a game of ball between two nine-player teams played usually for nine innings on a field that has as a focal point a diamond-shaped infield with a home plate and three other bases, 90 feet (27 meters) apart, forming a circuit that must be completed by a base runner in order to score, the central offensive action entailing hitting of a pitched ball with a wooden or metal bat and running of the bases, the winner being the team scoring the most runs.
the ball used in this game, being a sphere approximately 3 inches (7 cm) in diameter with a twine-covered center of cork covered by stitched horsehide.
Cards.a variety of five-card or seven-card stud poker in which nines and threes are wild and in which threes and fours dealt face up gain the player either penalties or privileges.
1845, Amer.Eng., from base (n.) + ball. Earlier references, e.g. in Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey," refer to the game of "rounders," of which baseball is a more elaborate variety. Legendarily invented 1839 by Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Base was used for "start or finish line of a race" from 1690s; and the sense of "safe spot" found in modern children's game of tag can be traced to 14c. The sense in baseball is from 1868. Get to first base "make a start" (1938) is a figurative use from the game.