Baseball evolved from the British game of rounders, and is a cousin to cricket in that it also involves two teams that alternate on defense and offense and involve throwing a ball to a batsman who attempts to "bat" it away and run safely to a base. The first documentation of base ball is in 1838, but there are references to a game of base ball going back to the late 1700s.
The story promoted as the “invention” of baseball by Abner Doubleday, a Civil War hero for the Union, has largely been discredited. The first published rules of baseball were written in 1845 for a New York base ball club called the Knickerbockers. The author, Alexander Joy Cartwright, is one person commonly known as "the father of baseball."
Cartwright laid out rules for playing the game for the first time, and made one important change. No longer could an out be recorded by "plugging" a runner (hitting him with the ball). The rules required fielders to tag or force the runner, which is still the rule today.