Baseball History

Softball…The Original Baseball?


-David Strobach-

 

I have been a little obsessed with baseball history since I started reading Bill James’ Historical Baseball Abstract.  As I read, I would love to post baseball history fun facts to share cool new content!

Did you know that in the 1870s  pitchers had to have a completely stiff arm and throw underhand from only 45 feet away? Baseball was originally closer to fast-pitch softball than the game it is now days! Instead of the four balls for a walk now days, back in the 1870s you were allowed 9 balls.  The batter had the choice of whether he wanted a high or low pitch.  The most interesting rule that I found about early baseball was that if a ball ever bounced in fair territory, in the infield, it was always fair.  You could theoretically hit a line drive in the dirt and have it ricochet into foul territory and have it considered a fair ball.  Baseball has the richest history of any sport! So, I  look forward to sharing more interesting stories as I dive deeper into my research!

 

Rick Monday Saves the American Flag


-David S.-

On April 26, 1975, two protesters rushed onto the field with an American flag during a Dodgers – Cubs game.  The two protesters stopped in center field and tried to light the flag on fire, which was soaked in lighter fluid.  The right fielder for the Chicago Cubs, Rick Monday, saw this happening.  He made a heroic move to charge toward the men. Luckily, the first match was blown out by the wind.  This gave Rick time to courageously save the American flag from being burned as a second match was being lit.  Even though this didn’t happen on the Fourth of July, this goes down as one of, if not, the most patriotic acts in sports history.  Well done Rick, well done. . .  Way to make America proud!

Way to make America proud Rick!

 

Pics from: www.reddit.com and writemarsh.blogspot.com559

Tweet me: @BleacherBoy10

 

 

Remembering The Negro Leagues


-David S.-

In honor of Black History Month coming up I found a great video I must share with you.  A very motivated teenager, named Cam Perron has been researching the  history of the Negro Leagues. This video is very interesting and inspiring as he has tracked down old ballplayers from the Negro Leagues and helped them receive some credit, notoriety, and in some cases, financial restitution that they deserved, but were denied.  Many of these players were sadly forgotten.  Learning more about the plight of these players has been eye opening.  We should all be grateful for the contributions made by these  brave athletes to the game of baseball.   It’s amazing to see them finally get some long overdue accolades! Enjoy!

America’s Pastime: Past, Present, and Future


-David S.-

Baseball is the greatest sport in the world with the richest history and  is often called America’s pastime.  Why is baseball referred to as our national pastime.  Well…….

Baseball was HUGE in America from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s.  It ruled in the sports world.  Everyone knew about baseball and what was going on.  You could have conversation with anyone about it.  It brought the people together. Players consisted of both “regular” guys as well as “larger than life” characters.   People could turn on their radio daily, listen to the game, and have a beer.  How American is that? Baseball is what children did in their free time. There was no technology that kids stared aimlessly at for hours, so they turned to the sport. It brought parents and kids together in playing/teaching moments.

Baseball, was something the country looked up to in a way.  There was nothing else like it.  It was a source of great entertainment.  The 1919 Black Sox scandal was devastating to its reputation.  This in a way put a black mark on something everyone loved. The country was upset.  Baseball was saved when Babe Ruth took the league by storm when he was sold to the Yankees in 1919, making the most intense rivalry in sports, the Red Sox vs. Yankees.  Lou Gehrig was adored by the country.  When he was diagnosed with ALS, the country surrounded him and loved him.  No sport brought us together like baseball.  Douglas Walop wrote, ”America was the land of opportunity where even a poor boy could grow up to be Babe Ruth.”  This shows that people could aspire to become a ball player no matter the circumstances.  It was a reachable goal. The game inspired and gave people hope.

When any player now days is caught using performance enhancing drugs, there is huge uproar of disgust and disappointment.  Everyone talks about baseball being ruined and what it means for the future of the sport.  This is just not the same about other sports.  There is a certain uniqueness and pride about this sport that holds itself to a higher standard.

