BaseBall

MY BEAUTIFUL DAY AT THE BALL PARK

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BEAUTIFUL DAY AT THE BALL PARK

Mets July 28, 2013 142On a recent sunny, cool, yet low humid July Sunday in Washington, DC, once again I found myself at the Washington Nationals Ballpark to watch the Nationals play my beloved New York Mets. I am use to going to all the Met games when they come down to Washington during the season, but the thing that made attending this game extra special was having my brother, nephew, niece and one of my niece’s best friends with me at the game as well. It’s a treat for them to come up from their home to go to a game.  Mets July 28, 2013 136

For some reason, my nephew has decided to follow the Nationals, that’s his choice, but maybe one day he will end up liking the METS just as his dad and I do. If not, it will be alright. My niece and her friend enjoyed themselves and watching the game. Besides getting to spend time together, we get to enjoy something that we enjoy and truly get into the game. I have been known to come home from many a game with little or no voice from yelling so much during the game.

Mets July 28, 2013 150-2Even though I have lived in the Washington, DC/Northern Virginia area for over 25 years, once a MET fan always a METS fan as I say. As a die-hard life-long time Met fan , my fingernails are done in alternating MET colors of orange and blue, and my choice of what to wear (as any Met fan does) in an outfit that have the team colors as well. And that includes my earrings. Despite the fact that we lost big time (14-1) on Sunday, it Mets July 28, 2013 109 copiawas still a happy and enjoyable day for all of us. There is a magical air at any ball game with an anticipation of a good time. Everyone, no matter which team they root for, is quite friendly and willing to talk and visit with other fans around them. You share stories and information that is related to the game. It’s good sportsmanship and camaraderie.

Schermata 07-2456505 alle 02.50.28

…….Kathy Kiefer

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The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

 

stephen-c-clark-1882-1960-grangerThe Hall of Fame is an American history museum, and is located at 25 Main Street in Cooperstown, New York. The main focus for the Baseball Hall of fame is that it is the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, displays baseball-related artifacts and exhibits, and honors those who have excelled in playing, managing, and serving the sport. The Hall’s motto is “Preserving History, Honoring Excellence, and Connecting Generations.”
The Hall of Fame was dedicated on June 12, 1939. Stephen Carlton Clark was owner of a local hotel and sought to bring tourists to Cooperstown, which had been suffering economically when the Great Depression significantly reduced the local tourist trade and Prohibition devastated the local hops industry. An $8 million library and research facility opened in 1994. The Hall of Fame has also sponsored educational programming on the Internet to bring the Hall of Fame to school children who might not visit Cooperstown. The Hall and Museum completed a series of renovations in spring 2005.

The Hall of Fame also presents an annual exhibit at Fan Fest at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
Among baseball fans like my brother and myself, “The Hall of Fame” means not only the museum and facility in Cooperstown, New49832 York, but the pantheon of players, managers, umpires, executives, and pioneers who have been enshrined in the Hall. The first five men elected were Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wager, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson, all, named in 1936. As of January 2013, 300 individuals had been elected to the Hall of Fame, including 208 former Major Leaguers, 35 Negro Leaguers, 19 managers, 10 umpires, and 28 pioneers, executives, and organizers. In addition, 12 Hall members who were not honored at any induction ceremony due to World War II travel restrictions, the most notable of whom 200px-Honus_Wagner_(crop)are Lou Gehrig and Rogers Hornsby, they will be officially recognized in 2013 In addition to honoring Hall of Fame inductees, the National Baseball Hall of Fame has presented 36 men with the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting, 63 with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for excellence in baseball writing, and two with the Buck O’Neill Award for contributions to baseball. While the Frick and Spink Award honorees are not members of the Hall of Fame, they are recognized in an exhibit in the Hall of Fame’s library. O’Neil Award honorees are also not Hall of Fame members, but are listed alongside a permanent statue of the award’s namesake and first recipient, Buck O’Neill, which stands at the Hall.

