Main Baseball

Baseball

0 / 0
How much do you like this book?
What’s the quality of the file?
Download the book for quality assessment
What’s the quality of the downloaded files?
Year:
2005
Publisher:
DK CHILDREN
Language:
english
Pages:
67
ISBN 10:
0756610613
ISBN 13:
9780756610616
Series:
DK Eyewitness Books
File:
PDF, 16.39 MB
Download (pdf, 16.39 MB)

You may be interested in Powered by Rec2Me

 

Most frequently terms

 
0 comments
 

To post a review, please sign in or sign up
You can write a book review and share your experiences. Other readers will always be interested in your opinion of the books you've read. Whether you've loved the book or not, if you give your honest and detailed thoughts then people will find new books that are right for them.
1

The epistemology of statistical science

Year:
2009
Language:
english
File:
PDF, 4.60 MB
0 / 0
2

Stop Counseling! Start Ministering!

Year:
2011
Language:
english
File:
PDF, 1.15 MB
0 / 0
Eyewitness

BASEBALL

Eyewitness

Baseball

The pitching sequence

Early baseball

Charleston, Arkansas, “town team”

1888 Cincinnati
Reds scorecard

Outfielder’s glove

Mickey Mantle

Louisville Slugger baseball bat

Ozzie Smith

Eyewitness

Baseball
Written by

JAMES KELLEY

Ted Williams’s
spikes

Home plate collision

1999 Little League World
Series Champions

Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig

George Brett’s
Hall of Fame plaque

Biography of Satchel Paige

DK Publishing, Inc.

London, New York,
Melbourne, Munich, and Delhi
Publisher╇ Neal Porter
Executive Editor╇ Iris Rosoff
Art Director╇ Dirk Kaufman
A Production of the Shoreline Publishing Group
Editorial Director╇ James Buckley, Jr.
Eyewitness Baseball Designer╇ Thomas J. Carling
Studio and Memorabilia Photography
Michael Burr and David Spindel
Revised Edition
Editors╇ Elizabeth Hester, James Buckley, Jr.
Publishing director╇ Beth Sutinis
Designers╇ Jessica Lasher, Thomas J. Carling
Art director╇ Dirk Kaufman
DTP designer╇ Milos Orlovic
Production╇ Chris Avgherinos, Ivor Parker

Eric Gagne

This edition published in the United States in 2005
by DK Publishing, Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014

Women’s pro
baseball in
the 1940s

05 06 07 08 09 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Copyright © 2000 © 2005
DK Publishing, Inc.
Text copyright © 2000 © 2005 by James Buckley, Jr.
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright
Conventions. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a
retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior
written permission of the copyright owner.
Published in Great Britain by Dorling Kindersley Limited.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

World Series trophy

1920s
Cleveland
Indians
warm-up
sweater

Kelley, James
Baseball / by James Kelley — 1st American ed.
p. cm.
Summary: Text and detailed photographs present the
history, techniques, and interesting facts of baseball.
ISBN 0-7566-; 1061-3 (hc).╇ ISBN 0-7566-1062-1 (lib bdg)
1. Baseball — Juvenile literature [1. Baseball] I. Title Series
(Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Books)
GV867.5 B83 2000╇╇ 99-044318
796.357 2I—de21
Original color reproduction by Mullis Morgan, UK
Color reproduction for revised edition by Colourscan, Singapore
Printed in China by Toppan Printing Co.,
(Shenzhen) Ltd.

Barry Bonds

Discover more at

Contents

6
Base Ball Beginnings
8
Birth of the Pros
10
The Babe
12
The Major Leagues
14
The Diamond
16
Bats and Balls
18
Baseball Gloves
20
Hats and Helmets
22
Uniforms
24
Pitching
26
Catching
28
Infield and Outfield
30
Batting
32
Baserunning
34
Hey, Blue!
36
Cards and Stats

38
International Baseball
40
The Negro Leagues
42
A Kid’s Game
44
Women in Baseball
46
Ballparks
48
Baseball Hall of Fame
50
World Series History
52
World Series Heroes
54
The Home Run
56
Did you know?
58
Baseball calendar/
Making the Majors
60
Find out more
62
Glossary
66
Index/credits

(c) 2011 Dorling Kindersley. All Rights Reserved.

Base Ball Beginnings
A ball, a bat, and four bases on a field.
The elements of the game that became
baseball have been around for hundreds of
years, most famously in an English game
called “rounders.” Americans had been
playing€another ball game with bases called
“town ball” since after the Revolutionary
War.€By the 1840s, sportsmen in several
Northeastern cities were gathering regularly
to play several variations of what they called
“base ball.” In 1845, Alexander Cartwright
(inset) and Daniel “Doc” Adams, leaders of
the Knickerbocker Base Ball
Club, developed the first set
of rules for the game.
Though those rules
changed rapidly over the
next few years and
continued to evolve into
the 1900s, they were
close enough to what
baseball is today to mark
the “birth” of baseball.
From humble beginnings, the
game has grown from a sport
played by gentlemen on weekends
to a sport played by men, women,
boys and girls of all ages in more
than 100 countries.

After going west for
the California Gold
Rush of 1849,
Cartwright later
became a fire chief
in Honolulu

Diamond and base paths
The author’s
great‑grandfather
Nicholas Minden

BATTER UP!

From the beginning of the game, baseball bats have
maintained their unique shape: thick at the top and
tapering to a narrower handle. Early bats did not have
as€much tapering as today’s bats, but their function was
the same: “Meet the ball and hit ’em where they ain’t.”

Thick handle
THE DOUBLEDAY MYTH

Union Army
uniform

A 1911 commission to trace the
“official” origin of baseball
somehow€settled on the story of
Union Army General Abner
Doubleday, who, it was claimed,
invented the game in 1839 in
Cooperstown, New York.
Modern research has
completely debunked this
theory, although the “myth” of
his involvement remains
popular today.

TOWN TEAMS

A key to the growth of baseball
across America in the late 1800s
was the formation of “town
teams,” such as this one from
Charleston, Arkansas (shown
before World War I). The players
were amateurs, the sponsors
local businessmen, and the prize
was bragging rights over
neighboring towns. But many
great players got their start on
teams like this one.

BASEBALL HEADS SOUTH

The Civil War (1861-65) helped spread baseball around the country,
as Union soldiers took their game, most popular around New York,
on the road with them. This noted 1863 lithograph shows Union
prisoners at a Confederate camp in Salisbury, North Carolina,
putting on a game watched by guards and fellow prisoners alike.

Batter

Pitcher

Catcher

PLAY BALL!

The fist baseballs
quickly became soft
and mushy as play
went on. Players
soon learned that
winding yarn
more tightly
around a rubber
center, then
covering with
tightly stitched
leather, made a harder
ball that traveled farther
and lasted longer.

CASEY AT THE BAT
(This is an excerpt from the most famous baseball poem, written in 1888
by Ernest L. Thayer. It tells the story of a fabled player getting one last
chance to save the day.)
…Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It€rambled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It€knocked€upon€the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For€Casey,€mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

Leather stitching

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile on Casey’s face.
And€when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No€stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat….
[Several stanzas later…]
…The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And€now€the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And€now€the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The€band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out.



BASEBALL TUNES

Even bandleader John
Philip Sousa (right, in
suit) sponsored a team.
This song, the “Three
Strikes Two-Step,” was
written in honor of his
team. It was one of
many tunes, poems
(left), and stories
about baseball, as it
quickly became the
“National Pastime.”

Birth of the Pros
Though baseball’s beginnings were humble, it didn’t take long for players
to realize there was a way to make money playing this game. By the years
after€the Civil War, top players were being lured from club to club by secret
payments. In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings dropped the pretense and
announced themselves as professional players. They barnstormed the
East,€playing (and defeating) all comers. Two years later, the National
Association joined together several pro teams to form the first pro
league. From then on, baseball would have two worlds: professional
and everyone lese. In the late 19th century, several pro leagues rose
and fell. By 1901, there were two established “major leagues,” along
with several other “minor” pro leagues, much as it is today.
SPALDING’S SPORT

PRE-WORLD SERIES

Albert G. Spalding
was a top-notch
pitcher in his youth,
posting an amazing
57-5 record in 1875.
He also helped create
the National League
in 1976, later was the
president of the
Chicago White Sox,
and headed a world
baseball tour in 1888.
He also founded the
still thriving Spalding
Sporting Goods
Company.
High-button shoes
worn for photo, not
for games
FOR THE FANS

The growth of pro teams, such as the
American Association’s Cincinnati Reds
(featuring 27-14 pitcher Lee Viau in 1888,
below), led to the creation of numerous
scorecards, programs, magazines, and
souvenirs fans used to follow their new
favorite teams and players.

The World Series would
not begin until 1903, but
teams saw the benefit of
postseason tournaments
early on. From 1894-97,
the first- and second�
place€teams in the
National League played
each other for the Temple
Cup. In 1896 (right), the
Baltimore Orioles
finished first in the
league, and also won the
Cup with four straight
victories over Cleveland.
EARLY CHAMPS

Championship medal

The Baltimore Base Ball Club won
the 1894 National League
championship. Playing a style of
baseball known as “little ball,” they
were led by the famously fierce
player/manager John McGraw.

TAKE ME OUT
TO€THE BALL GAME
(Written in 1908 by Jack Norworth and Albert
Von€Tilzer, this song is sung at every baseball
game€during the top and bottom of the seventh
inning—the€seventh-inning stretch.)
Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don’t care if I never get back.
So it’s root, root, root for the home team.
If they don’t win, it’s a shame!
For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out,
At the Old Ball Game!



EARLY OUTFITS

Early pro players enjoyed snappy outfits as
much as today’s players do. This heavy
wool€warm-up sweater was sported by
members of the Cleveland Indians, an early
entry in the American League.

Thick ribbed
wool

THE FIRST PROS

Harry Wright, captain and founder
of the 1869 Cincinnati Red
Stockings (left), the first all�
professional team, has been called
the “father of pro baseball.” Along
with starting the Red Stockings,
Wright invented the basic baseball
uniform still used today and
patented the first scorecard. He
guided his team to an 18-month
winning streak, and later led
Boston’s entry in the new National
Association, in 1871.

Note spelling of
“Base Ball”

ON THE ROAD

By the turn of the century, pro
baseball had spreak as far west as
Chicago and St. Louis and as far
south as Louisville. This schedule
(above) from 1899 also shows the
Reds making stops in Washington,
Philadelphia, New York, and
“Pittsburg,” as it was spelled then.

Webbing was simple
leather thong.
Harry Wright
FINALLY…SAFETY

Iron bars

Early catchers wore
little or no safety
equipment. Spurred by
pro players, the first
catcher’s masks were
developed in the 1870s.
This model is from near
the turn of the century.
It would not be until
the years before World
War I that catchers
regularly began using
chest protectors and
shin guards.

Early padded first
baseman’s glove
GLOVES ON FIRST

First basemen were the
first noncatchers to use
gloves regularly.
Having€to catch
numerous€hard throws
throughout a game led
to the development of
this€thickly padded
mitt. Its flimsy
“webbing” was a far
cry€from today’s big,
basketlike gloves.

Padded
leather



The Babe

Ruth used an unusually
large 42-ounce bat.

Without question, George Herman

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN

With Boston from 1914-19, young
Babe Ruth was one of baseball’s
best pitchers. But Red Sox owner
Harry Frazee sold Ruth to the New
York Yankees in 1919, forever
saddling the Bosox with the
“Curse€of the Bambino.”

“Babe” Ruth is the most famous and important
baseball player in history. It would be hard to
overestimate the impact the Babe had on the game, both
as a player and symbol. His numbers are “Ruthian,” a
word€that today still conjures up both the might of his
sweeping swing and his larger-than-life personality. In 22
seasons (1914-35), The Sultan of Swat slugged 714 home
runs. To put that in context, the previous career record
holder had 138: When he hit 54 home runs for the Yankees in
1920, his total was more than nearly every other team, and 25
more than the previous record—set by the Bambino himself
in€1919. His best single-season total—60 home runs in 1927—
was€a record for 34 years. Every home run hitter—and every
world-famous athlete in any sport—competes with the legend
of the Babe. It is a battle they can’t win.

