A Sports Trivia Guide on the History of Baseball

The origin of baseball is somewhat clouded, but one of America's favorite sports might have started in England with a game called rounders. Old pictures exist that show men standing on bases playing the game of rounders. Since the early days of the game, baseball has had a rich and fascinating history that intertwines throughout America's history. The love of this sport transcends gender, social status, and race, binding America together in its love of all things baseball.

  • One of the main differences between the old game of rounders and today's baseball was the way fielders got base-runners out. Instead of throwing the ball to other fielders to tag base-runners, the fielders would throw the ball directly at these players.
  • Organization of baseball began during the mid-1800s with formal rules.
  • The first official baseball team in America was the New York Knickerbockers.
  • The Knickerbockers' first baseball uniform featured hats made out of straw.
  • The original baseball league in America was the National Association of Base Ball Players in 1857. In 1875, this league changed to become the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs.
  • Baseball's popularity rose sharply after its initial organization. By 1860, baseball was America's favorite game.
  • Spring training began in 1885 when the Chicago White Stockings traveled to Hot Springs, Arkansas, to begin practicing for the upcoming season.
  • The Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first all-professional baseball team in America.
  • Baseball's unofficial anthem, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," has an original copyright date of May 2, 1908.
  • Cracker Jack was initially sold at some baseball parks in 1907.
  • Aaron B. Champion was the person behind the idea of paying baseball players.
  • The first World Series occurred in 1903. The Boston Americans played against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Boston Americans won the series.
  • The New York Yankees have earned 27 World Series titles, the most of any baseball team.
  • The first All-Star Game occurred in 1933 with players from the American League and the National League meeting to play.
  • The National League has won more All-Star games than the American League. Two games have ended in ties.
  • No baseball players earned RBIs during the 1968 All-Star Game.
  • Many professional and minor league baseball players served in World War I and World War II.
  • On September 4, 1918, the first game of the World Series was played in Chicago. A military band played "The Star-Spangled Banner" during the seventh-inning stretch, beginning a tradition of playing the national anthem at baseball games.
  • George Herman Ruth, also known as Babe Ruth, registered for the draft during World War I.
  • President Franklin Roosevelt recognized the stabilizing influence of baseball and worked to keep baseball functioning during World War II.
  • George H. Rawlings designed a baseball glove with special padding to protect players' hands from injuries. Its patent date was September 8, 1885.
  • John A. Hillerich was the inventor of a special hardened surface on baseball bats, which helped hit balls further. The date of this patent was December 23, 1902.
  • Benjamin F. Shibe patented the cork-centered baseball. The date of this patent was June 15, 1909.
  • Jackie Robinson led the way to desegregation of baseball players when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
  • Free agency was established in baseball in 1975. This clause was the catalyst for significant salary increases for baseball players.
  • Baseball players have gone on strike twice, in 1981 and in 1994.
  • The 1994 strike led to the cancellation of the World Series. This is the only time the World Series has not been played since its inception.
  • President William Taft was the first president to throw out the first pitch of the season in 1910.
  • Baseball cards were initially included as a type of advertising in packages of cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco. After the end of World War I, tobacco companies ceased this production.
  • Candy companies began baseball card production shortly thereafter to appeal to children and encourage collecting.
  • Some Major League baseball players were involved in illegal steroid use during the 1990s.
  • During the 1950s, baseball teams began traveling to other ballparks for games by plane, making it possible for more teams to play each other. Prior to this time, teams traveled by train or bus.
  • Roger Bresnahan receives credit as the catcher who originally began using shin guards back in 1907.
  • Babe Ruth moved from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees on January 3, 1920.
  • Ruth earned an annual salary of $80,000 in 1930 and 1931.
  • Ruth's lifetime batting average was .342.
  • Glen Edward Gorbous set the record for the longest baseball throw. It was 445 feet 10 inches long.
  • Joe DiMaggio set a Major League Baseball record in 1941 by getting a hit in 56 straight games between May 15 and July 17.
  • Willie Mays went down in history in 1954 with a legendary play known as "the catch," which was an over-the-shoulder catch in center field during the first game of the World Series.
  • Don Larsen receives credit as the only pitcher to pitch a perfect game in a World Series. Larsen pitched this game on October 8, 1956.
  • Satchel Paige was the first player in the Negro League to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's 714-home-run record on April 8, 1974.
  • Cal Ripken Jr., a Baltimore Orioles player, broke Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played on September 6, 1995, with 2,131 games.
  • Nolan Ryan set a record by striking out 3,509 batters, passing a mark that had stood since 1927.
  • Connie Mack set a record for achieving 3,755 wins as a baseball manager.
  • Jimmy Piersall ran the bases backward to celebrate his 100th home run.
  • One baseball generally lasts through only about seven pitches before it needs to be replaced.
  • A baseball has 108 stitches circling the ball.
  • The longest baseball game ever played occurred on May 9, 1984, between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago White Sox. This game was 8 hours and 6 minutes long. The White Sox eventually won with a 7-to-6 score.
  • Fenway Park, located in Boston, is the oldest stadium still in use for baseball games.

Baseball History