Selection process Players are currently inducted into the Hall of Fame through election by either the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA), or the Veterans Committee, which now consists of three subcommittees, each of which considers and votes for candidates from a separate era of baseball. Five years after retirement, any player with 10 years of major league experience who passes a screening committee (which removes from consideration players of clearly lesser qualification) is eligible to be elected by lrg_national_baseball_hall_of_fame_and_museumBBWAA members with 10 years’ membership or more. From a final ballot typically including 25–40 candidates, each writer may vote for up to 10 players; until the late 1950s, voters were advised to cast votes for the maximum 10 candidates. Any player named on 75% or more of all ballots cast are elected. A player who is named on fewer than 5% of ballots is dropped from future elections. In some instances, the screening committee had restored their names to later ballots, but in the mid-1990s, dropped players were made permanently ineligible for Hall of Fame consideration, even by the Veterans Committee. A 2001 change in the election procedures restored the eligibility of these dropped players; while their names will not appear on future BBWAA ballots, they may be considered by the Veterans Committee.
Under special circumstances, certain players may be deemed eligible for induction. Addie Joss was elected in 1978, despite only playing nine seasons before he died of meningitis. Additionally, if an otherwise eligible player dies before his fifth year of retirement, then that player may be placed on the ballot at the first election at least six months after his death. The induction of Roberto Clemente’s in 1973 set the precedent when the writers chose to put him up for consideration after his death on New Year’s Eve, 1972.
Joe_DiMaggioThe five-year waiting period was established in 1954 after an evolutionary process. In 1936 all players were eligible, including active ones. From the 1937 election until the 1945 election, there was no waiting period, so any retired player was eligible, but writers were discouraged from voting for current major leaguers. Since there was no formal rule preventing a writer from casting a ballot for an active player, the scribes did not always comply with the informal guideline; Joe DiMaggio received a vote in 1945, for example. From the 1946 election until the 1954 election, an official one-year waiting period was in effect. The modern rule establishing a wait of five years was passed in 1954, although an exception was made for Joe DiMaggio because of his high level of previous support, thus permitting him to be elected within four years of his retirement. No formal exception was made for Lou Gehrig, other than to hold a special one-man election for him. There was no waiting period at that time and Gehrig met all other qualifications, so he would have been eligible for the next regular election after he retired during the 1939 season, but the BBWAA decided to hold a special election at the 1939 Winter Meetings in Cincinnati, specifically to elect Gehrig (most likely because it was known that he was terminally ill (ALS), making it uncertain that he would live long enough to see another election). Nobody else was on that ballot, and the numerical results have never been made public. bbwaaSince no elections were held in 1940 or 1941, the special election permitted Gehrig to enter the Hall while still alive.
If a player fails to be elected by the BBWAA within 20 years of his retirement from active play, he may be selected by the Veterans Committee. Following the most recent changes to the election process that were made in 2010, it is now responsible for electing all otherwise eligible candidates who are not eligible for the BBWAA ballot—both long-retired players and non-playing personnel (managers, umpires, and executives). With these changes, each candidate can now be considered once every three years. From 2008 to 2010, following changes made by the Hall in July 2007, the main Veterans Committee votes only on players whose careers began in 1943 or later.
Players of the Negro Leagues have also been considered at various times, beginning in 1971. In 2005 a study was completed on African American players between the late 19th century and the integration of the major leagues in 1947, and conducted a special election for such players in February 2006; seventeen figures from the Negro Leagues were chosen in that election, in addition to the eighteen previously selected. Following the 2010 changes, Negro Leagues figures will primarily be considered for induction alongside other figures from the 1871–1946 era, called the “Pre-Integration Era”.
The Veterans Committee underwent reorganization in 2001, in order to comprise the living Hall of Fame members and other veterans_day_baseball_salute_600honorees. The revamped Committee held three elections—in 2003 and 2007 for both players and non-players, and in 2005 for players only. No individual was elected at that time. In 2007, the committee and its selection processes were again reorganized; the main committee then included all living members of the Hall, and voted on a reduced number of candidates from players whose careers began in 1943 or later. Separate committees, including sportswriters and broadcasters, would select umpires, managers and executives, as well as players from earlier eras. In the first election to be held under the 2007 revisions, two managers and three executives were elected in December 2007 as part of the 2008 election process. The next Veterans Committee elections for players were held in December 2008 and no player(s) were selected, but the panel for pre-World War II veterans elected one play in their only vote. The main committee voted as part of the election process for inductions in odd-numbered years, while the pre-WWII panel would vote every five years, and the panel for umpires, managers, and executives voted as part of the election process for inductions in even-numbered years.
All individuals eligible for induction but not eligible for BBWAA consideration are now considered on a single ballot, grouped by the eras in which they made their greatest contributions.
The Hall is using the BBWAA’s Historical Overview Committee to formulate the ballots for each era, consisting of 12 individuals for the Expansion Era and 10 for the other eras. The Hall’s board of directors selects a committee of 16 voters for each era, made up of 12_6RonSantoHall of Famers, executives, baseball historians, and media members. Each committee meets and votes at the Baseball Winter Meetings once every three years. The Expansion Era committee held its first vote in 2010, with longtime general manager Pat Glick becoming the first individual elected under the new procedure. The Golden Era committee voted in 2011 with Ron Santo becoming the first player elected under the new procedure. The Pre-Integration Era committee voted in 2012 electing three figures. Subsequent elections will rotate among the three committees in that order.
While the text on a player’s or manager’s plaque lists all teams for which the inductee was a member in that specific role, inductees are depicted wearing the cap of a specific team, or, in some cases, wearing a cap without a logo. The Hall selects the logo “based on where that player makes his most indelible mark.”
Although the Hall always made the final decision on which logo was shown, until 2001 the Hall deferred to the wishes of players or managers whose careers were linked with multiple teams. Some examples of honorees associated with multiple teams are the following:
2007-01-12-frobby• Frank Robinson: Robinson chose to have the Baltimore Orioles cap displayed on his plaque, although he had played ten seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and six seasons with Baltimore. Robinson won four pennants and two World Series with the Orioles and one pennant with Cincinnati. His second World Series ring came in the1970 World Series against the Reds. Robinson also won an MVP award while playing for each team.

