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!
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.