game may relate to Swedeball, a game reportedly played in the US upper midwest. It has been reported that that Brannboll is played in Minnesota, but no such references are known.

Bunt is downsized baseball. One reported Massachusetts version was a one-on-one game in which any hit ball that reached the not-distant field perimeter was an out. The batter ran out hit balls, and the pitcher fielded them, but thereafter base advancement was done by ghost [imaginary] runners. Terrie Dopp Aamodt reports playing a similar game as an adolescent girl.

C. Bevis, “A Game of Bunt,” in G. Land, Growing Up with Baseball  (UNebraska, 2004), pages 128-130.

T. Aamodt, “The Impossible Dream,” in G. Land, Growing Up with Baseball  (UNebraska, 2004), pages 61-62.

per Appel [1999]. Appel reports that the young Mike Kelly, growing up on Washington DC in the late 1860’s, first played Burn Ball, a form of base ball that included "plugging" or "burning" of baserunners by thrown balls.

Marty Appel, Slide Kelly Slide  (Scarecrow Press, 1999) , page 9.

A game in which a ball is tossed up among players and one player’s name is then called out. That player must obtain the ball and try to hit fleeing compatriots with it. Newell [1883] notes that this game was played in Austria.

William Wells Newell, Games and Songs of American Children  (New York: Dover [1963 reprint], 1883) ., page 181.

A game for three players. Two defend foot-wide holes set about 26 feet apart with a club, or “dog.” A third player throws a four-inch cat toward the hole, and the defender hits it away. If the cat enters the hole, defender and thrower switch places. Gomme, who uses the name Cat and Dog Hole, describes a game using a ball in which a stone replaces the hole where the batter stands, and adds that if the third player catches a hit ball in the air, that player can try to hit the stone, which sends the batter out.

John Brand, Observations on the Popular Antiquities of Great Britain: The Origins of Our Vulgar and Provincial Customs, Ceremonies and Superstitions  (London: George Bell and Sons, 1900) ., page 95.

In their account, Steel and Lyttelton put the distance at 13 yards. Cricket  (Longmans, Green, 1890), page 4.

A. B. Gomme, The Traditional Games o f England, Scotland, and Ireland (David Nutt, 1898),page 410.

A fungo game played in Manhattan in the 1950s. A fungo hitter is replaced by a fielder who catches a ball (or sometimes three balls) on the fly. Played when fewer than six kids were at the ballyard and a team game wasn’t possible.

John Pastier, email of February 12, 2009.

per “Boys’ Own Book” (1881). A game similar to Nineholes, but without the holes. A ball is thrown up, and a player named. If that player cannot catch it before it bounces twice, he must plug another player or lose a point.

Boys’ Own Book: A Complete Encyclopedia of Athletic, Scientific, Outdoor and Indoor Sports  (James Miller, Pub’r, New York, 1881), page 14.

A St. Louis pastime, derived from baseball, involving down-sized bats and balls. The ball is pitched overhand from a distance of 55 feet. There is no running, but imaginary runners advance as in other scrub games. Hit balls are defined as singles, and sometimes as longer hits, depending on where they land. The game is said to have originated in about 1900 among brewery workers using broomsticks and the bungs [corks] used to seal beer barrels. Team sizes vary.

Special thanks to Jeff Kittel, email of 10/11/09, for material on this game.   See also http:///www.angelfire.com/sports/corkball/STLhistory.html . Accessed 10/8/09.

Gregory Christiano describes this as a non-running game in which a player threw a spaldeen against a curb so that it lofted into the field of play. A caught fly was and out, and otherwise the number of bounces determined base advancement, wilth four bounces counting as a home run.

A game played from 1916 to 1926, when it transformed into Softball. Diamond ball was also known as women's baseball. Particularly popular in Sarasota FL, this game was played in the 1920s on sandy beaches (sometimes at night under lights) , and uses a 14-inch ball like used in indoor baseball. Games were played in less than an hour, affording lunch-hour play.Â

Paul Dickson, The Worth Book of Softball (Facts on File, 1994), pages 57 and 58.Â

A Scottish name for rounders as played by “Edinburgh street boys” in about 1880 and by schoolgirls in about 1900.

Amy Stewart Fraser, Dae Ye Min’ Langsyne?: A Pot-pourri of Games, Rhymes, and Ploys of Scottish Childhood  (Routledge, 1975),   page 59.

Fielders catch fungo hits, with a caught fly worth 100 points, a one-bouncer 75 points, etc. A player who accrues 500 points becomes the hitter. In some versions, muffed catches deduct points, and the Hit-the-Bat option for returned throws is employed. Land’s review of schoolyard games includes two references to 500. It is also evidently called Twenty-One in some localities.

G. Land, Growing Up with Baseball  (UNebraska, 2004), pages 61 and 174.

Writing in volume 5, no. 4 (April 2012) of ''Originals,'' Tom Altherr notes that a 1900 source on schoolyard games noted "The game of Flip Up or Sky-Ball is still played by smaller children, and sometimes by large ones (especially girls). It is often played by as many as a dozen players and is here as "Tip-Up," or "Tippy-Up." The 1900 source is D. C. Gibson, "Play Ball," ''Mind and Body: A Monthly Journal'',Volume 7, no 73 (March 1900), page 7. No rules for this game are given, but Sky-ball is elsewhere descrived as a fungo game.

Gregory Christiano recalls this as a fungo game for times where there were too few players for stick-ball in New York. A fielder who caught the ball on the fly went “up” to bat. Land quotes New York City resident Michael Frank: “Hardball? Never. Other baseball-related games we played included Stickball in the street and “Flies-Up” in the playground. The latter game is not further described, but could be a species of Fungo.

G. Land, Growing Up with Baseball  (UNebraska, 2004).

Culin (1891): A batter fungoes balls to a set of fielders. A fielder who first catches a set number of balls on the fly becomes the batter.

Chadwick (1884) describes Fungo as requiring the hitter to deliver the ball on the fly to the fielders, or he loses his place. This practice probably has had numerous local variant names such as Knock Up and Catch and Knocking Flies.

Culin, S. (1891). "Street Games of Boys in Brooklyn." Journal of American Folklore , volume 4, page 232.

Henry Chadwick, Sports and Pastimes for American Boys  (Routledge, New York, 1884) , page 18.

F. G. Cassidy et al., Dictionary of American Regional English  (Harvard University Press, 1996), page 245.

Fuzz-Ball evidently takes many local variant forms, but all employ a tennis ball (often with its surface fuzz burned off and a slim bat. The number of strikes per out and outs per inning, among other parameters, vary from place to place. It is placed in the "fungo" category here, but in some areas real baserunning is seen, making it close to baseball. Teams are often small.

per Perrin (1902). This game involves pitching a ball to a batter who hits it into a field where an opposing team’s fielders are. He tries to reach a goal line at the end of the playing area [80 feet away] and to return to the batting zone without being plugged by the ball. There is no mention of the possibility of remaining safely at the goal area. Three outs constitute a half-inning, and a team that scores 25 “points” [runs] wins the contest. The game resembles the family of "battingball" games reported by Maigaard.

E. Perrin, et al., One Hundred  and Fifty Gymnastic Games  (G. H. Ellis, Boston, 1902), pages 22-23.

This game, described as an amalgam of Baseball and traditional German Schlagball, was introduced in 1986 by Roland Naul in the context of a revival of Turner games for German youth. In the mid-1990s, a one-handed wooden bat was developed especially for the game. As of October 2009, we are uncertain how the two sets of rules were blended to make this new game. The author mentions that the fielding team can score points as well as the batting team.

From 2012 searches, it is not clear that this game is still played.

Roland Naul, “Applied Sport History,” Proceedings of the Sixth Congress of the International Society for the History of Physical Education and Sport  (Plantin-Print, Budapest, 2002), pages 432ff.

A 1921 handbook and a 1922 handbook depicts German Bat Ball as a team game that uses a ball like a volleyball and that has neither a bat nor pitching. A “batter” puts the ball in play by serving or “posting” it [as in schoolyard punchball] and then running around a post (Clark) or to a distant safe-haven area (Elmore/O’Shea). A run is scored if the runner can return to the batting base without being plugged. It is unclear whether the runner can opt to stay at the distant base to avoid being put out. A caught fly is an out, and a three-out-side-out rule applies.

Lydia  Clark , Physical Training for the Elementary Schools  (B. H. Sanborn, Chicago, 1921), pages 240-243.

Emily Elmore and M. O’Shea, A Practical Handbook of Games  (Macmillan, New York, 1922) , pages 36-39.

per Leavy. A biography of Sandy Koufax reports that he played “stickball, punchball, square ball, and Gi-Gi ball in his neighborhood. We don’t know what Gi-Gi Ball is.

Jane Leavy [Koufax bio, page ref needed].

per Wieand. This is a game with pitching and batting but no running. A caught fly ball results in an out, and the batter then goes to the outfield, or grutz, to begin his rotation back to the batting position. If a ball is not caught, the fielder tries to return it to home through an arch made by the batter.

Paul R. Wieand, Outdoor Games of the Pennsylvania Germans  (Plymouth Meeting, PA: Mrs. C. N. Keyser, 1950) ., page 9.

Thomason (1975) recalls Half-Rubber as a 1930s school recess game involving a sponge-rubber ball sliced cleanly in half and a sawed-off broomstick as a bat. Thrown side-arm, the ball had good movement, and was difficult to field. There was no running, but outs and innings were recorded and (virtual) base advancement depending on the lengths that the ball was batted. A 1997 newspaper article recalls a similar game recalled as Half-Ball being played in the Philadelphia area.

This game emerged in a bout 1910 in the SC/GA area of the south, and retained strong popularity into the 1970s.

Hugh M. Thomason, “A Depression-Days Schoolyard Game,” Western Folklore, Vol. 34, Issue 1, January 1975, pages 58-59.

Halfball was a game using half of a rubber ball and imaginary baserunning. It was apparently the same game as Half-rubber.

It was described as a street game.

See Half-Rubber and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halfball.

per Culin. A team game resembling Kick the Ball, but using a simple catapult to put into play a 3-inch stick instead of a ball. Fly outs retire the batsman. The bases are the four street-corners at an intersection.

Culin, "Street Games of Boys in Brooklyn, N.Y. ", page 231.

H. J Philpott used the names "hole-ball and "wibble-wobble" as games that seem consistent with hat-ball. One player would place the ball in a hole or hat, and the other players would scatter before being hit with the ball by the player designated as "it." This game thus shares evasive running and plugging with base ball.

