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Apr 17, 2008

"Let's Play Ball"...Baseball

Did you know...
The modern version of the game of baseball was developed in North America? It began in the eighteenth century. Historians believe it evolved from earlier bat-and-ball games, such as cricket and rounders, brought to the continent by the British and Irish immigrants. By the late nineteenth century, baseball was widely recognized as the national sport of the United States. The game, sometimes referred to as "hardball" is very similar to the game of softball.

The first documentation of a baseball game in North America is Dr. Adam Ford's contemporary description of a game that took place in 1838 on June 4 in Beachville, Ontario, Canada. This report was related in an 1886 edition of Sporting Life magazine in a letter by former St. Marys, Ontario, resident Dr. Matthew Harris.

In 1845, Alexander Cartwright of New York City led the codification of an early list
of rules (the so-called Knickerbocker Rules), from which today's rules have evolved. He had also initiated the replacement of the soft ball, which was used to play rounders, with a smaller hard ball. While there are reports of Cartwright's club, the New York Knickerbockers, playing games in 1845, the game now recognized as the first in U.S. history to be officially recorded took place on June 19, 1846, in Hoboken, New Jersey, with the "New York Nine" defeating the Knickerbockers(on their own field) 23–1, in four innings.

In the 1860s Semiprofessional baseball started in the United States. In 1869, the first fully professional baseball club, the Cincinnati Red Stockings was formed and went undefeated against a schedule of semi-pro and amateur teams. By the following decade, American newspapers were referring to baseball as the "National Pastime".
The first attempt at forming a "major league" was the National Association, which lasted from 1871 to 1875. "Let's play ball" is the cry from the home plate Umpire that many fans of this game love to hear.

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