Tuesday, May 15, 2018
The Negro League has a long, powerful history. No one can understand about baseball fully unless he or she studies the Negro Leagues. It was filled with African Americans at the time when African Americans were banned heavily from joining professional baseball for decades. Also, the Negro Leagues promoted teamwork, camaraderie, and excellence involving athletics and in society in general. The vast majority of the members of the Negro Leagues were African Americans and some Latino Americans. Seven major leagues were part of this system by 1920. The first black professional baseball team was the Cuban Giants. It was created in 1885. The first league was the National Colored Base Ball League. It was organized specifically as a minor league. It had low attendance, so it ended after only 2 weeks in 1887. The Negro American League of 1951 is viewed as the last major league season and the last professional club (called the Indianapolis Clowns) operated as a humorous sideshow rather than competitively from the mid-1960’s to the 1980’s. The first baseball game among black teams was held on November 15, 1859 in New York City. The Henson Base Ball Club of Jamaica, Queens defeated the Unknowns of Weeksville, Brooklyn 54 to 43. During Reconstruction or after the Civil War, a black baseball scene was created in the East and Mid-Atlantic states. Many of these teams were headed by ex-soldiers and promoted by some well-known black officers. There were black teams playing against each other like the Jamaica Monitor Club, Albany Bachelors, Philadelphia Excelsiors, and the Chicago Uniques. The civil rights activist of Philadelphia named Octavius Catto was a black baseball pioneer too.
By the end of the 1860’s, the black baseball mecca was in Philadelphia. Its African American population back then was 22,000. James H. Francis and Francis Wood (who were two former cricket players) created the Pythian Base Ball Club. They played in Camden, New Jersey at the landing of the Federal Street Ferry. The reason was that it was difficult to get permits for black baseball games in the city. Catto promoted the Pythians. He applied for memberships in the National Association of Base Ball Players. Tat the end of the 1867 season, "the National Association of Baseball Players voted to exclude any club with a black player.” In some ways Blackball thrived under segregation, with the few black teams of the day playing not only each other but against white teams as well. "Black teams earned the bulk of their income playing white independent 'semipro' clubs.” By the 1870’s, baseball was more professionalized. The first black professional player was Bud Fowler. He was in many games with a Chelsea, Massachusetts club in April 1878 and he pitched for the Lynn, Massachusetts team in the International Association.
Moses Fleetwood Walker and his brother, Welday Wilberforce Walker, were the first two black players in the major leagues. They both played for the 1884 Toledo Blue Stockings in the American Association. Then in 1886, second baseman Frank Grant joined the Buffalo Bisons of the International League, the strongest minor league, and hit .340, third highest in the league. Several other black American players joined the International League the following season, including pitchers George Stovey and Robert Higgins, but 1888 was the last season black people were permitted in that or any other high minor league. Black professional baseball teams came about in 1885. The Cuban Giants were formed by merging three clubs which were named: The Keystone Athletics of Philadelphia, the Orions of Philadelphia, and the Manhattans of Washington, D.C. The Cuban Giants were successful. Later, the National Colored Base Ball League was formed. They had six teams in 1887. They were: Baltimore Lord Baltimores, Boston Resolutes, Louisville Falls Citys, New York Gorhams, Philadelphia Pythians, and Pittsburgh Keystones.
Two more joined before the season but never played a game, the Cincinnati Browns and Washington Capital Cities. The league, led by Walter S. Brown of Pittsburgh, applied for and was granted official minor league status and thus "protection" under the major league-led National Agreement. This move prevented any team in organized baseball from signing any of the NCBBL players, which also locked the players to their particular teams within the league. The reserve clause would have tied the players to their clubs from season to season but the NCBBL failed. One month into the season, the Resolutes folded. A week later, only three teams were left Some black players on white minor league teams were victims of verbal and physical abuse form both competitors and fans. The International League banned African American players in 1890 which will last until 1946. By 1896, the Page Fence Giants and the Cuban Giants played in a national championship. The Page Fence Club won 10 out of 15 games.
More all black teams existed. Frank Leland used Chicago’s black businessmen to fund the black amateur Union Base Ball Club. They played at a 5,000 seat facility at South Side Park. They became the pro team of the Chicago Unions. Andrew Foster talked about a revival of an all-black league during the early 20th century. He wanted these teams to be owned by black men. This put him in direct competition with Strong. After 1910, Foster renamed his team the Chicago American Giants to appeal to a larger fan base. During the same year, J. L. Wilkinson started the Nations traveling team. The All Nations team would eventually become one of the best-known and popular teams of the Negro leagues, called the Kansas City Monarchs.
The Negro Leagues as we know it was created after February talks came in 1920 (which was organized by Andrew Foster. He was the owner of the Chicago American Giants). The National association of Colored Professional Base Ball Clubs created the Negro National League. Their eight teams initially consisted of: Chicago American Giants, Chicago Giants, Cuban Stars, Dayton Marcos, Detroit Stars, Indianapolis ABC's, Kansas City Monarchs and St. Louis Giants. Foster was named league president and controlled every aspect of the league, including which players played on which teams, when and where teams played, and what equipment was used (all of which had to be purchased from Foster). Foster, as booking agent of the league, took a five percent cut of all gate receipts.
The golden age of the Negro Leagues lasted from 1920 to 1950. On May 2, 1920, the Indianapolis ABCs beat the Chicago American Giants (4–2) in the first game played in the inaugural season of the Negro National League, played at Washington Park in Indianapolis. But, because of the Chicago Race Riot of 1919, the National Guard still occupied the Giants' home field, Schorling's Park (formerly South Side Park). This forced Foster to cancel the entire Giants' home games for almost a month and threatened to become a huge embarrassment for the league. On March 2, 1920 the Negro Southern League was founded in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1921, the Negro Southern League joined Foster's National Association of Colored Professional Base Ball Clubs. As a dues-paying member of the association, it received the same protection from raiding parties as any team in the Negro National League. In 1923, the Eastern Colored League is established by Ed Bolden, owner of the Hilldale Club, and Nat Strong, owner of the Brooklyn Royal Giants. The Eastern Colored League consists of the following six teams: Brooklyn Royal Giants, Hilldale Club, Bacharach Giants, Lincoln Giants, Baltimore Black Sox and the Cuban Stars. Foster and Bolden agreed to have an annual Negro League World Series starting in 1924. The St. Louis Stars played greatly in 1925.
They finished in second place during the second half of the year due in large part to their pitcher turned center fielder, Cool Papa Bell, and their shortstop, Willie Wells. A gas leak in his home nearly asphyxiated Rube Foster in 1926, and his increasingly erratic behavior led to him being committed to an asylum a year later. While Foster was out of the picture, the owners of the National League elected William C. Hueston as new league president. In 1927, Ed Bolden suffered a similar fate as Foster, by committing himself to a hospital because the pressure was too great. The Eastern League folded shortly after that, marking the end of the Negro League World Series between the NNL and the ECL. After the Eastern League folded following the 1927 season, a new eastern league, the American Negro League, was formed to replace it. The makeup of the new ANL was nearly the same as the Eastern League, the exception being that the Homestead Grays joined in place of the now-defunct Brooklyn Royal Giants. The ANL lasted just one season. In the face of harder economic times, the Negro National League folded after the 1931 season. Some of its teams joined the only Negro league then left, the Negro Southern League. On March 26, 1932,. the Chicago Defender announced the end of Negro National League.
Cumberland Posey and his Homestead Grays helped to revitalize the Negro League again. Posey, Charlie Walker, John Roesnik, George Rossiter, John Drew, Lloyd Thompson and L.R. Williams got together in January 1932 and founded the East-West League. Eight cities were included in the new league: "Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Newark, New York, and Washington, D.C." By May 1932, the Detroit Wolves were about to collapse, and instead of letting the team go, Posey kept pumping money into it. By June, the Wolves had disintegrated and all the rest of the teams, except for the Grays, were beyond help, so Posey had to terminate the league. On August 6, 1931, Satchel Paige made his first appearance as a Crawford. With Paige on his team, Greenlee took a huge risk by investing $100,000 in a new ballpark to be called Greenlee Field. On opening day, April 30, 1932, the pitcher-catcher battery was made up of the two most marketable icons in all of blackball: Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson.
In 1933, Greenlee, riding the popularity of his Crawfords, became the next man to start a Negro league. In February 1933, Greenlee and delegates from six other teams met at Greenlee's Crawford Grill to ratify the constitution of the National Organization of Professional Baseball Clubs. The name of the new league was the same as the old league Negro National League which had disbanded a year earlier in 1932. The members of the new league were the Pittsburgh Crawfords, Columbus Blue Birds, Indianapolis ABCs, Baltimore Black Sox, Brooklyn Royal Giants, Cole's American Giants (formerly the Chicago American Giants) and Nashville Elite Giants. Greenlee also came up with the idea to duplicate the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, except, unlike the big league method in which the sportswriters chose the players, the fans voted for the participants. The first game, known as the East-West All-Star Game, was held September 10, 1933, at Comiskey Park in Chicago before a crowd of 20,000.
By 1937, Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard help the Homestead Grays begin its nine-year streak as champions of the Negro National League.
