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A view of the playing field at Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois
First played Mid-18th century or prior, England (early form)
June 19, 1846, Hoboken, New Jersey (first recorded game with codified rules)
Team members 9
Category Bat-and-ball
Ball Baseball
Olympic 1912

Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The goal of baseball is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four markers called bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot square, or diamond. Players on one team (the batting team) take turns hitting against the pitcher on the other team (the fielding team), which tries to stop them from scoring runs by getting hitters out in any of several ways. A player on the batting team can stop at any of the bases and hope to score on a teammate's hit. The teams switch between batting and fielding whenever the fielding team gets three outs. One turn at bat for each team constitutes an inning; nine innings make up a professional game. The team with the most runs at the end of the game wins.

Evolving from older bat-and-ball games, an early form of baseball was being played in England by the mid-eighteenth century. This game and the related game of rounders were brought by British and Irish immigrants to North America, where the modern version of baseball developed. By the late nineteenth century, baseball was widely recognized as the national sport of the United States. Baseball on the professional, amateur, and youth levels is now popular in North America, parts of Central and South America and the Caribbean, and parts of East and Southeast Asia. The game is sometimes referred to as hardball in contrast to the derivative game of softball.

In North America, professional Major League Baseball teams are divided into the National League (NL) and American League (AL). Each league has three divisions: East, West, and Central. Every year, the champion of Major League Baseball is determined by playoffs culminating in the World Series. Four teams make the playoffs from each league: the three regular season division winners, plus one wild card team. The wild card is the team with the best record among the non–division winners in the league. In the National League, the pitcher is required to bat, per the traditional rules. In the American League, there is a tenth player, a designated hitter, who bats for the pitcher. Each major league team has a "farm system" of minor league teams at various levels. These teams allow younger players to develop as they gain on-field experience against opponents with similar levels of skill.



Part of the Baseball series on
History of baseball

Origins of baseball

Early years
First league
Knickerbocker Rules
Massachusetts rules
Alexander Cartwright
Abner Doubleday myth
First pro team
First pro league

• Close relations:

Town ball

• History of baseball in:

the United States
the United Kingdom

Negro league baseball
Minor league baseball
Comparison between cricket and baseball
Baseball (Ken Burns documentary)
Baseball Hall of Fame
Society for American Baseball Research (SABR)
Baseball year-by-year

MLB season-by-season
Baseball Portal  v  d  e 

Origins of baseball

The distinct evolution of baseball from among the various bat-and-ball games is difficult to trace with precision. A French manuscript from 1344 contains an illustration of clerics playing a game, possibly la soule, with certain similarities to baseball;[1] other old French games such as théque, la balle au bâton, and la balle empoisonée also appear to be related.[2] Consensus used to hold that today's baseball is a North American development from the older game rounders, popular in Great Britain and Ireland. However a 2005 book, Baseball Before We Knew It: A Search for the Roots of the Game, by David Block, and more recently uncovered historical evidence suggest that the game in fact originated in England. Block argues that rounders and early baseball were actually regional variants of each other, and that the game's most direct antecedents are the English games of stoolball and "tut-ball".[3] It has long been believed that cricket also descended from such games, though evidence uncovered in early 2009 suggests that the sport may have been imported to England from Flanders.[4]

The earliest known reference to baseball is in a 1744 British publication, A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, by John Newbery. It contains a rhymed description of "base-ball" and a wood-cut illustration showing a field set-up somewhat similar to the modern game—though in a triangular rather than diamond configuration, and with posts instead of ground-level bases.[5] English lawyer William Bray recorded a game of "baseball" on Easter Monday 1755 in Guildford, Surrey; Bray's diary was verified as authentic in September 2008.[6] This early form of the game was apparently brought to North America by English immigrants; rounders was also brought to the continent by both British and Irish immigrants. The first known American reference to "baseball" appears in a 1791 Pittsfield, Massachusetts, town bylaw prohibiting the playing of the game near the town's new meeting house.[7] By 1796, a version of the game was well-known enough to earn a mention in a German scholar's book on popular pastimes. As described by Johann Gutsmuths, "englische Base-ball" involved a contest between two teams, in which "the batter has three attempts to hit the ball while at the home plate"; only one out was required to retire a side.[8]

By the early 1830s, there are reports of a variety of uncodified bat-and-ball games recognizable as early forms of baseball being played around North America. These games were often referred to locally as "town ball", though other names such as "round-ball" and "base-ball" were also used.[9] Among the earliest examples to receive a detailed description—albeit five decades after the fact, in a letter from an attendee to Sporting Life magazine—took place in Beachville, Ontario, Canada, in 1838. There were many similarities to modern baseball, and some crucial differences: five bases (or byes); first bye just 6 yards (10 m) from the home bye; batter out if a hit ball was caught after the first bounce.[10] The once widely accepted story that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839 has been conclusively debunked by sports historians.[11] In 1845, Alexander Cartwright, a member of New York City's Knickerbockers club, led the codification of the so-called Knickerbocker Rules.[12] The practice, common to bat-and-ball games of the day, of "soaking" or "plugging"—effecting a put out by hitting a runner with a thrown ball—was barred. The rules thus facilitated the use of a smaller, harder ball than had been common. Several other rules also brought the Knickerbockers' game close to the modern one, though a ball caught on the first bounce was, again, an out and only underhand pitching was allowed.[13] While there are reports of the New York Knickerbockers playing games in 1845, the contest now recognized as the first baseball game in U.S. history to be officially recorded took place on June 19, 1846, in Hoboken, New Jersey, with the "New York Nine" defeating the Knickerbockers, 23–1, in four innings.[14] With the Knickerbocker code as the basis, the rules of modern baseball continued to evolve over the next half century.[15]

History of baseball in the United States

The game turns professional

In the mid-1850s, a baseball craze hit the New York metropolitan area.[16] By 1856, local journals were referring to baseball as the "national pastime" or "national game".[17] A year later, sixteen area clubs formed the sport's first governing body, the National Association of Base Ball Players. In 1863, the NABBP disallowed putouts made by catching a ball on the first bounce. Four years later, the group barred participation by African Americans.[18] The game's commercial potential was developing: in 1869 the first fully professional baseball club, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, was formed and went undefeated against a schedule of semipro and amateur teams.[19] The first professional league, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, lasted from 1871 to 1875; scholars dispute its status as a "major league".[20]

