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Remembering 19th Century Base Ball - 1855 Rules

- The ball is handmade, relatively soft, and should have a diameter between 2 3/4 and 3 1/2 inches, which is the size of a modern base ball or slightly larger.

- Bats are made of wood.

- The bases are marked off, 42 paces home to 2nd, and 42 paces 1st to 3rd, approximately 89 ft apart.

- Home base is a flat circular white plate.

- The pitching distance is not less than 45 ft.

- The ball must be pitched underhand.

- The first team to score 21 runs wins, provided an even number of innings has been played.

- A fair or foul ball is determined by where the ball first touches the ground.

- 3 balls swung at and missed is an out, provided the last one is caught on the fly or the first bound.  If not, the striker must run to first base.  A foul ball is not a strike.

- A batted ball caught on the fly or the first bound is an out.  If a batted ball is caught on the fly, all runners must return to their bases, without risk of being put out.

- A runner is out if he is tagged with the ball while not on a base.  Possession of the ball is not necessary once the tag is made.

- A runner is out if the ball is held at first base before he reaches it.  Likewise, a force out is also in effect at second, third, and home base, provided the runner is forced to run.

- A runner is out if he prevents a fielder from making a catch, or from getting the ball.

- Each inning after the first, the striker following the player who made the last out will strike first.

- Any foul ball is a dead ball.  All runners must return to their bases, without risk of being put out.

- A baulk is called if the pitcher fails to deliver the ball in an underhand motion, or if he starts his motion and doesn't deliver the ball to the striker, or steps over the pitching line set at 45 ft.

- All runners advance one base on a called baulk.

- If the ball bounds out of the field of play, each runner is awarded one base, the one they are going to.

- There are no called balls or strikes.

- There are no time-outs called during play.  The umpire may call time if there is an injury.

- If a striker is hit by a pitch he is not awarded a base.

- There is no infield fly rule.

- A runner risks being put out if he overruns first base.

- A runner hit by a batted ball is only called out if the umpire deems it intentional.

- Leading, stealing, and bunting were all permitted.

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