London, September 12 : While sports freaks worldwide believe that baseball developed in America in the 1790s, evidence in a handwritten diary now suggest that the game might have been invented in genteel Surrey.
An entry in the diary describes the game being played by a teenager in Guildford in 1755.
The handwritten entry was discovered in the diary of lawyer William Bray, and it documents a game with friends on Easter Monday 1755, when he was still a teenager.
The diary was found by local historian Tricia St John Barry in a shed near Guildford, and the entry verified as authentic by Julian Pooley, manager of the Surrey History Centre in Woking and an expert of Bray.
Surrey County Council has even informed Major League Baseball (MLB), the governing body of the sport in the US, about the find.
The council said that the MLB had accepted that the diary did contain the earliest known manuscript reference to baseball in the world.
"Baseball is an integral part of American life and this news about a national obsession in the US, where home-grown sports have traditionally dominated, will reverberate far and wide," the Telegraph quoted Councillor Helyn Clack of Surrey County Council, as saying.
"It is a game steeped in history and now Surrey County Council's History Centre and an inquisitive local historian have provided the earliest manuscript proof that the game the Americans gave to the world came from England," Clack added.
A digital version of the entry will be displayed at the Woking centre soon.