One of America’s most iconic sports, baseball, has been played for centuries.
This adrenaline-filled activity has kept people’s attention on screens and in matches worldwide.
The sport is celebrated every year on April 22 on National Baseball Day.
But do you know who invented baseball or where it was first played?
Here are 12 interesting facts about baseball that will leave you wanting to score a home run.
The first known mention of the word “baseball” dates back to 1744.
The first record of the word “baseball” appeared in John Newbery’s A Little Pretty Pocket-Book.
In the children’s book, a short poem described the early version of the game, which was popular in England. Alongside the poem was an illustration of a game of baseball.
Due to the book’s popularity, it was reprinted in New York in 1762.
The New York Knickerbockers were one of the first organized teams.
The New York Knickerbockers was founded in 1845 by Alexander Cartwright under the name the “Knickerbocker Base Ball Club.”
They are remembered today as one of the first teams to have played under the same rules used in baseball today. They were also among the first teams to experiment with uniforms on the pitch.
The team remained active until the 1870s.
The National Association of Baseball Players was founded in 1857.
On January 22, 1857, the National Association of Baseball players was established in New York.
The association, often abbreviated to NABBP, was the first organization to govern American baseball.
There were already 100 clubs registered with the association by the end of 1865.
Major League Baseballs are identically made with 108 double stitches.
The ball consists of two figures of eight pieces of cowhide stitched together.
There are a total of 216 stitches on a major league baseball, with the first and last stitches hidden inside the ball to hold the others in place.
The large number of stitches gives pitchers a better grip on the ball and allows the ball to spin better to change direction mid-air.
The Reading Red Roses were the first team to wear numbers on their shirts.
There are many rumors of teams dabbling and experimenting with numbering their players.
However, official sources say that in 1907, the Reading Red Roses manager Alfred Lawson decided to number his players.
He thought it would help fans and the crowd identify the players on the field. Surprisingly, it is unknown whether Lawson ended up using numbered uniforms.
The first Major League World Series was held in 1903.
The series was the first of its kind played in Major League Baseball.
The event saw two teams, the Boston Americans and the Pittsburgh Pirates compete in a best-of-nine series.
It wasn’t until two years later that the World Series became a best-of-seven series. Every World Series since then has been played between the two top teams of the year.
Baseball is known as America’s national pastime.
Although adaptions of baseball had been played for many years, it wasn’t until the late 19th century that it became popular.
During the Civil War, soldiers would play as a pastime to distract themselves from the horrors of the war.
It’s thanks to this escapism that the sport gained its popular nickname.
Baseball was an Olympic sport until 2008.
Baseball was added to the ranks of official sports in 1992, but sadly had a short run.
It was considered a full medal sport until the 2008 Summer Olympics, after which it was dropped as a regular official sport.
Baseball returned for a single appearance at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
There is a “sweet spot” on a baseball bat.
As with most sports, precision is vital to success, which is undoubtedly relevant in baseball.
It is said that a baseball bat has a “sweet spot” located between 5-7 inches (12.7-17.7 cm) from the barrel end of the bat.
This zone is known as the “sweet spot” because you are likelier to score a home run when you hit the ball from here.
You’ll know when you hit a baseball with the sweet spot, as it creates a beautifully crisp cracking sound.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame is the unofficial song of American baseball.
Written in 1908, this song has become one of the most iconic songs associated with American baseball.
Ironically, songwriters Jack Norworth and Albert von Tilzer never went to a baseball game.
Nevertheless, their song is now played religiously during the middle of the 7th inning.
The fastest-ever MLB game lasted just 51 minutes.
Usually, a Major League baseball game lasts for 3 hours.
The record-setting game occurred on September 28, 1919, when the New York Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies.
The game was so short as the two teams wanted to break the previous record set a few years earlier, so they both played as fast as they possibly could with little care for the score.
There have not been any Major League Baseball left-handed throwers playing catcher since 1989.
This may seem obvious to those who know baseball, but it looks odd to those who don’t; it’s considered a disadvantage to be left-handed and play the catcher position.
This is because they have a disadvantage when throwing to third base, which is made worse with a right-handed hitter, which is the most common.
Although it is allowed in rare cases, the general rule in Major League Baseball is that a left-handed player can’t play catcher.
From a simple game for English children to one of America’s most beloved sports, baseball has undoubtedly had a good run.
While it has definitely evolved a lot over the centuries, it hasn’t lost its heart.
If you’ve never had the good luck to see a ball game, you have no idea what you’re missing out on – so head on down to a match. Who knows, the fans may just sing Take Me Out To the Ball Game!