Baseball Story

Baseball Story Baseball has been providing us with fun and excitement for more than a hundred and fifty years. The first game resembling baseball as we know it today was played in Hoboken ,New Jersey, on June 19, 1846. The New York Nine beat the New York Knickerbokers that day, 23-1. The game was played according to rules drawn up by Alexander J. Cartwright.

A surveyer and amateur athlete. It is a myth that Abner Doubleday1 invented baseball. It was Alexander Cartwright, not Abner Doubleday, who first laid out the present dimensions of the playing field and established the basic rules of the game. The first Professional baseball team was the Cincinnati Red Stockings, who toured the country in 1869 and didn’t lose a game all year. Baseball began to attract so many fans that in 1876 the National league was organized-the same National league that still exists today.

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Although the game was played in 1876 it was recognizable as baseball-nobody would confuse it with football or basketball-it was quite a bit different from baseball as we know it now. For example, pitchers had to throw underhand, the way they still do in softball;the batter could request the pitcher to throw a “high” or “low” pitch; it took nine balls, rather than four, for a batter to get a base on balls; and the pitching distance was olny 45 feet to home plate. The rules were gradually changed over the following 20 years, until by about 1900 the game was more or less the same as it is today. In 1884, the pitchers were permitted to throw overhand; in 1887, the batter was no longer allowed to request a “high”or “low” pitch; by 1889,it took only four balls to get a batter to a base on balls; the pitching distance was legthened to sixty- feet, six inches. And since that day in 1846 There have been many greats to make up the game baseball such as Ty Cobb who was born in a small town in Georgia in 1886. He threw right-handed but batted left-handed .

He held his hands a few inches apart on the bat and learned to bunt or slap line-drive hits precisely where he wanted them. He made place hitting an art. In the summer of 1905, Cobb joined a major league baseball taem, the Detroit Tigers .On August 9, Ty Cobb registered his first base hit as a member of the Tigers. In the many years to follow he added over four thousand more hits. Along with them would come a national rep- utation. Another player who some have said “changed the game”, is John Roosevelt(“Jackie”) Robinson2.On April 15, 1947 at two o’clock that tuesday afternoon when nine Brooklyn Dodgers sprang out thier dugout to take the feild to start the 1947 baseball season.

It was a memorable event in basebaall history, indeed in American history. Undoubtedly Robinson was a great ballplayer. He was National league’s Rookie of the year in 1947 and its Most valuable player (MVP) in 1949. He won the election in 1962 to the Bseball Hall of Fame, the first African- American ever chosen for that honor. And perhaps the greatest ballplayer of all time was Goerge Herman (Babe Ruth). During the 1920, Ruth’s first season as a New York Yankee, he hit .376, not enough to win the American league batting championship but a figure far beyond what today is registered by major leagues leaders.

He also hit safely in 26 consecutive games, clubbed 9 triples and 36 doubles, and batted in 137 runs. Despite his weight of over 215, he stole 14 bases. Most remarkably, however, Ruth slugged 54 home runs for the season. Closest to him in the American League was Goerge Sisler, with 19 homers, while the National League leader recorded a total of only 15. Almost every team in both leagues registered a total number far below the 54 of Babe Ruth alone. There have been many more talented and great ball- players in the game such as Ted Williams,Leo Durocher, Hank Aaron,Mickey Mantle,Roger Maris,Willie Mays,Joe DiMaggio and all these ballplayers have done their part to shape and mold the game of Baseball. And today, we now have a new generation of ball- players like Mark McGwire who in the 1998 season hit an unpresedented 76 home runs and was closely followed by Sammie Sosa with 70 homers which in the 1920 and 30’s was un-thought of un-imagnable, to even hit 15 home runs now playes can hit 15 home runs by May 15th.

Another astonashing differance is players today are earning countless millions of dollars, unlike days of yesteryear whaen players only made if they were lucky 125,000 dollars. Also the equipment has changed some ,for instents the glove players didn’t start wearing gloves on the feild until the 1880’s. At first , they wore only a thin peice of leather over the palm of their hand, with five holes cut out for the fingers to go through. By the 1890’s ,however, the gloves began to look like today’s baseball gloves. Nowadays, the glove is much larger than it used to be, and the ball is not caught in the palm of the hand but be trapped in the “pocket”, between the thumb and fore- finger.

Since the mid 1950’s, the glove has become more of a net with which to snare the ball rather than just a protective covering for hand. So you may ask why has baseball remained so popular for all these years? Since Alexander Cartwright first laid out the dimentions of the playing field and drew up the rules of the game, it has furnished enjoyment and excite- ment for countless millions of people, young and old alike.


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