History of baseball in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
National League Baltimore Orioles, 1896

The history of baseball in the United States can be traced to the 19th century. This is when amateurs played a baseball-like game by their own informal rules using equipment they made themselves. The popularity of the sport inspired the semi-pro national baseball clubs in the 1860s.

Early history[change | change source]

The earliest known mention of baseball in the United States was a 1791 Pittsfield, Massachusetts, law banning the playing of the game within 80 yards (73 m) of the town meeting house.[1] In 1903, the British sportswriter Henry Chadwick wrote an article saying that baseball came from a British game called rounders. A game which Chadwick had played as a boy in England. But baseball executive Albert Spalding disagreed. Baseball, said Spalding, was basically an American sport and began in America. To decide they agreed to let Abraham G. Mills settle the question by heading a commission. After three years they found that Abner Doubleday had invented the national pastime.

In 2004, baseball historian John Thorn discovered the 1791 town ordinance, putting Pittsfield's connection to baseball 48 years before Abner Doubleday accepted invention of the game in 1839 in Cooperstown, New York. This is where the National Baseball Hall of Fame now stands. The Hall of Fame recognized the ordinance as the first known reference to the game and honored the town with a plaque. Another early reference reports that base ball was regularly played on Saturdays in 1823 just outside of New York City in an area that today is Greenwich Village.[2]

Betting scandals[change | change source]

Baseball started out being a game children played. Baseball's rise in popularity coincidee with professional gamblers noticing the game.[3] Those who ran gambling games thought adults would be more interested if they could bet on who would win. This would also add profits for gambling halls.[3] Very soon gamblers were paying players to lose intentionally (called "throwing" a game) for a percentage of the profits.[3] Players, fans and probably even umpires, all gambled on every part of a game.[4] This is how most players made any money playing baseball.[4]

The 1919 Black Sox Scandal took place during the 1919 World Series.[5] The Chicago White Sox lost the series to the Cincinnati Reds.[5] Eight White Sox players were later accused of intentionally losing the games in exchange for money from gamblers.[5] The players were found not guilty in court but were still banned for life from baseball.[5] But game-fixing dates dates back to 1865.[3] That was the first scandal where three players were banned from playing again.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. "History of Baseball". baseball.isport.com. iSport. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
  2. ESPN.com (July 8, 2001). "Articles show 'base ball' was played in 1823". Retrieved July 28, 2006.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "The 'Secret History' Of Baseball's Earliest Days". NPR. 16 March 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Baseball Gambling was Common in Early Days". Texas A&M Today. Texas A&M University. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Evan Andrews (8 October 2014). "The Black Sox Baseball Scandal, 95 Years Ago". History in the Headlines. A&E Television Networks, LLC. Retrieved 15 September 2016.