When was the first baseball game played?
It's the birthday of a former basketball coach's birthday today, so I'm doing a doodle about baseball. Let me give you a little more background... Though I've never asked him outright if he prefers baseball to basketball, it does seem that way. He coached baseball, his daughter loves baseball, his son played baseball... it seems there is a fondness within his family for the All-American game.
Instead of trying to sort through the history of how baseball came to be (it is similar to cricket and I'm sure other games I'm not aware of), I decided to find out when the first game of baseball was actually played. Alexander J. Cartwright penned the set of twenty rules adopted on September, 23, 1845. Believe it or not, these 20 rules are what has evolved into today's current rules. They are often referred to as the Knickerbocker Rules because that is the name the team gave themselves on the day that they ratified these rules. Tthe first official game to be recorded and played under the modern rules happened on June 19, 1846. It isn’t well documented, but we know that the game was played between the New York Knickerbockers and another New York team, perhaps the New York Gotham club, maybe the New York Based Ball Club, heck it might have not even been a baseball team at all, perhaps it was a cricket team!
Even a decade later, the papers in New York were devoting more columns to cricket than baseball. In 1857, the first governmental body was formed to organize the group of clubs that were being created. It was called the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP), and was responsible for the standardization of gameplay and rules. It was also created to monitor and sponsor a league-wide championship.
Historians credit the Civil War for boosting the popularity of baseball. By the end of the war more than 100 clubs had joined the NABBP. In 1869, the NABBP allowed for the creation of professional clubs, something that had been against the rules of the league since its creation in 1857. This was a major milestone. The first professional club was the Cincinnati Red Stockings, though it went defunct just two years later. in 1871, the Boston Base Ball club was created, that team later became the Boston Braves, which is a team that Babe Ruth played for.
The game has evolved over the years, but I would argue some of the best players are still the old ones. Nowadays, the game of baseball has transformed into an American phenomenon. It is a multi-billion dollar business, that is watched by millions of Americans. The MLB (the successor to the NABBP), is the representative of all professional teams, however the sport itself thrives in small towns to big cities all across the country. No wonder it's been considered “America’s Pastime".
I don't watch baseball like I once used to, and my favorite team is the one where I know someone. I have an affinity for the Twins... I know, so cliché, right? How about you? Any favorites?