Many Negro League players fought World War II overseas. While many players were over 30 and considered "too old" for service, Monte Irvin, Larry Doby and Leon Day of Newark; Ford Smith, Hank Thompson, Joe Greene, Willard Brown and Buck O'Neil of Kansas City; Lyman Bostock of Birmingham; and Lick Carlisle and Howard Easterling of Homestead all served. By this time, millions of African Americans supported the Negro Leagues. The Negro World Series came back in 1942. This time it was pitting the winners of the eastern Negro National League and Midwestern Negro American League. It continued through 1948 with the NNL winning four championships and the NAL three. In 1946, Saperstein partnered with Owens to form another Negro League, the West Coast Baseball Association (WCBA); Saperstein was league president and Owens was vice-president and the owner of the league's Portland (Oregon) Rosebuds franchise. The WCBA disbanded after only two months.
The end of the 1940’s saw the integration of major league baseball. This came in 1947 when Jackie Robinson played in the majors for the Brooklyn Dodgers. White majors planned this since March 1945 via their Major League Committee on Baseball Integration (with members like Joseph P. Rainey, Larry MacPhail, and Branch Rickey). Jackie Robinson once played for the Negro League team of the Kansas City Monarchs. He played 47 games as a shortstop and registered 13 stolen bases and hit .387 with five home runs. Satchel Paige played in the Negro Leagues too. He was one of the greatest pitchers in history. He was in the Mobile Tigers in 1924. He played for the Negro League team of the Chattanooga Black Lookouts in 1926. He played in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Paige once described his technique as: "I got bloopers, loopers and droppers. I got a jump ball, a be ball, a screw ball, a wobbly ball, a whipsy-dipsy-do, a hurry-up ball, a nothin' ball and a bat dodger. My be ball is a be ball 'cause it 'be' right were I want it, high and inside. It wiggles like a worm. Some I throw with my knuckles, some with two fingers. My whips-dipsy-do is a special fork ball I throw underhand and sidearm that slithers and sinks. I keep my thumb off the ball and use three fingers. The middle finger sticks up high, like a bent fork." In between seasons, Paige organized the “Satchel Paige All-Stars.” New York Yankess player Joe DiMaggio once said that Paige was “the best and fastest pitcher I ever faced.”
By 1942, Paige was the highest-paid African-American baseball player. Six years later, in 1948, Paige became the oldest rookie in Major League Baseball. Josh Gibson played in the Negro leagues and was one of the greatest power hitters and catchers in baseball history. Gibson made his debut in the Negro Baseball Leagues by playing for the Homestead Grays. Soon after, he played for the Pittsburgh Crawfords. He also played in the Dominican Republic for Ciudad Trujillo and the Mexican League for Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz. Gibson also served as the manager of the Santurce Crabbers, a team affiliated with the Puerto Rico Baseball League. In 1972, Gibson was the second player to be inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He passed away from a stroke in 1947. He was born in December 21, 1911 in Georgia. He moved with his family to Pittsburgh as a result of the Great Migration.
By 1948, the Dodgers, along with Veeck's Cleveland Indians had integrated. The Negro leagues also "integrated" around the same time, as Eddie Klep became the first white man to play for the Cleveland Buckeyes during the 1946 season. These moves came despite strong opposition from the owners; Rickey was the only one of the 16 owners to support integrating the sport in January 1947. Chandler's decision to overrule them may have been a factor in his ouster in 1951 in favor of Ford Frick. Some want the Negro League to merge into organize baseball as developmental leagues for black players. Later, that idea was ended. Many players came into MLB. Ironically, the Negro Leagues ended in part because of the growth of integration. After the 1948 season, the Negro national League ended. So the Negro American League was the only "major" Negro League operating in 1949. Within two years it had been reduced to minor league caliber and it played its last game in 1958. The last All-Star game was held in 1962, and by 1966 the Indianapolis Clowns were the last Negro league team still playing. The Clowns continued to play exhibition games into the 1980's, but as a humorous sideshow rather than a competitive sport. The Negro Leagues existed in eras. They grew and end in a specific time frame. For example, the Negro National League lasted from 1920 to 1931. The Eastern Colored League lasted from 1923 to 1928. The American Negro League was created in 1929 and lasted for one season. The East-West League lasted only in 1932. The Negro Southern League existed from 1931 to 1931 as a major league (it existed as a minor league from the year of 1920 to the 1940’s). The Negro National League again lasted from 1933 to 1948. The Negro American League lasted from 1937 to 1960.
Many Negro League players were inducted into the Hall of Fame too. In his Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech in 1966, Ted Williams made a strong plea for inclusion of Negro league stars in the Hall. After the publication of Robert Peterson's landmark book Only the Ball was White in 1970, the Hall of Fame found itself under renewed pressure to find a way to honor Negro league players who would have been in the Hall had they not been barred from the major leagues due to the color of their skin. Satchel Paige was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971, followed by (in alphabetical order) Cool Papa Bell, Oscar Charleston, Martín Dihigo, Josh Gibson, Monte Irvin, Judy Johnson, Buck Leonard and John Henry Lloyd. (Of the nine, only Irvin and Paige spent any time in the major leagues.) The Veterans Committee later selected Ray Dandridge, as well as choosing Rube Foster on the basis of meritorious service.
Other members of the Hall who played in both the Negro leagues and Major League Baseball are Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Roy Campanella, Larry Doby, Willie Mays, and Jackie Robinson. Except for Doby, their play in the Negro leagues was a minor factor in their selection: Aaron, Banks, and Mays played in Negro leagues only briefly and after the leagues had declined with the migration of many black players to the integrated minor leagues; Campanella (1969) and Robinson (1962) were selected before the Hall began considering performance in the Negro leagues. From 1995 to 2001, the Hall made a renewed effort to honor luminaries from the Negro leagues, one each year. There were seven selections: Leon Day, Bill Foster, Bullet Rogan, Hilton Smith, Turkey Stearnes, Willie Wells, and Smokey Joe Williams.
In February 2006, a committee of twelve baseball historians elected 17 more people from black baseball to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, twelve players and five executives. Hank Aaron was the last Negro league player to hold a regular position in Major League Baseball. On June 5, 2008, Major League Baseball held a special draft of the surviving Negro league players to acknowledge and rectify their exclusion from the major leagues on the basis of race. The idea of the special draft was conceived by Hall of Famer Dave Winfield. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is located in the 18th and Vine District in Kansas City, Missouri. On July 17, 2010, the U.S. Postal Service issued se-tenant pair of 44-cent U.S. commemorative postage, to honor the all-black professional baseball leagues that operated from 1920 to about 1960. The stamps were formally issued at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, during the celebration of the museum's twentieth anniversary. One of the stamps depicts Rube Foster.
Women in Baseball
Women have always played baseball for a long time. There were women baseball teams back during the 19th century too. Women colleges have women baseball teams in New York and New England back in the mid-nineteenth century. There were teams formed at Vassar College, Smith College, Wellesley College, and Mount Holyoke College. Women baseball teams started at Vassar College in 1866. Back in 1867, an African American women’s baseball team called the Philadelphia Dolly Vardens was created. There were many women’s barnstorming teams and many women played alongside major league players in exhibition games. By September 11, 1875, there was the first women’s baseball game for which fans were charged and women players were paid (between the Blondes and the Brunettes in Springfield, Illinois). The Resolutes, modeled after the Vassar College team, developed their own version of uniforms which included: long sleeved shirts with frilled high neckline, embroidered belts, wide floor length skirts, high button shoes and broad striped caps back in 1876. In 1898, Lizzie Arlington became the first woman to sign a professional baseball contract and she signed with the Philadelphia Reserves. The U.S. baseball national anthem, “Take me out to the ball game,” was inspired by and written about a young girl’s love of the game from 1908. In 1928, Mary Gisolo joined the nationwide American Legion Junior Baseball Program and she helped to lead Blanford Cubs to the Indiana state title. On April 2, 1931, 17-year-old Jackie Mitchell (originally known as "Virne Beatrice Mitchell Gilbert") of the Chattanooga Lookouts, struck out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game. Commissioner of Baseball Kenesaw Mountain Landis voided her contract as a result. The voiding of her contract is a total example of sexism. Olympic hero Mildred Ella "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias pitched exhibition games for the Athletics, Cardinals, and Indians back in 1934. Eulalia Gonzales became the first Cuban woman to play baseball in U.S. She played with the Racine Belles in 1947.
In 1946, former player Edith Houghton became the first woman to work as an independent scout in Major League Baseball when she was hired by the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League. In 1989, NBC's Gayle Gardner became the first woman to regularly host Major League Baseball games for a major television network. In 2015, Jessica Mendoza was the first female analyst for a Major League Baseball game in the history of ESPN. Margaret Donahue was the first female front office executive in Major League Baseball who was not an owner. By the 1890’s more women played sports in America. There was the popularization of bicycles back then. The Boston Bloomer Girls baseball club was a successful women’s baseball group. The Bloomer Girls toured America in 1897. The press called them as the “champion women’s club of the world.” One pitcher form the team was Maud Nelson. She had great skill. Some of them included male players during 1907-1908. The Boston Bloomers were innovative. By the 1920’s, more women amateur and semi-pro baseball 'teams existed. Some played for all men teams. Perhaps the best known young woman playing baseball in the early 1920;s was Rhode Island's Lizzie Murphy.