Officially
listed at
215€pounds,
Ruth often
weighed
much more.

“Larrupin”’ was
slang for “slugging.”

A POWERFUL PAIR

Ruth and Lou Gehrig (right) were teammates on
the Yankees for 13 years, helping New York
win four World Series. Here they are shown
in uniforms worn during an off-season
exhibition tour. Gehrig was nearly Ruth’s
equal as a slugger. His career was cut short
by the illness that today bears his name.

AN ADVERTISING BABE

Ruth’s incredible popularity led to
his€earning big money (at the time)
for endorsements such as this one for
large-size men’s clothes.

Ruth first got
number three
because he
batted third.
Uniform
numbers
weren’t used
regularly until
the 1920s.

THE “CALLED SHOT”

This statuette of Ruth, showing his
famous number 3, recalls one of
baseball’s most controversial
moments. In the 1932 World Series,
did Ruth point to the centerfield
bleachers right before he slugged a
homer there? Or was he waving at
the heckling by Cubs’ players?

Note the high socks:
the style of the times.

10

“BABE, SIGN MY BALL”

BASEBALL’S MIGHTIEST SWING

Some experts believe that
Ruth may have signed more
autographs than any other
sports legend of his day, and
certainly more than any
today. He signed so many
baseballs, bats, programs,
and€other memorabilia that
his signature is not as valuable
as other, more reticent stars. He
signed this ball the year he died.

Ruth incredibly quick wrists and powerful upper body
helped him hit 714 home runs. But he was more than
simply a home run hitter; Ruth’s lifetime batting
average of .342 ranks ninth all time.
A baby-faced
Ruth got his
famous nickname
in the minors.

BABE ON THE BASEPATHS

Ruth was not the fleetest of runners. In fact, he was thrown out on an
attempted steal of a second base to end the 1926 World Series. However,
his high on-base percentage and outstanding teammates helped him score
2,174 runs (including this one in 1926), tied for second-most all-time.

BABE AND HIS BABY

Ruth’s daughter Dorothy
shared her dad with the
kids of the world. Raised in
an orphanage, Ruth always
had a special place in his
heart for his youngest fans.

Umpire using classic outside chest protector and mask.
Both players used Louisville Slugger bats.

RECORD SMASHERS

When Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa rewrote the single-season home
run record in 1998, they were toppling records set by these bats. On the
bottom, the bat and ball used by Ruth to hit his then-record 60th home run
in 1927. In 1961, Roger Maris of the Yankees broke Ruth’s record with his
61st home run, using the bat and ball at the top. In ‘98, McGwire raised the
bar first set by Ruth and later toppled by Maris to 70 home runs.
THE END

In one of baseball’s most memorable and poignant
photographs, Babe Ruth bids good-bye to fans at
his€beloved Yankee Stadium—still known today
as€“The House that Ruth Built”—
weeks before his death from
throat cancer in 1948.
Using a bat for a
cane, he
thanked
his fans
and paid
homage
to the
sport he
played like
no one else.
Ruth had thin legs
and€famously small
feet€for a man his size.

11

Player
signature
burned into
wood

National League

Arizona
Diamondbacks

Atlanta Braves

Chicago Cubs

Cincinnati Reds

The Major Leagues
The best baseball in the world is

played by the 30 teams that make up
Major League Baseball. The Majors have
two parts: the 16-team National League, formed
in 1876, and the 14-team American League,
which started to play in 1901. Several A.L.
teams, including the Boston Red Sox, Detroit
Tigers, Chicago White Sox, and Cleveland Indians,
remain in the cities they first played in.
The€Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds survive
from the earliest days of the N.L. Over the
decades, many teams have moved to different
cities, taken on new nicknames, or been added
to the Majors. Today, Major League teams
are found from coast to coast. One team,
the Toronto Blue Jays, plays in Canada.
Wherever they play, the teams play the
best baseball in the world.
ROCKET MAN

Colorado
Rockies

Florida Marlins

American League

Today’s fans are lucky enough to watch some of the
greatest players in the history of baseball. Houston
Astros’ pitcher Roger Clemens is one example. “The
Rocket” makes every list of the top pitchers ever.
Clemens has won seven Cy Young Awards (with
Boston, New York, Toronto, and Houston), more than
any other pitcher. He
has more than 300
victories in his
career and helped
the Yankees win
two World Series.

Anaheim Angels

CLASSIC
CARDINAL

First baseman Albert
Pujols finished in the top
four of the National League
MVP voting in each of his first
three seasons (2001–2003), a first
in baseball history. His 114 homers in
those three seasons tied a Major League
record, too. Pujols combines power (more
than 30 homers each season) with batting skill;
he was also the 2003 N.L batting champion.

Houston Astros

Los Angeles
Dodgers

FUN FOR THE FANS

While a Major League Baseball game is a
great€show on the field, many teams add to
the entertainment for fans with promotions,
giveaways, and mascots, such as
Philadelphia’s “Phillie Phanatic” (left). And
the coolest way to get a souvenir is to catch a
foul ball hit into the stands (above).

Milwaukee
Brewers

New York Mets

12

Philadelphia Phillies

Pittsburgh Pirates

St. Louis Cardinals

Baltimore Orioles

Boston Red Sox

Chicago
White Sox

Detroit Tigers

Cleveland
Indians

Kansas City
Royals

BARRY BASHES FOR THE BOOKS

Fifty years from now, fans of today will look back on Barry
Bonds the way fans of yesteryear remember Babe Ruth (see
page 10). With an unprecedented show of batting power
and skill, Bonds has rewritten the record books and
cemented his place among the game’s all-time greats. In
2002, he set a single-season record with 73 homers. In
2004, he became only the third player ever to reach 700
career homers (the others are Hank Aaron and Ruth).
Bonds is baseball’s only seven-time MVP. He also has
more than 500 stolen bases and has won eight Gold
Gloves. What records are next? Stay tuned!

Minnesota Twins

ROLL ON, RIPKEN

Baltimore’s Cal Ripken,
Jr., was a throwback
hero. In 1996 he played
in his 2,131st
consecutive game,
breaking Lou Gehrig’s
record. This scorecard
is from the final game
in Ripken’s streak,
which ended on
September 20, 1998,
at 2,632 games.
Ripken continued to play
but not every day. In 1999, he started his
seventeenth straight All-Star Game.
He€retired€in 2001.

New York Yankees

Oakland Athletics

VLAD THE POWERFUL

No one is supposed to hit
mammoth home runs off of
pitches that cross home
plate near their ankles. But
Vladimir Guerrero has
never seen a pitch he could
not hit a long way. With
Montreal, he was among
the N.L.’s best allÂ�
around players,
combining a
powerful bat
with a cannon for a right
arm. Few baserunners will
take a chance on an extra
base on Guerrero from
right field. In 2004,
Guerrero joined the
Anaheim Angels and
quickly became an A.L.
star;€he was among
league€leaders in home
runs€and RBI.

Seattle Mariners

Tampa Bay
Devil Rays

Bonds, like
many players
today, wears
full-length
baseball pants.

Guerrero
wears his
baseball pants
the old�
fashioned way,
showing the
whole calf.

Texas Rangers

Toronto Blue Jays

San Diego Padres

13

San Francisco Giants

The Diamond
If baseball diamonds were any other size,

baseball probably wouldn’t work. But a
baseball€diamond is exactly 90 feet on each
side—that is, the distance between the bases is
90 feet. So each ground ball to shortstop means
a close play at first. Each double play is turned
in the nick of time. And the time it takes a base
stealer to go from first to second is just about
the time it takes a pitcher to pitch and a catcher
to throw down to second. Of course, a purist
might note that a baseball diamond is actually a square viewed from
one corner. But the shape is close enough that, at first, the infield area
came to be called a diamond; soon, the entire field itself was known
by€this name. Beyond the base paths is the dirt infield area. The
outfield€beyond this, the grass (or artificial turf) outfield area. The
outfields fences define the back of the field, while the foul lines
extending from home plate define the sides. A diamond is much more
than lines, fences, and bases, however. A baseball diamond is the place
where dreams come true.
Left field

Outfield bleachers
FAIR OR FOUL?

At the outfield end of the two foul
lines are tall “foul poles.” Any ball hit
to the field side of the pole is fair; a
ball to the outside of the pole is
foul. Any ball that hits the foul pole
is, ironically, fair. Most foul poles
have nets (below) attached to the
field side of the pole to help
umpires make their calls.

Left field
foul line
Third base
Third base
coach’s box

ON THE DIAMOND

The geometry of baseball
and the diamond on which it
is played makes the game
unique. The white foul lines
stretch out into the outfield, while
imaginary lines define the paths
between first, second, and third bases.
Many teams cut their outfield grass in
geometric patterns to create a more
pleasing picture for audiences watching both
at the park and at home on television.

14

DIAMONDS OF OLD

This photo of Griffith Stadium from
1933 shows that diamonds haven’t
changed much from earlier times. A
wide dirt area separated the infield
grass from the outfield grass. This
view also shows the netting that
ballparks put up behind home plate
to protect fans from fast-moving foul
balls or wild pitches.
Outfield fences,
usually padded

A BALL CLUB’S SECOND HOME

The area where baseball teams sit during games when they’re not on the
field is called the dugout. Normally, dugouts are located at or below the
level of the playing surface. Players wait on the bench for their turn to bat
or rest between innings in the field. In the dugout, players also get
refreshments, discuss strategy with their coaches, and cheer on their
teammates. In most stadiums, the dugouts lead directly to the locker
rooms, where teams dress before the game and shower afterward.

PATH TO THE PLATE

This photo from the 1930s
shows two things now only
rarely seen on diamonds and at
ballparks: a dirt path between
the pitcher’s mound and home
plate (today only Arizona’s
Bank€One Ballpark has this oldtime look) and obstructedview€seats. Fans unfortunate
enough to sit behind the steel
beam upright (center) would
have a hard time seeing some
plays. Modern stadiums are all
constructed without such
obstructions.
Center field

Second base

Warning truck, made
of dirt so outfielders
can tell with their feet
if they’re approaching
the wall.

Right field

AT THE CENTER

At the center of every diamond’s
infield is the pitcher’s mound.
Rules call for it to be 18 feet in
diameter and 10 inches above the
level of home plate. The 24-by-6inch pitching rubber is exactly 60
feet, 6 inches from home plate. A
pitcher must be touching the
rubber to begin each pitch.
Right field foul line

First base
coach’s box
First base
Conches hit pregame
warm-up grounders from
these “fungo” circles.
Home plate area, including batter’s
and catcher’s boxes

15

Bats and Balls
Take a stick, the lumber, a wand, or a

toothpick. Combine it with a pearl, an
apple, a pill, a rock, or a pea. What have
you got? Everything you need to play
baseball. Baseball bats and baseballs
have earned many nicknames in the 150
years since the game began to become
popular. And while many things have
changed, the idea of hitting a round ball
with a long, rounded stick has remained
the same. The bats and balls used by Major
League stars over the years also have
become more than just the tools of their
trade—they have become the stuff of legend,
collected and treasured by generations of fans.
Bats used by great players live in the Baseball
Hall of Fame. Signed baseballs reside by the
thousands on the shelves of fans around the
world. And the ball that Mark McGwire hit for
his 70th home run in 1998 sold to a private
collector for $3 million. A pearl of great price,
you might say.
FROM TREE TO BAT

The most famous model of wood
bat used in the Majors is the
Louisville Slugger, made by the
Hillerich & Bradsby Company in
Louisville, Kentucky. To make a
bat,€first, a Northern white ash
tree,€at least sixty years old, is cut
down. Trees less than 12 inches in
diameter are cut into long pieces
(“split”). From the center of the
split, the “square” is ripsawed.
On€a€lathe, the square becomes a
round cylinder. On another lathe,
the bat is roughly shaped (note
the€extra pieces on the ends that
hold the bat in place). In the next
stage, the bat is sanded smooth.
The finished product (below) has
been dipped in black lacquer (not
all bats are dipped) and then foil
branded with the company’s
famous logo as well as the
player’s€signature.

