Baseball
Overview
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport
Bat-and-ball games
Bat-and-ball games are field games played by two teams. The teams alternate between "batting" roles, sometimes called "in at bat" and "out in the field", or simply in and out. Only the batting team may score, so the fielding team is defending, but they have equal chances in both roles...

 played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs
Run (baseball)
In baseball, a run is scored when a player advances around first, second and third base and returns safely to home plate, touching the bases in that order, before three outs are recorded and all obligations to reach base safely on batted balls are met or assured...

 by hitting a thrown ball with a bat
Baseball bat
A baseball bat is a smooth wooden or metal club used in the game of baseball to hit the ball after the ball is thrown by the pitcher. It is no more than 2.75 inches in diameter at the thickest part and no more than 42 inches in length. It typically weighs no more than 33 ounces , but it...

 and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond. Players on the batting team take turns hitting against the pitcher
Pitcher
In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throwsthe baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the...

 of the fielding team, which tries to stop them from scoring runs by getting hitters out
Out (baseball)
In baseball, an out occurs when the defensive, or fielding, team effects any of a number of different events, and the umpire rules a batter or baserunner out. When a player is called out, he is said to be retired...

 in any of several ways.
Encyclopedia
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport
Bat-and-ball games
Bat-and-ball games are field games played by two teams. The teams alternate between "batting" roles, sometimes called "in at bat" and "out in the field", or simply in and out. Only the batting team may score, so the fielding team is defending, but they have equal chances in both roles...

 played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs
Run (baseball)
In baseball, a run is scored when a player advances around first, second and third base and returns safely to home plate, touching the bases in that order, before three outs are recorded and all obligations to reach base safely on batted balls are met or assured...

 by hitting a thrown ball with a bat
Baseball bat
A baseball bat is a smooth wooden or metal club used in the game of baseball to hit the ball after the ball is thrown by the pitcher. It is no more than 2.75 inches in diameter at the thickest part and no more than 42 inches in length. It typically weighs no more than 33 ounces , but it...

 and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond. Players on the batting team take turns hitting against the pitcher
Pitcher
In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throwsthe baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the...

 of the fielding team, which tries to stop them from scoring runs by getting hitters out
Out (baseball)
In baseball, an out occurs when the defensive, or fielding, team effects any of a number of different events, and the umpire rules a batter or baserunner out. When a player is called out, he is said to be retired...

 in any of several ways. A player on the batting team can stop at any of the bases and later advance via a teammate's hit
Hit (baseball)
In baseball statistics, a hit , also called a base hit, is credited to a batter when the batter safely reaches first base after hitting the ball into fair territory, without the benefit of an error or a fielder's choice....

 or other means. The teams switch between batting and fielding whenever the fielding team records three outs. One turn at bat for each team constitutes an inning and nine innings make up a professional game. The team with the most runs at the end of the game wins.

Evolving from older bat-and-ball games, an early form of baseball was being played in England by the mid-eighteenth century. This game was brought by immigrants to North America, where the modern version developed
History of baseball in the United States
The history of baseball in the United States can be traced to the 18th century, when amateurs played a baseball-like game by their own informal rules using improvised equipment...

. By the late nineteenth century, baseball was widely recognized as the national sport
National sport
A national sport or national pastime is a sport or game that is considered to be an intrinsic part of the culture of a nation. Some sports are de facto national sports, as baseball is in the U.S., while others are de jure as lacrosse and ice hockey are in Canada.-De jure national sports:-De facto...

 of the United States. Baseball is now popular in North America, parts of Central and South America and the Caribbean, and parts of East Asia.

In North America, professional Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 (MLB) teams are divided into the National League
National League
The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League , is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball, and the world's oldest extant professional team sports league. Founded on February 2, 1876, to replace the National Association of Professional...

 (NL) and American League
American League
The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League , is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada. It developed from the Western League, a minor league based in the Great Lakes states, which eventually aspired to major...

 (AL), each with three divisions: East, West, and Central. The major league champion is determined by playoffs
Major League Baseball postseason
The Major League Baseball postseason is an elimination tournament held after the conclusion of Major League Baseball's regular season. It consists of one best-of-five series and two best-of-seven series...

 that culminate in the World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

. Four teams make the playoffs from each league: the three regular season division winners, plus one wild card
Wild card (sports)
The term wild card refers broadly to a tournament or playoff berth awarded to an individual or team that has not qualified through normal play.-International sports:...

 team. Baseball is the leading team sport in both Japan and Cuba, and the top level of play is similarly split between two leagues: Japan's Central League
Central League
The or is one the two professional baseball leagues that constitute Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. The winner of the league championship plays against the winner of the Pacific League in the annual Japan Series. It currently consists of six teams from around the country,The Central League...

 and Pacific League
Pacific League
The or is one of the two professional baseball leagues constituting Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. The winner of the league championship competes against the winner in the Central League for the annual Japan Series...

; Cuba's West League and East League
Cuban National Series
The Cuban National Series is the primary domestic amateur baseball competition in Cuba. Formed after the dissolution of the Cuban League in the wake of the Cuban Revolution, the Series is a part of the Cuban national baseball system.-League structure:...

. In the National and Central leagues, the pitcher is required to bat, per the traditional rules. In the American, Pacific, and both Cuban leagues, there is a tenth player, a designated hitter
Designated hitter
In baseball, the designated hitter rule is the common name for Major League Baseball Rule 6.10, an official position adopted by the American League in 1973 that allows teams to designate a player, known as the designated hitter , to bat in place of the pitcher each time he would otherwise come to...

, who bats for the pitcher. Each top-level team has a farm system of one or more minor league teams
Minor league baseball
Minor league baseball is a hierarchy of professional baseball leagues in the Americas that compete at levels below Major League Baseball and provide opportunities for player development. All of the minor leagues are operated as independent businesses...

.

Origins of baseball

The evolution of baseball from older bat-and-ball games is difficult to trace with precision. A French manuscript from 1344 contains an illustration of clerics playing a game, possibly la soule
La Soule
La soule, also known as choule, is a traditional team sport that originated in Normandy and Picardy.The ball, called a soule, could be solid or hollow and made of either wood or leather. Leather balls would be filled with hay, bran, horse hair or moss...

, with similarities to baseball. Other old French games such as théque, la balle au bâton, and la balle empoisonée also appear to be related. Consensus once held that today's baseball is a North American development from the older game rounders
Rounders
Rounders is a game played between two teams of either gender. The game originated in England where it was played in Tudor times. Rounders is a striking and fielding team game that involves hitting a small, hard, leather-cased ball with a round wooden, plastic or metal bat. The players score by...

, popular in Great Britain and Ireland. Baseball Before We Knew It: A Search for the Roots of the Game
Baseball Before We Knew It
Baseball Before We Knew It: A Search for the Roots of the Game is a 2005 book by David Block about the history of baseball. Block looks into the early history of baseball, the debates about baseballs beginnings, and presents new evidence...

(2005), by David Block, suggests that the game originated in England; recently uncovered historical evidence supports this position. Block argues that rounders and early baseball were actually regional variants of each other, and that the game's most direct antecedents are the English games of stoolball
Stoolball
Stoolball is a sport that dates back to at least the 15th century, originating in Sussex, southern England. It may be an ancestor of cricket , baseball, and rounders...

 and "tut-ball". It has long been believed that cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

 also descended from such games, though evidence uncovered in early 2009 suggests that the sport may have been imported to England from Flanders
Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

.

The earliest known reference to baseball is in a 1744 British publication, A Little Pretty Pocket-Book
A Little Pretty Pocket-Book
A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, intended for the Amusement of Little Master Tommy and Pretty Miss Polly with Two Letters from Jack the Giant Killer is the title of a 1744 children's book by British publisher John Newbery. It is generally considered the first children's book, and consists of simple...

, by John Newbery
John Newbery
John Newbery was an English publisher of books who first made children's literature a sustainable and profitable part of the literary market. He also supported and published the works of Christopher Smart, Oliver Goldsmith and Samuel Johnson...

. It contains a rhymed description of "base-ball" and a woodcut
Woodcut
Woodcut—occasionally known as xylography—is a relief printing artistic technique in printmaking in which an image is carved into the surface of a block of wood, with the printing parts remaining level with the surface while the non-printing parts are removed, typically with gouges...

 that shows a field set-up somewhat similar to the modern game—though in a triangular rather than diamond configuration, and with posts instead of ground-level bases. William Bray, an English lawyer, recorded a game of baseball on Easter Monday 1755 in Guildford
Guildford
Guildford is the county town of Surrey. England, as well as the seat for the borough of Guildford and the administrative headquarters of the South East England region...

, Surrey
Surrey
Surrey is a county in the South East of England and is one of the Home Counties. The county borders Greater London, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire. The historic county town is Guildford. Surrey County Council sits at Kingston upon Thames, although this has been part of...

. This early form of the game was apparently brought to North America by English immigrants. Rounders was also brought to the continent by both British and Irish immigrants. The first known American reference to baseball appears in a 1791 Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Pittsfield is the largest city and the county seat of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is the principal city of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Berkshire County. Its area code is 413. Its ZIP code is 01201...

, town bylaw prohibiting the playing of the game near the town's new meeting house. By 1796, a version of the game was well-known enough to earn a mention in a German scholar's book on popular pastimes. As described by Johann Gutsmuths, "englische Base-ball" involved a contest between two teams, in which "the batter has three attempts to hit the ball while at the home plate". Only one out was required to retire a side.

By the early 1830s, there were reports of a variety of uncodified bat-and-ball games recognizable as early forms of baseball being played around North America. These games were often referred to locally as "town ball
Town ball
The term town ball, or townball, describes the bat-and-ball, safe haven games played in North America in the 18th and 19th centuries, which were similar to rounders and were precursors to modern baseball. In some areas - such as Philadelphia and along the Ohio River and Mississippi River - the...

", though other names such as "round-ball" and "base-ball" were also used. Among the earliest examples to receive a detailed description—albeit five decades after the fact, in a letter from an attendee to Sporting Life magazine—took place in Beachville, Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, in 1838. There were many similarities to modern baseball, and some crucial differences: five bases (or byes); first bye just 18 feet (5.5 m) from the home bye; batter out if a hit ball was caught after the first bounce. The once widely accepted story that Abner Doubleday
Abner Doubleday
Abner Doubleday was a career United States Army officer and Union general in the American Civil War. He fired the first shot in defense of Fort Sumter, the opening battle of the war, and had a pivotal role in the early fighting at the Battle of Gettysburg. Gettysburg was his finest hour, but his...

 invented baseball in Cooperstown, New York
Cooperstown, New York
Cooperstown is a village in Otsego County, New York, USA. It is located in the Town of Otsego. The population was estimated to be 1,852 at the 2010 census.The Village of Cooperstown is the county seat of Otsego County, New York...

, in 1839 has been conclusively debunked by sports historians.

In 1845, Alexander Cartwright
Alexander Cartwright
Alexander Joy Cartwright, Jr. is one of several people sometimes referred to as a "father of baseball". Cartwright is thought to be the first person to draw a diagram of a diamond shaped baseball field, and the rules of the modern game are based on the Knickerbocker Rules developed by Cartwright...

, a member of New York City's Knickerbockers club, led the codification of the so-called Knickerbocker Rules
Knickerbocker Rules
The Knickerbocker Rules are a set of baseball rules formalized by Alexander Cartwright in 1845. They are considered to be the basis for the rules of the modern game.-The rules:...

. The practice, common to bat-and-ball games of the day, of "soaking" or "plugging"—effecting a putout
Putout
In baseball statistics, a putout is given to a defensive player who records an out by one of the following methods:* Tagging a runner with the ball when he is not touching a base...

 by hitting a runner with a thrown ball—was barred. The rules thus facilitated the use of a smaller, harder ball than had been common. Several other rules also brought the Knickerbockers' game close to the modern one, though a ball caught on the first bounce was, again, an out and only underhand pitching was allowed. While there are reports that the New York Knickerbockers
New York Knickerbockers
The New York Knickerbockers were one of the first organized baseball teams which played under a set of rules similar to the game today. The team was founded by Alexander Cartwright, considered one of the original developers of modern baseball....

 played games in 1845, the contest now recognized as the first officially recorded baseball game in U.S. history took place on June 19, 1846, in Hoboken, New Jersey
Hoboken, New Jersey
Hoboken is a city in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 50,005. The city is part of the New York metropolitan area and contains Hoboken Terminal, a major transportation hub for the region...

: the "New York Nine" defeated the Knickerbockers, 23–1, in four innings. With the Knickerbocker code as the basis, the rules of modern baseball continued to evolve over the next half-century.

The game turns professional

In the mid-1850s, a baseball craze hit the New York metropolitan area. By 1856, local journals were referring to baseball as the "national pastime" or "national game". A year later, sixteen area clubs formed the sport's first governing body, the National Association of Base Ball Players
National Association of Base Ball Players
The National Association of Base Ball Players was the first organization governing American baseball. The first, 1857 convention of sixteen New York City clubs...

. In 1863, the organization disallowed putouts made by catching a fair ball
Fair ball
In baseball, a fair ball is a batted ball that entitles the batter to attempt to reach first base. In order for a batted ball to be fair, it must be hit in such a way that it:...

 on the first bounce. Four years later, it barred participation by African Americans. The game's commercial potential was developing: in 1869 the first fully professional baseball club, the Cincinnati Red Stockings
Cincinnati Red Stockings
The Cincinnati Red Stockings of were baseball's first fully professional team, with ten salaried players. The Cincinnati Base Ball Club formed in 1866 and fielded competitive teams in the National Association of Base Ball Players 1867–1870, a time of a transition that ambitious Cincinnati,...

, was formed and went undefeated against a schedule of semipro and amateur teams. The first professional league, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players
National Association of Professional Base Ball Players
The National Association of Professional Base Ball Players , or simply the National Association , was founded in 1871 and continued through the 1875 season...

, lasted from 1871 to 1875; scholars dispute its status as a major league
National Association as a major league
Whether to cover the National Association as a major league is a recurring and crucial matter of difference in historical work on American baseball—that is, among historians, encyclopedists, database builders, and others who work on the facts of baseball history on the playing field.- First...

.

The more formally structured National League
National League
The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League , is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball, and the world's oldest extant professional team sports league. Founded on February 2, 1876, to replace the National Association of Professional...

 was founded in 1876. As the oldest surviving major league, the National League is sometimes referred to as the "senior circuit". Several other major leagues formed and failed. In 1884, African American Moses Walker
Moses Fleetwood Walker
Moses Fleetwood Walker [″Fleet″] was an American Major League Baseball player and author who is credited with being the first African American to play professional baseball.-Baseball career:...

