The history of baseball + 10 exclusive photos of baseball stars

*The Brooklyn Robins Trio, Boston, 1916*

Baseball is often seen as a purely American sport. However, its historical roots come from ancient Egypt.

The first written mention of baseball dates back to 1846, when the first official baseball game in New Jersey was played. Then most of the rules were taken from the English game “rounds”.
Professional games began in the USA in 1869, and the national league formed in 1876. Then the game spread very slowly in Europe, primarily in Italy and France, and after the 2nd World War — in Asia. Now baseball is played in more than 120 countries of the world.
Baseball was born at the beginning of the XIX century. For a long time, the creation of this game was attributed to a certain Abner Doubleday from the American town of Cooperstown. However, now it’s disputed not only that he had ever played baseball, but also that a person with that name generally lived in Cooperstown before the Civil War of 1861–1865.

But there is no doubt another fact. In 1845, New Yorker Alexander Cartwright created the Knickerbocker baseball club and developed a set of rules that were soon recognized by other city baseball clubs. It was Cartwright who established that in one team there should be nine field players, four bases, and the distance between them — 90 feet (which is 27.3 m). June 19, 1846 in the city of Hoboken (New Jersey), according to these rules, the first official game was held in which “Knickerbocker” lost to “New York Nine” with a score of 1:23.

In 1869, the first team appeared in the United States to pay players money for participating in matches, the Red Stockings from Cincinnati. Others hastened to follow her example, as a result of which a split occurred between amateurs and professionals. Since then, their paths have never crossed. Currently, the development of amateur baseball is led by the International Association (IBA), which unites national federations of nearly 70 countries, and the control of professional baseball is carried out by the so-called commissioners.

The annals of the world baseball championships have been going on since 1938, although the very first such tournament is hardly a championship: it involved only two teams. After winning four meetings with the Americans and losing one, the winners of the series were the British, who, oddly enough, have since not participated in such competitions since then. In 1939, three teams were already fighting for the title of the strongest baseball team in the world, in 1940–7, in 1941–9. The most representative was the 1972 tournament, which brought together 16 teams.

For a long time, only the teams of Latin American countries and the USA were participants in the world championships. The Dutch and Italians made their debut only in 1970, the representatives of Asia — in 1972, Australia — in 1948. Cuban baseball players played the most successfully in the world championships: they participated in these competitions 21 times, of which 18 times won victory, once became silver and twice — bronze medalists.

See a patent for a baseball

The popularity of baseball in the world is increasing every day. This is largely due to the fact that in October 1986, at the 91st session of the IOC in Lausanne, it was decided to include it in the program of the Summer Olympic Games.

The official Olympic baseball debut, as you know, will take place at the 1992 Games in Barcelona.

However, back in 1904, at the Third Olympics Games in St. Louis, it was first presented as a demonstration view. This “indicative” status was granted to him at the Olympics 7 more times, and baseball matches, as a rule, gathered an extensive audience. For example, on December 1, 1956, in Melbourne, about 114 thousand spectators watched the match between the national teams of Australia and the USA. And for the Games of the Olympic Olympic Tournament in 1984, more than 385 thousand tickets were sold.

The first steps of baseball in our country are encouraging. On August 13, 1987, the USSR Baseball, Softball and Russian Bast Federation was formed (since March 1988 a member of the IBA), and two days later the USSR national baseball team played the first match in its biography. And although her rival — the Nicaraguan team — turned out to be much stronger, it is important that the homepage was inscribed in the annals of international meetings of Soviet baseball players. As for the first victory, then she did not take long to wait. On September 26, 1987, at the Lokomotiv stadium in Tbilisi, the USSR national team won with a score of 4: 4 against the experienced team of Czechoslovakia …

Sometimes you really want to get into a time machine and go a few decades ago to see with your own eyes the most significant events in the history of mankind or just enjoy some legendary sports match. Alas, such an invention is not yet accessible to humans. But we can use Photoshop, and some do it very skillfully, restoring old photos. Thanks to the modern coloring of retro-shots, we can even better feel the atmosphere and emotions associated with the era and the frames in which it is captured.

Joe Jackson, Chicago White Sox in his 1917 Championship

Joe Wood, The Boston Red Sox, 1915

Stars of the Chicago White Sox, 1917

Alva Williams, Washington Nationals, 1912

Branch Ricky, St. Louis Browns, 1914

The Brooklyn Robins Trio, Boston, 1916

Grover Cleveland Alexander, Philadelphia Phillies, 1914

First Champions of the New American League, Chicago White Sox, 1901

Chef Meyers, Brooklyn, 1916

Billy Sullivan, Chicago White Sox, 1911




Do you need a thing with an individual design? send a sample of the pattern to me at

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium


Photoblog: 8/30 vs. Diamondbacks

7 Mistakes That Winning MLB Bettors Avoid

NFL Trade Deadline Reaction!

The Most Unique NBA Merchandise for the 2020–2021 Season

Cord-cutting just got even harder for sports fans

The Biannual World Cup

Los Angeles After Kobe

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Black Square Design

Black Square Design

Do you need a thing with an individual design? send a sample of the pattern to me at

More from Medium

Film Review | Spencer (2021)

DUAL: The Trouble With Gillans

HALO — TV Review