Pre-1850s in sports

See also: Sports clubs established before 1850, 1850 in sports and the list of 'years in sports', and the History of sport article.


  • 1781 - the Toxophilite Society is founded in Leicester Square, London. It later becomes the Royal Toxophilite Society in 1787 and then the Grand National Archery Society.


  • 1791 - The broken window by-law in Pittsfield, Massachusetts prohibits "baseball" and other ballgames within 80 yards of the new meetinghouse, the earliest known reference to "baseball" in North America
  • 1796 - "Ball mit Freystaten (oder das Englische Base-ball)" covered by German physical education instructor Johann C.F. Gutsmuths as one chapter in Spiele zur Uebung
  • 1825 - "A baseball club, numbering nearly fifty members, met every afternoon during the ball playing season" in Rochester, New York, wrote Thurlow Weed in 1883 (Life of Thurlow Weed, vol. 1)
  • 1833 - Merger of the Olympic and Camden town ball clubs from Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey, constituting the Olympic Ball Club of Philadelphia, often called the "Philadelphia Olympics". The constitution will be revised in 1837 and published in 1838. (Protoball #266)
  • 1839 - Legendary date of the invention of baseball by Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, New York
  • 1843 - Semi-organized "New York Club" begins playing baseball at Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey, in place of Madison Square in Manhattan
  • 1845 September 23 - formal organization of the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club or New York Knickerbockers, initiated by Alexander Joy Cartwright, including adoption of twenty rules, fourteen of which are the earliest known written rules of for playing baseball
  • 1845 October 22 - New York Morning News publishes the first known box score for a base ball game, played at Elysian Fields in Hoboken
  • 1846 June 19 - First match certainly played by the Knickerbocker rules, at Elysian Fields in Hoboken
  • 1847 - Army of occupation plays baseball in Santa Barbara, California, alienating the local people (Protoball #377)
  • 1848 - First publication of the Knickerbocker rules (Protoball #376)


  • 1719 - James Figg is declared the first champion of England
  • 1743 - Jack Broughton drafts the London Prize Ring rules
  • 1790 - Spectators are charged for entry to a boxing match between Daniel Mendoza and Richard Humphries in the earliest recorded charged-entry sporting event
  • Daniel Mendoza, considered the "Father of scientific boxing", is Champion of England from 1792 to 1795
  • 8 October 1805 - Tom Cribb narrowly defeats ex-slave Bill Richmond
  • 1809 Tom Cribb becomes the British Champion
  • December 1810 - English champion Tom Cribb defeats American Tom Molineaux in the 39th round for the title Champion of England
  • 28 September, - Cribb defeats Molineaux in the 11th round of the highly anticipated game


  • 1183 - First written account of a game resembling cricket, by Joseph of Exeter, but this is generally believed to be a spurious reference
  • 1300 March 10 - The Prince of Wales, age 15 or 16, played the unknown game creag at Newington in Kent
  • 1597 - First known written use of the word kreckett in English, referring to a game "played on a certain plot of land in Guildford around 1550"
  • 1610 - "Teams from the Weald and the Downs" played a game at Chevining in Kent
  • 1611–1637 - Eight various court cases concern cricket
  • 1660 - Start date for first-class cricket and a database of match results, under consideration by the Association of Cricket Statisticians & Historians
  • 1697 July 7 - Foreign Post reports a "A Great Match in Sussex" played for fifty guineas, the first known proclamation of high status for a match and another milestone in first-class cricket.
  • 1709 June 29 - Kent v Surrey, the first match played between teams named for English counties
  • 1721 - Mariners of the "John Company" reported playing at Cambay, India
  • 1744 - First codification of the Laws of Cricket, by the Star and Garter club of Pall Mall (London)
  • c. 1765 - Believed to be the founding date of Hambledon Cricket Club
  • 1772 - Detailed scorecards become commonplace by this time
  • 1787 May 21 - Opening of Lord's Cricket Ground at Dorset Fields in Marylebone (London) for the White Conduit Club v Middlesex
  • 1787 - Marylebone Cricket Club established near Lord's, chiefly by WCC members
  • 1788 - Marylebone Cricket Club publishes its Laws of Cricket, revising the Star and Garter Laws of 1744
  • 1789 - John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset organises an international tour of English cricketers to France, but it is abandoned due to the French Revolution
  • 1794 - "The New York Cricket Club was meeting regularly" according to W.R. Wister's reminisces after 1861 (Protoball #135)
  • 1799 - New York Commercial Advertiser, June 18, announcement of the next date for the "members of the Cricket Club" to meet and play. "Wickets will be pitched at 3 o’clock exactly." (Protoball #150)
  • 1820 - "June 16, 1820, eleven expert English players matched eleven New Yorkers at Brooklyn, the contest lasting two days." --Jennie Holliman citing that day's New York Evening Post (Protoball #204)
  • 1828 - The MCC modified Rule 10 to permit the bowler's hand to be raised as high as the elbow
  • 1835 - Shoulder-height bowling is legalised
  • 1838 - Melbourne Cricket Club is formed.
  • 1844 - First ever international cricket match played between stars from Canada and the United States --St George's Cricket Club of New York (Protoball #345)


  • 1830s - Croquet is believed to have been invented in Ireland



  • 1603 - James VI of Scotland appoints Edinburgh bowmaker William Mayne as royal club-maker for his lifetime
  • 1754 - First codified Rules of Golf published by the St Andrews Golfers - later the Royal and Ancient Golf Club

Horse racing


  • 15th century–19th century+ - Native Americans play lacrosse to resolve conflicts, heal the sick, give thanks to the Creator and train for war, in modern day Canada and the United States.
  • 1636 - Jean de Brébeuf, a French Jesuit missionary, watches a Huron game of lacrosse in what is now Ontario, and he notices that the sticks look like a bishop's crosier or "la crosse" in French.
  • Early 19th century - Europeans in Canada begin playing lacrosse.
  • 1844 - Montreal's Olympic Club organizes a team specifically to play a match against an indigenous team.
  • 1848 - Montreal's Olympic Club plays another match against an indigenous team.

Olympic Games and others






Pre-16th century





  • April 17, 1820 - Alexander Cartwright, American baseball pioneer
  • October 5, 1824 - Henry Chadwick, American baseball promoter and developer, sportswriter
  • 10 June 1825 - Sondre Norheim, Norwegian skier, dubbed "the father of modern skiing"
  • 25 May 1826 - Thomas Sayers, English boxer
  • February 12, 1831 - John Morrissey, Irish-American boxer, politician and racecourse owner
  • April 8, 1831 - Jem Mace, English heavyweight champion boxer
  • October 23, 1832 - William Hulbert, American baseball executive
  • May 2, 1833 - John C Heenan, American bare-knuckle boxer
  • 21 May 1833 - John Jackson, English cricketer
  • January 10, 1835 - Harry Wright, American baseball player, manager and organizer
  • August 14, 1835 - Tom King, English boxer
  • August 19, 1835 - Thomas Wentworth Wills, Australian cricketer and Australian rules football inventor
  • February 29, 1836 - Dickey Pearce, American baseball player
  • December 26, 1837 - Morgan G. Bulkeley, American baseball executive and politician
  • January 23, 1838 - Ben Shibe, American baseball executive and equipment manufacturer



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