 (and, briefly, his brother Welday) played in one of these, the American Association
American Association (19th century)
The American Association was a Major League Baseball league that existed for 10 seasons from to . During that time, it challenged the National League for dominance of professional baseball...

. An injury ended Walker's major league career, and by the early 1890s, a gentlemen's agreement
Gentlemen's agreement
A gentlemen's agreement is an informal agreement between two or more parties. It may be written, oral, or simply understood as part of an unspoken agreement by convention or through mutually beneficial etiquette. The essence of a gentlemen's agreement is that it relies upon the honor of the parties...

 in the form of the baseball color line
Baseball color line
The color line in American baseball excluded players of black African descent from Organized Baseball, or the major leagues and affiliated minor leagues, until Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization for the 1946 season...

 effectively barred black players from the white-owned professional leagues, major and minor. Professional Negro leagues
Negro league baseball
The Negro leagues were United States professional baseball leagues comprising teams predominantly made up of African Americans. The term may be used broadly to include professional black teams outside the leagues and it may be used narrowly for the seven relatively successful leagues beginning in...

 formed, but quickly folded. Several independent African American teams succeeded as barnstormers
Barnstorm (sports)
Barnstorming in athletics refers to sports teams or individuals that travel to various locations, usually small towns, to stage exhibition matches....

. Also in 1884, overhand pitching was legalized. In 1887, softball
Softball
Softball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of 10 to 14 players. It is a direct descendant of baseball although there are some key differences: softballs are larger than baseballs, and the pitches are thrown underhand rather than overhand...

, under the name of indoor baseball or indoor-outdoor, was invented as a winter version of the parent game. Virtually all of the modern baseball rules were in place by 1893; the last major change—counting foul ball
Foul ball
In baseball, a foul ball is a batted ball that:* Settles on foul territory between home and first base or between home and third base, or* Bounds past first or third base on or over foul territory, or...

s as strikes
Strike zone
In baseball, the strike zone is a conceptual right pentagonal prism over home plate which defines the boundaries through which a pitch must pass in order to count as a strike when the batter does not swing.-Definition:...

—was instituted in 1901. The National League's first successful counterpart, the American League
American League
The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League , is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada. It developed from the Western League, a minor league based in the Great Lakes states, which eventually aspired to major...

, which evolved from the minor Western League, was established that year. The two leagues, each with eight teams, were rivals that fought for the best players, often disregarding each other's contracts and engaging in bitter legal disputes.
A modicum of peace was eventually established, leading to the National Agreement of 1903. The pact formalized relations both between the two major leagues and between them and the National Association of Professional Base Ball Leagues, representing most of the country's minor professional leagues
Minor league baseball
Minor league baseball is a hierarchy of professional baseball leagues in the Americas that compete at levels below Major League Baseball and provide opportunities for player development. All of the minor leagues are operated as independent businesses...

. The World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

, pitting the two major league champions against each other, was inaugurated that fall, albeit without express major league sanction: The Boston Americans of the American League defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates are a Major League Baseball club based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They play in the Central Division of the National League, and are five-time World Series Champions...

 of the National League. The next year, the series was not held, as the National League champion New York Giants
San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team based in San Francisco, California, playing in the National League West Division....

, under manager
Manager (baseball)
In baseball, the field manager is an individual who is responsible for matters of team strategy on the field and team leadership. Managers are typically assisted by between one and six assistant coaches, whose responsibilities are specialized...

 John McGraw, refused to recognize the major league status of the American League and its champion. In 1905, the Giants were National League champions again and team management relented, leading to the establishment of the World Series as the major leagues' annual championship event.

As professional baseball became increasingly profitable, players frequently raised grievances against owners over issues of control and equitable income distribution. During the major leagues' early decades, players on various teams occasionally attempted strikes, which routinely failed when their jobs were sufficiently threatened. In general, the strict rules of baseball contracts and the reserve clause
Reserve clause
The reserve clause is a term formerly employed in North American professional sports contracts. The reserve clause, contained in all standard player contracts, stated that, upon the contract's expiration the rights to the player were to be retained by the team to which he had been signed...

, which bound players to their teams even when their contracts had ended, tended to keep the players in check. Motivated by dislike for particularly stingy owner Charles Comiskey
Charles Comiskey
Charles Albert "The Old Roman" Comiskey was a Major League Baseball player, manager and team owner. He was a key person in the formation of the American League and later owned the Chicago White Sox...

 and gamblers' payoffs, real and promised, members of the Chicago White Sox
Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are a Major League Baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois.The White Sox play in the American League's Central Division. Since , the White Sox have played in U.S. Cellular Field, which was originally called New Comiskey Park and nicknamed The Cell by local fans...

 conspired to throw
Match fixing
In organised sports, match fixing, game fixing, race fixing, or sports fixing occurs as a match is played to a completely or partially pre-determined result, violating the rules of the game and often the law. Where the sporting competition in question is a race then the incident is referred to as...

 the 1919 World Series
1919 World Series
The 1919 World Series matched the American League champion Chicago White Sox against the National League champion Cincinnati Reds. Although most World Series have been of the best-of-seven format, the 1919 World Series was a best-of-nine series...

. The Black Sox Scandal
Black Sox Scandal
The Black Sox Scandal took place around and during the play of the American baseball 1919 World Series. Eight members of the Chicago White Sox were banned for life from baseball for intentionally losing games, which allowed the Cincinnati Reds to win the World Series...

 led to the formation of a new National Commission of baseball that drew the two major leagues closer together. The first major league baseball commissioner
Commissioner of Baseball
The Commissioner of Baseball is the chief executive of Major League Baseball and its associated minor leagues. Under the direction of the Commissioner, the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball hires and maintains the sport's umpiring crews, and negotiates marketing, labor, and television contracts...

, Kenesaw Mountain Landis
Kenesaw Mountain Landis
Kenesaw Mountain Landis was an American jurist who served as a federal judge from 1905 to 1922 and as the first Commissioner of Baseball from 1920 until his death...

, was elected in 1920. That year also saw the founding of the Negro National League; the first significant Negro league, it would operate until 1931. For part of the 1920s, it was joined by the Eastern Colored League
Eastern Colored League
The Mutual Association of Eastern Colored Clubs, more commonly known as the Eastern Colored League , was one of the several Negro leagues, which operated during the time organized baseball was segregated.- History :...

.

Rise of Ruth and racial integration

Compared with the present, professional baseball in the early twentieth century was lower scoring and pitchers, the likes of Walter Johnson
Walter Johnson
Walter Perry Johnson , nicknamed "Barney" and "The Big Train", was a Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. He played his entire 21-year baseball career for the Washington Senators...

 and Christy Mathewson
Christy Mathewson
Christopher "Christy" Mathewson , nicknamed "Big Six", "The Christian Gentleman", or "Matty", was an American Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. He played his entire career in what is known as the dead-ball era...

, were more dominant. The "inside game", which demanded that players "scratch for runs", was played much more aggressively than it is today: the brilliant and often violent Ty Cobb
Ty Cobb
Tyrus Raymond "Ty" Cobb , nicknamed "The Georgia Peach," was an American Major League Baseball outfielder. He was born in Narrows, Georgia...

 epitomized this style. The so-called dead-ball era
Dead-ball era
The dead-ball era is a baseball term used to describe the period between 1900 and the emergence of Babe Ruth as a power hitter in 1919. In 1919, Ruth hit a then league record 29 home runs, a spectacular feat at that time.This era was characterized by low-scoring games and a lack of home runs...

 ended in the early 1920s with several changes in rule and circumstance that were advantageous to hitters. Strict new regulations governing the ball's size, shape and composition, coupled with superior materials available after World War I, resulted in a ball that traveled farther when hit. The construction of additional seating to accommodate the rising popularity of the game often had the effect of bringing the outfield fences closer in, making home run
Home run
In baseball, a home run is scored when the ball is hit in such a way that the batter is able to reach home safely in one play without any errors being committed by the defensive team in the process...

s more common. The rise of the legendary player Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth
George Herman Ruth, Jr. , best known as "Babe" Ruth and nicknamed "the Bambino" and "the Sultan of Swat", was an American Major League baseball player from 1914–1935...

, the first great power hitter of the new era, helped permanently alter the nature of the game. The club with which Ruth set most of his slugging records, the New York Yankees
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

, built a reputation as the majors' premier team. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals are a professional baseball team based in St. Louis, Missouri. They are members of the Central Division in the National League of Major League Baseball. The Cardinals have won eleven World Series championships, the most of any National League team, and second overall only to...

 general manager
General manager (baseball)
In Major League Baseball, the general manager of a team typically controls player transactions and bears the primary responsibility on behalf of the ballclub during contract discussions with players....

 Branch Rickey
Branch Rickey
Wesley Branch Rickey was an innovative Major League Baseball executive elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967...

 invested in several minor league clubs
Minor league baseball
Minor league baseball is a hierarchy of professional baseball leagues in the Americas that compete at levels below Major League Baseball and provide opportunities for player development. All of the minor leagues are operated as independent businesses...

 and developed the first modern "farm system". A new Negro National League was organized in 1933; four years later, it was joined by the Negro American League
Negro American League
The Negro American League was one of the several Negro leagues which were created during the time organized baseball was segregated. The league was established in 1937, and continued to exist until 1960...

. The first elections
Baseball Hall of Fame balloting, 1936
The first elections to select inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame were held in 1936. Members of the Baseball Writers Association of America were given authority to select individuals from the 20th century; while a special Veterans Committee, made up of individuals with greater familiarity with...

 to the Baseball Hall of Fame
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an American history museum and hall of fame, located at 25 Main Street in Cooperstown, New York, operated by private interests serving as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, the display of...

 took place in 1936. In 1939 Little League Baseball was founded in Pennsylvania. By the late 1940s, it was the organizing body for children's baseball leagues
Amateur baseball in the United States
Amateur baseball is a form of baseball in which the players either are not paid for playing, or receive only a modest stipend or employment arranged by the team's boosters...

 across the United States.

With America's entry into World War II, many professional players had left to serve in the armed forces. A large number of minor league teams disbanded as a result and the major league game seemed under threat as well. Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs are a professional baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's National League. They are one of two Major League clubs based in Chicago . The Cubs are also one of the two remaining charter members of the National...

 owner Philip K. Wrigley
Philip K. Wrigley
Philip Knight Wrigley , sometimes also called P.K. or Phil. Born in Chicago, he was an American chewing gum manufacturer and executive in Major League Baseball, inheriting both those roles as the quiet son of his much more flamboyant father, William Wrigley Jr. After his father died in 1932, Philip...

 led the formation of a new professional league with women players to help keep the game in the public eye – the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was a women's professional baseball league founded by Philip K. Wrigley which existed from 1943 to 1954. During the league's history, over 600 women played ball.-History:...

 existed from 1943 to 1954. The inaugural College World Series
College World Series
The College World Series or CWS is an annual baseball tournament held in Omaha, Nebraska that is the culmination of the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship, which determines the NCAA Division I college baseball champion. The eight teams are split into two, four-team, double-elimination brackets,...

 was held in 1947, and the Babe Ruth League youth program was founded. This program soon became another important organizing body for children's baseball. The first crack in the unwritten agreement barring blacks from white-controlled professional ball occurred the previous year: Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson
Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson was the first black Major League Baseball player of the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947...

 was signed by the National League's Brooklyn Dodgers—where Branch Rickey had become general manager—and began playing for their minor league team in Montreal. In 1947, Robinson broke the major leagues' color barrier when he debuted with the Dodgers. Larry Doby
Larry Doby
Lawrence Eugene "Larry" Doby was an American professional baseball player in the Negro leagues and Major League Baseball....

 debuted with the American League's Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians are a professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Since , they have played in Progressive Field. The team's spring training facility is in Goodyear, Arizona...

 the same year. Latin American players, largely overlooked before, also started entering the majors in greater numbers. In 1951, two Chicago White Sox, Venezuelan-born Chico Carrasquel
Chico Carrasquel
Alfonso Carrasquel Colón, better known as Chico Carrasquel was a Venezuelan professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball as a shortstop for the Chicago White Sox , Cleveland Indians , Kansas City Athletics and the Baltimore Orioles...

 and black Cuban-born Minnie Miñoso, became the first Hispanic All-Stars
Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also known as the "Midsummer Classic", is an annual baseball game between players from the National League and the American League, currently selected by a combination of fans, players, coaches, and managers...

.

Facing competition as varied as television and football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

, baseball attendance at all levels declined. While the majors rebounded by the mid-1950s, the minor leagues were gutted and hundreds of semipro and amateur teams dissolved. Integration
Racial integration
Racial integration, or simply integration includes desegregation . In addition to desegregation, integration includes goals such as leveling barriers to association, creating equal opportunity regardless of race, and the development of a culture that draws on diverse traditions, rather than merely...

 proceeded slowly: by 1953, only six of the sixteen major league teams had a black player on the roster. That year, the Major League Baseball Players Association
Major League Baseball Players Association
The Major League Baseball Players Association is the union of professional major-league baseball players.-History of MLBPA:The MLBPA was not the first attempt to unionize baseball players...

 was founded. It was the first professional baseball union to survive more than briefly, but it remained largely ineffective for years. No major league team had been located west of St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

 until 1958, when the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants relocated to Los Angeles
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers are a professional baseball team based in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers are members of Major League Baseball's National League West Division. Established in 1883, the team originated in Brooklyn, New York, where it was known by a number of nicknames before becoming...

 and San Francisco
San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team based in San Francisco, California, playing in the National League West Division....

, respectively. The majors' final all-white bastion, the Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

, added a black player in 1959. With the integration of the majors drying up the available pool of players, the last Negro league folded the following year. In 1961, the American League reached the West Coast with the Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are a professional baseball team based in Anaheim, California, United States. The Angels are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League. The "Angels" name originates from the city in which the team started, Los Angeles...

 expansion team
Expansion team
An expansion team is a brand new team in a sports league. The term is most commonly used in reference to the North American major professional sports leagues, but is applied to sports leagues worldwide that use a closed franchise system of league membership. The term comes from the expansion of the...

, and the major league season was extended from 154 games to 162. This coincidentally helped Roger Maris
Roger Maris
Roger Eugene Maris was an American Major League Baseball right fielder. During the 1961 season, he hit a record 61 home runs for the New York Yankees, breaking Babe Ruth's single-season record of 60 home runs...

 break Babe Ruth's long-standing single-season home run record, one of the most celebrated marks in baseball. Along with the Angels, three other new franchises were launched during 1961–62. With this, the first major league expansion in sixty years, each league now had ten teams.

