Take Me Out To The Ballgame

 

Called “America’s Pastime,” Baseball has had an important place in American culture. While the exact origins of baseball are unknown, most historians agree that it is based on the English game of rounders.

A game which began to become quite popular in this country in the early 19th century, and many sources report the growing popularity of a game called “townball“, “base”, or “baseball“.

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Baseball is one of the oldest and most popular sports in the United States. It is known as America’s “national pastime” because of its strong tradition. It is competitively played with a hard ball and bat between two teams of nine players each. Even though this sport was developed in the 1800s, it still attracts millions to ballparks and entertains millions through radio and television today.

In 1869, the world’s first openly professional baseball team formed. All previous players were at least theoretically amateur and unpaid. The Cincinnati Red Stockings recruited the best players and no one beat the Red Stockings that year.

The History of Baseball Bats

The history of baseball bats dates back to 1800s. During this period, baseball was in its infancy, and players made their own bats from wood, without any specific shape or size; players experimented with long, short, flat, and heavy bats, and they eventually built a bat with a round barrel.

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In 1859, it was established that baseball bats could be no larger than two and a half inches in diameter, though they could be any length. After ten years, a restriction of 42 inches was put on the length of the baseball bat, but still no regulations governing the shape.
Baseball bat’s most popular name, still to this day, is the Louisville Slugger. Seventeen-year-old John Hillerich watched Pete Browning break his bat at an 1884 Louisville game.
John observed as Pete Browning got frustrated, and after the game offered to make him a new bat.
Pete Browning joined John Hillerich at his father’s woodworking shop, where Pete supervised the construction of his new bat. Browning went three for three with his new bat.
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Word spread quickly, but not as quickly as the demand did once everyone knew about these bats. It wasn’t long before each baseball bat that John and his father constructed was slapped with the famous Louisville Slugger trademark.

Black Betsy

  • No story would be complete with the tale of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson’s Black Betsy. The piece of wood is probably the most famous bat ever because its owner, Jackson, was a feared hitter who was banned from baseball following the 1920 season for allegations over a World Series fix.

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  • Jackson always denied that, and his bat, like him, grew in legend. It was sold at auction in 2001 for $577,000 to a collector in Pennsylvania. That is the highest price ever fetched for a piece of athletic equipment.
  •  One note about Black Betsy, it is marked as a Spalding bat, but not made by the company. A friend gave the bat to Jackson in 1918 and later when he made the professional ranks, Spalding finished the bat and stamped it.

No matter what kind of baseball bat a player uses today, the sport remains one of the world’s favorites. Not many can resist the sunny days and cool nights in the stands, with the cracking sound, fans on their feet, and the smell of hot dogs in the air.

 

The History of the Baseball Glove

Imagine a rock flying at you at 60 mph and caching it. That is exactly what the baseball players long ago had to do except that the rock was actually a baseball. That would hurt a lot! Imagine all the injuries the players would get catching the ball.

Some of the players started to wear gloves to prevent injuries. The simple glove that was first introduced to baseball in the 1870s was very different from the currently used gloves today.

 

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One of the first players to use a glove was Doug Allison in 1870. He was the catcher for the Cincinnati Red Stockings. The reason why he got a glove was that he suffered from bruises and cuts on his hands.

His glove was a pair of mittens made of buckskin leather. He did not wear the glove for long because he was teased and mocked.

Another player was Charles Waitt. In 1875, he got a glove too. He was an outfielder and first baseman. He played for the St.Louis Brown Stockings. Waitt used the glove for the same reason Allison used the glove for he had cuts and bruises. Waitt also was teased and mocked because at the time, using a glove was called “unmanly” and people who used gloves were referred to as “sissies.”

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One of the most important players was Albert Spalding. In 1877, Spalding got a glove. Spalding pitched and played first base for the Chicago White Stockings. He was not teased or mocked because he was well known and respected on the field. He was important because he got other players to start using a glove. That is why now days every player on the field wears a glove.

