B1 Intermediate US 2460 Folder Collection
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October 3rd, 1951: The New York Giants face off against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the deciding game in a tied series for the National League pennant.
Bottom of the ninth inning, down by 2 runs with runners on second and third, 1 out. Bobby Thompson steps up to the plate.
"Brooklyn leads it 4-2 ... One out, last of the ninth ... Branca pitches ...
Bobby Thomson takes a strike called on the inside corner ... Bobby hitting at .2952 ... Branca throws ...
There's a long drive ... it's gonna be, I believe ...
Bobby Thomson hits into the lower deck of the left-field stands! The Giants win the pennant and they're goin' crazy, they're goin' crazy!
I don't believe it! I don't believe it!"
Bobby Thompson's "Shot Heard Round the World" may have been the greatest moment in all of baseball,
America's pastime, a game started back in the 1800's and America's first professional sport.
While Abner Doubleday is usually credited with the creation of baseball in 1839, the first rules of baseball were written in 1845 by a New York baseball club the "Knickerbockers".
Alexander Cartwright, the author, is commonly referred to as the "Father of Baseball".
May 4th, 1869: The Cincinnati Red Stockings played the first professional baseball game in a 45-9 win over the Great Westerns of Cincinnati.
Between 1845 and 1869, players were mainly amateurs who played only in their own city.
The Red Stockings played nationally and posted a 65-0 record in 1869, the only perfect record in baseball history.
The first attempt at forming a "major league" was the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, which lasted from 1871-1875.
In 1876, a more structured league, the National League, was formed.
The National League is the oldest surviving major league, and its counterpart, the American League, was founded in 1901.
The National Agreement of 1903 formalized relations between the two leagues and signaled the advent of the World Series, which pits the two league champions against each other.
Baseball became increasingly profitable as its popularity grew, which led to disputes between players and owners over income distribution and control.
These disputes culminated in 1919 with the Black Sox scandal, in which members of the Chicago White Sox conspired to throw the 1919 World Series.
This scandal led to the formation of a new National Commission of Baseball and its commissioner, which oversees both leagues and brought them closer.
Before 1920, most baseball was played with scrappy "scratch-for-runs" play.
This era, known as the dead-ball era, ended in 1920 with multiple rule changes that made it more advantageous for hitters.
This resulted in more runs and sluggers -- players who hit for power -- than before.
This era saw the rise of perhaps the most famous player in all of baseball -- Babe Ruth.
"The greatest athletic feat in the United States is to hit a home run.
It's a wonderful moment where the ball goes off the playing field, and everything stops, and the guy gets to celebrate. And that really didn't exist before Babe Ruth."
In the late 20's and 30's, St. Louis general manager Branch Rickey developed the first modern "farm system", where younger players gain experience before moving to the next level.
December 7th, 1941: Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, forcing America to enter into World War II.
As most players went off to fight in the war, Chicago Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley formed the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League to help keep the game in the public eye.
This all-girls professional league lasted from 1943 to 1954, as the end of the war allowed the major leagues to rebound.
On April 15th, 1947, the most historic event in baseball occurred when Jackie Robinson debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers and broke the league's color barrier.
Since the beginning of baseball, African-Americans had not been allowed to play with whites, and had to instead form their own leagues, such as the Negro National League and the Negro American League.
While he may not have been the best player in the Negro Leagues at the time,
Robinson, talented, educated, and more importantly, with the emotional fortitude to handle the abuse, succeeded in the league.
General Manager Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers recognized this inner strength and signed him.
While integration was slow-paced, black participation rose steadily to 27% by 1974.
"There is no greater figure, in terms on the impact on the social history in America than Jackie Robinson.
In April, 1947 when Jackie took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers, not only did he break the color line of Major League Baseball,
but he really broke the color line for mainstream America."
"It's almost as if you say, 'If it cost my life, I'm willing to do it for the cause.' And he did that.
He was very articulate, and, I believe, a great role model for African-Americans,
but not only for them, for all Americans. He was a great role model."
In 1953, the Major League Baseball Players Association was formed.
The union was the first to survive more than a few years, and became successful after a few years of ineffectiveness.
The union was also successful in creating the designated hitter rule to baseball and in the creation of the free-agency system.
In 1958, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants relocated to California, becoming the first teams to move across the Mississippi.
These moves came with the growth of the cities in the West and the new markets available to them, and ensured the League's reach throughout the entire country.
The rise of television had the most impact on baseball, as revenue increased dramatically and teams attracted national audiences.
Television created channels for sports, such as ESPN, and allowed fans to watch virtually every game from home.
The new attention also brought on new attention to players, as for the first time ever they had elevated to a super-star status.
"Three balls and two strikes. The over-shift is on. And Bacsik deals. And Bonds hits one high, hits it deep, it is out of here!"
August 7, 2007: Barry Bonds hits home run number 756, breaking Hank Aaron's all-time home run record.
This mark is the defining moment of the steroids era.
Before 2004, there was no penalty for the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
However, the issue over the use of steroids began to attract significant attention in 1998, when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire both broke Roger Maris's record for home runs in a single season.
Since then, several dominant players have been found to use illegal performance enhancing drugs, most recently New York Yankees's Alex Rodriguez.
"Well, back then, back in the day, that was it. It was readily available. Guys at gyms talked about it.
I believe it was winter of '89 and '90 I was given a couple weeks worth. Tried it, never thought anything of it."
[Abbott and Costello performing "Who's on First?"]
Since its beginning, baseball has had a broad impact on the United States, both in culture and in sports.
Baseball has given way to numerous award-winning films, literature, comedic sketches, and video games.
Baseball also inspired the creation of baseball cards, collecting and trading cards of certain players, which has now extended to most sports.
Baseball also inspired the first fantasy leagues with the invention of Rotisserie League Baseball.
However, the most prominent impact baseball has had on society is the baseball cap, which has now extended to different caps of different designs and logos throughout most of American culture.
Today, baseball is played in many countries around the world, with the best competition playing in the major leagues.
Currently, the major leagues consist of 30 teams across two leagues, the American League and the National League, with 15 teams in each.
Teams play 162 games throughout the year, and the MLB, or Major League Baseball, brings in a yearly revenue of around 7 billion dollars, with the average salary of a single player being around 2.5 million dollars.
The impact baseball has had on America is immense to an extent that no other sport can hope to achieve.
Baseball has given America a profound influence in everyday society.
Baseball's rich history encapsulates all of what is important to America.
Many common everyday expressions come from baseball, such as "three strikes and you're out", "that one threw me a curveball", or "he hit a home run with that one".
Who doesn't know the words to "Take me out to the ballgame"? Even non-baseball fans know the lyrics.
Baseball is America's pastime.
As the great American poet Walt Whitman once said, "I see great things in baseball. It's our game -- the American game."
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A Brief History of Baseball

2460 Folder Collection
tim published on December 24, 2014    Ash Lynx translated    Evangeline reviewed
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