History is important and we should cherish it. Some parts of history are forgotten, only to be later discovered or inferred through various evidence and points of view. Historians do a great job of making sure that we don’t forget important parts of our history.
Sports have played an important role in almost every country’s history. Even continents are shaped by sports. This is why it is important to understand the history of baseball, considered to be America’s national pastime.
Here is a brief history overview of baseball, a very important sport for the United States.
Baseball – The Origins Outside the States
Baseball belongs to a family of bat and ball games, of which there were many throughout history. Baseball is a sport that is commonly thought to have been developed after the game of rounders, popular in Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1744, the first reference to baseball was recorded in a Little Pretty Pocket Book by John Newbery. There was a rhyme depicting a game of baseball, or rather, a game of rounders. There was also a woodcut showing the game being played.
It is considered that baseball and rounders were actually variations of the same game, developed in different regions in Great Britain. The game was imported into the United States with European immigrants, as expected.
Baseball In the United States
Baseball was first mentioned in 1791 in the United States, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. There was a declaration prohibiting people from playing the game near the town’s meeting house. Not five years later, it was described in a German book about popular pastimes. Even then, there was mention of attempting to hit the ball three times.
However, baseball did not really take off until the mid 1850s. There was a reason for this, particularly in the New York area. Alexander Cartwright invented the modern baseball rules in 1845, and is widely considered the founder of modern baseball. He was a member of the Knickerbocker club and the rules are also known as Knickerbocker Rules. Baseball took off in the 1850s, and there were professional leagues formed in the 1870s.
The Meteoric Rise of Baseball
Baseball in the 20th century was a very popular sport in the United States.
At the start of the 20th century, baseball had many stars, from Babe Ruth to Honus Wagner, not to mention Ty Cobb and later on, Jackie Robinson.
Baseball was so popular that collectible cards are still valued immensely, particularly from those early periods. Collecting baseball memorabilia is an expensive hobby of many baseball fans.
Since 1945 and after Jackie Robinson, baseball changed dramatically to include African American players, which brought the sport much more popularity. The sport has only been improving in the 1970s and 1980s, and had to eventually run into the same issue all sports faced, steroids.
Today, baseball is a popular sport, in the United States as well as other countries, like Japan. Its history shows us how the sport developed and what part it played in the cultures of the United States, as well as the rest of the world.