Gloves today are very different from the gloves in the 1870s. Beside that, there are different gloves for different positions. There is a special glove for first base and catcher. A first baseman’s glove is very big because the first baseman needs a lot of range.

  A catchers glove is about 2/3rds of the size of a first baseman’s and has a lot more padding because balls pitched as hard as 90 mph are hitting the glove about 300 times per game.

An outfielders glove is usually big so they can have a few inches more to catch the ball. An in fielders glove is the smallest of all the gloves because the in fielder needs more control.

All modern gloves have pockets and the fingers are laced together.
What would baseball be without gloves? The pitchers would have to throw the ball a lot softer and there would still be injuries.

Baseball Express

Fun Facts about Baseball

Babe Ruth used to wear a leaf that would be under the cap.
The funny thing is that he used to change it after every two innings.
Close-up-of-Old-Baseball-Equipment-Photographic-Print-C11862The National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum was created in 1935. It was created for 100th anniversary celebration of baseball.

In one game of base ball fourteen players could hit only 14 runs.
Philadelphia manager has the highest number of victories. The total number is 3755.

An All-Star game was played in the year 1993. the players from National league and American league participated in that.
Out of 73 games played, 40 were won by the National league.

Pitcher Nolan Ryan struck out more players in his career of 27 seasons than any other pitcher.

  • Each baseball game has 12,386,344 possible plays.
  • The longest baseball game was between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago White Sox and lasted for eight hours and six minutes. Due to MLB rules forbidding an inning to start after 1 o’clock AM, fans had to come back the next day to finish the game.
  • Manager Alvin Dark of the San Francisco Giants told reporters that NASA would “put a man on the moon before Gaylord Perry hits a home run.” When Perry finally hit a home run, it was 20 minutes after Neil Armstrong landed on the moon.
  • The shortest major league player was Eddie Gaedel, who was three feet, seven inches tall. His sole appearance in an MLB game was a publicity stunt.
  • The tallest player in Major League history is Minnesota Twins’ pitcher Jon Rauch, who is six feet, eleven inches tall.
  • Having been open for nearly 100 years, Fenway Park in Boston is the oldest baseball stadium still in us.

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Famous Baseball Players

Babe Ruth is often referred to as the greatest baseball player who ever lived. In 22 seasons, Babe Ruth hit a record 714 home runs. Many of Babe Ruth’s numerous records for both pitching and hitting lasted for decades.

Many were surprised when it was announced in 1920 that Babe Ruth had been traded to the New York Yankees.

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Babe Ruth had been traded for a whopping $125,000 (more than twice the amount ever paid for a player).

In 1927, Babe Ruth was part of the team that many consider the best baseball team in history. It was during that year that he hit 60 home runs in a season! (Babe’s single season record for home runs stood for 34 years.)

Two Popular Stories About Babe Ruth

One of the most famous stories about Babe Ruth involves a home run and a boy in the hospital. In 1926, Babe Ruth heard about an 11-year-old boy named Johnny Sylvester who was in the hospital after having an accident. The doctors weren’t sure if Johnny was going to live. Babe Ruth promised to hit a home run for Johnny. In the next game, Babe not only hit one home run, he hit three. Johnny, upon hearing the news of Babe’s home runs, started to feel better. Babe later went to the hospital and visited Johnny in person.

Another famous story about Babe Ruth is one of the most famous stories of baseball history. During the third game of the 1932 World Series, the Yankees were in a heated competition with the Chicago Cubs. When Babe Ruth stepped up to the plate, Cub players heckled him and some fans even threw fruit at him. After two balls and two strikes, the incensed Babe Ruth pointed out to center field.

With the next pitch, Babe struck the ball exactly where he had predicted in what has been termed the “called shot.” The story became immensely popular; however, it’s not exactly clear whether Babe meant to call his shot or was just pointing at the pitcher.

 

Babe Ruth Never Fear

On May 25, 1935, Babe Ruth hit his 714th career home run. Five days later, he played his last game of major league baseball. (Babe’s home run record stood until broken by Hank Aaron in 1974.)