Henry J. Philpott, "A Little Boys' Game with a Ball," Popular Science Monthly, volume 37 (May-October 1890), pages 651-652.

Scotland - per MacLagan. The Scots name for the ordinary English game of Rounders. Pitched balls are struck by hand.

 R. C. MacLagan, "Additions to 'the Games of Argyleshire'," Folklore  16, no. 1 (1905) , page 83.   A similar description appears in Folk Lore A Quarterly Review of Myth, Tradition, Institution, and Custom  (David Nutt, London, 1905), page 83.

Confected in 2009 at an unidentified school in Howland, Ohio, this game (“usually played from May to September”) melds baseball and rounders. Teams of six players populate an area with an infield in the form of an isosceles triangle [two sides are 83 feet long, and the base is 62 feet long, with home set at the angle at the right side of the base, and foul lines extending from home through the two running posts]. The counterparts to balls and strikes are influenced by whether a pitch lands in a net to the rear of the home square. Apparently, a batter cannot stay at a base, but must try to complete a round before the fielders can return the ball to the net. A local league is reported to play the game.

http://howlandrounders.com . Unique among sports organizations, perhaps the Board for this game features a chair and two CEOs.

per Brewster. A down-sized, non-running baseball variant. Two teams of five players form. A regular softball is pitched underhand to the batter. Outs are recorded for caught fly balls and ground balls cleanly fielded inside the baselines. Unlimited swings are permitted. Three-out-side-out innings, and five inning games.

Brewster, American Nonsinging Games .

Evolving from an 1887 innovation in Chicago involving a broomstick as a bat and a boxing glove as the ball, indoor baseball is described in a 1929 survey as particularly popular in gymnasiums in the US mid-west in the early 20th century. The game of softball traces back to indoor play.

Origins -- On Thanksgiving Day at te Farragut Club in Chicgo in 1887, a participant recalled, "[T]he fellows were throwing an ordinary boxing glove around the room, which was struck at by one of the boys with a broom. George W. Hancock suddenly called out, 'Bpys, let's play baseball!'" Hancock was later known as the Father of Indoor Baseball.

See Paul Dickson, The Worth Book of Softball (Facts on File, 1994), Chapter 3 (pages 46-59). Also, John Allen Krout, Annals of American Sport (Yale University Press, 1929) , page 219.

The above quotation is found in Peter Morris, A Game of Inches (Ivan Dee, 2010 single-bvolume edition, page 498.Â

A name for Scrub used in Philadelphia in the 1930s and possibly before/after that.

F. G. Cassidy et al., Dictionary of American Regional English  (Harvard University Press, 1996), pages 47-48.

A communication received from Peadar O Tuatain describes what is known of the ancient game of Irish Rounders. Details of the old game are apparently lost to history, but some rules encoded in 1932 were used for a revival in 1956, and the revival version, which resembles baseball much more than it does English rounders, is still being played. It employs a hurling ball and a game comprises five three-out innings. The game is played without gloves and, perhaps unique among safe-haven games, batted balls caught in the air are not outs.

“Irish Rounders,” email from Peadar O Tuatain to L. McCray, January 30 2002.

per Brewster. A team form of Hat Ball. A player throws a ball to the other group, and runs toward it. If the receiving group can plug the thrower, he is captured, and the game continues until one side is depleted.

Brewster, American Nonsinging Games .

"As a rule, boys played rougher games. One of them was the competitiveKichke-pale or Chizshkes, as it was known in the Polesie region. Kichke-pale was an East European Jewish version of cricket or baseball, and was similar to the English game called Peggy. The kichke was a small peg pointed at both ends, while the pale was the longer stick. The kichke was placed on an elevated spot, near a hole in the ground. The player would hit the pointed end of the peg with the larger stick that would send the peg flying into the air. He would then run and again try to hit the peg while it was airborne, to send it farther away from the plate. The more times one hit the peg, the more skilled the player. The other player would run to get the peg and throw it to the plate. The peg was not to be struck on its return to the plate. But if it were not successfully returned, the first player would then strike the peg wherever it happened to fall. This would continue until the second player got the peg back to the plate, after which he became the striker and the other player, the catcher. The game would go on until the second player scored a given number of hits of the peg, usually twenty or thirty. The loser would then have to give the winner what was called a yarsh, which meant that the winner would have the right to strike the peg even when it was being returned to the plate. The yarsh would end when the peg fell on the plate."

Submitted by John Thorn, email of 8/28/12.

per Culin (1891). A team game generally resembling Kickball, but using a small rubber ball. There is no plugging runners are out if they are between bases when the fielding team returns the kicked ball to a teammate near home. No mention is made of fly outs. There is a three-out-side-out rule, and a game usually comprises four innings. Johnson (1910) lists Kick the Ball as a Baseball game.

Culin, "Street Games of Boys in Brooklyn, N.Y. ", pages 230-231.

G. E. Johnson, What to Do at Recess  (Ginn, Boston, 1910), page 32.

per Culin. A game identical to Kick the Wicket [below] but using a can instead of a wicket.

G. E. Johnson, What to Do at Recess  (Ginn, Boston, 1910), page 230.

per Culin. The wicket is a piece of wood or a short section of a hose. Players kick the wicket, and then run among [usually four] bases. An “it” player tries to catch the ball, or to retrieve and reposition it while baserunners are between bases. The game is not described as a team game.

G. E. Johnson, What to Do at Recess (Ginn, Boston, 1910), page 230.

A traditional school recess game in the U.S., Kickball has lately grown in popularity as a co-ed adult game. Kickball strongly resembles Baseball, but the large rubber ball is put in play by bowled delivery and struck by a kicker-runner, who then runs from base to base. Plugging below the neck retires a runner who not at a base. The rules of the World Adult Kickball Association, with 25,000 registered members, specifies 11 players per team, 60-foot basepaths, and a strike zone about 30 inches wide and one foot high.

per MacLagan. A player stands at the center of 11 stations marked with a stone, and a player at each. At the central player’s signal, the other 11 must change positions, and he tries to strike one with the ball before they can complete their move. Each position can be occupied by but one player.

MacLagan, "Additions to 'the Games of Argyleshire'.", page 80.

An off-shoot of Indoor Baseball played early in the 20th Century. In 1920, 64 men's teams and 25 women's teams played regularly in the Twin Cities. Authorites changed the name of the game to diamond ball in 1922. In the 1930s, the game merged with sofball.

See Paul Dickson, The Worth Book of Softball (Facts on File, 1994), page 52-53.

A fungo game in which a player who catches the ball on the fly qualifies to become the hitter. Regionally variant names include Knock-Up and Knock-Up and Catch.

F. G. Cassidy et al., Dictionary of American Regional English  (Harvard University Press, 1996), page 245.

“Among the several types of Dutch kopfspeel there is one like rounders.” No other lead to kopfspeel is provided, and we don't know if the game is still alive.

Walter Endrei and Laszlo Zolnay, Fun and Games in Old Europe  (Budapest: Corvina Klado, 1986) .

Maigaard (1941) notes they while most forms of rounders and longball were now lost, three - baseball, cricket, and bo-ball - remain vigorous. Bo-Ball is played in Finland. The only known source on this game, called Lahden Mailaveikot in Finnish, is a Finnish-language website, on that shows photographs of a vigorous game with aluminum bats, gloves, helmets, and much sliding and running but no other helpful hints for English-speakers. Similarities to Pesapallo are apparent.

HELP? Can you help us get a fix on the nature of contemporary Lahden Mailaveikot?

Per Maigaard, “Battingball Games,” Genus 5 (1941). Reprinted in Block, Baseball Before We Knew It ,  Appendix 6.   See page 260ff in Block.

Apparently a form of Stickball played in Chicago area streets as early as the 1940s that uses 16-inch circumference softballs (the standard softball is about 12 inches), a slow-pitch delivery, small teams, and an unspecified bat. The type of hit achieved depended on where the ball fell among lines marked on the street (implying that baserunning was not part of this game.

F. G. Cassidy et al., Dictionary of American Regional English  (Harvard University Press, 1996), page 365.

Only two sources mentions this game. Cassidy implies that there were only two bases, and that if a runner only got to the far base, that runner would need to return home as the pitcher and catcher played catch. The era of play is uncertain.

A 2004 website for a teen camp program also soptslights its "long-dutch baseball" tradition for both boys and girls. The camp is located at Onaway Island in Wisconsin.

F. G. Cassidy et al., Dictionary of American Regional English  (Harvard University Press, 1996), page 415.

This invented game, an invented form of Kick Ball, is an indoor game reportedly played in many US schools. It uses large mats instead of bases, and multiple runners can safely occupy a base. The standard format uses an all-out-side-out rule to define a half-inning, can involve large teams, can have areas (e.g., a scoreboard or a basketball hoop) for designated home runs, a fly rule, tagging, and scoring only when a runner passes home and successfully returns to first base. Some schools use the infield format of Massachusetts base ball - the striker hits from between the first and fourth base. Foul territory varies, but forward hits are required.

Described in 1977 as a children’s game played at PS 172 in New York City, Mickey resembles traditional Barn Ball. A pitcher bounces a spaldeen ball off a wall and a batter tries to hit it on the rebound. Rules for baserunning and scoring are not given.

F. G. Cassidy et al., Dictionary of American Regional English  (Harvard University Press, 1996), pages 586-587.

per Brewster. Baseball for small groups. This game is very similar to Scrub, Work-up and Rounds, but sets the usual number of players at 12, and specifies a rotation of 1B-P-C-batter instead of 1B-C-P-batter. A variant name is Move-up Piggy.

Brewster, American Nonsinging Games .   Brewster cites Mason and Mitchell, Active Games  [“Rotation”], page 327 and Boyd, [“Piggie Move Up”], page 65.

F. G. Cassidy et al., Dictionary of American Regional English  (Harvard University Press, 1996).

per Brewster. A Czech variant of Call Ball is called Nations. Each player is assigned a country name, a ball is placed in a hole, and a country name is called out. The player with that name retrieves the ball as all others start running away. The ball-holder can then call “stop,” and the others must freeze in position while he attempts to plug one of them.

Brewster, American Nonsinging Games .

This game is mentioned, along with Swede Ball in a 1908 book on North Dakota folkways. Said to be taught to local children by Swedish newcomers and a Swedish teacher, the game is only depicted as being “played somewhat like 'one old cat.’” It seems conceivable that this game is Brannboll. Maigaard (1941) notes a Norwegian form of Long Ball, noted as “probably recent,” that uniquely uses a field that resembles baseball’s use of a 90-degree fair territory delimitation.

