Baseball is a game that’s widely loved all over the world! Seen as an American sport first and foremost, it in fact has fans over in Japan, as well as in Cuba. It’s a simple game, though many assume it’s actually a mix or two very famous English sports!
Regardless of your own beliefs on the matter, it’s safe to say that baseball has an incredible history, and it’s a huge part of US culture. We’re going to be breaking down some of the most interesting facts about baseball, many of which you might not know already. Whether you’re a slugger yourself or simply like watching from the side-lines, keep reading for some interesting facts about baseball.
There is some dispute over who invented the game known as baseball. However, it is widely accepted that, though Amber Doubleday was thought by many to have established the game in 1839, he never claimed to have done so. He was justly credited with being a ‘Hero of the Civil War’.
Ardently continuing the story that Doubleday was the Founder of baseball in their village of Cooperstown, New York, businessmen there constructed a ‘National Hall of Fame’ and Museum!
Much research has revealed that the game, or variations of it, was played in the early 1700s.
It is also thought that settlers in New Englandmay have brought the games of cricket and rounders from England, influencing the play and rules of baseball, as it became known.
Alexander Jody Cartwright, a bank clerk, was a co-founder of the Knickerbocker Baseball Club. In 1845, he set down the rules for baseball, which still stand to this day.
The first official game of baseball took place in 1846 when the Knickerbocker Baseball Club played against a cricket club.
A baseball has a cowhide leather exterior held together by 108 stitches.
At the center of a baseball is a small cork wrapped in two layers of rubber and surrounded by wound yarn.
Baseballs are designed with strict measurements and weights to ‘bounce’ off the bats, usually with the aim of hitting them hard to travel as far as possible.
Before strict regulation, teams could choose the type of ball they wanted to use. This was normally in regard to their capacity for bounce and to travel a further distance.
A baseball is generally only ever made to last up to seven pitches. This means that you’re likely to find more than 70 balls used in a single game!
The first metal baseball bats were made in the early 1920s. In 1924, the patent was registered by William Shroyer.
A ‘single piece’ aluminum bat was first used for play in the 1970s.
Batsmen originally made their own bats or had them made for their specific use. As rules came into force, the weight, dimensions, and content of the bats was regulated.
For example, in 1859, bats could not have a diameter greater than 2 and a half inches, though they could be of any length.
In 1869, the length of bats was capped to be no longer than 42 inches. However, its shape was not restricted.
At the start of each game of baseball, the umpire has to rub down new baseballs with specific mud. This is mud which is found in Burlington County, NJ, and is used to take the shine off. Traditions are strange!
Baseball’s first-ever World Series took place between Boston and Pittsburgh in 1903.
Baseball teams consist of nine players and professional teams often have reserve players ready to step in – much as you’d expect in football.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Santiago Padres were top of the US rankings for the 2020 season.
The New York Yankees remain the biggest World Series winners, with 27 wins under their belts.
Stacy Piagno made history as the first woman to appear on a professional list as a player in 50 years, and again as the first female player to win a game as a pitcher in 2017.
Baseball is, believe it or not, also known as the national pastime in Cuba. Fidel Castro was a huge fan of the game, and when he came into power in 1959, its profile rose with his support.
Castro founded Cuba’s National Institute for Sport to encourage people to play for the love of sport and their country, rather than for money.
The 1992 film ‘A League of Their Own’ focuses on the formation and efforts of a group of women baseball players during World War Two. It stars Tom Hanks, Geena Davies, Rosie O’Donnell, and Madonna.
Other famous films about baseball include ‘The Pride of the Yankees’ (1942), starring Gary Cooper, and 1988’s ‘Bull Durham’, starring Kevin Costner.
‘42’, a movie released in 2013, is based on the story of how Jackie Robinson overcame racial prejudice to become a baseball legend. The late Chadwick Boseman played him in the starring role.
The largest baseball stadiums in the US include The National League Stadium in Los Angeles, California (with a 56,000 capacity). It’s also known as the Dodger Stadium.
The second biggest is the Yankee Stadium of New York with a capacity of 52,325.
In the US, food served at baseball games is almost as iconic as the action itself. Most fans will likely chow down on hot dogs. It’s thought that more than 21.3 million hot dogs were eaten at Major League games in 2014’s season alone.
Julio Franco still holds the record for being the oldest baseball player to hit a home run. He was 47 years old when he struck lucky in 2006, playing for the New York Mets.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about baseball that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!