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Nobody really knows who invented baseball and there are many different ideas about how it started. Baseball is played between two teams of nine players with a bat and a ball. A national pastime of the United States, baseball is one of the most popular sports in the world.
Did you know? A catcher squats an average of 150 times in a 9 inning game.

Who invented baseball?

It is hard to say where and when baseball actually began, or who invented it. There are many different ideas about how baseball started. Some say Abner Doubleday invented the sport, but others disagree. Nobody really knows who invented baseball. It is still a mystery!
Did you know? The New York Yankees have won the most championships with 11 wins.
Actually, the game of baseball evolved over many years and had many variations of how to play. Baseball is very similar to the games people played in England, like rounders and cricket. In the 1700's and 1800's, people played games called stool ball, old cat, and goal ball, which were played with a bat and ball, like baseball.
Did you know? The longest game was played in 1984 between Chicago and Milwaukee. It went 25 innings, and lasted for 8 hours and 6 minutes.
Alexander Cartwright may not have invented baseball, but he certainly helped in making rules and details about how to play it. He placed the bases 90 feet apart, he decided on 9 innings in a game, and he decided that there should be 9 players on each side.
He also organized one of the first baseball clubs and inspired people to play baseball in the Pacific Coast area and Hawaii.
Did you know? A regulation baseball has 108 red stitches
Many people contributed to the development of baseball and how it is played today. It was group effort!

What do you need to play?

Equipments -

  • A baseball bat
  • A baseball
  • A glove or mitt
  • Three bases and one home plate
  • Two teams
  • A catcher will also need a protective mask and pads

Who's on First?

Get to know the player positions.

The baseball field has an infield and an outfield. The infield contains the bases. The outfield is an open field. There are 9 positions in baseball.

Pitcher

The pitcher throws the ball to the batter. The pitcher may throw a strike, which is in the batter's strike zone.
The strike zone is the area from the top of the batter's shoulders to the bottom of the batter's kneecap and from one edge of home plate to the other.

Did you know?

During one game, there could be an average of 275 pitches and over 45 different balls used.
If a pitch is in the strike zone and the batter does not swing at it, the umpire calls a strike. If the pitcher throws three strikes, the batter is out. The pitcher may throw a ball, which is outside the batter's strike zone.
If the pitcher throws four balls, it is called a walk and the batter may proceed to first base.

Catcher

The catcher is the player who communicates with the pitcher. The catcher can use hand signals to suggest certain types of pitches. The catcher returns the ball to the pitcher after pitches that are strikes or balls.
The catcher must field the ball when a batter attempts to bunt the ball.
A bunt is a small hit that lands that ball in front of home plate.
The catcher can try to catch a foul ball to get the player out. The catcher must also defend home plate when a player is about to score a run.

First baseman

The first baseman must defend first base. The first baseman can tag the running player before he or she reaches first base, or the first baseman can tag the base while holding the ball.
The first baseman must catch throws from all other players on the field, and can field balls hit near first base. This player may also have to throw the ball to second base, third base, or home plate to try to get a runner out.

Why do
frogs make good baseball players?

They are great at
catching flies!

Second baseman

The second baseman must defend second base. The second baseman can tag a player out while holding the ball, or he may tag second base while holding the ball (he may only tag the base if a runner is forced to go to second base by another runner who is going to first base).

What do you call
an umpire who is in a bad mood?

A grumpire.
The second baseman may catch and field balls that come in his or her area. This player may have to throw the ball to first base, third base, or home plate to try to get a runner out.

Why did the
chicken cross the baseball field?

To get to the foul
(fowl) ball.

Third baseman

The third baseman must defend third base. The third baseman can tag a player out while holding the ball, or he may tag third base while holding the ball (he may only tag the base if a runner is forced to go to third base by another runner who is going to second base).

Which
baseball player is never thirsty?

The pitcher!
The third baseman may catch and field balls that come in his area. This player may have to throw the ball to first base, second base, or home plate to try to get a runner out.

Shortstop

The shortstop must field balls that come between second and third base. Because many hitters are right handed, many of the hits go in the area where the shortstop plays.
He fields the most hits. This player may have to throw the ball to first base, second base, third base, or home plate to try to get a runner out. The shortstop may also have to cover second or third base if those players are fielding a ball.

Right fielder

The right fielder defends the right part of the outfield. He must catch fly balls (in the air) and field ground balls (on the ground) that players hit into a large area of the outfield. He must make long thrown into the infield players.

Center fielder

The center fielder defends the center part of the outfield. He must catch fly balls and field ground balls that players hit into a large area of the outfield. He must make long throws into the infield players.

Left fielder

The left fielder defends the left part of the outfield. He must catch fly balls and field ground balls that players hit into a large area of the outfield. He must make long throws into the infield players.