Attendance records and the age of steroids

The players' union became bolder under the leadership of former United Steelworkers
United Steelworkers
The United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union is the largest industrial labor union in North America, with 705,000 members. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, U.S., the United Steelworkers represents workers in the United...

 chief economist and negotiator Marvin Miller
Marvin Miller
Marvin Julian Miller is a former executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association , from 1966 to 1982. Under Miller's direction, the players' union was transformed into one of the strongest unions in the United States...

, who was elected executive director in 1966. On the playing field, major league pitchers were becoming increasingly dominant again. After the 1968 season, in an effort to restore balance, the strike zone
Strike zone
In baseball, the strike zone is a conceptual right pentagonal prism over home plate which defines the boundaries through which a pitch must pass in order to count as a strike when the batter does not swing.-Definition:...

 was reduced and the height of the pitcher's mound was lowered. The following year, both the National and American leagues added two more expansion teams, the leagues were reorganized into two divisions each, and a post-season playoff system leading to the World Series was instituted. Also in 1969, Curt Flood
Curt Flood
Curtis Charles Flood was a Major League Baseball player who spent most of his career as a center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals. A defensive standout, he led the National League in putouts four times and in fielding percentage twice, winning Gold Glove Awards in his last seven full seasons...

 of the St. Louis Cardinals made the first serious legal challenge to the reserve clause. The major leagues' first general players' strike took place in 1972. In another effort to add more offense to the game, the American League adopted the designated hitter
Designated hitter
In baseball, the designated hitter rule is the common name for Major League Baseball Rule 6.10, an official position adopted by the American League in 1973 that allows teams to designate a player, known as the designated hitter , to bat in place of the pitcher each time he would otherwise come to...

 rule the following year. In 1975, the union's power—and players' salaries—began to increase greatly when the reserve clause was effectively struck down
Seitz decision
The Seitz decision was a ruling by arbitrator Peter Seitz on December 23, 1975 which declared that Major League Baseball players became free agents upon playing one year for their team without a contract, effectively nullifying baseball's reserve clause...

, leading to the free agency system
Free agent
In professional sports, a free agent is a player whose contract with a team has expired and who is thus eligible to sign with another club or franchise....

. In 1977, two more expansion teams joined the American League. Significant work stoppages occurred again in 1981 and 1994, the latter forcing the cancellation of the World Series for the first time in ninety years. Attendance had been growing steadily since the mid-1970s and in 1994, before the stoppage, the majors were setting their all-time record for per-game attendance.
The addition of two more expansion teams after the 1993 season had facilitated another restructuring of the major leagues, this time into three divisions each. Offensive production—the number of home runs in particular—had surged that year, and again in the abbreviated 1994 season. After play resumed in 1995, this trend continued and non-division-winning wild card
Wild card (sports)
The term wild card refers broadly to a tournament or playoff berth awarded to an individual or team that has not qualified through normal play.-International sports:...

 teams became a permanent fixture of the post-season. Regular-season interleague play
Interleague play
Interleague play is the term used to describe regular season Major League Baseball games played between teams in different leagues, introduced in . Before the 1997 season, teams in the American League and National League did not meet during the regular season...

 was introduced in 1997 and the second-highest attendance mark for a full season was set. The next year, Mark McGwire
Mark McGwire
Mark David McGwire , nicknamed "Big Mac", is an American former professional baseball player who played his major league career with the Oakland Athletics and the St. Louis Cardinals. He is currently the hitting coach for the St...

 and Sammy Sosa
Sammy Sosa
Samuel Peralta "Sammy" Sosa is a Dominican former professional baseball right fielder. Sosa played with four Major League Baseball teams over his career which spanned from 1989-2007....

 both surpassed Maris's decades-old single season home run record and two more expansion franchises were added. In 2000, the National and American leagues were dissolved as legal entities. While their identities were maintained for scheduling purposes (and the designated hitter distinction), the regulations and other functions—such as player discipline and umpire supervision—they had administered separately were consolidated under the rubric of Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 (MLB).

In 2001, Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds
Barry Lamar Bonds is an American former Major League Baseball outfielder. Bonds played from 1986 to 2007, for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. He is the son of former major league All-Star Bobby Bonds...

 established the current record of 73 home runs in a single season. There had long been suspicions that the dramatic increase in power hitting was fueled in large part by the abuse of illegal steroids (as well as by the dilution of pitching talent due to expansion), but the issue only began attracting significant media attention in 2002 and there was no penalty for the use of performance-enhancing drugs before 2004. In 2007, Bonds became MLB's all-time home run leader, surpassing Hank Aaron, as total major league and minor league attendance both reached all-time highs. Even though McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds—as well as many other players, including storied pitcher Roger Clemens
Roger Clemens
William Roger Clemens , nicknamed "Rocket", is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who broke into the league with the Boston Red Sox, whose pitching staff he would help anchor for 12 years. Clemens won seven Cy Young Awards, more than any other pitcher. He played for four different teams over...

—have been implicated in the steroid abuse scandal, their feats and those of other sluggers had become the major leagues' defining attraction. In contrast to the professional game's resurgence in popularity after the 1994 interruption, Little League enrollment was in decline: after peaking in 1996, it dropped 1 percent a year over the following decade. With more rigorous testing and penalties for performance-enhancing drug use a possible factor, the balance between bat and ball swung markedly in 2010, which became known as the "Year of the Pitcher". Runs per game fell to their lowest level in 18 years, and the strikeout rate was higher than it had been in half a century.

Baseball around the world

Baseball, widely known as America's pastime, is well-established in several other countries as well. The history of baseball in Canada has remained closely linked with that of the sport in the United States. As early as 1877, a professional league, the International Association, featured teams from both countries. While baseball is widely played in Canada and many minor league teams have been based in the country, the American major leagues did not include a Canadian club until 1969, when the Montreal Expos
Montreal Expos
The Montreal Expos were a Major League Baseball team located in Montreal, Quebec from 1969 through 2004, holding the first MLB franchise awarded outside the United States. After the 2004 season, MLB moved the Expos to Washington, D.C. and renamed them the Nationals.Named after the Expo 67 World's...

 joined the National League as an expansion team. In 1977, the expansion Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays are a professional baseball team located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Blue Jays are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball 's American League ....

 joined the American League. The Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992 and 1993, the first and still the only club from outside the United States to do so. After the 2004 season, Major League Baseball relocated the Expos to Washington, D.C., where the team is now known as the Nationals
Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals are a professional baseball team based in Washington, D.C. The Nationals are a member of the Eastern Division of the National League of Major League Baseball . The team moved into the newly built Nationals Park in 2008, after playing their first three seasons in RFK Stadium...

.

In 1847, American soldiers played what may have been the first baseball game in Mexico at Parque Los Berros
Parque Los Berros
Parque Los Berros, in Xalapa, Veracruz, is located a short distance to the southeast of the center of town, in the neighbourhood of the Stadium.Its name was derived from an edible herb called "berros" that used to grow in the area....

 in Xalapa
Xalapa
Xalapa-Enríquez, commonly Xalapa or Jalapa, is the capital city of the Mexican state of Veracruz and the name of the surrounding municipality. In the year 2005 census the city reported a population of 387,879 and the municipality of which it serves as municipal seat reported a population of...

, Veracruz
Veracruz
Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave , is one of the 31 states that, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is...

. A few days after the Battle of Cerro Gordo
Battle of Cerro Gordo
The Battle of Cerro Gordo, or Battle of Sierra Gordo, in the Mexican-American War saw Winfield Scott's United States troops flank and drive Santa Anna's larger Mexican army from a strong defensive position.-Battle:...

, they used the "wooden leg captured (by the Fourth Illinois regiment) from General Santa Anna
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón , often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, known as "the Napoleon of the West," was a Mexican political leader, general, and president who greatly influenced early Mexican and Spanish politics and government...

". The first formal baseball league outside of the United States and Canada was founded in 1878 in Cuba, which maintains a rich baseball tradition and whose national team has been one of the world's strongest since international play began in the late 1930s (all organized baseball in the country has officially been amateur since the Cuban Revolution
Cuban Revolution
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement against the regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista between 1953 and 1959. Batista was finally ousted on 1 January 1959, and was replaced by a revolutionary government led by Castro...

). The Dominican Republic held its first islandwide championship tournament in 1912. Professional baseball tournaments and leagues began to form in other countries between the world wars, including the Netherlands (formed in 1922), Australia (1934), Japan (1936), Mexico (1937), and Puerto Rico (1938). The Japanese major leagues—the Central League
Central League
The or is one the two professional baseball leagues that constitute Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. The winner of the league championship plays against the winner of the Pacific League in the annual Japan Series. It currently consists of six teams from around the country,The Central League...

 and Pacific League
Pacific League
The or is one of the two professional baseball leagues constituting Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. The winner of the league championship competes against the winner in the Central League for the annual Japan Series...

—have long been considered the highest quality professional circuits outside of the United States. Japan has a professional minor league system as well, though it is much smaller than the American version—each team has only one farm club in contrast to MLB teams' four or five.

After World War II, professional leagues were founded in many Latin American nations, most prominently Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

 (1946) and the Dominican Republic (1955). Since the early 1970s, the annual Caribbean Series has matched the championship clubs from the four leading Latin American winter leagues: the Dominican Winter League, Mexican Pacific League
Liga Mexicana del Pacífico
The Mexican Pacific League is a winter minor baseball league in Mexico. The eight-team league's regular season runs from October to December and is followed by a playoff series in January to determine the league champion...

, Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League
Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League
The Puerto Rico Baseball League formerly known as Liga de Béisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico or LBPPR, is the main professional baseball league in Puerto Rico. In 2007, the LBPPR recessed for the first time since its creation...

, and Venezuelan Professional Baseball League
Venezuelan Professional Baseball League
The Venezuelan Professional Baseball League or Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional is the highest level baseball league in Venezuela.-Brief history:Baseball exploded in Venezuela in 1941, following the world championship in Havana....

. In Asia, South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 (1982), Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 (1990), and China (2003) all have professional leagues.

Many European countries have professional leagues as well, the most successful, other than the Dutch league
Honkbal Hoofdklasse
The Honkbal Hoofdklasse is the highest level of professional baseball in the Netherlands. It is an eight-team league that plays a 42-game schedule and is overseen by the Royal Netherlands Baseball and Softball Federation . Games are played principally on weekends...

, being the Italian league
Serie A1 (baseball)
The Italian Baseball League is a professional baseball league that is governed by FIBS , which has its headquarters in Rome...

 founded in 1948. Compared to those in Asia and Latin America, the various European leagues and the one in Australia historically have had no more than niche appeal. In 2004, Australia won a surprise silver medal at the Olympic Games. The Israel Baseball League
Israel baseball league
The Israel Baseball League was a six-team professional baseball league in Israel. The first game was played on June 24, 2007...

, launched in 2007, folded after one season. The Confédération Européene de Baseball (European Baseball Confederation), founded in 1953, organizes a number of competitions between clubs from different countries, as well as national squads. Other competitions between national teams, such as the Baseball World Cup and the Olympic baseball tournament
Baseball at the Summer Olympics
Baseball at the Summer Olympics had its unofficial debut at the 1904 Summer Games and its official sport at the 1992 Summer Olympics. Baseball has a long history as an exhibition/demonstration sport in the Olympics. However, for 1992 Barcelona the International Olympic Committee granted the sport...

, have been administered by the International Baseball Federation
International Baseball Federation
The International Baseball Federation is the worldwide governing body recognized by the International Olympic Committee as overseeing, deciding and executing the policy of the bat-and-ball sport of baseball at the international level...

 (IBAF) since its formation in 1938. , the IBAF has 117 member countries. Women's baseball
Women's baseball
Women's baseball is currently played in several countries. The strongest and most organized women's baseball leagues are in the United States, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Cuba, Hong Kong, and Canada. Those countries have national governing bodies that support girls' and women's baseball programs...

 is played on an organized amateur basis in many of the countries where it is a leading men's sport. Since 2004, the IBAF has sanctioned the Women's Baseball World Cup
Women's Baseball World Cup
The Women's Baseball World Cup is an international tournament in which national women's baseball teams from around the world compete. It is sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation...

, featuring national teams.

After being admitted to the Olympics as a medal sport beginning with the 1992 Games
1992 Summer Olympics
The 1992 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event celebrated in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, in 1992. The International Olympic Committee voted in 1986 to separate the Summer and Winter Games, which had been held in the same...

, baseball was dropped from the 2012 Summer Olympic Games at the 2005 International Olympic Committee
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

 meeting
117th IOC Session
The 117th International Olympic Committee Session was held for the first time in Singapore from 2 July to 9 July 2005. The meeting was particularly significant as two important decisions were made through voting during the session - namely the selection of the hosting city for the 2012 Summer...

. It remained part of the 2008 Games. The elimination of baseball, along with softball, from the 2012 Olympic program enabled the IOC to consider adding two different sports, but none received the votes required for inclusion. While the sport's lack of a following in much of the world was a factor, more important was Major League Baseball's reluctance to have a break during the Games to allow its players to participate, as the National Hockey League
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a major professional ice hockey league of 30 franchised member clubs, of which 7 are currently located in Canada and 23 in the United States...

 now does during the Winter Olympic Games
Winter Olympic Games
The Winter Olympic Games is a sporting event, which occurs every four years. The first celebration of the Winter Olympics was held in Chamonix, France, in 1924. The original sports were alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping and speed skating...

. Such a break is more difficult for MLB to accommodate because it would force the playoffs deeper into cold weather. Seeking reinstatement for the 2016 Summer Olympics
2016 Summer Olympics
The 2016 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, are a major international multi-sport event to be celebrated in the tradition of the Olympic Games, as governed by the International Olympic Committee...

, the IBAF proposed an abbreviated competition designed to facilitate the participation of top players, but the effort failed. Major League Baseball initiated the World Baseball Classic
World Baseball Classic
The World Baseball Classic is an international baseball tournament sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation and created by Major League Baseball , the Major League Baseball Players Association , and other professional baseball leagues and their players associations around the world...

, scheduled to precede the major league season, partly as a replacement, high-profile international tournament. The inaugural Classic
2006 World Baseball Classic
---------Pool B:-------------Pool C:-------------Pool D:-------------Pool 1:-----------------Pool 2:-------------Finals:-Semifinals:-Final:-Final standings:...

, held in March 2006, was the first tournament involving national teams to feature a significant number of MLB participants.