The more formally structured National League was founded in 1876; as the oldest surviving major league, the National League is sometimes referred to as the "senior circuit".[21] Several other major leagues formed and failed. In 1884, African American Moses Walker (and, briefly, his brother Welday) played in one of these, the American Association.[22] An injury ended Walker's major league career, and by the early 1890s, a "gentlemen's agreement" in the form of the baseball color line effectively barred black players from the white-owned professional leagues, major and minor.[23] Professional Negro leagues formed, but quickly folded; several independent African American teams succeeded as barnstormers.[24] Also in 1884, overhand pitching was legalized.[25] In 1887, softball, under the name of "indoor baseball" or "indoor-outdoor", was invented as a winter version of the parent game.[26] Virtually all of the modern baseball rules were in place by 1893; the last major change—counting foul balls as strikes—was instituted in 1901.[25] The National League's first successful counterpart, the American League, which evolved from the minor Western League, was established that year.[27] The two leagues, each with eight teams, began as rivals that fought for the best players, often disregarding each other's contracts and engaging in bitter legal disputes.[28]

The New York Giants baseball team, 1913. Fred Merkle, sixth in line, committed a baserunning error in a crucial 1908 game that became famous as "Merkle's Boner".

A modicum of peace was eventually established, leading to the National Agreement of 1903. The pact formalized relations both between the two major leagues and between them and the National Association of Professional Base Ball Leagues, representing most of the country's minor professional leagues.[29] The World Series, pitting the two major league champions against each other, was inaugurated that fall, albeit without express major league sanction: The Boston Americans of the American League defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League.[30] The next year, the series was not held, as the National League champion New York Giants, under manager John McGraw, refused to recognize the major league status of the American League and its champion.[31] In 1905, the Giants were National League champions again and team management relented, leading to the establishment of the World Series as the major leagues' annual championship event.[32]

As professional baseball became increasingly profitable, players frequently raised grievances against owners over issues of control and equitable income distribution. During the major leagues' early decades, players on various teams occasionally attempted strikes, which routinely failed when their jobs were sufficiently threatened. In general, the strict rules of baseball contracts and the reserve clause, which bound players to their teams even when their contracts had ended, tended to keep the players in check.[33] Motivated by dislike for a particularly stingy owner and gamblers' payoffs, real and promised, members of the Chicago White Sox conspired to throw the 1919 World Series. The "Black Sox Scandal" led to the formation of a new National Commission of baseball that drew the two major leagues closer together.[34] The first major league baseball commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, was elected in 1920. That year also saw the founding of the Negro National League; the first significant Negro league, it would operate until 1931. For part of the 1920s, it was joined by the Eastern Colored League.[35]

The rise of Ruth and racial integration

Compared with the present, professional baseball in the early twentieth century was lower scoring and pitchers, the likes of Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson, were more dominant. The "inside game", which demanded that players "scratch for runs", was played much more aggressively than it is today; the brilliant, and often violent, Ty Cobb epitomized this style.[36] The so-called dead-ball era ended in the early 1920s with several changes in rule and circumstance that were advantageous to hitters. Strict new regulations governing the ball's size, shape and composition, coupled with superior materials available after World War I, resulted in a ball that traveled farther when hit. The construction of additional seating to accommodate the rising popularity of the game often had the effect of bringing the outfield fences closer in, making home runs more common.[37] The rise of the legendary player Babe Ruth, the first great power hitter of the new era, helped permanently alter the nature of the game. The club with which Ruth set most of his slugging records, the New York Yankees, built a reputation as the majors' premiere team.[38] In the late 1920s and early 1930s, St. Louis Cardinals general manager Branch Rickey invested in several minor league clubs and developed the first modern "farm system".[39] A new Negro National League was organized in 1933; four years later, it was joined by the Negro American League. The first elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame took place in 1936. In 1939, Little League Baseball was founded in Pennsylvania. By the late 1940s, it was the organizing body for children's baseball leagues across the United States.

Jackie Robinson in 1945, as a member of the era's Kansas City Royals, the barnstorming squad of the Negro American League's Kansas City Monarchs.

With America's entry into World War II, many professional players had left to serve in the armed forces. A large number of minor league teams disbanded as a result, and the major league game seemed under threat as well. Chicago Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley led the formation of a new professional league with women players to help keep the game in the public eye; the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League existed from 1943 to 1954.[40] The inaugural College World Series was held in 1947, and the Babe Ruth League youth program was founded; it soon became another important organizing body for children's baseball. The first crack in the unwritten agreement barring blacks from white-controlled professional ball had occurred the previous year: Jackie Robinson was signed by the National League's Brooklyn Dodgers—where Branch Rickey had become general manager—and began playing for their minor league team in Montreal.[41] Finally, in 1947, the major leagues' color barrier was broken when Robinson debuted with the Dodgers. Larry Doby debuted with the American League's Cleveland Indians the same year.[42] Latin American players, largely overlooked before, also started entering the majors in greater numbers; in 1951, two Chicago White Sox, Venezuelan-born Chico Carrasquel and Cuban-born (and black) Minnie Miñoso, became the first Hispanic All-Stars.[43][44]

Facing competition as varied as television and football, baseball attendance at all levels declined; while the majors rebounded by the mid-1950s, the minor leagues were gutted and hundreds of semipro and amateur teams dissolved.[45][46] Integration proceeded slowly: By 1953, only six of the sixteen major league teams had a black player on the roster.[43] That year, the Major League Baseball Players Association was founded; the first professional baseball union to survive more than briefly, it remained largely ineffective for years.[47] No major league team had been located west of St. Louis, Missouri, until 1958, when the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants relocated to Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively.[48] The majors' final all-white bastion, the Boston Red Sox, added a black player in 1959.[43] With the integration of the majors drying up the available pool of players, the last Negro league folded the following year.[49] In 1961, the American League reached the West Coast with the Los Angeles Angels expansion team, as the major league season was extended from 154 games to 162. This coincidentally helped Roger Maris break Babe Ruth's long-standing single-season home run record, one of the most celebrated marks in baseball.[50] Along with the Angels, three other new franchises were launched during 1961–62; with this, the first major league expansion in sixty years, each league now had ten teams.