As first baseman, she played for the Providence (RI) Independents, and was praised by newspaper reporters for her fielding skills. Sportswriters said she was every bit as talented as a player (who was a man), and noted that she was paid $300 a week, more than many minor league players of the 1920's received. Murphy, who had begun playing baseball when she was only ten, had dreams of becoming a major league player, but she was not able to achieve that goal. She was, however, able to have a long career in the semi-pro leagues, leading a touring team that played all over the eastern United States. According to newspaper accounts, she developed a loyal following, with numerous fans who came out to watch her and her team play. Lizzie Murphy's baseball career lasted from 1918 to 1935, and included one charity exhibition game in which she was part of a team of all-stars who played against the Boston Red Sox. While Murphy was perhaps the best-known woman playing for an all-male team in the 1920's, there was at least one other woman athlete whose abilities included playing baseball. Philadelphia's Betty Schenkel not only played baseball with the boys during high school, but she was said to be adept in other sports, including basketball, soccer, and cycling.
The image on the left shows the women's baseball league during World War II. The image of the right show the softball African American women team called the Owls (of the 1930's).
During World War II, many men baseball players were drafted like Ted Williams, Stan Musial, and Joe DiMaggio. Many wanted ideas to increase the players in the league since many players were gone off to war. The owner of the Chicago Cubs back then was Philip K. Wrigley. He created a committee to come up with ideas to keep baseball financially afloat during the war. The result of that committee was the organization of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which operated from 1943 to 1954. At the height of its popularity, it had teams in twelve cities. One of the most successful of the teams in the league was the Rockford (IL) Peaches, which won four championships. The Peaches, and the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, were commemorated in a 1992 movie, "A League of Their Own," starring Geena Davis. In 1946, Sophie Kurys set the stolen base record for the AAGPBL with 201 stolen bases in 203 attempts; this record continues to be unequaled in baseball history, as Ricky Henderson is 2nd in stolen bases with 130 (1982). During the 1950’s, black women whose names are: Toni Stone, Connie Morgan, and Mamie “Peanuts” Johnson played on men’s professional teams in the Negro Leagues. Yet, they weren’t allowed to play in the AAGPBL because they are African Americans. That was wrong. By June 23, 1953, the major leagues banned women from playing in the minor leagues. The ban continues to this day unfortunately. Pam Postema umpired in Class A Florida State League from 1979 to 1980. In 1988, American Women’s Baseball Association (AWBA) founded in Chicago. That was the first organized women’s league since AAGPBL (1943-1954). Also, 6 players from the AWBA were extras in the movie “A League of Their Own.” Julie Croteau played semi-pro baseball for the Fredericksburg Giants of the Virginia Baseball League in 1988.
In 2008, Eri Yoshida, at 16 years old, became Japan's first professional girl teenager baseball player to play in a men's league by signing a professional contract with a new Japanese independent league. In April 2010, she signed a contract with the Chico Outlaws, becoming the first woman to play professionally in two countries. In 2009, Justine Siegal became the first female coach of a men's professional baseball team. In 2011, she was the first woman to throw batting practice to a MLB team, the Cleveland Indians at spring training. She also threw BP to the Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros, and New York Mets. In 2015, Justine Siegal became the Oakland Athletics guest instructor for their Instructional League Club, thus making her the first female coach in major league baseball history. For one day in May 2016, Jennie Finch was a guest manager for the Atlantic League's Bridgeport Bluefish, thus becoming the first woman to manage a professional baseball team. The team played and won one game on that day.
In 2008, Mamie "Peanut" Johnson was drafted (at age 72) by the Washington Nationals in a special Negro leagues honorary draft that preceded 2008 Major League Baseball draft, marking the first time a woman was draft in the MLB's yearly new player draft. NBC’s Gayle Gardner was the first woman to regularly host Major League Baseball games for a major TV network on 1989. Lesley Visser was the first woman to cover the World Series on 1990. By August 3, 1993, Gayle Gardner was the first woman to do television play by play for a Major League Baseball game. By 1995, Hannah Storm on NBC was the first woman to serve as solo host a World Series game and the first woman to preside over the World Series Trophy presentation. On August 24, 2015, Jessica Mendoza was the first female analyst for a Major League Baseball game in the history of ESPN, during a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Arizona Diamondbacks. John Kruk, Dan Shulman and Jessica Mendoza called the 2015 American League Wild Card Game on October 6, 2015, and Mendoza became the first female analyst in MLB postseason history. There is evidence that at least one woman, Amanda Clement, was umpiring semi-professional games as early as 1905. Also, women and people of every sex and color play softball to this very day as well. Softball include women in diverse leagues in our time as well.
The first woman to umpire a professional game was Bernice Gera. A former Little League coach and a passionate fan of baseball, she entered umpiring school in 1967 (the first woman ever to attend the Fort Lauderdale Baseball School). After a lengthy court battle with major league baseball, she finally won the right to umpire. Her first pro game was in the minor leagues in June 1972—a game between the Auburn Phillies and Geneva Rangers in the New York-Penn League, but after several disputed calls, she decided to resign and never umpired another professional game. The first woman to own a baseball team was Helene Hathaway Britton, who owned the St. Louis Cardinals National League baseball team from 1911 through 1916. On 2003, Women’s baseball became an official sport (39th) of the AAU. This marks the first time in U.S. history that a U.S. national organization began sanctioning and supporting women’s baseball. USA Baseball sanctioned the first official national women’s baseball team. The women's baseball team competed in the 2004 WWS (in Japan) and in the 2004 Women’s World Cup of Baseball from 2004. Tiffany Brooks becomes the first woman in the U.S. to sign a pro baseball contract in the 21st Century. She signed with the Big Bend Cowboys of the independent Continental Baseball League on 2010. Margaret Donahue was the first female front office executive in Major League Baseball who was not an owner. She worked for the Chicago Cubs from 1919 to 1958 and introduced marketing concepts such as the season ticket and reduced prices for children under 12, both still used in the 2000's.
Since then, many women have held executive positions in business and financial areas of Major League Baseball. One woman who has a position in player personnel at the Major League level is Kim Ng. She first worked for the Chicago White Sox, where she successfully presented an arbitration case. After working for the American League as director of waivers and records, she was hired as Assistant GM by the New York Yankees. When she left the Yankees in 2001 for the same position with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Yankees hired another woman to replace her, Jean Afterman. Afterman still holds the same position as of July 2015. Kim Ng has since moved on to work for Major League Baseball as Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations.
Hall of Fame Legends
Hall of Fame Baseball Legends are very numerous. Hank Aaron was one Hall of Fame legend. Hank Aaron won more home runs than any player in American history. Hank Aaron played for years in the MLB and in the Negro League. He was born in Mobile, Alabama. He played as a right fielder. He played for the Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers. He was a 25 time All-Star. He was a MLB World Series champion in 1957. He was a 2 time NL batting champion and he was a 4 time NL RBI leader. He had 755 home runs and runs batted in by the number of 2,297. Aaron received death threats before he broke Babe Ruth’s previous records, but Hank Aaron broke it courageously. Recently, Hank Aaron has expressed support for Kaepernick's cause of fighting racial injustice and the evil of police brutality.
Another Hall of Fame baseball legend was Babe Ruth who lived from 1895 to 1948. He was one of the greatest hitters in baseball history. He was a slugging outfielder for the New York Yankees and then played as a left handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He played first for the Boston Red Sox, then for the NY Yankees from 1920-1934, and ended with the Boston Braves in 1935. He was one of the first five people to be part of the Baseball Hall of Fame just one year after he retired on 1936. He was a 2 time All-Star. He won the World Series seven times (in 1915, 1916, 1918, 1923, 1927, 1928, and 1932). He was an AL batting champion in 1924. He was a 12 time home run leader and he was part of the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. He had 714 home runs, 2,873 hits, and a batting average of .342 which was excellent especially back then. He supported American efforts to defeat the Nazis during World War II and he passed away of esophageal cancer. Babe Ruth was an early American superstar athlete.
Willie Mays was one of the greatest players in baseball history. Today, he is 87 year old. He was born in Westfield, Alabama. When he was in high school, he played football and basketball as well. Willie Mays played in the Negro Leagues before he came into the MLB. He played for both the San Francisco Giants and the New York Mets too in his later career. By 1954, he won the World Series. Mays is known as a man who traveled the world, is a people person, and has a blessed life. He continues to motivate others and inspire present and future generations. He is a Hall of Famer and a man whose accomplishments always make the point that baseball is a game with monumental reach.