 

 
CATFISH HUNTER• Catfish Hunter: When elected to the Hall of Fame in 1987, Hunter declined to choose between the teams for which he played—the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees —as he had been successful with both teams and maintained good relations with both teams and their respective owners (Charles Finley and George Steinbrenner). His plaque shows him wearing a cap without a logo.

 

 
nolan_ryan_autograph• Nolan Ryan: Born and raised in Texas, Ryan entered the Hall in 1999 wearing a Texas Rangers cap on his plaque, although he spent only five seasons with the Rangers, while having longer and more successful tenures with the Houston Astros (nine seasons, 1980–88 and his record-setting fifth career no-hitter) and California Angels (eight seasons, the first four of his seven career no-hitters). Ryan’s only championship was as a member of the New York Mets in1969. When he retired, Ryan hit two milestones, reaching his 5000th strikeout and 300th win, and throwing the last two of his no-hitters. Ryan later took ownership of the Rangers when they were sold to his Rangers Baseball Express group in 2009.
12892678_ori• Reggie Jackson: Jackson chose to be depicted with a Yankees cap over an Athletics cap. As a member of the Kansas City/Oakland A’s, Jackson played ten seasons, winning three World Series as well as the AL MVP award in 1973. During his five years as a New York Yankee, Jackson won two World Series, his crowning achievement occurring during Game Six of the 1977 World Series, when he hit three home runs on consecutive pitches and earned his nickname “Mr. October”.

 

 
carlton_fisk_autograph• Carlton Fisk: Fisk went into the hall with a Boston Red Sox cap on his plaque in 2000 despite playing with the Chicago White Sox longer and posting more significant numbers with the White Sox. Fisk’s choice of the Red Sox was likely because of his being a New England native, as well as his famous “Stay fair!” walk-off home run in Game Six of the 1975 World Series with which he is most associated.

 

 
sparky_anderson_autograph• Sparky Anderson: In 2000, Anderson entered the Hall with a Cincinnati Reds cap on his plaque despite managing almost twice as many seasons with the Detroit Tigers. He chose the Reds to honor that team’s former general manager Bob Howsam, who gave him his first major-league managing job. Anderson won two World Series with the Reds and one with the Tigers.

