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Exhibition Baseball Americana

Jehan de Grise and his workshop. Manuscript illustration from Romance of Alexander, 1338–1344. Reproduction. Courtesy of The Bodleian Libraries, The University of Oxford, MS. Bodl. 264, fol. 22r (102.00.00)

Medieval Ball Playing

This intriguing image reproduced from the margin of a fourteenth-century illuminated manuscript depicts monks and nuns engaged in what looks like a baseball fungo drill (fielding practice). Completed in 1344, the manuscript recounts the life and legend of Alexander the Great in French verse. The text is accompanied by miniature scenes of daily medieval life, and this early illustration of a bat-and-ball game offers a compelling glimpse of baseball’s European roots.