Who Invented Baseball?
Many people attribute the invention of baseball to a man named Abner Doubleday, a United States Union Army general in the Civil War and later a writer and lawyer. The legend goes that in the summer of 1839, he invented the sport in Cooperstown, New York. Fifteen years after Doubleday's death, a special commission that was created to promote the sport of baseball around the world and seek out its origins claimed that Doubleday was responsible for the invention of the sport. However, this was never claimed to be true by Abner Doubleday himself during his lifetime. There was no substantial evidence to support this story which has since been debunked by baseball historians.
When Was Baseball Actually Invented?
The true origins of America's Pastime are a little less straightforward than the Doubleday myth. Like many sports, baseball was more of an evolution than an immediate invention. The earliest origins of modern baseball can be traced back to the 18th century in England and games brought to New England by some of the earliest colonists of the New World. The most likely origins of the version of baseball we have today are the older, internationally popular, and somewhat similar sport called Cricket, as well as a children's game called rounders.
These games were played at schools and colleges and eventually, around the time of the American Revolution, mixed together and morphed into a game more similar to the version of baseball we recognize today.
The New York Knickerbocker Baseball Club is America's first baseball team and was founded in September of 1845. This club was responsible for codifying a set of rules that truly gave the sport its modern form. Some of the standards set forth by the club were the iconic diamond-shaped field, the rule of three strikes, and foul lines. The game also became a lot safer as you could no longer tag a runner out by throwing the ball at them!
These new rules and regulations differentiated the sport from its ancestors and identified it as its own, uniquely American sport.
How Has Baseball Changed Recently?
Most sports have gone through many changes since the time of their invention. Sports experience rule changes all the time, sometimes for safety, sometimes to help the flow of the game, and for a multitude of various other reasons. Baseball has experienced changes even in very recent history and is different today than it even was in 2010.
In the last decade, the frequency of home runs went up by 46%, and there are now more home runs than ever before (even in the 90s steroid era). Even though there are more home runs these days, the pace of the game has actually slowed, and the number of balls in play has dropped. One of the most impressive stat changes shows just how good pitching has gotten, with swings and misses going up a staggering 34%.
Baseball is sure to evolve even more in the coming years, but it will always remain the sport we know and love.
Baseball is often called "America's Favorite Pastime." For many of us, baseball has always been a part of our lives and has been around for as long as we can remember. The sport has a rich tradition in the United States and even overseas, but the game has a relatively short but very interesting history in the grand scheme of sports.