Everyone knows that baseball is considered America’s game, but not everyone has stopped to ask why or how the sport helped to shape the country. Below, you’ll learn a bit about the history of the game and why it has been so important to the country.
Although the origins of baseball are often attributed to Abner Doubleday, who supposedly invented the sport in 1839, the true history is a bit more muddied. There were many games played with a stick and a ball back before the American Revolution, but it wasn’t until 1845 when the Knickerbocker Baseball Club was created in New York City that it started to become the sport we know today.
One of the founders of the club created a set of rules that would become the bedrock of baseball. This included the creation of a diamond-shaped infield, foul lines, and the three-strike rule. He also got rid of the practice of throwing balls at runners to get an out.
These changes helped to make baseball faster and safer, which made it more popular. The popularity of the sport continued to grow, and it was played by kids and adults alike. Teams were formed, they started charging to see the games, and baseball was quickly on its way to becoming America’s pastime.
Professional teams were formed over the years including the Cincinnati Red Stockings (1869), Mutuals of New York (1869), Atlanta Braves (1871), Chicago Cubs (1871), St. Louis Cardinals (1882), and the Pittsburgh Pirates (1881) to name a few. Some of those teams are still around.
During WWI and WWII, many professional baseball players put their gloves away for a while, as they went to serve the country. The Civil Rights movement saw players like Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron finally being allowed into the professional leagues.
Baseball has always been a sport that helps to bring the nation together, even in some of the darkest times in our history including 9/11. The first pitch of Game 3 of the World Series was thrown out by President Bush in NYC only seven weeks after the tragic events.
Baseball will continue to be something that binds us as Americans, even though we have different teams we root for. It’s one of the things that are uniquely American, too. Whether you play, or you just watch, you can’t help but love the game. Contact Schaumburg Seminoles to learn more.