Collections of the State Historical Society , Volume 2 (State Printers and   Binders, Bismark ND, 1908), pages 213-214.

Per Maigaard, "Battingball Games," Genus  5 (1941) see Block, Appendix 6, page 263.

Novaball was played as All-Star competition by the Arlington softball program in 2001 and 2002. Each inning, one team selected a special rule for that inning examples are clockwise baserunning, the use of 6 bases in place of 4, force outs implemented by throwing the ball into a 5-gallon paint bucket, etc.

A game played at the intersection of West 184th Street and Park Avenue in New York City, as recalled by Gregory Christiano. A player would slam the ball into a painted square on a concrete median barrier, and it would rebound onto Park Avenue, then still paved with cobblestones. The player would then try to reach the first base (an open sewer) before a fielder could field it and throw to the baseman there. There were two sewer-bases and home in this game.

A game described in 1945 another name for town ball, and played in North Carolina with an all-out-side-out rule.Â

There is not conclusive evidence that Old Hundred is or was a safe-haven ballgame.

W. Battle , Memories of an Old-Time Tar Heel , (UNC Press, Chapel Hill, 1945) , page 57.

The game was played as late as the 1940 by the Mi-kmaq tribe in eastern Canada. "Old-fashion preserved an intriguing number of remnantsof ball-games of the pre-Knickerbocker era,including no foul ground, one out per inning, soaking (plugging), and soft, hnome-made balls." The rules were reported to be flexible.Â

Colin Howell, Northern Sandlots (U of Toronto Press, 1995), pages 186-189, per Peter Morris, A Game of Inches (Ivan Dee, 2010 sisngle-volume edition, page 504.

In a 1939 account, Om El Mahag is described as elementary baseball, and said to be analogous to rounders and old-cat. It was reported that Om El Mahag was only played by the Berber tribes.

Descriptions of the game are not detailed enough at this point to determine how it related, or relates, to base ball, long ball, or other early safe-haven games.

Ado  Gini, "Rural Ritual Games in Libya ," Rural Sociology  4, no. 1 (1939) .

A 1934 reference from Massachusetts: “One-three-one-one” was the old game the boys used to play when I went to school. Regular baseball - very similar to Stub One.”

Query: This is our only reference to one-three-one-one or Stub One. Can we find others? Is it reasonable to surmise that "1 3 1 1" reflected the number and deployment of fielders?

F. G.  Cassidy , Dictionary of American Regional English   (Harvard University Press, 1996), page 882.

This game[141] is described as a reduced form of softball with no running (ghost runners determine when runs score) and soft tossing by a team-mate as pitching. Fair ground is defines by an acute angle much smaller than 90 degrees, and a line is drawn about 20 yards from home. Three or four players make up a team. Balls hit past the line and not caught on the fly are counted as singles, unless they pass the deepest fielder. A bobbled grounder is counted as Reached on Error. The game is played as a beach game in the San Diego area[142]. Pitches are gentle lobs. Peter Morris writes that this game is an offshoot of softball.

Peter Morris, A Game of Inches (Ivan Dee, 2010 single-volume edition), page 499.

Described as akin to Pepper, this bat-control game involved hitting lobbed pitches toward a fence featuring extra-base zones. Cleanly-fielded balls, wide hits, and hits over the fence were outs. Baserunning is not part of this game.

W. Runquist, “The Hill,” in G. Land, Growing Up with Baseball  (UNebraska, 2004), page 98.

Pesapallo is “Finnish Baseball.” This invented game is based on American baseball, and on the traditional Finnish games kuningaspallo, pitkapallo, and poltopallo, and was introduced in 1922. Some call it Finland’s national game.

Pesapallo  involves two 9-player teams, pitching via vertical toss from close to the batter, a zigzag basepath of progressive length [about 65 feet from home to first, about 150 feet from third to home], optional running with fewer than two strikes, a three-out-side-out rule, runners being either  “put out” or “wounded” (thus not counted as an out, and allowed to bat again), no ground-rule home runs, and four-inning games.

Nations with sizable Finnish emigrants (Sweden, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) compete in the annual world cup of Pesapallo.

Called an “advanced form” of German Bat Ball, this game involves three bases for runners instead of one, and runners can remain at a base if they believe they cannot safely advance further. Runners can tag up after caught flies. Otherwise, the rules of German Bat Ball apply.

Emily Elmore and M. O’Shea, A Practical Handbook of Games (Macmillan, New York, 1922) , pages 93-95.

Heslop (1893) defines this word: “a game resembling the game of Rounders, however, the ball is always struck with the hand.”

O. Heslop, Northumberland Words  (Oxford U Press, London, 1893), page 535.

A game - evidently evolved uniquely by Bob Boynton -- with two players, a field marked with zones for singles, doubles, etc., and employing a ping-pong ball thrown from 33 feet to a batter standing at a home plate of 12 inches square. Bats were the size of broomsticks with toweling for padding. There was some fielding but all “baserunning” used only imaginary runners.

B. Boynton, “Diceball and Pingball,” in G. Land, Growing Up with Baseball  (UNebraska, 2004) pages 156 - 159.

Gregory Christiano recalls this urban game as being a derivative on Stickball for two or more players. A square painted on a building was the strike zone. A batter used a broomstick to hit a pitched spaldeen ball across the street, where the height at which the ball hit a wall across the street determined the degree of base advancement. This game resembles Strike-Out.

a traditional Finnish game, features of which were incorporated into Pesapallo.

Johnson (1910) lists Playground Ball among seven “Baseball" games. The rules of this game are not explained.

G. E. Johnson, What to Do at Recess  (Ginn, Boston, 1910), page 32.

This game is modification of cricket evidently designed to expedite play, and is played at several English schools. Batters must run when they make contact with a bowled ball. Bowled balls can not hit the ground in front of the wicket, and a baseball bat is used instead of a flat cricket bat.

Maigaard (1941) lists this game as the Swiss variation of Long Ball.

Per Maigaard, "Battingball Games," Genus  5 (1941) reprinted in Block, Baseball Before We Knew It (U. Nebraska, 2005), Appendix 6, page 263.

This is a variation of baseball in which a rubber ball is punched, and not hit with a bat, to start a play. One set of modern rules is at http://www.spaldeen.com/punchball.html. Johnson (1910) lists Punch Ball under “Baseball games.” An urban form of this game is recalled by Gregory Christiano.

G. E. Johnson, What to Do at Recess (Ginn, Boston, 1910), page 32.

A brief 4/30/1989 letter to the New York Times argued that stickball was a "sissyfied" sport in comparison to punchball. "We played with six or seven players, nickel a player. We had one-sewer homers and two-sewer homers. The game was so popular in Brooklyn that a daily newspaper, The Graphic, sponsored a punchball tournament, pitting one street against another." The players used a spaldeen, and chalked in foul lines and first and third bases.

per Brewster. When a player throws a ball high in the air, the others run away. When he catches it, he yells “caught,” the others freeze in position, and he tries to plug them.

Brewster, American Nonsinging Games .

per Culin. (Elsewhere Roly Poly, Roll Ball, Roley Holey.) Each player defends a hole (or hat). If another player rolls a “medium-sized” rubber ball into the hole, he tries to hit another player with it to prevent having a count made against him.

Culin, "Street Games of Boys in Brooklyn , N.Y.." page 234.

McCurdy (1911) lists this game, along with Old Cat and Fungo, as minor forms of bat-and-ball. One might speculate that it is a non-team game like Scrub and Move-Up, in which players rotate among positions on the field as outs are made.

J. H. McCurdy, “Classification of Playground Activities,” American Physical Education Review  Volume 16 (1911), page 49.

Round Cat is a game noted by Tom Altherr in September 2009. We find several brief mentions of this game being played from Washington DC southward, but no explanation of how it was played. One account identifies it as similar to Scrub as played in New England.

Dialect Notes  (American Dialect Society, Norwood MA, 1896), page 214.

per Brewster. Baseball modified for small groups. Players count off, the first two or three becoming batters, the next the pitcher, the next the catcher, the next first base, etc. For most outs, the retired player goes to the last fielding position, and others move up one position, the pitcher becoming a batter. For fly outs, the batter and the successful fielder exchange places. The game is not notably different from Scrub and Workup.

Brewster, American Nonsinging Games .

Gene Carney describes this game as a one-out-all-out team game, but notes that “a fielder catching a ball on the fly joined the offense immediately.”

G. Carney, “The Tennis Court ,” in G. Land, Growing Up with Baseball  (UNebraska, 2004), page 110.

Another label for the game Workup and Move-Up: The available number of players is initially divided between several defensive positions and a smaller number of batters. If a batter is put out, he/she becomes the fielder who is last in line to return to batting, and must work the way back position by position. A fielder to catches a fly ball exchanges places immediately with the batter. Because the small number of player precludes team play, “ghost runners” and special ground rules are sometimes required. Plugging is allowed, at least when the ball is soft enough to permit that. Once called Ins and Withs in the Philadelphia area.

A 2009 article reports on a game played mostly in Chicago involving a ball of 16” circumference and using no gloves. No other variations are covered. The article is not clear on the local name for the game, but another account calls the large ball a “clincher,” and notes that games were sometimes played in the street. (Note: Line Ball, another Chicago game, also used a large ball.) It appears that the game generally follows the rules of softball.

Query: Can you supply further details about this game?

M. Davey, “Gloveless Players Hold on to Softball Dream,” New York Times , 9/18/09.

E. Hageman, “The Clincher,” In Gary Land, ed., Growing Up with Baseball  (UNebraska, 2004), pages 131-132.

Maigaard (1941) lists this game. It varies from other regional variations in placing the batting area mid-way between the home area and the first of two "resting areas" for runners. It is possible that this represents a form of Palant.

Query:Â can we determine the local name for this game?

Per Maigaard, "Battingball Games," Genus  5 (1941) reprinted in  Block Baseball Before We Knew It , Appendix 6, page 263.

"There were no bats, no nything except a lot of boys, as a ball with which they were trying to hit one another. But if one threw and missed, or his ball was caught, he was out. When all but one, or an agreed number, were out, the game was ended."Â

Thus, "sockball" seems to have been a game we might now call dodgeball.

Henry J. Philpott, "A Little Boys' Game with a Ball," Popular Science Monthly , volume 37 (May to October 1890), page 651.

An 1887 source reporting that Rounders was still being played in some Southern and Western states, also noted that the game was called Sockey in some states. Our only reference to Sockey is in an 1888 recollection of ballplaying at a PA school, and notes that this game was played against the wall of a stable.

