As its name suggests, “town ball”—another term for early baseball or similar activities—recognizes the game’s character and roots. Early depictions of children playing ball, as shown here, often illustrate the game as an urban endeavor rather than as a pastoral pastime. Generations of Bostonians grew up playing sports on Boston Common, and ballplayers shared the field with livestock until the cows were banned there in the 1850s. Baseball fields still span the spot where the game has been played since the early nineteenth century. Similarly, the game has long occupied the heart of Washington, D.C. During World War II, amateurs competed in hardball on the National Mall, where softball leagues continue to play today.