Attendance records and the "age of steroids"

The player's union became bolder under the leadership of former United Steelworkers chief economist and negotiator Marvin Miller, who was elected executive director in 1966.[51] On the playing field, major league pitchers were becoming increasingly dominant again. After the 1968 season, in an effort to restore balance, the strike zone was reduced and the height of the pitcher's mound was lowered. The following year, both the National and American leagues added two more expansion teams; the leagues were reorganized into two divisions each, and a post-season playoff system leading to the World Series was instituted. In 1969, as well, Curt Flood of the St. Louis Cardinals made the first serious legal challenge to the reserve clause. The major leagues' first general players' strike took place in 1972.[52] In another effort to add more offense to the game, the American League adopted the designated hitter rule the following year.[53] In 1975, the union's power—and players' salaries—began to increase greatly when the reserve clause was effectively struck down, leading to the free agency system.[54] In 1977, two more expansion teams joined the American League. Significant work stoppages occurred again in 1981 and 1994, the latter forcing the cancellation of the World Series for the first time in ninety years.[55] Attendance had been growing steadily since the mid-1970s; in 1994, before the stoppage, the majors were setting their all-time record for per-game attendance.[56][46]

The addition of two more expansion teams after the 1993 season had facilitated another restructuring of the major leagues, this time into three divisions each. Offensive production—in particular, the number of home runs—had surged that year, and again in the abbreviated 1994 season.[57] After play resumed in 1995, this trend continued, and non–division winning wild card teams became a permanent fixture of the post-season. Regular-season interleague play was introduced in 1997, and the second-highest attendance mark for a full season was set.[58] The next year, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa both surpassed Maris's decades-old single season home run record and two more expansion franchises were added. In 2000, the National and American leagues were dissolved as legal entities. While their identities were maintained for scheduling purposes (and the designated hitter distinction), the regulations and other functions—such as player discipline and umpire supervision—they had administered separately were consolidated under the rubric of Major League Baseball (MLB).[59]

In 2001, Barry Bonds established the current record of 73 home runs in a single season. There had long been suspicions that the dramatic increase in power hitting was fueled in large part by the abuse of illegal steroids (as well as by the dilution of pitching talent due to expansion), but the issue only began attracting significant media attention in 2002 and there was no penalty for the use of performance-enhancing drugs before 2004.[60] In 2007, Bonds became MLB's all-time home run leader, surpassing Hank Aaron, as total major league and minor league attendance both reached all-time highs.[61][62] Even though McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds—as well as many other players, including storied pitcher Roger Clemens—have been implicated in the steroid abuse scandal, their feats and those of other sluggers had become the major leagues' defining attraction.[63] In contrast to the professional game's resurgence in popularity after the 1994 interruption, Little League enrollment was in decline: after peaking in 1996, it dropped 1 percent a year over the following decade.[64]

Baseball around the world

Baseball, widely known as America's pastime, is well established in several other countries as well. The history of baseball in Canada has remained closely linked with that of the sport in the United States. As early as 1877, a professional league, the International Association, featured teams from both countries.[65] While baseball is widely played in Canada, and many minor league teams have been based in the country, the American major leagues did not include a Canadian club until 1969, when the Montreal Expos joined the National League as an expansion team. In 1977, the expansion Toronto Blue Jays joined the American League. The Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992 and 1993, the first and still the only club from outside the United States to do so. After the 2004 season, Major League Baseball relocated the Expos to Washington, D.C., where the team is now known as the Nationals.

Sadaharu Oh managing the Japan national team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. Playing for the Central League's Yomiuri Giants (1959–80), Oh set the professional world record for home runs.

The first formal baseball league outside of the United States and Canada was founded in 1878 in Cuba, which maintains a rich baseball tradition and whose national team has been one of the world's strongest since international play began in the late 1930s. (All organized baseball in the country has officially been amateur since the Cuban Revolution.) The Dominican Republic held its first islandwide championship tournament in 1912.[66] Professional baseball tournaments and leagues began to form in other countries between the world wars, including the Netherlands (formed in 1922), Australia (1934), Japan (1936), Mexico (1937), and Puerto Rico (1938).[67] The Japanese major leagues—the Central League and Pacific League—have long been considered the highest quality professional circuits outside of the United States.[68]

After World War II, professional leagues were founded in many Latin American nations, most prominently Venezuela (1946) and the Dominican Republic (1955).[69] Since the early 1970s, the annual Caribbean Series has matched the championship clubs from the four leading Latin American "winter leagues": the Dominican Winter League, Mexican Pacific League, Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League, and Venezuelan Professional Baseball League. In Asia, South Korea (1982), Taiwan (1990), and China (2003) all have professional leagues.[70]

Many European countries have pro leagues as well, the most successful beside the Dutch being the Italian league founded in 1948.[71] Compared to those in Asia and Latin America, the various European leagues and the one in Australia historically have had no more than niche appeal. In 2004, Australia won a surprise silver medal at the Olympic Games. The Israel Baseball League, launched in 2007, folded after one season.[72] The Confédération Européene de Baseball (European Baseball Confederation), founded in 1953, organizes a number of competitions between clubs from different countries as well as national squads. Other competitions between national teams, such as the Baseball World Cup and the Olympic baseball tournament, have been administered by the International Baseball Federation since its formation in 1938. As of 2009, the organization has 117 member countries.[73]

After being admitted to the Olympics as a medal sport beginning with the 1992 Games, baseball was dropped from the 2012 Summer Olympic Games at the 2005 International Olympic Committee meeting. It remained part of the 2008 Games and will be put to a vote again for each succeeding Summer Olympics. The elimination of baseball, along with softball, from the 2012 Olympic program enabled the IOC to consider adding two different sports, but none received the majority vote required for inclusion.[74] While the sport's lack of a following in much of the world was a factor, more important has been Major League Baseball's reluctance to have a break during the Games so that its players can participate, something that the National Hockey League now does during the Winter Olympic Games. Such a break is more difficult for MLB to accommodate, because it would force the playoffs deep into cold weather.[75] Major League Baseball initiated the World Baseball Classic, scheduled to precede the major league season, partly as a replacement high-profile international tournament. The inaugural Classic, held in March 2006, was the first tournament involving national teams to feature a significant number of MLB participants.[76]

Rules and gameplay

A game is played between two teams, each composed of nine players, that take turns playing offense (batting or hitting) and defense (fielding or pitching). A pair of turns, one at bat and one in the field, by each team constitutes an inning; there are nine innings in a game. One team—customarily the visiting team—bats in the first half (or "top") of every inning; the other team—customarily the home team—bats in the second half (or "bottom") of every inning. The goal of a game is to score more points (runs) than the other team. The players on the team at bat attempt to score runs by completing a tour of (circling) the four bases set at the corners of the square-shaped baseball diamond. A player bats at home plate and must proceed counterclockwise to first base, second base, third base, and back "home" in order to score a run. The team in the field attempts both to prevent runs from scoring and to record outs, which remove opposing players from offensive action until their turn in their team's batting order comes up again. When three outs are recorded, the teams switch roles for the next half-inning. If the score of the game is tied after nine innings, extra innings are played to resolve the contest. Children's games are often scheduled for fewer than nine innings.[77]

Diagram of a baseball field (the term diamond may be used to refer to the square area defined by the four bases or to the entire playing field). The dimensions given are for professional and professional-style games; children often play on smaller fields.