Roberto Clemente was one of the most influential baseball Hall of Famers in history. He was born in Puerto Rico and was an inspiration to baseball fans. He was an American Afro-Latino who was in the Marines too. He was a famous right fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, becoming the first Latin American and Caribbean player to be enshrined. Clemente was an All-Star for twelve seasons, playing in fifteen All-Star Games. He was the NL Most Valuable Player in 1966, the NL batting leader in 1961, 1964, 1965, and 1967, and a Gold Glove Award winner for twelve consecutive seasons from 1961 through 1972. His batting average was over .300 for thirteen seasons and he had 3,000 hits during his major league career. He also played in two World Series championships. Clemente is the first Latin American and Caribbean player to help win a World Series as a starter (1960), to receive an NL MVP Award (1966), and to receive a World Series MVP Award (1971). Clemente was married in 1964. Later, he and his wife had three children. He was involved in charity work in Latin American and Caribbean countries during the off-seasons, often delivering baseball equipment and food to those in need. He experienced racism and he always stood up heroically for humanity. On December 31, 1972, he died in a plane crash while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He was 38 years old. Roberto Clemente was not only a baseball player. He was an activist too. He will always be remembered.
The cultural impact of baseball in America and worldwide is huge. Baseball has grown large in America. Parks, playgrounds, and other stadiums harbor strong representations of baseball activities. Cuba, Japan, and the Dominican Republic have a powerful baseball culture too. The city of San Pedro de Macoris has been the major leagues’ large source of talent from the Dominican Republic from the 1980's. In 2017, 83 of the 868 players on MLB Opening Day rosters (and disabled lists) were from the country of the Dominican Republic. Among other Caribbean countries and territories, a combined 97 MLB players were born in Venezuela, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. Hall-of-Famer Roberto Clemente remains one of the greatest national heroes in Puerto Rico's history. While baseball has long been the island's primary athletic pastime, its once well-attended professional winter league has declined in popularity since 1990, when young Puerto Rican players began to be included in the major leagues' annual first-year player draft. In Asia, baseball is among the most popular sports in Japan and South Korea. Today, many blue collar Americans love baseball. Attendance of baseball games is very high. 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 more than $10 billion was set in 2017. Baseball cards existed since the late 19th century and they continue today. When I was child during the 1990’s, I had baseball cards. Fantasy baseball has been played by adults in America and worldwide too. Movies, plays, and commercial readily feature baseball players or the culture of baseball in general.
For over 150 years, baseball has captivated the consciousness of people internationally. Constant evolution, stories, and other aspects of society relate to it. Its roots stretch for centuries and its modern manifestation has garnered wide spread acclaim. Baseball readily includes magnificent legends from Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, and to Hank Aaron. Jackie Robinson used courage to not only break down the color barrier, but to defend civil rights in public. Hank Aaron has more home runs than any baseball player in history and advances the cause of social justice as well in our time. It is a sport about the powerful competition that is thoroughly found in action packed stadiums worldwide. So, baseball is a game on the move. Not to mention that baseball has been played by human beings of every race, color, creed, sex, and background. Women have had a very important role in baseball as players and other contributors to the greatness of the game. Youth constantly enjoy baseball in fields, backyards, school playgrounds, and near recreation centers all of the time. African Americans additionally have played the game of baseball from the Negro Leagues to the MLB. Many black people (back then and currently) have experienced racism and other pernicious obstacles, but those repugnant evils never stifled glorious black excellence in any dimension.
Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson transcended the sport in numerous ways including Toni Stone plus Mamie Johnson. The power of black human resiliency is always inspiring and purely exquisite. The Latinx community (as found all over America, and Latin America) have always have a special, intimate bond with baseball socially and culturally from Alex Rodriquez, Albert Pujols, and to other people. RBIs, batting averages, and home runs define the game in many quantitative ways. Yet, baseball encompasses all of the grit of play, an athletic journey for victory, and the incredible power of its legendary influence. During this time of the year, the baseball season is in full swing and the same creed of human liberation is what we adhere to wholeheartedly.
For a long time, baseball has captivated audiences globally. It is an international game played by men, women, boys, and girls. It is a game that is part of American culture. In this game, 2 opposing teams compete for the most runs. Defensively, players prevent runs from taking place. The field is diamond shape. Stadiums exist worldwide in many different sizes. Each team has 9 members. Legendary players not only include base hitters. They include pitchers, shortstops, outfielders, and other individuals on the team. Modern baseball evolved from England by the mid-18th century. The popularity of baseball started in the 19th century. Baseball is spread heavily also in Japan, Taiwan, Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada, and other places of the world. We live in a new time and it is the perfect time to explain baseball's history, culture, and its diverse forms of impact on everyday society. Great baseball players use powerful strategy, discipline, and practice. Practice occurs year round among many baseball players as a way for them to hone in on their skills. Also, another important point ought to be made. There is a powerful African American contribution to the sport of baseball that must always be cherished and acknowledged. From Negro League Players, Jackie Robinson, and Hank Aaron, black people have shown excellence involving baseball. During the 21st century, tons of black players in baseball continue to display excellent, magnificent skills in the baseball fields. From Hall of Famers to current players, baseball is a sport cherished and loved by a wide spectrum of human beings. Baseball has been part of very important aspects of American history. It is also a sport that is still going strong in its influence and composition. Today, it is time to show the comprehensive, wide ranging components of the great sport of baseball.
In baseball, teams will differ among leagues and organized play. The Major League Baseball teams have 25 player active rosters. In such a system, there are eight position players with the catcher, four infielders, and three outfielders who all play on a regular basis. There are five starting pitchers who make up the team’s pitching rotation or starting rotation. There are six relief pitchers including one specialist closer (who make up the teams’ bullpen. It is named for the off field area where pitchers warm up). There are one backup or substitute catcher, 2 backup infielders, 2 backup outfielders, and one specialist pinch hitter (or a second backup catcher, or a seventh reliever). Most baseball leagues worldwide have the DH rule (DH stands for designated hitter) including MLB's American League, Japan's Pacific League, and Caribbean professional leagues, along with major American amateur organizations. The Central League in Japan and the National League do not have the rule, and high-level minor league clubs connected to National League teams are not required to field a DH. In the American League and others with the DH rule, there will usually be nine offensive regulars (including the DH), five starting pitchers, seven or eight relievers, a backup catcher and two or three other reserves. Therefore, the need for late-inning pinch-hitters is reduced by the DH. The manager is the head coach of a team. He or she oversees the team’s major strategic decisions. He or she can establish the starting rotation, set up the lineup, establish the batting order before each game, and make substitutions in the game. He or she can bring in relief pitchers.
Managers are typically assisted by two or more coaches. 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 plus 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 field to confer with players during a game. Umpires exist in baseball in order for them to make a ruling on an outcome of each play. Some can stand behind the catcher to see the strike zone. He or she can call balls and strikes. They can exist on other bases too to judge 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.
The game of baseball is played between 2 teams. Each team has nine players. They take turns playing offense and defense. The goal is the team with the most scores or runs wins. The offense uses batting and base running and defense uses pitching and fielding. At each inning, each team takes turns at batting and fielding. The pair of turns is called an inning. Nine innings exist in each baseball game. 7 innings exist in the high school and in doubleheaders (which means a set of 2 baseball games played between the same two team on the same day in front of the same crowd. In addition, the term is often used unofficially to refer to a pair of games played by a team in a single day, but in front of different crowds and not in immediate succession) in college plus minor leagues. Six Innings are found at the Little League level. 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) 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.
A player bats at home plate and must proceed counterclockwise to first base, second base, third base, and back home to score a run. The team in the field attempts to prevent runs from scoring and record outs, which remove opposing players from offensive action until their turn in their team's batting order 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 are played to resolve the contest. Many amateur games, particularly unorganized ones, involve different numbers of players and 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; the area farther beyond the infield is the outfield. 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. The 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.
If a player makes it to second base safely as a direct result of a hit, it is a double; third base, a triple. If the ball is hit in the air within the foul lines over the entire outfield (and outfield fence, if there is one), or otherwise safely circles all the bases, it is a home run: 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. Three strikes make a strike out. Four balls is a walk. If the designated hitter (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.
One major baseball strategy is to allow team to deal with hitters. Usually, right handed batters are usually more successful against left hand pitchers. Left handed batters usually are more successful against right handed pitchers. So, managers will use left handed batters and right handed batters to match up a pitcher based on how he or she pitches the ball. Matchups exist all of the time. 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. A pitcher during the game can use the fastball, the changeup, the curve ball and the slider to handle a batter constantly. Pitchers and catchers use hand signs in order for them to know what to throw and how to throw the ball. Pickoff attempts, however, are subject to rules that severely restrict the pitcher's movements before and during the pickoff attempt. Violation of any one of these rules could result in the umpire calling a balk against the pitcher, which permits any runners on base to advance one base with impunity. If an attempted stolen base is anticipated, the catcher may call for a pitchout, 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. Some players attempt to run bases defending on the hitter and other aspects of the game.
Baseball evolved from many sports that deal with bat and ball games. It is hard to trace its origins specifically. We know of the French manuscript from 1344. It has an illustration of clerics playing a game. It is possible la soule. It has similarities to baseball. There are old French games that are related to baseball like thèque, la balle au bâton, and la balle empoisonnée. Historians have developed a consensus that modern baseball is a North American development from the older game called rounders. Rounders was popular in Great Britain and Ireland. In the book entitled, “Baseball Before We Knew It: A Search for the Roots of the Game" (2005), by David Block, suggests that the game originated in England. There is recent historical evidence to back up this view. The author Brock said that rounders and early baseball were regional variants of each other. He believes that baseball’s most direct antecedents are the English games of stoopball and “tut-ball.” Cricket may have been imported to England from Flanders according to evidence found in early 2009. The earliest known reference to baseball in print came from a 1744 British publication. It was called, “A Little Pretty Pocket-Book” by John Newbery. It had a rhymed description of “base-ball” and a woodcut that shows a field set up somewhat similar to the modern game. It has a triangular rather than a diamond configuration with posts instead of ground level bases. When English people came to America, they brought stoolball with them. William Bradford in his diary for Christmas Day, 1621, noted (with disapproval) about how the men of Plymouth were "frolicking in þe street, at play openly; some pitching þe barre, some at stoole-ball and shuch-like sport.” Stoolball is a cousin to baseball and rounders.
