Deadball Heroes: The Players Who Made Baseball Modern

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It's a game that's been around for more than a century and still draws millions of spectators each year -- how well do you know the history of baseball? The club set standards for some of the game's rules, which then became more common in other areas of America.

In the middle of tight contests, imagine getting beaned in the head by a fastball while heading for third base. Quite often, players erupted in anger and pain and charged the defenders, and fistfights broke out. Because baseball isn't hockey, the tagging rule was changed. The first documented stories of baseball became widespread in the mids. It's when various baseball clubs were organized around the country.

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Abner Doubleday was a Civil War hero who was posthumously attributed as the inventor of American baseball. But Doubleday never made any such claim, and it took decades for historians to finally confirm that the man truly made no contributions to baseball's creation. Although such moniker would've been geometrically pleasing, the game clearly was never called "hexagonal ball.

Forget chasing down the runner … just chuck the ball at him instead. That's how defenders tagged runners in one very early version of baseball. It wasn't long before some bruised players decided maybe that concept needed tweaking. Baseball might be as American as apple pie, but this most patriotic game wasn't created in the U.

The history of the game goes back before the country was even born … although historians can't place the exact moment and place that baseball emerged. Cricket, of course, was a sport imported from Europe and very popular in America. But slowly, the concepts behind baseball began to overshadow cricket and other older games. A children's game called "rounders," along with cricket, are two of baseball's immediate predecessors. They combined elements of base running with ball-striking. The National Association of Base Ball Players was the first attempt at organizing pro baseball teams.

It was founded in and lasted for about four years. The Civil War scattered men all over the country. The men of the Northeast took baseball with them, and their rules for baseball spread throughout the East Coast and Midwest. For many years, players made their own balls, which varied in size, weight and durability. In , the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs standardized the ball, ensuring fairer and more consistent play throughout the country.

In the late s, a retired Red Sox pitcher named A. Spaulding convinced the league's overlords to adopt his ball as the standard. They did -- and for more than years, Spaulding balls were the league's official ball. Early balls couldn't take any real punishment, and after a few hits they'd get noticeably softer, so the point that they didn't travel very far.

Thus, the "dead-ball" era is known for its many low-scoring contests. At the end of the regular season and playoffs, only two teams remain. Until the s, the field was a popular place for the increasingly-popular game of baseball.

The 10 Best Hitters of the s

They played a best-of-nine series, and Boston won the final four games, winning the Series five games to three. Pro baseball teams weren't exactly looking to be at the vanguard of civil rights in America. A series of informal agreements kept non-white players out of the league until the s. No other team has been running without interruptions as long the Atlanta Braves.

Founded in as the Boston Red Stockings, the team bounced around a bit until landing in Atlanta in Reach introduced a type of ball that had cork in the center, surrounded by vulcanized rubber. It was a durable design popular with many players. There were 16 charter teams in the National Association. All of the teams were from areas of the Northeast or nearby , so none of them were named the Denver Knickers. The legendary Jackie Robinson is often called the first black pro. But Moses Fleetwood Walker played pro ball in the s … and unlike at least one other black player of the era, he didn't attempt to conceal his ethnicity.

The AL has a substantial lead in terms of total World Series Championships -- these teams have won The NL, with 48 victories, has some catching up to do. The Philadelphia Phillies were first called the Quakers, a name that harkened to the colonial era. In , they adopted the Phillies name, and it is the oldest continuously used name in all of professional sports.

In , labor strife ravaged the league -- owners and players clashed over free-agency rules and salary, and there was no resolution in the works. The strike started in August and eventually resulted in the cancellation of the World Series, the first time the event had been halted since Black players loved baseball, too, but they were excluded from white leagues until after WWII. Until then, they played their games in the Negro Leagues, segregated from the larger and better attended whites-only league.

The '89 Series was the first ever to feature two Bay-area teams Oakland and San Francisco , so perhaps it's almost fitting that a major earthquake halted game three before it even started. The quake caused immense damage, killed dozens of people and delayed the game for 10 days.

The Expos played in Montreal from '69 to ' In , Anderson accomplished a major feat, when he became the first manager ever to win a title in both the AL and NL. He won the Series with both the Reds and the Tigers. About This Quiz With its lush green field, grand slams and no-hitters, no other sport grips America's soul quite like baseball.

History of baseball in the United States

In which state did the "Knickerbocker" club organize some of the first real baseball games in America? New York.

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What's one reason that baseball's early players banned the practice of tagging base runners with thrown balls? Throwing balls ended in many instances of paralysis. Throwing balls resulted in instant death.

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Throwing balls resulted in fist fights. The first definitively documented game of modern baseball in America occurred in which century? Which man is often falsely attributed as the inventor of baseball? Abner Doubleday. Abe Lincoln. Albert Einstein.

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What was NOT an early name sometimes used for the new game that was eventually called "baseball"? Round ball. Town ball. Hexagonal ball. In one early and rather dangerous version of the game, how did defenders tag base runners out? They beat him with sticks. They threw the ball at the runner. Named for a former colonel in the Civil War, the Mill's Commission ultimately centered on the testimony of a mining engineer from Denver, Colorado named Abner Graves, who claimed he was with Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, New York in , when Doubleday wrote the rules to the game; his testimony, plus the discovery of several artifacts nearby, helped to establish in the committee's - and public's - mind that the game had originated in Cooperstown.