The game is played on a field whose primary boundaries, the foul lines, extend forward from home plate at 45-degree angles. The 90-degree area within the foul lines is referred to as fair territory; the 270-degree area outside them is foul territory. The part of the field enclosed by the bases and several yards beyond them is the infield; the area farther beyond the infield is the outfield. In the middle of the infield is a raised pitcher's mound, with a rectangular rubber plate (the rubber) at its center. The outer boundary of the outfield is typically demarcated by a raised fence, which may be of any material and height (many amateur games are played on fields without a fence). Fair territory between home plate and the outfield boundary is baseball's "field of play", though significant events can take place in foul territory, as well.[78]

There are three basic tools of baseball: the ball, the bat, and the glove or mitt:

  • The baseball is about the size of an adult's fist, around 9 inches (23 centimeters) in circumference. It has a rubber or cork center, wound in yarn and covered in white cowhide, with red stitching.[79]
  • The bat is a hitting tool, traditionally made of a single, solid piece of wood; other materials are now commonly used for nonprofessional games. It is a hard round stick, about 2.5 inches (6.4 centimeters) in diameter at the hitting end, tapering to a narrower handle and culminating in a knob. Bats used by adults are typically around 34 inches (86 centimeters) long, and not longer than 42 inches (106 centimeters).[80]
  • The glove or mitt is a fielding tool, made of padded leather with webbing between the fingers. As an aid in catching and holding onto the ball, it takes various shapes to meet the specific needs of different fielding positions.[81]

Protective helmets are also standard equipment for all batters.[82]

At the beginning of each half-inning, the nine players on the fielding team arrange themselves around the field. One of them, the pitcher, stands on the pitcher's mound; he will begin his pitching delivery with one foot on the rubber, pushing off it in order to gain velocity when throwing toward home plate. Another player, the catcher, squats on the far side of home plate, facing the pitcher. The rest of the team faces home plate, typically arranged as four infielders—who set up along or within a few yards outside the imaginary lines between first, second, and third base—and three outfielders. In the standard arrangement, there is a first baseman positioned several steps to the left of first base, a second baseman to the right of second base, a shortstop to the left of second base, and a third baseman to the right of third base. The basic outfield positions are left fielder, center fielder, and right fielder. A neutral umpire sets up behind the catcher.[83]

Awaiting a pitch: batter, catcher, and umpire.

Gameplay starts with a batter standing at home plate, holding a bat. The batter waits for the pitcher to throw a pitch (the ball) toward home plate, and attempts to hit the ball with the bat. The catcher catches pitches that the batter does not hit—as a result of either electing not to swing or failing to connect—and returns them to the pitcher. If the batter hits the ball into the field of play, he must drop the bat and begin running toward first base, at which point he is referred to as a runner. If the runner successfully reaches first base, he is said to be safe there and is now on base. He may choose to remain at first base or attempt to advance to second base or even beyond—however far he believes he can reach safely. If a player reaches base despite proper play by the fielders, he has recorded a hit. A player who reaches first base safely on a hit is credited with a single. If he makes it to second base safely as a direct result of his hit, it is a double; third base, a triple. If the ball is hit in the air within the foul lines over the entire outfield (and outfield fence, if there is one), it is a home run: the batter and any runners on base may all freely circle the bases, each scoring a run. This is the most desirable result for the batter. If a player reaches base due to a fielding mistake, he is not credited with a hit—instead, the responsible fielder is charged with an error.[84]

Any runners already on base may attempt to advance on batted balls that contact the ground (land) in fair territory, before or after the ball lands; a runner on first base must attempt to advance if a ball lands in play. If a ball hit into play rolls foul before passing through the infield, it becomes dead and any runners must return to the base they were at when the play began. If the ball is hit in the air and caught before it lands, the batter has flied out and any runners on base may attempt to advance only if they tag up or touch the base they were at when the play began, as or after the ball is caught. Runners may also attempt to advance to the next base while the pitcher is in the process of delivering the ball to home plate—a successful effort is a stolen base.[85]

A pitch that is not hit into the field of play is called either a strike or a ball. A batter strikes out if he gets three strikes. He is awarded a base on balls or walk, a free advance to first base, if he is thrown four balls. (A batter may also freely advance to first base if any part of his body or uniform is struck by a pitch before he either swings at it or it contacts the ground.) Crucial to determining balls and strikes is the umpire's judgment as to whether a pitch has passed through the strike zone, a conceptual area above home plate extending from the midpoint between the batter's shoulders and belt down to the hollow of the knee.[86]

A strike is called when one of the following happens:

  • The batter lets a well-pitched ball (one within the strike zone) go through to the catcher.
  • The batter swings at any ball (even one outside the strike zone) and misses.
  • The batter hits a foul ball—one that either initially lands in foul territory or initially lands within the diamond but moves into foul territory before passing first or third base. If there are already two strikes on the batter, a foul ball is not counted as a third strike; thus, a foul ball cannot result in the immediate strikeout of the batter.

A ball is called when the pitcher throws a pitch that is outside the strike zone, provided the batter has not swung at it.[86][87]

A shortstop tries to tag out a runner who is sliding headfirst, attempting to reach second base.

While the team at bat is attempting to score runs, the team in the field is attempting to record outs. Among the various ways an out may be recorded, five are most common:

  • The strikeout: as described above, the batter is out if three strikes are recorded against him before he puts the ball into play or is awarded a free advance to first base.
  • The flyout: as described above, the batter is out if he hits a ball in the air and a fielder catches it, whether in fair territory or foul territory, before it lands, whether or not the batter has run.
  • The ground out: the batter (in this case, batter-runner) is out if he hits a ball that lands in fair territory and, before he can reach first base, a fielder retrieves it and touches first base while holding the ball or relays it to another fielder who touches first base while holding the ball.
  • The force out: a runner is out if he is required to attempt to advance—either because he is on first base and a batted ball lands in fair territory, or because the runner immediately behind him on the basepath is thus required to attempt to advance—but fails to reach the next base before a fielder touches the base while holding the ball. The ground out is technically a special case of the force out.
  • The tag out: a runner is out if he is not touching a base and a fielder touches him with the ball or a glove holding the ball.