WHAT THE PROS USE

Since 1975, the American and National Leagues have used this cow-leather�
covered ball made by Rawlings. Before then, the ball was sometimes covered
with horsehide and made by Spalding. Home teams must supply five dozen
new balls for each regular season game. Umpires or clubhouse personnel “rub
them up” with a special compound to erase factory shine.

Tree bark still
attached

Split

Knob

The signature
of€baseball
commissioner
Allan€Selig is printed
on the ball.

Square

Round

Handle

16

Rough out

Semi-finished

Beginning of
barrel

INSIDE THE BASEBALL

Not every baseball is made like this one, but this is the baseball used at the highest level of play
in the world: the Major Leagues. Official balls must weigh between 5 and 5 1/4 ounces. They
must have a circumference of between 9 and 9 1/4 inches. The lifespan of a Major League
baseball during a game is about six pitches. Home team personnel supply new balls as needed
to the home plate umpire to put into play.
Cork and rubber
Black rubber
Red rubber

4-ply gray wool
winding
3-ply white
wool winding
4-ply gray wool
winding
100 percent cotton
finish winding
Full grain, alum
tanned cowhide
leather

Player’s uniform
number

THE BOTTLE BAT

The only player to successfully use this
strange form of a bat—thinner at the handle
and uniformly wide along the barrel, instead
of tapering as normal bats do—was Heinie
Groh, who played for the Cincinnati Reds
from 1912-21.

Hollow
barrel

5-ply waxed cotton thread,
hand-stitched

IT GOES PING

AT THE BAT RACK

Baseball players take good care of their most
important offensive tool: their bat. During the
game, players store several bats in the bat rack in
the dugout. A player might have half a dozen
bats at the ready, in case one breaks during a
game. Before the season, players get large
shipments of bats made to their personal
specifications; more can be ordered if necessary.

The development of the aluminum
bat in the early 1970s changed
baseball at every level except the
professional. Much sturdier than
wood bats, aluminum bats last
much longer and are almost
impossible to break. Youth
leagues, high schools, and
colleges learned to love the
cost efficiency of the
aluminum bat. Purists
bemoan its odd sound, and
the effect aluminum has
on€batters. What would
Signature of
be€simple outs with
Ken Griffey, Jr.
wood€are singles with
H&B has
aluminum; what would
thousands of
be€fly outs with wood
cards on file
turn into home runs.
with the bat
Still, more players
preferences of
today€use aluminum
Major Leaguers.
than wood.

17

BALLPARK DONUTS

While warming up before hitting, some
players slip this weighted ring, called a
“donut,” onto their bat. It fits over the knob
but not the barrel. Swinging the bat with this
added weight makes swinging the bat
without it seem easier and quicker.

Baseball Gloves

Webbing

While many things about baseball have remained

nearly the same since the first games were played, one piece
of equipment—the baseball glove—has undergone many
changes. In fact (left), gloves were not even used regularly
by players until the late 1800s. Even then, only the
catcher wore one, and it was not much more than a
leather glove with a bit of padding in the palm.
Gloves, or mitts, as they are also called, evolved
slowly as more players began using them. The
fingers were stitched together. The space between the thumb and
forefinger was widened, creating a basket or pocket. The fingers
got longer, the better to snare line drives. The leather got looser
and more pliable, making the glove more comfortable, and mitts
became more specialized for each position. No matter how big or
wide or high-tech a baseball glove is, it is only as useful as the hand
that is inside it. A glove won’t catch a ball all by itself.
Early gloves had
little webbing.

Fingers not
laced together

Pocket
KIDS’ MITTS

IN THE OLD DAYS

Early gloves, such as this one from
the 1920s, offered players little
padding compared to today’s gloves,
and virtually no additional reach.
Instead of snagging the ball in the
web between the thumb and
forefinger, as players usually do
today, players back then had to grasp
the ball to their palm with their
fingers to catch it, rather than
cradling it in the webbing.

Mitts for younger
|€players are the same
style€as those for major
leaguers, except they are
smaller. Players young
and old use their mitts to
field grounders, as this
infielder demonstrates.
The glove’s lacing and
webbing create a wide
“scoop” that makes
this task easier.

Thumb

JUST LIKE MICKEY

Major League players have long
endorsed mitts, whether a
replica of the model they use
themselves or a kid-sized
souvenir model like this one
from the 1960s. Note the
differences between the earlier
model (above left) and this one,
with the fingers stitched
together, and much wider
webbing between thumb and
forefinger. Even so, the fingers
were still not much bigger than
on the hand.

18

Laces holding
fingers together

GOLD GLOVES

Since 1957, Major League players who
excel with their gloves (and their
throwing arms) are awarded the Gold
Glove (left). There is one winner for
each position in each league (three
outfielders are chosen in each league).
Giants center fielder Willie Mays
earned 12 consecutive Gold Gloves,
including this one, from 1957-68.

Laces holding pieces
of glove together

CATCHER’S MITT

Among the most specialized of
baseball gloves are those used
by catchers. Features include
extra padding in the pocket,
an extra-wide webbing
(right), and an adjustable
strap to insure a tight and
comfortable fit. This
particular glove is made with
two colors of leather. Some
choose to use one color,
usually€brown or black.
Model name

PITCHER’S GLOVE

A key to a pitcher’s
glove is secrecy.
Pitchers use their
gloves to hide until
the last minute the
grip they are using on
the ball, so they don’t
give hitters any clue as to
what they’re throwing.
While some outfielders’
gloves have open webbing,
pitchers always use gloves with
closed webbing.
Finger sleeve

BIG BASKET AT FIRST

Heel
GLOVE STORY

This typical outfielder’s glove shows many of the features that make today’s
gloves so much better than baseball’s first mitts. The large, secure webbing
between the thumb and forefinger helps trap the ball; it is where most of the
catches are made. The longer fingers help players reach for balls hit or thrown
to the side or over their heads. Padding in the heel and in the fingers helps
cushion hard-hit balls. And specially chosen leather (left) makes each glove a
soft an cushiony basket for making great catches.

19

After the catcher’s glove,
the first baseman’s glove is
the most unique. These gloves are
longer and thinner than outfield
gloves. They are more pointed at the
top, the better to scoop low throws
out of the dirt or to stretch out for
throws that are off-line. First
basemen learn to make catches that
create an audible “pop” when the
ball hits the mitt. Umpires often
listen for the sound while watching
the base for the runner’s foot.

Hats and Helmets

Crown

They are called baseball caps, but golfers wear them on the
golf course, race car drivers wear them after races, and football

quarterbacks and coaches wear them on the sidelines. And these days,
it seems as if everyone in the nonsports world wears them, too.
Baseball caps are the game’s most important contribution to fashion.
While baseball players wear caps for team identity and to keep the sun
out of their eyes, many other sports have adopted the distinctive
crown and bill of a baseball cap for use in their own sports. Major
League players wear very durable, high quality hats fitted to each
player’s head. When you’re in the big leagues, you don’t have to deal
with those plastic clips at the back of your cap. As for baseball
helmets, they are a much more recent addition to the game.
While a few players tried some form of helmet in the game’s
early years, it was only after the development of hard plastic
during World War II that a durable and comfortable
helmet could be made. Today, baseball players at
all levels must wear helmets to protect their
heads while batting.
Hard plastic,

usually in team
color

EXTRA PROTECTION

Many youth leagues now insist that batters wear
face guards such as this one along with plastic
batting helmets with ear flaps on both sides.
Face guards are designed to protect a batter’s face
from both pitches and foul tips, while also
allowing good visibility. Although they can be
awkward and uncomfortable, they also can be
very helpful, especially to inexperienced players
looking for confidence at the plate.

Ear hole

Team logo patch
EARLY MAJOR LEAGUE HELMETS

The first helmets used in the major leagues
were little more than hard plastic versions of
the baseball cap, as modeled here by Minnesota
Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew (573 carreer
home runs). These helmets had little padding
and afforded little protection.
Orioles’ logo

20

CHANGING TIMES

Just as styles in fashion change
through time, so, too, do caps
change in baseball. While a few
teams have left their cap
styles unchanged, these
Baltimore Orioles’ caps
show how teams change
colors, logos, and
design€through the
years. In addition,
this is a great way
to sell more
souvenir caps,
as fans try to
keep up with
their heroes.

SAFETY ON TOP

Although plastic batting helmets have been around
since the 1950s, it was only in 1971 that wearing
them became mandatory in the Major Leagues.
Pro players can wear models with only one ear
flap (facing the pitcher), while players at
other levels wear helmets with two ear
flaps. The reason for batting helmets is
simple: Being hit in the head with a pitch
can be very dangerous. Many players’
careers have been shortened after such
“beanballs,” as they are called. Only
one Major League player has died as a
result of being “beaned”—Ray
Chapman in 1920. Today’s players
are well-protected.

Brim

Strap attached
rubber device
to cap.

AN UNPOPULAR FIRST TRY

Players in early baseball didn’t have the
advantage of plastic. One enterprising
company tried marketing this air-filled
rubber bladder as a helmet. It attached to
the player’s cap with an elastic strap. It
was ineffective and didn’t catch on.
A MOST TRADITIONAL TOPPER

No matter at what level a player plays, from the earliest tee-ball leagues to the Majors,
he or she wears a baseball cap on the field. Baseball caps are as much about tradition
as function. They keep the sun out of a player’s eyes, but what do they do at night? Or
in an indoor stadium? Wearing the traditional cap is as much a part of being a
ballplayer as swinging a bat. Caps normally are made of six triangular panels held
together by a fabric-covered,
galvanized steel button at the
top. The team logo is
on the front of
the cap.
Foam padding

Snap for chin strap,
sometimes used in
youth baseball.

Ventilation holes

FROM THE OLD DAYS

This New York Giants’
cap from 1922 shows
how baseball caps have
changed only slightly
over the years. The
primary changes have
come in the height of
the crown and the
width of the bill. Early
caps were worn more
snugly on the top of the
head, while bills were a
bit shorter.

Brim, usually fabric
stitched over heavy
cardboard.

21

Uniforms

Fitted cap

The main reason for uniforms is simple—to tell

who is on what team. Baseball uniforms are designed
to allow freedom of movement and comfort as the
player plays the game. Mimicking the first uniforms,
today’s consists of a short-sleeved shirt (often worn over
a longer-sleeved undershirt), pants with a belt, and a
baseball cap. Now, baseball uniforms are made of tightfitting, stretchy polyester and other synthetic fabrics. Early
uniforms were made of heavy wool that got heavier as the
game wore on and the player sweated. Then and now,
baseball pants are unique in sports. They are supposed to
stop just below the knee, as they did until the last decade.
But today’s fashion-conscious Major Leaguers, however,
almost always prefer much longer pants, even while
bucking tradition. Unfortunately, these long pants hide
another unique part of the baseball uniform: stirrup socks
worn over white socks. As with any baseball equipment,
the uniform is not as important as what the player does
while he’s wearing it.
Early caps had very
low crowns…

Year made
(1952), size
(46), player’s
number (9)
SUPERSTAR SHIRT AND SHOES

Each team has a unique design on its jerseys. This
home Red Sox jersey belonged to the great Ted
Williams. Boston has not changed its basic logo for
decades, but other teams have changed their looks
and logos several times. Williams’s baseball shoes
(below) show that the basic configuration of the
metal spikes (three-pronged triangles at front and
back) has not changed much since the “Splendid
Splinter” wore these in the 1950s.

