Baseball is said to have been played in as early as the 1700’s, although the first writing which involved Baseball was noted in 1838. Baseball is one of the most famous sports in North America, drawing crowds of anywhere from 76-80 million per year.
Baseball was said to have been invented by Abner Doubleday, a Union soldier, although historical documents disprove so. Baseball traces its roots from Rounders, a British Sport. It’s also related to Cricket, a sport wherein two teams play alternately on offense and defense. Just like Basebell, Cricket is played by throwing a ball to a “batsman,” who then tries to hit it away as he attempts to run to a base.
Alexander Joy Cartwright is considered as the “Father of Baseball.” He is the author of the rules of Baseball, which was printed in 1845 for the New York-based Knickerbockers Baseball Team. He created the rules, and made a pivotal change when he noted that a player cannot be “outed” by plugging or hitting him with the baseball. Instead, players should force or tag the runner. This is one of the Baseball rules that stand in effect until today.
The Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first professional baseball team, was founded in 1869. The popularity of the game and the team made baseball the “national pastime” of the century. The increasing popularity of baseball gave birth to two leagues, namely the National League, which was established in 1876, and the American League, which was created in 1903. The champions of both leagues asserted their dominance at the World Series, which was held at the end of every playing season.
Thankfully, advances in research and manufacturing made better baseballs, compared to the ones created during the 19th century. Balls made then were not able to travel far and wide. Players, on the other hand, employed several illegal tactics such as spitballs.
By the 20th century, Baseball reached its’ “Golden Age.” Although the sluggish ball was still used from 1900-1919, strong-handed pitchers such as Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson made mincemeat out of Baseball.
As the sport gained more popularity, bigger and better stadiums were created for spectators. The Comiskey Park and Wrigley Field in Chicago, Fenway park in Boston, Polo Grounds in Manhattan, and Ebbets Field in Brooklyn were filled with eager watchers when they were first constructed – and they continue to be filled up to the present day.
By 1920, the rules of baseball were modified by prohibiting pitchers from doctoring the ball. This signified the start of another era in baseball. One of the most pivotal players was Babe Ruth, who introduced the power hit. He became one of the most famous names in baseball, as he played for the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees with 714 home runs. He shattered the record of Roger Connor, who previously topped the chart with 600 home runs. Other famous baseball players during the time were Joe Dimaggio, Lou Gehrig, and Ty Cobb.
During the time, African-Americans and Latin Americans played separately and enjoyed notoriety in their own leagues. In 1946, Branch Rickey, General Manager of Brooklyn Dodgers, broke rules when he signed up Jackie Robinson for the team.
With the continuing popularity of Baseball, it is now played and enjoyed by people from all around the globe.