In 1936, Babe Ruth was chosen to be one of the first five inductees to the newly created Baseball Hall of Fame.

In November 1946, Babe Ruth entered a hospital after suffering a monstrous pain above his left eye for a few months. The doctors told him he had cancer. He underwent a surgery but not all of it was removed. The cancer soon grew back. Babe Ruth died on August 16, 1948 at age 53.

 

Joseph Paul DiMaggio (Joltin’ Joe)I’m just a ballplayer with one ambition, and that is to give all I’ve got to help my ball club win. I’ve never played any other way. ~

Joseph Paul DiMaggio was born on November 25, 1914 in Martinez California from where he moves to San Francisco when he was one year old. Fondly known as Joltin’ Joe and or the Yankee Clipper, DiMaggio was a baseball player who played his entire Major League career for the New York Yankees.

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DiMaggio was a three-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) winner and thirteen time All-Star. DiMaggio was known for his accomplishment on both offense and, as a center fielder, on defense.

This magnificent player had the fifth-most career home runs (361) and sixth-highest slugging percentage (.579) in history, when he decided to retire at the age of 36.

Not only this, DiMaggio is the only player in the history of baseball to be selected for the All-Star Game in every season he played. DiMaggio achieved a 56-game hitting streak, which has been called baseball’s most glorious achievement.

Lawrence Peter (Yogi Berra)I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself? ~ Yogi Berra

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Lawrence Peter, fondly known as Yogi Berra was born on May 12, 1925 in St. Louis, Missouri. Yogi Berra played his entire career for the New York Yankees. He was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

He was one of the four players to be named the Most Valuable Player of the American League three times. Yogi Berra, quit school in the eighth grade and is very popular for his malapropisms and twisting the English language in interesting ways.

He is very famous for funny and interesting quotes. One such example is his quote in which he says “I never said half the things I really said.”

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Mickey Mantle

Mickey Mantle was the New York Yankees’ most beloved slugger since Babe Ruth.

Mantle was famous for his home run power both right- and left-handed; he hit 536 home runs in his career.

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Mantle had enormous forearms and blazing speed, and he became a superb center fielder, taking over for Joe DiMaggio in 1952. Mantle was possibly the fastest man in the game  during his early years.

In his best seasons, and there were many, Mantle was simply a devastating player. He could run like the wind and hit tape-measure homers. He led the Yanks to 12 fall classics in 14 years, and seven world championships.

Mantle won seven World Series championships with the Yankees before he retired on March 1, 1969.
As great as he was, Mantle might have been greater without leg problems that dogged him throughout his career; he tore up his right knee in 1951 when he caught his spikes on a drain cover in a World Series game. A famously hard drinker, Mantle went to the Betty Ford Clinic for alcohol treatment in 1994 and received a liver transplant in 1995, shortly before his death.
Amazing Baseball Play
One of the greatest baseball plays I have ever seen. There is not replay so you will have to rewind it to watch it again.
Hank Aaron
Born Henry Louis Aaron on February 5, 1934 in Mobile, Alabama.
He was the son of an African American shipyard worker and had seven brothers and sisters.
Although times were economically difficult, Aaron took an early interest in sports and began playing sandlot baseball at a neighborhood park.
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In his junior year he transferred out of a segregated high school to attend the Allen Institute in Mobile, which had an organized baseball program. He played on amateur and semi-pro teams like the Pritchett Athletics and the Mobile Black Bears, where he began to make a name for himself.
At this time Jackie Robinson, the first African American player in the major leagues, was breaking the baseball color barrier.
Gaining immediate success as a hard-hitting infielder, the 17-year-old Aaron was playing semi-professional baseball in the summer of 1951 when the owner of the Indianapolis Clowns, part of the professional Negro American League, signed him as the Clown’s shortstop for the 1952 season.

Formerly baseball’s all-time home-run king, Aaron played 23 years as an outfielder for the Milwaukee (later Atlanta) Braves and Milwaukee Brewers (1954–76).

