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The Beginning (1800-40)

Nobody really knows the exact origin of baseball because many countries throughout the centuries had there own sports using sticks and balls. But the experts on the game of baseball do believe this sport did evolve from the British game Rounders.
This sport also used a stick and ball and become popular in the early 1800’s in England was also referred to as “Townball.”

United States (1840-70)
The first game of baseball that would resemble anything that is played today supposedly started in the early 1840’s by a group of young men from Manhattan. In 1845, Alexander Cartwright a shop owner helped form the Knickerbockers Base Ball Club and was also one of the key figures in drafting a set of rules which all amateur players would abide by. They consisted of three strikes and your out and three outs per team per inning plus the four bases in a square.

This lead to the first game under these new rules in 1846 when the Knickerbockers lost to the New York Baseball Club at Elysian Fields at Hoboken, New Jersey. In 1857, a convention was held which was attended by representatives of the numerous amateur teams that were formed in the New York area and this is where the final rules of baseball were drawn up. They consisted of making games nine innings in length, having 90 feet between bases and a set distance from the pitchers mound and home base.

By 1858 these amateur teams formed there own league called the NABBP (National Association of Base Ball Players) which was the first organized baseball league. By the late 1860’s this league grew to some 300 teams across the United States and became the sport to play and watch. Because of the popularity of this sport and the attention it was drawing teams were starting to charge admission to watch their games and some players were getting paid even though professionalism wasn’t allowed.

Professional Baseball (1870-75)
In 1871, the first professional league emerged out of the ashes of the NABBP which folded a year earlier and was called the NAPBBP (National Association Professional Base Ball Players). It started out with ten teams which played each other five times and the overall winner going to the team with the most victories. Unfortunately gambling, fixed games and other problems lead to the demise of this Association in 1875.

The New League (1875-1900)
The National League was formed in 1875 after the fall of the NAPBBP and was going to be run by real businessmen this time. These professional people designed a schedule which teams would have to play by, legal contacts for which players had to sign and the cost of the tickets to watch these games. Because of the success of this league another league was formed. In 1882, the American Association began to play which became a direct competitor to the National League by signing away players and charging less for tickets to watch team play.

These two leagues eventually came to an agreement which would stop each other from signing away players when their contracts were up. This agreement was called the Reserve Clause and would give teams the ability to resign players unilaterally preventing players from looking around for the best offer. This led to all sorts of problems including another league started by the players. Eventually all these leagues including the American Association folded except the National League which ended up getting four more teams from the American Association.

This was also a period of time when black ball players which were prevalent at the time tried to start their own professional league. In 1887, this new league was called the NCBBL (National Colored Base Ball League) but unfortunately folded shortly after it started.

The American League (1900-50)
This new century saw another new league come on board to compete with the National League. In 1901, the American League formed which quickly started to poach players away from National League teams. This led to problems between the two rival leagues which were eventually worked out. In 1903 these two leagues signed a new agreement which would see them be called the major leagues and every other league minor leagues. Also included in this agreement was a championship game between the National league and the American League called the World Series.

In 1921, Kenesaw Mountain Landis became the first Major League Baseball Commissioner mainly because of the 1919 scandal between the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds in which the game was said to be fixed.

Around the same time this was happening a new league featuring only black players was formed in 1920 called the National Negro League. This new league started out with seven teams; Chicago American Giants, Chicago Giants, Dayton Marcos, Detroit Stars, Indianapolis ABCs, Kansas City Monarchs and Cuban Stars. Their first World Series was held in 1924 and was won by the Kansas City Monarchs.

The 1920’s also ushered in one of the greatest players ever to play baseball and really the first superstar. His name was George Herman “Babe” Ruth. He started as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and then his contract was bought out by the New York Yankees and he played the rest of his 22 year career as mostly an outfielder in which he set all sorts of homeruns records.

In 1947 the color barrier broken when the Brooklyn Dodgers signed and started Jackie Robinson. He ended up playing ten seasons for the Dodgers and retired in 1956. Full integration of black players didn’t completely happen until the early 1960’s.

Present Day (1950-2000)
The 1960’s saw the first real expansion period Major League Baseball. They went from 16 to 24 teams within a short period of time. In 1961 the Los Angeles Angels joined the American League and the Washington Senator moved to Minnesota. Houston’s Colt .45s and the New York Mets joined the National league in 1962. Atlanta Braves came on in 1966 and the Athletics moved on to Oakland in 1968. In 1969 MLB brought in four more teams and they were the Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres, Seattle Pilots and the first Canadian team the Montreal Expos.

Today Major League Baseball has 30 teams in which 14 are in the American league and 16 in the National League. 

Baseball Info
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Historical
Baseball Parks
Comiskey Park
Chicago White Sox
Place: Chicago, Ill
Opened: July, 1910
Closed: Sept, 1990
Seating: 32,000–52,000

Ebbets Field
Brooklyn Dodgers
Place: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Opened: April, 1913
Closed: Sept, 1957
Seating: 23,000–32,000

Fenway Park
Boston Red Sox
Place: Boston, MA
Opened: April, 1912
Seating: 33,817

Forbes Field
Pittsburgh Pirates
Place: Pittsburgh, PA
Opened: June, 1909
Closed: June, 1970
Seating: 25,000–35,000

Griffith Stadium
Washington Senators
Place: Washington, D.C.
Opened: July, 1911
Closed: Sept, 1961
Seating: 27,410

Polo Grounds
New York Giants, Yankees, Mets
Place: New York. N.Y.
Opened: June, 1911
Closed: Sept, 1963
Seating: 16,000–54,555

Shibe Park
Philadelphia A's,
Phillies, Eagles
Place: Philadelphia, PA
Opened: April, 1909
Closed: October, 1970
Seating: 20,000–33,000

Tiger Stadium
Detroit Tigers
Place: Detroit, MI
Opened: April, 1912
Closed: Sept, 1999
Seating: 23,000–52,400

Wrigley Field
Chicago Cubs
Place: Chicago, Ill
Opened: April, 1914
Seating: 14,000–38,965

Yankees Stadium
New York Yankees
Place: Bronx, New York
Opened: April, 1923
Closed: Sept, 2008
Seating: 57,546
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