Block found out that the first recorded game of “bass-ball” took place in 1749 in Surrey, and it featured the Prince of Wales as a player. The earliest recorded game of base-ball involved none other than the family of the Prince of Wales, played indoors in London in November 1748. The Prince is reported as playing "Bass-Ball" again in September 1749 in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, against Lord Middlesex. The English lawyer William Bray wrote in his diary that he had played a game of baseball on Easter Monday 1755 in Guildford, also in Surrey. The word "baseball" first appeared in a dictionary in 1768, in A General Dictionary of the English Language compiled by the editors of the Encyclopædia Britannica (first published the same year), with the unhelpful definition "A rural game in which the person striking the ball must run to his base or goal." The early form of the baseball game was brought to Canada by English immigrants. Rounders was also brought to the United States by Canadians of both British and Irish ancestry. The first known American reference to baseball appears in a 1791 Pittsfield, Massachusetts 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. The French book Les Jeux des Jeunes Garçons is the second known book to contain printed rules of a bat/base/running game. It was printed in Paris in 1810 and lays out the rules for La balle empoisonnée ("poisoned ball"), in which there were two teams of eight to ten players, four bases (one called home), a pitcher, a batter, and fly ball outs; however, the ball apparently was struck by the hand. It is hard to chart the evolution of baseball from 1800 to 1845.
The Knickerbocker Rules described a game that some have been playing for a while. Some believe that modern baseball came from English evolving from rounders. Some people believe that baseball in its modern sense is totally America and evolved from the game of one-ol’-cat. We know that Abner Doubleday didn’t create baseball in 1839 at Cooperstown, New York. The truth is that baseball has been played in America long before 1839. The earliest explicit reference to the game in America is from March 1786 in the diary of a student at Princeton, John Rhea Smith: "A fine day, play baste ball in the campus but am beaten for I miss both catching and striking the ball." There is a possible reference a generation older, from Harvard; describing the campus buttery in the 1760's, Sidney Willard wrote "Besides eatables, everything necessary for a student was there sold, and articles used in the playgrounds, such as bats, balls etc. … Here it was that we wrestled and ran, played at quoits and cricket, and various games of bat and ball." A 1791 bylaw in Pittsfield, Massachusetts banned the playing of "any game of wicket, cricket, baseball, bat ball, football, cats, fives, or any other game played with ball" within 80 yards of the town meeting house to prevent damage to its windows. Worcester, Massachusetts outlawed playing baseball "in the streets" in 1816. There was an early reference reported that baseball was played regularly on Saturdays in 1823 on the outskirts of New York City in an area found in today’s Greenwich Village.
The first team to play baseball under modern rules was long believed to be the New York Knickerbockers. The club was founded on September 23, 1845. It was a social club for the upper middle classes of New York City. It was totally amateur until it was disbanded. The club’s by laws committee included William R. Wheaton and William H. Tucker. They created the Knickerbocker Rules. This dealt with organizational matters, but it also laid out rules for playing the game of baseball. One of its important rules was that it prohibited soaking or plugging the runner, under older rules, a fielder could put a runner out by hitting the runner with the thrown ball, similarly to the common schoolyard game of kickball. The Knickerbocker Rules required fielders to tag or force the runner, as is done today, and avoided a lot of the arguments and fistfights that resulted from the earlier practice. A recently discovered newspaper interview with Wheaton indicates that the rules he and Tucker wrote for the Knickerbockers in most respects duplicated the rules he had written for the Gotham Club in 1837. So, the Knickerbockers were founded as a breakaway group of former Gothams. Writing the rules didn’t help the Knickerbockers in the first known competitive game between two clubs under the new rules were played at Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey on June 19, 1846. The "New York nine" (almost certainly the parent Gotham Club) humbled the Knickerbockers by a score of 23 to 1. Nevertheless, the Knickerbocker Rules were rapidly adopted by teams in the New York area and their version of baseball became known as the "New York Game" (as opposed to the "Massachusetts Game", played by clubs in the Boston area). As late as 1855, the New York press was still devoting more space to coverage of cricket than to baseball.
In 1857, sixteen New York area clubs, including the Knickerbockers, created the NABBP. NABBP stands for the National Association of Base Ball Players. It was the first organization to govern the sport and to create a championship. The 1857 convention created 3 key parts of the game. They are the 90 feet between the bases, 9-man teams, and 9-inning games (under the Knickerbocker Rules, games were played to 21 runs). Aided by the Civil War, membership grew to almost 100 clubs by 1865. It grew to over 400 by 1867 including clubs as far as California. During the Civil War, soldiers from different parts of the United States played baseball together, leading to a more unified national version of the sport. Beginning in 1869, the NABBP permitted professional play. It addressed a growing practice that had not been permitted under its rules to that point. The first and most prominent professional club of the NABBP era was the Cincinnati Red Stockings in Ohio, which lasted for only 2 years.
The businessman Ivers Whitney Adams then courted manager Harry Wright. They founded the Boston Red Stockings and the Boston Base Ball Club on January 20, 1871. By 1858 in the Corona neighborhood of Queens (in NYC) at the Fashion Race Course, the first game of baseball to charge admission took place. The games, which took place between the stars of Brooklyn including players from the Atlantic, Excelsior, Putnam, and Eckford clubs, and the All Stars of New York (Manhattan) included players from the following teams: The New York Knickerbockers, Gothams, Eagles, and Empire. These games are believed to be the first all-star baseball games. Before the Civil War, baseball competed for public interest with cricket and regional variants of baseball (like town ball played in Philadelphia and the Massachusetts Game played in New England). New York style baseball expanded into a national game by the 1860’s. The NABBP expanded into a national organization. It is based mostly in the northeastern part of the country. In its 12 year history as an amateur league, the Atlantic Club of Brooklyn won 7 championships. This made it the first true dynasty in the sport. Although, Mutual of New York was widely considered to be one of the best teams of the era too. By the end of 1865, almost 100 clubs were members of the NABBP. By 1867, it ballooned to over 400 members, including some clubs from as far away as San Francisco and Louisiana. One of these clubs, the Chicago White Stockings, won the championship in 1870. This team is known as the Chicago Cubs today. The Chicago Cubs is the oldest team in American organized sports. The growth of baseball caused regional and state organizations to start a more prominent role in the governance of the sport. The NABBP was once amateur. Some star players like James Creighton of Excelsior received compensation either secretly or indirectly. In 1866, the NABBP investigated Athletic of Philadelphia for paying three players including Lip Pike, but ultimately took no action against either the club or the players. To address this growing practice and to restore integrity to the game, at its December 1868 meeting, the NABBP established a professional category for the 1869 season.
Clubs desiring to pay players were now free to declare themselves professional. The Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first to declare themselves as openly professional. They were the most aggressive in recruiting the best available players. There were 12 clubs including of the most of the strongest clubs in the NABBP, ultimately declared themselves professional for the 1869 season. There was the first attempt to create a major league and it produced the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players. It lasted from 1871 to 1875. The league had a charter member of the professional Chicago White Stockings. It was financed by businessman William Hulbert. The Red Stockings moved into Boston. The White Stockings were close contenders all season despite the Great Chicago Fire that had destroyed the team’s home field and most of their equipment. The White Stockings finished the season in second place, but ultimately were forced to drop out of the league during the city's recovery period, finally returning to National Association play in 1874. Over the next couple seasons, The Boston Red Stockings dominated the league and hoarded many of the game's best players, even those who were under contract with other teams. After Davy Force signed with Chicago, and then breached his contract to play in Boston, Hulbert became discouraged by the "contract jumping" as well as the overall disorganization of the N.A., and thus spearheaded the movement to form a stronger organization. The end result of his efforts was the formation a much more "ethical" league, which became known as the National Base Ball League. After a series of rival leagues were organized but failed (most notably the American Base Ball Association, which spawned the clubs which would ultimately become the St. Louis Cardinals and Brooklyn Dodgers), the current American League, evolving from the minor Western League of 1893, was established in 1901.
By 1870, there was a division between professional and amateur ballplayers. The NABPP split into 2 groups. They were the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players operated from 1871 through 1875. It is considered by some to be the first major league. Its amateur counterpart disappeared after only a few years. William Hulbert’s National League was formed after the National Association proved ineffective. It made an emphasis on clubs not players. Clubs now could enforce player contracts, prevent players from jumping to higher paying clubs, etc. Clubs were required to play their full schedule of games rather than forfeiting scheduled games once out of the running for the league championship (this happened on many times under the National Association). People fought against gambling on games too. Some terrible news back then was that clubs excluded non-white players from professional baseball.