He holds many of baseball’s most distinguished records, including runs batted in (2,297), extra base hits (1,477), total bases (6,856) and most years with 30 or more home runs (15).

He is also in the top five for career hits and runs. Aaron also had the record for most career home runs (755) until Barry Bonds broke it with his 756th home run on August 7, 2007, in San Francisco.  Aaron’s nickname was “Hammerin’ Hank”.

 

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Ernest L. Thayer (first published in The San Francisco Examiner, 1888)

The Outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville Nine that day: The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,

And then, when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,

A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

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A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to the hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, “If only Casey could but get a whack at that—
We’d put up even money now, with Casey at the bat.”

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despisèd, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

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There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile lit Casey’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt;
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance flashed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped—
“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one!” the umpire said.

 

CASEY

 

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted someone on the stand;
And it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew;
But Casey still ignored it and the umpire said, “Strike two!”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered “Fraud!”
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

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The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate,
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate;
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

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Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.

 

 

Casey’s Revenge

There were saddened hearts in Mudville for a week or even more;

There were muttered oaths and curses –every fan in town was sore.

“Just think,” said one, “how soft it looked with Casey at the bat!

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And then to think he’d go and spring a bush-league trick like that.”

All his past fame was forgotten; he was now a hopeless “shine.”

They called him “Strike-out Casey” from the mayor down the line,

And as he came to bat each day his bosom heaved a sigh,

While a look of hopeless fury shone in mighty Casey’s eye.


The lane is long, someone has said, that never turns again,

And fate, though fickle, often gives another chance to men.

And Casey smiled — his rugged face no longer wore a frown;

The pitcher who had started all the trouble came to town.


All Mudville had assembled; ten thousand fans had come

To see the twirler who had put big Casey on the bum;

And when he stepped into the box, the multitude went wild.

He doffed his cap in proud disdain — but Casey only smiled.
Play ball!,” the umpire’s voice rang out, and then the game began;

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But in that throng of thousands there was not a single fan

Who thought that Mudville had a chance; and with the setting sun

Their hopes sank low — the rival team was leading “four to one.”
The last half of the ninth came round, with no change in the score;

But when the first man up hit safe the crowd began to roar.

The din increased, the echo of ten thousand shouts was heard

 

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When the pitcher hit the second and gave “four balls” to the third.
Three men on base — nobody out — three runs to tie the game!

A triple meant the highest niche in Mudville’s hall of fame;

But here the rally ended and the gloom was deep as night

When the fourth one “fouled to catcher” and the fifth “flew out to right.”
A dismal groan in chorus came — a scowl was on each face —

When Casey walked up, bat in hand, and slowly took his place;

His bloodshot eyes in fury gleamed; his teeth were clinched in hate;

He gave his cap a vicious hook and pounded on the plate.
But fame is fleeting as the wind, and glory fades away;

 

There were no wild and wooly cheers, no glad acclaim this day.

They hissed and groaned and hooted as they clamored, “Strike him out!”

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But Casey gave no outward sign that he had heard this shout.
The pitcher smiled and cut one loose; across the plate it spread;

Another hiss, another groan. “Strike one!” the umpire said.

Zip! Like a shot, the second curve broke just below his knee–

“Strike two!” the umpire roared aloud; but Casey made no plea.
No roasting for the umpire now — his was an easy lot;

But here the pitcher whirled again — was that a rifle shot?

A whack! a crack! and out through space the leather pellet flew,

A blot against the distant sky, a speck against the blue.
Above the fence in center field, in rapid whirling flight,

The sphere sailed on; the blot grew dim and then was lost to sight.

Ten thousand hats were thrown in air, ten thousand threw a fit,

But no one ever found the ball that mighty Casey hit!

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Oh, somewhere in this favored land dark clouds may hide the sun.

And somewhere bands no longer play and children have no fun;

And somewhere over blighted lives there hangs a heavy pall;

But Mudville hearts are happy now — for Casey hit the ball!

Let’s Play Ball!

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