The History of Baseball

The History of Baseball

The Anti-English Attitude: Baseball is a purely American game. As you know, America too was once ruled by the British. Hence Americans had a natural hatred to everything “English” and this extended to the world of sports too. England is widely known as the inventor of the team sport, “Cricket”. England had a very irritating habit, one can say, of imposing themselves on every place they rule. America was no exception. The English tried their level best to impose “Cricket” on America. America, being a stubborn nation that it is still today, stoutly resisted all efforts. The more the English forced themselves, the more was the resistance. Ultimately the resilience of the Americans won and the game of “Baseball”, quite similar to cricket in certain ways was invented in the eighteenth century.

Basic similarity to Cricket and Stoolball: It was quite similar to a primitive game, much popular those days as “Stoolball”. Here a player was made to stand in front of a target, i.e a stool and the bowler used to throw the ball at him. If the batting player hit the ball and was caught in the outfield he was declared as “Out”. Similarly if he missed the ball and the ball hit the stool, the also he was declared “Out”. This is where the similarity begins and ends with cricket.

Rules of Baseball: Baseball is a team sport played with between two teams consisting of nine players each. There are four bases which are manned by four umpires. The bases form a square called a diamond. It is played a wooden bat, known as club and a hard ball which could incapacitate anybody if hit. The pitcher, or the thrower, would stand on his mound which is located at the centre of the diamond. Each game is played over nine innings in which each team gets one turn to bat and score runs and the other pitches and defends in the field. An inning is broken into two halves with the away team batting first in the top half and the home team bats in the bottom half. Each time three players have been declared out, the teams switch between batting and pitching. The winner is the team with the most runs after nine innings.

How it is played: The job of the pitcher is to throw the ball at full force. The batter has to hit the ball into fair territory, i.e. between the base lines and then make a run towards the next base. If he completes the quartet of bases, it is equal to one run. If a ball is hit out of the ground then all four runners can touch their bases and it is called a home run. In the meanwhile, the aim of the pitching side is to get three players out.

Early history of the game: This game gained huge popularity in the US and spread to practically all the states in the US. However the first recorded game in baseball was played in the year 1846 between the teams, “Knickerbockers” and “New York Baseball Club” at Elysian Fields in New Jersey. The National Association of Baseball Players was formed in 1858.

In 1869 the game turned professional with the team “Cincinnati Red Stockings” receiving remuneration for the first time. In 1871, the first professional league game was played.

The richest sport in America: Since then baseball has improved by leaps and bounds and has reached the pinnacle today with its players earning amounts in billions of US dollars. The American Babe Ruth was perceived to be the greatest baseball player ever to have set foot on Earth.

Till today, America swears by baseball and the aversion to its parent sport, Cricket continues, though Cricket too is a fine game in its own right.

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