The roots of modern day baseball is to be found in the various bat, ball and running games played in Europe. These folk games are also the predecessors of other modern day games such as cricket and rounders. As far as we know, these old folk games had no official, written rules. The bat, ball and running games were peasant games rather than upper class pursuits, and they were often discouraged by the church, by the crown or by both. The rules could probably vary quite a lot from village to village and would also evolve and change over time.
Mid 1800s and onward
- The first published rules for baseball were written for the New York Knickerbockers and published in 1845. The Knickerbockers were a baseball team based in Manhattan.
- On June 19, 1846, Alexander Joy Cartwright umpired the first-ever recorded U.S.baseball game with codified rules. The game took place between the Knickerbockers and the New York Nine on the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey.
- The first baseball game in Mexico was probably the one played by United States soldiers at Parque Los Berros in Xalapa, Veracruz a few days after the Battle of Cerro Gordo in 1847. As a bat, they used the prosthetic leg captured from Santa Anna, a Mexican General.
- In 1849, the New York Knickerbockers wore the first ever recorded baseball uniform.
- In 1857, a very important step in the history of baseball was taken. Sixteen clubs from New York City sent delegates to a convention where standardized rules were drawn up.
- In 1858, the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP) was formed by 25 clubs and this organization governed baseball through 1870.
- By the early 1860s, some NABBP clubs had started playing in enclosed ballparks where spectators could be charged an admission fee.
- The American Civil War (1861-1865) and its aftermath helped baseball spread throughout the nation via soldiers and exchanged prisoners.
- By the late 1860s, the prominence of the Elysian Fields were diminishing and in 1868 Mutual (a leading Manhattan club) stopped using the Elysian Fields for their home games in favor of the Union Grounds in Brooklyn.
- The first openly professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, was formed in 1869. It recruited nationally and had ten salaried players.
- Baseball in Canada has always been closely linked to baseball in the United States, and the first professional league featuring teams from both countries was founded as early as 1877.
- In 1878, Cuba formed its first formal baseball league.
- In 1912, the Dominican Republic arranged their first island-wide championship.
- Between World War I and World War II, professional baseball tournaments and leagues were formed in many different countries, such as the Netherlands (1922), Australia (1934), Japan (1936), Mexico (1937) and Puerto Rico (1938).
- After the end of World War II, professional baseball leagues emerged in several Latin American nations, including Venezuela (1946) and the Dominican Republic (1955).