Rules and gameplay

A game is played between two teams, each composed of nine players, that take turns playing offense (batting
Batting (baseball)
In baseball, batting is the act of facing the opposing pitcher and trying to produce offense for one's team. A batter or hitter is a person whose turn it is to face the pitcher...

 or hitting) and defense (fielding or pitching). A pair of turns, one at bat and one in the field, by each team constitutes an inning. A game consists of nine innings. One team—customarily the visiting team—bats in the top, or first half, of every inning. The other team—customarily the home team—bats in the bottom, or second half, of every inning. The goal of the game is to score more points (runs
Run (baseball)
In baseball, a run is scored when a player advances around first, second and third base and returns safely to home plate, touching the bases in that order, before three outs are recorded and all obligations to reach base safely on batted balls are met or assured...

) than the other team. The players on the team at bat attempt to score runs by circling or completing a tour of the four bases set at the corners of the square-shaped baseball diamond
Baseball field
A baseball field, also called a ball field or a baseball diamond, is the field upon which the game of baseball is played. The terms "baseball field" and "ball field" are also often used as synonyms for ballpark.-Specifications:...

. A player bats at home plate
Home Plate
Home Plate is the fifth album by Bonnie Raitt, released in 1975 .-Track listing:#"What Do You Want the Boy to Do?" – 3:19#"Good Enough" – 2:56#"Run Like a Thief" – 3:02...

 and must proceed counterclockwise to first base, second base, third base, and back home in order to score a run. The team in the field attempts both to prevent runs from scoring and to record outs
Out (baseball)
In baseball, an out occurs when the defensive, or fielding, team effects any of a number of different events, and the umpire rules a batter or baserunner out. When a player is called out, he is said to be retired...

, which remove opposing players from offensive action until their turn in their team's batting order
Batting order (baseball)
The batting order, or batting lineup, in baseball is the sequence in which the nine members of the offense take their turns in batting against the pitcher. The batting order is the main component of a team's offensive strategy. The batting order is set by the manager before the game begins...

 comes up again. When three outs are recorded, the teams switch roles for the next half-inning. If the score of the game is tied after nine innings, extra innings
Extra innings
Extra innings is the extension of a baseball or softball game in order to break a tie.Ordinarily, a baseball game consists of nine innings , each of which is divided into halves: the visiting team bats first, after which the home team takes its turn at bat...

 are played to resolve the contest. Children's games are often scheduled for fewer than nine innings.
The game is played on a field whose primary boundaries, the foul lines, extend forward from home plate at 45-degree angles. The 90-degree area within the foul lines is referred to as fair territory; the 270-degree area outside them is foul territory. The part of the field enclosed by the bases and several yards beyond them is the infield
Infield
Infield is a widely used term in sports terminology, its meaning depends on the sport in which it is used.- In baseball :In baseball the baseball diamond plus a region beyond it , has both grass and dirt, in contrast to the more distant, usually grass-covered outfield...

; the area farther beyond the infield is the outfield
Outfield
The outfield is a sporting term used in cricket and baseball to refer to the area of the field of play further from the batsman or batter than the infield...

. In the middle of the infield is a raised pitcher's mound, with a rectangular rubber plate (the rubber) at its center. The outer boundary of the outfield is typically demarcated by a raised fence, which may be of any material and height (many amateur games are played on unfenced fields). Fair territory between home plate and the outfield boundary is baseball's field of play, though significant events can take place in foul territory, as well.

There are three basic tools of baseball: the ball, the bat
Baseball bat
A baseball bat is a smooth wooden or metal club used in the game of baseball to hit the ball after the ball is thrown by the pitcher. It is no more than 2.75 inches in diameter at the thickest part and no more than 42 inches in length. It typically weighs no more than 33 ounces , but it...

, and the glove or mitt
Baseball glove
A baseball glove or mitt is a large leather glove that baseball players on the defending team are allowed to wear to assist them in catching and fielding balls hit by a batter, or thrown by a teammate.-History:...

:
  • The baseball is about the size of an adult's fist, around 9 inches (23 centimeters) in circumference. It has a rubber or cork center, wound in yarn and covered in white cowhide, with red stitching.
  • The bat is a hitting tool, traditionally made of a single, solid piece of wood. Other materials are now commonly used for nonprofessional games. It is a hard round stick, about 2.5 inches (6.4 centimeters) in diameter at the hitting end, tapering to a narrower handle and culminating in a knob. Bats used by adults are typically around 34 inches (86 centimeters) long, and not longer than 42 inches (106 centimeters).
  • The glove or mitt is a fielding tool, made of padded leather with webbing between the fingers. As an aid in catching and holding onto the ball, it takes various shapes to meet the specific needs of different fielding positions.

Protective helmets are also standard equipment for all batters.

At the beginning of each half-inning, the nine players on the fielding team arrange themselves around the field. One of them, the pitcher
Pitcher
In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throwsthe baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the...

, stands on the pitcher's mound. The pitcher begins the pitching delivery with one foot on the rubber, pushing off it to gain velocity when throwing toward home plate. Another player, the catcher
Catcher
Catcher is a position for a baseball or softball player. When a batter takes his turn to hit, the catcher crouches behind home plate, in front of the umpire, and receives the ball from the pitcher. This is a catcher's primary duty, but he is also called upon to master many other skills in order to...

, squats on the far side of home plate, facing the pitcher. The rest of the team faces home plate, typically arranged as four infielders—who set up along or within a few yards outside the imaginary lines between first, second, and third base—and three outfielders. In the standard arrangement
Baseball positions
There are 9 fielding positions in baseball. Each position conventionally has an associated number which is used to score putouts...

, there is a first baseman
First baseman
First base, or 1B, is the first of four stations on a baseball diamond which must be touched in succession by a baserunner in order to score a run for that player's team...

 positioned several steps to the left of first base, a second baseman
Second baseman
Second base, or 2B, is the second of four stations on a baseball diamond which must be touched in succession by a base runner in order to score a run for that player's team. A second baseman is the baseball player guarding second base...

 to the right of second base, a shortstop
Shortstop
Shortstop, abbreviated SS, is the baseball fielding position between second and third base. Shortstop is often regarded as the most dynamic defensive position in baseball, because there are more right-handed hitters in baseball than left-handed hitters, and most hitters have a tendency to pull the...

 to the left of second base, and a third baseman
Third baseman
A third baseman, abbreviated 3B, is the player in baseball whose responsibility is to defend the area nearest to third base — the third of four bases a baserunner must touch in succession to score a run...

 to the right of third base. The basic outfield positions are left fielder
Left fielder
In baseball, a left fielder is an outfielder who plays defense in left field. Left field is the area of the outfield to the left of a person standing at home plate and facing towards the pitcher's mound...

, center fielder
Center fielder
A center fielder, abbreviated CF, is the outfielder in baseball who plays defense in center field – the baseball fielding position between left field and right field...

, and right fielder
Right fielder
A right fielder, abbreviated RF, is the outfielder in baseball or softball who plays defense in right field. Right field is the area of the outfield to the right of a person standing at home plate and facing towards the pitcher's mound...

. A neutral umpire
Umpire (baseball)
In baseball, the umpire is the person charged with officiating the game, including beginning and ending the game, enforcing the rules of the game and the grounds, making judgment calls on plays, and handling the disciplinary actions. The term is often shortened to the colloquial form ump...

 sets up behind the catcher.

Play starts with a batter standing at home plate, holding a bat. The batter waits for the pitcher to throw a pitch (the ball) toward home plate, and attempts to hit the ball with the bat. The catcher catches pitches that the batter does not hit—as a result of either electing not to swing or failing to connect—and returns them to the pitcher. A batter who hits the ball into the field of play must drop the bat and begin running toward first base, at which point the player is referred to as a runner (or, until the play is over, a batter-runner). A batter-runner who reaches first base without being put out
Putout
In baseball statistics, a putout is given to a defensive player who records an out by one of the following methods:* Tagging a runner with the ball when he is not touching a base...

 (see below) is said to be safe and is now on base. A batter-runner may choose to remain at first base or attempt to advance to second base or even beyond—however far the player believes can be reached safely. A player who reaches base despite proper play by the fielders has recorded a hit
Hit (baseball)
In baseball statistics, a hit , also called a base hit, is credited to a batter when the batter safely reaches first base after hitting the ball into fair territory, without the benefit of an error or a fielder's choice....

. A player who reaches first base safely on a hit is credited with a single
Single (baseball)
In baseball, a single is the most common type of base hit, accomplished through the act of a batter safely reaching first base by hitting a fair ball and getting to first base before a fielder puts him out...

. If a player makes it to second base safely as a direct result of a hit, it is a double
Double (baseball)
In baseball, a double is the act of a batter striking the pitched ball and safely reaching second base without being called out by the umpire, without the benefit of a fielder's misplay or another runner being put out on a fielder's choice....

; third base, a triple
Triple (baseball)
In baseball, a triple is the act of a batter safely reaching third base after hitting the ball, with neither the benefit of a fielder's misplay nor another runner being put out on a fielder's choice....

. If the ball is hit in the air within the foul lines over the entire outfield (and outfield fence, if there is one), it is a home run
Home run
In baseball, a home run is scored when the ball is hit in such a way that the batter is able to reach home safely in one play without any errors being committed by the defensive team in the process...

: the batter and any runners on base may all freely circle the bases, each scoring a run. This is the most desirable result for the batter. A player who reaches base due to a fielding mistake is not credited with a hit—instead, the responsible fielder is charged with an error
Error (baseball)
In baseball statistics, an error is the act, in the judgment of the official scorer, of a fielder misplaying a ball in a manner that allows a batter or baserunner to reach one or more additional bases, when such an advance would have been prevented given ordinary effort by the fielder.The term ...

.

Any runners already on base may attempt to advance on batted balls that land, or contact the ground, in fair territory, before or after the ball lands. A runner on first base must attempt to advance if a ball lands in play. If a ball hit into play rolls foul before passing through the infield, it becomes dead and any runners must return to the base they were at when the play began. If the ball is hit in the air and caught before it lands, the batter has flied out and any runners on base may attempt to advance only if they tag up
Tag up
In baseball, to tag up is to retouch or remain on the runner's time-of-pitch base until the ball either lands in fair territory or is first touched by a fielder. A runner must, by rule, tag up only when a batted ball is caught by a fielder . After a legal tag up, even if the ball was caught in...

 or touch the base they were at when the play began, as or after the ball is caught. Runners may also attempt to advance to the next base while the pitcher is in the process of delivering the ball to home plate—a successful effort is a stolen base
Stolen base
In baseball, a stolen base occurs when a baserunner successfully advances to the next base while the pitcher is delivering the ball to home plate...

.

A pitch that is not hit into the field of play is called either a strike or a ball. A batter against whom three strikes are recorded strikes out
Strikeout
In baseball or softball, a strikeout or strike-out occurs when a batter receives three strikes during his time at bat. A strikeout is a statistic recorded for both pitchers and batters....

. A batter against whom four balls are recorded is awarded a base on balls
Base on balls
A base on balls is credited to a batter and against a pitcher in baseball statistics when a batter receives four pitches that the umpire calls balls. It is better known as a walk. The base on balls is defined in Section 2.00 of baseball's Official Rules, and further detail is given in 6.08...

 or walk, a free advance to first base. (A batter may also freely advance to first base if any part of the batter's body or uniform is struck by a pitch before the batter either swings at it or it contacts the ground.) Crucial to determining balls and strikes is the umpire's judgment as to whether a pitch has passed through the strike zone
Strike zone
In baseball, the strike zone is a conceptual right pentagonal prism over home plate which defines the boundaries through which a pitch must pass in order to count as a strike when the batter does not swing.-Definition:...

, a conceptual area above home plate extending from the midpoint between the batter's shoulders and belt down to the hollow of the knee.

A strike is called when one of the following happens:
  • The batter lets a well-pitched ball (one within the strike zone) go through to the catcher.
  • The batter swings at any ball (even one outside the strike zone) and misses, or foul tip
    Foul tip
    In baseball, a foul tip is defined as "a batted ball that goes sharp directly from the bat to the catcher’s hands and is legally caught. It is not a foul tip unless caught and any foul tip that is caught is a strike, and the ball is in play."...

    s it directly into the catcher's hands.
  • The batter hits a foul ball
    Foul ball
    In baseball, a foul ball is a batted ball that:* Settles on foul territory between home and first base or between home and third base, or* Bounds past first or third base on or over foul territory, or...

    —one that either initially lands in foul territory or initially lands within the diamond but moves into foul territory before passing first or third base. If there are already two strikes on the batter, a foul ball is not counted as a third strike; thus, a foul ball cannot result in the immediate strikeout of the batter. (There is an exception to this exception: a two-strike foul bunt is recorded as a third strike.)

A ball is called when the pitcher throws a pitch that is outside the strike zone, provided the batter has not swung at it.

While the team at bat is trying to score runs, the team in the field is attempting to record outs. Among the various ways a member of the batting team may be put out, five are most common:
  • The strikeout
    Strikeout
    In baseball or softball, a strikeout or strike-out occurs when a batter receives three strikes during his time at bat. A strikeout is a statistic recorded for both pitchers and batters....

    : as described above, recorded against a batter who makes three strikes before putting the ball into play or being awarded a free advance to first base.
  • The flyout: as described above, recorded against a batter who hits a ball in the air that is caught by a fielder, whether in fair territory or foul territory, before it lands, whether or not the batter has run.
  • The ground out
    Force play
    In baseball, a force is a situation when a baserunner is compelled to vacate his time-of-pitch base—and thus try to advance to the next base—because the batter became a runner. A runner at first base is always forced to attempt to advance to second base when the batter becomes a runner...

    : recorded against a batter (in this case, batter-runner) who hits a ball that lands in fair territory which, before the batter-runner can reach first base, is retrieved by a fielder who touches first base while holding the ball or relays it to another fielder who touches first base while holding the ball.
  • The force out
    Force play
    In baseball, a force is a situation when a baserunner is compelled to vacate his time-of-pitch base—and thus try to advance to the next base—because the batter became a runner. A runner at first base is always forced to attempt to advance to second base when the batter becomes a runner...

    : recorded against a runner who is required to attempt to advance—either because the runner is on first base and a batted ball lands in fair territory, or because the runner immediately behind on the basepath is thus required to attempt to advance—but fails to reach the next base before a fielder touches the base while holding the ball. The ground out is technically a special case of the force out.
  • The tag out
    Tag out
    In baseball, a tag out, sometimes just called a tag, is a play in which a baserunner is out because he is touched by the fielder's hand or glove holding a live ball while the runner is in jeopardy...