Leather
uppers

…and very
short bills.

Metal spikes
tacked to soles
Note longer
sleeves.
Leather belt

STAR MODELS

Pants fall to
just below
knees.

Detroit’s Hall of
Fame€outfielder Ty
Cobb (left) and
“Shoeless” Joe
Jackson€of the
Chicago White Sox
model uniforms
worn€in the Majors
before World War I.
Compare the baggy
wool pants and
jerseys to the sleek,
tight-fitting
uniforms€of today’s
players. The thick
wool of the
uniforms€made
keeping them clean
difficult, and they
were almost
permanently stained
with grass and dirt.

High
socks,
before
stirrups

22

WEARIN’ O’ THE GREEN

Spring training is a time for fun. Each March
17,€as clubs play exhibition games in Florida
and Arizona, several teams celebrate St.
Patrick’s€Day by donning special greentrimmed uniforms. This one, complete with
shamrock on the sleeve, was worn by Hall of
Fame pitcher Tom Seaver when he was with
the Cincinnati Reds. For one day each spring,
the team becomes the Cincinnati Greens.

Batting helmet
with ear flap
Batting glove

White home
jersey

Wristbands

RETIRED NUMBERS

Teams “retire” jersey numbers to honor their greatest
heroes. No Giants player, for instance, will ever wear
Willie Mays’s number 24 again.

Long-sleeved
undershirt

Leather belt

CLASSIC PINSTRIPES

All-Star shortstop Derek Jeter of the
New York Yankees models one of
baseball’s classic uniforms: the
Yankee pinstripes. These
uniforms, worn at home by the
Bronx Bombers, have barely
changed in color and logo
from the days of Mickey
Mantle and Yogi Berra,
but greatly changed in
style. Like all baseball
uniforms today, they are
body-hugging, stretch
cotton-poly blends made
for comfort, durability, and
protection. Teams also have
a different uniform for road
games, usually in a basic gray
and with their city name
instead€of their team name. As
in the old days, a baseball
uniform consists of a jersey,
pants, hat, and socks. Many
players also wear sliding shorts
(above) under their pants. These
shorts have padded thighs that
cushion players’ legs and rear when
they slide into bases.

Old-fashioned
high socks

Uniform
pants,
modern
full-length
style

High-topped
baseball
spikes

23

OLD IS NEW AGAIN

To revive interest in the “old
days,” in 1996 Major League
teams wore “throwback”
uniforms in tribute to previous
incarnations of their teams.
Texas Rangers catcher Ivan
Rodriguez ran the bases in the
uniform of a Texas Rangers
minor league team from
the€1950s.

Four-seam fastball

Pitching

Pitchers focus their
eyes on their target:
the catcher’s mitt.

The pitcher’s mound

Two-seam fastball

Curveball

“Circle” change-up

is the center of the
baseball universe.
Nothing happens in a
baseball game until the
pitcher starts his
windup and fires in that
first pitch. His job is to get
the opposing hitters out, but
saying that and doing it are
two very different things. Warren
Spahn (363 wins, most by a lefthander) said, “Hitting is the art of
timing. Pitching is the art of
upsetting timing.” A wide variety
of types of pitches (left) is used to
upset a hitter’s timing. An even
wider variety of arm motions,
leg motions, and body spins
has also been put to use over the
years. And until the 1930s,
pitchers could legally deface a
ball, whether by cutting it or
applying all sorts of “foreign
substances” (including spit)
to make it harder to hit. It’s
a tough job—pitchers need
all the help they can get.

Pitcher’s
glove

RECORD-SETTING CLOSER

Knuckleball

GETTING A GRIP

Different pitches are
thrown using different
grips (above). Pitchers
determine how a ball
moves or curves by
changing the position of
their fingers on the raised
seams of the ball, or by
turning their wrist.

Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher
Eric Gagne has become one of the
most feared pitchers in baseball.
From 2002 to 2004, he converted
an amazing 84 consecutive save
opportunities. A “closer” get a
save when he comes into the
game in a tight situation and
finishes off the win for his
team. Gagne has a great
fastball, but an even more
devastating changeup.

Pitchers drive toward
home by pushing off the
pitching rubber with
their back foot.

Arm whips
forward

Hand behind
head

Set position

The stride

Driving off back foot

511

SMOKIN’ SOX

In 1999, Boston’s Pedro
Martinez, the 1997 Cy Young
Award winner with Montreal,
became only the second
pitcher to win the award in
each league.

Watching many of
baseball’s legendary
records fall in recent years
(Roger Maris’s 61 homers,
Lou Gehrig’s 2,130
consecutive games played, Ty
Cobb’s 4,192 hits), it would
be easy to say that any record
is breakable. One that most
assuredly is not is the career
victory total of Denton True
“Cy” Young, who earned
511 wins from 1890-1911.
He won more than 30
games in a season five
times. He combined
durability with power
and guile to dominate
baseball’s early years.
Today, the annual A.L.
and N.L. awards for
the best pitcher are
named after him.

Follow-through

Ready to
field

GOING THROUGH THE MOTION

If hitting, in the words of Mark McGwire, is
one of the “hardest things in sports,” then
pitching is a close second. Pitchers have
their€own style of “delivery,” but whether
they€throw over the top, from three quarters,
or sidearm, they all have one aim—throw
the€ball past the hitter in the strike zone. All
pitchers begin their deliveries from one of
two€positions: the set position, used with
men€on base, and the windup, used with the
bases empty. The set helps deliver the ball
more quickly, reducing the time for runners
to€attempt steals.
Flimsy nonwebbed glove
FIVE FABULOUS SEASONS

From 1962-66, Sandy Koufax of the
Dodgers was the greatest pitcher of
all time. The left-hander’s sizzling
Baggy wool
fastball and devastating curve
uniform
yielded€three Cy Young Awards,
five€ERA titles, and four no-hitters.
His 27 wins in 1966 were the most
by a lefty in the 1900s. Sadly,
arthritis forced him to retire after
that season.
Fastball
grip

High-topped shoes

IT’S ALL ABOUT SPEED

More so than ever before, pitchers
are judged by how fast they can
throw the ball. Movement and
control are vital, too, but speed
rules. Few baseball scouts go
anywhere without a radar gun
(left) to measure pitch speed. You
probably won’t reach the Major
Leagues unless your fastball
reaches 90 miles per hour. Hit 100
and you earn a fast-track ticket to
“The Show” (the big leagues).

SPEED FROM THE EAST

Hideo Nomo became the first
Japanese-born pitcher to throw a
no-hitter while with the Dodgers in
1996. A no-hitter is one of the
greatest feats a pitcher can perform,
holding the opposing team to no
hits for an entire game.

25

Catching

On tag plays, catchers
often remove their masks
for better visibility.

The hardest working player on a

baseball team is the catcher.
Squatting behind home plate for
nine€innings, he must catch
everything a pitcher throws past a
hitter, must endure being hit by foul
tips and bats, and must be ready to
fire perfect throws to catch wouldbe€base stealers. Occasionally, he
must deal with charging
runners,€who plow into him like
a football fullback, or he must
soothe a pitcher’s shattered ego
after a home run. The great Yankee
Yogi Berra
manager Casey Stengel summed up
the importance of the catcher when he said, “Ya
gotta have a catcher. Otherwise the ball will roll
all€the way back to the backstop.
JUST LIKE THE PROS

Playing catcher in a youth
baseball league is just as
grueling€as the pros. Like
their Major League role
models, young catchers
wear all the
protective gear
available,
including mask,
helmet, chest protector, shin
guards, and protective cup. It
sometimes takes young players a
while to adjust to the gear, but
after a few foul tips, they’ll find
it’s worth the effort.

Detachable
throat protector

Extra-long youth
chest protector

PLAY AT THE PLATE!

One of baseball’s most exciting plays occurs when ball and runner
arrive at home plate at the same time. The catcher must block the
plate and make the tag. Here Ivan Rodriguez, baseball’s best
catcher,€does just that. Rodriguez also excels at picking off base
runners with a throwing arm called one of the best ever.
CAMPY

After eight seasons in the Negro
Leagues, Roy Campanella joined
the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948 and
redefined the catching position.
Combining power at the plate
with great catching skills,
“Campy” won three MVP
awards€in the 1950s. Sadly, a
1958 auto accident left him
partially paralyzed. However,
he€remained close to the game
and was one of baseball’s
most€beloved figures until his
death in 1993.

Campanella in
1950s Wheaties ad

Shin guards
with knee cups
CATCHING WITH A PILLOW

FROM ICE TO DIAMOND

Most catcher’s equipment has
changed only in materials
rather than form. The ironbarred catcher’s mask of
today looks much like that
used in the 1930s.
However, a recent
innovation is changing
that. Inspired by masks
used by hockey goalies,
catcher Charlie O’Brien
helped design this model,
which allows for more
protection and greater
visibility.

Elastic
strap

Early catcher’s mitts (right) were
little more than round leather
pillows with space for the
hand to fit into the back.
The pocket was
developed over time
by€catching the ball.
There was little or
no hinge or
webbing. Most
catchers needed
to use both hands
to catch. Modern
gloves (opposite,
top right) have
made catching safer
by letting catchers use
only one hand.
Pocket formed at
center over time.

26

Very small
webbing
area

Removable
sun visor

“THE TOOLS OF IGNORANCE”

Catcher’s mask
with attached
throat protector

Chest protector is lower
on throwing shoulder
to allow better range
of motion for
throwing.

Mickey Cochrane (below) coined that
phrase€to describe the protective gear worn
by catchers. And while catching is indeed a
tough job most players avoid, today’s
equipment makes it safer than ever. From
head to toe, catchers wear heavy-duty
padding or high-impact plastic coverings
that shield them from most of the bumps
and bruises the position creates. But as any
catcher will tell you, foul balls have a way
to€finding an unprotected spot. Catchers are
generally not too tall, and are some of the
most powerful baseball players. But they
also€must be among the most nimble and
flexible. They spend most of their time on
the field standing up and squatting down
repeatedly.

JUST HIT THE MITT

The modern catcher’s mitt looks
more like other fielder’s gloves,
with€a built-in pocket and wide
webbing. Catcher’s mitts have more
padding on the edges, and are also
designed to make it easier to scoop
out or backhand low pitches.

FLASHING THE SIGNALS

Catchers use hand signals to tell
pitchers€what pitch they should throw.
Each team develops its own set of
signals, but the classic list is one finger
for a fastball, two for a curve, three
for a change, and four for any
other pitch thrown, such as a
slider. Signals are changed
when€runners are on base, so
the€runners can’t tip off the
hitters with their own signals.
Catchers also can signal for
pitchouts or pickoffs.
Fielding
glove
worn
under
mitt

The catcher’s
squat position

CATCHING AND HITTING

Shin guards
hinged around
knees

Old-style
chest protector

Flaps
protect
feet

27

Catchers traditionally are depended on
for defense. If they can hit, then so
much€the better. Hall of Fame catcher
Mickey Cochrane, here demonstrating
a€throw to second base, was one of the
best hitting catchers, with a lifetime
average of .320. Cincinnati’s Johnny
Bench, another Hall of Famer, was
an outstanding hitter as well as
top€defender. Among today’s
catchers, the Rangers’ Ivan
Rodriguez and the Mets’
Mike Piazza star at the plate
as well as behind it.
Piazza especially has
shone, with six
consecutive .300
seasons. His .362
mark in 1997 was
the best by a
catcher in the
1900s.
Smaller, old-style
leather shin guards

Infield and Outfield

SHORTSTOP: KEY TO THE INFIELD

On defense, a baseball team has two main parts: infield and

outfield. The four players who play near the bases form the infield.
The three players who play out beyond the bases are the outfield.
(The pitcher and catcher are officially part of the infield.) Each of the
four infield positions—first base, second base, shortstop, and third
base—has a special area of responsibility as well as skills particular
to that area. The three outfield spots—left field, center field, and
right€field—are more similar. Each covers about one-third of the
outfield. But no matter what their specialty,
all of these players have one job
when the ball is put into
play: Get the runners
out and stop runs
from scoring.

