Baseball is a competitive game of
skill. Although it is often referred to as the national game of
the United States, it is played all over the world by people of
It is a game played with a bat and ball, on a field where four
bases are laid out in a square pattern. There are two teams of
nine players each. Teams alternately bat and field, exchanging
positions when three members of the batting side are out.
The batters hit a ball as far out of reach of the fielding team
as possible and begin making runs. A complete circuit around the
bases is a run scored. There are nine innings to a game. The
team that scores the maximum number of runs in the nine innings
is declared the winner.
History of Baseball
It has been established without a doubt that modern baseball
developed in North America. However, the exact origin of the game
has not been conclusively determined. Many scholars believe that
baseball evolved from a variety of similar games that have been
played for centuries. One story goes that that Abner Doubleday, who
was a Union officer during the American Civil War, invented the game
in 1839. However, it has not been proved conclusively.
Evidence of games involving a stick and a ball being played, since
the early days of civilization, has been provided by scholars. There
have been claims of stick-and-ball games being played in Persia,
Egypt and Greece for purposes of recreation and as part of certain
ceremonies. These games had caught on in Europe, by the Middle Ages
(that is between the fifth and fifteenth centuries). There was a
variety of forms that the game was being played and most of them
were very popular. These stick-and-ball games were imported to the
American colonies in the early seventeenth century, by Europeans.
However, through the eighteenth century, they came to be considered
as children’s games. By the nineteenth century, a number of these
stick-and-ball games had become very popular in North America. Most
of these games originated in England. People in places such as
Boston, New York and Philadelphia played cricket.
Rounding off with Rounders
Scholars, however, have maintained that it was probably an English
game rounders that came closest in resemblance to the modern day
baseball. In rounders too, a batter struck a ball and ran around the
bases for scoring runs. If the ball was caught on the hit or after
first bounce, the batter was declared out. There was the equivalent
of cricket’s run out too. It was known as plugging in, wherein
fielders could get runners out by throwing the ball at them as they
ran between bases. The rules of the game varied from place to place.
The game was also known by different names such as town ball, one o’
cat, and, eventually, baseball.
An innovation in the rules that runners be tagged with the ball
rather than hit with it made possible the introduction of a smaller
hard ball and a larger, diamond-shaped field. The rule was adopted
by Alexander Cartwright and a group of New York City players.
During the American Civil War, which lasted between 1861 and 1865,
baseball became a popular game among the troops. After the war,
professional players emerged from amateur associations. A National
Association of Professional BaseBall Players was formed in 1871. In
the year 1876, it became the National League of Professional
Baseball Clubs. A rival league, the American League was formed in
1900 and it comprised of cities outside of the National League. The
National and American leagues remain the two major-league components
of professional baseball in the United States and Canada.
In the first half of the 20th century, separate leagues for black
athletes were formed. They produced many fine players. However, it
took awhile, when Jackie Robinson began playing for the Brooklyn
Dodgers in the 1940s, before black players became integrated with
Today, professional baseball attracts millions of spectators to
ballparks each year and entertains millions more through radio and