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Major League Baseball, A History
Major League Baseball is the oldest American sports franchise, founded in 1869. Baseball’s first professional team was fcreated in Cincinnati in 1869. However, if you want to go back even further in 1839, it is believed by many that the American pastime was created by a man named Abner Doubleday who then actually called it Town Ball. A man who claimed to know Abnar in their childhood told investigators that he did, in fact, create the sport. The legend was later accepted as fact when a tattered baseball was found in Doubleday’s belongings shortly after he past away. The baseball is currently sitting in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. However, some people still do not think that he invented the Great American pastime, and many just think, that like most sports, it just grew overtime. The roots of baseball can be found in cricket and even a game known as rounders. Rounders had four bases with a feeder who tossed the ball and someone hit the ball with a stick. The striker was out if he missed the ball three times, or if a defender caught it. Sounds a lot like baseball.
The first few decades of baseball were nothing but rivalries between the teams and the players. Often, players would just jump from one team to the other. This was known as the dead-ball era, where players rarely even hit home runs.
Baseball started out by being played in vacant lots and fields, and the first ever club was organized by Alexander Cartwright, called row Knickerbocker’s. Cartwright wrote the rules for the game based off rounders. He was the one who had came up with the rules that you are out if tagged with the ball and limiting the outfielders to three. The first organized league was formed in 1858 where the National Association of Baseball Players was formed, and they agreed to play by Cartwright’s rules. 1858 was also the first year that money came into play, more than 5,000 fans of baseball paid to watch the sport, and that’s when they realized baseball that they could make money off of the sport.
The NABBP actually disallowed players from receiving salaries, but clubs found a loophole through this rule and the first official salaries were paid in 1867 at the Rockford, Illinois club. The Red Stockings who eventually went on to become the Red Sox became the first semi-pro team. They went on a 57 game tour and amazingly won 56 of those games. The game of baseball didn’t become firmly established until 1871 where nine teams made up the National Association of Professional Baseball Players. These teams paid just a mere $10 to join the league. However, gambling and corruption plagued the league, and it died out after only five years. But before the league completely died, William Hulbert talked about a professional league ran by the owners of baseball. The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs the started their own season which brought stability to the sport. Other rival leagues came and went, but only one lasted, the Western League, which became the American League in 1901.
In 1903, the league sat that and created the concept of what is known as the World Series of Baseball. The World Series has been played every year since 1905 except for 1994 which was eventually canceled due to a player strike. In 1914, a young pitcher joined the Red Sox and in 1916 won 23 games and had am ERA of 1.75. He was known as Babe Ruth. He became famous for being the game’s first great hitter. In 1920, he had hit 54 home runs, which was more than any other American League.
Baseball was at it’s worse in 1919 when it survived a game throwing incident at the world series. This was known as the Black Sox Scandal. The was where the Chicago White Sox lost to the Cincinnati Reds, and eight White Sox members were accused of intentionally throwing games in exchange for money from gamblers. They were acquitted in court, however, were banned for life from Baseball. The player George “Buck” Weaver was the only one to attend the meeting to throw the game but not participate. He played to the best of his ability but was still banned due to knowing about the fix. Fred McMullin hardly played in the game but found out about the fix and threatened to reveal their secret unless he also got money.
Baseball heightened in popularity in the 1920’s, becoming America’s Favorite pastime, surviving the Great Depression. The game was a national moral during the war and the Great Depression. The pastime was valuable during these dark decades of the depression. Radio broadcasters even started broadcasting games for people who could not attend games in person, or afford to do so. The keep interest in the game, the league created The Most Valuable Player award in 1933. A few years later they created the Hall of Fame and the All-Star Game.
When the United States entered the Second World War, many baseball players joined the military. But to provide a wartime alternative, the first ever women’s pro league was created. Fans couldn’t wait to see women in action.
After the war, the color barrier in baseball was broken, introducing a black player into the Major Leagues. His name was Jackie Robinson. It was all thanks to the Brooklyn Dodgers who started him at first base. The Brooklyn Dodgers had ended racial segregation in Baseball that formally put blacks in Negro Leagues. Formally there were two black players in the 1840’s, but the insults became so unbearable that they quit. There was no league rule stating that black players couldn’t join a team, but no one would sign them. Fans would taunt him, and white players threw the ball at his head. But Robinson wouldn’t it get to him and quickly silenced all the critics with his amazing talents. He was awarded Rookie of the Year with 125 scored runs and 29 stolen bases. Robinson is now one of the most honored Baseball players of all-time and there is even a Jackie Robinson Day where all players on every team wheres a number 42 which was his number.
The organization currently oversees the minor leagues of baseball, which operate 240 teams and is one of the most popular sports of all-time with a very rich history. Baseball is one of the few sports that do not use a clock that means players and fans alike are allowed to focus more on the game, rather than the time. Anything can happen until the final strike hits.
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