A Brief History of Baseball

October 3rd, 1951: The New York Giants face
off against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the deciding game in a tied series for the National League
pennant. Bottom of the ninth inning, down by 2 runs with runners on second and third,
1 out. Bobby Thompson steps up to the plate. “Brooklyn leads it 4-2 … One out, last of
the ninth … Branca pitches … Bobby Thomson takes a strike called on the inside corner
… Bobby hitting at .292 … Branca throws … [sound of bat meeting ball] There’s a long drive … it’s gonna be, I
PENNANT! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! Bobby Thomson hits into the lower deck of the left-field
stands! The Giants win the pennant and they’re goin’ crazy, they’re goin’ crazy! [crowd noise] I don’t believe it! I don’t believe it!” Bobby Thompson’s Shot Heard Round the World
may have been the greatest moment in all of baseball, America’s pastime, a game started
back in the 1800’s and America’s first professional sport. While Abner Doubleday is usually credited
with the creation of baseball in 1839, the first rules of baseball were written in 1845
by a New York baseball club the “Knickerbockers”. Alexander Cartwright, the author, is commonly
referred to as the “Father of Baseball”. May 4th, 1869: The Cincinnati Red Stockings
play the first professional baseball game in a 45-9 win over the Great Westerns of Cincinnati.
Between 1845 and 1869, players were mainly amateurs who played only in their own city.
The Red Stockings played nationally and posted a 65-0 record in 1869, the only perfect record
in baseball history. The first attempt at forming a “major league”
was the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, which lasted from 1871-1875.
In 1876, a more structured league, the National League, was formed. The National League is
the oldest surviving major league, and its counterpart, the American League, was founded
in 1901. The National Agreement of 1903 formalized relations between the two leagues and signaled
the advent of the World Series, which pits the two league champions against each other. Baseball became increasingly profitable as
its popularity grew, which led to disputes between players and owners over income distribution
and control. These disputes culminated in 1919 with the Black Sox scandal, in which
members of the Chicago White Sox conspired to throw the 1919 World Series. This scandal
led to the formation of a new National Commission of Baseball and its commissioner, which oversees
both leagues and brought them closer. Before 1920, most baseball was played with
scrappy “scratch-for-runs” play. This era, known as the dead-ball era, ended in 1920
with multiple rule changes that made it more advantageous for hitters. This resulted in
more runs and sluggers — players who hit for power — than before. This era saw the
rise of perhaps the most famous player in all of baseball — Babe Ruth. “The greatest athletic feat in the United
States is to hit a home run. It’s a wonderful moment where the ball goes off the playing
field, and everything stops, and the guy gets to celebrate. And that really didn’t exist
before Babe Ruth.” In the late 20’s and 30’s, St. Louis general
manager Branch Rickey developed the first modern “farm system”, where younger players
gain experience before moving to the next level. December 7th, 1941: Japan attacks Pearl Harbor
forcing America to enter into World War II. As most players went off to fight in the war,
Chicago Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley formed the All-American Girls Professional Baseball
League to help keep the game in the public eye. This all-girls professional league lasted
from 1943 to 1954, as the end of the war allowed the major leagues to rebound. On April 15th, 1947, the most historic event
in baseball occurred when Jackie Robinson debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers and broke
the league’s color barrier. Since the beginning of baseball, African-Americans had not been
allowed to play with whites, and had to instead form their own leagues, such as the Negro
National League and the Negro American League. While he may not have been the best player
in the Negro Leagues at the time, Robinson, talented, educated, and more importantly,
with the emotional fortitude to handle the abuse, succeeded in the league. General Manager
Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers recognized this inner strength and signed him. While
integration was slow-paced, black participation rose steadily to 27% by 1974. “There is no greater figure, in terms on the
impact on the social history in America than Jackie Robinson. In April, 1947 when Jackie
took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers, not only did he break the color line of Major
League Baseball, but he really broke the color line for mainstream America.” “It’s almost as if you say, ‘If it cost my
life, I’m willing to do it for the cause.’ And he did that. He was very articulate, and,
I believe, a great role model for African-Americans, but not only for them, for all Americans.
He was a great role model.” In 1953, the Major League Baseball Players
Association was formed. The union was the first to survive more than a few years, and
became successful after a few years of ineffectiveness. The union also was successful in creating
the designated hitter rule to baseball and in the creation of the free-agency system. In 1958, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New
York Giants relocated to California, becoming the first teams to move across the Mississippi.
These moves came with the growth of the cities in the West and the new markets available
to them, and ensured the League’s reach throughout the entire country. The rise of television had the most impact
on baseball, as revenue increased dramatically and teams attracted national audiences. Television
created channels for sports, such as ESPN, and allowed fans to watch virtually every
game from home. The new attention also brought on new attention to players, as for the first
time ever they had elevated to a super-star status. “Three balls and two strikes. The over-shift
is on. And Bacsik deals. And Bonds hits one high, hits it deep, it is out of here!” August 7, 2007: Barry Bonds hits home run
number 756, breaking Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record. This mark is the defining
moment of the steroids era. Before 2004, there was no penalty for the use of performance
enhancing drugs. However, the issue over the use of steroids began to attract significant
attention in 1998 when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire both broke Roger Maris’s record for
home runs in a single season. Since then, several dominant players have been found to
use illegal performance enhancing drugs, most recently New York Yankees’s Alex Rodriguez. “Well, back then, back in the day, that was
it. It was readily available. Guys at gyms talked about it. I believe it was winter of
’89 and ’90 I was given a couple weeks worth. Tried it, never thought anything of it.” [Abbott and Costello performing “Who’s on
First?”] Since its beginning, baseball has had a broad
impact on the United States, both in culture and in sports. Baseball has given way to numerous
award-winning films, literature, comedic sketches, and video games. Baseball also inspired the
creation of baseball cards, collecting and trading cards of certain players, which has
now extended to most sports. Baseball also inspired the first fantasy leagues with the
invention of Rotisserie League Baseball. However, the most prominent impact baseball has had
on society is the baseball cap, which has now extended to different caps of different
designs and logos throughout most of American culture. Today, baseball is played in many countries
around the world, with the best competition playing in the major leagues. Currently, the
major leagues consist of 30 teams across two leagues, the American League and the National
League, with 15 teams in each. Teams play 162 games throughout the year, and the MLB,
or Major League Baseball, brings in a yearly revenue of around 7 billion dollars, with
the average salary of a single player being around 2.5 million dollars. The impact baseball has had on America is
immense to an extent that no other sport can hope to achieve. Baseball has given America
a profound influence in everyday society. Baseball’s rich history encapsulates all of
what is important to America. Many common everyday expressions come from baseball, such
as “three strikes and you’re out”, “that one threw me a curveball”, or “he hit a home run
with that one”. Who doesn’t know the words to “Take me out to the ballgame”? Even non-baseball
fans know the lyrics. Baseball is America’s pastime. As the great American poet Walt Whitman
once said, “I see great things in baseball. It’s our game — the American game.”