It is possible to record two outs in the course of the same play—a double play; even three—a triple play—is possible, though this is very rare. Players put out or retired must leave the field, returning to their team's dugout or bench. A runner may be stranded on base when a third out is recorded against another player on his team. Stranded runners do not benefit the team in its next turn at bat—every half-inning begins with the bases empty of runners.[88]

An individual player's turn batting or plate appearance is complete when he reaches base (or hits a home run), makes an out, or hits a ball that results in his team's third out, even if it is recorded against a teammate. On rare occasions, a batter may be at the plate when, without his having hit the ball, a third out is recorded against a teammate—for instance, a runner getting caught stealing (tagged out attempting to steal a base). A batter with this sort of incomplete plate appearance starts off his team's next turn batting; any balls or strikes he recorded the previous inning are erased. A runner may circle the bases only once per plate appearance and thus can score at most a single run per batting turn. Once a player has completed a plate appearance, he may not bat again until the eight other members of his team have all taken their turn at bat. The batting order is set before the game begins, and may not be altered except for substitutions. Once a player has been removed for a substitute, he may not reenter the game. Children's games often have more liberal substitution rules.[89]

If the designated hitter (DH) rule is in effect, each team has a tenth player whose sole responsibility is to bat (and run). The DH takes the place of another player—almost invariably the pitcher—in the batting order, but does not field. Thus, even with the DH, each team still has a batting order of nine players and a fielding arrangement of nine players.[90]


Player rosters

Relief pitchers warming up, overseen by a bullpen coach. A manager will often have both a right-handed and a left-handed reliever warm up to maximize his strategic options.

Squad or roster sizes differ between different leagues and different levels of organized play. Major League Baseball teams maintain 25-player active rosters. A typical 25-man roster in a league without the DH rule, such as MLB's National League, will feature:[91]

  • eight position players—catcher, four infielders, three outfielders—who play on a regular basis
  • five starting pitchers who constitute the team's pitching rotation or starting rotation
  • six relief pitchers, including one specialist closer, who constitute the team's bullpen (named after the off-field area where pitchers warm up)
  • one substitute or backup catcher
  • two backup infielders
  • two backup outfielders
  • one specialist pinch hitter, or a second backup catcher, or a seventh reliever

Other personnel

The manager, or head coach of a team, oversees the team's major strategic decisions, such as establishing the starting rotation, setting the batting order or lineup before each game, and making substitutions during games—in particular, bringing in relief pitchers. Managers are typically assisted by two or more coaches; they may have specialized responsibilities, such as working with players on hitting, fielding, pitching, or strength and conditioning. At most levels of organized play, two coaches are stationed on the field when the team is at bat: The first base coach and third base coach, occupying designated coaches' boxes just outside the foul lines, assist in the direction of baserunners when the ball is in play, and relay tactical signals from the manager to batters and runners during pauses in play.[92]

Any baseball game involves one or more umpires, who make rulings on the outcome of each play. At a minimum, one umpire will stand behind the catcher, to have a good view of the strike zone, and call balls and strikes. Additional umpires may be stationed near the other bases, thus making it easier to judge plays such as attempted force outs and tag outs. In Major League Baseball, four umpires are used for each game, one near each base. In the playoffs, six umpires are used: one at each base and two in the outfield along the foul lines.[93]

Strategy and tactics

Many of the pre-game and in-game strategic decisions in baseball revolve around a fundamental fact: in general, right-handed batters tend to be more successful against left-handed pitchers and, to an even greater degree, left-handed batters tend to be more successful against right-handed pitchers.[94] A manager with several left-handed batters in his regular lineup who knows his team will be facing a left-handed standard pitcher may start one or more of the right-handed backups on the roster. During the late innings of a game, as relief pitchers and pinch hitters are brought in, the opposing managers will often go back and forth trying to create favorable matchups with their substitutions: the manager of the fielding team trying to arrange same-handed pitcher-batter matchups, the manager of the batting team trying to arrange opposite-handed matchups. With a team that has the lead in the late innings, a manager may remove a starting position player—especially one whose turn at bat is not likely to come up again—for a more skillful fielder.[95]

Pitching and fielding tactics

A first baseman receives a pickoff throw, as the runner dives back to first base.

The tactical decision that precedes almost every play in a baseball game involves pitch selection. Among the wide variety of pitches that may be thrown, the four basic types are the fastball, the changeup (or off-speed pitch), and two breaking balls—the curveball and the slider.[96] Pitchers have different repertoires of pitches they are skillful at throwing. Conventionally, before each pitch, the catcher signals the pitcher what type of pitch to throw, as well as its general vertical and/or horizontal location.[97] If the pitcher disagrees with the selection, he may shake off the sign and the catcher will call for a different pitch. With a runner on base and taking a lead, the pitcher may attempt a pickoff, a quick throw to a fielder covering the base to keep the runner's lead in check or, optimally, effect a tag out. If an attempted stolen base is anticipated, the catcher may call for a pitchout, a ball thrown deliberately off the plate, allowing the catcher to catch it while standing and throw quickly to a base.[98] Facing a batter with a strong tendency to hit to one side of the field, the fielding team may employ a shift, with most or all of the fielders moving to the left or right of their usual positions. With a runner on third base, the infielders may play in, moving closer to home plate to improve the odds of throwing out the runner on a ground ball, though a sharply hit grounder is more likely to carry through a drawn-in infield.[99]

Batting and baserunning tactics

A batter squares to bunt, moving his hands up the barrel of the bat to increase his control and deaden the ball on impact.

