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Baseball - The Basic Rules of Baseball and Famous players


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The beginnings of baseball

While the exact origins of baseball are unknown, most historians agree that it is based on the English game of rounders, a game which began to become quite popular in this country in the early 19th century, and many sources report the growing popularity of a game called 'townball', 'base', or 'baseball'.

Throughout the early part of the 19th century, small towns formed teams, and baseball clubs were formed in larger cities. In 1845, Alexander Cartwright wanted to formalize a list of rules by which all teams could play. Much of that original code is still in place today. Although popular legend says that the game was invented by Abner Doubleday, baseball's true father was Cartwright.

The first recorded baseball contest took place a year later, in 1846. Cartwright and his Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York City lost to the New York Baseball Club in a game at the Elysian Fields, in Hoboken, New Jersey. These amateur games became more frequent and more popular. In 1857, a convention of amateur teams was called to discuss rules and other issues. Twenty five teams from the northeast sent delegates. The following year, they formed the National Association of Base Ball Players, the first organized baseball league. In its first year of operation, the league supported itself by occasionally charging fans for admission. The future looked very bright.

The early 1860s however were a time of great turmoil in the United States. In those years of the Civil War, the number of baseball clubs dropped dramatically. But interest in baseball was carried to other parts of the country by Union soldiers, and when the war ended there were more people playing baseball than ever before. The leagues annual convention in 1868 drew delegates from over 100 clubs. As the league grew, so did the expenses of playing. Charging admission to games started to become more common, and teams often had to seek out donations or sponsors to make trips. In order for teams to get the financial support they needed, winning became very important.

Although the league was supposed to be comprised of amateurs, many players were secretly paid. Some were given jobs by sponsors, and some were secretly paid a salary just for playing. In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings decided to become a completely professional team. Brothers Harry and George Wright recruited the best players from around the country, and beat all comers. The Cincinnati team won sixty-five games and lost none. The idea of paid players quickly caught on. Some wanted baseball to remain an amateur endeavor, but there was no way they could compete with the professional teams. The amateur teams began to fade away as the best players became professionals. In 1871, the National Association became the first professional baseball league.

Now existing leagues

MLB - Major League Baseball, there are two leagues which make it up, the AL (National League of Professional Baseball Clubs) and the NA (American League of Professional Baseball Clubs)

Minor League Baseball - oversees nearly all minor league baseball in the United States

WBL Womens Baseball League

The Basic Rules of Baseball

A game of baseball is played by two teams of nine players. Each team tries to win the game by scoring the most runs (points). The players on each team play both offense and defensethe teams switch from offense to defense after every three outs, as explained below.

Baseball Defense Basics

The goal of the defensive team is to prevent the offensive team from scoring runs. The defensive teams does this by getting outs. There are two ways to get outs:

Pitching: The pitchers job is to pitch (throw) the ball to batters and try to get them to strike out. A pitch is considered a strike when a batter swings at the ball and misses, or when a batter doesnt swing at a pitch but it is ruled a strike by the umpire. (see Pitching in Baseball)

Fielding: If the batter hits a pitch, the defensive players, also called fielders, try to get an out by catching the ball on the fly or fielding (picking up) a ground ball and throwing it to a base ahead of the batter or other baserunners.

Baseball Offense Basics

The two main parts of offense in baseball are hitting and baserunning.

Hitting (batting): When a team is on offense, it sends players one by one up to home plate to bat. The batters goal is to get on base, either by drawing four balls (pitches that arent strikes) or by getting a hit. A hit is a ball that is neither caught in the air nor fielded and thrown to first base ahead of the batter.

Baserunning: If the batter hits the ball into fair territory, the batter becomes a runnerhe drops the bat and runs toward first base. If the player reaches first base safely without getting out, the player is considered safe and stays at the base. If the runner thinks he can make it to second or third base without getting out, he runs past first and continues to the farthest base he thinks he can make it to safely.

After the batter either gets on base or gets out, the next batter comes to the plate and repeats the process, attempting to get on base safely and help advance the other baserunners to home plate, where they score a run. When a runner circles all four bases and touches home plate without getting out, the team at bat is awarded one run. The offense sends batters up to the plate until the defense gets three outs, at which point the two teams switch places-the offensive team plays defense, and the defensive team gets a chance to bat.