Hall, The Tribune Book of Open-Air Sports  (1887), cited in K. Grover, Hard at Play: Leisure in America, 1840-1940  (UMass Press, 1992), page 244.

F. C. Tatum, Old West Town  Ferris Brothers, Philadelphia , 1888), page 8.

As described in Bealle, Softball evolved from Indoor Baseball, which was first played in 1887. Softball rules are close to Baseball rules, but the infield dimensions were set to be smaller and the ball is pitched with an underhand motion. A full team has ten players. Many forms are played, depending on the age and agility of the players. The term Softball debuted in 1926.

Paul Dickson, The Worth Book of Softball (Facts on File, 1994).

Morris A Bealle, The Softball Story  (Washington: Columbian Publishing Group, 1956) .

The name for rounders in Crathie in Scotland around 1900, according to a 1975 source.

Amy Stewart Fraser, Dae Ye Min’ Langsyne?  (Routledge, 1975), page 59.

per Leavy. A biography of Sandy Koufax reports that he played “stickball, punchball, square ball, and Gi-Gi ball in his neighborhood. In one 1922 handbook, Square Ball appears to be a variant of Corner Ball in which the peripheral plugging team and the central target team are equal in number, and is which the ball, after hitting a player on the target team, can be retrieved, “Halt!” called, and the ball thrown at “frozen” members of the peripheral team.

 Jane Leavy [Koufax bio, page needed].

Emily W. Elmore, A Practical Handbook of Games , (Macmillan, NY, 1922), pages 17-18.

A game usually played in urban streets. The ball is rubber -- a “spaldeen,” now virtually the same that used in racketball, and bats vary but include broom handles. Allowances are made for traffic of various sorts, and the bases are specified at the start of play. (Verification needed.) One variation of the game is found in a recollection of New York play by Gregory Christiano.

A fungo-style game for two teams as shown in an 1863 handbook. A feeder throws the ball to a batter, who hits it as far as possible. A member of the out-team picks up that ball and bowls it toward the bat, which lies on the ground. If the ball hits or hops over the bat, the batsman is out. The batsman is also out with three missed swings.

The Boy's Handy Book ., pages 18-19.

This game is most often seen as a schoolyard game with from two to five players. A strike zone is drawn on a suitable wall, and a batter stands before it, attempting to hit a tennis ball or rubber ball. Baserunning is not usual. All other rules - for base advancement by imaginary runners, changing of batters, etc., seem flexible to circumstance. (Verification needed.)

Apparently a baseball-like game, perhaps played in Massachusetts in the early 20th Century. We have but one obscure reference to this game, in Cassidy.

F. G. Cassidy, Dictionary of American Regional English   (Harvard University Press, 1996), page 882.

This game is mentioned, along with Norwegian Ball in a 1908 book on North Dakota folkways. Said to be taught to local children by Swedish newcomers and a Swedish teacher, the game is only depicted as being “played somewhat like 'one old cat.’” It seems conceivable that this game is related to Brannboll. Maigaard (1941) lists two Swedish variants for Long Ball.

Collections of the State Historical Society , Volume 2 (State Printers and   Binders, Bismark ND, 1908), pages 213-214.

Maigaard, "Battingball Games." Genus 5 (1941).  (Reprinted as Appendix 6 of Block, Baseball Before We Knew It.) See page 263.

Arabian -- In an 1873 book on Arab children’s games Tabeh is described as “base ball and drop ball.” That’s all we know right now.

Henry H. Jessup, The Women of the Arabs, with a Chapter for Children (Dodd Mead, 1873) , page 90.

Only framentary information is as yet known about Tire-Ball. The game takes its name from the length of bicycle tube that served as the game's ball (later, a short section of garden hose filled that need more often. Other rules are unclear to us at this point.

See also the 4th paragraph at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halfball.

Writing of the late 1860’s boyhood of a World War I General, Johnston (1919) writes that “the French boys were accustomed to play a game called tournoi, or tournament, which was something similar to the game of Rounders.” That’s all we seem to know about Tournoi.

Charles Johnston, Famous Generals of the Great War  (Page Company, Boston, 1919), page 253.

Heslop (1893) defines this word as “a boys’ game of ball, otherwise known as Rounders, and formerly called Pie-Ball locally.

O. Heslop, Northumberland Words  (Oxford U Press, London, 1893), page 741.

Gomme (1898) compares this game to Cricket, except that the ball is “cop’d” (whaa?) instead of bowled, and it uses a hole instead of stumps.

Alice B. Gomme, The Traditional Games of England, Scotland, and Ireland  (Davit Nutt, London, 1898), page 310.

This game is a fungo game that enhances fielding skill. A batter hits a ball, fungo style, to a number of fielders. A fielder receives 7 points for a caught fly, 5 points for a ball caught on one bounce, 3 points for catching a bouncing ball, and 1 point for retrieving a ball at rest. Points are similarly lost for muffed balls. Fielders who amass 21 points become the batter. Another form of this game is Five Hundred , which proceeds similarly.

A sport that claims 1500 players among the women of Queensland, Australia, Vigoro is a souped-up version of (slightly down-sized) cricket. A key point is that if a ball Is hit forward of the crease, running is compulsory.

Gomme (1898) compares Waggles to a game of four-player Cricket using cats instead of balls.

Alice B. Gomme, The Traditional Games of England, Scotland, and Ireland  (Davit Nutt, London, 1898), page 329.

This game uses a smaller ball than US baseball, and features a flattened bat, underhand pitching, eleven-player teams, no foul ground, an all-out-side-out rule, and two-inning games.

George Vecsey, "Playing Baseball in Wales ," New York Times , August 11 1986.

Kevin O'Brien - www.welshbaseball.co.uk

A writer's recollection of past Boston sports, including base ball,  includes the unexplained game of "Whoop."

Letter to the editor, Boston Eveing Transcript, December 21, 1859. Contributed by Joanne Hulbert.

H. J Philpott used the names "hole-ball and "wibble-wobble" as games that seem consistent with hat-ball. One player would place the ball in a hole or hat, and the other players would scatter before being hit with the ball by the player designated as "it." This game thus shares evasive running and plugging with base ball.

Henry J. Philpott, "A Little Boys' Game with a Ball," Popular Science Monthly, volume 37 (May-October 1890), pages 651-652.

A Wiffle Ball is a hollow plastic ball with holes strategically placed in order to exaggerate sideways force, and thus enabling pitchers to produce severe curves and drops. Competitive games of Wiffleball are known, some exhibiting team play. None, we believe, appear to involve baserunning.

In this game opponents position themselves on the opposite sides of as wire strung over the street. Singles, doubles, etc., are determined by whether the ball hits the wire and whether it is caught by the out team as it descends. There is no running or batting in this urban game.

Another label for the game Scrub/Move-Up: The available number of players is initially divided between several defensive positions and a smaller number of batters. A batter who is put out, becomes the fielder who is last in line to return to batting [right field, when there are enough fielders], and must work the way back position by position. A fielder to catches a fly ball exchanges places immediately with the batter. Because the small number of player precludes team play, “ghost runners” and special ground rules are sometimes required. Plugging is allowed when the ball is soft enough to permit that.

Two examples of Work-Up are depicted in G. Land, Growing Up with Baseball  (UNebraska, 2004), pages 83 and 175.


Is the 'Most Violent Street in America' Haunted?

Deep in the heart of New York&rsquos Chinatown lies a path so infamous it is known as the "most violent street in America."

Over the years, Doyers Street has alternately been dubbed &ldquoBloody Angle&rdquo and &ldquoMurder Alley&rdquo for the amount of killings that have occurred there.

But is America&rsquos most violent street also haunted?

Panic on the Streets

Shaped like a serpent slithering through downtown Manhattan, Doyers Street has played host to a massive amount of violence and corruption since the 19th century.

Named after the 18th century Dutch immigrant Hendrik Doyer, who once ran a distillery on the street, it became a haven for immigrants coming to America for a better life, particularly Asian immigrants who settled in the neighborhood.

&ldquoDoyers Street is this very small street known for this very crooked angle that it has. It's surrounded by mostly 19th century tenements with businesses around the way," historian and "Bowery Boys" podcast co-host Greg Young told InsideEdition.com. "But because of that angle, it's one of the most unusual streets in New York City and it has a lot of urban legend surrounding it."

He added: &ldquoThe first Chinese immigrants first came to this neighborhood around 1850, 1860, and were really entrenched in this neighborhood by about the 1890s and they brought with them a lot of different kinds of customs that you couldn't find anywhere else in New York or in most of the United States actually.

&ldquoSo as a result of this, because of the food, because of the opium dens, just because of some of the more exotic customs, this neighborhood also became a Bohemian destination. People from other quarters of the city, like from Greenwich Village, [would be] going down there to maybe have an evening in Chinatown.&rdquo

During the late 19th century and early 20th century, the street also became a haven for Chinese gangs known as Tongs. With its hidden doors and tunnels, and narrow alley, Doyers Street offered lots of cover.

&ldquoThere were many ways to actually access those tunnels here in the late 19th century. So you could be having a shootout, or a fight, or something, and then just sort of like spirit away quickly into an underground tunnel. And if the police came, they would never find you,&rdquo Young said.

Due to the high crime on the street, it quickly became infamous.

&ldquoIt got this reputation as being the most violent street in America because there was so much violence on the street, these actual attacks between gangs, that a lot of it would even go unreported, and that even major incidents of crime that would happen there,&rdquo Young said.

One of the first mass shootings in the history of New York City occurred on Doyers Street in 1905 when rival gangs opened fire on each other during a performance at the Chinese Theater, claiming the lives of three people.

Fires would also break out in the tenement buildings on the street and would be difficult to get under control due to the narrowness of the street, leaving many trapped inside the apartments to perish.

&ldquoI think that Doyers Street is actually one of the most haunted-seeming places, and [it] has a very mysterious vibe to it. Partially because almost all the architecture, nothing has changed really, in like several decades, everything feels as if this is how it looked 100 years ago. Sort of feels like you're a visitation from the past, a little bit,&rdquo Young said. &ldquoAnd so, all of it collectively, although it's a great place to experience history, it also is a very moody place because it is very stuck in time in many senses.&rdquo

The Walking Dead?

Inspired by the new CBS series "Evil," InsideEdition.com teamed up with the Gotham Paranormal Research Society to see if the street is haunted because of its violent history.

According to legend, the Doyers Street is shaped like a serpent so that spirits would find it difficult to navigate off the block and not penetrate other areas of Chinatown.

