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A Little About Baseball History

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By Keith Kingston

There is evidence to suggest that in terms of baseball history, people played games that involved a stick and a ball, right back to the early days of civilization. Ancient cultures in Persia, Egypt, and Greece played ball and stick games for recreation and as part of special ceremonies where celebrations were rituals. Ball and stick games of this type spread throughout Europe in the Middle Ages and became even popular as different varieties took hold. Europeans brought ball and stick games to the American colonies as early as the 1600s. Until the late 1700s, however, they were widely considered childrenís games.

By the early 1800s, a variety of ball and stick games had also become popular in North America. Many people in northeastern cities such as Boston, New York, and Philadelphia played cricket, but rounders also began to take hold. Rounders most closely resembled modern baseball as we know it now.

This early version of baseball history then known as rounders, required a batter to strike a ball and run around bases without being caught out. Balls that were caught on the fly, or in some cases after one bounce, were commonly known as outs.

Varieties of rounders also involved the practice of plugging, soaking, or stinging the batter. This was where fielders could put runners out by throwing the ball at them as they ran between the bases. People used various names to describe it rounders depending on what part of the country you were in. It was also known as town ball, one oí cat, and base ball (hence the now shortened version we know as baseball).

Americans began playing baseball in informal competitions in the early 1800s. By the 1860s, the sport, was being described as America's "national pastime." In 1845 Alexander Cartwright and the members of the New York Knickerbocker Base Ball Club, devised the first rules and regulations for the modern game of baseball. The first game was held at the Elysian Fields, in New Jersey.

In 1858, the National Association of Base Ball Players, the first organized baseball league with tournaments and competitions between clubs was formed and in 1876 the first major league, the National League, was formed. This allowed states to play against other states. State teams were fed players from local leagues where the cream of the crop was selected to play for the states League team. Baseball is know one of the most popular sports in the country.

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