Where Baseball Began: A Brief History

Baseball is a popular international sport but is mostly played in Canada and the US. The game consists of two teams of nine players over nine innings. To win the game, one team will be on the field with one of the players are assigned as a pitcher and the other on the remainder field. The opposing team carries a bat to hit the ball. As you can see, baseball has similarities with other bat-sports such as cricket. The difference lies in the field where baseball has four bases the hitter needs to pass before getting a score unless there’s a home run.

Even though the game was more dominant in the US, it didn’t originate in North America. In fact, the sport existed back in medieval times where other bat games are also invented as well. Bat games such as Stoolball, rounders, dog and cat, and cricket all existed in the medieval era. Among all of them, Stoolball is the most popular of them all and are played by milkmaids using a milk stool as a wicket. The way it’s played is the ball will be thrown and it needs to be hit using a batter or a small bat to prevent it from hitting the stool.

Next, we have the Rounders, which is a game that’s similar to baseball than Stoolball. In this game, two opposing teams filed and bat just like in baseball. The hitter will then pass four bases to gain a score for the team. A modernized version of Rounders has the ball thrower bowl underhand to a batsman who must bat using one hand and runs no matter he hits or misses the ball. However, the traditional Rounders give players the freedom to create their own rules compared to the modern one.

And then there’s the Town Ball, a game that shares some similarities with Rounders. The difference? Every region has its own specific rules of play. Town Ball existed way back in the 1740s in some parts in the US. It is also sometimes called baseball, round ball, or just simply “ball.”

Early references about baseball are dated back in the year 1971, where a group of people at Pittsfield town hall played the sport within 80 yards of the town meeting house. However, the first recorded baseball game was dated back in the year 1845. Alexander Cartwright, a New York firefighter, gathered his men to form a club named the “Knickerbocker Club.” The club has specific rules of play, and they’re first ever game was held in the Elysian Fields on June 18, 1846, where they played against the New York Nine. However, the Knickerbocker Club lost the game with a score of 23-1. Talk about bad luck at its finest. Since then, various baseball clubs have been created.

  • 1858
  • A total of 25 clubs have gathered together to create the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABPP).
  • 1869
  • The Cincinnati Red Stockings was born and was considered as the first professional baseball team. They won about six matches which put a name for themselves in the sports industry.
  • 1876
  • The NABPP become redundant as the club was deemed for failure. As a result, the National League was born and continued on up to this day.

The National League was made up of 12 professional teams. However, because of the decline in ticket sales, it forced the league to cut down their size into eight teams in 1900. This is a good opportunity for the “Western League” so that they can recruit the cities that have been dropped by the National League. As the Western League expanded, it renamed themselves into the “American League.”

There’s a fine line between the difference of the two leagues. Both of them has the same set of rules except for the designated hitter rule that’s adopted by the American League. This rule lets the team nominate a player who bats in the place of the pitcher. The National League doesn’t have this rule, and they stick to the original rule instead where the pitcher does all the batting.

In 1994, a huge baseball strike hit the “Major League Baseball” (MLB) because of the numerous scandals in the field of baseball that existed in the early 1990s. Declining ticket sales and audience rage forced the money of the league to be called up. This alarms the MLB to tighten up anti-drug policies and go into damage control to protect the spirit of the sport. In 2000, the Commissioners Blue Ribbon Panel report on revenue and payroll differences between clubs finally showed signs of paying off with attendance numbers higher than the previous high in 1993. And in 2006, the consolidation of media management was made into a single corporation.

This resulted in a positive impact on the MLB in the following years. Who would have thought to create simple changes to the MLB’s structure, especially in financial matters resulted in several minor clubs in the league to win in the World Series?

  • 2001 – Arizona Diamondbacks
  • 2022 – Anaheim Angels
  • 2003 – Florida Marlins
  • 2005 – Chicago White Sox

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