This was maintained until 1947. Jackie Robinson was a great hero, but he wasn’t the first African American major league ballplayer. He was the first one after a long gap (and the first one in the modern era). Moses Fleetwood Walker and his brother Weldy Walker were unceremoniously dropped from major and minor league rosters in the 1880’s like other African Americans in baseball. An unknown number of African-Americans played in the major leagues by representing themselves as Indians, or South or Central Americans, and a still larger number played in the minor leagues and on amateur teams as well. In the majors, however, it was not until the signing of Robinson (in the National League) and Larry Doby (in the American League) that baseball began to remove its color bar. The early years of the National League was filled with conflict. There were threats from rival leagues. Many players wanted more benefits. Many competitive leagues existed. The American Association (1881-1891) was successful. It allowed the sale of alcoholic beverages to spectators. The National League and American Association champions met in a postseason championship series. This was the first attempt at a World Series.
The Union Association only lasted for one season in 1884 like the Players’ League in 1890. There was an attempt to return to the National Association structure of a league controlled by the players themselves. Both leagues were considered major leagues. They had a high caliber of play and the numbers of star players in the major leagues were many. Some disagree with this view as the St. Louis club was deliberated created by the league’s president (who owned the club). There were dozens of small and large leagues. The National League was dominant in major cities like New York City. NYC was one large center of baseball. Media distribution increased. Revenue increased nationwide in dealing with baseball. The Eastern League was competing against the dominance of the National League. The Western League was created in 1893 and it aggressively promoted baseball. Its leader was Ban Johnson and he railed against the National League. He promised to build a new league that would get great players and get new teams. The Western League began play in April 1894 with teams in Detroit (the only league team that has not moved since), Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Sioux City and Toledo. Prior to the 1900 season, the league changed its name to the American League and moved several franchises to larger, strategic locations. In 1901, the American League declared its intent to operate as a major league. Contract breaking and legal disputes existed. The second baseman Napoleon Lajoie went from Philadelphia from the National League Phillies to the American League Athletics. He joined the Cleveland team where he played and managed for years. The American and National Leagues were in a battle. At a meeting in 1901, the other baseball leagues negotiated a plan to maintain their independence. On September 5, 1901 Patrick T. Powers, president of the Eastern League announced the formation of the second National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the NABPL or "NA" for short.
Ban Johnson had other designs for the NA. The NA continues to this day. Johnson saw it or the NA as a tool to end threats from smaller rivals (who might someday want to expand in other territories and threaten the league’s dominance). After 1902, both leagues and the NABPL signed a new National Agreement. They agreed on three things. One, they made players to be in their baseball system ending cross league raids. Second, they made a World Series in 1903 to play among the 2 major league champions. The first World Series was won by Boston of the American League. Third, it forms a system of control and dominance for the major leagues over the independents. It didn’t want another Ban Johnson like rebellion. Selling player contracts existed. Player contracts were violated during the early years of the American-National struggle. Players would sign deals in the National or American leagues excluding compensation to the Indy club. The new agreement tied independent contacts to the reserve clause national league contracts. Baseball players were treated as commodities. The NA had great power. Independents in many numbers walked away from the 1901 meeting. The NA punished other indies who wouldn’t join the NA. The NA also agreed to prevent pilfering of players with little or no compensation for the players’ developments. Many leagues joined the NA. The early 20th century saw the dead ball era. This was when baseball rules and equipment favored the inside game. The game was played in a violent and aggressive way than today. It ended by the 1920’s with giving advantages to hitters. The largest parks, the outfield fences were brought closer to the infield. In addition, the strict enforcement of new rules governing the size, shape and construction of the ball caused it to travel farther.
The first professional black baseball club, the Cuban Giants, was organized in 1885. Subsequent professional black baseball clubs played each other independently, without an official league to organize the sport. Rube Foster, a former ballplayer, founded the Negro National League in 1920. A second league, the Eastern Colored League, was established in 1923. These became known as the Negro Leagues, though these leagues never had any formal overall structure comparable to the Major Leagues. The Negro National League did well until 1930, but folded during the Great Depression.
From 1942 to 1948, the Negro League World Series was revived. This was the golden era of Negro League baseball, a time when it produced some of its greatest stars. In 1947, Jackie Robinson signed a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the color barrier that had prevented talented African American players from entering the white-only major leagues. Although the transformation was not instantaneous, baseball has since become fully integrated. In 1948, the Negro Leagues faced financial difficulties that effectively ended their existence. Pitchers dominated the game during the 1960’s and early 1970’s. In 1973, the designated hitter (DH) rule was adopted by the American League, while in the National League pitchers still bat for themselves to this day. The DH rule now constitutes the primary difference between the two leagues.
During the late 1960's, the Baseball Players Union became much stronger and conflicts between owners and the players' union led to major work stoppages in 1972, 1981, and 1994. The 1994 baseball strike led to the cancellation of the World Series, and was not settled until the spring of 1995. In the late 1990's, functions that had been administered separately by the two major leagues' administrations were united under the rubric of Major League Baseball.
The dead ball era of baseball lasted from 1900 to 1919. Games were low scoring during this time. Many pitchers dominated the game. The names are Walter Johnson, Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, and Glover Cleveland Alexander. The dead ball era is in reference to the condition of baseballs during that time. Baseballs cost three dollars apiece. In 1900, that would be $88 today. Club owners, so didn’t want to be so apt to spend so much money for new balls if not necessary. It was not unusual for a single baseball to last an entire game. After the end of the game, balls would be dark with grass. They were also filled with mud and tobacco juice. Some were lumpy and misshapen via contact with the bat. Balls were only replaced if they were hit into the crowd and lost. Many clubs used security guards to get balls from the stands. This would be unthinkable today. This caused home runs to be rare. Inside game was dominated by singles, bunts, stolen bases, and hit and run plays. There were many superstar hitters like Honus Wagner. He was one of the most famous shortstops in baseballs. Detroit had Ty Cobb, who was from Georgia. His career batting average of .366 has yet to be bested. There was the Merkle incident in baseball history too. There were the 1908 pennant races in both the AL and NL. They were very popular races. The National League season back then ended in many bizarre events called the Merkle Boner.
By September 23, 1908, the New York Giants and the Chicago Cubs played a game in the Polo Grounds. The 19 year old rookie first baseman Fred Merkle (who would be one of the best players at his position in the league) was on first base. His teammate Moose McCormick was on third with two outs and the game tied. Giants shortstop Al Bridwell socked a single, scoring McCormick and apparently winning the game. Yet, Merkle, instead of advancing to second base, ran toward the clubhouse to avoid the spectators mobbing the field. This was a common, acceptable practice. The Cubs’ second baseman Johnny Evers saw this. This caused confusion. Evers claimed to have retrieved the ball and touched second base. He forced Merkle out and nullified the run scored. Evers brought this to the attention of the umpire that day, Hank O’Day, who after some deliberation called the runner out. O’Day called the game. There were arguments to the contrary by the Giants. The league upheld the decision of O’Day. The league ordered the game replayed at the end of the season, if necessary. It turned out that the Dubs and Giants wended the season tied for first place. The game was later replayed and the Cubs won the game.
The Cubs also won the pennant and later the World Series (the last Cubs Series victory until 2016). Merkle was heavily criticized. This was done all over his career. This was called “Merkle’s Boner.” In his defense, some baseball historians have suggested that it was not customary for game-ending hits to be fully "run out", it was only Evers's insistence on following the rules strictly that resulted in this unusual play. In fact, earlier in the 1908 season, the identical situation had been brought to the umpires' attention by Evers; the umpire that day was the same Hank O'Day. While the winning run was allowed to stand on that occasion, the dispute raised O'Day's awareness of the rule, and directly set up the Merkle controversy.
By the turn of the century, baseball attendances were modest at best. The average for the 1,110 games in the 1901 season was 3,247. However the first 20 years of the 20th century saw an unprecedented rise in the popularity of baseball. Large stadiums dedicated to the game were built for many of the larger clubs or existing grounds enlarged, including Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Shibe Park in Philadelphia, Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, the Polo Grounds in Manhattan, Boston's Fenway Park along with Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park in Chicago. Likewise from the Eastern League to the small developing leagues in the West, and the rising Negro Leagues professional baseball was being played all across the country. Average major league attendances reached a pre-World War I peak of 5,836 in 1909. Where there weren't professional teams, there were semi-pro teams, traveling teams barnstorming, company clubs and amateur men's leagues.
It is no secret that baseball games have been fixed by gamblers and many players for a long time. This has been suspected since the 1850’s. Hal Chase threw games all of the time. He played for a decade after gaining that reputation. Some have accused players like Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker of fixing game outcomes. There was the MLB complacency during this so-called “Golden Age.” It was exposed after the 1919 World Series. This event was the Black Sox scandal. First, the Chicago White Sox had an excellent regular season of 88-52 .629 W%. They were heavy favorites to win the 1919 World Series. They were the best team in baseball back then. They had a strong lineup, a strong pitching staff, and a good defense. Even though the National League champion Cincinnati Reds had a superior regular season record (96–44, .689 W%) no one, including gamblers and bookmakers, anticipated the Reds having a chance. When the Reds triumphed 5–3, many pundits cried foul. During the scandal, the White Sox were the most successful franchise during that time. They had large gate receipts and record attendance. Most baseball players weren’t paid a lot. Some worked other jobs. Some elite players on the big city clubs made very good salaries. Chicago was an exception. For years, Charles Comiskey owned and operated the White Sox.
