Mlb History

Wed, 22 Oct 2008 19:40

MLB History

The history of the major league baseball.

There is no way of knowing when and how baseball started; all that is clear is that baseball evolved from a series of challenges and successes. The course of the history of Major League Baseball (MLB) basically depends on all the actors that make possible its rise and fall.

The year 1870 marked the development of a schism between amateur and professional ballplayers. The splitting of National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP) into two in 1871 gave rise to the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players. The association was considered to have been the first major league while its amateur counterpart faded within a few years.

The National Association became ineffective in 1876 and gave way to the founding of the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs. This league still exists to the present. The Clubs have fully grown and had the capacity to enter and enforce player contracts that prevented players to join other clubs that could offer higher salaries. With this arrangement, the clubs were also required to play their full schedule of games, which prevented the forfeiture of scheduled games once a club is out of the running for the league championship. This has happened often under the National Association. An effort was endeavored to collectively reduce the amount of gambling on games that was deliberately affecting the validity of games and leaving doubt on the results.

MLB history: the first years of the National League

Turbulence clouded the early years of the National League. It was flooded with chaotic intimidation from opponent leagues and a mutiny by players all against the much hated "reserve clause." This clause restricted the free movement of players from one club to the other, resulting in the frequent disbandment of competitive leagues. The American Association, which lasted from 1881 to 1891), also known as the "beer and whiskey league," was known to be the most notorious because it allowed the sale of alcoholic beverages to spectators.

In 1884, the Union Association survived for only a season, similar to the fate of the Players League in 1890. For all their worth, both leagues are considered as major leagues by various baseball researchers due to the apparent high competence of play and the number of star baseball players featured in them. On the other hand, some baseball researchers are in doubt of the major league status of the Union Association, making it clear that franchises came and went. They contended that the St. Louis Club, which was intentionally "stacked" by the league's president -- who also happened to own that club -- was the only club anywhere close to major league competence.

During the 19th century, the Baltimore Orioles were a National League and American Association team from 1882 to 1899. The club won three successive National League pennants in the mid-1890s and featured numerous Hall of Famers. They were contracted out of the league after the season in 1899.

Although at this time there were dozens of leagues, large and small, nothing could equal the media projection of New York City (being dominantly positioned among the cities). This then made the National League belong to the “major” category. New York also offered fan bases that enabled the generation of higher salaries for the ball players.

This resulted in the bidding of the best ball players and led to the breaking of contracts, as well as legal disputes. The dispute between the American and National resulted in an announcement on September 5, 1901 by Patrick T. Powers, president of the Eastern League, of the formation of a second National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the NABPL or “NA.” This decision was announced during a meeting at the Leland Hotel in Chicago.

A new agreement was signed between both leagues, tying independent contracts to the reserve-clause national league contracts. During this time, baseball players became commodities where each part or play is provided an equivalent value. So if you’re not satisfied with the price of your arm or bat, you can find another who can give you a price you are satisfied with.

MLB history: the Dead Ball Era

The new system, as a result of the agreement on the reserve-clause, gave NA great power that several independents walked away from during the 1901 meeting. This agreement helped to avoid further pilfering of players with no or little reparation of players’ development. Although there was much opposition from the “indies,” they eventually joined the NA, which increased in size over the years.

The 1900–1919 period is called the "dead ball era." During this time, the games tended to be low scoring. This term concretely reflected the situation of baseball itself. With the inflation felt at that time, club owners were then hesitant to spend much money on new balls if not needed. Balls were used until they broke, and replaced only when they were hit into the crowd and lost. Many clubs hired security guards purposely to retrieve balls hit into the stands.

As a result, home runs were seldom and singles were dominated by “inside games”; stolen bases, bunts, hit-and-run plays, and many other strategies were also used during this time. Further, changes in rules were in place; in 1901, the National League included the foul strike rule, which the American League also did in 1903.

MLB history: baseball uniforms

A baseball uniform is a style of uniform worn by baseball players and often by non-playing personnel such as coaches and managers. The uniform is worn to indicate an individual’s particular role in the game. The use of colors and logos are employed to identify the officials and the two teams. The first baseball team to wear uniforms was the New York Knickerbockers. The ball players wore blue wool pants, straw hats, and white flannel shirts on April 4, 1849. All Major League teams soon adopted the practice of wearing uniforms.

MLB history: spring training

Preceding the start of a regular season, the Major Baseball League holds a series of practices and exhibition games termed as "spring training." This training gives time for existing team players to practice their skills and for new players to try out for position spots and roster. Spring training sessions have drawn fans and invited travelers and crowds to see their favorite teams play. The training usually coincides with spring break, thus allowing the presence of many college students.

MLB history: the All-Star Game

It was President John F. Kennedy who threw the first pitch at the 1962 All-Star Game. The midway point of the season is marked by mid July, in which a three-day break is scheduled when the Major League Baseball All-Star Game begins. The All-Star Game pits players from the NL and are headed by the manager of past NL World Series team. They play against the AL players managed in an exhibition game. 

Beginning 1989, the rule on the designated hitter is followed when the game involves playing in an AL ballpark; previously no designated hitters were allowed to play in an All-Star game. In 2002, because both teams were out of pitchers, it resulted in an 11-inning tie that proved to be quite unpopular with the fans. For the two-year trial of 2003 and 2004, the 2002 experience provided that the league that won the game was merited a home-field advantage in the World Series and that four out of seven games are to take place in their home park.

The practice became popular with fans, thus extending the practice indefinitely. It has, however, upset purists over the format of two leagues exchanging home-field advantage for the World Series. In 2004 and 2005, the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox, respectively, have effectively used the rule to their benefit. They took a good momentum for a sweep as each of the team started out with two home victories. In 2003 however, the rule did not apply to the Yankees, leading to lose in the series to Florida in 6 games, or even with the Detroit Tigers in 2006. In 2007, the Red Sox has once again taken advantage of the same rule to take another victory.