    : recorded against a runner who is touched by a fielder with the ball or a glove holding the ball, while the runner is not touching a base.

It is possible to record two outs in the course of the same play—a double play
Double play
In baseball, a double play for a team or a fielder is the act of making two outs during the same continuous playing action. In baseball slang, making a double play is referred to as "turning two"....

. Even three—a triple play
Triple Play
A triple play is a baseball play in which three outs are made as a result of continuous action without any intervening errors between outs.Triple play may also refer to:...

—is possible, though this is very rare. Players put out or retired must leave the field, returning to their team's dugout
Dugout (baseball)
In baseball, the dugout is a team's bench area and is located in foul territory between home plate and either first or third base. There are two dugouts, one for the home team and one for the visiting team. In general, the dugout is occupied by all players not prescribed to be on the field at that...

 or bench. A runner may be stranded on base when a third out is recorded against another player on the team. Stranded runners do not benefit the team in its next turn at bat—every half-inning begins with the bases empty of runners.

An individual player's turn batting or plate appearance
Plate appearance
In baseball statistics, a player is credited with a plate appearance each time he completes a turn batting. A player completes a turn batting when: He strikes out or is declared out before reaching first base; or He reaches first base safely or is awarded first base ; or He hits a fair ball which...

 is complete when the player reaches base, hits a home run, makes an out, or hits a ball that results in the team's third out, even if it is recorded against a teammate. On rare occasions, a batter may be at the plate when, without the batter's hitting the ball, a third out is recorded against a teammate—for instance, a runner getting caught stealing
Caught stealing
In baseball, a runner is charged, and the fielders involved are credited, with a time caught stealing when the runner attempts to advance or lead off from one base to another without the ball being batted and then is tagged out by a fielder while making the attempt...

 (tagged out attempting to steal a base). A batter with this sort of incomplete plate appearance starts off the team's next turn batting; any balls or strikes recorded against the batter the previous inning are erased. A runner may circle the bases only once per plate appearance and thus can score at most a single run per batting turn. Once a player has completed a plate appearance, that player may not bat again until the eight other members of the player's team have all taken their turn at bat. The batting order is set before the game begins, and may not be altered except for substitutions. Once a player has been removed for a substitute, that player may not reenter the game. Children's games often have more liberal substitution rules.

If the designated hitter
Designated hitter
In baseball, the designated hitter rule is the common name for Major League Baseball Rule 6.10, an official position adopted by the American League in 1973 that allows teams to designate a player, known as the designated hitter , to bat in place of the pitcher each time he would otherwise come to...

 (DH) rule is in effect, each team has a tenth player whose sole responsibility is to bat (and run). The DH takes the place of another player—almost invariably the pitcher—in the batting order, but does not field. Thus, even with the DH, each team still has a batting order of nine players and a fielding arrangement of nine players.

Player rosters

Roster, or squad, sizes differ between different leagues and different levels of organized play. Major League Baseball teams maintain twenty-five-player active rosters. A typical twenty-five-man roster in a league without the DH rule, such as MLB's National League, features:
  • eight position player
    Position player
    In baseball, a position player is a player who on defense plays as an infielder, outfielder, or catcher. This is generally all players on a team except for the pitcher, who is considered separate from the position players; in the American League, there is also a designated hitter, who bats but...

    s—catcher, four infielders, three outfielders—who play on a regular basis
  • five starting pitcher
    Starting pitcher
    In baseball or softball, a starting pitcher is the pitcher who delivers the first pitch to the first batter of a game. A pitcher who enters the game after the first pitch of the game is a relief pitcher....

    s who constitute the team's pitching rotation or starting rotation
  • six relief pitcher
    Relief pitcher
    A relief pitcher or reliever is a baseball or softball pitcher who enters the game after the starting pitcher is removed due to injury, ineffectiveness, fatigue, ejection, or for other strategic reasons, such as being substituted by a pinch hitter...

    s, including one specialist closer
    Closer (baseball)
    In baseball, a closing pitcher, more frequently referred to as a closer , is a relief pitcher who specializes in closing out games, i.e., getting the final outs in a close game. Closers often appear when the score is close, and the role is often assigned to a team's best reliever. A small number of...

    , who constitute the team's bullpen
    Bullpen
    In baseball, the bullpen is the area where relief pitchers warm-up before entering a game. Depending on the ballpark, it may be situated in foul territory along the baselines or just beyond the outfield fence. Also, a team's roster of relief pitchers is metonymically referred to as "the bullpen"...

     (named for the off-field area where pitchers warm up)
  • one backup, or substitute, catcher
  • two backup infielders
  • two backup outfielders
  • one specialist pinch hitter
    Pinch hitter
    In baseball, a pinch hitter is a substitute batter. Batters can be substituted at any time while the ball is dead ; the manager may use any player that has not yet entered the game as a substitute...

    , or a second backup catcher, or a seventh reliever

Other personnel

The manager
Manager (baseball)
In baseball, the field manager is an individual who is responsible for matters of team strategy on the field and team leadership. Managers are typically assisted by between one and six assistant coaches, whose responsibilities are specialized...

, or head coach of a team, oversees the team's major strategic decisions, such as establishing the starting rotation, setting the lineup, or batting order, before each game, and making substitutions during games—in particular, bringing in relief pitchers. Managers are typically assisted by two or more coaches
Coach (baseball)
In baseball, a number of coaches assist in the smooth functioning of a team. They are assistants to the manager, or head coach, who determines the lineup and decides how to substitute players during the game...

; they may have specialized responsibilities, such as working with players on hitting, fielding, pitching, or strength and conditioning. At most levels of organized play, two coaches are stationed on the field when the team is at bat: the first base coach and third base coach, occupying designated coaches' boxes just outside the foul lines, assist in the direction of baserunners when the ball is in play, and relay tactical signals from the manager to batters and runners during pauses in play. In contrast to many other team sports, baseball managers and coaches generally wear their team's uniforms; coaches must be in uniform in order to be allowed on the playing field during a game.

Any baseball game involves one or more umpires
Umpire (baseball)
In baseball, the umpire is the person charged with officiating the game, including beginning and ending the game, enforcing the rules of the game and the grounds, making judgment calls on plays, and handling the disciplinary actions. The term is often shortened to the colloquial form ump...

, who make rulings on the outcome of each play. At a minimum, one umpire will stand behind the catcher, to have a good view of the strike zone, and call balls and strikes. Additional umpires may be stationed near the other bases, thus making it easier to judge plays such as attempted force outs and tag outs. In Major League Baseball, four umpires are used for each game, one near each base. In the playoffs, six umpires are used: one at each base and two in the outfield along the foul lines.

Strategy and tactics

Many of the pre-game and in-game strategic decisions in baseball revolve around a fundamental fact: in general, right-handed batters tend to be more successful against left-handed pitchers and, to an even greater degree, left-handed batters tend to be more successful against right-handed pitchers. A manager with several left-handed batters in the regular lineup who knows the team will be facing a left-handed starting pitcher may respond by starting one or more of the right-handed backups on the team's roster. During the late innings of a game, as relief pitchers and pinch hitters are brought in, the opposing managers will often go back and forth trying to create favorable matchups with their substitutions: the manager of the fielding team trying to arrange same-handed pitcher-batter matchups, the manager of the batting team trying to arrange opposite-handed matchups. With a team that has the lead in the late innings, a manager may remove a starting position player—especially one whose turn at bat is not likely to come up again—for a more skillful fielder.

Pitching and fielding tactics

The tactical decision that precedes almost every play in a baseball game involves pitch selection. Among the wide variety of pitches that may be thrown, the four basic types are the fastball
Fastball
The fastball is the most common type of pitch in baseball. Some "power pitchers," such as Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens, have thrown it at speeds of 95–106 mph and up to 108.1 mph , relying purely on speed to prevent the ball from being hit...

, the changeup
Changeup
A changeup is a type of pitch in baseball. Other names include change-of-pace, Bugs Bunny change-up, the dreaded equalizer, and simply change. The changeup is sometimes called an off-speed pitch, although that term can also be used simply to mean any pitch that is slower than a fastball...

 (or off-speed pitch), and two breaking ball
Breaking ball
In baseball, a breaking ball is a pitch that does not travel straight like a fastball as it approaches the batter. A pitcher who uses primarily breaking ball pitches is often referred to as a junkballer. A breaking ball will have some sideways or downward motion on it...

s—the curveball
Curveball
The curveball is a type of pitch in baseball thrown with a characteristic grip and hand movement that imparts forward spin to the ball causing it to dive in a downward path as it approaches the plate. Its close relatives are the slider and the slurve. The "curve" of the ball varies from pitcher to...

 and the slider
Slider
In baseball, a slider is a pitch that breaks laterally and down, with a speed between that of a curveball and that of a fastball....

. Pitchers have different repertoires of pitches they are skillful at throwing. Conventionally, before each pitch, the catcher signals the pitcher what type of pitch to throw, as well as its general vertical and/or horizontal location. If there is disagreement on the selection, the pitcher may shake off the sign and the catcher will call for a different pitch. With a runner on base and taking a lead, the pitcher may attempt a pickoff
Pickoff
In baseball, a pickoff is an act by a pitcher or a catcher, throwing a live ball to a fielder so that the fielder can tag out a baserunner who is either leading off or about to begin stealing the next base....

, a quick throw to a fielder covering the base
Covering a base
In baseball, part of the infielders' job is to cover bases. That is, they stand next to a base in anticipation of receiving the ball thrown from another fielder, so that they may make a play on an opposing baserunner who is approaching that base...

 to keep the runner's lead in check or, optimally, effect a tag out. If an attempted stolen base is anticipated, the catcher may call for a pitchout
Pitchout
In baseball, a pitchout is a ball that is intentionally thrown high and outside of the strike zone with the purpose of preventing a stolen base or thwarting a hit and run. The pitcher delivers the ball in such a manner for it to be unhittable and in a position where the catcher can quickly leap to...

, a ball thrown deliberately off the plate, allowing the catcher to catch it while standing and throw quickly to a base. Facing a batter with a strong tendency to hit to one side of the field, the fielding team may employ a shift, with most or all of the fielders moving to the left or right of their usual positions. With a runner on third base, the infielders may play in, moving closer to home plate to improve the odds of throwing out the runner on a ground ball, though a sharply hit grounder is more likely to carry through a drawn-in infield.

Batting and baserunning tactics

Several basic offensive tactics come into play with a runner on first base, including the fundamental choice of whether to attempt a steal of second base. The hit and run
Hit and run (baseball)
A hit and run is a high risk/high reward offensive strategy used in baseball.When the offense has a baserunner on first base , the runner on first breaks for second as the pitch is thrown...

 is sometimes employed with a skillful contact hitter
Contact hitter
In baseball, the term contact hitter is used to describe a hitter who does not strike out often. Thus, they are usually able to use their bats to make contact with the ball and put it in play...

: the runner takes off with the pitch drawing the shortstop or second baseman over to second base, creating a gap in the infield for the batter to poke the ball through. The sacrifice bunt calls for the batter to focus on making contact with the ball so that it rolls a short distance into the infield, allowing the runner to advance into scoring position
Scoring position
In the sport of baseball, a baserunner is said to be in scoring position when he is on second or third base. The distinction between being on first base and second or third base is that a runner on first can usually only score if the batter hits an extra base hit, while a runner on second or third...

 even at the expense of the batter being thrown out at first—a batter who succeeds is credited with a sacrifice. (A batter, particularly one who is a fast runner, may also attempt to bunt for a hit.) A sacrifice bunt employed with a runner on third base, aimed at bringing that runner home, is known as a squeeze play
Squeeze play (baseball)
In baseball, the squeeze play is a maneuver consisting of a sacrifice bunt with a runner on third base. The batter bunts the ball, expecting to be thrown out at first base, but providing the runner on third base an opportunity to score...

. With a runner on third and fewer than two outs, a batter may instead concentrate on hitting a fly ball that, even if it is caught, will be deep enough to allow the runner to tag up and score—a successful batter in this case gets credit for a sacrifice fly
Sacrifice fly
In baseball, a sacrifice fly is a batted ball that satisfies four criteria:* There are fewer than two outs when the ball is hit.* The ball is hit to the outfield....

. The manager will sometimes signal a batter who is ahead in the count (i.e., has more balls than strikes) to take, or not swing at, the next pitch.

Distinctive elements

Baseball has certain attributes that set it apart from the other popular team sports in the countries where it has a following, games such as American
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 and Canadian football
Canadian football
Canadian football is a form of gridiron football played exclusively in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play long and wide attempting to advance a pointed prolate spheroid ball into the opposing team's scoring area...

, basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

, ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

, and soccer. All of these sports use a clock; in all of them, play is less individual and more collective; and in none of them is the variation between playing fields nearly as substantial or important. The comparison between cricket and baseball
Comparison between cricket and baseball
Cricket and baseball are the best-known members of a family of related bat-and-ball games. While many of their rules, terminology, and strategies are similar, there are many differences—some subtle, some major—between the two games....

 demonstrates that many of baseball's distinctive elements are shared in various ways with its cousin sport.

No clock to kill

In clock-limited sports, games often end with a team that holds the lead killing the clock
Stalling (gaming)
Stonewalling is the strategy of obstructing the flow of play in a timed game in the hopes of maintaining the lead.Stonewalling cannot generally be pursued in games without a time limit, such as baseball or tennis, unless to try the endurance of one's opponents...

 rather than competing aggressively against the opposing team. In contrast, baseball has no clock; a team cannot win without getting the last batter out and rallies are not constrained by time. At almost any turn in any baseball game, the most advantageous strategy is some form of aggressive strategy. In contrast, again, the clock comes into play even in the case of multi-day Test
Test cricket
Test cricket is the longest form of the sport of cricket. Test matches are played between national representative teams with "Test status", as determined by the International Cricket Council , with four innings played between two teams of 11 players over a period of up to a maximum five days...

 and first-class cricket
First-class cricket
First-class cricket is a class of cricket that consists of matches of three or more days' scheduled duration, that are between two sides of eleven players and are officially adjudged first-class by virtue of the standard of the competing teams...

: the possibility of a draw often encourages a team that is batting last and well behind to bat defensively, giving up any faint chance at a win to avoid a loss. Baseball offers no such reward for conservative batting.