Several basic offensive tactics come into play with a runner on first base, including the fundamental choice of whether to attempt a steal of second base. The hit and run is sometimes employed with a skillful contact hitter: the runner takes off with the pitch drawing the shortstop or second baseman over to second base, creating a gap in the infield for the batter to poke the ball through.[100] The sacrifice bunt calls for the batter to focus on making contact with the ball so that it rolls a short distance into the infield, allowing the runner to advance into scoring position even at the expense of the batter being thrown out at first—if the batter succeeds, he is credited with a sacrifice. (A batter, particularly one who is a fast runner, may also attempt to bunt for a hit.) A sacrifice bunt employed with a runner on third base, aimed at bringing him home, is known as a squeeze play.[101] With a runner on third and fewer than two outs, a batter may instead concentrate on hitting a fly ball that, even if it is caught, will be deep enough to allow the runner to tag up and score—a successful batter in this case gets credit for a sacrifice fly.[99] The manager will sometimes signal a batter who is ahead in the count (i.e., has more balls than strikes) to take, or not swing at, the next pitch.[102]

Distinctive elements

Baseball has certain attributes that set it apart from the other popular team sports in the countries where it is has a following, games such as American and Canadian football, basketball, ice hockey, and soccer. All of these sports use a clock; in all of them, gameplay is less individual and more collective; and in none of them is the variation between playing fields nearly as substantial or important. Many of baseball's distinctive elements are shared in various ways with its cousin sport, cricket, making the comparison between cricket and baseball an intriguing one.

No clock to kill

In clock-limited sports, games often end with a team that holds the lead killing the clock rather than competing aggressively against the opposing team. In contrast, baseball has no clock; a team cannot win without getting the last batter out and rallies are not constrained by time. At almost any turn in any baseball game, the most advantageous strategy is some form of aggressive strategy.[103] In contrast, again, the clock comes into play even in the case of multi-day Test and first-class cricket: the possibility of a draw often encourages a team that is batting last and well behind to bat defensively, giving up any faint chance at a win in order to avoid a loss.[104] Baseball offers no such reward for conservative batting.

While nine innings has been the standard since the beginning of professional baseball, the duration of the average major league game has increased steadily through the years. At the turn of the twentieth century, games typically took an hour and a half to play. In the 1920s, they averaged just less than two hours, which eventually ballooned to 2:38 in 1960.[105] By 1997, the average American League game lasted 2:57 (National League games were about 10 minutes shorter—pitchers at the plate making for quicker outs than designated hitters).[106] In 2004, Major League Baseball declared that its goal was an average game of merely 2:45.[105] The lengthening of games is attributed to longer breaks between half-innings for television commercials, increased offense, more pitching changes, and a slower pace of play with pitchers taking more time between each delivery, and batters stepping out of the box more frequently.[105][106] Other leagues have experienced similar issues: In 2008, Nippon Professional Baseball took steps aimed at shortening games by 12 minutes from the preceding decade's average of 3:18.[107]

Individual focus

For a team sport, baseball places individual players under unusual scrutiny and pressure. In 1915, a baseball instructional manual pointed out that every single pitch, of which there are often more than two hundred in a game, involves an individual, one-on-one contest: "the pitcher and the batter in a battle of wits."[108] Contrasting the game with both football and basketball, scholar Michael Mandelbaum argues that "baseball is the one closest in evolutionary descent to the older individual sports.[109] Pitcher, batter, and fielder all act essentially independent of each other. While coaching staffs can signal pitcher or batter to pursue certain tactics, the execution of the play itself is a series of solitary acts. If the batter hits a line drive, the outfielder is solely responsible for deciding to try to catch it or play it on the bounce and for succeeding or failing. The statistical precision of baseball is both facilitated by this isolation and reinforces it. As described by Mandelbaum,

It is impossible to isolate and objectively assess the contribution each [football] team member makes to the outcome of the play.... [E]very basketball player is interacting with all of his teammates all the time. In baseball, by contrast, every player is more or less on his own.... Baseball is therefore a realm of complete transparency and total responsibility. A baseball player lives in a glass house, and in a stark moral universe.... Everything that every player does is accounted for and everything accounted for is either good or bad, right or wrong.[110]

Cricket is more similar to baseball than many other team sports in this regard: while the individual focus in cricket is mitigated by the importance of the batting partnership and the practicalities of tandem running, it is enhanced by the fact that a batsman may occupy the wicket for an hour or much more. There is no statistical equivalent in cricket for the fielding error and thus, in this way, less emphasis on personal responsibility.[111]

Uniqueness of each baseball park

View of Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, from behind third base. The "Green Monster" is visible at the far left.

Unlike those of most sports, baseball playing fields can vary significantly in size and shape. While the dimensions of the infield are specifically regulated, the only constraint on outfield size and shape for professional teams following the rules of Major League and Minor League Baseball is that fields built or remodeled since June 1, 1958, must have a minimum distance of 325 feet (99 m) from home plate to the fences in left and right field and 400 feet (122 m) to center.[112] Major league teams often skirt even this rule. For example, at Minute Maid Park, which became the home of the Houston Astros in 2000, the Crawford Boxes in left field are only 315 feet (96 m) from home plate.[113] There are no rules at all that address the height of fences or other structures at the edge of the outfield. The most famously idiosyncratic outfield boundary is the left-field wall at Boston's Fenway Park, in use since 1912: the "Green Monster" is 310 feet (94 m) from home plate down the line and 37 feet (11 m) tall.[114]

Similarly, there are no regulations at all concerning the dimensions of foul territory. Thus a foul fly ball may be entirely out of play in a park with little space between the foul lines and the stands, but a flyout in a park with more expansive foul ground.[115] A fence in foul territory that is close to the outfield line will tend to direct balls that strike it back toward the fielders, while one that is farther away may actually prompt more collisions, as outfielders run full speed to field balls deep in the corner; these variations can make the difference between a double and a triple or inside-the-park home run.[116] The surface of the field is also not regulated. While the diagram in the Rules and gameplay section above shows a traditional field surfacing arrangement (and the one used by virtually all MLB teams with naturally surfaced fields), teams are free to decide what areas will be grassed or bare.[117] Some fields—including several in MLB—use an artificial surface, such as AstroTurf. Surface variations can have a significant effect on how ground balls behave and are fielded as well as on baserunning. Similarly, the presence of a roof (seven major league teams play in stadiums with permanent or retractable roofs) can greatly affect how fly balls are played.[118] While football and soccer players deal with similar variations of field surface and stadium covering, the size and shape of their fields are much more standardized; the area out-of-bounds on a football or soccer field does not affect gameplay the way foul territory in baseball does, so variations in that regard are largely insignificant.[119]