The shortstop is usually the best
fielder on a team. He has to be quick,
fast, accurate, and smart. Here Alex
Cintron of the Diamondbacks
demonstrates excellent form for
fielding ground balls. Infielders need
to stay low and balanced, watch the
ball fall into their glove, and make a
quick, accurate throw to the base.
At€the crack of the bat, an infielder
moves to intercept the ball, scoop up
the grounder in his mitt, and quickly
grab the ball with the throwing hand.

THE WIZARD OF OZ

Few players in recent years
have been as spectacular in
the field as Hall of Fame
shortstop Ozzie Smith, who
played for the Padres and
Cardinals from 1978–96. His
range, his ability to dive and
come up throwing, and his
stunning dives made him
into one of the best
defensive players ever at
the€most important
defensive position.

Running forward,
Mondesi sights his target.
A CANNON IN RIGHT

Right fielders normally have the strongest
throwing arm on a team because they
have to make the longest throws, from
deep in right to third base. Rightfielder
Raul Mondesi shows how outfielders
charge the ball and use their momentum
to help make their throws carry farther.
Mondesi won two Gold Gloves, thanks
in€part to one of the strongest and
most€accurate arms in the majors.

28

Center fielder
Left fielder

Right fielder

Shortstop

Second
baseman

Third
baseman

First baseman

Pitcher

Catcher
“HE LEAPS AT THE WALL, AND…”

BASEBALL DEFENSIVE POSITIONS

The diagram above shows the basic position that each player
on€a€baseball€team takes prior to each pitch. Players adjust their
positions€slightly depending on the hitter or the game situation. Some
examples—Against a right-handed pull hitter, the shortstop, left fielder,
and center fielder may move to their right. With a runner on third and
less than two outs, the infield will play “in,” or at the edge of the grass
nearer to home plate. On a bunt play, the first and third basemen will
charge toward the plate to field the bunt and throw to a base.
Even while jumping, an
accurate throw is vital.

BARRY IN THE OUTFIELD

San Francisco’s Barry Bonds has
gained fame for his mighty homers.
But he has also won eight Gold
Gloves for outfield play. He combines
a great throwing arm with speed and
outstanding leaping ability. Here Bonds
demonstrates an important outfield
technique: catching fly balls. Outfielders
need to see a fly ball off the bat and react
quickly. They first move to where they
think it will land, and then put their glove
up for the catch. On sunny days, they use
their glove to shield their eyes from the sun,
and attempt to track the ball in the glare. It’s
tricky, but with practice, it becomes routine.

TWO FOR ONE

The “pitcher’s best friend,”
a€double play happens when
two outs are recorded on one
batted ball, normally a grounder.
For€instance, the ball is hit to the
second€baseman, who throws it to the
shortstop at second base. The shortstop
steps on second to force out a runner
coming from first (and often leaps to
avoid€the sliding runner, as shown here
by Omar Vizquel), and then throws to
first to get the batter.

The left arm balances,
while the right arm
rears back.

Outfielders put
their whole body
into their throws.
Mondesi pushes
off with back leg.

29

Some of baseball’s most spectacular
plays come when an outfielder
jumps to reach over the wall to turn
a would-be home run into a long
out. Here Detroit’s Bobby
Higginson€has raced to the wall in
center, timed his jump just right,
and stretched out to catch the ball
before it reaches the seats.

Batting

Stan Musial used his odd
batting style to total 3,630 hits,
fourth all-time.

Mark mcgwire said it for all players: Hitting a baseball is the single most

difficult feat in sports. The greatest hitters—or batters, the terms are
interchangeable—succeed only about three times out of ten. A basketball player
with that success rate would be out of a job; a field-goal kicker wouldn’t make the
football team. But batting is so hard to do well that .300 is the gold standard. In
less than a third of a second, batters must decide to swing, begin their swing, and
then, another tiny fraction of a second later, somehow connect a rounded bat with
a wildly spinning round ball that is flying toward them at speeds that can reach
more than 90 miles per hour. It is hard to do, but when it is done well,
wow…what a singularly thrilling moment.
Ready to hit

IT SURE LOOKS EASY

Eyes on
the ball

Shoulder turn
begins

Wrists turn over

OH, WHAT A HITTER

The major leagues are not
the only place to find great
hitters. Sadaharu Oh of the
Tokyo Giants used his
unusual batting style—
lifting his right leg as
he€strode into the
pitch—to hit an
international
record€868 career
home runs in
more€than 3,000
fewer at-bats than
major league
career leader
Hank Aaron.

Cobb played in the
days before batting
helmets.
Junior joined
Cincinnati in
2002; his dad
had starred
for the Reds
in the
1970s.

THE GEORGIA PEACH

Hall of Fame outfielder
Ty Cobb held his hands
several inches apart on
the bat, a style that no
one successfully imitated.
No one could match his
talent, either. Cobb
(Detroit, 1905-1928)
used€that odd style to
compile a major-league
record .366 lifetime
average€and 4,192 hits,
second-most all-time.

Full follow-through

This sequence of photos
shows proper, classic hitting
form. However, each player
adapts this basic form to his
or her needs and particular
abilities. Some players will
begin the swing with the bat
higher or lower, or will take
a€short or long step with
their€front foot. The keys to a
successful swing, though, are
the same no matter what
style a batter uses:
consistency, keeping the eyes
on the ball, and remaining
smooth and quick
throughout. Put all these
things together, swing at the
right pitch, and a hit is often
the result.
Bat cocked
toward pitcher

Gwynn
demonstrates
“hitting off
the front
foot.”

JUNIOR

A long, looping, uppercut
swing would spell disaster for
most hitters. For Cincinnati
centerfielder Ken Griffey, Jr.,
that stroke has spelled power.
“Junior” reached 350 career home
runs faster than any player in
major-league history.

30

High kick
with front
leg

“THE GREATEST HITTER WHO EVER LIVED”

Eyes on the ball

This sequence (clockwise from top left) shows the form of Ted Williams, the Red
Sox outfielder whose childhood dream was to be the greatest hitter of all time. His
dream came true. Williams posted a lifetime average of .344 with 521 home
runs,€even though he gave up five seasons to military service. Combining
power,€average, and an unerring eye, the “Splendid Splinter” could flat-out hit.

Firm, but
not tight,
grip

Youth
league
face mask

THE BEST IN THE GAME…TODAY

While Gwynn has
powerful legs, his
hands are the key to
his success.

San Diego’s sweet-swinging outfielder Tony Gwynn is
the€only active player in the all-time top 20 in career
batting€average. He is an eight-time National League
batting champion, had more than 200 hits in five
different€seasons,€and has hit over .300 every year since
1983. Gwynn has nearly perfect form at the plate, and
his€quick wrists allow him to be as adept at pulling
the ball as he is “going the other way,” that is,
hitting an outside pitch to left field, which
is€the other way for a lefty. In 1998, he
became the 21st player to reach
3,000€hits in his career.

Fingers
cradle bat
lightly to
let€bat “give”
with the
pitch.

Hips and
shoulders square
to face pitcher.

Ventilated for
comfort

FIT LIKE A GLOVE

While old-timers such as Cobb
and Williams would have no use
for them, batting gloves are
essential for all but a handful of
today’s players. The leather and
nylon gloves give players surer
grip on the bat.

LAY ONE DOWN, KID

A special type of hit is called the “bunt.” The
batter pushes the pitch softly so that it stays
between the pitcher’s mound and home plate.
The batter usually is put out on a “sacrifice”
bunt, but the runners on base advance.

Velcro wrist
closures

31

Baserunning
Once a batter
reaches base

(1950s bag, left), he
or she becomes a
base€runner. Being a
good base runner is
almost€as important as
being€a good hitter. If you
can’t€make your way around the bases to
score, it doesn’t matter how often you get on
base. Base runners advance from base to
base when their teammates put the ball in
play. They also can advance by stealing a
base or on a passed ball or wild pitch,
which is when a pitch gets by the catcher.
Every base runner has one ultimate goal:
Step on home plate and score a run for the
team. A base runner must always be alert
to€the situation—how many outs are there?
What’s the count? Who is pitching? Where
are the fielders? These variables change on
every pitch, so concentration is as vital to a
base runner as speed and technique.

Home plate
umpire in position
to make the call
SPEED DEMON

Speedy Dave Roberts demonstrates
how€a runner begins to steal a base;
that is, running as the pitch is thrown
to the plate and reaching the next base
safely. Steals are a huge
offensive advantage for
a€team. A stolen base
disrupts a pitcher’s
timing and sets up
runners to score.

HE’S OUT!

One of the hardest things for young players to
learn is one of baseball’s most unique skills:
sliding. When running hard toward a base,
sliding on the dirt is the only way to safely
stop momentum and keep from going
past the base. A safe slide (shown
here) has the head up, the top leg
pointed toward the base, and
the bottom leg tucked
underneath.

A good jump is key
for a base stealer.

Runner diving
back to first

Fielder in
good position
to make tag

Players slide
on their
thighs.

Batting glove

32

BARRIER BREAKER

Until Jackie Robinson joined the
Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, no black
man had played Major League
baseball. For decades, racism kept
thousands of great athletes out of
the€game until the courageous
Robinson broke the barrier. With
incredible inner strength to face
down outright bigotry, and fantastic
baseball skills, most notably his
speed and daring on the base paths,
Robinson led the way.

Robinson
stole home
19 times in
his career.

PICKOFF PLAY

These young players are demonstrating a pickoff
play€at first base. One way that pitchers keep
potential base stealers from getting too big a lead is
to throw to first instead of to home. A good pickoff
move can sometimes catch a runner napping, and
the first baseman can make the tag for the out.

Books about Robinson
from the 1940s and 1950s

THE BEST KIND OF RUNNING

Devon White of the Los Angeles
Dodgers demonstrates every
player’s favorite kind of
baserunning: the home run trot.
When the ball leaves the park,
players enjoy a more leisurely trip
around the bases. Only a
real show-off does
anything other than
a simple jog.

Base anchored
to ground
Hands reach
for base.

Back foot
on base

THE MAN OF STEALS

Rickey Henderson is shown here demonstrating a headfirst slide (the
technique is also shown by Kerry Robinson on the cover; note how he
reaches for the bag with his fingers up to avoid jamming them).
Henderson€is baseball’s all-time leader in stolen bases, with a career total
of€more than 1,400 (more than 500 more than Lou Brock in second place).
Henderson led the American League in steals 12 times, and in 1982 he set
the single-season record with 130 while with Oakland. Henderson’s skills
made him into the greatest leadoff hitter in baseball history.

33

Hey, Blue!
Baseball is a game of rules, and the people charged with enforcing

those rules are called umpires. Umpires determine, or “call,” whether a pitch
is a ball or a strike…they call base runners safe or out…they decide
whether a batted ball is foul or fair. In the Major Leagues, four umpires are
used in regular-season games, six in the playoffs and World Series. One of
the four “umps” works behind home plate, while the others are stationed at
each of the three bases. At lower levels of baseball, anywhere from one to
four umpires are used. Umpires have a tough job. Baseball is a fast-moving
game, so umps must make split-second decisions that can mean victory or
defeat for one team or the other. Why “Hey, blue”? Although baseball
umpires appear to be wearing black, their uniforms usually are dark navy
blue. So no matter what his name is, any baseball umpire will respond to
the name “Blue.”
Thumb
THE BRUSH OFF

OLD-TIME GEAR

Until the 1970s, home plate
umpires wore a large chest
protector outside their coat.
This model from the 1930s
was heavy leather, bulky, and
hard to manage. Today’s
umpires wear thinner, lighter
gear under their uniform
shirts.
Umpires have
uniform
numbers, too.