Every baseball game is divided into nine units of play called innings. In each inning, both teams take turns batting and playing the field. Each inning is divided into two halves known as the top and bottom. During the top of an inning, the home team plays in the field, and the visiting team bats. After the home team gets three outs, the game moves to the bottom of the inning, and the teams switch places.

If a game is tied at the end of the ninth inning, the teams play extra innings until one team has more runs when a complete inning ends.

Officiating the Game

Major League games are officiated by a team of four umpires, often called umps for short, each of whom occupies a specific part of the field: first base, second base, third base, behind the plate.

An umpires job includes ruling whether runners are safe or out at a base and whether a ball is hit in fair or foul territory. The umpire stationed behind the plate is responsible for calling whether a pitch is a strike or a ball. In addition to making judgment calls regarding the games play, umpires also maintain order on the field. When they feel that a player or coach is being unsportsmanlike, such as arguing strenuously against an umps ruling, the umps may eject the player or coach from the game.

Player Substitutions

Though a baseball team has only nine active players in the game at all times, a team has a total of 25 total players on its roster. Those 25 players usually consist of:

8 starting fielders: The fielders who play in the field at the beginning of the game

5 starting pitchers: The pitchers who start games and try to pitch at least 56 innings of the game (teams usually have 45 starting pitchers, who make up the teams pitching rotation)

67 relief pitchers: Pitchers who come into the game if the starting pitcher runs into trouble or tires

56 bench players: Fielders or hitters who can be substituted into the game for other players to provide offensive or defensive help

During the course of most games, the manager, or head coach, of the team replaces some fielders or pitchers with bench players or relievers (relief pitchers). A player substituted out of the game cannot return to the game.

Offensive Substitutions

Pinch hitter: A pinch hitter is a player brought in off the bench to bat in place of the player due to bat. Pinch hitters are often brought in late in the game to hit for a pitcher or other weak hitter.

Pinch runner: If a slow runner reaches base when a team desperately needs a run, the manager might sub in a faster pinch runner to take his place.

Fielding Substitutions

If a batter or runner is removed from a game, he must also be replaced in the field. The pinch hitter or runner can take over the removed players fielding duties, or the manager can bring in another player to play the field. Occasionally, in trying to preserve a lead, a manager may make a purely defensive substitution, replacing a poor fielding player with a better fielding player from the bench.

Relief Pitchers

When the pitcher in the game is tiring, isnt pitching well, or was subbed out for a pinch hitter, the manager replaces him with a relief pitcher. Managers must plan these replacements carefully, since relievers need to throw in the bullpen before playing. Often a manager calls a time out and makes a trip to the mound to discuss the current pitchers stamina, give him a pep talk, instruct him on how to pitch to a particular batter, or just give the reliever more time to warm up. If the manager visits the same pitcher on the mound twice in the same inning, he is required to remove that pitcher from the game.

When deciding which relief pitcher to bring in, the manager considers which batters are due up in the opposing teams lineup and how his relief pitchers have fared against those batters in prior games. In making his decision, he also likely factors in that left-handed batters tend to struggle against left-handed pitchers, whereas right-handed batters tend to have trouble with right-handed pitchers.

Baseball field - The most notable measurements are the 90 ft. lengths between bases, 60 ft. 6 in. distance between the pitchers mound and home plate and the 95 ft. radius length to the outfield grass-line.

Baseball - is a ball used primarily in the sport of the same name, baseball. It is generally between 22.9 cm  and 23.5 cm in circumference, and 142 g in weight

Baseball bat - is a smooth wooden or metal club, it is no more than 7 cm in diameter at the thickest part and no more than 106 cm in length, it typically weighs no more than 1 kg

Famous players

George Herman 'Babe' Ruth

Baseball player, born in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. He was born in a poor waterfront neighbourhood and at age eight was sent by his saloon-keeper father to St Mary's Industrial School for Boys, where a priest encouraged his interest in baseball. As a teenager, his baseball exploits caught the attention of the minor league Baltimore Orioles, where he starred as a left-handed pitcher in 1914. Later that year, he was promoted to the major-league Boston Red Sox, where he remained until 1919, becoming one of the best pitchers of the time. But he was also demonstrating his power with the bat, and when he was sold (1920) to the New York Yankees for a record $100 000, he was made a full-time outfielder. With the Yankees (192034), he became the game's pre-eminent player, and such a drawing card that the new Yankee Stadium (1923) was dubbed the house that Ruth built.

