1791 September

5th At a town meeting in Pittsfield, MA, a bylaw is passed making it illegal to play baseball and other sports within eighty yards of the town hall to prevent the breaking of windows. The bylaws were discovered in 2004 by baseball historian John Thorn and it is the first mention of “baseball” in the U.S. The Byelaw (sic) reads as follows: Be it ordained by the said Inhabitants that no person or Inhabitant of said Town, shall be permitted to play at any game called Wicket, Cricket, Baseball, Batball, Football, Cats, Fives or any other games played with Ball, within the Distance of eighty yards from said Meeting House – And every such Person who shall play at any of the said games or other games with Ball within the distance aforesaid, shall for every Instance thereof, forfeit the Sum of five shillings to be recovered by Action of Debt brought before any Justice of the Peace to the Person who shall and prosecute therefore And be it further ordained that in every Instance where any Minor shall be guilty of a Breach of this Law, his Parent, Master, Mistress or guardian shall forfeit the like Sum to be recovered in manner, and to the use aforesaid.