&ldquoThe street is still mysterious today because there are underground passages that still exist, that are still used, probably for less nefarious purposes than they were before, but you can make your imagination run wild as you cross the street at Doyers, and again, on a certain moody day, you never know what you're going to see,&rdquo Young said.

A family with the Gotham Paranormal Society, Angela, Bill and Daniel Artuso, investigated Doyers Street with a series of gadgets and gizmos that help detect the presence of light, sound and vibrations that humans cannot sense on their own.

Due to the volume of foot traffic and noise on the street, the team had to go underground in one of the tunnels to find a quieter area for the mechanisms to work.

Angela, Bill, and Daniel spoke into the ether and asked the spirits if they would come out and touch any of the objects the team had set up.

After much waiting, the team tried a new tactic that they had never tested before. By using Google Translate, the team began asking the same questions to the spirits in Chinese in the hopes of communicating with the spirits walking among them.

Following a few tests, including one in which period music was played, there was suddenly a spike on one of the devices, suggesting something might have been in the foyer with the team.

&ldquoSee what's difficult too is if we think we're hearing a response, we can't be 100% sure if it's coming from upstairs or the door behind us. So we have that challenge,&rdquo Angela explained.

Watch the video above to see what the team concluded on whether the street was haunted or not.


The history of English soccer, from violent peasants to multi-million dollar megastars

(Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

With the World Cup on, there are many out there who have no idea about the history of this long-loved sport. If you love soccer, you're probably only aware of its history from recent times. But soccer has a long, gruesomely violent, and hugely interesting past. And so begins a tale of how a violent peasant pastime became a multi-million dollar industry.

Traces of soccer's history go way, way back. The Greeks had a game called phaininda, which seems to have involved athletes hurling and catching a ball (there is a marble relief of this in the National Museum in Athens). This game may have been a precursor of the Roman game harpastum, where a small, hard ball was thrown among a throng of players divided into teams.

In the ninth century in Britain, a monk recorded how every year on Shrove Tuesday the youth of London "would go into the fields to play at the famous game of ball."

The first recorded 'hand of God' controversy in Ancient Rome. Unlike expensive courtly pursuits such as jousting, these games required no specialized equipment and were thus open to all social classes. The innovation of a goal (usually a prominent local landmark) may have derived from the chivalric "passage of arms," a military exercise in which a group of knights attempted to defend the gate of a castle or town from attack.

The first unambiguous reference to soccer in England is a writ for preserving the peace in London (dated 13 April 1314), which notes the "great uproar in the City, through certain tumults arising from the striking of large footballs in the public fields." That soccer — or as its known in most parts of the world, football — could lead to serious injury or death is borne out by the records. In 1321, for example, one player died from wound sustained after accidentally running onto a sheathed knife.

Yet despite a succession of royal proclamations promoting archery and a statute of 1409-10 forbidding laborers and servants from "playing at the Balls," this "common, undignified, and worthless" game remained ever popular.

Soccer was also entertaining a spectator sport in the making. The dangers of the game though, remained. Civic authorities in 17th-century London, Manchester, Grimsby, and Clitheroe banned soccer playing in the streets, fearing broken windows and tumults.

They were not being alarmist, as a riot instigated by soccer players in the fens only a few months before the outbreak of the First English Civil War demonstrated. Another disturbance became a prelude to the Second Civil War: unhappy that Christmas had been abolished, rioters at Canterbury used a soccer match to attract an unruly crowd to their cause.

In the 18th century, the rules we now recognize on the pitch today, began to emerge. At one match it was determined that "two men will not be allowed to engage one only." Similarly, at a game played at Ditchingham in 1741, there were judges whose job was to settle "all differences that may arise." By the late 18th century, members of the aristocracy, keen to have a healthy work force, began organising matches — often in concert with local publicans. Prizes in the form of hats were provided for the winners (losers tended to receive stockings).

Public school rules

From the late 18th century and through into the 19th century, increased concern for public order, tighter labor discipline, the enclosure of land, and migration to the cities led to an erosion of popular customs. Soccer was not immune from these changes.

Though the game continued to be played in highly publicized contests, traditional soccer was in decline. At the same time the public schools, where hitherto soccer had been regarded as ungentlemanly and "fit only for butcher boys," began to codify the rules of their ball games.

At Rugby, written rules that permitted players to carry ball were set down in 1845. Eton followed suit in 1849 with rules that, in deliberate contrast to Rugby, forbade Etonians from handling the ball. At the universities, undergraduates brought with them the rules favored by their public schools.

After some attempts to reconcile the various codes Cambridge produced a revised code in 1863 which made no mention of handling the ball. These Cambridge rules were to form the basis of the code eventually adopted by the Football Association established later that year.

Passion and professionalism

The growth of Association soccer in the late 19th century was remarkable. Amateur clubs sometimes linked to firms or churches, but more often reflecting neighbourhood loyalties, mushroomed in the industrial towns and cities of the north (in the 1880s Liverpool alone had more than one hundred).

Many teams built their grounds among factories and the worker's houses, cementing the support of their local communities. By the early 20th century many of the largest cities had two major teams and the often intense local rivalry between these clubs was regularly played out before hordes of excited, partisan spectators that represented the largest regular gatherings in peace-time.

The sectarian-fuelled passions of the 50,000 or more who regularly witnessed the New Year's Day clashes between Celtic and Rangers found an outlet in 1909 when 6,000 fans rioted following a draw between the two teams 54 policemen were injured, the ground damaged and virtually every street-lamp in the vicinity of the stadium destroyed.

The fierce competitiveness that drove teams towards league and cup glory accelerated the professionalisation of soccer. Hungry for success on the pitch, teams began to recruit players from far and wide to realize their ambitions. Victorious teams, like the side that won the cup for Tottenham Hotspur in 1901, often contained no local players. Yet supporters continued to identify with the individuals that wore their team colors.

Professional soccer players were perceived as working-class heroes and were paid accordingly: in 1931 the maximum annual salary of a professional player (including unofficial bonuses) was probably nearly £400, a figure far higher than the average industrial wage. Transfer fees were also forever on the increase.

In the 1930s soccer was still seen as cheap entertainment, but it was also big business, providing growing employment opportunities. Demand for news had created sports papers like the Saturday afternoon Pink 'Un and Green'Un. Demand for food and drink benefited the catering trade. Demand for cigarettes led to the cult of the cigarette card made famous by John Player and Son. And the demand for gambling spawned pools companies like Littlewoods and Vernons.

There was also advertising the FA Cup finalists of 1934 promoted flannel trousers, Shredded Wheat and shoe-polish. By the eve of the World War II, The Times could describe soccer as "something like a national industry".

The golden age?

In the post-war era we have witnessed an ever-widening gulf between rich and poor clubs, where success for the elite is no longer measured by performance on the pitch but by performance on the stock exchange.

Clubs now recruit managers from outside the U.K. and buy players of every nationality. In their wake have come team doctors, dieticians, sports psychologists, and publicists. Players are now celebrities with agents and personal assistants. The best earn more in a week than the prime minister does in a year — and more in six weeks than a nurse will make in a lifetime of service with the NHS.

The spectacle we watch and read about daily is sold to us with an ever-increasing sophistication that maximizes a brand loyalty unparallelled on the high street.

Soccer has never had it so good, but questions remain as to the game's future direction. Will, as some predict, the industry bubble burst? Will fans tire of a handful of clubs cleaning up domestically and sharing the European prizes between them? Financial Fair Play has proved to be toothless. Hardly a surprise, perhaps, given the high-stakes nature of the game.

So what now? No salary caps and unlimited transfer fees mean that in England there's nothing to prevent the richest clubs from buying not only the best established players but also many unproven kids — stars in the making who aren't yet old enough to vote. And if the best indicator of where a team will finish is its annual wage bill — occasional managerial brilliance and incompetence excepted — things might get a little too predictable for fans already forced to shell out more to watch a game than they ever have before.


4. The Daybreak Boys

New York’s 19th-century gang activity wasn’t limited to the rough and tumble streets of Manhattan—it also extended into the waters of the East River. The Daybreak Boys were one of the most ruthless crews of “river pirates” who preyed on the city’s booming shipping industry during the late 1840s and 1850s. As their name suggests, the Daybreakers— whose leaders went by such colorful monikers as Cow-legged Sam McCarthy and Slobbery Jim —preferred to strike in the hours before dawn. Using small rowboats, these juvenile gangsters would silently row their way alongside anchored shipping vessels. Sneaking aboard, they would steal as much cargo as they could before returning to their dinghies and escaping to a rendezvous point at a gin mill in the Fourth Ward.

To prove their mettle, prospective members were reportedly required to have already killed at least once before joining the group, and the Daybreak Boys were supposedly responsible for more than 30 murders— it wasn’t unusual for an unlucky watchman to end up with a slit throat or a fractured skull during one of their robberies. The gang reportedly fell apart in the late 1850s after a police crackdown, but not before they had claimed thousands of dollars in booty.


Baseball's 100 Greatest Players

by The Sporting News (1998)

What are your feelings about this particular list? Do you agree or disagree with The Sporting News choices? Sound off on our baseball message boards.

Why did we choose a Willie Mays quotation instead of a Babe Ruth quote? Because Mays contributed to the book with author Ron Smith.

Please consider purchasing this great coffee table book through our Amazon links. Your comm ission helps our site grow and we are thankful.


Board Games

A few board games, such as checkers, chess and backgammon were common even before 1800s. However, it was during the 1800s that many new board games were made. Most board games during this time period were used to teach or improve a child's mind. For example, when a player landed on a ladder square in the popular game snakes and ladders, he was greeted with a picture of a child doing something good. Then, he moved forward a number of spaces. The snake squares were pictures of disobedience and caused the child to move backward. Other games dealt with science, math or geography. Games such as picture lotto taught children words. It was also during this time that Milton Bradley became a household name with his game The Checkered Game of Life.


Remembering Dallas’ Historically Black Neighborhood

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – One of the oldest historically black communities of Dallas still has traces of its imprint attached to present-day Dallas, but most may not have seen its origin. That&rsquos because the remnants of the original community sit under Dallas&rsquo Central Expressway.

East of present-day Downtown Dallas sits Booker T. Washington High School, St. Paul United Methodist Church, the former Moorland YMCA, now occupied by Dallas Black Dance Theatre. Those institutions were the centerpieces of early 20th century life for African Americans of Jim Crow Dallas.

