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A peek into the world of baseball

Baseball has a long history, not only in America. Learn more about this interesting sport!

Before we start to study the rules and procedures of a baseball game, I want to tell you something about its history first. 

To this day, we don’t know when this team game was invented and who did it. You can find references to games with bats and balls already in traditions from old Egypt before Christ. David Block indicates in his book “Baseball Before We Knew It” (2005) that the basics of baseball were invented in England. Documents from the early 18th century support this suggestion. It is assumed that English immigrants brought this sport to the USA and Canada. It is a fact that the first official club was founded 1845 in New York - the “New York Knickerbockers”. At first, baseball was only common in the Northeast and Midwest of America, later it reached the West coast. In South America, there was no interest in this sport until the last few decades.

Obviously, there have been many changes since the early 18th century. For example, the pitcher doesn’t throw the ball underhand anymore but overhand, there is a strike zone and the batter cannot choose his preferred ball. Professional baseball in America started in 1869. In that year, the first professional team was founded - the Cincinnati Red Stockings (now Cincinnati Reds). Other teams followed in Chicago, Boston, New York, St. Louis, etc. Eventually, in 1876, the National League (NL) was founded in New York and in 1901 the American League (AL). In the beginning, both leagues were competing with each other, especially the NL lost many players to the AL because they offered more money. However, the leagues, also known as “Major Leagues”, decided to cooperate in 1903. Since then they host the World Series together. 

What about other countries? 

The world of sports in Canada has always been closely linked to the one in the USA. Nonetheless, it was not until the late 1960s that a Canadian baseball club was allowed to play in the National League. To this day, the Toronto Blue Jays, who have been playing in the American League since 1977, are the only non-American club that have won the World Series two times in a row. The first professional baseball league outside the USA or Canada was founded in Cuba. On international level, Cuba is one of the strongest teams besides the US-Americans. Since the early 20th century, baseball has spread around the world. The first clubs and leagues emerged in the Netherlands, Australia, Japan and Mexico. In Europe, the Netherlands and Italy are the strongest baseball nations. 

In countries like Cuba and Japan, baseball has become an important part of their culture. For example, Roberto Clemente, whom the Mannheim baseball field was named after, is still a national hero in Puerto Rico today. The history of baseball in Germany began with the American occupation after the war. Record champions are the Mannheim Tornados with 11 titles followed by the Paderborn Untouchables with 6 titles. Both teams are playing next weekend - Saturday, Aug. 26 at 7 pm and Sunday, Aug. 27 at 1 pm - at the Roberto-Clemente-Field in Mannheim. Come and watch these top games with us!

In two weeks, I will look into the basic rules of baseball. You are welcome to write a comment or a question in the box below. Let me know what you liked or didn’t like. I’m looking forward to your feedback!

Yours, Helena

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