Baseball stood as a pillar of strength through wars and the Great Depression.  It is something that is always there for you, past, present, and future.  It is a sport that cannot be won by one single person, it revolves immensely around teamwork.  Baseball brings our country together, whether it’s cheering for an underdog or a superstar. Back in the day, baseball was pretty much only an American sport.  I believe this gave us a source of patriotic American pride. Newsflash:  Patriotic American Pride is a Good thing!!!

Life is comparable to baseball: “the highs, the lows, the balls, the strikes.”  There is always tomorrow and a second chance.  Times may be going tough for someone,  like a player in baseball, a slump.  Then, things could start looking upward, like a hit or start of a hot streak.

There is no other sport that compares to baseball. I feel like it was the first and is the last great family form of sports entertainment.  Even though it may not have the highest TV ratings anymore, it’s rich history keeps it our national pastime.

Rick Monday Saves the American Flag


-David S.-

On April 26, 1975, two protesters rushed onto the field with an American flag during a Dodgers – Cubs game.  The two protesters stopped in center field and tried to light the flag on fire, which was soaked in lighter fluid.  The right fielder for the Chicago Cubs, Rick Monday, saw this happening.  He made a heroic move to charge toward the men. Luckily, the first match was blown out by the wind.  This gave Rick time to courageously save the American flag from being burned as a second match was being lit.  Even though this didn’t happen on the Fourth of July, this goes down as one of, if not, the most patriotic acts in sports history.  Well done Rick, well done. . .  Way to make America proud!

Way to make America proud Rick!

 

Pics from: www.reddit.com and writemarsh.blogspot.com559

Tweet me: @BleacherBoy10

 

 

MLK and Baseball!!!


-David S.-

Did you know that Martin Luther King Jr. and baseball have a connection?  Martin Luther King Jr. looked up to Jackie Robinson and Jackie inspired him as well.  King once called Jackie, “a legend and a symbol in his own time.” Here are some tid bits I found from Sports Illustrated:

[A]s Robinson’s career was winding down with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Robinson started to speak out for civil rights. Many people in the press and civil rights community discouraged Robinson from taking this step, worried it would tarnish his image, and even argued that as an athlete Robinson had no vocal place in the struggle. But King, by then the movement’s undisputed leader, said that Robinson had every right to speak because he was “… a pilgrim that walked in the lonesome byways toward the high road of Freedom. He was a sit-inner before sit-ins, a freedom rider before freedom rides.”

An emboldened Robinson toured the south to speak for civil rights and became the most requested speaker on the circuit: more requested than even Dr. King. He would end every speech the same way, saying, “If I had to choose tomorrow between the Baseball Hall of Fame and full citizenship for my people I would choose full citizenship time and again.”

Yahoo.com: MLB.com’s Richard Justice has more about King, who wasn’t afraid to tell pioneering ballplayers like Don Newcombe what they meant to him and the greater good:

A few weeks before King was killed in 1968, he told Newcombe, “You’ll never know how easy you and Jackie and Doby and Campy made it for me to do my job by what you did on the baseball field.”

Newcombe remembered those comments during a 2009 interview with the New York Post’s Peter Vecsey.

“Imagine, here is Martin getting beaten with billy clubs, bitten by dogs and thrown in jail, and he says we made his job easier,” Newcombe told Vecsey.

Also, Jackie Robinson wrote MLK  a personal letter, here it is.

In this letter Jackie Robinson is taking on a role with King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference.  Jackie also supports New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, and then questions King’s view on him. It’s intriguing to know MLK and baseball have a very strong connection!  One thing that  shocked me most was when MLK said, “You’ll never know how easy you and Jackie and Doby and Campy made it for me to do my job by what you did on the baseball field.”  After all King went through he  thought he had it easy! WOW! Let’s remember and honor Martin Luther King Jr. today and always by following his lead as a non-violent, selfless team player!   Photos Via:

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