Comiskey payed the lowest player salaries on average in the American League. The White Sox players didn’t like him. They were powerless to do anything, because of the “reserve clause.” This prevented players from switching teams without their team owner’s consent. By late 1919, Comiskey’s tyrannical reign over the Sox had sown bitterness among players. So, White Sox first baseman Arnold “Chick” Gandil decided to conspire to throw the 1919 World Series. He persuaded gambler Joseph "Sport" Sullivan, with whom he had had previous dealings, that the fix could be pulled off for $100,000 total (which would be equal to $1,411,516 today), paid to the players involved. New York gangster Arnold Rothstein supplied the $100,000 that Gandil had requested through his lieutenant Abe Attell, a former featherweight boxing champion. After the 1919 series and during the beginning of the 1920 baseball season, there were rumors. These rumors were about some of the players conspired to purposefully lose. By 1920, a grand jury was convened to investigate these and other allegations of fixed baseball. Eight players (Charles "Swede" Risberg, Arnold "Chick" Gandil, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, Oscar "Happy" Felsch, Eddie Cicotte, George "Buck" Weaver, Fred McMullin, and Claude "Lefty" Williams) were indicted and tried for conspiracy. The players were ultimately acquitted.
However, the damage to the reputation of the sport of baseball led the team owners to appoint Federal judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis to be the first Commissioner of Baseball. His first act as commissioner was to ban the "Black Sox" from professional baseball for life. The White Sox meanwhile would not return to the World Series until 1959 and it was not until their next appearance in 2005 they won the World Series.
The dead ball era ended with a rule change and the rise of Babe Ruth, who was one of the greatest baseball players in history. One 1920 rule change was the outlawing the tampering with the ball. This caused pitchers to not use trick pitches. Umpires were recruited to put new balls into play whenever the current ball became scuffed or discolored. This enforced more stringently following the death of Ray Chapman who was stuck in the temple by a pitched ball from Carl Mays in a game on August 16, 1920 (he died the next day). Discolored balls, harder for batters to see and therefore harder for batters to dodge, have been rigorously removed from play ever since. There are two side effects. One, of course, is that if the batter can see the ball more easily, the batter can hit the ball more easily. The second is that without scuffs and other damage to the balls, pitchers are limited in their ability to control spin and so to cause altered trajectories. At the end of the 1919 season Harry Frazee (who was the owner of the Boston Red Sox) sold a group of his star players to the New York Yankees. One of them was George Herman Ruth or Babe Ruth. The story that Frazee did so in order to fund theatrical shows on Broadway for his actress lady friend was false. Harry Frazee first produced “No, NO, Nanette” form 1925. The sale of the baseball superstar Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees came about five years earlier. Ruth was dominant in pitching and hitting. He started his career as a pitcher in 1914. By 1916, he was one of the most dominant left handed pitchers in the game. When Edward Barrow, managing the Red Sox, converted him to an outfielder, ballplayers and sportswriters were shocked. It was apparent, however, that Ruth's bat in the lineup every day was far more valuable than Ruth's arm on the mound every fourth day. Ruth swatted 29 home runs in his last season in Boston. The next year, as a Yankee, he would hit 54 and in 1921 he hit 59. His 1927 mark of 60 home runs would last until 1961. Ruth had great hitting power. He promoted a new way to play baseball. Crowds found this great. The ballparks expanded. Some built a new outfield seating which shrunk the size of the outfield and made home run hitting more practical.
Rogers Hornsby was another great hitter. He compiled many figures for power and average in the early 1920’s. By the late 1920’s and 1930’s, many good teams had their home run hitting sluggers. The Yankees had Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx was in Philadelphia, Hank Greenberg was in Detroit, and Chicago had Hack Wilson. The Yankees soon dominated the American League championship and the World Series. There were other excellent teams in the inter-war years too. The National League’s St. Louis Cardinal won three titles themselves in nine years. The last victory they won was played by the people called the “Gashouse Gang.” August 5, 1921 was when the first radio broadcast of a baseball game came about over Westinghouse station KDKA from Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. Harold Arlin announced the Pirates-Phillies game. Attendances in the 1920's were consistently better than they had been before the war. The interwar peak average attendance was 8,211 in 1930, but baseball was hit hard by the Great Depression and in 1933 the average fell below five thousand for the only time between the wars.
1933 also saw the introduction of the All-Star game, a mid-season break in which the greatest players in each league play against one another in a hard fought but officially meaningless demonstration game. In 1936 the Baseball Hall of Fame was instituted and five players elected: Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner. The Hall formally opened in 1939.
During World War II, many baseball players went into the armed forces. So, the baseball players in the professional leagues declined. Major leagues continued play throughout the war still. In 1941, there was the premature death of Lou Gehrig. Boston’s great left fielder Ted Williams had a batting average over .400. This was the last time anyone has achieved that feat. During the same season Joe DiMaggio hit successfully in 56 consecutive games. This was an accomplishment both unprecedented and unequaled. Both Williams and DiMaggio would miss playing time in the services. Williams also has flown into the Korean War. During this period, Stan Musial led the St. Louis Cardinals to the 1942, 1944, and 1946 World Series titles. The war years also saw the founding of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Baseball expanded greatly after 1945. 1945 saw a new attendance record and the following year average crowds leap nearly 70% to 14,914. Further records followed in 1948 and 1949, when the average reached 16,913. While average attendances slipped to somewhat lower levels through the 1950's, 1960's and the first half of the 1970's, they remained well above pre-war levels, and total seasonal attendance regularly hit new highs from 1962 onward as the number of major league games increased.
Racial integration of baseball massively expanded after World War II. African Americans have participated in the sport of organized baseball since the 1890’s. They were in formal and informal agreements. Only a few players were in lineups on a sporadic basis. America moved into integration because of the activism of black people and others. There was the distinguished service by African American military units during World War II like the Tuskegee Airmen, the 366th Infantry Regiment, and other human beings. By the baseball winter meetings in 1943, African American athlete and actor Paul Robeson campaigned for the integration of baseball. After World War II ended, many team managers considered recruiting members of the Negro Leagues for entry into organized baseball. In the early 1920's, New York Giants' manager John McGraw slipped a black player, Charlie Grant, into his lineup (reportedly by passing him off to the front office as an Indian), and McGraw's wife reported finding names of dozens of Negro players that McGraw fantasized about signing, after his death. Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bill Bensawanger reportedly signed Josh Gibson to a contract in 1943, and the Washington Senators were also said to be interested in his services. But those efforts (and others) were opposed by Kenesaw Mountain Landis, baseball's powerful commissioner and a staunch segregationist. Bill Veeck made the (now often disputed claimed) that Landis blocked his purchase of the Philadelphia Phillies because he planned to integrate the team. While this is disputed, Landis was opposed to integration, and his death in 1944 (and subsequent replacement as Commissioner by Happy Chandler) resulted in more black players coming in the major leagues.
Branch Ricky of the Brooklyn Dodgers was the general manager who was successful in breaking down the color barrier of the MLB. He dealt with the issue of segregation. When he was playing and coaching for his college team at Ohio Wesleyan University, Rickey had a black teammate named Charles Thomas. On one road trip in southern Ohio, his fellow player was refused a room in a hotel. Although Rickey was able to get the player into his room for that night, he was taken aback when he reached his room to find Thomas upset and crying about the injustice. Rickey related this incident as an example on why he wanted a full de-segregation of the nation, not only in baseball. By the mid-1940’s, Rickey had a list of Negro League ballplayers for a potential major league contact. He realized that the first African American signee would be a magnet for prejudicial sentiment. Yet, he was intent to get a player with a distinguished personality and character that would allow him to tolerate the inevitable abuse. Rickey’s sights eventually settled on Jackie Robinson.
Jackie Robinson was a shortstop with the Kansas City Monarchs. Although probably not the best player in the Negro Leagues at the time, Robinson was an exceptional talent. He was college educated and had the marketable distinction of serving as an officer during World War II. More importantly, Robinson possessed the inner strength to handle the inevitable abuse to come. To prepare him for the task, Robinson first played in 1946 for the Dodgers’ minor league team, the Montreal Royals, which proved an arduous emotional challenge, but also enjoyed many support from Montreal fans. On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. He was recognized for this action for over 50 years with his appearance for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. 11 weeks later, on July 5, 1947, the American League was integrated by the signing of Larry Doby to the Cleveland Indians. Over the next few years a handful of black baseball players made appearances in the majors, including Roy Campanella (teammate to Robinson in Brooklyn) and Satchel Paige (teammate to Doby in Cleveland). Paige, who had pitched more than 2400 innings in the Negro Leagues, sometimes two and three games a day, was still effective at 42, and still playing at 59. His ERA in the Major Leagues was 3.29.
