Free History Of Baseball Essay Example
Known as “America’s favorite pastime”, Baseball is one of the most popular outdoor sports in United States of America. Its popularity is comparatively less in other countries, but in America, it is popular as any other game. Baseball is so popular among Americans that Morris Cohen termed Baseball as USA’s National Religion. Apart from America, Baseball is also famous in other parts of the World such as Europe, where more one hundred thousand people are said to play baseball regularly (Chetwynd).
There have been many interesting theories – following controversies and debates – about the origin of Baseball, over the years. What everyone agrees on is that games like Baseball, Softball, and Cricket have evolved from the community games of primitive times. During those times, there were numerous games that had resemblance to the Baseball of modern times. Some of these games include goal ball, stool ball and poison ball. These games have little resemblance when it comes to names with the modern day Baseball, but their rules and basic structure of game has uncanny similarities. These games can be said to be the origins of what we call Baseball today, despite the fact that they don’t hold almost any resemblance in terms of their name with the Baseball, their essence is the same.
Origin of Baseball
Here, it is important to note that most of the historical sources point towards England when they talk about the origins of Baseball game (Ginsburg; Rader). It can be said that England was where the game was born, even if it became more popular and evolved in United States later. Some historians claim that a conformist leader of sixteenth and seventeenth century named Thomas Wilson condemned Baseball along with some other games that used to be played on Sundays, during those times. If this claim is true, then Baseball must have been born by the year 1700, when this incident is said to have happened (Sullivan 1997).
In America, Baseball emerged before the Civil War of America. At first, it emerged under the name of Rounders (Abidjan.usembassy.gov). The earlier champions of this game that gave more power to the game. They added more set of rules and gave innovative colors to the game to include the factors such as mental judgement and skill to make it more interesting. They borrowed some of the concepts from other games such as Cricket to add gravity to the game of Baseball (Stein).
The first time Baseball emerged on the pages of history in recorded form was when the players of two clubs of United States of America toured England in order to let the English people know of the game and develop their interest. The two clubs that toured England were Philadelphia and Boston. The game, at that time, had the rules based upon the English game known as Rounders (Sullivan 1997). The game of Baseball started to become famous ever so slowly in the 19th century in different parts of United States of America (Thorn).
Evolution and Growth
If it was said that Chicago club of Baseball was responsible for introducing the game worldwide and making it international, it wouldn’t be wrong. Chicago club was the one who introduced the game to different countries such as Egypt, Hawaii, New Zeland, North Africa, and Australia.
It is a popular myth that the first one to code the rules of Baseball was Abner Doubleday in the year 1839. However, it is just a myth and the first person who documented the rules of the game is Alexander Cartwright. In his book named Baseball, Cartwright coded the rules for the game. Doubleday had never made any such claim in his whole life. The only evidence in the favor of this claim was one man’s testimony, decades after it was claimed to have happened. Even against this testimony, there is enough evidence that refutes the claim (Spatz). However, Doubleday did play a role in the promotion of Baseball.
The first recorded baseball game was played between New York Baseball Club and Knickerbockers. Alexander Cartwright’s team was Knickerbockers. New York Baseball Club won the match by a slight margin. The game was played in the year 1849 in Elysian Fields, New Jersey. The first Baseball League was formed in 1858 after an Association emerged under the name of National Association of Baseball Players. In 1871, the Association was given professional status. 1876 was the time when the first National League game was played between the teams of Philadelphia Athletics and Boston Red (Seymore).
The first time when women were found to be playing Baseball in a proper league was in the year 1943 when Philip Wrigley, the owner of Chicago Clubs, started the league named as All-American Girls Baseball League (AAGBL) (Helmer and Owens). This league became popular within the first few years of its inception, but it never gained popularity near any of the men’s leagues. Nowadays, there are many women’s Baseball leagues and the game has found its popularity in the hearts of women and there are many popular women’s leagues played (Rader).
As it was explained in the article, the history of Baseball is rich and full of efforts from many organizations and people. The hard work behind the game has finally paid off with millions of fan and hundreds of thousands of players around the globe, playing the game. Baseball’s popularity in United States of America can be judged by the fact that it is the National Game of the country (Ginsberg).
Baseball’s popularity is usually judged against that of Football’s. Baseball’s popularity has been up and down, showing contradictory trends, as compared to the football in the last two decades. Baseball can be termed as second most favorite game of Americans. 16% of Americans in a survey termed Baseball as their most favorite game as compared to the 31% of people who termed football the same.
Nowadays, the game of Baseball is played in many countries around the globe. In Europe alone, there are more than one hundred thousand players of the game. Apart from Europe and USA, Baseball is also popular in Canada. Canada saw the evolution of Baseball, right along with USA when it was happening in the 20th century. Popularity wise, Baseball can be termed as second most favorite games of Canadians too. Japan is also one of the countries where Baseball is played enthusiastically, having millions of fans in the country. Baseball is arguably the most popular sport among the masses in Japan. Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball was estimated as much as one billion dollars in the year 2007. This shows the popularity of Baseball in Japan (Helmer).
The popularity of Baseball can also be judged by the fact that under Little League Baseball, the body that oversees as many as seven thousand leagues of Children Baseball, more than two million children played in the year 2007 in United States of America alone.
In conclusion, the game of Baseball emerged on the horizon of sports around the middle of nineteenth century. It had evolved from other British games, over the time, and gained its popularity in United States of America. It evolved and grew in America, from where it was introduced to the whole world. Nowadays, Baseball is National Sports of USA with a huge fan base in USA, Europe, Japan, Canada, and other parts of the world. Millions of people around the globe play and watch Baseball which is an evidence to its popularity.
Abidjan.usembassy.gov,. 'History Of Baseball | Embassy Of The United States Abidjan, Cote D'ivoire'. N.p., 2015. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.
Chetwynd, Josh. Baseball In Europe. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2008. Print.
Ginsburg, Daniel E. The Fix Is In. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2003. Print.
Helmer, Diana Star, and Tom Owens. The History Of Baseball. New York: Rosen Publishers, 1999. Print.
Rader, Benjamin G. Baseball. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008. Print.
Seymour, Harold. Baseball. New York: Oxford University Press, 1960. Print.
Spatz, Lyle. The SABR Baseball List & Record Book. New York: Scribner, 2007. Print.
Stein, Fred. A History Of The Baseball Fan. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2005. Print.
Sullivan, Dean A. Early Innings. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997. Print.
Sullivan, Dean A. Middle Innings. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001. Print.
Thorn, John, Pete Palmer, and David Reuther. The Hidden Game Of Baseball. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1984. Print.