baseballSpring is here. Baseball parks all across the nation have opened their gates, are firing up the grills, and pouring ice cold drinks. The beloved Red Sox are already off to a promising start this season with new manager John Farrell and Fenway Park has reduced prices on food and beverages. Here is a closer look as to how America’s favorite past-time first began and some interesting facts along the way:

  •  Baseball‘s origins stem from a combination of Cricket and Rounders which were both brought to America by European settlers.
  •  The first set of rules which resemble the game today come from the New York Knickerbocker Base Ball Club.
  • The first official game played under these rules was on June 19, 1846 in Hoboken, New Jersey, between the Knickerbockers and the New York Base Ball Club.
  • The first reference to baseball as “the National Pastime” came from the New York Mercury newspaper in 1856.
  • In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first professional baseball team. In 1870, the manager moved the team to Boston and with teams from Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Washington, Troy (New York), Fort Wayne (Indiana), along with Cleveland and Rockford (Illinois) formed the National Association of Professional Ball Players.
  • The American League was created in 1900.
  • In 1903, Major League Baseball was born and the first World Series was played with Boston beating Pittsburgh.

(Source: http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/baseballhistory.html)

With so much history surrounding Major League Baseball, this list could go on and on.  Here are some interesting facts:

  • John Lee Richmond threw the first perfect game on June 12, 1880.
  • Cal Ripken Jr. played 2,632 consecutive games between April 30, 1982 and September 19, 1998.
  • The first baseball field to be built in the United States was Forbes Field in Pittsburgh.
  • There are 12,386,344 possible plays in every baseball game.
  • According to Rule 301c of baseball, the umpire must remove the shine from the baseballs before each game by rolling them in mud that has been taken from a creek in Burlington County, New Jersey.
  • The odds of a fan being hit by a baseball are 300,000 to 1.
  • “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” was played at a ballpark for the first known time in 1934. It was a high-school game in Los Angeles. It was thought to have been sung at a professional game later that same year.

Baseball is rich in history, rules, and obscure facts. Even if you aren’t a huge fan, there is something nostalgic about it that strikes a cord with many individuals. Here’s to hoping for a winning season for the Red Sox!