Often referred to as America’s National Pastime, baseball has had a very active role in the shaping of this nation. From the Civil War to Civil Rights and all points in between and beyond, the game of baseball supports and reflects many aspects of American life, from culture to economics and technological advances.
The game evolved from older bat-and-ball games already being played in England by the mid-18th century. This game was brought by immigrants to North America, where the modern version developed. By the late 19th century, baseball was widely recognized as the national sport of the United States.
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The commission, which also included six other sports executives, labored for three years, after which it declared that Abner Doubleday invented the national pastime. This would have been a surprise to Doubleday. The late Civil War hero “never knew that he had invented baseball.
A Civil War hero named Abner Doubleday is often credited with developing the game in 1839, but the real history is older—and more complicated. A Civil War hero named Abner Doubleday is often credited with developing the game in 1839, but the real history is older—and more complicated.
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Similar games were played in America well before 1800. Rules for “baseball” appeared in 1796, in a German book by Johann Guts Muths, who called the game “English base-ball”. In the game described by Guts Muths, the number of bases varied with the number of players, and a single out retired the entire side.
Baseball was proven to be a sport for all races, creeds and sexes and could be played wherever someone found an open field, with little financial investment for equipment. Working class teams could easily be formed and it was quite common to see competitive companies facing off on the fields.
Balls must consist of a core made of cork and rubber, or similar material, which is wrapped in yarn and covered with cow- or horsehide. Save for the addition of the cowhide cover option in 1974, the ball composition guidelines have remained unchanged since 1955.
The cheering, the laughter and the sheer enjoyment that everyone feels is almost intoxicating. You can’t help but catch on and feel the buzz. Baseball has the most amazingly loyal fans ever. There are teams that have never won anything, but their fans remain loyal to them.
There are nine standard positions in baseball; they are governed more by experience and traditional practice than by the rules. They are: pitcher, catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop, left fielder, center fielder and right fielder.
Football, better known as soccer in the US and Canada, is the most popular sport in the world, with an estimated following of 4 billion fans.
Outs are generally recorded via a strikeout, a groundout, a popout or a flyout, but MLB’s official rulebook chronicles other ways – including interfering with a fielder – by which an offensive player can be put out.
To win in baseball, you must reach the end of the game with more runs than your opponent. If you have the same amount of runs, you will go into another inning until one team has more runs at the end of the inning.
The primary object of the defense is to prevent the offense (the team at bat) from getting hits and scoring runs. Defense is a huge part of the game of baseball, with some players earning large contracts in large part due to their above average defensive ability.
Baseball had evolved into an organized sport in the 1840s and 1850s. Many early teams were established in New York City and Brooklyn. Alexander Cartwright (of the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club), drew up rules that were widely adopted. By 1866 baseball was being referred to as the national pastime.
Americans began playing baseball on informal teams, using local rules, in the early 1800s. By the 1860s, the sport, unrivaled in popularity, was being described as America’s “national pastime.” Baseball rules and teams were gradually formalized during the mid and late 1800s.
The Cincinnati Base Ball Club, also known as the Cincinnati Red Stockings, fielded the first known openly professional team in 1869 and played its first game against an opposing club on May 4.
Like the football, it’s hard to attribute its invention to one person, especially considering that in those heady, mustachioed, pre-professional days of baseball, balls were made by cobblers from the rubber remnants of old shoes, with rubber cores wrapped in yarn and a leather cover – if you were lucky.
The oldest major sports league in America
However, football existed in an organized form before the MLB merger concluded. The NFL has a claim to the title if it traces back to the very early days of the sport, but it’s generally agreed that baseball is the oldest.