So Many Numbers! Dimensions, Playing and Keeping Score

  • There are 2 teams with 9 players on each team.
  • There are 2 players in the battery - the pitcher and the catcher.
  • There are 3 outfielders - right, center, and left field.
  • There are 4 infielders - the first baseman, the second baseman, the shortstop, and the third baseman.
  • There are 4 bases - first, second, third, and home.
  • The bases are 90 feet apart from each other.
  • Home plate is 17 inches wide.
  • There are 9 innings. In 1 inning, each team has a turn to bat and field.
  • Don't forget to enjoy the 7th inning stretch. Get up, stretch, and sing, "Take me out to the ballgame."
  • The pitcher's mound is 60 ft 6 inches from home plate.
  • There are 3 strikes in 1 out. There are 4 balls in 1 walk.
  • There are 4 runs scored in a grand slam!
  • When a batter has 2 strikes and 3 balls, it is a full count.
  • The fielding team must make 3 outs to finish the inning.
  • For each runner who crosses home plate, the team earns 1 point.
  • The team with the most runs at the end of 9 innings is the winner.
  • If there is a tie, the teams continue to play until one team leads at the end of the inning.

Baseball Timeline

1830 - Early variations of baseball were played in America.

1878 - Baseball was played in Australia.

1901 - The Chicago White Stockings beat the Cleveland Blues in the first official American League game.

1903 - The first baseball World Championship Series was played. Boston Americans beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3.

1910 - William Taft was the first U.S. President to throw out the first pitch.

1919 - Eight players on the Chicago White Sox conspired to throw the World Series.

1920 - The first African American league began as the Negro National League.

1929 - Babe Ruth hit his 500th home run.

1939 - Little League Baseball began.

1943 - The first female league began.

1947 - Jackie Robinson signed a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He broke the color barrier and was the first African American player to enter the white-only major leagues.

1951 - Two Chicago White Sox, Chico Carrasquel (Venezuela) and Minnie Miñoso (Cuba), became the first Hispanic All Star players.

1953 - The European Baseball Federation was formed.

1954 - The first European Championship was played in Belgium and Italy won.

1954 - The Baseball Federation of Asia was created.

1969 - The pitcher's mound was lowered, and the strike zone was reduced to help batters.

1974 - Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run, passing Babe Ruth's record.

1990 - African Baseball Federation was created.

1992 - First African baseball cup was organized and held.

1994 - Baseball World Series was cancelled because of a player strike about salary issues.

1995 - Cal Ripken, Jr. (Baltimore Orioles) played his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking Lou Gehrig's record.

1996 - Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire competed in a home-run hitting battle. Sosa ended the season with 66 home runs and McGwire ended with 70.

1998 - NY Yankees win a record 125 games in the season and the World Series.

2000 - Cal Ripken Jr. became the 24th player to hit 3,000 hits.

2004 - Randy Johnson pitched a perfect game. The Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Atlanta Braves 2-0.

2006 - Barry Bonds hit his 714th home run to tie Babe Ruth at second in the record books.

2008 - Yankee Stadium turns 85 years old and hosts its last game.

2010 - Fifteen pitchers recorded 200 or more strikeouts in the seasons.

Baseball Legends

George Herman Ruth

Nickname: Babe Ruth, the King of Swing
Position: Pitcher, outfield, great slugger
Team: New York Yankees
Statistics:
  • 1927 - 60 home run - new records
  • 7-time World Series champion 1923
  • American League MVP
  • Member of Major League Baseball's All Century Team.
February 6, 1895
- August 16, 1948

Lou Gehrig

Name: Lou Gehrig
Nickname: Iron Horse
Position: first base
Team: New York Yankees
Statistics:
  • 1926 - led the league in triples with 20
  • Consecutive games played 2,130
  • 47 homeruns when Ruth had 60v
  • 1931 Gehrig had 184 RBIs
June 19, 1903
- June 2, 1941

Ty Cobb

Nickname: The Georgia Peach
Position: Outfield, first base, third base, pitcher
Team: Detroit, Oakland
Statistics:
  • 1936 First inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Highest batting average in the history of the game (.367)
  • 1911 Led every offensive category in the league except home runs
  • 1907 League bests: 212 hits, 119 RBIs and 49 stolen bases
  • 3rd all time in stolen bases with 892
  • Second in runs scored with 2,245
  • Second in career hits with 4,191
December 18, 1886
- July 17, 1961

Jackie Robinson

Name: Jack Roosevelt Robinson
Nickname: Dark Destoryer, J-Rob, Jack-Jack
Position: Second base, third base, first base
Team: Brooklyn Dodgers
Statistics:
  • First African American player (1945)
  • Rookie of the year (1947)
  • 12 home runs, 29 steals and batted .297
  • 1949 - MVP
  • 1962 - Inducted into baseball Hall of Frame
January 31, 1919
- October 24, 1972
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