&ldquoI&rsquom 81-years old, and this was my neighborhood&rdquo, Dr. Robert Prince reminisced, while walking down Flora Street near Washington High. The development neighbors called &ldquoNorth Dallas&rdquo included a large number of stores, theatres and other businesses relegated to blacks only. Dr. Prince was a boy growing up near the heralded Thomas and Hall Streets.

&ldquoYou risked your freedom going downtown, if you were not with a white man&rdquo, Dr. Prince said of the era of his great-grandfather Dock Rowen. Rowen operated a number of businesses in Black Dallas in the early 1900&rsquos. Prohibited from social activity in the heart of Dallas, black descendants of slaves grew out of &ldquofreedman towns&rdquo, and migrated closer to the heart of the city.

&ldquoWhen I moved here, it was 2-3 families of blacks&rdquo, Princella Hartman remembered. At 105 years of age, Hartman still resides in the house built in 1920 on Hibernia Street. She moved there in the 30&rsquos. Today, her street sits in the middle of what is now as Dallas&rsquo Uptown.

The State-Thomas community is rich in history, but it was off-limits to blacks for decades. &ldquoAs we moved in, the whites moved out&rdquo, Hartman said. Not far from Hartman&rsquos long held home, the intersection of Thomas and Hall is an entry point for the thousands of residents who now occupy the apartments and townhomes of the area. Right next to the intersection sits Dallas&rsquo Freedman&rsquos Cemetery. The cemetery is a memorial salute to the thousands of graves that once lie in the heart of the community.

The development of Central Expressway essentially divided black Dallas, and eliminated the homes and businesses surrounding Thomas and Hall. Churches, schools, and small residential sections still exist in the area today. But Dr. Prince, and Mrs. Hartman recollect the old days of a thriving, cohesive black Dallas.


SPORT AFTER 1700

The sports played and watched in modern Chester have been influenced by the city's social character and by two natural assets, the Roodee and the river. (fn. 1) The Roodee was the setting not only for horse racing, (fn. 2) but also for bowls, and in the 19th and 20th centuries for amateur athletics, soccer, cricket, hockey, and polo. The stretch of the Dee above the weir enabled rowing and later canoeing to develop to a high standard, while skating was possible in the occasional winters when it froze over, as in 1822, 1895, 1917, and 1929. (fn. 3)

Among the sports long established in county towns bull baiting and cock fighting (the latter closely associated with Chester races) were in decline at Chester before they were banned in the earlier 19th century. From the 1840s the city's numerous middle classes gave an early impetus to amateur rowing and beagling. In the late 19th century and the Edwardian period the typically suburban games made a strong showing, especially golf, hockey, badminton, and lawn tennis. (fn. 4) The small size of the city's industrial working class did not prevent the growth of amateur soccer or working-class participation in swimming and rowing, and there was even pigeon racing, (fn. 5) but it did affect the provision of commercial mass-spectator sport. Chester's professional football club was a weak latecomer there was little professional boxing and the greyhound track was built late in the pre-1939 boom. In the later 20th century aquatic sports and middleclass team games like hockey and lacrosse were relatively popular, but otherwise Chester's sports lost something of their distinctiveness, for instance with the appearance of newly fashionable minority sports like squash, basketball, and American football.

Public Facilities

The city council allowed the Roodee to be used for team games from the mid 19th century, (fn. 6) but did not have the power to let any part of it for permanent occupation. In 1900 it thus turned down a proposal from Chester Football Club and Chester Cycling Club for the council to build an enclosed football ground within a banked cycling track, to be rented to the two clubs. (fn. 7) The council opened swimming pools at the Union Street baths in 1901, and from 1911 it and Hoole urban district council provided public bowling greens and tennis courts. (fn. 8) From 1968 the Chester Area Sports Advisory Council organized an annual sports week (later a fortnight) during which clubs held their own events. The event was run after 1986 by the Chester Sports and Leisure Association, to which individual clubs were affiliated. (fn. 9) After 1966 the River Dee Water Sports Association co-ordinated the interests of rowers, sailors, canoeists, anglers, and motorboat enthusiasts. (fn. 10)

Figure 163:

The city council was concerned about playing fields by the 1920s. (fn. 11) In the 1970s it opened a floodlit allweather pitch and a 9-hole golf course at Westminster Park, (fn. 12) public squash courts, (fn. 13) and the Northgate Arena leisure centre. The last, a striking building opened in 1977, included an 1,800-seat sports hall and practice rooms, but its pools did not meet the needs of serious swimmers. (fn. 14) The Arena was mainly used for practice and leisure activities: in 1994 the only competitive sports played there regularly were netball, squash, and professional basketball. (fn. 15) In 1991 the city council appointed a sports development officer for the first time. (fn. 16)

Chester's main sports ground in the late 20th century grew out of Cheshire County Officers' Sports Club, which began by 1936 on a large site off Newton Lane (fn. 17) and provided for soccer, hockey, cricket, tennis, and bowls. In 1975 the county council reopened Brookhirst Switchgear Ltd.'s former private playing fields in Upton as Cheshire County Council Sports Club, for the joint use of a nearby school, the County Officers' Club (which moved from Newton Lane), and the public. It provided for a wide range of competitive sports and attracted existing hockey, soccer, athletics, fencing, and lacrosse clubs. By 1994 the county netball and badminton teams were also based there. Outdoor pitches for cricket, soccer, hockey, tennis, and netball were supplemented in 1993 by a floodlit all-weather artificial pitch. (fn. 18)

Association Football

Soccer was played at Chester College and on the Roodee by 1867 (fn. 19) and was well established in the city by the early 1880s, when several clubs used playing fields on the Roodee provided by the council. (fn. 20) Two of the clubs, Chester Rovers and King's School Old Boys, amalgamated in 1885 as Chester F.C. The club at first played in Hoole, moving to Whipcord Lane in 1904 and Sealand Road in 1906, when a limited company was formed. The first board of directors included a corn merchant, a baker, a butcher, an accountant, a stationer, a doctor, a clock maker, and an insurance manager, (fn. 21) but the largest shareholder was Alfred Mond of Brunner, Mond & Co., M.P. for Chester 1906–10. (fn. 22)

The club was a founder member in 1890 of the Football Combination, turned professional in 1902, and was admitted to the stronger Lancashire Combination in 1910, being promoted to the first division in 1911. After a hiatus during the First World War Chester resigned from the Lancashire Combination in 1919 to help form the Cheshire County League, which it dominated throughout the 1920s. After a new grandstand was opened in 1920 matches against local rivals Connah's Quay attracted crowds of over 6,000.

From 1930 Harry Mansley as chairman and Charles Hewitt as the first full-time secretary and manager improved the ground and the club's finances and playing staff, and Chester were elected to the Football League (Division III North) in 1931. The club's most successful years followed, marked especially by a 5–0 win over Fulham in the F.A. Cup 3rd round of 1932 before a home gate of 14,000, a feat regarded by some as 'the greatest thing that had happened since the Romans evacuated the city'. (fn. 23)

Promotion from the bottom division (IV after 1958) eluded the club even in its heyday, and the years after 1946 saw poor results, falling attendances, a retrenchment to part-time professional players, and two reelections to the League. (fn. 24) Chester won promotion to Division III in 1975 and a new stand was opened in 1979. (fn. 25) Its name was changed to Chester City in 1983. The club's finances, however, continued to deteriorate, and in 1990 it sold Sealand Road for development, shared Macclesfield's ground for two seasons, and returned to Chester in 1992 to the new 6,000-capacity Deva Stadium in Bumper's Lane. In the 1980s and earlier 1990s the team fluctuated between the bottom two divisions, but in the later 1990s the standard of playing and the club's finances both took a turn for the worse. The club was rescued from financial administration in 1999 by a new American owner with a controversial approach to management, team selection, and coaching, and was relegated to the Football Conference in 2000. (fn. 26)

Amateur soccer in Chester was represented by a Hospital Saturday Cup competition, organized intermittently from 1890, (fn. 27) and by the Chester and Runcorn Football Association and the Chester and District Football League, formed in 1893 and 1894 respectively. The latter included nearly 60 clubs in 1949. (fn. 28) In the 1990s the league had three divisions with 33 teams, and a Sunday league catered for 48 teams. (fn. 29) One of the strongest amateur clubs in the city was Chester Nomads F.C., formed in 1904, which settled at Boughton Hall in 1913 and was still playing there in the 1990s. (fn. 30) A women's team connected with Chester City was playing league soccer by 1994. (fn. 31)

Athletics (fn. 32)

Foot races for prize money were staged in the 18th and early 19th century, commonly on the Roodee and often attracting large crowds. (fn. 33) Amateur athletics were first organized on a large scale during the 1860s boom in the form of the Chester Autumn Sports, held annually on the Roodee from 1863 and owing much initially to the support of W. Maysmor Williams, a prominent councillor. The event lapsed after 1893, was revived in 1925, and continued in 1993. Attendance in the 1930s and 1950s (when it was held on August Bank Holiday) occasionally topped 30,000, and the meeting was once regarded as one of the foremost in the North, (fn. 34) but the creation of proper athletics stadia in other towns had greatly reduced its importance by the 1990s. One of several 'athletic' clubs existing in the later 19th century (catering mainly for an interest in gymnastics), St. Oswald's, formed a group for runners ('harriers') in 1889. (fn. 35) Chester and District (later Chester and Ellesmere Port) Athletics Club, formed in 1967, at first used the track at Chester College, (fn. 36) moving to the County Sports Club at Upton in 1992. (fn. 37)

Bowls

There was a bowling green in what became the Groves by 1630 and another on the Roodee in 1636. (fn. 38) A third at Bowling Green Bank at the east corner of the Gorse Stacks was new in 1700. (fn. 39) The Roodee green was restored to use after 1660, (fn. 40) and was still in use in 1800. (fn. 41) Those at the Gorse Stacks and in the Groves continued into the 20th century. (fn. 42) The Groves bowling green was used in 1910 by Chester Bowling Club. (fn. 43) That at the Gorse Stacks was attached to the Bowling Green House (later Hotel) by 1750. (fn. 44) In the 1860s and 1880s its members included city councillors, professional men, and successful tradesmen. (fn. 45) The green remained in use in the 1960s but was neglected when taken over and restored in 1975 by a Roman Catholic social club. (fn. 46) Other greens were attached to hotels or public houses. One at Flookersbrook in Hoole existed c. 1750, (fn. 47) and by 1818 the extensive grounds of the Albion Hotel in Lower Bridge Street included a green which continued in use until 1852 or later. (fn. 48) The Queen Hotel in City Road had a bowling green in 1889, (fn. 49) and the Egerton Arms in Bache (later the Bache Hotel) by 1923. The Deeside Bowling Club, established in 1868, had a green in Souters Lane, (fn. 50) and the Hoole and Newton Bowling Club played at Vicarage Road, Hoole, by 1910. (fn. 51) Apart from the Catholic club they all fell out of use during the mid and later 20th century. (fn. 52)