Umpires need a clean, clear view of home
plate. The home plate umpire carries a
small brush (an older model is pictured)
to wipe off the plate periodically. Umpires
always turn their back to the field before
bending down and dusting.

wheel

KEEPING TRACK

All umpires carry handheld
“indicators” (older model, left; newer
version, right) that help them keep
track of the number of outs, balls,
strikes and innings. While fans look to
scoreboards for this information, the
umpires have the final say.
Indication of
ejection
THE RHUBARB

Every judgement
call by an umpire
upsets at least one
of the two teams
in the game. When
a team’s manager
is especially upset,
he comes on to the
field to argue with
the umpire. This
can be a simple
discussion, as here
with the Yankees’
manager Joe Torre,
or a hat-flinging,
dust-kicking,
nose-to-nose
screaming match.
Managers and
players are ejected
automatically for
arguing about balls
and strikes.
Many managers
wear sneakers, not
baseball spikes.

34

Dark blue shirt

Gray pants

YOU’RE OUTTA HERE!

When an umpire feels a player or manager has argued too
much or has stepped beyond the bounds of sportsmanship, the
umpire ejects that manager or player from the game. The
ejected person must leave the dugout and return to the
clubhouse. The leagues may also impose fines or additional
suspensions for particularly bad sportsmanship.

Signal for
a strike
Shoulder pads
protect ump from
foul tips.

Sun visor

HE’S IN THERE!

This umpire shows he has called the runner “safe” by spreading his arms
wide. Early pro umpires did not use hand signals. When a deaf pro player
named “Dummy” Hoy couldn’t hear heir vocal calls, a system of signals was
developed to help him. It then caught on and is still used today.

Face mask

Chest
protector is
under shirt.

BEHIND THE PLATE

Ball
bag

The home plate umpire
has the toughest job on
the umpiring crew. He
must make split�
second€decisions on
whether a pitch is a ball
or strike, must judge any
bunts fair or foul, and
must make calls on close
plays at the plate. Each
home plate umpire
develops his own
personal style for
calling strikes. Some
are subtle, some are
loud and dramatic.
Also, like a catcher,
the home plate
umpire wears
protective gear,
including a chest
protector, face
mask, shin guards,
and heavy shoes.

HE’S OUT!

Like home plate umpires with their personal strike calls, base umpires
develop their own unique ways of calling a player “out.” This umpire from
college baseball demonstrates the classic “punch-out” style after the fielder
has applied the tag to the runner. Other umps use an outstretched thumb
on one hand or form an “L” with their arm held away from their body.

FAIR OR FOUL?

Umpires at first and third base determine if batted balls are fair or foul.
This umpire is indicating a fair ball by pointing toward fair territory. The
ball must hit the ground within the white line to be a fair ball.

Steel-toed
shoes

Cards and Stats
Baseball without statistics would be like

chocolate milk without chocolate. The
thousands€of numbers that swirl around baseball
like confetti are the lifeblood of the game. Stats
allow fans to compare players of today and
yesterday; to marvel at 500 home runs or 300
wins; to argue whether Roger Clemens could out�
pitch Walter Johnson; to support a claim that Jackie
Robinson was better than Joe Morgan. Baseball has
stats for everything from pitching to hitting to
baserunning. You might not ever need to know how
well a player hits left-handers in night road games
in€June with less than two outs, but in baseball, you
can find that out if you really want to. One of the
ways€that fans have enjoyed seeing all these stats is
on€baseball cards. These little rectangles of cardboard
have helped fans keep track of their heroes since the
pro game began in the 1870s. While every sport has
cards now, baseball had them first.
EARLY CARDBOARD HEROES

The card on the left features ace pitcher
Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown (1903-16),
who finished his career with a 2.06 career
ERA, third-lowest all-time. (A childhood
accident cost him parts of two fingers). On
the right is Michael “King” Kelly, who was,
until Babe Ruth came along, the most
famous baseball player in America. He
played for four National League teams
from€1878-93, earned the highest salary of
the day, and had a famous song composed
in€his honor—“Slide, Kelly, Slide.”

NO SMOKING

This piece of cardboard is worth more
than $600,000. Only a handful of this 1910 Honus
Wagner card exists, and its rarity plus the baseball
collecting craze has helped drive its value up. This card,
sold with packs of tobacco, is rare because Wagner
objected to smoking, and asked that his image not be
used.€The few cards that did make it onto the market
have€become the most valuable in the sports card world.

Robinson actually played first
and second base, not outfield.
GETTING FANCY

AN AMERICAN HERO

In 1947, Jackie Robinson not
only became the first AfricanAmerican player in Major
League history, he became the
first black player with a
baseball card. He became
an€instant hero to black
fans€everywhere, and this
card was one way that his
fans could carry their
hero€with them. In later
years, as the importance
of€his career became
more€apparent,
Robinson€memorabilia
became popular among
collectors. New items
were produced in 1997
for the fiftieth
anniversary of his
historic first season.

Shown in pregame
warm-up gear

Signature
printed
on card

36

As printing technologies have
evolved, card designs have
gotten wilder. Today’s cards
often include embossing, gold
leaf lettering, holograms, day�
glo inks, or sparkling paper.
This Topps card of Kirby
Puckett, who was one of
baseball’s most popular
players€until an eye ailment
forced him to retire in 1995,
shows another modern trend:
special sets. This All-Star set
joins rookie sets, award�
winner€sets, superstar sets,
and€many others that helped
fuel a boom in card collecting.
Dozens of companies produce
millions of cards each year,
making the chances of finding
a rare one pretty rare indeed.

FIRST THING IN THE MORNING

“FATHER OF BASEBALL”

The first place every baseball fan turns to in the morning paper is the box
scores from games played the night before. Each game is summed up in a
neat vertical box containing words, symbols, and numbers. Who won, who
scored, who got how many hits, who pitched how many innings, even who
the umpires were. This box score shows the Padres 10-3 victory over the
Cardinals, in which St. Louis’s Mark McGwire hit
two home runs, the first of which was
Final score
the 500th of his career.

Henry Chadwick did not invent baseball
or even play it, but no one was more
responsible for spreading the word about
it. Beginning as a reporter in New York, he
then wrote dozens of books on baseball,
including the first hardcover book in 1868.
He helped draft rule books and edited the
annual guide to the National League. Of
more interest to today’s fans, he
invented the box score (right) as
well as the system of scoring with
symbols still used today.

KEEPING SCORE

Fans can follow the game by
keeping score; that is, use a
recognized series of symbols and
numbers to record the results of
each batter throughout the game.
This scorecard is from the 1932
World Series game in which Babe
Ruth “called his shot.”

Players listed
in batting
order, with
position.

HOW TO CALCULATE
TWO IMPORTANT
BASEBALL STATISTICS

Batting average:
Hits / At-Bats. Example:
125 H = .287
435 AB
Earned run average:
(Earned Runs x 9)/
Innings Pitched.
Example:
(62 ER x 9) = 2.22
251 IP

Some sample
symbols: K for
strikeout,—for
single, 4-3 for a
groundout,
second to first.

Vital
statistics

Team, visiting
team on top

Name and position,
in this case, 1997 NL
MVP Larry Walker
of the Rockies

Totals of each
column of stats

The key
stats: atbats,€runs,
hits, runs
batted in,
walks,
strikeouts,
batting
average

McGwire’s line shows
two hits in four atbats, with two RBI.
Line score shows
runs by inning.

Various
events in
game are
in bold.
Player who
did€it€and new
season total. This
shows Gwynn
with 2 RBI,
for€a€season
total€of 33.
Fielding stats

Team logo
STATS HEAVEN

Manufacturer’s logo

The back of a player’s baseball card—most versions, that is;
some feature other information—usually contains a wealth of
statistics. Often included are the player’s lifetime batting or
pitching statistics, listed year-by-year; an additional note in
the€text describing awards or special events; and the player’s
vital statistics, such as height, weight, and date of birth. Fans
can quickly check a player’s card for almost anything they
might need to know.

Pitcher’s line scores:
innings pitched, hits
allowed, runs
allowed, earned
runs€allowed,
number€of pitches,
and season earned
run average.
Umpires’ names

International Baseball

O CANADA!

Baseball started in the u.s., but the game’s

influence has spread worldwide. Today, more than
100 countries are part of the International Baseball
Federation. Baseball has become so popular that it
became a full medal sport in the Olympics in 1992.
As soon as Americans began playing baseball in
the late 1800s, they began to take the game with
them as they traveled the world. In 1888,
Albert Spalding organized a world tour of
baseball teams that visited European, Asian,
and African countries. Cuba caught the bug
early and became one of the world’s baseball
hotbeds; its players helped spread the game to
other Central and South American countries.
American missionaries took the game to Japan in the 1880s, and
organized teams have played there ever since. Japan also is home to
the largest pro league outside the U.S. There are professional leagues
in€Italy and Australia, too, among other places. Baseball may be
America’s National Pastime, but it is fast becoming in international
pastime as well.
BASEBALL IN THE OLYMPICS

When Alexander Cartwright and the Kinckerbocker Base Ball Club were
helping develop baseball in the mid-1800s, they probably could not have
imagined that more than 100 years later, an Australian player (green helmet
below) would execute a perfect take-out slide that a shortstop from the
Netherlands (blue uniform) would nimbly avoid as cleanly as any young
American player. A sure sign of baseball’s international growth is its place in
the Olympics. It was a demonstration sport
in several Olympics, including 1984 and
1988, and became a full medal sport in
1992, with Cuba winning the first of its
two consecutive gold medals.

Cuba’s star third
baseman Omar Linares
1996 Olympic
gold medal

38

Canadian players have long
been a part of America’s
National Pastime. Current
Canadian-born stars include
former National League MVP
Larry Walker of Colorado.
Canada is home to two Major
League teams: the Toronto Blue
Jays and the Montreal Expos.
And Canada’s amateur teams
perform well in events like the
Pan Am games (left).
EL BEISBOL

Teams from Cuba perennially
triumph at international
competitions, and their players
are some of the best in the
world. Their stars, however, are
barred by their government
from playing elsewhere
professionally. This has not
stopped a few from escaping
from Cuba to find fame and
fortune in America.

Traditional
baseball uniform
Names in
English

HOPE THEY’RE ALL GOOD CATCHERS

After winning their third Japan Series championship in five years in 1997, Yakult
Swallows players gave their manager, Katsuya Nomura, a celebratory toss. Japan
has€12 pro teams in the Central and Pacific Leagues that play a 130-game schedule
in€the spring and summer. Baseball has been played in Japan since the late 1800s.

JAPAN’S YANKEES

Like the New York
Yankees€in America’s
Major€Leagues, the Tokyo
Giants have dominated
Japanese baseball. The
Giants, who play their
games at the palatial
Tokyo€Dome, are far and
away the most popular
team; they’re also the most
successful, having won 29
championships in the past
50 years, including a
record€nine in a row from
1965-73. All-time home run
champion Sadaharu Oh
starred for the Giants.
Yoshinobu
Takahaski slugs
a grand slam in
the 1999 opener.

Uniform uses Mexican
national colors of red
and green.

VIVA MEXICO!

Mexico has almost as long a
tradition of pro baseball as
America does. Since the 1930s,
American pros have spent the
winter in Mexico, improving their
game against top competitors. A
thriving pro league continues
today, with national all-star teams
(left) performing well at
international tournaments. In
addition, many Mexican-born
players star in the Major Leagues,
including Colorado Rockies third
baseman Vinny Castilla.

Cuban player
Orestes Kindelan

Flowers and
laurels given
to winners

COUNTRY TO COUNTRY

The United States and Cuba
maintain a decades-long
diplomatic separation. But in
the summer of 1999, the two
countries got together on the
baseball field. For the first
time, a Major League team,
the Baltimore Orioles,
traveled to Havana to
play the Cuban national
team. In return, the
Cubans played at
Baltimore’s Camden
Yards. Before the first
game, Orioles star Carl
Ripkin, Jr., and Cuban
superstar Omar Linares
enjoyed a little playerto-player international
relations.