This particular story of baseball's origins is completely false, despite the romance of the Doubleday tradition. He was never involved with baseball at all, and probably never observed a game being played. In , Doubleday - rather than being at a school in Cooperstown - was a cadet at West Point, and would graduate in ; he would see distinguished service during the Civil War. And even though the report was flawed, the Mill's Commission would discover that baseball had its roots in other bat-and-ball games earlier than in the nineteenth century. Two games stand out as being the forebears of baseball, and both British in origins.

In the game of rounders , a ball is tossed to a batter wielding a inch bat, who must round and touch several bases in order to score. As in baseball, rounders is played with nine players on a field, and the game is divided into innings. Originating in Tudor times and played principally by school-age boys, rounders has the distinction of bearing the first direct reference to the title of "base-ball" in , from the pages of publisher John Newbery's Little Pretty Pocket-Book. The other, somewhat older game is cricket , a game played on a short field in which the pitcher called a "bowler" in this game attempts to dismiss a batter "batsman" ; unlike baseball the game involves the bowler attempting to knock over a set of wooden pegs "wicket" behind the batsman.

Like baseball, cricket play involves runs and outs. By the early 19th century variations of what would become baseball were being played on the fields, back lots, schoolyards and college campuses of the cities and towns of the United States. In the New York Knickerbocker Baseball Club was founded, joining, as well as playing against, several other amateur teams in the area. The game itself was noteworthy in that it was played after Alexander Joy Cartwright - whose ordinary job was bank clerk and volunteer fireman - wrote down the first formalized rules for baseball, setting the concept of innings and tagged outs, and limiting each team to nine players.

Dividing Baseball History into Eras

An convention of baseball clubs would add nine innings to the play of the game, changing the ending of the game from 21 runs. A year later the National Association of Base Ball Players was created as the first organized league, comprised of amateur teams; despite this several players were paid on occasion. One team not a member, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, became in the first professional team, and their success in their first season 91 of 92 games won helped to spread professionalism, leading to the creation of the National Association of Professional Base-Ball Players — In , owners of several strong independent teams came together at the behest of William Hulbert.

The National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs was his creation, in part because the previous association was rather loosely held together, and more important they had recognized baseball as a business. Hulbert's own team, the Chicago White Stockings, would several years later change names to the Chicago Cubs, the oldest currently-active team in baseball.

Several other leagues had also formed during this period. The American Association operated for nine years —91 , a serious rival to the National League when it allowed Sunday games and the sale of beer within the stands. A Players League was created by athletes, pressing the National League in finances but ending up driving the American Association out of business.


  • Inventing Baseball.
  • Dividing Baseball History into Eras | Articles | Bill James Online.
  • The 10 Best Hitters of the 1900s.

One league, the International Association of Professional Base Ball Players, operated twice: , and , fielding teams in both the United States and Canada. The International Association was also the last league to include black Americans within their teams, something that would not be corrected for nearly sixty years. In the American League was established from the minor Western League, and their president Ban Johnson ensured that teams would play in rival National League cities as well as raid the other league for talented ball players, offering better pay.

A key difference between the two was also established: the designated hitter rule, in which a player not on the field would be in the batting lineup to replace the pitcher. The popularity of the American League was serious enough for a truce to be called, culminating in a championship "World Series" between the two leagues since The simplicity of baseball caused the game to be spread far and wide.

Four bags placed on an otherwise empty field allowed it to be played almost immediately; adults played it as readily as children, and even a period as horrendous as the American Civil War had the game played often on both sides when battles were not being waged. The creation of the professional leagues afterwards also led to statistical record keeping; fans wanted to know who was the best ball player on any given team, whether it was pitching, fielding, or batting. Newspapers kept up with the teams from their cities, familiarizing the players to the fans, and baseball cards were created, added to packs of cigarettes before they became a staple of bubble gum wraps.

Among the first stars of baseball in the late 19th century were Paul Hines was recognized for being the first player to win Major League's Triple Crown, as well as being a two-time batting champion. Cy Young would amass five hundred wins as a pitcher during his career as well as pitching the first perfect game in American League history. But this was also an era in which games were played with the intention of getting on base, advancing on base, and batting runs in; swinging for the fences in a home run was extremely rare.

It was the pitcher who dominated the field, throwing emery balls a baseball dented first by hitting it on concrete and spitballs a baseball coated with saliva or other liquid substance as readily as curve and fast balls. The ball itself was the only one used throughout the entire game, becoming dark and misshapen before the game was over. The batter had to use strategy to get on base; records for triples batter getting safely to third base between were high, while batting averages. The exceptions were from those who took a more careful approach to hitting the ball; Ty Cobb batted.

This "dead-ball" era would end rather abruptly. The Black Sox Scandal - an episode in which players of the Chicago White Sox took money to alter the outcome of the World Series - threatened to end baseball itself, and owners realized changes had to be made; the replacement of the baseball during play as soon as it was so much as scuffed in is cited as the chief reason for the end of this era. The additional elimination of emery and spitballs caused the star of the game to be in the batter's box rather than on the mound, allowing the game to see an increase in the hitting of home runs.

The game of baseball is now played the world over. In North America, the primary governing body at the professional level is Major League Baseball, which consists of thirty clubs.

Every year, all of the MLB clubs from each league battle to earn a place in the World Series, the pinnacle of the sport. Louis Cardinals of the National League with 11 wins. There are a total of 12 teams. The association is divided into two leagues of six teams each, the Central League and the Pacific League. With 21 overall titles since the league's inception, the Yomiuri Giants have been the most successful Japanese club since the NPB's beginnings in Little League is an international non-profit organization for youth baseball founded in in Williamsport, Pennsylvania by Carl Stotz.

Each league is organized and run by volunteers, allowing for loose and inconsistent structure.

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