 

 
1974-dave-winfield-signed-rookie-card-3• Dave Winfield: Winfield had spent the most years in his career with the Yankees and had had great success there, but chose to go into the Hall as a member of the San Diego Padres due to his feud with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
In 2001, the Hall of Fame decided to change the policy on cap logo selection, as a result of rumors that some teams were offering compensation, such as number retirement, money, or organizational jobs, in exchange for the cap designation. The Hall decided that it would no longer defer to the inductee, though the player’s wishes would be considered, when deciding on the logo to appear on the plaque.
According to the Hall of Fame, approximately 315,000 visitors enter the museum each year, and the running total has surpassed 14 million. These visitors see only a fraction of its 38,000 artifacts, 2.6 million library items (such as newspaper clippings and photos) and 130,000 baseball cards. The Bullpen Theater is the site of daily programming at the museum (trivia games, book discussions, etc.) and is decorated with pictures of famous relief pitchers.
The Halper Gallery contains rotating exhibits. Induction Row contains artifacts pertinent to the most recent inductees as well as photos of past Hall of Fame Weekends. The Perez-Steele Art Gallery features art of all media related to baseball. Dick Perez was the official baseball artist for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for 20 years, starting in 1981. The Sandlot Kids Clubhouse has various interactive displays for young children. Plus so much more and also includes an exhibit that details the All-American Girls Professional Baseball league. Sacred Ground is the newest museum section, opened after the 2003–05 renovation. It is devoted entirely to ballparks and everything about them, especially the fan experience and the business of a ballpark. The centerpiece is a computer tour of three former ballparks: Boston’s South End Grounds, Chicago’s Comisky Park and Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field.
Non-induction of banned players.
Following the banning of Pete Rose from baseball, the selection rules for the Baseball Hall of Fame were modified to prevent the induction of anyone on MLB’s permanent suspension list, such as Rose or Shoeless Joe Jackson. Many others have been barred from participation in MLB, but none have Hall of Fame qualifications on the level of Jackson or Rose.
Jackson and Rose were both banned from baseball for life for actions related to gambling on their own teams—Jackson was determined to have cooperated with those who conspired to lose the 1919 World Series intentionally, and Rose voluntarily accepted a permanent spot on the ineligible list in return for MLB’s promise to make no official finding in relation to alleged betting on his team the Cincinnati Red while he was their manager in the 1980s. (Rule 21, prominently posted in every clubhouse locker room, mandates permanent banishment from the sport for having a gambling interest of any sort on a game in which a player or manager is directly involved.) Rose later admitted that he bet on the Reds in his autobiography. Baseball fans are deeply split on the issue of whether these two should remain banned or have their punishment revoked. A writer named Bill James, advocates Rose eventually making it into the Hall of Fame, compared the people who want to put Jackson in the Hall of Fame to “those women who show up at murder trials wanting to marry the cute murderer”.
cooperstown161I remember that on one of my family’s trips over summer vacation, we went to Cooperstown to the Hall, and getting blown away by the enormity of it all. My brother and I came away from the experience with a much better understand of the game as well as a better appreciation for the background and traditions of the sport. It is truly an American game and institution. We both collected baseball cards growing up and I think that even now my nephew likes to do the same. My niece likes baseball, but not to the extent her brother and father do, and to the extent as I do).

Kathy Kiefer

The History of Baseball

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History of Baseball

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UnknownThe question of the origins of baseball has been the subject of debate and controversy for more than a century. Baseball and the other modern bat, ball and running games, cricket and rounders, were developed from earlier folk games in England.

Early forms of baseball had a number of names, including “Base Ball”, “Goal Ball”, “Round Ball”, “fetch-catch”, stool ball”, and, simply, “Base”. In at least one version of the game, teams pitched to themselves, runners went around the bases in the opposite direction of today’s game, and players could be put out by being hit with the ball. Then as now, a batter was called out after three strikes.

Few details of how the modern game developed from earlier folk games are known. These folk games resulted in a game called town ball in which baseball is to have had its start, while others believe that town ball, a game similar to rounders, was independent from baseball.  Many of these early games involved a ball that was thrown at a target while an opposing player defended the target by attempting to hit the ball away. If the batter was successful in hitting the ball, he could score points by running between bases while fielders would attempt to catch the ball and put the runner out in some way.   Since they were just folk games with no documented rules, things tended to change over time.   If there were rules they were simple and not written down, different locations had similar games but with their own name for the same game.

Aside from obvious differences in terminology, the games differed in the equipment used (ball, bat, club, target, etc., usually just whatever was available), the way in which the ball is thrown, the method of scoring, the method of making outs, the layout of the field and the number of players involved.

