5 Bat-and-ball Games That Predate Baseball


Peter Piccione, a professor and Egyptologist at the University of Charleston, S.C., might have discovered the very first bat-and-ball game to predate baseball. He found evidence that seker-hemat (which roughly translates as "batting the ball") was played by kings during festivals in ancient Egypt.

No one is entirely sure what sekar-hemat entailed or how the Egyptians interpreted the infield fly rule, but Piccione can extrapolate a few things from ancient art and literature. He thinks that the overall goal of the game was to hit and destroy the evil eye of Apopi (which would surely engage even those usually bored by the third inning), but it's also clear it was a game to enjoy. He thinks that umpires and base running were probably involved. There's also a veritable star slugger -- Thutmose III, who was a military man who was the topped the slugging percentage in the year 1472 BC. And that was a thousand years after Piccione first finds what he thinks is a reference to seker-hemat in Egyptian texts.

So next time you're at bat, instead of calling your shot, give Thutmose III a nod instead, and vow to destroy the evil eye of the other team.