Sunday, December 11, 2011


Up to today, the origins of baseball remain vague and controversial. Some believe in the legend that it was founded by AbnerDoubleday, a civil war hero. Others claim it evolved from English folk games like cricket, or maybe from the North-American pastime rounders, or even from a Russian ball-game called “Lapta”. But whether it came from Europe or not, baseball’s real break-out happened during the 19th century in the US, where it grew to become a traditional sport like in no other country. The rules of baseball as we know them today come from Alexander Cartwright’s book of baseball rules, which were codified in 1845. The American Civil War played an important role in the spread of baseball. Before the war broke out it was mainly played in the north east (New York, Boston, Philadelphia) an in the center of the country (Ohio, Illinois, Indiana). During the war the movements of soldiers and transfers of prisoners was a great boost for the diffusion of the game, in the United States as well as in other parts of the world.  In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings formed the first professional team, and were purposely remunerated. A few years later in 1871, “The National Association of Professional Base-Ball Players” was founded as the first professional league.

Nowadays, known as ”Major League Baseball”,  it is the top-level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada and is one of the major professional sport leagues. It is made up of 30 teams -29 in the United States and 1 in Canada. A further distinction needs to be made between those teams. 14 compete in the American League (AL), and 16 in the National League (NL).  The main difference between the two is that the AL in opposition to the NL accepts a designated hitter. This means that this player has the right to bat in place of the pitcher. This rule was introduced in 1973. When the AL and NL teams compete against each other (during World Series play and inter-league play), the system of the home team is assigned.  

Babe Ruth
And what would baseball be without the most famous player of all times: Babe Ruth? From his real name George Herman Ruth, “The Sultan of Swat”, is one of the greatest sport heroes in American culture. He played in the Major League from 1914-1935 and is considered as one of the most outstanding baseball players in history. He is best known for his home run hitting prowess and being the first player to realize 60 home runs in only one season. He was also very popular for his generosity and wild lifestyle and became a mythical figure of the “Roaring Twenties”.
By the 1960s, the game was highly appreciated everywhere in America and soon had its own place among the other national sports. Today, all around the world, countries compete in this sport. Over the years, the game has acquired so much popularity that it has been accepted in the list of Olympic sports.

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