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An old English game called “base,” was not much like baseball. There was no bat and no ball involved. The game was more like a fancy game of “tag,” although it did share the concept of places of safety (i.e. bases) with modern baseball.  In stoolball, a batter stood before a target, perhaps an upturned stool, while another player pitched a ball to the batter. If the batter hit the ball (with a bat or his/her hand) and it was caught by a fielder, the batter was out. If the pitched ball hit a stool leg, the batter was out. Traditionally it was played by milkmaids who used their milking stools as a “wicket,” according to one belief while waiting for their husbands to return from working in the fields.  It has been reported that stoolball was a primitive version of baseball and dates back to 1672.

In 1748, the family of Frederick, Prince of Wales, partook in the playing of a baseball-like game. By 1796 the rules of this English game were well enough established to earn a mention in Johann Gutsmuths’ book on popular pastimes. In it he described “Englische Base-ball” as a contest between two teams in which “the batter has three attempts to hit the ball while at the home plate”; only one out was required to retire a side. The book also predates the rules laid out by the New York Knickerbockers by nearly fifty years.  The French book Les Jeux des Jeunes Garçons is the first known book to contain printed rules of a bat/base/running game. It was printed in Paris in 1810 and lays out the rules for “poison ball,” in which there were two teams of eight to ten players, four bases (one called home), a pitcher, a batter, and fly ball outs.

779544-MIn 1828, William Clarke of London published a second edition of The Boy’s Own Book, including rounders rules, and contains the first printed description in English of a bat and ball base-running game, played on a diamond. Similar rules were published in Boston in “The Book of Sports,” written by Robin Carver in 1834, except the Boston version called the game “Base” or “Goal ball.” The rules were similar but also added fair and foul balls and strike-outs.

The account of the first English cricket tour to Canada and the United States in 1859 refers to the “base-ball game being somewhat similar to the English and Irish game of ’rounders.'” A day’s play was lost during a cricket match in New York due to snow, but a game of baseball was arranged about a mile away between “the players of that game and a portion of the English party”  can be found in The English Cricketers’ trip to Canada and the United States, by Fred Lilliwhite.  The history of cricket prior to 1650 is something of a mystery.  References to a game actually called “cricket” appeared around 1550. It is believed that the word cricket is based either on the word cric, meaning a crooked stick possibly a shepherd’s crook (early forms of cricket used a curved bat somewhat like a hockey stick), or on the Flemish word “krickstoel,” which refers to a stool upon which one kneels in church.   The Toronto Cricket Club was established in that city by 1827 and the St. George’s Cricket Club was formed in 1838 in New York City. Teams from the two clubs faced off in the first international cricket game in 1844 which old_fashioned_cricket_8Toronto won by 23 runs.

A unique British sport, known as British Baseball, it is still played in parts of Wales and England.  Confined mainly to the cities of Cardiff, Newport and Liverpool, the sport boasts an annual international game between teams from both countries.

Another early folk game was “dog and cat” originated in Scotland. In cat and dog a piece of wood called a cat is thrown at a hole in the ground while another player defends the hole with a stick (a dog). In some cases there were two holes and, after hitting the cat, the batter would run between them while fielders would try to put the runner out by putting the ball in the hole before the runner got to it. Dog and cat thus resembled cricket.   The game of “cat” (or “cat-ball“) had many variations but usually there was a pitcher, a catcher, a batter and fielders, but there were no sides (and often no bases to run). A feature of some versions of cat that would later become a feature of baseball was that a batter would be out if he swung and missed three times.

A game popular in colonial America was “one hole catapult,” which used a catapult like the one used in trap-ball, as well as “one ol’ cat,” a contraction of one hole catapult. In one ol’ cat, when a batter is put out, the catcher goes to bat, the pitcher catches, a fielder becomes the pitcher, and other fielders move up in rotation. One ol’ cat was often played when there weren’t enough players to choose up sides and play townball. Sometimes running to a base and back was involved. “Two ol’ cat” was the same game as one ol’ cat, except that there were two batters.

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There is a myth that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in 1839 was once widely promoted and widely believed. There is no evidence for this claim except for the testimony of one man decades later, and there is persuasive counter-evidence. Doubleday himself never made such a claim; he left many letters and papers, but they contain no reference to baseball or any suggestion that he considered himself prominent in the game’s history. His obituary in the New York Times obituary makes no mention of baseball, nor does a 1911 Encyclopedia article about Doubleday. Doubleday was never inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, although there was a large oil portrait of him on display at the Hall.    Debate on baseball’s origins had raged for decades, heating up in the first years of the 20th century, due to a 1903 essay baseball historian Henry Chadwick wrote in an Official Baseball Guide and stated that baseball gradually evolved from English game of “rounders”.   The Mills Commission, organized in 1905, found an appealing story: baseball was invented in a quaint rural town without foreigners or industry, by a young man who later graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and served heroically in the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, as well as wars against Indians.