While nine innings has been the standard since the beginning of professional baseball, the duration of the average major league game has increased steadily through the years. At the turn of the twentieth century, games typically took an hour and a half to play. In the 1920s, they averaged just less than two hours, which eventually ballooned to 2:38 in 1960. By 1997, the average American League game lasted 2:57 (National League games were about 10 minutes shorter—pitchers at the plate making for quicker outs than designated hitters). In 2004, Major League Baseball declared that its goal was an average game of merely 2:45. The lengthening of games is attributed to longer breaks between half-innings for television commercials, increased offense, more pitching changes, and a slower pace of play with pitchers taking more time between each delivery, and batters stepping out of the box more frequently. Other leagues have experienced similar issues. In 2008, Nippon Professional Baseball took steps aimed at shortening games by 12 minutes from the preceding decade's average of 3:18.

Individual focus

For a team sport, baseball places individual players under unusual scrutiny and pressure. In 1915, a baseball instructional manual pointed out that every single pitch, of which there are often more than two hundred in a game, involves an individual, one-on-one contest: "the pitcher and the batter in a battle of wits". Contrasting the game with both football and basketball, scholar Michael Mandelbaum argues that "baseball is the one closest in evolutionary descent to the older individual sports". Pitcher, batter, and fielder all act essentially independent of each other. While coaching staffs can signal pitcher or batter to pursue certain tactics, the execution of the play itself is a series of solitary acts. If the batter hits a line drive, the outfielder is solely responsible for deciding to try to catch it or play it on the bounce and for succeeding or failing. The statistical precision of baseball is both facilitated by this isolation and reinforces it. As described by Mandelbaum,

It is impossible to isolate and objectively assess the contribution each [football] team member makes to the outcome of the play.... [E]very basketball player is interacting with all of his teammates all the time. In baseball, by contrast, every player is more or less on his own.... Baseball is therefore a realm of complete transparency and total responsibility. A baseball player lives in a glass house, and in a stark moral universe.... Everything that every player does is accounted for and everything accounted for is either good or bad, right or wrong.

Cricket is more similar to baseball than many other team sports in this regard: while the individual focus in cricket is mitigated by the importance of the batting partnership
Partnership (cricket)
In the sport of cricket, two batsmen always bat in partnership, although only one is on strike at any time. The partnership between two batsmen will come to an end when one of them is dismissed or retires, or the innings comes to a close In the sport of cricket, two batsmen always bat in...

 and the practicalities of tandem running, it is enhanced by the fact that a batsman may occupy the wicket
Wicket
In the sport of cricket the word wicket has several distinct meanings:-Definitions of wicket:Most of the time, the wicket is one of the two sets of three stumps and two bails at either end of the pitch...

 for an hour or much more. There is no statistical equivalent in cricket for the fielding error and thus less emphasis on personal responsibility in this area of play.

Uniqueness of each baseball park

Unlike those of most sports, baseball playing fields can vary significantly in size and shape. While the dimensions of the infield are specifically regulated, the only constraint on outfield size and shape for professional teams following the rules of Major League and Minor League Baseball is that fields built or remodeled since June 1, 1958, must have a minimum distance of 325 feet (99 m) from home plate to the fences in left and right field and 400 feet (122 m) to center. Major league teams often skirt even this rule. For example, at Minute Maid Park
Minute Maid Park
Minute Maid Park is a ballpark in Downtown Houston, Texas, United States that opened in 2000 to house the Major League Baseball Houston Astros....

, which became the home of the Houston Astros
Houston Astros
The Houston Astros are a Major League Baseball team located in Houston, Texas. They are a member of the National League Central division. The Astros are expected to join the American League West division in 2013. Since , they have played their home games at Minute Maid Park, known as Enron Field...

 in 2000, the Crawford Boxes
Crawford Boxes
The Crawford Boxes are a special section of seating in Minute Maid Park, the home of the Houston Astros. The boxes are named for their being parallel to Crawford Street in Downtown Houston...

 in left field are only 315 feet (96 m) from home plate. There are no rules at all that address the height of fences or other structures at the edge of the outfield. The most famously idiosyncratic outfield boundary is the left-field wall at Boston's Fenway Park
Fenway Park
Fenway Park is a baseball park near Kenmore Square in Boston, Massachusetts. Located at 4 Yawkey Way, it has served as the home ballpark of the Boston Red Sox baseball club since it opened in 1912, and is the oldest Major League Baseball stadium currently in use. It is one of two "classic"...

, in use since 1912: the Green Monster
Green Monster
The Green Monster is a popular nickname for the thirty-seven foot , two-inch high left field wall at Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox baseball team...

 is 310 feet (94 m) from home plate down the line and 37 feet (11 m) tall.

Similarly, there are no regulations at all concerning the dimensions of foul territory. Thus a foul fly ball may be entirely out of play in a park with little space between the foul lines and the stands, but a flyout in a park with more expansive foul ground. A fence in foul territory that is close to the outfield line will tend to direct balls that strike it back toward the fielders, while one that is farther away may actually prompt more collisions, as outfielders run full speed to field balls deep in the corner. These variations can make the difference between a double and a triple or inside-the-park home run
Inside-the-park home run
In baseball parlance, an inside-the-park home run, "leg home run", or "quadruple", is a play where a batter hits a home run without hitting the ball out of play.-Discussion:...

. The surface of the field is also unregulated. While the image to the left shows a traditional field surfacing arrangement (and the one used by virtually all MLB teams with naturally surfaced fields), teams are free to decide what areas will be grassed or bare. Some fields—including several in MLB—use an artificial surface, such as AstroTurf
AstroTurf
AstroTurf is a brand of artificial turf. Although the term is a registered trademark, it is sometimes used as a generic description of any kind of artificial turf. The original AstroTurf product was a short pile synthetic turf while the current products incorporate modern features such as...

. Surface variations can have a significant effect on how ground balls behave and are fielded as well as on baserunning. Similarly, the presence of a roof (seven major league teams play in stadiums with permanent or retractable roofs) can greatly affect how fly balls are played. While football and soccer players deal with similar variations of field surface and stadium covering, the size and shape of their fields are much more standardized. The area out-of-bounds on a football or soccer field does not affect play the way foul territory in baseball does, so variations in that regard are largely insignificant.

These physical variations create a distinctive set of playing conditions at each ballpark. Other local factors, such as altitude and climate, can also significantly affect play. A given stadium may acquire a reputation as a pitcher's park or a hitter's park, if one or the other discipline notably benefits from its unique mix of elements. The most exceptional park in this regard is Coors Field
Coors Field
Coors Field, located in Denver, Colorado, is the home field of Major League Baseball's Colorado Rockies. It is named for the Coors Brewing Company of Golden, Colorado, which purchased the naming rights to the park prior to its completion in 1995...

, home of the Colorado Rockies
Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies are a Major League Baseball team based in Denver, Colorado. Established in 1991, they started play in 1993 and are in the West Division of the National League. The team is named after the Rocky Mountains...

. Its high altitude—5282 feet (1,610 m) above sea level—is responsible for giving it the strongest hitter's park effect in the major leagues. Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field is a baseball stadium in Chicago, Illinois, United States that has served as the home ballpark of the Chicago Cubs since 1916. It was built in 1914 as Weeghman Park for the Chicago Federal League baseball team, the Chicago Whales...

, home of the Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs are a professional baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's National League. They are one of two Major League clubs based in Chicago . The Cubs are also one of the two remaining charter members of the National...

, is known for its fickle disposition: a hitter's park when the strong winds off Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron...

 are blowing out, it becomes more of a pitcher's park when they are blowing in. The absence of a standardized field affects not only how particular games play out, but the nature of team rosters and players' statistical records. For example, hitting a fly ball 330 feet (100.6 m) into right field might result in an easy catch on the warning track
Warning track
A warning track is the term for the part of the baseball field that is closest to the wall or fence and is typically made of dirt, instead of grass or artificial turf like most of the field. It runs parallel to the ballpark's wall and looks like a running track...

 at one park, and a home run at another. A team that plays in a park with a relatively short right field, such as the New York Yankees, will tend to stock its roster with left-handed pull hitter
Pull hitter
In baseball, a pull hitter is a batter who usually hits the ball to the side of the field from which he bats. For example, a right-handed pull hitter, who bats from the third-base side of the plate, will usually hit the ball to the third-base side of the field, termed "left field" according to the...

s, who can best exploit it. On the individual level, a player who spends most of his career with a team that plays in a hitter's park will gain an advantage in batting statistics over time—even more so if his talents are especially suited to the park.

Statistics

Organized baseball lends itself to statistics
Statistics
Statistics is the study of the collection, organization, analysis, and interpretation of data. It deals with all aspects of this, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments....

 to a greater degree than many other sports. Each play is discrete and has a relatively small number of possible outcomes. In the late nineteenth century, a former cricket player, English-born Henry Chadwick of Brooklyn, New York, was responsible for the "development of the box score
Box score (baseball)
In baseball, the statistical summary of a game is reported in a box score. An abbreviated version of the box score, duplicated from the field scoreboard, is the line score...

, tabular standings, the annual baseball guide, the batting average
Batting average
Batting average is a statistic in both cricket and baseball that measures the performance of cricket batsmen and baseball hitters. The two statistics are related in that baseball averages are directly descended from the concept of cricket averages.- Cricket :...

, and most of the common statistics and tables used to describe baseball." The statistical record is so central to the game's "historical essence" that Chadwick came to be known as Father Baseball. In the 1920s, American newspapers began devoting more and more attention to baseball statistics, initiating what journalist and historian Alan Schwarz
Alan Schwarz
Alan Schwarz is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated reporter at the The New York Times best known for writing more than 100 articles that exposed the seriousness of concussions among football players of all ages...

 describes as a "tectonic shift in sports, as intrigue that once focused mostly on teams began to go to individual players and their statistics lines."

The Official Baseball Rules administered by Major League Baseball require the official scorer
Official scorer
In the game of baseball, the official scorer is a person appointed by the league to record the events on the field, and to send the official scoring record of the game back to the league offices...

 to categorize each baseball play unambiguously. The rules provide detailed criteria to promote consistency. The score report
Baseball scorekeeping
Baseball scorekeeping is the practice of recording the details of a baseball game as it unfolds. Professional baseball leagues hire official scorers to keep an official record of each game , but many fans keep score as well for their own enjoyment...

 is the official basis for both the box score of the game and the relevant statistical records. General managers, managers, and baseball scouts
Scout (sport)
In professional sports, scouts are trained talent evaluators who travel extensively for the purposes of watching athletes play their chosen sports and determining whether their set of skills and talents represent what is needed by the scout's organization...

 use statistics to evaluate players and make strategic decisions.

Certain traditional statistics are familiar to most baseball fans. The basic batting statistics include:
  • At bats: plate appearances, excluding walks and hit by pitches—where the batter's ability is not fully tested—and sacrifices and sacrifice flies—where the batter intentionally makes an out in order to advance one or more baserunners
  • Hits: times reached base because of a batted, fair ball without fielding error or fielder's choice
    Fielder's choice
    In baseball, fielder's choice is a term used to refer to a variety of plays involving an offensive player reaching a base due to the defense's attempt to put out another baserunner, or the defensive team's indifference to his advance...

  • Runs: times circling the bases and reaching home safely
  • Runs batted in
    Run batted in
    Runs batted in or RBIs is a statistic used in baseball and softball to credit a batter when the outcome of his at-bat results in a run being scored, except in certain situations such as when an error is made on the play. The first team to track RBI was the Buffalo Bisons.Common nicknames for an RBI...

     (RBIs): number of runners who scored due to a batter's action (including the batter, in the case of a home run), except when batter grounded into double play or reached on an error
  • Home runs: hits on which the batter successfully touched all four bases, without the contribution of a fielding error
  • Batting average: hits divided by at bats—the traditional measure of batting ability

The basic baserunning statistics include:
  • Stolen bases: times advancing to the next base entirely due to the runner's own efforts, generally while the pitcher is preparing to deliver or delivering the ball
  • Caught stealing: times tagged out while attempting to steal a base

The basic pitching statistics include:
  • Wins
    Win (baseball)
    In professional baseball, there are two types of decisions: a win and a loss . In each game, one pitcher on the winning team is awarded a win and one pitcher on the losing team is given a loss in their respective statistics. These pitchers are collectively known as the pitchers of record. Only...

    : credited to pitcher on winning team who last pitched before the team took a lead that it never relinquished (a starting pitcher must pitch at least five innings to qualify for a win)
  • Losses: charged to pitcher on losing team who was pitching when the opposing team took a lead that it never relinquished
  • Saves: games where the pitcher enters a game led by the pitcher's team, finishes the game without surrendering the lead, is not the winning pitcher, and either (a) the lead was three runs or less when the pitcher entered the game; (b) the potential tying run was on base, at bat, or on deck; or (c) the pitcher pitched three or more innings
  • Innings pitched
    Innings pitched
    In baseball, innings pitched are the number of innings a pitcher has completed, measured by the number of batters and baserunners that are put out while the pitcher on the pitching mound in a game. Three outs made is equal to one inning pitched. One out counts as one-third of an inning, and two...

    : outs recorded while pitching divided by three
  • Strikeouts: times pitching three strikes to a batter
  • Winning percentage
    Winning percentage
    In sports, a winning percentage is the fraction of games or matches a team or individual has won. It is defined as wins divided by wins plus losses . Ties count as a ½ loss and a ½ win...

    : wins divided by decisions (wins plus losses)
  • Earned run average
    Earned run average
    In baseball statistics, earned run average is the mean of earned runs given up by a pitcher per nine innings pitched. It is determined by dividing the number of earned runs allowed by the number of innings pitched and multiplying by nine...

     (ERA): runs allowed, excluding those resulting from fielding errors, per nine innings pitched

The basic fielding statistics include:
  • Putout
    Putout
    In baseball statistics, a putout is given to a defensive player who records an out by one of the following methods:* Tagging a runner with the ball when he is not touching a base...

    s: times the fielder catches a fly ball, tags or forces out a runner, or otherwise directly effects an out
  • Assists
    Assist (baseball)
    In baseball, an assist is a defensive statistic, baseball being one of the few sports in which the defensive team controls the ball. An assist is awarded to every defensive player who fields or touches the ball prior to the recording of a putout, even if the contact was unintentional...

    : times a putout by another fielder was recorded following the fielder touching the ball
  • Error
    Error (baseball)
    In baseball statistics, an error is the act, in the judgment of the official scorer, of a fielder misplaying a ball in a manner that allows a batter or baserunner to reach one or more additional bases, when such an advance would have been prevented given ordinary effort by the fielder.The term ...

    s: times the fielder fails to make a play that should have been made with common effort, and the batting team benefits as a result
  • Total chances
    Total chances
    In baseball statistics, total chances , also called chances offered, represents the number of plays in which a defensive player has participated. It is calculated as follows: Total Chances = assists + putouts + errors. Chances accepted refers to the total of putouts and assists only. Fielding...

