Essay, Research Paper: Baseball Story

Sport

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Baseball has been providing us with fun and excitement for more than a hundred
and fifty years. The first game resembling baseball as we know it today was
played in Hoboken ,New Jersey, on June 19, 1846. The New York Nine beat the New
York Knickerbokers that day, 23-1. The game was played according to rules drawn
up by Alexander J. Cartwright. A surveyer and amateur athlete. It is a myth that
Abner Doubleday1 invented baseball. It was Alexander Cartwright, not Abner
Doubleday, who first laid out the present dimensions of the playing field and
established the basic rules of the game. The first Professional baseball team
was the Cincinnati Red Stockings, who toured the country in 1869 and didn't lose
a game all year. Baseball began to attract so many fans that in 1876 the
National league was organized-the same National league that still exists today.
Although the game was played in 1876 it was recognizable as baseball-nobody
would confuse it with football or basketball-it was quite a bit different from
baseball as we know it now. For example, pitchers had to throw underhand, the
way they still do in softball;the batter could request the pitcher to throw a
"high" or "low" pitch; it took nine balls, rather than four,
for a batter to get a base on balls; and the pitching distance was olny 45 feet
to home plate. The rules were gradually changed over the following 20 years,
until by about 1900 the game was more or less the same as it is today. In 1884,
the pitchers were permitted to throw overhand; in 1887, the batter was no longer
allowed to request a "high"or "low" pitch; by 1889,it took
only four balls to get a batter to a base on balls; the pitching distance was
legthened to sixty- feet, six inches. And since that day in 1846 There have been
many greats to make up the game baseball such as Ty Cobb who was born in a small
town in Georgia in 1886. He threw right-handed but batted left-handed . He held
his hands a few inches apart on the bat and learned to bunt or slap line-drive
hits precisely where he wanted them. He made place hitting an art. In the summer
of 1905, Cobb joined a major league baseball taem, the Detroit Tigers .On August
9, Ty Cobb registered his first base hit as a member of the Tigers. In the many
years to follow he added over four thousand more hits. Along with them would
come a national rep- utation. Another player who some have said "changed
the game", is John Roosevelt("Jackie") Robinson2.On April 15,
1947 at two o'clock that tuesday afternoon when nine Brooklyn Dodgers sprang out
thier dugout to take the feild to start the 1947 baseball season. It was a
memorable event in basebaall history, indeed in American history. Undoubtedly
Robinson was a great ballplayer. He was National league's Rookie of the year in
1947 and its Most valuable player (MVP) in 1949. He won the election in 1962 to
the Bseball Hall of Fame, the first African- American ever chosen for that
honor. And perhaps the greatest ballplayer of all time was Goerge Herman (Babe
Ruth). During the 1920, Ruth's first season as a New York Yankee, he hit .376,
not enough to win the American league batting championship but a figure far
beyond what today is registered by major leagues leaders. He also hit safely in
26 consecutive games, clubbed 9 triples and 36 doubles, and batted in 137 runs.
Despite his weight of over 215, he stole 14 bases. Most remarkably, however,
Ruth slugged 54 home runs for the season. Closest to him in the American League
was Goerge Sisler, with 19 homers, while the National League leader recorded a
total of only 15. Almost every team in both leagues registered a total number
far below the 54 of Babe Ruth alone. There have been many more talented and
great ball- players in the game such as Ted Williams,Leo Durocher, Hank
Aaron,Mickey Mantle,Roger Maris,Willie Mays,Joe DiMaggio and all these
ballplayers have done their part to shape and mold the game of Baseball. And
today, we now have a new generation of ball- players like Mark McGwire who in
the 1998 season hit an unpresedented 76 home runs and was closely followed by
Sammie Sosa with 70 homers which in the 1920 and 30's was un-thought of un-imagnable,
to even hit 15 home runs now playes can hit 15 home runs by May 15th. Another
astonashing differance is players today are earning countless millions of
dollars, unlike days of yesteryear whaen players only made if they were lucky
125,000 dollars. Also the equipment has changed some ,for instents the glove
players didn't start wearing gloves on the feild until the 1880's. At first ,
they wore only a thin peice of leather over the palm of their hand, with five
holes cut out for the fingers to go through. By the 1890's ,however, the gloves
began to look like today's baseball gloves. Nowadays, the glove is much larger
than it used to be, and the ball is not caught in the palm of the hand but be
trapped in the "pocket", between the thumb and fore- finger. Since the
mid 1950's, the glove has become more of a net with which to snare the ball
rather than just a protective covering for hand. So you may ask why has baseball
remained so popular for all these years? Since Alexander Cartwright first laid
out the dimentions of the playing field and drew up the rules of the game, it
has furnished enjoyment and excite- ment for countless millions of people, young
and old alike.
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