Sometimes I get teased by my friends when I tell them that baseball is my favorite sport. Oh sure, I enjoy a good Knicks game (I know these are very rare) and I root for both New York football teams, but the Mets have long been my guilty pleasure. My friends say, "How can any self-respecting Black man choose baseball over basketball or even football!" What can I say? No matter the good-natured ribbing, I still love the game. As I sat watching the Yankees fall to the Angels last night, the thought occurred to me, "What if my friends knew that baseball was created by ancient Africans?"
I know. Maybe this is a little bit of hyperbole. The Europeans who played early variants of the game were probably not aware of the game's similarities with one played by the Ancient Egyptians thousands of years earlier. However, it is incredible that our ancient African ancestors enjoyed "baseball" long before the days of billionaire owners and mammoth free agent contracts. There have been very few games in recorded history which used a bat and a ball.
The Ancient Egyptian game was called seker-hemat, which is loosely translated by Ancient Egyptian gaming expert Dr. Peter A. Piccione as "batting the ball". In a seldom referenced bas-relief of Thutmose III at Hatshepsut's mortuary temple, the King is seen holding a curved bat and a softball sized ball in front of the deity Het-Heru (who the Greeks misnamed Hathor). Two preists, who are depicted much smaller than Het-Heru and Thutmose III, stand beneath the King with their hands raised to catch the batted bat. Above the images reads, "'Batting the ball for Hathor, who is foremost in Waset.'' The scene is dated around 1475 BC. Approximately 3,000 years before the earliest western games which are usually considered the forerunners of our modern game. Apparently seker-hemat was played at least a millenia earlier. Inscriptions in pyramids dating 2,400 B.C. reference the game. What do you think? You think A-Rod was thinking about Thutmose III as he re-established himself as a legitamate post-season contender? Okay ... maybe not. I wonder how the rest of the America will respond when the discover the Africans seemed to have played "baseball" thousands of years earlier? Go Figure. Shem em Hetep (Go Forth in Peace)!
Related Articles:Pharaoh at the Bat. Dr. Peter A, Piccione. College of Charleston Magazine7/1 (Spring/Summer, 2003): 36. http://spinner.cofc.edu/~piccione/pharaoh_at_bat.pdf?referrer=webcluster&
Baseball's Origins Ain't Found Till They're Found. September 12, 2004. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/12/sports/baseball/12origins.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2