Free «History of Baseball» Essay
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Baseball is a team sports game. It includes a baseball bat and a ball. In competition, take part two teams with nine (sometimes ten) players in each. Nowadays, it is the most popular in the United States, Cuba, Venezuela, Japan, China and South Korea. Today, baseball is spread in more than 120 countries of the world. There are many other sports which are similar to baseball, including: cricket, pesapolo (Finland), oyna (Romania) and rounders (Russia). Softball is also spread in such countries as the United States, Japan and the Czech Republic. Softball is the simplified version of baseball. It is a game that can be played indoors and in small fields. Contrary to a very popular and widespread version, baseball was not invented by a single person. It is a combination of a numerous and different European games with bat and ball. Thus, the main task of this research paper is to find out all possible historical variants of baseball origin.
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Varieties of baseball
From the ancient times, bat and ball were presented in many European countries. For instance, in Russia was popular a rather different version of baseball called rounders. The roots of it go far belong the fourteenth century. The game is played by two teams (five – ten people) with a pitcher and a catcher.
In England was popular cricket or English rounders for several centuries. The first recorded cricket match was held in Sussex in 1697. Cricket is played in a large open area. It is also a competition of two teams with eleven players in each. When describing the game ESPN EMEA states:
How and when this club-ball game developed into one where the hitter defended a target against the thrower is simply not known. Nor is there any evidence as to when points were awarded dependent upon how far the hitter was able to despatch the missile; nor when helpers joined the two-player contest, thus beginning the evolution into a team game; nor when the defining concept of placing wickets at either end of the pitch was adopted.
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Germany also played a game called Schlagball. It is very similar to the English rounders. Furthermore, according to Block (2005), there is a French manuscript where priests play a game similar to baseball. Other French games also have some similarities with baseball, including: théque, la balle au bâton and la balle empoisonée (Block, 2005,106–108).
Baseball in the United States of America
It is believed that modern baseball origins from English rounders. Starting from the 19th century, in American newspapers start to appear the names of new games called “English base - ball”, “the base ball”, “born bass - ball” , “English base”, “English goal ball” and “English town ball”. In 1829, in the United States was published “the boys own book”. It is considered to be the first printed version of a game similar to the modern baseball. Dreiford (2001) states:
In the aftermath of the Civil War a baseball mania swept the country. The game quickly became the dominant summer pastime in villages, small towns, and rural whistle stops throughout the United States. Baseball became the favorite topic of wintertime arguments around the hot stoves of the country’s general stores as the game emerged from the East Coast cities to capture the interest and imagination of America’s rural and small town communities. In became a national, rather than a regional craze (19).
Alexander Cartwright was the first who created modern baseball rules. However, there were a lot of other people that tried to implement their own views on the game. In spite of all these, the Knickerbockers style soon became one of the most popular in the United States. Bellis M. gives the chronological list of the baseball events in the USA when the game was only developing:
History of Baseball Trivia
- 1845: Alexander Cartwright published a set of baseball rules for the Knickerbocker Club of New York, and his rules were widely adopted.
- 1869: The Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first openly-salaried team and are thus considered the first professional team.
- 1871: The first professional baseball league, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, was established.
- 1876: The first major league, the National League, was formed.
- 1878: Frederick Winthrop Thayer of Massachusetts (captain of the Harvard University Baseball Club) received a patent for a baseball catcher's mask on February
The first baseball match similar to the modern one was held on June 19, 1846. There, the New York Nine won New York New York Knickerbockers with a score 23:1.
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After this event, a lot of baseball teams started to form all over the United States. By the 1861, only in New York City and the surrounding area were more than 60 teams. In 1869, the first professional baseball team was organized. Red Stockings played 65 games and did not lose a single one. The Red Stockings’ success helped to unite the other teams, which in its turn, led to the creation of the National League.
Since that time, some baseball rules have still been changing. For example, until 1884 the pitcher was throwing the ball from the bottom; up to 1893, the distance from the circle to the base was 13, 7 meters, instead of 18, 4 now. Baseball rules suffered changes until 1900. Today, they are practically the same, as they were at the beginning of the 20th century.
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Baseball World Cups
The history of Baseball World Cup started in 1938. Although, it is quite difficult to state that the first world tournament was a real competition. There took part only two baseball teams. The British have defeated Americans in the series of five games. They won four games and lost only one. Bretons became the first baseball world champions. Since that time, the British did not take part in such competitions. In 1939, already three teams fought for the title of the world’s strongest baseball team. In 1940, there were already seven teams and nine in 1941. The tournament of 1972 was probably the most representative. In competition took part sixteen teams from all over the world. However, for a very long time, only countries from Latin America and the USA fought for the world championship. In 1970, teams from Holland and Italy made their debut. In two years, Asian representatives participated. But the most successful was the baseball national team from Cuba. They participated 21 times 18 of which they won.
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In September 1986, baseball was included in the Summer Olympic Games. A month later, the State Committee of the USSR also decided to popularize baseball in the Soviet Union. In 1989, they won a place in “A” group and succeeded in some European Championships. After a fairly good start, baseball started to lose its popularity in Russia. It happened mainly because of the well-known problem, such as lack of government funding for sports and physical education. However, today there are still some teams in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Krasnoyarsk. Today, the strongest European baseball teams are in Italy and Netherlands. Baseball is also played in France, Spain, Belgium, Germany England etc. Furthermore, it is promptly developing in many other countries, including: Ukraine, Georgia, and Latvia.
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Thus, today, baseball is one of the most popular kinds of sports in many countries, including the United States of America, Japan, Cuba etc. Its origin is not clear enough, as it was not invented by a single person.