    : putouts plus assists plus errors
  • Fielding average: successful chances (putouts plus assists) divided by total chances


Among the many other statistics that are kept are those collectively known as situational statistics. For example, statistics can indicate which specific pitchers a certain batter performs best against. If a given situation statistically favors a certain batter, the manager of the fielding team may be more likely to change pitchers or have the pitcher intentionally walk
Intentional base on balls
In baseball, an intentional base on balls, usually referred to as an intentional walk and denoted in baseball scorekeeping by IBB, is a walk issued to a batter by a pitcher with the intent of removing the batter's opportunity to swing at the pitched ball...

 the batter in order to face one who is less likely to succeed.

Sabermetrics

Sabermetrics
Sabermetrics
Sabermetrics is the specialized analysis of baseball through objective, empirical evidence, specifically baseball statistics that measure in-game activity. The term is derived from the acronym SABR, which stands for the Society for American Baseball Research...

refers to the field of baseball statistical study and the development of new statistics and analytical tools. The term is also used to refer directly to new statistics themselves. The term was coined around 1980 by one of the field's leading proponents, Bill James
Bill James
George William “Bill” James is a baseball writer, historian, and statistician whose work has been widely influential. Since 1977, James has written more than two dozen books devoted to baseball history and statistics...

, and derives from the Society for American Baseball Research
Society for American Baseball Research
The Society for American Baseball Research was established in Cooperstown, New York, in August 1971 by Bob Davids of Washington, D.C. The Society's mission is to foster the research and dissemination of the history and record of baseball, while generating interest in the game...

 (SABR).

The growing popularity of sabermetrics since the early 1980s has brought more attention to two batting statistics that sabermetricians argue are much better gauges of a batter's skill than batting average:
  • On-base percentage measures a batter's ability to get on base. It is calculated by taking the sum of the batter's successes in getting on base (hits plus walks plus hit by pitches) and dividing that by the batter's total plate appearances (at bats plus walks plus hit by pitches plus sacrifice flies), except for sacrifice bunts.
  • Slugging percentage measures a batter's ability to hit for power. It is calculated by taking the batter's total bases
    Total bases
    In baseball statistics, total bases refers to the number of bases a player has gained with hits, i.e., the sum of his hits weighted by 1 for a single, 2 for a double, 3 for a triple and 4 for a home run.Only bases attained from hits count toward this total....

     (one per each single, two per double, three per triple, and four per home run) and dividing that by the batter's at bats.


Some of the new statistics devised by sabermetricians have gained wide use:
  • On-base plus slugging
    On-base plus slugging
    On-base plus slugging is a sabermetric baseball statistic calculated as the sum of a player's on-base percentage and slugging percentage. The ability of a player to both get on base and to hit for power, two important hitting skills, are represented. An OPS of .900 or higher in Major League...

     (OPS) measures a batter's overall ability. It is calculated by adding the batter's on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
  • Walks plus hits per inning pitched
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched
    In baseball statistics, walks plus hits per inning pitched is a sabermetric measurement of the number of baserunners a pitcher has allowed per inning pitched. It is a measure of a pitcher's ability to prevent batters from reaching base...

     (WHIP) measures a pitcher's ability at preventing hitters from reaching base. It is calculated exactly as its name suggests.

Popularity and cultural impact

Writing in 1919, philosopher Morris Raphael Cohen
Morris Raphael Cohen
Morris Raphael Cohen was an American philosopher, lawyer and legal scholar who united pragmatism with logical positivism and linguistic analysis. He was father to Felix S. Cohen....

 described baseball as America's national religion. In the words of sports columnist Jayson Stark
Jayson Stark
Jayson Stark is an American sportswriter who mainly covers baseball. He attended Syracuse University, where he earned a degree in newspaper journalism.-Biography:...

, baseball has long been "a unique paragon of American culture"—a status he sees as devastated by the steroid abuse scandal. Baseball has an important place in other national cultures as well: Scholar Peter Bjarkman describes "how deeply the sport is ingrained in the history and culture of a nation such as Cuba, [and] how thoroughly it was radically reshaped and nativized in Japan." Since the early 1980s, the Dominican Republic, in particular the city of San Pedro de Macorís
San Pedro de Macorís
San Pedro de Macorís is a municipality and the capital of the San Pedro de Macorís province in the Dominican Republic.-Demographics:...

, has been the major leagues' primary source of foreign talent. Both the local winter league and major league ball are closely followed in Puerto Rico; major league Hall-of-Famer Roberto Clemente
Roberto Clemente
Roberto Clemente Walker was a Puerto Rican Major League Baseball right fielder. He was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, the youngest of seven children. Clemente played his entire 18-year baseball career with the Pittsburgh Pirates . He was awarded the National League's Most Valuable Player Award in...

 remains one of the greatest national heroes in the island's history. In the Western Hemisphere, baseball is also one of the leading sports in Canada, Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

, Mexico, the Netherlands Antilles
Netherlands Antilles
The Netherlands Antilles , also referred to informally as the Dutch Antilles, was an autonomous Caribbean country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, consisting of two groups of islands in the Lesser Antilles: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao , in Leeward Antilles just off the Venezuelan coast; and Sint...

, Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

, Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

, and Venezuela. In Asia, it is among the most popular sports in South Korea and Taiwan.

The major league game in the United States was originally targeted toward a middle-class, white-collar audience: relative to other spectator pastimes, the National League's set ticket price of 50 cents in 1876 was high, while the location of playing fields outside the inner city and the workweek daytime scheduling of games were also obstacles to a blue-collar audience. A century later, the situation was very different. With the rise in popularity of other team sports with much higher average ticket prices—football, basketball, and hockey—professional baseball had become among the most blue-collar-oriented of leading American spectator sports.

In the late 1900s and early 2000s, baseball's position compared to football in the United States moved in contradictory directions. In 2008, Major League Baseball set a revenue record of $6.5 billion, matching the NFL's revenue for the first time in decades. A new MLB revenue record of $6.6 billion was set in 2009. On the other hand, the percentage of American sports fans polled who named baseball as their favorite sport was 16%, compared to pro football at 31%. In 1985, the respective figures were pro football 24%, baseball 23%. Because there are so many more major league baseball games played, there is no comparison in overall attendance. In 2008, total attendance at major league games was the second-highest in history: 78.6 million, 0.7% off the record set the previous year. The following year, amid the U.S. recession, attendance fell by 6.6% to 73.4 million. Attendance at games held under the Minor League Baseball
Minor league baseball
Minor league baseball is a hierarchy of professional baseball leagues in the Americas that compete at levels below Major League Baseball and provide opportunities for player development. All of the minor leagues are operated as independent businesses...

 umbrella also set a record in 2007, with 42.8 million; this figure does not include attendance at games of the several independent minor leagues.

In Japan, where baseball is inarguably the leading spectator team sport, combined revenue for the twelve teams in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the body that oversees both the Central and Pacific leagues, was estimated at $1 billion in 2007. Total NPB attendance for the year was approximately 20 million. While in the preceding two decades, MLB attendance grew by 50 percent and revenue nearly tripled, the comparable NPB figures were stagnant. There are concerns that MLB's growing interest in acquiring star Japanese players will hurt the game in their home country. In Cuba, where baseball is by every reckoning the national sport, the national team overshadows the city and provincial teams that play in the top-level domestic leagues. Revenue figures are not released for the country's amateur system. Similarly, according to one official pronouncement, the sport's governing authority "has never taken into account attendance ... because its greatest interest has always been the development of athletes".

As of 2007, Little League Baseball oversees more than 7,000 children's baseball leagues with more than 2.2 million participants—2.1 million in the United States and 123,000 in other countries. Babe Ruth League teams have over 1 million participants. According to the president of the International Baseball Federation, between 300,000 and 500,000 women and girls play baseball around the world, including Little League and the introductory game of Tee Ball
Tee Ball
Tee Ball or T-Ball is a sport based on baseball and is intended as an introduction for children to develop baseball skills and have fun. The name Tee Ball is a registered trademark while T-Ball is the generic name, although many sources use Tee Ball as a generic title.- Description :In T-Ball, the...

.

A varsity baseball team is an established part of physical education
Physical education
Physical education or gymnastics is a course taken during primary and secondary education that encourages psychomotor learning in a play or movement exploration setting....

 departments at most high schools and colleges in the United States. In 2008, nearly half a million high schoolers and over 35,000 collegians played on their schools' baseball teams. The number of Americans participating in baseball has declined since the late 1980s, falling well behind the number of soccer participants. By early in the 20th century, intercollegiate baseball was Japan's leading sport. Today, high school baseball
High school baseball in Japan
In Japan, high school baseball generally refers to the two annual baseball tournaments played by high schools nationwide culminating at a final showdown at Hanshin Kōshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Japan...

 in particular is immensely popular there. The final rounds of the two annual tournaments—the National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament
National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament
The National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament of Japan, commonly known as "Spring Kōshien" or "Senbatsu" , is an annual high school baseball tournament....

 in the spring, and the even more important National High School Baseball Championship
National High School Baseball Championship
The National High School Baseball Championship of Japan, commonly known as "Summer Kōshien" , is an annual nationwide high school baseball tournament...

 in the summer—are broadcast around the country. The tournaments are known, respectively, as Spring Koshien and Summer Koshien after the 55,000-capacity stadium
Koshien Stadium
is a baseball park located near Kobe in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. The stadium was built to host the national high school baseball tournaments, and opened on April 1, 1924. It was the largest stadium in Asia at the time it was completed, with a capacity of 55,000.The name Kōshien comes...

 where they are played. In Cuba, baseball is a mandatory part of the state system of physical education, which begins at age six. Talented children as young as seven are sent to special district schools for more intensive training—the first step on a ladder whose acme is the national baseball team.

Baseball in popular culture

Baseball has had a broad impact on popular culture, both in the United States and elsewhere. Dozens of English-language idioms have been derived from baseball
English language idioms derived from baseball
American English has been enriched by expressions derived from the game of baseball. Sometimes referred to as "America's pastime," baseball has especially affected the language of other competitive activities such as politics and business....

; in particular, the game is the source of a number of widely used sexual euphemisms
Baseball metaphors for sex
In the culture of American adolescents, the game of baseball is often used as a euphemistic metaphor for the degree of sexual intimacy achieved in intimate encounters or relationships...

. The first networked radio broadcasts in North America were of the 1922 World Series
1922 World Series
In the 1922 World Series, the New York Giants beat the New York Yankees in five games...

: famed sportswriter Grantland Rice
Grantland Rice
Grantland Rice was an early 20th century American sportswriter known for his elegant prose. His writing was published in newspapers around the country and broadcast on the radio.-Biography:...

 announced play-by-play from New York City's Polo Grounds
Polo Grounds
The Polo Grounds was the name given to four different stadiums in Upper Manhattan, New York City, used by many professional teams in both baseball and American football from 1880 until 1963...

 on WJZ–Newark, New Jersey
Newark, New Jersey
Newark is the largest city in the American state of New Jersey, and the seat of Essex County. As of the 2010 United States Census, Newark had a population of 277,140, maintaining its status as the largest municipality in New Jersey. It is the 68th largest city in the U.S...

, which was connected by wire to WGY–Schenectady, New York
Schenectady, New York
Schenectady is a city in Schenectady County, New York, United States, of which it is the county seat. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 66,135...

, and WBZ
WBZ (AM)
WBZ is the call sign for an AM radio station in Boston, Massachusetts owned by CBS Radio, itself owned by the CBS Corporation. Originally based in and broadcast from Springfield, Massachusetts, WBZ was the first commercial radio station in the United States...

Springfield, Massachusetts
Springfield, Massachusetts
Springfield is the most populous city in Western New England, and the seat of Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. Springfield sits on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River near its confluence with three rivers; the western Westfield River, the eastern Chicopee River, and the eastern...

. The baseball cap
Baseball cap
A baseball cap is a type of soft cap with a rounded stiff brim. The front of the cap typically contains designs or logos of sports teams ,...

 has become a ubiquitous fashion item not only in the United States and Japan, but also in countries where the sport itself is not particularly popular, such as the United Kingdom.

Baseball has inspired many works of art and entertainment. One of the first major examples, Ernest Thayer
Ernest Thayer
Ernest Lawrence Thayer was an American writer and poet who wrote "Casey at the Bat".-Biography:Thayer was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts and raised in Worcester. He graduated magna cum laude in philosophy from Harvard in 1885, where he was editor of the Harvard Lampoon...

's poem "Casey at the Bat
Casey at the Bat
"Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888" is a baseball poem written in 1888 by Ernest Thayer. First published in The San Francisco Examiner on June 3, 1888, it was later popularized by DeWolf Hopper in many vaudeville performances.The poem was originally published...

", appeared in 1888. A wry description of the failure of a star player in what would now be called a "clutch situation", the poem became the source of vaudeville
Vaudeville
Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill...

 and other staged performances, audio recordings, film adaptations, and an opera, as well as a host of sequels and parodies in various media. There have been many baseball movies, including the Academy Award–winning The Pride of the Yankees
The Pride of the Yankees
The Pride of the Yankees is a 1942 American film directed by Sam Wood and starring Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, and Walter Brennan. The film is a tribute to the legendary New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig, who died only one year before the film's release, at age 37, from amyotrophic lateral...

(1942) and the Oscar nominees The Natural
The Natural (film)
The Natural is a 1984 film adaptation of Bernard Malamud's 1952 baseball novel of the same name, directed by Barry Levinson and starring Robert Redford, Glenn Close and Robert Duvall...

(1984) and Field of Dreams
Field of Dreams
Field of Dreams is a 1989 American fantasy-drama film directed by Phil Alden Robinson and is from the novel Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella...

(1989). The American Film Institute
American Film Institute
The American Film Institute is an independent non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act...

's selection of the ten best sports movies includes The Pride of the Yankees at number 3 and Bull Durham
Bull Durham
Bull Durham is a 1988 American romantic comedy baseball film. It is based upon the minor league experiences of writer/director Ron Shelton and depicts the players and fans of the Durham Bulls, a minor league baseball team in Durham, North Carolina....

(1988) at number 5. Baseball has provided thematic material for hits on both stage—the Adler
Richard Adler
Richard Adler is an American lyricist, composer and producer of several Broadway shows.-Biography:Born in New York City, Adler had a musical upbringing, his father being a concert pianist. After serving in the Navy he began his career as a lyricist, teaming up with Jerry Ross in 1950...

