Major League Baseball (MLB) provides much entertainment to sports fanatics every year. Many enjoy the competition that the league offers by featuring teams that work tirelessly to be the best in the field. But how did this major league begin, and just what was the motivation behind starting an alliance of baseball teams that represent various cities throughout the nation? The answers to these questions and more can be answered by looking into the history of MLB.
The history of MLB dates back to 1860. It was a rather dark time in United States history, thanks to the Civil War and the unrest brought about by changes in the nation. Many came to love the game that was originally viewed as a past time, and began celebrating individuals who played professionally. As a result, the National Association of Base Ball Players was formed and the sport took on a more organized approach. The Cincinnati ‘Red Stockings’ and New ‘York Yankees’ were among the first teams to be included in the association. The Boston ‘Red Stockings,’ which eventually became the ‘Boston Braves,’ was also a part of the union. Although growing in popularity, baseball did not truly rise to prominence until the 1920s.
It was the decade before the Great Depression, and Ray Chapman of the Cleveland ‘Indians’ was the first MLB athlete to die as a result of playing the game. The ‘Indians’ star was struck in the head by a powerful pitch, and succumb to his injuries just hours after being hit. Several rules were implemented as a result of Chapman’s death and baseball was never quite the same.
In addition to new rules, MLB experienced its first competitive world series as the New York ‘Yankees’ showcased its finest players in its first championship appearance. The team went on to be showcased in the world series for eleven more years, and won eight of the championships during such time. It was also during this time that Babe Ruth, one of the most notable players in MLB history, rose to prominence by hitting 60 home runs. Although Ruth’s accomplishment was quite notable, it wasn’t until 1947, when African American athlete Jackie Robinson made his debut as an MLB player, that the face of professional baseball changedforever.
Thirty teams currently make up Major League Baseball. Although the sport was primarily centered in the Northeastern portion of the nation when it began, baseball can be seen by millions by way of television and the Internet today. What began as an American sport has now become a worldwide past time.