Glove Story

BASEBALL WAS PLAYED FOR THIRTY YEARS BEFORE ANYONE THOUGHT ABOUT FINDING A WAY TO PROTECT PLAYERS’ FINGERS

 

When the St. Louis Brown Stockings, of the National Association, began their 1875 season, the roster was studded with current and future stars. Their venerable player-manager, Dickey Pearce, had been one of the first two men to be openly paid for playing baseball, way back in 1856. He also invented bunting and the modern position of shortstop. The left fielder, Ned Cuthbert, was equally innovative: In 1865, noticing that there was nothing in the rules to prohibit it, he became the first recorded player to steal a base.

 
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Crossing The Line

On April 15 Jackie Robinson started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers in their opening-day game against the Boston Braves. In so doing, he became the first African-American to play in the major leagues since an abortive attempt at integration in 1884. Robinson’s courageous breaking of the color line would eventually have great repercussions inside baseball and out. Yet on the day of his momentous debut, fans and journalists alike were oddly blasé. Read more »

Learning To Like Baseball

WHAT HAPPENED when a historian largely indifferent to the subject set out to write the script for Ken Burns’s monumental new documentary

I’VE NEVER LIKED BASEBALL MUCH, IN part because my father has always loved it so. He has been a fan all his life, rooting first for the Cleveland Indians, who were the closest major leaguers to the small Ohio town in which he was raised, and then for the Chicago White Sox, heroes to at least half the city in which he and my mother raised my brother and sister and me.Read more »

Positively The Last Word On Baseball

Forget football, basketball, and all the other sports that are artificially regulated by the clock. Only baseball can truly reveal our national character. Only baseball can light our path to the future.

 
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The Man Who Didn’t Invent Baseball

Abner Doubleday had an eventful life, but as far as we know, he never gave a thought to the game with which his name is so firmly linked

SOME TWO hundred and fifty thousand people a year come to the little village of Cooperstown, in upstate New York, to visit the National Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame. They are drawn by the large, brick museum on Cooperstown’s Main Street, and many still cherish the belief that this is the place where baseball began; here it was invented and first played. The inventor is supposed to be the Civil War general Abner Doubleday; he is supposed to have thought up the game in 1839.This is a doublebarreled historical falsehood.Read more »

Say It Ain’t So, Joe!

Foul was fair, and fair foul, when eight players of the championship White Sox conspired with gamblers to throw the 1919 World Series

On November 6, 1920, a grand jury in Cook County, Illinois, issued to an aroused public a statement of reassurance on a question that seemed to eclipse in significance even the landslide presidential victory of Warren Gamaliel Harding just four days earlier. In spite of the jury’s recent disclosures, the game of baseball was “clean.”

 
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