I: Origins of Baseball
Did you know that bat and ball games similar to Baseball can be traced as far back as 13th Century Romania? Games similar to Medieval Romnian game were played in the British isles, but they were known as “Stickball” or “Racquetball” but they were nowhere near the rules we have today. Baseball similar to the rules today was invented by Alexander Cartwright in New York in 1845, when he wrote the Knickerbocker Rules, and he is credited with the title “Father of Baseball.”
II: Early Years and Dead Ball Era
The Sport was played in New England and in Union camps during the Civil War. Eventually, in 1876, the American Association (AA) and the National League (NL) joined to create Major League Baseball, but it wasn’t until 1903 (When The AA became the AL) that Major League Baseball was officially created. In the late 1800s the game saw a major rise in popularity, with great players such as Cy Young playing then. In the early 1900s, pitchers dominated the game, and it was known as the Dead Ball Era. This was mostly because pitchers were allowed to use foreign substances on balls until 1920, when Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians was hit by a pitch in the head and killed because he couldn’t see the ball because of the mud on it. (and they didn’t start wearing helmets until the 1960s.)
III: Expansion Years
Coming out of the Dead Ball Era, players started to hit more home runs, such as George “Babe” Ruth who hit 714 carrer home runs, the third most in history. In the mid 20th Century teams moved to new cities, such as the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The New York Yankees dominated Baseball from the late 1940s to the early 1960s, with Manager Casey Stengel leading them to most of their victories from 1949-1963. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, domed stadiums and artificial turf were used in the stadiums. One of the first Stadiums like this was the Astrodome, which was the home of the Houston Astros from 1965-2000. It was sometimes called the “Eighth wonder of the World” because it was so hi-tech for the time. Its artificial grass was called “Astroturf”. Starting in 1961 with the Los Angeles Angels the MLB started the Expansion Years, and many new teams were created. The first two teams outside of the United States were The Montreal Expos in 1969, and the Toronto Blue Jays in 1977 but the Montreal Expos are no longer a team. This lasted all the way until 1998 when the Tampa Bay Rays, which were then called the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, were created.
IV: The Steroid Era
From the late 1990s to the early 2000s, players used steroids or other performance enhancing drugs to try to hit more home runs. This was known as the Steroid Era. The first player suspected of using steroids was Jose Canseco, who used them in the Early 1990s. Other players were suspected of using steroids, but Barry Bonds especially was suspected, because he hit the most home runs in MLB history. In 2005, Steroids were outlawed by the MLB. Nowadays, just like the Dead Ball Era, pitchers use illegal foreign substances to try to get a better grip on the ball, the MLB has been checking pitchers for it more often.
Baseball is now loved by millions of people in many different countries, like Korea, Japan, Cuba, Venezuela, but especially the United States, where baseball is known as “America’s National Pastime. I personally love baseball because it’s more complex than most other sports, and the patience a player has to have to play it correctly.You can’t just be good at one thing to play the game, but all parts of it. Many people say baseball is boring and slow but if you know the rules it’s very entertaining to play and to watch.