During the 1920s he was legendary for his large appetite and high living, and even appeared in several films, and in the following decades he came to assume almost mythical status. In 1927 he slammed 60 home runs, a record that stood until Roger Maris hit 61 in 1961. Ruth holds most of baseball's important slugging records, including most years leading a league in home runs (12), and most total bases in a season (457) and highest slugging percentage for a season (847), both set in 1920. He retired from the Boston Braves (Jun 1935) with 714 career home runs, a record that was broken by Hank Aaron in 1974. He was a coach with the Brooklyn Dodgers (1938) but never achieved his goal of managing a major-league team. He gave much of his time in his last years to charitable events. He was one of the first five players elected to the Hall of Fame in 1936. He died of cancer in 1948, leaving much of his estate to the Babe Ruth Foundation for underprivileged children.

Ted Williams

Baseball player, born in San Diego, California, USA. During his 19-year career as an outfielder for the Boston Red Sox (193960), he hit 521 home runs and posted a lifetime batting average of 344, sixth highest in major league history. His career total walks (2019) are second only to Babe Ruth's, and in 1941 he batted 406, a mark not bettered in over 50 years. He became manager of the Washington Senators (196971) and the Texas Rangers (1972). One of the finest hitters in the game's history, he lost five years of his baseball career due to active military service as a combat pilot in World War 2 and the Korean conflict. He was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1966.

Willie (Howard) Mays

Baseball player, born in Westfield, Alabama, USA. He played for the New York (19517) and San Francisco (195872) Giants, and the New York Mets (19723). A magnificent fielder, batter, and baserunner, only he and Hank Aaron have performed the double of more than 3000 hits and 600 home runs; he alone has stolen more than 300 bases while compiling more than 400 home runs. He was twice voted the Most Valuable Player (1954, 1965), and became the Baseball Player of the Decade (19609). He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979.

Henry 'Hank' Aaron

Baseball player and executive, born in Mobile, Alabama, USA. Baseball's all-time home-run king, he played 23 years as an outfielder for the Milwaukee (later Atlanta) Braves and Milwaukee Brewers (195476). He holds many of baseball's most distinguished records, including most lifetime runs batted in (2297), most years with 30 or more home runs (15), 1477 extra-base hits, 6856 total bases, and most career home runs (755). Breaking the latter record, baseball's most venerable since Babe Ruth retired with 714 home runs in 1935, was both a triumph and a trial for Aaron. He was besieged by the media and badgered by racist letter-writers who resented him breaking Ruth's record. A complete player whose skills were never fully appreciated until he broke the record in 1974, he was voted the National League's Most Valuable Player only once (1957). After retiring as a player, he moved into the Atlanta Braves front office as executive vice-president, where he has been a leading spokesman for minority hiring in baseball. He was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1982. His autobiography, I Had a Hammer, was published in 1990. In 1999, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of breaking Ruth's record, Major League Baseball announced the Hank Aaron Award, given annually to the best overall hitter in each league. He was honoured with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.

Other famous baseball players: Johnnie Damon, Joe Medwick, Mickey Cochrane, Addie Joss, Eddie Collins, Ryne Sandberg, Pete Rose, Rube Waddell, Roy Campanella, Fergie Jenkins, Charlie Gehringer, Kirby Puckett, Carl Yastrzemski, Eddie Plank, Nolan Ryan, Willie Stargell, Cal Ripken, Jr., Carlton Fisk, Mel Ott, Harry Heilmann, Carl Hubbell, Sam Crawford, Greg Maddux, Hank Greenberg, Jackie Robinson, Luke Appling, Rod Carew, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Ken Griffey, Jr., Whitey Ford, Ozzie Smith, Mark McGwire, Ty Cobb, Willie McCovey, Christy Mathewson, Barry Bonds, Reggie Jackson, Duke Snider, Bob Gibson, Warren Spahn, Jimmie Foxx, Reggie Jackson, Bob Gibson, Frankie Frisch, Bob Feller, Tris Speaker, Lou Brock Dizzy Dean, Frank Robinson, Mordecai Brown, Grover Alexander, Paul Molitor, Lefty Grove, Roger Clemens.

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