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Time trip - baseball history

Time trip - baseball history * Baseball didn't just come out of left field. The game evolved from an old English game called rounders. Like today's baseball, rounders was played with a bat and ball on a field with bases. But to get a player out in rounders, a fielder had to hit the runner with the ball. Ouch! Players called this practice soaking or plugging. American Colonists played rounders as early as the 1700s. They called the game town ball, the Massachusetts game, and sometimes base ball.

* In 1845, Alexander J. Cartwright started the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York, the first organized baseball club. Cartwright published a set of 20 rules, including punctuality for players, the appointment of an umpire, nine players per side, three strikes and out, and three outs per side. Cartwright also eliminated plugging.

* Cartwright's game caught on, and similar clubs cropped up throughout New York City. But it wasn't until after the American Civil War (1861-1865) that baseball hit home across the country. Union soldiers played the game for recreation between battles. Confederate prisoners watched and learned the rules of the game. After the war, soldiers from both sides taught the game to people in their hometowns. Baseball soon spread faster than a Randy Johnson fastball.

* Up until that point, all players were amateurs. In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings began paying its players, becoming the first professional baseball team. (See old Reds poster at left.) That year, the Reds were able to recruit the best players and won 65 games and lost none. Sure enough, other teams started paying players. In 1871, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players became the first professional baseball league. Today, professional baseball attracts millions of fans to ballparks each year, and millions more listen to and watch games on the radio and television.

* The Civil War (page 2). The Civil War was fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865. Seven southern states had organized the Confederates States of America and elected Jefferson Davis as its president. Ultimately 11 states fought for the Confederacy. On April 12, 1861, confederate soldiers fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston, S.C., beginning the war. Four years later, at the end of the war, more than 779,000 soldiers had been killed. The Civil War took more American casualties than any other war.

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