39

The Negro Leagues
From its earliest days, pro baseball barred

African-Americans from taking part. While such

behavior would be scorned, not to mention illegal,
today, the racist attitudes of the times allowed this
discrimination to go on. But while black players could
not play in the Major Leagues, nothing was going to stop
them from playing the game. As early as the 1870s, all-black amateur
teams were competing in the Northeast. By the turn of the century,
black pro teams began to be formed, and leagues followed soon€after.
The “Negro Leagues,” as they were known, included some of the greatest
players of the century—players whose skills, most observers felt, would
have made them Major League legends. The heyday of the Negro
Leagues came in the 1930s and 1940s, when a dozen or so teams
(including the Birmingham Black Barons, hat upper left) played to
packed houses in major cities in the Northeast and Midwest. In 1947,
when Jackie Robinson finally became the first black player this century
to play in the majors, the Negro Leagues slowly died out. Black players
joined Major and minor league teams and took their rightful place as
part of the American game.
THE “BLACK BABE RUTH”

Of all the many outstanding players from the
Negro Leagues, catcher Josh Gibson was
perhaps the greatest player, and a
batter€of enormous strength.
Unofficial€records give him more
than€900 home runs for his career. In
1931, he was credited with 75 home
runs, while his career batting
average was above .350.
Major Leaguers of the
time, including the
great pitcher Walter
Johnson, recognized
Gibson’s talents, but
knew that he could
never show them
off on the big
stage. In 1972, he
became the second
Negro League
player elected to
the Hall of Fame.

Before helmets,
catchers wore
their hats
backward.

THE 42-YEAR-OLD ROOKIE

Leroy “Satchel” Paige was by far
the€most famous and successful
player from the Negro Leagues.
While his outstanding control as a
pitcher first got him noticed, it was
his infectious, cocky, and
enthusiastic personality that made
him a star. Paige once walked to
bases loaded on purpose to face Josh
Gibson. Then he struck the great
catcher out. On tours of towns across
America, Paige would have his
fielders sit down behind him, and
then routinely strike out the side.
In 1948 at the age of 42, he
joined the Cleveland
Indians and attracted
record crowds at every
game he pitched.

Gibson�
autographed
baseball

Book published
after Paige joined
the Indians.

40

THE FASTEST MAN IN SPIKES

Satchel Paige, a teammate of James “Cool Papa”
Bell, claimed that Bell was so fast “he could switch
off the light and be in bed before the room got
dark.” Bell used his blinding speed and great
batting stroke to star in the Negro Leagues from
1922-46. He joined the Hall of Fame in 1991.

Paige was elected
to the Baseball
Hall of Fame in
1971.

Bell played for the
Monarchs, Grays,
Crawfords, and
five other Negro
League teams.

Baggy
wool€pants

TOP TEAMS

Along with the Homestead Grays, who won a record nine consecutive
league pennants from 1937-45, the Pittsburgh Crawfords (below)
were among the Negro Leagues’ greatest teams. Three of the four
players pictured here—Oscar Charleston and Josh Gibson on the left
and Judy Johnson on the right—are in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Charleston in particular combined speed, defense, and hitting at the
highest level of skill. New York Giants manager John McGraw called
him the best player in the game, black or white.

A Kid’s Game
At least once every season, you hear a major

leaguer say, “I sometimes can’t believe it. I’m getting
paid to play a kid’s game.” Although baseball
didn’t€start with kids, kids are at the base of the
game’s support. Millions of boys and girls around
the world play baseball, either in organized
leagues with teams and uniforms, or
with their friends in the backyard,
park, or street. Players at the
highest levels are doing the same
things they did when they were kids:
hitting, pitching, and catching. Kids also are tremendous
fans of baseball. Visit any Major League park and you’ll see
hundreds of kids cheering on their heroes or crowding
around them afterward for autographs. Baseball may be a
game for everyone, but down deep, it is a game for kids.

LITTLE KIDS… BIG-TIME ACTION

Kids play baseball with as much heart and
excitement as their Major League heroes. This play
at the plate from the 1999 Little League World Series
(won by Japan) looks as if it could have come from a
big-league game. Both the catcher and the player
sliding are showing great form.

MY HERO

Yankees second baseman
Chuck Knoblauch (11) seems
to be telling this young
player,€“Someday, maybe you,
too, can play at Yankee
Stadium.” These members of
the American runners-up (10)
and Japanese champions of the
1999 Little League World
Series were honored on the
field before a Yankees game.

Team logo
Baseball cap

Aluminum bat
TEE IT UP
JUST LIKE THE PROS

Baseball at most youth levels is very
similar to that played in the Major
Leagues. This pitcher from a Santa
Barbara, California, Pony League team
shows the same form that he sees the
big leaguers use on TV. This transfer
of the game from old to young helps
maintain baseball’s popularity.

Batting tee

Baseball pants

42

Many kids get their start in baseball
by playing tee ball. Instead of
trying€to hit a pitched ball, batters
take their cuts at a ball placed on a
batting tee. After the ball is hit, play
continues as in a normal game, with
baserunning and defense. Learning a
proper batting stroke without
worrying how fast the ball is
coming€in helps train young players
so that they’re more ready to face
live pitching as they get older. Tee
ball is popular with both boys and
girls, ages 4-8.

Aluminum bat
approved for Little
League play.
Chin strap
WORLD CHAMPS!

Winning pitcher Kazuki
Sumiyama (center) of Japan is
greeted by his joyous
teammates after he led his
team from Osaka to the 1999
Little League World Series
championship. Japan
defeated€a team from Phoenix
City, Alabama. Three other
teams from the U.S. joined
teams from three other
international regions in the
annual Series. Sumiyama’s
countryman Tatsuya Sugata
(left) helped Japan finish
second in the 1998 series.

Batting helmet
with ear flaps

Logo of
international€area
represented

GIRLS, TOO? YOU BET!

Thousands of girls take part in
youth baseball leagues at all levels.
Girls have appeared in the Little
League World Series and have
played on high school teams. A few
girls have played in college, too.
Girls can be just as good as boys at
hitting, pitching, fielding, and
baserunning. Traditionally, only
boys played baseball…but that has
certainly changed today.

Leather belt

Traditional baseball
pants with stirrup socks

CHAMPS FROM THE FAR EAST

The Little League World Series has been held
every summer since 1954. In the beginning,
only U.S. teams took part. Mexico was the
first€international team to win the Series in
1957. Four U.S. teams reached the finals,
along with teams from the Far East, Europe,
Canada, and Central/South America. In
2000,€the tournament field expands to 16
teams. The teams are all-star teams and all
the€players must come from one league.
Teams from Taiwan have had the most
success€among international teams,
winning 16 Series. Japan won
the€Series in 1999.

A BASEBALL TRADITION

The Little League World Series is
wonderful fun for the players and
coaches, as well as a great show of
baseball talent for the fans. It’s also a
place to enjoy the popular hobby of
collecting and trading souvenir pins
(above). Pin traders gather different
pins from teams and leagues around
the world for their collections.

43

Women in Baseball

Some players wear
visors instead of caps.

No woman has ever played in a major league

game. But that has not stopped millions of
women and girls from taking part in
baseball. From little girls starting out in
tee ball to a handful of professional
women’s baseball teams, there
are many opportunities for
girls to play the game.
One of the most
popular ways is
softball, a form of baseball
played on a smaller diamond with a
bigger ball. Women and girls usually play fast�
pitch softball, in which the ball is thrown
underhand as fast as boys throw overhand. In
the United States, there are women’s pro softball
leagues, and many foreign countries send
women’s teams to play Olympic softball. Young
girls also play in organized baseball leagues,
including Little League and Pony League. Since
1988, several girls have even appeared in the Little
Softball shorts
League World Series. Women work too as umpires
and coaches in youth leagues.

Softball gloves are
usually larger than
baseball gloves.
SOFTBALL SUPERSTARS

NOT BAD… FOR A GIRL

In 1931, Jackie Mitchell (above) signed a pro contract with the minor league
Chattanooga Lookouts. In an exhibition, she struck out Lou Gehrig and Babe
Ruth (standing), but no one knows for sure how hard they tried. In any case,
Mitchell never got her chance in a real game. The baseball commissioner voided
her contract on the grounds that the game was “too strenuous for women.”

44

Fast-pitch softball is one way
that many girls and women
take part in a sport much like
baseball. Pitchers, such as Lisa
Fernandez, who led the U.S. to
the€1996 Olympic gold medal,
throw underhand at speeds reaching
80 miles per hour. The bases are
only€60 feet apart, as opposed to 90. The
ball is about 40 percent bigger than a
baseball, but is not, as the name of the sport
implies, soft. Beyond that, softball at this level
and baseball are much the same, with outs,
strikes, balls, innings, and runs. Pitching is
more dominant in softball, however, since the
mound is only 45 feet from home plate; thus,
scores are usually lower. Although young girls
may play youth baseball, most play in
organized softball leagues. High schools
and colleges have fast-pitch softball
programs, too.

First baseman’s
glove

STARS OF THE SILVER SCREEN

Interest in the AAGBL grew in the 1980s when former
players began lobbying to have more of the history of the
league included in the Hall of Fame. Their campaign helped
push development of the movie A League of Their Own,
which featured the Rockford Peaches.

Long-sleeved
shirt

AAGBL players
wore skirts.

Same type of glove
as male players

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

Knee socks

In 1943, with the Major Leagues depleted
due to World War II, Chicago Cubs owner
Philip Wrigley started a professional
women’s softball league to drum up fan
interest. The All-American Girls Baseball
League (AAGBL) began play that year in
South Bend, Indiana; Racine, Wisconsin;
Rockford, Illinois; and Kenosha,
Wisconsin. Nearly 200,000 fans came out
to watch the games, and attendance
increased a few years later when the
league switched from playing softball and
pitching underhand to playing baseball.

MORE TEAMS COME TO PLAY

The growth of the AAGBL continued after World War II.
The Peoria Redwings joined the AAGBL in 1946 and
played each season until 1951. The small midwestern city
of Peoria was typical of the hometowns of the teams.
The teams relied on support form small
communities and avoided big�
league competition.

Jerseys styled after
women’s blouses
ANYTHING FOR PUBLICITY

BORDERS CRACKS THE BARRIER

In 1994, left-handed pitcher Ila Borders, the MVP
of her high school team, because the first woman
to win a college game. She played three years at
Southern California College and one at Whittier
College. In 1997, the publicity-minded St. Paul
Saints of the independent Northern League
signed Borders to a pro contract, where she
became the first woman to start and win a
professional baseball game. Borders also later
played for the Duluth-Superior Dukes. Her
success helped spur the short-lived Ladies
Baseball League in 1997 and the traveling
Colorado Spring Bullets team in 1997-98. Women
still do not have a major place in professional
baseball, but it’s not for lack of trying.
Team logo on cap

By 1948, the AAGBL had 10 teams in Midwestern towns and cities;
nearly one million fans attended games during the 1948 season.
Former Major League stars such as Jimmie Foxx and Max Carey
were hired to manage the teams. And while much of the
publicity surrounding the league focused on the players as
women, they also gained respect for their skills on the
diamond. Unfortunately, with Major Leaguers
returning from the war, interest in the women’s
league began to die out. The AAGBL played
its last season in 1954.

All the
managers
were male.

