Any fan of baseball knows there’s plenty of controversy surrounding the origin of the game. 

The sport’s hall of fame resides in Cooperstown, New York, where legend has it that Abner Doubleday invented America’s pastime in 1839. But there is very little evidence for that story. The game likely dates back to the 18th century, though the modern format set forth by the Knickerbocker rules didn’t arrive until 1845.

So naturally, there’s some debate as to how college baseball got started as well.

Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, there’s no questioning that the first ever college baseball game took place in 1859 — 44 years before the first World Series.

MORE HISTORY: What we know about the first college basketball game ever played

On July 1 of that year, Amherst College and Williams College met in Pittsfield, Massachusettes for the first ever game of baseball between to colleges. 

But the game was played under Massachusetts rules, which look wildly different than the baseball we know today.

Under Massachusetts rules, the playing field was a square with no foul territory, with the “striker” setting up on a line halfway between first base and home base. The bases were wooden stakes, projecting four feet from the ground, 60 feet apart from each other.

There were no balls in pitching. If a striker swung at a pitch and missed, he received a strike. But if he repeatedly decided not to swing at good pitches in an attempt to delay the game, the referee would give a warning, and then start awarding strikes if he continues.

One of the most significant differences under Massachusetts rules was the ability to get a runner out by throwing the ball at him and hitting him. Seems just slightly dangerous.