Baseball history is a rich and storied history that stretches back over two hundred years. It started in America and has evolved into a game that has become an integral part of the cultural landscape of our nation. The game traces its roots to the early settlers of the United States and the game of cricket. During the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the game became a national pastime.
Initially, the game incorporated the concepts of both rounders and cricket, though European settlers introduced the game to the United States. However, it wasn’t until the twentieth century that baseball really bloomed.
Babe Ruth was the first of many players to make a huge impact on baseball history. He was the first player to hit more than 500 home runs and helped bring more people into the game. His legacy was so great that his number “42” was retired by all major league teams.
While many people believe that Babe Ruth invented the modern game, Abner Doubleday has also been credited with coming up with the concept. Nevertheless, Doubleday has never claimed to have invented the modern game.
In 1876, a group of club members formed the National League. This league put power into the hands of owners. They made players reservable to specific teams and set the minimum salary at $10,000. Other rules included liquor and Sunday games. These changes brought more people to the ballpark, but as the Depression deepened, attendance began to drop.
Before Miller, players had very few rights. When Ban Johnson was commissioner, they had to abide by his directives. Sometimes, he was bowed to by the players, but he often squelched their requests.
When the United States entered World War II, the talent pool of baseball dipped. Players joined the armed forces or left the game for other pursuits. Meanwhile, the owners continued to ignore the needs of the players. Eventually, they resorted to gambling, which tarnished the game.
After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Bob Feller joined the Cleveland Indians. He was a 17-year-old rookie. He went on to set the record for the most strikeouts in a single inning. A few weeks later, he struck out 17 of the Philadelphia A’s.
During the Great Depression, a player’s salary declined as well. As the stock market crashed, baseball owners struggled to draw crowds. Those teams that used radio broadcasts of games sold more tickets. But television was thought to have a negative effect on the game.
During the Sixties, baseball shifted. Owners expanded each league by adding two teams. They also introduced a designated hitter. Another shift was the introduction of relief pitchers.
In 1994, a players’ strike halted the World Series. It also resulted in a lifetime ban from the sport for Pete Rose. Fortunately, there were some notable exceptions. One was Jackie Robinson.
Robinson was the first African American to play in the Major Leagues. Despite a difficult start, he broke the color barrier and was a major player in the fight for racial equality.https://www.youtube.com/embed/77RAPze_9wE