Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Summer’s Fave Game Is Back
How did a stick, a ball, and a diamond capture the hearts of millions? For those who line the bleachers in big and small towns across North America, baseball’s not just a game; it’s everyone’s summer lifestyle.
Baseball in North America traces its roots back to the late 18th century when the first reference to the game was made in a Massachusetts law about playing it too close to the town meetinghouse. Since those early days, baseball has seen many changes that shaped it into the sport we love today.
It hailed from two similar British sports: rounders and cricket, which eventually found their way across the pond and were played in schoolyards and college campuses in the 1800s. In the fall of 1845, the New York Knickerbockers Baseball Club was born. Knicks player Alexander Cartwright established the rules that form the basis for today’s game, including the use of a diamond-shaped field and the three-strike rule. Cartwright has been established as baseball’s true father, overturning a widely held, but deemed untrue, legend that a man named Abner Doubleday founded it.
Once the game was standardized by the Knickerbockers, other clubs were established. Baseball’s popularity continued to grow, and eventually, leagues formed. The baseball itself also underwent standardization, eventually morphing into the five-ounce, nine-inch sphere with 108 red stitches that we see in pitchers’ hands today.
The sport continues to enthrall us. And best of all, nearly everyone is able to sing along when they hear, “Take me out to the ballgame…”