Monday, 4 Dec 2023

The History of Baseball

You may have heard the story that a young man – who was called Abner Doubleday – invented the game, which is known as baseball in Cooperstown, New York, in the summer of 1839. Doubleday then went on to become a hero in the Civil War hero, while baseball became America’s cherished national pastime.

Not only is that story very much untrue, but it’s also not even in the ballpark of truth.

Doubleday was at West Point in 1839. In addition, he never alleged to have anything to do with baseball. In 1907, a special commission that was created by the sporting goods magnate – as well as former major league player AJ Spalding – used flimsy evidence (namely the claims of one man, mining engineer Abner Graves) to come up with the Doubleday origin story. Cooperstown businessmen – as well as major league officials – would rely on the myth’s enduring power in the 1930s, when they created the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

The Complicated History Of Baseball

It turns out that, the real history of baseball is a little more sophisticated than the Doubleday legend. References to games reminiscent of baseball in the United States date back to the 18th century. Its most direct ancestors seem to be two English games: rounders (a children’s game brought to New England by the earliest colonists) as well as cricket.

By the time of the American Revolution, variants of such games were being played on schoolyards as well as college campuses across the USA. They became even more popular in newly industrialised cities where men sought work in the mid-19th century.

Different Variations Of Baseball

Diverse variations of baseball were played in the 18th century in a number of parts of the country — such as New York, Philadelphia as well as Massachusetts each had their own versions. However, eventually, something like the New York game, which featured the creation of a foul territory as well as made players stay on the base path while running, won out — although not necessarily as it was a better game.

However, baseball — even the New York version — was still mainly considered to be a boys’ game. For adults – as well as the press – to take notice, there had to be another incentive: money.

From the start, baseball’s rise corresponded with professional gamblers taking notice. The people running gambling games realised that adults would be more interested in the game if they were able to make side bets during innings — and that the endeavour would also be profitable for the gambling halls themselves.

The Impact on The Modern Game

Enclosed ballparks are of enormous importance as now you had a fence — no matter how distant — that you were able to hit the ball over. Bit by bit, slugging came into the game.

At the moment when you can also enjoy Video Poker for Malaysian players, Ty Cobb, Sam Crawford, Frank Chance — you name the hitting heroes of first decade of the 20th century — there was absolutely no point in them hitting the ball, swinging at a pitch the way that Babe Ruth did as they weren’t going to drive a gooey ball in the seventh inning over a fence that is 500 feet away anyway.

The invention of enclosed fields and ever diminishing distances to walls — so the ballplayers get larger, the fields get smaller, power becomes easier to accomplish.