These physical variations create a distinctive set of playing conditions at each ballpark. Other local factors, such as altitude and climate, can also significantly affect gameplay. A given stadium may acquire a reputation as a "pitcher's park" or a "hitter's park", if one or the other discipline notably benefits from its unique mix of elements. The most exceptional park in this regard is Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies. Its high altitude—5,282 feet (1,610 m) above sea level—is responsible for giving it the strongest hitter's park effect in the major leagues.[120] Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, is known for its fickle disposition: a hitter's park when the strong winds off Lake Michigan are blowing out, it becomes more of a pitcher's park when they are blowing in.[121] The absence of a standardized field affects not only how particular games play out, but the nature of team rosters and players' statistical records. For example, hitting a fly ball 330 feet (100 m) into right field might result in a easy catch on the warning track at one park, and a home run at another. A team that plays in a park with a relatively short right field, such as the New York Yankees, will tend to stock its roster with left-handed pull hitters, who can best exploit it. On the individual level, a player who spends most of his career with a team that plays in a hitter's park will gain an advantage in batting statistics over time—even more so if his talents are especially suited to the park.[122]


Organized baseball lends itself to statistics to a greater degree than many other sports. Each play is discrete and has a relatively small number of possible outcomes. In the late nineteenth century, a former cricket player, English-born Henry Chadwick of Brooklyn, New York, was responsible for the "development of the box score, tabular standings, the annual baseball guide, the batting average, and most of the common statistics and tables used to describe baseball."[123] The statistical record is so central to the game's "historical essence" that Chadwick came to be known as "Father Baseball."[123] In the 1920s, American newspapers began devoting more and more attention to baseball statistics, initiating what journalist and historian Alan Schwarz describes as a "tectonic shift in sports, as intrigue that once focused mostly on teams began to go to individual players and their statistics lines."[124]

The Official Baseball Rules administered by Major League Baseball require the official scorer to categorize each baseball play unambiguously. The rules provide detailed criteria to promote consistency. The scorer's score report is the official basis for both the box score of the game and the relevant statistical records.[125] General managers, managers, and baseball scouts use statistics to evaluate players and make strategic decisions.

Rickey Henderson—the major leagues' all-time leader in runs and stolen bases—stealing third base in a 1988 game.

Certain traditional statistics are familiar to most baseball fans. The basic batting statistics include:[126]

  • At bats: plate appearances, excluding walks and hit by pitches—where the batter's ability is not fully tested—and sacrifices and sacrifice flies—where the batter intentionally makes an out in order to advance one or more baserunners
  • Hits: times reached base because of a batted, fair ball without fielding error
  • Runs: times circling the bases and reaching home safely
  • Runs batted in (RBIs): number of runners who scored due to a batter's action (including the batter himself, in the case of a home run), except when batter grounded into double play or reached on an error
  • Home runs: hits on which the batter successfully touched all four bases, without the contribution of a fielding error
  • Batting average: hits divided by at bats—the traditional measure of batting ability

The basic baserunning statistics include:[127]

  • Stolen bases: times advancing to the next base entirely due to the runner's own efforts, generally while the pitcher is preparing to deliver or delivering the ball
  • Caught stealing: times tagged out while attempting to steal a base
Cy Young—the holder of many major league career marks, including wins and innings pitched, as well as losses—in 1908. MLB's annual awards for the best pitcher in each league are named for Young.

The basic pitching statistics include:[128]

  • Wins: games where pitcher was pitching while his team took a lead that it never relinquished, going on to win
  • Losses: games where pitcher was pitching while the opposing team took a lead that it never relinquished, going on to win
  • Saves: games where the pitcher enters a game led by the pitcher's team, finishes the game without surrendering the lead, is not the winning pitcher, and either (a) the lead was three runs or less when the pitcher entered the game; (b) the potential tying run was on base, at bat, or on deck; or (c) the pitcher pitched three or more innings
  • Innings pitched: outs recorded while pitching divided by three
  • Strikeouts: times pitching three strikes to a batter
  • Winning percentage: wins divided by decisions (wins plus losses)
  • Earned run average (ERA): runs allowed, excluding those resulting from fielding errors, per nine innings pitched

The basic fielding statistics include:[129]

  • Putouts: times the fielder catches a fly ball, tags or forces out a runner, or otherwise directly effects an out
  • Assists: times a putout by another fielder was recorded following the fielder touching the ball
  • Errors: times the fielder fails to make a play he should have made with common effort, and the batting team benefits as a result
  • Total chances: putouts plus assists plus errors
  • Fielding average: successful chances (putouts plus assists) divided by total chances

Among the many other statistics that are kept are those collectively known as situational statistics. For example, statistics can indicate which specific pitchers a certain batter performs best against. If a given situation statistically favors a certain batter, the manager of the fielding team may be more likely to change pitchers or have the pitcher intentionally walk the batter in order to face one who is less likely to succeed.[130]


Sabermetrics refers to the field of baseball statistical study and the development of new statistics and analytical tools. The term is also used to refer directly to new statistics themselves. The term was coined around 1980 by one of the field's leading proponents, Bill James, and derives from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).[131]

The growing popularity of sabermetrics since the early 1980s has brought more attention to two batting statistics that sabermetricians argue are much better gauges of a batter's skill than batting average:[132]

  • On-base percentage measures a batter's ability to get on base. It is calculated by taking the sum of the hitter's successes in getting on base (hits plus walks plus hit by pitches) and dividing that by the batter's total plate appearances (at bats plus walks plus hit by pitches plus sacrifice flies), except for sacrifice bunts.[133]
  • Slugging percentage measures a batter's "power" (more accurately, hitting ability, strength, and speed). It is calculated by taking the batter's total bases (one per each single, two per double, three per triple, and four per home run) and dividing that by the batter's at bats.[134]

Some of the new statistics devised by sabermetricians have gained wide use:

Popularity and cultural impact

Writing in 1919, philosopher Morris Raphael Cohen described baseball as America's national religion.[137] In the words of sports columnist Jayson Stark, baseball has long been "a unique paragon of American culture"—a status he sees as "devastated" by the steroid abuse scandal.[138] Baseball has an important place in other national cultures as well: Scholar Peter Bjarkman describes "how deeply the sport is ingrained in the history and culture of a nation such as Cuba, [and] how thoroughly it was radically reshaped and nativized in Japan."[139] Since the early 1980s, the Dominican Republic, in particular the city of San Pedro de Macorís, has been the major leagues' primary source of foreign talent.[140] Both the local winter league and major league ball are closely followed in Puerto Rico; major league Hall-of-Famer Roberto Clemente remains one of the greatest national heroes in the island's history.[141] In the Western Hemisphere, baseball is also one of the leading sports in Canada, Colombia, Mexico, the Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, and Venezuela. In Asia, it is among the most popular sports in South Korea and Taiwan.

Two players on the baseball team of Tokyo, Japan's Waseda University in 1921.