The Mills Commission concluded that Doubleday had invented baseball in Cooperstown, New York in 1839; that Doubleday had invented the word “baseball,” designed the diamond, indicated fielders’ positions, and written the rules.   Between 1839 and 1849 there were no written records found to corroborate these claims.  The principal source for the story was one letter from an elderly gentleman (Abner Graves) who was a five-year-old resident of Cooperstown in 1839. Graves never mentioned a diamond, positions or the writing of rules. Doubleday could not have been in Cooperstown in 1839 and is unlikely to have visited as he was a cadet at West Point at the time and Mills never heard him mention baseball.

Although the Baseball Hall of Fame eventually was built in Cooperstown, Doubleday was never inducted into it. Versions of baseball rules and descriptions of similar games have been found in publications that significantly predate his alleged invention in 1839 even so the ballpark few blocks down from the Hall of Fame bears the name “Doubleday Field”.

knicker0Rules were written in 1845 for a New York City “base ball” club called the Knickerbockers.   The author of these rules, a gentleman named Alexander Cartwright is the person referred to as “the father of baseball”.  One important rule, the 13th, stipulated that the player need not be physically hit by the ball to be put out; this permitted the subsequent use of a farther-travelling hard ball. Evolution from the “Knickerbocker Rules” to the current rules is fairly well documented.   On June 3, 1953, Congress officially credited Cartwright with inventing the modern game of baseball, and he is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Cartwright, a New York bookseller, umpired the first-ever recorded U.S. baseball game with codified rules in Hoboken, New Jersey on June 19, 1846. He also founded the older of the two teams that played that day, the New York Knickerbockers. The game ended, and the other team (The New York Nines) won, 22-1. One point undisputed by historians is that the modern professional major leagues, which began in the 1870s, developed directly from amateur urban clubs of the 1840s and 1850s, not from the pastures of small towns such as Cooperstown.   Prior to 1945 evolution of modern baseball is unknown.  There were once two camps. One, mostly English, asserted that baseball evolved from a game of English origin (rounders); the other, almost entirely American, said that baseball was an American invention (one-ol’-cat). Apparently they saw their positions as mutually exclusive. Some of their points seem more national loyalty than evidence: Americans tended to reject any suggestion that baseball evolved from an English game, while some English observers concluded that baseball was little more than their rounders without the round.   That baseball is based on English and Gaelic games such as cat, cricket and rounders is difficult to dispute. On the flip side baseball has many elements that are uniquely American.  There is a suspicion that rounders is the direct ancestor of baseball yet baseball evolved separately from town-ball (rounders).

_40683127_kallis_getty300Certainly baseball is related to cricket and rounders, but exactly how, or how closely, has never been firmly established. The only certain thing is that modern cricket is much older than modern baseball.   Games played with bat and ball together may all be distant cousins; the same goes for base-and-ball games. Bat, base, and ball games for two teams that alternate in and out, such as baseball, cricket, and rounders, are close cousins. They all involve throwing a ball to a batsman who attempts to “bat” it away and run safely to a base, while the opponent tries to put the batter-runner out when possible.

In 1845, New York’s Knickerbocker Club played at Elysian Fields in Hoboken (New Jersey) due to the lack of soft grounds in Manhattan.   In 1846, the Knickerbockers played the New York Nine on these grounds in the first organized game between two clubs. A plaque and baseball diamond street pavings at 11th and Washington Streets commemorate the event. By the 1850s, several Manhattan-based members of the National Association of Base Ball Players were using the grounds as their home field.   In 1865 the grounds hosted a championship match between the New York Mutual Club and Brooklyn’s Atlantic Club was attended by an estimated 20,000 fans and captured in a Currier & Ives lithograph titled “The American National Game of Base Ball.”1870_ny_mutual

With the construction of two significant baseball parks enclosed by fences in Brooklyn, enabling promoters there to charge admission to games; the prominence of Elysian Fields began to diminish. In 1868 the leading Manhattan Club, Mutual, shifted its home games to the Union Grounds in Brooklyn.  In 1880, the founders of the New York Metropolitans and New York Giants finally succeeded in getting a ballpark in Manhattan known as the Polo Grounds.