Integration was slow at first. By 1953, only six of the sixteen major league teams had a black player on the roster. The Boston Red Sox became the last major league team to integrate its roster with the addition of Pumpsie Green on July 21, 1959. Early black major league players became outstanding. During the fourteen years from 1947-1960, black players won one or more of the Rookie of the Year awards nine times. While never prohibited in the same fashion as African Americans, Latin American players also benefited greatly from the integration era. In 1951, two Chicago White Sox, Venezuelan-born Chico Carrasquel and Cuban-born (and black) Minnie Miñoso, became the first Latino All-Stars. According to some baseball historians, Robinson and the other African American players helped reestablish the importance of base running and similar elements of play that were previously de-emphasized by the predominance of power hitting.
From 1947 to the 1970's, African American participation in baseball rose steadily. By 1974, 27% of baseball players were African American. As a result of this on-field experience, minorities began to experience long-delayed gains in managerial positions within baseball. In 1975, Frank Robinson (who had been the 1956 Rookie of the Year with the Cincinnati Reds) was named player-manager of the Cleveland Indians, making him the first African American manager in the major leagues.
Although these front-office gains continued, Major League Baseball saw a lengthy slow decline in the percentage of black players after the mid-1970's. By 2007, black players made up less than 9% of the major leagues. While this trend is largely attributed to an increased emphasis on the recruitment of players from Latin America (with the number of Hispanic players in the major leagues rising to 29% by 2007) other factors have been cited as well. Hall of Fame player Dave Winfield, for instance, has cited the fact that urban America places less emphasis and provides fewer resources for youth baseball than in the past. Despite this continued prevalence of Latino players, the percentage of black players rose again in 2008 to 10.2%. Arturo Moreno became the first Latino owner of a MLB franchise when he purchased the Anaheim Angels in 2004.
In 2005, a Racial and Gender Report Card on Major League Baseball was issued, which generally found positive results on the inclusion of African Americans and Latinos in baseball, and gave Major League Baseball a grade of "A" or better for opportunities for players, managers and coaches as well as for MLB's central office/. At that time, 37% of major league players were people of color: Latino (26 percent), African-American (9 percent) or Asian (2 percent). Also by 2004, 29% of the professional staff in MLB's central office were people of color, 11% of team vice presidents were people of color, and seven of the league's managers were of color (four African-Americans and three Latinos).
By the 1950’s, more major league baseball teams moved into the West. Baseball has always been played in the West for a long time. There was the Pacific Coast League. This league included the Hollywood Stars, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Oaks, Portland Beavers, Sacramento Solons, San Francisco Seals, San Diego Padres, and Seattle Rainiers. The PCL was very large in the West. It was a member of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues. It kept losing great players to the National and American leagues for less than $8,000 a player. The PCL was more independent than other minor leagues. They rebelled against others in the East. The President of the PCL back then was Clarence Pants Rowland. He took on baseball commissioners Kenesaw Mountain Landis and Happy Chandler at first to try to get equity from the major leagues. He wanted to form a third major league. His efforts were rebuffed by both commissioners. Chandler and others saw the value of the market in the West. So, they plotted to end the PCL. Rowland didn’t have the financial power of the Eastern major league baseball establishment. Many people left the PCL club after the National or the American League build stadiums out west. Until the 1950's, major league baseball franchises had been largely confined to the northeastern United States, with the teams and their locations having remained unchanged from 1903 to 1952. The first team to relocate in fifty years was the Boston Braves, who moved in 1953 to Milwaukee, where the club set attendance records. In 1954, the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore and were renamed the Baltimore Orioles.
In 1955, the Philadelphia Athletics moved to Kansas City. By 1958, the New York market changed. The Yankees was the dominant draw in New York City. Many in the West grew as fans of baseball. The Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants existed. The Dodgers moved into Los Angeles and the Giants moved into San Francisco. This was helped by owner of the Dodgers Walter O’Malley. Candlestick Park was built for baseball teams too. Expansion teams grew like the California Angels, the Anaheim Angels, and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The American League influenced southern California. By 1968, the Athletics moved into Oakland across from the San Francisco Giants. During the 1960’s, more players asserted themselves in unions. In 1966, the players enlisted the help of labor union activist Marvin Miller to form the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA). The same year, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale – both Cy Young Award winners for the Los Angeles Dodgers – refused to re-sign their contracts, and the era of the reserve clause, which held players to one team, was coming toward an end. The reverse clause was weakened.
Along with the Angels, the other 1961 expansion team was the Washington Senators, who joined the American League and took over the nation's capital when the previous Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins. 1961 is also noted as being the year in which Roger Maris surpassed Babe Ruth's single season home run record, hitting 61 for the New York Yankees, albeit in a slightly longer season than Ruth's. To keep pace with the American League—which now had ten teams—the National League likewise expanded to ten teams, in 1962, with the addition of the Houston Colt .45s and New York Mets. By the late 1960’s, pitchers were favored between pitching and hitting. In 1968, Carl Yastrzemski won the American League batting title with an average of just .301, the lowest in history. That same year, Detroit Tigers pitcher Denny McLain won 31 games – making him the last pitcher to win 30 games in a season. St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Bob Gibson achieved an equally remarkable feat by allowing an ERA of just 1.12. That is why some wanted to create rules to benefit the batters in 1969. The pitcher’s mound was lowered and the strike zone was reduced. In 1973, the American League was suffering from lower attendance than the National League (which made a move to increase scoring even further by initiating the designating hitter rule). The 1970’s saw many great individual achievements too. On April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hit his 715th career home run, surpassing Babe Ruth's all-time record. He would retire in 1976 with 755 and that was just one of numerous records he achieved, many of which, including Total bases scored, still stand today. Hank Aaron is an African American man who endured death threats and vicious letters, but he spoke the record triumphantly. Aaron supports Kaepernick's protest movement too. There was great pitching too: between 1973 and 1975, Nolan Ryan threw 4 "no-hit" games. He would add a record-breaking fifth in 1981 and two more before his retirement in 1993, by which time he had also accumulated 5,714 strikeouts, another record, in a 27-year career.
The American League expanded by 1969 when the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Pilots, the latter in a longtime PCL stronghold, were admitted to the league. The Pilots stayed just one season in Seattle before moving to Milwaukee and becoming today's Milwaukee Brewers. The National League also added two teams that year, the Montreal Expos and San Diego Padres. The Padres were the last of the core PCL teams to be absorbed. The Coast League did not die, though. It reformed, and moved into other markets, and endures to this day as a Class AAA league. The second Washington Senators moved into Texas to be the Texas Rangers in 1972. In 1977, the American League expanded to fourteen teams, with the newly formed Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays. Sixteen years later, in 1993, the National League likewise expanded to fourteen teams, with the newly formed Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins (now Miami Marlins). By the 1994 season, the AL and NL were divided into the three divisions: East, West, and Central. There was a wild card team. The 1994-1995 Major League Baseball strike caused the new rules that didn’t go into effect until the 1995 World Series. In 1998, the AL and the NL each added a fifteenth team, for a total of thirty teams in Major League Baseball. The Arizona Diamondbacks joined the National League, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays—now called simply the Rays—joined the American League. In order to keep the number of teams in each league at an even number (14 – AL, 16 – NL), Milwaukee changed leagues and became a member of the National League.
From the 1980’s to the present, major league baseball had increased in popularity. Training and workouts have improved. Cable television has shown more games. Average attendances first broke 20,000 in 1979 and 30,000 in 1993. That year total attendance hit 70 million, but baseball was hit hard by a strike in 1994, and as of 2005 it has only marginally improved on those 1993 records. There has been massive television investment and marketing. The Internet and video games play a huge role in baseball. On September 6, 1995, Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr. played his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking Lou Gehrig's 56-year-old record. This was the first high-profile moment in baseball after the strike. Ripken continued his streak for another three years, voluntarily ending it at 2,632 consecutive games played on September 20, 1998.
In 1997, the Florida Marlins won the World Series in just their fifth season. This made them the youngest expansion team to win the Fall Classic (with the exception of the 1903 Boston Red Sox and later the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, who won in their fourth season). Virtually all the key players on the 1997 Marlins team were soon traded or let go to save payroll costs (although the 2003 Marlins did win a second world championship). During the year of 1998, the New York Yankees won a record 125 games, including going 11–2 in the postseason, to win the World Series as what many consider to be one of the greatest teams of all time. Some baseball players unfortunately used performance enhancing substances like steroids that tainted the race for records (Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, and Barry Bonds have been accused of using steroids. In the BALCO Grand Jury, Giambi admitted using steroids. McGwire and Bonds to this very day deny using steroids). In 2013, no player from the first "steroid class" of players eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame was elected. After the steroid era of the early 2000's, batting averages have declined to 1960’s levels and strikeouts are in all-time highs. There is a new pitching revolution too. Since the 1990's, the changeup has made a resurgence, being thrown masterfully by pitchers such as Tim Lincecum, Pedro Martínez, Trevor Hoffman, Greg Maddux, Matt Cain, Tom Glavine, Johan Santana, Marco Estrada, Justin Verlander and Cole Hamels. In 2013, in keeping with Commissioner Bud Selig's desire for expanded interleague play, the Houston Astros were shifted from the National to the American League; with an odd number (15) in each league, an interleague contest was played somewhere almost every day during the season. At this time the divisions within each league were shuffled to create six equal divisions of five teams.