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From the sandlot to stadiums seating over fifty thousand people, the game of baseball has provided people of all ages with a
common foundation; a sport we can all call our national pastime. Though its concept sounds simple, a game using a ball and a
bat, millions of people all over the world have sought involvement in it by either playing at some level, or just sitting back and
watching a game. With professional baseball attracting more and more fans each season, no one knows what limits this sport
can reach. For the time being though, it has been a real "home run."
Like any other sport, baseball developed over an extended period of time spanning way back to the 1600’s. The first evidence
of the sport was a game called rounders, which was played in England (Lewine 27). Players hit a ball with a bat, which is
parallel to today’s game, but the method’s to how the defense put the runners out was the big difference. Similar to dodge ball,
an infielder or outfielder had to throw the ball at the runners. If the ball hit a runner who was off base, he was out. This formula
was called plugging and soon after, its popularity ceased as did the game’s (29). Soon after, a transition occurred and the
name rounders changed to town ball and then to Massachusetts’s game, and finally the name baseball, developed by American
colonists, stuck. Rules did change over the period of them the names did, such as the number of players, distance between
bases and etc. Around 1840, the Americans solidified the rules and rounders had become baseball.
Even with evidence that baseball developed from rounders, it is believed that a United States Army general named Abner
Doubleday invented the sport in Cooperstown, New York, current home of the Hall of Fame (30). After many disputes,
Albert Spalding, a sporting-goods manufacturer and player of baseball, decided to have a commission decide who originated
the game. In 1908, the commission credited Doubleday with creating the game and it was based on a letter from Abner
Graves, a friend of Doubleday’s. In this document, Graves stated that he had been present as Doubleday conceptualized the
game in 1839 (30). As a result of this decision, historians research concluded that Doubleday had little to do with the discovery
of baseball and his friend Graves described plugging in the letter, that being a major fundamental in rounders. While all the
controversy over who invented the game persisted, people of all ages, and an early system of baseball organization developed
explored this new sport.
A man by the name of Alexander Cartwright, a sportsman from New York started the first organized baseball club, the
Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York (30). Along with establishing the first baseball club, he added a set of written
rules, which are extremely parallel to the ones of today (30). Some of these rules, stated in 1845, include, the distance between
all the bases being ninety feet, and having nine players on each side. No longer would players be plugging runners, but now
they would be tagging them with the ball. The rule of forcing a player out at a base was also introduced in 1854. Finally, other
rules changed over time such as the length of the game change to nine innings and the distance from the pitchers found to home
plate now being sixty feet. Another major landmark in the history of baseball, the invention of the newspaper box score,
occurred in 1845 as well. With all these new advances, the game naturally began to spread across the country (32).
Not only did the famous Civil War (1861-1865) spread our nation into the north and south, but on a positive note, it also
spread the sport of baseball all over the country. As an example, the union soldiers would play the game as a form of
recreation as the rest of the union troops and even confederate prisoners would watch (47). Something similar to a domino
effect started as the prisoners and soldiers came home from the war and taught their other peers how to play the game (47).
Through this manner, people in all cities, towns, and farms began playing baseball. Amateurs started playing on different
baseball clubs and this gave rise to professional baseball. Like any other pastime, some people will be better than others at it,
and this goes the same for
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Team sports, Ball games, Origins of baseball, Town ball, Baseball, Rounders, New York Knickerbockers, Dead-ball era, Alexander Cartwright, Abraham G. Mills, Comparison of baseball and cricket
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