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Park Square 1807 - site of the first documented baseball games in America - with 1791 Bullfinch Church on left.
2000 B.C. Ancient cultures, many of them with Pittsfield descendants--Lydians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians--play primitive stick and ball games for recreation, fertility rites and religious rituals.

1500 B.C. Wall inscriptions in Egyptian royal tombs depict games using bats and balls.

900 A.D. Mayan Indians play stick and ball games in ceremonial courts in Chichen Itza, Mexico

1085 Stool ball, a primitive stick and ball game, and a forerunner of rounders and cricket, is mentioned in England's Domesday Book.

1621 (Christmas Day) Governor Bradford finds the men of Plymouth Plantation, Massachusetts, “frolicking in ye street, at play openly; some at pitching ye ball, some at stoole ball and shuch-like sport.” (Of Plimouth Plantation, Memoirs of William Bradford, 1620-1647, first published in the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1856.)

1700's Variants of stick and ball games in England and North America include “Prisoners' Base,” “Abbot's Bases,” “Cat,” “Courts Base,” “Prison Bars,” and “King of the Mark.”

1744 John Newbery's A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, published in England, contains a wood-cut illustration showing boys playing “baseball” with a rhymed description of the game: “The Ball once struck off/Away flies the Boy/To the next destined Post,/ And then Home with Joy.


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1791 Pittsfield Byelaw enacted on September 5, banning the game by name from Park Square within 80 yards of the church and meeting house designed by up-and-coming Boston architect Charles Bulfinch. The original document was later located by Historian John Thorn and Pittsfield librarian Ann Marie Harris.

1796 Rules for playing English Base Ball appeared in a German book by Johann Mathis Guts. The number of bases varied with the number of players, and a single out retired the entire side.

1810 “Les Jeux des Jeunes Garçons”, printed in Paris, France, lays out the rules for “poison ball,” in which there were two teams of eight to ten players, four bases (one called home), a pitcher, a batter, and flyball outs.

1829 William Clarke in London, published “The Boy's Own Book” which included rules of rounders. Similar rules were published in Boston, Massachusetts in 1834, except the Boston version called the game “Base” or “Goal ball.” The rules were identical to those of poison ball, but also added fair and foul balls and strike outs.

1845 The first American rules of Baseball were written for a team called The Knickerbockers of New York City.

1859 First Intercollegiate baseball game played at North and Maplewood in Pittsfield. Williams vs. Amherst. Amherst wins in 26 innings, score 73-32.

1862 Elms Base Ball Club founded in Pittsfield.

1865 African-American second baseman, Ulysses F. “Frank” Grant, born in Pittsfield. (Nominated for the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006) Grant is the most prominent and successful Black player on integrated teams before leaving to join the Negro League.

1872 Pittsfield Old Elms team formed. They win over 80% of their games before disbanding in 1892. They lose 65-19 to the Cincinatti Red Stockings, the first professional baseball team in history.

1891 Pittsfield moves from being a town to being an incorporated city.

1892 George W. Burbank creates “Wahconah Park” which opens on August 9; designated to National Historic Register in June, 2005.

1909 - New Wahconah Park Grandstand built to replace the original one.

1919 Eastern League's New London Planters move to Wahconah Park and become the Pittsfield Hillies, who open their season on the Common due to the Housatonic River flooding. Future major league players, Cliff Brady, Mickey Devine and John Tillman play for the Hillies.

1922 Jim Thorpe plays baseball at Wahconah Park three times, once with the Hartford Senators and twice with Worcester Boosters.

1924 Lou Gehrig makes his professional debut with the Hartford Senators in Wahconah Park, hitting a home run into the Housatonic.

1925 Charles “Casey” Dillon Stengel plays Wahconah Park on four occasions with the Worcester team.

1928 Boston Red Sox lose an exhibition game to the Pittsfield Hillies at Wahconah Park (for the second time - they also lost in 1922 with a score of 4-2).

1942 Future major leaguer Mark Belanger is born in Pittsfield. After playing shortstop for PHS, he joins the major leagues in 1962.

1946 Pittsfield Electrics produce third baseman Al Rosen, the “Hebrew Hammer,” who goes on to play for the Cleveland Indians and almost destroys baseball with his union demands for higher salaries. In 1953 he is named American League MVP.

1949 Pittsfield's All-American Amateur Baseball Association team wins the national championship in Johnstown, PA.

1950 A new grandstand inaugurated at Wahconah Park.

1966 Sparky Lyle, Ken Wright, Gerry Moses and Billy Conigliaro play for Pittsfield. Tom Grieve goes on to play, and then manage, the Texas Rangers.

1969 Carlton Fisk leads the Eastern League catchers with 22 errors.

1970 David and Julie Nixon Eisenhower throw out the first ball at Wahconah Park at a Pittsfield Senators game.

1972 Former Pittsfield Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk wins American League Rookie of the Year.

1974 Pittsfield West Little League team is Massachusetts State Champion.

1977 Sparky Lyle wins the American League Cy Young Award.

1986-87 Bill Maddux plays with the Pittsfield Cubs, owned by actor Bill Murray.

1990 Pittsfield Mets wins the NYP League pennant.

2002 Berkshire Black Bears join the Northern League

2003 Dan Duquette sings “Heart” in the Colonial Theatre presentation of “Damn Yankees” performed in Wahconah Park.

2004 Pittsfield proclaimed “Baseball's Garden of Eden” by Mayor James M. Ruberto. Pittsfield Hillies, organized by Jim Bouton, Chip Elitzer and Eric Morgenthau, play vintage games at Wahconah Park.

2005 Berkshire Dukes, a member of the New England Collegiate Baseball League make their second season debut at Wahconah Park. which is also the location for a concert by Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. Cooperstown Hall of Fame acknowledges the legitimacy of the 1791 bylaw and displays a copy in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

2006 On June 17, Art Of The Game opens in Pittsfield with a city-wide celebration highlighting 100 baseball glove statues created by school children, a collection of professional artworks and baseball memorabilia and an exhibition at the Berkshire Museum celebrating the legendary rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Baseball has come home to stay!