The first episode in this documentary series covers the origins of baseball in the mid-19th century to the beginnings of the 20th century. Contrary to popular myth, Abner Doubleday did not sit down one afternoon in 1839 and write down the rules of baseball. The game evolved over many years and had its origins in cricket, rounders and town ball. The first game of baseball as we know took place in 1846 at Elysian Fields in New Jersey, just across the river from Manhattan when the New York Knickerbockers played a game. The Civil War had a major impact making it a workingman's game whereas previously, it was reserved for gentlemen. Baseball soon became big business when powerful men such as A.G. Spalding became involved. The National League was formed, soon followed by the upstart American League that sold alcohol and attracted more working class supporters. Negroes were not allowed to play in either league after 1890 and formed their own teams.
Did You Know?
It measures just 9 inches in circumference, weighs only about 5 ounces, and it made of cork wound with woolen yarn, covered with two layers of cowhide, and stitched by hand precisely 216 times. It travels 60 feet 6 inches from the pitcher's mound to home - and it can cover that distance at nearly 100 miles an hour. Along the way it can be made to twist, spin, curve, wobble, rise, or fall away. The bat is made of turned ash, less than 42 inches long, not more than 2 3/4 inches in diameter. The ...
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Written by Jack Norworth
and Albert von Tilzer
Courtesy of Broadway Music Corp. See more