Editors note: This article was originally written in 1995, only after baseball’d emerged from its longest work stoppage. Thats why a lot of the focus is on baseballs labour relations. Origins of the Game – Unlike professional basketball and American football, interest in baseball has not been sweeping the globe. Declining participation in the amateur level and prolonged labor issues at the expert level have thrust Americas Pastime to an era of doubt. Despite this current hardship, baseball will always occupy a vital place in American civilization. This column begins a three part consider the history of baseball. Most cultures have some type of stick and ball game, cricket being the most well known.
Whilst the precise origins of baseball are unknown, most historians agree the it is based on the English game of rounders. A lot of the original code is still in place now. Although popular legend says that the game was invented by Abner Doubleday, the real father was Cartwright. The first Registered baseball contest took place a year later. Cartwrights Knickerbockers lost to the NY Baseball Club in a game in the Elysian Fields, in Hoboken, NJ. These amateur games became more frequent and more popular. Twenty five teams out of the northeast sent delegates.
The following year, they formed the National Association of Base Ball Players, the first organized baseball team. The future looked very bright. The early 1860 s, however were a time of great turmoil in the US. But interest in baseball was brought to other portions of the nation by Union soldiers, and once the war ended there were more individuals playing baseball than ever before in the past. The leagues annual convention in 1868 drew delegates out of over 100 clubs. As the team grew, so did the costs of playing. Charging admission to games began to become more common, and teams frequently had to seek out donations or sponsors to make trips.
Even though the team was supposed to be comprised of amateurs, many players were secretly paid. Some were given jobs by sponsors, and some were secretly paid a salary only for playing. In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings decided becoming a completely professional team. Brothers Harry and George Wright. Recruited the best players from across the nation, and beat all comers. The Cincinnati team won sixty five games and lost none. The idea of paid players rapidly caught on. Some wanted baseball to remain an amateur endeavor, but there was no way they could compete with the professional teams. The amateur teams started to fade away as the best players became professionals. The National Association fielded 9 teams in 1871, and they reached 13 teams by 1875. The National Association was short lived. The presence of gamblers undermined the public confidence in the games, and their presence at the games combined with the sale of spirits quickly drove most of their crowds away.