In recent years, baseball's position compared to football in the United States has moved in contradictory directions. In 2008, Major League Baseball set a revenue record of $6.5 billion, matching the NFL's revenue for the first time in decades.[142] On the other hand, the percentage of American sports fans polled who named baseball as their favorite sport was 16%, compared to pro football at 31%; in 1985, the respective figures were pro football 24%, baseball 23%.[143] Because there are so many more major league baseball games played, there is no comparison in overall attendance. In 2008, total attendance at major league games was the second-highest in history: 78.6 million, 0.7% off the record set the previous year.[61] Attendance at games held under the Minor League Baseball umbrella also set a record in 2007, with 42.8 million;[62] this figure does not include attendance at games of the several independent minor leagues.

As of 2007, Little League Baseball oversees more than 7,000 children's baseball leagues with more than 2.2 million participants in the United States and around the world.[144] Babe Ruth League teams have over 1 million participants.[145] A varsity baseball team is an established part of physical education departments at most high schools and colleges in the United States. By early in the 20th century, intercollegiate baseball was Japan's leading sport; today, high school baseball in particular is immensely popular there.[146]

See also

General information
Related sports


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  • Bjarkman, Peter C. (2004). Diamonds Around the Globe: The Encyclopedia of International Baseball. Greenwood. ISBN 0313322686. OCLC 58806121. 
  • Block, David (2005). Baseball Before We Knew It: A Search for the Roots of the Game. Univ. of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0803262558. OCLC 70261798. 
  • Burgos, Adrian (2007). Playing America's Game: Baseball, Latinos, and the Color Line. Univ. of California Press. ISBN 0520251431. OCLC 81150202. 
  • Burk, Robert F. (2001). Never Just a Game: Players, Owners, and American Baseball to 1920. Univ. of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0807849618. OCLC 28183874. 
  • Charlton, James (ed.) (1991). The Baseball Chronology: The Complete History of the Most Important Events in the Game of Baseball. Macmillan. ISBN 0025239716. OCLC 22704314. 
  • Clarke, William Jones, and Fredrick Thomas Dawson (1915). Baseball: Individual Play and Team Play in Detail. Charles Scribner's Sons. OCLC 2781766. 
  • Gmelch, George (2006). Baseball Without Borders: The International Pastime. Univ. of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0803271255. OCLC 64594333. 
  • Guzzo, Glenn (2007). The New Ballgame: Baseball Statistics for the Casual Fan. ACTA. ISBN 087946318X. OCLC 123083947. 
  • Heaphy, Leslie A. (2003). The Negro Leagues, 1869–1960. McFarland. ISBN 0786413808. OCLC 50285143. 
  • Koppett, Leonard (2004). Koppett's Concise History of Major League Baseball. Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0786712864. OCLC 54674804. 
  • Mandelbaum, Michael (2005). The Meaning of Sports: Why Americans Watch Baseball, Football, and Basketball and What They See When They Do. PublicAffairs. ISBN 1586483307. OCLC 55539339. 
  • McNeil, William (2000). Baseball's Other All-Stars: The Greatest Players from the Negro Leagues, the Japanese Leagues, the Mexican League, and the Pre-1960 Winter Leagues in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. McFarland. ISBN 0786407840. OCLC 42976826. 
  • Porterfield, Jason (2007). Baseball: Rules, Tips, Strategy, and Safety. Rosen. ISBN 1404209913. OCLC 67773742. 
  • Powers, Albert Theodore (2003). The Business of Baseball. McFarland. ISBN 078641426X. OCLC 50866929. 
  • Puhalla, Jim, Jeff Krans, and Mike Goatley (2003). Baseball and Softball Fields: Design, Construction, Renovation, and Maintenance. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 0471447935. OCLC 50959054. 
  • Rader, Benjamin G (2008). Baseball: A History of America's Game (3rd ed.). Univ. of Illinois Press. ISBN 0252075501. OCLC 176980876. 
  • Schwarz, Alan (2004). The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics. Thomas Dunne. ISBN 0312322224. OCLC 54692908. 
  • Stallings, Jack, and Bob Bennett (eds.) (2003). Baseball Strategies: Your Guide to the Game Within the Game. American Baseball Coaches Association/Human Kinetics. ISBN 0736042180. OCLC 50203866. 
  • Sullivan, Dean (ed.) (1997). Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908. Univ. of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0803292449. OCLC 36258074. 
  • Sullivan, Dean (ed.) (1998). Middle Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1900-1948. Univ. of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0803242581. OCLC 37533976. 
  • Sullivan, Dean (ed.) (2002). Late Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1945-1972. Univ. of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0803292856. OCLC 47643746. 
  • Thurston, Bill (2000). Coaching Youth Baseball: A Baffled Parents Guide. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0071358226. OCLC 43031493. 
  • Tygiel, Jules (2000). Past Time: Baseball as History. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195089588. OCLC 42290019. 
  • Zimbalist, Andrew (2007). In the Best Interests of Baseball?: The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 0470128240. OCLC 62796332. 
  • Zoss, Joel (2004). Diamonds in the Rough: The Untold History of Baseball. Univ. of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0803299206. OCLC 54611393. 

Further reading

  • Bradbury, J.C. The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed (Dutton, 2007)
  • Elliott, Bob. The Northern Game: Baseball the Canadian Way (Sport Classic, 2005)
  • Euchner, Charles. The Last Nine Innings: Inside the Real Game Fans Never See (Sourcebooks, 2007)
  • Fitts, Robert K. Remembering Japanese Baseball: An Oral History of the Game (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005)
  • Gillette, Gary, and Pete Palmer (eds.). The ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia, 5th ed. (Sterling, 2008)
  • James, Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, rev. ed. (Simon and Schuster, 2003)
  • James, Bill. The Bill James Handbook 2009 (ACTA, 2008)
  • Keri, Jonah (ed.). Baseball Between the Numbers: Why Everything You Know About the Game Is Wrong (Basic, 2007)
  • Peterson, Robert. Only the Ball was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams (Oxford University Press, 1992 [1970])
  • Reaves, Joseph A. Taking in a Game: A History of Baseball in Asia (Bison, 2004)
  • Ritter, Lawrence S. The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It, enlarged ed. (Harper, 1992)
  • Tango, Tom, Mitchel G. Lichtman, and Andrew E. Dolphin, The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball (Potomac, 2007)
  • Ward, Geoffrey C. and Ken Burns. Baseball: An Illustrated History (Alfred A. Knopf, 1996)


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