Regarded as America’s ‘national pastime’, baseball is thought to have originated from the British game of rounders, although it’s a hotly debated topic. What is certain, is that the game is woven into the very fabric of American life and identity, inspiring multiple novelists, songwriters, poets and filmmakers over the years.
The movies ‘Field of Dreams’, ‘Moneyball’, ‘42’, ‘Eight Men Out’ and ‘A League of Their Own’ are just some of the many celebrated movies about the sport. While ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ is a 1908 song that is synonymous with the game and still played at stadiums to this day.
History of the MLB
The first official game of baseball in the US took place in New Jersey in 1846. The Cincinnati Red Stockings became America’s first professional baseball 23 years later in 1869.
The sports first ever major league was formed in 1871, however it wasn’t until the World Series in 1903, which pitted the champions of the American and National Leagues in a postseason play-off, that baseball really took off.
Now Major League Baseball is the oldest major professional sports league in the world, and consists of 30 teams, many of them household names across the world. These include the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, New York Mets and the Chicago Cubs.
How it Works?
The 30 teams are divided equally between the National League and American League, with 29 in the United States and the Toronto Blue Jays the sole representative from Canada. Each league has an East, Central and West division. Teams play a total of 162 games during a season that runs from March to October.
The winners of each division advance to the league division championship playoff round, along with a wild card team – the best performing team out of all the rest. The divisional series winners go head-to-head in the league championship series, and the winners of that series go on to the coveted World Series.
The World Series is the championship series of games, and to win it is the highest accolade a player can achieve in the sport. It is a best of seven playoff and the winners receive the Commissioner’s Trophy and a championship ring.
Most Famous Teams:
New York Yankees
The Yankees are one of the most famous and successful franchises in all of sports. They have won a record 27 World Series titles and 40 American League pennants.
The team is known around the world and their legendary players include Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. Such is their standing, the Yankees start every year amongst the favourites for the World Series, and according to the latest baseball odds, this season will be no different.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are one of the most celebrated franchises in the whole of American sports. Founded in 1901, they have won nine World Series titles and 14 American League pennants.
One of the original eight charter members of the American League, they moved to their famous Fenway Park stadium in 1912. The ballpark is the oldest of all current major league ballparks and is known for its quirky features, and unrivalled history.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are one of the oldest and most successful professional baseball clubs in history. They have 11 World Series championships to their name, second only to the Yankees.
The Cardinals have also won 19 National League pennants and 15 division titles in the East and Central divisions. The team play their home games at Busch Stadium and are one of the best supported baseball teams in MLB.
Most World Series Wins
1 Yankees 27
2 Cardinals 11
T-3 Athletics 9
T-3 Red Sox 9
5 Giants 8
6 Dodgers 7
T-7 Reds 5
T-7 Pirates 5
T-9 Braves 4
T-9 Tigers 4
So many great players have graced the game that it’s almost impossible to pick a top ten list of the greatest ever. Generations and opinions differ and depending on who you ask, you’ll always get a different answer! Here’s our top ten greatest ever baseball players.
- Babe Ruth
- Willie Mays
- Hank Aaron
- Ty Cobb
- Ted Williams
- Lou Gehrig
- Mickey Mantle
- Ken Griffey Jr.
- Joe DiMaggio
- Barry Bonds
Babe Ruth was one of the first five players inducted into the legendary Baseball Hall of Fame, and he would make it on to any top ten list of the greatest players. His fame has transcended the sport and he is still talked about to this day, despite retiring in 1935.
During his 22-year big league career, Ruth amassed 714 home runs and 10 World Series. That included 2,873 hits, 506 doubles, 2,174 runs, 2,214 RBI, a .342 batting average, a .474 on-base percentage and a .690 slugging percentage.
A true sporting legend, Ruth changed the game forever with his power hitting and home run heroics. The excitement and popularity of today’s game owes much to the legendary ‘Sultan of Swat’.
In conclusion, Major League Baseball is a sport that has captured the hearts of millions of fans around the world. For beginners, understanding the basics of the game, such as the rules and positions, is essential to appreciating and enjoying the sport. Learning about the history and culture of baseball can also provide a deeper appreciation for the game and its significance in American society.
Additionally, following a team and attending games can be a fun and exciting way to experience Major League Baseball. Whether watching from home or in the stands, the thrill of the game and the passion of the fans can make for a memorable experience. With this beginner’s guide as a foundation, new fans can begin to explore the world of baseball and join the community of passionate fans who celebrate America’s pastime.