Ross
Jerry Ross (composer)
Jerry Ross was an American lyricist and composer whose works with Richard Adler for the musical theater include The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees, winners of Tony Awards in 1955 and 1956 respectively in both the "Best Musical" and "Best Composer and Lyricist" categories.-Biography:Ross was born...

 musical Damn Yankees
Damn Yankees
Damn Yankees is a musical comedy with a book by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop and music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. The story is a modern retelling of the Faust legend set during the 1950s in Washington, D.C., during a time when the New York Yankees dominated Major League...

—and record—George J. Gaskin
George J. Gaskin
-Career:Born in Belfast, Ireland, he became one of the most popular singers the United States in the 1890s and was nicknamed the "Silver Voiced Irish Tenor". His earliest known recordings were done for the Edison North American Phonograph Company on June 2, 1891...

's "Slide, Kelly, Slide", Simon and Garfunkel
Simon and Garfunkel
Simon & Garfunkel are an American duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. They formed the group Tom & Jerry in 1957 and had their first success with the minor hit "Hey, Schoolgirl". As Simon & Garfunkel, the duo rose to fame in 1965, largely on the strength of the...

's "Mrs. Robinson
Mrs. Robinson
"Mrs. Robinson" is a song written by Paul Simon and first performed by Simon & Garfunkel. When released as a single in 1968, it hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US, for their second chart-topping hit after "The Sound of Silence"...

", and John Fogerty
John Fogerty
John Cameron Fogerty is an American rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist, best known for his time with the swamp rock/roots rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival and as a #1 solo recording artist. Fogerty has a rare distinction of being named on Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest...

's Centerfield
Centerfield
Centerfield is an album by musician John Fogerty, released in 1985. It was his most popular post-Creedence album, containing the hit singles "The Old Man Down the Road", "Rock and Roll Girls" and the title track "Centerfield". Fogerty played all the instruments on this album himself, thanks to...

. The baseball-founded comedic sketch "Who's on First", introduced by Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
William "Bud" Abbott and Lou Costello performed together as Abbott and Costello, an American comedy duo whose work on stage, radio, film and television made them the most popular comedy team during the 1940s and 1950s...

 in 1938, quickly became famous. Six decades later, Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

named it the best comedy routine of the twentieth century.

The game's rich literary tradition includes the short fiction of Ring Lardner
Ring Lardner
Ringgold Wilmer Lardner was an American sports columnist and short story writer best known for his satirical takes on the sports world, marriage, and the theatre.-Personal life:...

 and novels such as Bernard Malamud
Bernard Malamud
Bernard Malamud was an author of novels and short stories. Along with Saul Bellow and Philip Roth, he was one of the great American Jewish authors of the 20th century. His baseball novel, The Natural, was adapted into a 1984 film starring Robert Redford...

's The Natural
The Natural
The Natural is a 1952 novel about baseball written by Bernard Malamud. The book follows Roy Hobbs, a baseball prodigy whose career is sidetracked when he is shot by a woman who seeks to kill arrogant athletes to "better the world"...

(the source for the movie), Robert Coover
Robert Coover
Robert Lowell Coover is an American author and professor in the Literary Arts program at Brown University. He is generally considered a writer of fabulation and metafiction.-Life and works:...

's The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop.
The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop.
The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. is Robert Coover's second novel, published in 1968.-Plot summary:J. Henry Waugh is an accountant, albeit an unhappy one...

, and W. P. Kinsella
W. P. Kinsella
William Patrick Kinsella, OC, OBC is a Canadian novelist and short story writer who is well-known for his novel Shoeless Joe , which was adapted into the movie Field of Dreams in 1989...

's Shoeless Joe (the source for Field of Dreams). Baseball's literary canon also includes the beat reportage of Damon Runyon
Damon Runyon
Alfred Damon Runyon was an American newspaperman and writer.He was best known for his short stories celebrating the world of Broadway in New York City that grew out of the Prohibition era. To New Yorkers of his generation, a "Damon Runyon character" evoked a distinctive social type from the...

; the columns of Grantland Rice, Red Smith
Red Smith (sportswriter)
For other uses, see: Red Smith Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith was an American sportswriter who rose to become one of America's most widely read sports columnists.-Career:After graduating from Green Bay East High School, site of Packers home games until 1957, Smith moved on to...

, Dick Young
Dick Young (sportswriter)
Dick Young was a sportswriter best known for his direct and abrasive style, and his 45-year association with the New York Daily News...

, and Peter Gammons
Peter Gammons
Peter Gammons is an American sportswriter, media personality, and a recipient of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award for outstanding baseball writing, given by the BBWAA.-Education:...

; and the essays of Roger Angell
Roger Angell
Roger Angell is an American essayist. He has been a regular contributor to The New Yorker and was its chief fiction editor for many years...

. Among the celebrated nonfiction books in the field are Lawrence S. Ritter's The Glory of Their Times
The Glory of Their Times
The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It is a book, edited by Lawrence Ritter, telling the stories of early 20th century baseball...

, Roger Kahn's The Boys of Summer, and Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis (author)
Michael Lewis is an American non-fiction author and financial journalist. His bestselling books include The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, Liar's Poker, The New New Thing, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, Panic and Home Game: An...

's Moneyball. The 1970 publication of major league pitcher Jim Bouton
Jim Bouton
James Alan "Jim" Bouton is a former American Major League Baseball pitcher. He is also the author of the controversial baseball book Ball Four, which was a combination diary of his season and memoir of his years with the New York Yankees, Seattle Pilots, and Houston Astros.-Amateur and college...

's tell-all chronicle Ball Four
Ball Four
Ball Four is a book written by former Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Bouton in . The book is a diary of Bouton's 1969 season, spent with the Seattle Pilots and then the Houston Astros following a late-season trade. In it Bouton also recounts much of his baseball career, spent mainly with the...

is considered a turning point in the reporting of professional sports.

Baseball has also inspired the creation of new cultural forms. Baseball card
Baseball card
A baseball card is a type of trading card relating to baseball, usually printed on some type of paper stock or card stock. A card will usually feature one or more baseball players or other baseball-related sports figures...

s were introduced in the late nineteenth century as trade card
Trade card
Trade card describes small cards, similar to the visiting cards exchanged in social circles, that businesses would distribute to clients and potential customers. Trade cards first became popular at the beginning of the 17th century in London...

s. A typical example would feature an image of a baseball player on one side and advertising for a business on the other. In the early 1900s they were produced widely as promotional items by tobacco and confectionery companies. The 1930s saw the popularization of the modern style of baseball card, with a player photograph accompanied on the rear by statistics and biographical data. Baseball cards—many of which are now prized collectibles—are the source of the much broader trading card
Trading card
A trading card is a small card, usually made out of paperboard or thick paper, which usually contains an image of a certain person, place or thing and a short description of the picture, along with other text...

 industry, involving similar products for different sports and non-sports-related fields.

Modern fantasy sports began in 1980 with the invention of Rotisserie League Baseball by New York writer Daniel Okrent
Daniel Okrent
Daniel Okrent is an American writer and editor. He is best known for having served as the first public editor of The New York Times newspaper, for inventing Rotisserie League Baseball, and for writing several books, most recently Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.-Education and...

 and several friends. Participants in a Rotisserie league draft notional teams from the list of active Major League Baseball players and play out an entire imaginary season with game outcomes based on the players' latest real-world statistics. Rotisserie-style play quickly became a phenomenon. Now known more generically as fantasy baseball
Fantasy baseball
Fantasy baseball is a game where participants manage an imaginary roster of real Major League baseball players. The participants compete against one another using those players' real life statistics to score points...

, it has inspired similar games based on an array of different sports. The field boomed with increasing Internet access and new fantasy sports–related websites. By 2008, 29.9 million people in the United States and Canada were playing fantasy sports, spending $800 million on the hobby. The burgeoning popularity of fantasy baseball is also credited with the increasing attention paid to sabermetrics—first among fans, only later among baseball professionals.

See also

  • Baseball awards
    Baseball awards
    Professional baseball leagues and amateur-baseball organizations around the world, various sportswriting associations, and other interested groups confer awards on various baseball teams, players, managers, coaches, executives, broadcasters, and writers for excellence in achievement, sportsmanship,...

  • Baseball clothing and equipment
    Baseball clothing and equipment
    Bat : A rounded, solid wooden or hollow aluminum bat. Wooden bats are traditionally made from ash wood, though maple and bamboo is also sometimes used. Aluminum bats are not permitted in professional leagues, but are frequently used in amateur leagues. Composite bats are also available,...


Baseball terminology

Related sports
  • Brännboll
    Brännboll
    Brännboll is a game similar to rounders, baseball, lapta and pesäpallo played on amateur level throughout Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany, mostly on fields and in public parks, but it is also part of the PE curriculum in some areas...

     (Scandinavian bat-and-ball game)
  • British baseball
    British baseball
    British baseball, sometimes called Welsh baseball, or in the areas where it is popular simply baseball, is a bat-and-ball game played primarily in Wales and England. It is closely related to the game of rounders, and indeed emerged as a distinct sport when governing bodies in Wales and England...

  • Lapta
    Lapta (game)
    Lapta is a Russian bat and ball game first known to be played in the 14th century. Mentions of lapta have been found in medieval manuscripts, and balls and bats were found in the 14th-century layers during excavations in Novgorod...

     (Russian bat-and-ball game)
  • Oină
    Oina
    Oină is a Romanian traditional sport, similar in many ways to baseball and lapta.-History:Oină was first mentioned during the rule of Vlaicu Vodă in 1364, when it spread all across Wallachia...

     (Romanian bat-and-ball game)
  • Pesäpallo
    Pesäpallo
    Pesäpallo is a fast-moving ball sport that is quite often referred to as the national sport of Finland and has some presence in other countries, such as Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, and Northern Ontario in Canada...

     ("Finnish baseball")
  • Stickball
    Stickball
    Stickball is a street game related to baseball, usually formed as a pick-up game, played in large cities in the Northeastern United States, especially New York City. The equipment consists of a broom handle and a rubber ball, typically a spaldeen, pensie pinkie, high bouncer or tennis ball. The...

  • Stoop ball
    Stoop ball
    Stoop ball is a game that is played by throwing a ball against a stoop on the pavement in front of a building. The game is also known as "Off the Point". Historically, it has been popular in Brooklyn and other inner cities. It first became popular after World War II. A Portable Stoopball...

  • Wiffleball
    Wiffleball
    Wiffle ball or wiffleball is a variation of the sport of baseball designed for indoor or outdoor play in confined areas. The game is played using a perforated, light-weight, rubbery plastic ball and a long, plastic bat.- History :...


Further reading

  • Bradbury, J.C. The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed (Dutton, 2007). ISBN 0-525-94993-3
  • Dickson, Paul. The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, 3d ed. (W. W. Norton, 2009). ISBN 0-393-06681-9
  • Elliott, Bob. The Northern Game: Baseball the Canadian Way (Sport Classic, 2005). ISBN 1-894963-40-7
  • Euchner, Charles. The Last Nine Innings: Inside the Real Game Fans Never See (Sourcebooks, 2007). ISBN 1-4022-0579-1
  • Fitts, Robert K. Remembering Japanese Baseball: An Oral History of the Game (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005). ISBN 0-8093-2629-9
  • Gutkind, Lee
    Lee Gutkind
    Lee Gutkind is an American writer.Gurkind is the founder of the literary magazine Creative Nonfiction and the author or editor of over a dozen books. He started the first ever MFA program in creative nonfiction at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh...

    . The Best Seat in Baseball, But You Have to Stand: The Game as Umpires See It (Southern Illinois University Press, 1999). ISBN 978-0809321957
  • Gillette, Gary
    Gary Gillette
    Gary Gillette is a baseball writer, author, and editor. He is co-editor of both the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia and the ESPN Football Encyclopedia. For both series of books, he partnered with renowned statistician Pete Palmer, as well as writers Sean Lahman and Matt Silverman. As of October 2008 he...

    , and Pete Palmer
    Pete Palmer
    Pete Palmer is a major contributor to the applied mathematical field referred to as sabermetrics. Along with the Bill James Baseball Abstracts, Palmer's book The Hidden Game of Baseball is often referred to as providing the foundation upon which the field of sabermetrics was built.Palmer began his...

     (eds.). The ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia, 5th ed. (Sterling, 2008). ISBN 1-4027-6051-5
  • James, Bill
    Bill James
    George William “Bill” James is a baseball writer, historian, and statistician whose work has been widely influential. Since 1977, James has written more than two dozen books devoted to baseball history and statistics...

    . The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
    The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
    The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is a reference-type book written by Bill James featuring an overview of baseball decade by decade, along with rankings of the top 100 players at each position. The original edition was published in 1985 by Villard Books, followed by The New Bill James...

    , rev. ed. (Simon and Schuster, 2003). ISBN 0-7432-2722-0
  • James, Bill. The Bill James Handbook 2009 (ACTA, 2008). ISBN 0-87946-367-8
  • Peterson, Robert. Only the Ball was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams (Oxford University Press, 1992 [1970]). ISBN 0-19-507637-0
  • Reaves, Joseph A. Taking in a Game: A History of Baseball in Asia (Bison, 2004). ISBN 0-8032-3943-2
  • Ritter, Lawrence S.
    Lawrence Ritter
    Lawrence S. Ritter was an American writer whose specialties were economics and baseball.Ritter was a professor of economics and finance, and chairman of the Department of Finance at the Graduate School of Business Administration of New York University. He also edited the academic periodical...

     The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It
    The Glory of Their Times
    The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It is a book, edited by Lawrence Ritter, telling the stories of early 20th century baseball...

    , enlarged ed. (Harper, 1992). ISBN 0-688-11273-0
  • Tango, Tom
    Tom Tango
    Tom Tango and "TangoTiger" are aliases used online by a well-respected expert in baseball sabermetrics and ice hockey statistical analysis. He runs the Tango on Baseball sabermetrics website and is also a contributor to ESPN's baseball blog TMI .In 2006, Tango's book The Book: Playing the...

    , Mitchel G. Lichtman, and Andrew E. Dolphin, The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball (Potomac, 2007). ISBN 1-59797-129-4
  • Ward, Geoffrey C., and Ken Burns
    Ken Burns
    Kenneth Lauren "Ken" Burns is an American director and producer of documentary films, known for his style of using archival footage and photographs...

    . Baseball: An Illustrated History (Alfred A. Knopf, 1996). ISBN 0-679-40459-7

External links

Leagues and organizations

Statistics and game records

News and other resources
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