The first municipal greens were opened in 1911 by Chester city council near the Hermitage in the Groves and by Hoole urban district council at Alexandra Park, (fn. 53) and others followed at Buddicom Park in 1921, (fn. 54) Tower Fields in 1922, (fn. 55) and Cherry Grove in 1925 (moved to Stocks Lane 1974). (fn. 56) Buddicom Park closed during the Second World War. (fn. 57) The Hermitage green closed after 1966, (fn. 58) but a new green was provided in Upton (Wealstone Lane) and two at Westminster Park. In the 1990s Chester and District Bowls League included teams representing the five municipal greens, Bache, and the Catholic club, besides others from outside Chester. (fn. 59)

Cock Fighting

The place name Cockfight or Cockpit Hill at the north end of Frodsham Street was recorded from the late 16th century. (fn. 60) A circular thatched cockpit was built in 1619 by William Stanley, earl of Derby, near the walls south of Newgate. (fn. 61) By 1789 it had been replaced by an oval cockpit north of the same gate, (fn. 62) which in turn was succeeded by a brick building on the old site, put up as a commercial speculation in 1825. (fn. 63) There were also cockpits in the yards of inns, including the White Talbot, Eastgate Street, in 1738, (fn. 64) the Elephant and Castle in the same street, which probably closed before 1796, (fn. 65) the Ship, Foregate Street, in 1776, (fn. 66) and the Feathers, described as new in 1815. (fn. 67) The inn cockpits presumably held matches all year round, but the high point of the cocking year was race week. By the 1730s matches took place on the mornings of race week and until c. 1760 were contested by individuals or between the gentlemen of Cheshire and Flintshire. From c. 1760 to 1800 gentlemen representing other counties in the North-West, north Wales, and the Midlands also participated. Private matches were again the rule from 1800 to 1834, but the last three race-week cock fights (1835, 1837, and 1839) were between Cheshire and Lancashire. From c. 1800 cock fighting by the gentry in connexion with race meetings was in decline, leaving Chester among the strongholds of a sport restricted to south Lancashire, Cheshire, and north Staffordshire. (fn. 68) The keeping of cockpits was made illegal in 1835 and cock fighting itself in 1849. (fn. 69)

Throwing at cocks was a traditional Shrove Tuesday sport which survived until the 1710s or later. (fn. 70)

Cricket

Cricket was played on the Chester club's ground at Blacon Point by 1820, (fn. 71) on the Roodee by 1850, (fn. 72) and at Chester College before 1867. (fn. 73) The strongest club at first was Chester C.C., which went out of existence in 1898 (fn. 74) others included the Cestrian club by the 1840s and the Deva club by the 1860s, with annual subscriptions in the 1870s respectively of 1 guinea and 5s. reflecting a difference in social tone. (fn. 75)

Boughton Hall C.C. was formed in 1873 by John Thompson as an invitation eleven playing in the grounds of his house, Boughton Hall. (fn. 76) By the 1880s the club was financed by its members and had become the leading team in the city, dominating the short-lived Chester and District League (1894—c. 1900) and playing fixtures against teams in Cheshire and south Lancashire. Its early members were drawn from Chester's professional and commercial élite. In 1923 it joined the Liverpool Competition and made a consistently good showing in its unofficial rankings until 1939. The club became a limited company in 1925, bought its ground in 1945, and changed its name in 1955 to Chester Boughton Hall C.C. After 1945 the season was dominated by the Liverpool Competition (which evolved into a regular league) and from the 1960s there were also Sunday and evening matches in a variety of knock-out competitions. A second pitch was in use from 1974, allowing the club to field four teams in the 1990s. The club never employed a professional but in the 1990s had the services of a succession of junior players from the West Indies, several of whom graduated to Test cricket.

Cheshire first played at Boughton Hall in 1910 and held an annual minor counties match there between the wars and again from 1969. The county team often included Boughton Hall players.

City teams representing churches, offices, and commercial and industrial firms played in an annual knock-out competition at Boughton Hall from 1913. Crowds up to 1,000 before 1939 fell sharply in the 1950s and the competition was discontinued in 1966, though it had been resumed by 1994. Chester Women's Cricket Club played at Boughton Hall by 1994. In the 1970s the council provided pitches at Blacon, Hoole, and Westminster Park. (fn. 77)

The first Chester Golf Club began playing in 1892 on an 18-hole course 6 miles from the city in Sealand (Flints.) it disbanded in 1940 when the land was taken for agriculture. Its namesake at Curzon Park began in 1901 as Bache Golf Club on a 6-hole course north of the county lunatic asylum in Bache, but moved the following year to a 9-hole course on the Bache Hall estate, then occupied by one of the club's founders, Major John MacGillicuddy. The club had over 200 members and employed a professional by 1906, and had a ladies' section by 1909. A search for a new site began in 1910 when the owner of the Bache Hall estate proposed to sell the land to the asylum, and the last round was played there in 1912. In 1913 the club bought 108 a. at Brewer's Hall from Earl Howe, built a 9-hole course, removed its existing clubhouse from Bache Hall, and adopted the name Curzon Park Golf Club. The course was enlarged to 18 holes in 1920 and was modified several times thereafter. The club was called Chester (Curzon Park) Golf Club from 1923 and Chester Golf Club from 1964. (fn. 78)

Upton-by-Chester Golf Club was founded in 1934 by C. J. F. Owen on a 9-hole course, enlarged to 18 holes in 1937. (fn. 79) An 18-hole course opened at Blacon Point by T. B. Gorst was played only in 1937 and 1938 after it closed the land was used for an Army camp. (fn. 80) A 9-hole municipal course at Westminster Park was opened in 1976. (fn. 81)

Rowing

By the earlier 18th century fishermen and boatmen were racing professionally on the Dee, (fn. 82) and rowing for prizes continued into the earlier 19th century as a popular spectator sport. A regatta first organized in 1814 to celebrate the Peace of Paris became an annual event prize money was offered in races for men, women, and boys, watched by crowds reckoned up to 10,000 strong. (fn. 83) Races for amateurs in 1832 still excluded only those actually employed on the river, (fn. 84) allowing other working men to take part, while the 1843 regatta included a race for 'mechanics or fishermen' besides one for gentlemen. (fn. 85)

From the 1840s, however, rowing became a principal focus of the cult of amateurism, (fn. 86) and in common with other rowing venues Chester soon had separate clubs for gentlemen amateurs and working men. Its distinctiveness was that the amateur club was especially early among provincial towns (fn. 87) and that it clung tenaciously to social exclusivity into the 1950s. (fn. 88) That club, formed in 1838 as Chester Victoria Rowing Club and renamed Royal Chester Rowing Club in 1840, (fn. 89) was the earliest gentlemen's boat club in the North. (fn. 90) It drew its patrons from landed society, (fn. 91) went in for elaborate banqueting, (fn. 92) and in 1843 even had its own chaplain, (fn. 93) but the rowing itself was also taken seriously, albeit at first by small numbers: 70 joined the club in 1838 but there were only c. 20 rowing members in 1841. (fn. 94) Crews competed on the Dee, widely in other northern regattas, and at Henley occasionally from 1855 and regularly after 1874. (fn. 95)

The club built a boat shed on the north bank of the Dee upstream from the Groves, (fn. 96) moving in 1877 to a new boathouse near by. (fn. 97) It bought the site in 1959. (fn. 98) The club's regatta was first held on coronation day in 1838 a committee separate from the club took it over in 1840, and it was revived in 1862, becoming a regular event thereafter. (fn. 99) The regatta course was fixed c. 1851 from Heronbridge downstream to the boathouse. (fn. 100) The Royals hired a professional trainer from the Thames in 1841 (fn. 101) and another from the Tyne in 1854 while at Chester the latter, Mat Taylor, was influential in the development of shell racing boats and in training oarsmen in the new style of rowing which they required. (fn. 102) Standards of rowing fluctuated: there were several strong periods up to the 1890s, but not again until the 1930s. (fn. 103)

In 1876 the Royals were counted among only 10 rowing clubs catering exclusively for the 'upper class of amateur', (fn. 104) though the ethos was only then being finally refined: in 1872, for example, completely against the spirit of gentlemanly amateurism, there was heavy betting on the outcome of a race with the Mersey Rowing Club of Birkenhead. (fn. 105) In 1882, however, the Royals were a founder member of the Amateur Rowing Association, designed as and long remaining the guardian of a strict amateur code. (fn. 106) Chester was the only provincial club with a member on the A.R.A.'s management committee. (fn. 107)

The club remained exclusive until the mid 20th century. In the 1930s it was said to interpret A.R.A. rules 'to the letter' (fn. 108) and stood firmly against allowing ladies' rowing clubs to use its boats or premises. (fn. 109) It lifted an outright ban on manual workers and weekly wage earners in 1950 only in order to secure a grant towards a new eight from the Ministry of Education. (fn. 110) In the 1950s new members were closely vetted by the committee (fn. 111) and the main annual social event was a white-tie ball. (fn. 112)

The tone of the club began to change in the 1960s. Boys from the King's school had begun to row for the Royals in the 1950s, (fn. 113) but in 1963 the club was still refusing to train oarsmen from scratch, (fn. 114) presumably as a means of excluding those thought socially undesirable. The demand for junior rowing and its importance in maintaining the club soon led to change, and a coaching scheme was put in place in 1968. (fn. 115) In 1975 the club admitted women and comprehensive-school boys as rowers. (fn. 116) In the 1980s the vitality and success of the club was largely dependent on student rowers from local schools and Chester Law College at Christleton. (fn. 117)

There were many other boat clubs in Chester besides the Royals. The Cestria club existed by the 1830s, had a boathouse behind Sandy Lane, and survived to the 1940s. (fn. 118) The Deva club competed for prize money in 1840, (fn. 119) and the True Blue Rowing Club was a rival of the Royals in the 1850s. (fn. 120) Small working-class rowing clubs based on a trade or a workplace flourished until the 1930s, (fn. 121) and there was an annual watermen's regatta in the 1920s. (fn. 122) The Grosvenor Boat Club was founded in 1869 for clerks and others who were barred from the Royals (Fig. 161, p. 266). (fn. 123) It had a boathouse in the Groves by 1892 (fn. 124) and long remained the Royals' fierce rival, (fn. 125) surviving in 1994. The Athena club for junior women rowers was formed c. 1977. (fn. 126)

Competitive rowing events on a large scale were at first confined to the boat clubs' own regattas, of which the Royals' was the most prominent. From the mid 20th century other events of at least regional importance were devised: the North of England Head of the River for eights (1935), the Dee Autumn Fours (1948, organized by Grosvenor B.C.), and the Long Distance Sculls (1955, by the Royals). The Head and the Sculls were both rowed over 3¾ miles from Eccleston Ferry to the Royals' boathouse. (fn. 127) The new events kept Chester, if not always its own clubs, at the forefront of provincial rowing in the later 20th century.

