October 25, 2019

As I listen to the World Series, Nationals vs. Astros, with the score tied, I think back to the excitement generated in those contests I remember as a youth.

The games took place during school hours so we would huddle around our black-and-white set in the student center at Alva High School at noon and at every break. Do I remember the years, teams, players? No, but I always chose a team to support because it’s more interesting if you have a “dog in the fight.”

Some speculate that baseball originated with a British game called rounders but Henry Chadwick, in an article published in 1903, said “Baseball is fundamentally an American Sport begun on American Soil.”

It was first played in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1823 but the first team to play under modern rules was the New York Knickerbockers, founded in 1845.

Before the Civil War, baseball had stiff competition from cricket but it soon faded as governing bodies and even professional athletes were added to the roster.

The first Major League was formed in 1871 and included 12 clubs, including names familiar to us today. After much bickering, the first World Series was held in 1903, pitting Boston Americans against Pittsburgh Pirates.

The World Series for the American and National Leagues continues today as rules have changed, racial equality promoted, and national heroes created.

“Plugging” – hitting the runner with the ball to put them out – was among the first rule to change. Can you spell concussion?


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