In 1851, the game of baseball was already well-established enough that a newspaper report of a game played by a group of teamsters on Christmas Day referred to the game as, “a good old-fashioned game of baseball.”

In 1857, sixteen clubs from modern New York City sent delegates to a convention that standardized the rules, essentially by agreeing to revise the Knickerbocker rules. In 1858, twenty-five including one from New Jersey founded a going concern, but the National Association of Base Ball Players is conventionally dated from 1857. It governed through 1870 but it scheduled and sanctioned no games.   In 1858, clubs from the association played a cross-town, all-star series pitting Brooklyn clubs against clubs from New York and Hoboken.    On July 20, 1858, an estimated crowd of about 4,000 spectators watched New York and Hoboken defeat Brooklyn by a score of 22-18. The New York team included players from the Union, Empire, Eagle, Knickerbocker and Gotham clubs. The Brooklyn team included players from the clubs Excelsior, Eckford, Atlantic and Putnam. In a return match held August 17, 1858, and played at the Fashion Course in the Corona neighborhood of Queens, a slightly smaller crowd cheered Brooklyn to a win over New York and Hoboken by a score of 29-8. New York won a third game in the series, also played at the Fashion Course, on September 10, 1858.   By 1862 some NABBP member clubs offered games to the general public in enclosed ballparks with admission fees.  During and after the American Civil War, the movements of soldiers and exchanges of prisoners helped spread the game.  Today hundreds of clubs in the U.S. play “vintage base ball” according to the 1845, 1858, or later rules usually in vintage uniforms. Some of them have supporting casts that recreate period dress and manner, especially those associated with living history museums.

The origins of baseball were summarized in a documentary produced by Major League Baseball in 2009 entitled Base Ball Discovered.

The popular game that gained fame as being ‘America’s favorite pastime’ is none other than the brisk game of baseball. There are many controversies and debate that go with the origin of baseball. Cricket, Baseball, softball running games and rounders are believed to have taken shape from primitive type of community games. Even though the name has no clear relation many games were popularly played that somewhat resemble modern day baseball. There were different ball games that were known by amusing names like stool ball, goal ball and even poison ball.

In 1888, the Chicago Baseball club introduced the game to Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, North Africa and Egypt by playing the game for a large audience. There has been a myth is that Abner Doubleday set up the basic rules of baseball way back in 1839 but never believed.  A book called Baseball by Alexander Cartwright and a documentary based upon it by filmmaker Ken Burns suggests that it was Alexander who first codified the game rules.

Recorded in the world of baseball as significant events date back to 1869 that saw these major serious debuts:

The Cincinnati Red Stockings first appearance as the all-professional team. It defeated the Great Westerns in a game of 45-9.   The Red Stockings had a fabulous indomitable season with their 60th victory. They defeated the visiting Mutual Green Stockings of New York 17-8 before an audience of 7,000 spectators.

sheast70However, the first recorded baseball game in 1846 is credited to Alexander Cartwright’s Knickerbockers. The Knickerbockers lost to the New York Baseball Club at the Elysian Fields in New Jersey. With the establishment of the National Association of Base Ball Players in 1858, the world witnessed the first systematic baseball league.

Many professional and amateur players contribute to the vast baseball history. Every chapter in baseball history leads to interesting event that helped with development of modern-day systematic baseball. By any name, baseball has been a game that sets stars in the eyes of sport lovers for decades.

From 1943 thru 1954 women played professional baseball and whose exploits inspired the feature film, “A League of Their Own.”   This league was formed as a result of America’s entry into World War II, several major league baseball executives started a new professional league with women players in order to maintain baseball in the public eye while the majority of able men were away. Initial tryouts were held at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Growing up on Long Island, my brother and I were always involved in extra-curricular activities such as drama, music, theatre, and of course sports, in what I would call an eclectic education. This was at a time when it was a rarity for a girl/female to have an interest in a boys sport.  Girls were generally relegated to playing softball.   One of the sports being baseball, and we continue to follow The New York Mets to this day.  We always were at Shea Stadium to watch the METS play and just have a good time. I have yet to get to a game at Citifield, the Mets new ballpark.  I still get to MET games now, when they come to Washington, DC to play the Nationals.    I’ve come home with next to no voice on many occasions.

Kathy Kiefer