Grosvenor Boat Club members at their boat house

Other Sports

American Football

Chester Romans American Football Club was formed in 1986 and from 1987 played in the national league, initially in Westminster Park but from 1994 at Wrexham. (fn. 128)

A club representing Chester affiliated to the Badminton Association in 1911. (fn. 129) It remained a strong sport in the city: the Chester and District Badminton League was formed in 1948 with 12 teams, growing to 78 by 1974. (fn. 130)

In 1993 the semi-professional men's team Cheshire Jets and its sister women's team Cheshire Cats moved from Ellesmere Port to the Northgate Arena and were renamed Chester Jets and Chester Cats. (fn. 131) The venue was highly regarded but the men's team was initially weak and poorly supported. (fn. 132)

Beagling attracted a small but well-heeled following after the formation in 1854 of the Scratch Beagle Club, which had kennels in Brook Lane and social meetings at the Hop Pole Inn. The club was renamed the Chester Beagles in 1856 and Cheshire Beagles in 1890. It originally hunted over most of western Cheshire and eastern Flintshire, though gradually abandoned its outlying meets. New kennels were built in Lache Lane in the 1880s, from where they were removed outside the city to Dodleston in 1957. New members and subscribers after 1918 were overwhelmingly from outside Chester. (fn. 133)

Pugilists performed in the city in the early 19th century (Fig. 162), probably mainly at the Exchange. (fn. 134) Amateur boxers trained at a gym under St. Paul's church in Boughton in the later 19th century. (fn. 135) The Manchester fight promoter Harry Furness included the American Roller Rink among his venues c. 1940, (fn. 136) and there were contests at the Northgate Arena in the 1990s. (fn. 137)

Bull Baiting

A civic bull bait took place at the Cross as part of the annual mayor-making ceremonies in the early modern period. The corporation withdrew its sanction from the event in 1754 and ceased to attend in its official capacity, but failed in an attempt to suppress it in 1776. The Chester Chronicle came out against bull baiting in 1796, and in 1803 a clause in the Chester Improvement Act banned it within the city boundary. In October of that year, the first time that the ban was imposed, the police commissioners also printed and distributed a handbill warning against bull baiting, concentrating on Cow Lane (later Frodsham Street) and the flesh shambles, an indication that butchers from Chester and the countryside remained prominent in its support. 'Bull Bait Monday', however, was revived at Boughton heath just outside the corporation limits in 1811, and evidently continued there until the sport was made illegal by national legislation in 1835. In 1822 a bull was baited on the foreshore of the river Dee below the high-water mark, also outside the mayor's jurisdiction. (fn. 138)

Pugilism advertised at the Cross, c. 1820

Chester Sailing and Canoeing Club was formed in 1957. The canoeing section produced several worldclass competitors. Its main annual event in the city was the Chester weir slalom, held during Chester sports week from 1968. The national canoe marathon championship was held in Chester in 1992. (fn. 139)

Hough Green Lawn Tennis Club also played croquet until c. 1920. (fn. 140) Chester Croquet Club was formed in 1977, playing at first on the former municipal bowling green at the Hermitage before moving to a purposemade lawn in Westminster Park c. 1980. (fn. 141) Both were still in use in 2000.

Cycle races were part of the Chester Autumn Sports on the Roodee in the later 1870s, when the city was also a popular venue for touring cyclists to visit. The Chester Cycling Club was established in 1888 at the Coach and Horses Hotel its members toured the countryside and took part in an annual cycle parade to raise money for the Chester infirmary. (fn. 142)

Fencing was taught as a social accomplishment in Chester until the 1850s. (fn. 143) It was re-established as a sport after the Second World War. A club formed in 1957 met for many years in the cathedral refectory, (fn. 144) moving later to Overleigh school and in 1993 to the County Sports Club in Upton. (fn. 145)

There was a fives court at the castle in the later 1850s. (fn. 146)

Greyhound Racing

A track was opened in Sealand Road next to the football stadium in 1935 (fn. 147) and closed after 1986. (fn. 148)

Chester had a hockey club by 1895, and by 1900 a second club was based in Hoole. Both played on the Roodee, but the Chester women's team had faltered by 1912 and the men's followed suit c. 1920. (fn. 149) During the First World War staff at the Army Pay Office played mixed matches, leading in 1919 to the formation of Chester Casuals Hockey Club. About 1926 its men's teams disbanded and the women formed Chester Ladies Hockey Club, which moved to a new ground in Panton Road, Hoole, in 1930. Other clubs were the Chester and District Ladies from 1922 and a men's team representing Chester United Banks from 1925. (fn. 150) By 1964 the clubs which belonged to the county hockey associations were the County Officers (men and women), Chester and District (women), and Chester Ladies. (fn. 151) By 1992 there were two clubs catering for both sexes, Chester and County Officers. (fn. 152)

In 1750 the Chester Hunt had as its kennels a building outside the Northgate which it rented from the corporation the hunt master at that time was apparently Sir Richard Brooke, Bt., of Norton. (fn. 153)

Chester Lacrosse Club had begun playing by 1975 at Boughton Hall cricket ground, moved to Cheshire County Council Sports Club at Upton in 1991, and in 1994 was the only club to have a team in both divisions of the Northern League. (fn. 154) An international match was played at Upton in 1995. (fn. 155)

Lawn Tennis

Chester Lawn Tennis Club was founded as Hough Green L.T.C. in 1890 in Wrexham Road, where it built a substantial wooden clubhouse. Its original three shale courts were later supplemented by tarmac and then by artificial grass courts, numbering seven in 1994. (fn. 156) Hoole L.T.C. began in 1896 in Vicarage Road and moved in 1904 to Hoole Road. (fn. 157) By 1908 other private clubs with their own courts included Glan Aber in Hough Green, Brookside in Sealand Road, and one in Liverpool Road. The last two did not survive. Other courts appeared between the wars in Newton and Upton. (fn. 158) In the 1930s ten clubs had their own courts (fn. 159) but the number later fell and in 1964 and 1993 only the Chester, Hoole, and Glan Aber clubs were affiliated to the county association. (fn. 160) Public courts were opened in Tower Fields in 1922, (fn. 161) and later in Hoole Alexandra Park and Wealstone Lane, Upton. (fn. 162)

Chester had a strong netball club in the 1990s. (fn. 163)

Chester County Polo Club was formed in 1874 and polo was still played regularly on the Roodee c. 1900. (fn. 164)

Quoits was played by a club on a ground in Westminster Road, Hoole, in 1910. (fn. 165)

There was a rackets court at the Brewer's Arms in Foregate Street in 1822 (fn. 166) another had been built by 1872 in the grounds of Arnold House school, Parkgate Road, but had gone by 1898. (fn. 167)

Real Tennis

A real tennis court on the south side of Foregate Street was probably in use between the 1680s and the 1710s but apparently fell into disuse before 1735. (fn. 168) The building, afterwards used as a theatre, survived in the 1860s. (fn. 169)

Rugby Union

A club existed from the late 1870s to 1884. The game was introduced to Chester College in 1889 and the college club affiliated to the Rugby Football Union, but none of the schools in Chester took it up and there was thus no firm basis for club rugby in the city. Chester R.U.F.C. was formed only in 1925, playing successively at Sealand Road, Blacon Point, and Bumper's Lane before moving to Boughton Hall alongside the cricket ground in 1932. (fn. 170) In 1959 it moved to its own new ground at Hare Lane off the Tarvin road, (fn. 171) outside the city, and after the creation of a divisional structure for the English game in the 1980s played at first in NorthWest Division One.

Opening gala at Union Street baths, 1901

The first squash court in Chester was built at the castle by the Army and remained in use in 1994. (fn. 172) The 1970s boom led to increased provision of both private and public courts. The West Cheshire Squash Club opened in 1974 in Wrexham Road with six courts and became the base for the Cheshire county team. (fn. 173) Two private courts were built by the rugby club at Hare Lane before 1978, two public courts at the County Sports Club in Newton in 1976, and four more at the Northgate Arena in 1977. (fn. 174)


  • Publisher &rlm : &lrm Pluto Press Illustrated edition (May 20, 2003)
  • Language &rlm : &lrm English
  • Hardcover &rlm : &lrm 256 pages
  • ISBN-10 &rlm : &lrm 0745319254
  • ISBN-13 &rlm : &lrm 978-0745319254
  • Item Weight &rlm : &lrm 1.16 pounds
  • Dimensions &rlm : &lrm 6.35 x 0.99 x 9.37 inches

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I can hardly believe that I'm the first person to comment on this book. What with the way I see finance guys follow the stock market like a casino room, you'd think more of them would want to know the history of the street. I'll make the assumption that they don't and this shows you that history truly repeats itself.

The little money I have invested in Wall Street is in a company 401k. recently I've looked into ways of investing without the craziness that surrounds much of the market the speculation is insane at times. I was looking into vanilla index funds and equity-linked funds. In the research process I saw this book and decided to get a quick primer on what the street is about.

That's what you get here, a crash course in the economic history of the United States. It was interesting and surprising to learn that "bubbles" have occurred over the last 200 years. And it's always the same jumping on the bandwagon of new technologies or financial instruments that drives them.

And then there is the inside info that's behind the major wealth of the street. Wall Street, and the book shows this, is really one big clubhouse, if your not in the club don't count on getting cheese on your crackers.. as a matter of fact you won't get crackers at all, you'll get the 5-7% crumb at the end of the year and think you're in the big time.

No complaints. I see this as how the game is played. The thing is to know the rules and realize what your getting into, know the risk involved and how the engine operates.

Without pointing fingers at conspiracy theories and laboring that point, it shows how the system has worked in the past and continues to this day.


Watch the video: Basketball fans and atmosphere USA vs Europe (December 2022).

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