Stirrup
socks
Shoes similar to
baseball spikes

45

Ballparks

Christy Mathewson

Poets have written about ballparks. Songs are

composed€in honor of parks. The brilliant green grass,
the contrasting brown infield, the shirt-sleeved crowd,
the pastoral nature of the ball yard—all evoke feelings
one doesn’t get from a basketball arena or gigantic
football stadium. The thrill baseball fans get from that
first glimpse of green as they walk through a tunnel toward
their seats is unlike any other in sports. Fathers and mothers and sons
and daughters today take that walk together, just as parents and
children have for decades. Even today, as new parks spring up all
over, they often are designed to feel like old ballparks. With the
sense of history that baseball creates, a ballpark is more than just a
place where two teams play; it is, as the movie said, a field of dreams.
THE SEAT WHERE THEY LIVED

Usher’s cap
and ID pin

This is a bleacher seat from Crosley
Field, home of the Cincinatti Reds
from 1912-70. The fabled old field was
demolished in 1970 and the Reds
moved to the more modern, but less
charming Riverfront Stadium, now
known as Cinergy Field.

Outfield bleachers
HOME OF “DA BUMS”

Few cities have ever had a closer relationship to a
ballpark than did Brooklyn, New York, to Ebbets
Field. The tiny bandbox of a stadium was home to the
Dodgers from 1913 to 1957, when the team broke
millions of local hearts and moved to Los Angeles. On
the right field fence, clothier Abe Stark Posted a
billboard that read, “Hit this sign, win free suit.”
Upper deck

HONORING JACKIE

In 1997, on the fiftieth anniversary of Jackie Robinson
becoming the first African-American in the modern
major leagues, Major League Baseball announced that
Robinson’s number 42 would be retired by every club.
Each team now honors Robinson somewhere in its
stadium, such as this mural in Dodger Stadium.

FAN FOR FANS

Whether a
hand-held€fan
honoring a
baseball hero or
a pin made for
Mother’s Day (far
left), there have been
promotional items
created for ballpark fans from
baseball’s earliest days. Special
days are held throughout the
season at which fans get
everything from bats to beach
towels to Beanie Babies. ™

FRIENDLY CONFINES

One of baseball’s most revered ballparks
is Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago
Cubs. Ivy (right) grows on its brick
outfield walls. Fans can watch from the
roofs of apartment buildings located behind
the stadium.

Distance in feet
from home plate

8/75$ʜ02'(51

The Skydome, home of the Toronto Blue Jays, was the first sports stadium
with a retractable roof. The large, curved portion at the top slides along tracks
to cover the field and the fans in case of bad weather. Seattle’s Safeco Field
and Tampa’s Tropicana Field also boast similar technological marvels.
Skydome has a hotel and several restaurants inside it, too.

A COZY LITTLE PARK

This aerial view of Tiger Stadium in Detroit shows how the park was
squeezed into the neighborhood. That was how the first ballparks were
constructed. Compare the cramped feeling of this old ball yard, built in 1912,
with the expansive design of Dodger Stadium (below). The Tigers played
their last game on this field in 1999, moving to Comerica Park for the 2000
season. Some fans bemoan the loss of these old ballparks (Boston’s Fenway
Park is now the oldest park in the majors. It, too, opened in 1912). And while
most people now agree that vast, impersonal stadiums are not the answer,
fans have come out in droves to new stadiums in Baltimore, Cleveland,
Arlington, and elsewhere. Why? Because they combine the best features of
the old-time parks with modern amenities.
Light tower

Scoreboard
PROGRAMS! GET YOUR PROGRAMS!

Few fans leave a ballpark empty-handed. Concession
stands, such as this one at Baltimore’s Camden Yards,
are located throughout the stadium and offer
everything a fan could want.

Box seats
TAKE US OUT TO THE BALLPARK

This panoramic view of Dodger Stadium in Los
Angeles shows how most baseball stadiums are laid
out. A horseshoe of seats surrounds the field, with the
bottom of the U-shape at home plate. Raised bleachers
rise up beyond the outfield wall. Most fans think the
best seats are behind home plate or along the
baselines between the bases and home plate. But some
fans swear by the cozy bleachers.

Baseball Hall of Fame

ULTIMATE HONOR

Visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame is like taking a walk

through a history book. Located in Cooperstown, New York, the
Hall of Fame contains all of the important artifacts and memorabilia
from baseball’s past—with more items added every year. On display
at€the Hall are bats used by Nap Lajoie, Babe Ruth, and Mark
McGwire; balls hit by Lou Gehrig, Hank Aaron, and Sammy Sosa;
caps€worn by Christy Mathewson, Satchel Paige, and
Roger Clemens; bases stolen by Ty Cobb,
Lou Brock, and Rickey Henderson.
There are also thousands of
programs, scorecards, posters,
pennants, and souvenirs to
look at. The Hall’s library
contains millions of
photographs and
important baseball
records, and serves as a
key resource for scholars
researching the sport. The
most important function of
the Hall of Fame, however,
is to honor the greatest
players, coaches, and
contributors in the game.
Each year, another class of
baseball greats is inducted
into the Hall, to remain
forever a vital part of
baseball’s ongoing story.

THE RYAN EXPRESS

Nolan Ryan pitched in the Major Leagues
for 27 seasons, the most of any player. His
overpowering fastball made him
dominant€for many of those years. He is
the€all-time career leader in strikeouts,
and€set the single-season record in 1973
with 383. Ryan also threw seven nohitters,€the most by any pitcher. The ball
above is now on display at the Hall of
Fame,€where Ryan was inducted in 1999.

48

While pro players strive annually
for€a World Series ring, as their
careers progress, they keep one eye
on Cooperstown. The reward for
the€best players is baseball
immortality, in the form of a plaque
like the one below for 1999 inductee
George Brett. The plaque lists the
player’s career accomplishments,
including records and key awards.
Brett played for only one team, the
Kansas City Royals, in his 20-year
career, but players who play for
more€than one team choose which
hat they will wear on their bronze,
bas-relief plaque.

Honus Wagner

Grover Cleveland
Alexander

Tris Speaker

Napoleon Lajoie

George Sisler

Walter Johnson

A GATHERING OF GREATNESS

In 1936, baseball began electing
players and coaches to the Baseball
Hall of Fame. The Hall itself didn’t
open until 1939, on the alleged
100th anniversary of baseball (the
anniversary was based on the now�
debunked theory that Abner
Doubleday “invented” the game in
1839). This photograph of all the
then-living Hall of Fame members
was taken at the dedication. Ty
Cobb€was also at the event, but
missed the photograph. The
players,€together with longtime
Philadelphia owner and manager
Connie Mack, make up one of the
greatest assemblages of baseball
talent ever seen in one place.
B for Brooklyn

Eddie Collins

Babe Ruth

Cy Young

Connie Mack

Classic Yankee
pinstripes

JACKIE’S CAP

The Hall of Fame boasts an
enormous collection of baseball
caps, including this one worn by
Dodgers’ great Jackie Robinson. The
collection includes caps from every
era of pro and amateur baseball.
When asked, players gladly donate
their caps to the Hall to
commemorate a special occasion.
CLASS OF 1999

TICKET TO HISTORY

This 1956 World Series ticket is an example of the Hall
of Fame’s vast resources on the paper record of baseball.
Each season, the historians at the Hall add many more
items to their collection of tickets, scorebooks,
magazines, books, and newspaper articles.
Orlando Cepeda

DIRTY DIMAGGIO

One of the great hallmarks of the
artifacts fans can see at the Hall of
Fame is their authenticity. This
jersey€is one example. Worn by
Yankee€great€Joe DiMaggio, it
retains€the sweat€and dirt and grass
stains that the “Yankee Clipper” put
there himself. The artifacts aren’t
replicas—they’re the real McCoy.
Along with the hundreds of items
on€display, the Hall also carefully
stores and preserves thousands of
other pieces of baseball
memorabilia,€creating new exhibits
each season that highlight different
aspects of baseball’s past.

Robin Yount

Nolan Ryan

The annual Hall of Fame induction
ceremony is one of the greatest
events of each baseball season.
Inductees are presented in front of a
crowd of thousands and give
speeches broadcast nationwide
thanking those who helped them
reach the top. These four all-time
great players were inducted in 1999.
George Brett

World Series History

Note early
spelling of
“base ball.”

The history of Major League Baseball can be traced almost

completely by following the timeline of the World Series. The
game’s annual championship—played between the
champions€of the American and National Leagues—has
become as much a part of America’s calendar as the Fourth of
July. The first Fall Classic, as it is sometimes called, was in
1903€(left), and it has been played
every year—with one notable
exception—since 1905. The exception?
The 1994 World Series was canceled
during a labor dispute between
players€and owners. Every other year,
the World Series has gone on through
war and peace and everything in
between. While generations of
baseball’s greatest players have created
indelible memories on the field (see
page 56), the constant popularity of the
World Series has helped create a
colorful legacy of Series stuff, as
1903: Boston wins five games to three. shown€on these pages.
PINNING DOWN THE WORLD SERIES

The now-popular hobby of collecting pins commemorating major sports
events did not start with the Olympics. Pins such as the ones below have been
issued for the World Series since the first games. An example from 1913
(below) shows an early version of the name of the event: “World’s Series.” The
members of the press covering the Series have always enjoyed special pins,
such as the ribbon in the center, issued in 1917 by the New York Giants, and
the pin at upper left, issued by the American League in 1927.
From 1908,
the year of
the Giants’
first Series
appearance

THE BLACK SOX

The fan who used this
ticket to the 1919 World Series
between the Cincinnati Reds and the
Chicago White Sox witnessed one of baseball’s
darkest hours. Eight members of the White Sox
conspired with gamblers to throw the Series to
the underdog Reds. The “Black Sox,” as they
came to be known, were later suspended from
baseball for life. One of them, “Shoeless” Joe
Jackson, was one of the greatest hitters of all
time. There is debate bout Jackson’s role in the
fix, but there is no debate that the fix was in.
Baseball’s pure reputation had been tarnished.

An early
memorabilia
version of the
event’s name

Even back
then, the
Series was
used to
sell€goods.

Note low $5
price for a
great seat.

THE BABE’S SERIES DEBUT

The great Babe Ruth made his World Series debut in 1916, but
he made his mark as a pitcher, not a hitter. Ruth’s 14-inning,
complete game, one-run victory in Game 2 proved to be the
key€to Boston’s title. The Red Sox would win again with Ruth
in€1918 for their fifth title in 15 seasons. Ruth left the next
season, and Boston hasn’t won a Series since.

New York Giants tie tack

Baseball
premade for
canceled 1994
Series

THE SERIES THAT WASN’T

Disagreements between owners and players have been a part
of€baseball since the 1860s. The worst example of baseball
labor problems came in 1994. Amid an ongoing battle over
salaries, the players went on strike on August 12 that year, and
they didn’t return until 1995. For the only time in the history of
the event, the World Series was canceled.

50

THE RIVALRY

For decades, the Brooklyn
Dodgers and New York
Yankees€were fierce crosstown
rivals, facing each other seven
times in the World Series;
Brooklyn won only in 1955. The
Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in
1959. In 1963, they swept the
Yankees in the Series, winning in
L.A. on the strength of pitcher
Sandy Koufax’s magical left arm.

Pennants representing
each major league team

A TRIP TO THE WHITE HOUSE

Since baseball is America’s pastime, it is only
fitting that an annual ritual is for the World Series
champions to pay a visit to the White House to
meet the President soon after they win the title.

President George W. Bush
met€with manager Mike Scoscia
of the 2002 champion Angels.
CHAMPAGNE DREAMS COME TRUE

Until recently, after the final game of each
World€Series, the commissioner of baseball
visited€the locker room of the jubilant winning
team€to present this trophy to the team owners
and€manager. Recently, to make the presentation
more fan-friendly, the ceremony has moved to a
stage hastily built on the field amid the celebrating
players and fans. What once was a champagne�
soaked party in cramped, plastic-covered
quarters has now sometimes become a field�
spanning spectacle of fireworks, frivolity,
and€fun. Players race across the field to
hug€each other; they bring their children
down from the stands; they climb on top
of€police horses for triumphant parades