Hey Die Hard Sports Fan! Did you ever stop and think about how far some of your favorite sports actually date back to?
Did you know that the earliest known record of baseball traces back all the
way to 1344? Cantigas de Santa Maria, a French manuscript illustrates a game that
shows resemblances to baseball. The earliest known written reference traces back to
1744 in Little Pretty Pocket-Book a British publication written by John Newbery. New
England introduced America to two early forms of baseball games called cricket and
rounders. By the early 18th century, school kids across the United States were playing
forms of these games in their backyards and school grounds everywhere.
Modern baseball’s creation is credited to Alexander Joy Cartwright, a volunteer
firefighter and a bank clerk, who founded the New York Knickerbocker Baseball Club in
September of 1845. Cartwright developed a new set of rules that later formed modern
baseball and its foundation. This set of rules included a diamond-shaped
infield, foul lines and the three-strike rule. Cartwright can also be thanked for eliminating
the very dangerous rule of tagging runners out by throwing the baseball directly at them.
In 1846 the Knickerbockers played the first ever official game of baseball that started
the new American tradition.
Philosopher Morris Raphael Cohen described baseball as America’s national
religion. Baseball became increasingly competitive and profitable as it quickly turned
into a form of entertainment. This is attributed to players like Babe Ruth who was the
first great power hitter and known for permanently changing the nature of the game
along with the brilliant, sometimes violent, Ty Cobb recognized for his inside game
Baseball continues to be one of America’s favorite sports with game
attendance growing over 50% and revenue has nearly tripled for the past two decades. So, if you are a baseball fanatic, make sure to thank a New England ancestor for bringing historic forms of baseball to America.
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