Which Came First Baseball or Cricket: Let’s Find Out!

  • Time to read: 6 min.

Both cricket and baseball are among the most popular sports in the world, each with a massive fanbase. You might have found yourself wondering which of the two challenging sports came into play first. Was it cricket? Or, was it baseball?

Cricket predates baseball as it originated in the 1500s, where as baseball first originated in the mid-18th century. The first official game of baseball consisted of a team of cricket players, which eventually began a new American tradition.

In this article, we are going to discuss baseball and cricket, how they came into being and which of these sports is more popular. So, keep reading.

History of cricket

Cricket was created by the Saxon children who were living in the weald, an area densely populated by forests, across the towns of Kent and Sussex. The word cricket is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word “cricc”, meaning a shepherd’s staff.

It is said that it used to be a children’s game for quite some time which was later taken up by adults as well around the time of the 17th century. Some say the game cricket was derived from “bowls” (also known as lawn bowling).

The objective of the sport is to roll the balls so that they stop close to a smaller bowl called “jack”. With the intervention of the bat to stop the bowl from reaching its intended mark.

History of baseball

Baseball was invented by a young man named Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, New York during the summer of 1839. It was first brought by immigrants to northern America. It is a game that evolved from the older bat-ball games that were already being played in England at the time.

By the late 19th century, baseball was already considered the national sport of the United States of America.

The first official recorded game of baseball in US history took place in Hoboken, New Jersey. Between the “New York nine” vs the “knickerbockers”.

Did baseball evolve from cricket?

According to Racket rampage, Baseball did evolve from cricket. It began as a game of rounders, in the UK during the 18th century, which is considered an early form of cricket, whereas cricket gained its notoriety in the 1500s.

Baseball started gaining popularity in the 1700s; this coexists with the significant changes in cricket which may be an indication of baseball’s evolution from the game of cricket.

Similarities and differences

The differences between cricket and baseball are mostly the field orientations, the ball sizes, as well as the bat shapes. There are also certain differences in scoring as well as innings systems, as the cricket batsmen run between the wickets whereas the baseball batters run around the bases.

There are certain similarities between the two sports as well. In both games, one team looks to score points by hitting the ball with a bat and running, while the other team may look to prevent that from happening by fielding the ball and trying to dismiss the opposition batsmen.

Both the sports consist of hitting a ball with a bat, and preferably as far and wide as the batter can. The ultimate reward is striking the ball over the fence. However, the result is different in both sports, as in cricket it is considered 6 runs whereas in baseball it is considered a home run and is significantly harder to achieve.

Format of play

Cricket is a sport which is played amongst two teams, each having 11 players. The batting side has 2 players on the field at a time whereas the bowling side has 1 bowler, 1 wicket keeper, and 9 outfielders. Each team has players which specialize in either batting or bowling to make the team stronger on both ends of the game.

Whereas baseball is played in 9 innings instead of 2. It consists of 2 teams of 9 players on each side. One team bats and the other bowls just like in cricket. The batting side can have 4 players on the field whereas the bowling side uses a pitcher, catcher, and seven other outfielders.

In baseball, a total of 4-5 umpires are present on the field at the same time, whereas in cricket there are always only 2 on the field except for the 3rd umpire who provides virtual assistance from the box.

Which is harder, baseball or cricket?

According to racket rampage baseball is a harder sport than cricket due to the mental faculties an individual may require to play the sport. The many hard and tough rules an individual must consider.

  • Discipline
  • Shot selection
  • Faster balls to hit in less time

Moreover, for the pitcher, it is also quite a challenge to consistently throw a pitch varying between 88-92 miles per hour, as it takes quite a toll on the pitcher’s arm and it requires great fitness and strength, along with discipline.

In cricket, the batsmen are also allowed to strike around a 360-degree angle whereas in baseball every ball that a batter strikes has to be within a limited range. The bowlers in cricket have the luxury of rolling off a ball on the pitch, giving them a slight edge, whereas in baseball the ball must travel through the air and requires greater force.

A batter in baseball must have relatively greater reflexes than a cricket batsman as the average ball speed in baseball is 150kmph and must travel a distance of 16.8m, which leaves the batter with about 0.40 seconds to react to the pitch, whereas in cricket the ball may travel 17.4m, leaving the batsmen with about 0.45 seconds to react.

We should also keep in mind that in cricket there are numerous different bowling variations Such as slow medium, spin, and fast. However, in baseball, that’s not quite the case.

Why cricket is a more challenging sport

There are some reasons why cricket is often seen as a more demanding sport. The reasons may include:

  • Batting and bowling conditions
  • Catching
  • Running with protective gear
  • General playing conditions

We are going to break down these reasons in the next section. 

Batting and bowling conditions

Batsmen often must bat for extended periods of time while facing pitches that vary every single day. Given that they may be playing a test match, the pitch becomes more and more difficult throughout the course of the match. Plus, facing world-class bowlers make the experience even more difficult.

The bowlers do not have the luxury to stand in place and pitch their delivery. They often have to run the course of 22m for every delivery, given that they may be a fast bowler.

 In baseball, the batter doesn’t have to face nearly the same number of deliveries that a cricketer has to face. The run-up is not a jog either, every single delivery requires a lot of energy.

Catching:

Catching is a vital part of the game of cricket and considering the fact that the players do it with their bare hands instead of the mitts they use in baseball speaks volumes.

A cricket ball, which is also known as a Kock ball, is smaller in size than a baseball but also heavier, which means that these players have to catch a ball that is heavier as well as smaller.

Not to mention the fact that a cricket ball has a harder surface than a baseball.

Running with protective gear:

In both sports, running is an essential factor as it helps the team put runs on the board. However, in cricket, the players must do it in protective gear, which can be considered somewhat of a hindrance for them.

General playing conditions:

In cricket, the players must contend with difficult conditions which can have a big impact on the game. An overcast day may provide the ball with more swing, making it difficult for the batsmen.

A lot of cricket is played in the subcontinent where the temperatures usually soar up to 40 degrees during the day which just makes the batting experience a lot more draining and difficult.

Which sport is more popular

Cricket has a presence in multiple continents which include Asia, Europe, Australia, the Caribbean as well as Africa- accumulating around a whopping 2.5 billion fans around the world.

In comparison, baseball is mostly popular in the States and is gaining some recognition in Asia as well, which brings their number to around 500 million.

Conclusion

With further deliberation on the subject at hand, it is apparent that the answer to the question “which came first baseball or cricket” is cricket, as it did in fact originate quite sooner than baseball.

However, did baseball originate from cricket? We cannot say for sure, but we can say with certainty that cricket did indeed play an influential role in the development and creation of the sport. The research has allowed us to analyze the similarities and processes, in addition to establishing the timeline of these two sports’ introduction to this world. 

We hope you enjoyed reading this article.