Baseball has a long history, dating back to 1846. On June 19, 1846, baseball was born.
Since its original creation, it is considered America’s favorite pastime, from youth athletes to professionals.
In 1912, the first MLB stadium opened. As of 2023, there are 30 stadiums across the United States, and one in Canada, that serve as home fields for each MLB team.
Baseball has come a long way since its early days. Here is a look back through memorable baseball moments.
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- 1846: The first official game of baseball was played
- 1857: Nine players, nine innings rule was established
- 1869: The first professional baseball team played their first game
- 1876: The National League was established
- 1901: The American League was formed
- 1903: The first World Series was played
- 1904: The World Series was skipped for the first time
- 1912: Fenway Park opened its doors
- 1921: Baseball was broadcasted on radio
- 1933: The first major league All-Star Game was held
- 1936: The Baseball Hall of Fame inducted its first five players
- 1939: Little League baseball was founded
- 1943: The All-American Girls Professional League was formed
- 1947: The World Series game was televised for the first time
- 1973: The designated hitter rule was established
- 1994: There was no World Series due to the players’ strike
1. 1846: The first official game of baseball was played
On June 19, 1846, the first official game of baseball was played. The game was played in New Jersey with a competition between the New York Mutuals and the Knickerbockers. The New York Mutuals won the four inning game 23-1.
Although this date marks the official start of baseball, the game was created earlier, but its exact origins are not clear. Many credit Abner Doubleday as the inventor of the game in 1839. Others point to Alexander Joy Cartwright as the founder, since he developed many rules of the game. Historians have titled physician Daniel ‘Doc’ Adams the “true father of baseball” for his contributions to the sport.
Though, Cartwright is known as “the father of the game,” He was the referee of the first baseball game, a role we now know as “umpire.”
2. 1857: Nine players, nine innings rule was established
In 1857, the format still used today includes nine players taking the field for nine innings of play.
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3. 1869: The first professional baseball team played their first game
It was not until 1869 when the first professional game of baseball was held. The Cincinnati Red Stockings competed against the Great Westerns of Cincinnati. The Red Stockings won by a large margin and a final score of 45-9.
4. 1876: The National League was established
The National League, one of the two leagues that make up Major League Baseball (MLB), was established in 1876.
5. 1901: The American League was formed
The American League, the second league of the MLB, was formed in 1901.
6. 1903: The first World Series was played
The first ever World Series started on Oct. 1, 1903. The series was played between the champions of the American League, the Boston Americans, who would later become the Red Sox, and the National League champs, the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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Boston won the first World Series.
7. 1904: The World Series was skipped for the first time
The year following the first ever World Series, the championship was skipped.
The Boston Americans were second time champions of the American League and were set to play National League champions, the New York Giants. Giants owner John Brush refused to let his team participate in the game against the champions of the newly established American League.
8. 1912: Fenway Park opened its doors
Fenway Park is the oldest professional baseball stadium in the MLB. The field is home to the Boston Red Sox, and officially opened its doors in 1912.
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9. 1921: Baseball was broadcasted on radio
In 1921, baseball games started broadcasting on radio stations. This provided those not present at the games with a way to tune into the event.
10. 1933: The first major league All-Star Game was held
The first major league All-Star Game was held on July 6, 1933. The setting for the first game was Comiskey Park in Chicago. The All-Star Game is a competition between two teams composed of star talent in the MLB.
One of the teams is representative of the National League and the other is made up of players from the American League.
11. 1936: The Baseball Hall of Fame inducted its first five players
In 1936, the first players were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame including Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner.
12. 1939: Little League Baseball was founded
Little League Baseball was founded by Carl Stotz in 1939 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The league began with just three teams. Little League Baseball is now an international organization that organizes youth baseball and softball leagues around the world.
13. 1943: The All-American Girls Professional League was formed
Over 500 players in the MLB left to serve in World War II. This led to the formation of the All-American Girls Professional League, keeping baseball going while many men were away to serve.
The popular movie “A League of Their Own” includes fictional characters and elements, but is based on true historical events of this time period. The league ran from 1943 until 1954.
14. 1947: The World Series game was televised for the first time
The World Series was broadcasted on TV for the first time in 1947 in a series with the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers. A few years later, in 1955, the World Series was first broadcasted in color.
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15. 1973: The designated hitter rule was established
The designated hitter rule was established in 1973. This rule allows a player to bat in place of the pitcher in the lineup. The designated hitter does not play the field and just plays offense for the team.
16. 1994: There was no World Series due to the players’ strike
The World Series was canceled in 1994 due to a players’ strike. The strike began on Aug. 12, 1994 over a salary cap proposal.