52 thoughts on “A Brief History of Baseball

  1. Hi..I am very interesting in this video. I am from Guangzhou Bills Sports and promoting baseball in China. Can I use this video?Are you the creator?

  2. this is a great video, i thank you for making it, do you mind if i use this info in my report on baseball history?

  3. i hate people sayin that baseball is boring and for everyone who said Baseball is boring… well watch this!!! lets see if baseball is really boring…. it has a rich history

  4. The Giants and Dodgers were not the first to be located west of the Mississippi. St. Louis is west of the Mississippi. There was also a team in Kansas City before 1958.

  5. I just love baseball. I wish I could live somewhere like the Dominican republic or Puerto Rico where people are always playing baseball unlike here in America where people never play baseball on a regular basis.

  6. Ok, so get this. The age old question is, “Who invented the game of baseball?” Many people say it was this country or that country, or it was invented in this century or that century, right? Well, here is the best answer to date…
    The truth is humans have been swinging a stick at a stone probably since the age of the cave man. However, who created the concept of running bases in order to score (points) runs is what the real question is, and the answer is the Native Americans. The idea was stolen from them by the early Americans and slowly popularized until it became well known enough to establish it as an American sport. This is how and why it first became famous on the North American continent. Nobody else in any country was ever playing Baseball, instead they were merely playing Stick Ball. Lmao It’s true! Just compare it to other Native American sports and you will find it is indeed fitting.

  7. Baseball is such a unique and incredible sport. I love playing it for it's difference. It's not your classic move the ball to the other side of the field/court/whatever the fuck and score

  8. Narrative: "May 4, 1869…" Why are you showing film footage of cars driving down the street while announcing what happened in 1869? Your video doesn't match up with your narrative- fail! I stopped watching right then and there.

  9. Thought this was about the history of the fucking game and how it developed from the the British game 'rounders '

  10. 5:59 "Becoming the first teams to move across the Mississippi." Wrong wrong wrong wrong WRONG!! The St. Louis Browns were the first team to move across the Mississippi when they became the Baltimore Orioles in 1954. Check your map, dude. St. Louis is west of the Mississippi. From there you have to cross the Mississippi to get to Baltimore on the East Coast. You are undoubtedly one of those who never learned geography in school.

  11. I love baseball but the narrator made a few blunders. In the 19th century a number of blacks played in MLB until Cap Anson of the White Stockings (Cubs not Sox) had the league kick them all out. Another error made by the narrator was saying the home run didn't exist in the dead ball era; ever heard of Home Run Backer who hit a total, if my memory serves me correctly, 6 homers in a season. HR's existed but were rare.

  12. All records established in the steroid era should be wiped from the books. It is a darker stain on baseball than the White Sox scandal

  13. FYI baseball teams names back then came from announcers and fans, the white sox and red sox were called that because they wore white and red sox respectively.also they were called stockings but the papers didnt want to use that world because it was too long so they came up with the sox abbreviation.To this day baseball team names are still called nicknames.

  14. For the people who might think we have not come a long way in race relations in America. I disagree. Is it a perfect system? Never? But to come from where we were. A huge difference.

  15. So a dude called Abner with a hair style like Princess Lea created Baseball and the 1st pro game was on May the 4th (be with you). How bizarre! Lol.

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