[Q]The game of base ball has now become beyond question the leading feature of the outdoor sports of the United States … It is a game which is peculiarly suited to the American temperament and disposition; … in short, the pastime suits the people, and the people suit the pastime.[/Q]- Charles A. Peverelly.
Peverelly had made this statement in 1866, by which time, baseball was already being described as the ‘nation’s favorite pastime’; a sobriquet which it has managed to retain till date.
Origin of Baseball
Are you aware that the roots of baseball do not lie in an American county but in English towns and alleys? Yep! Baseball is actually inspired by an English game -‘Rounders’. The English started playing the game in the early 1600s. Back then the rule was simple. The opposition team members had to tag the runner by throwing a ball at him.
Baseball in America
The Americans probably started playing baseball in the late 1700s. Historians state that the early players of the game happened to be the settlers in American colonies, who came up with their own version of ‘rounders’. The game was known as “townball”, “base”, or “baseball”. By 1800s, the popularity of the game reached its zenith and baseball became a heartthrob of many Americans.
Alexander Joy Cartwright
The year- 1845. The man- Alexander Cartwright. The day- Sunday.
Alexander Cartwright, a resident of New York city, used to play baseball with his cronies. Sports lore has it that one Sunday an excited Alexander Cartwright came to the field with a piece of paper. Cartwright had jotted down rules and regulations, as he wanted to provide a common framework for playing the game. The rules penned by Cartwright laid down the foundation for modern baseball. Most of the rules continue to be in use. Alexander Cartwright is also known as the ‘Father of modern Baseball’.
Beginning of Professional era
Cartwright and his friends are credited with forming the first official baseball team. The team was christened as ‘Knickerbocker Baseball Club.’ The first organized match was played between Knickerbocker Base Ball Club and New York Baseball Club. Held at Elysian Fields, in Hoboken, New Jersey, the outcome of the match surprised many. Cartwright’s team lost the match. In 1857, delegates of 25 Northeastern clubs met together to standardize the rules related to baseball and to discuss other issues. One of the outcomes of the meeting was the formation of National Association of Base Ball Players, the first organized baseball league.
The outbreak of civil war played a vital role in spreading the popularity of the game across entire America. The soldiers from the Northeast