Historical Events That Lead Up to the Creation of Major League Baseball

Baseball is Americans true past time. Fans gather and cheer on their favorite team throughout the season and speak of the sport when conversing with friends, family, and co-workers. The early beginnings of baseball can be traced all the way back to the 18th century. During that time, the game was a little different, not commercialized, and the rules varied. The concepts, however, were pretty much the same. As the sport became more popular, semi-pro baseball clubs begin to develop more or less in the 1860’s.

The New York Knickerbockers were the first team to play using modern day rules. Their club was formed in 1845 and consisted of people from the upper middle class of New York. It was a social club that played the sport as a past time. They were amateurs and not a professional organization. Club members followed a set of rules known as the “Knickerbocker Rules.” These rules mainly pertained to organization issues but also specified game rules. Earlier practices allowed players to be tagged out by a thrown ball. The New York Knickerbockers prohibited this action and set rules for tagging that are similar to current baseball tagging guidelines. These rules were put in place to prevent arguments and fights that the original method often created.

As of 1857, there were sixteen baseball teams in the New York area. They came together to form the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP). This was the beginning of organized baseball. It was also the first organization to create a championship for the sport. During the Civil War, membership grew tremendously. By 1867, there were four-hundred or more clubs in the organization. These clubs were all over the country and reached as far as California. It was not until 1869 that professional play was recognized and allowed.

Professional baseball did not become common until the 1870’s. At that point the amateur and professional players split. A new association called the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players was formed for all professional teams. This association remained in existence for approximately four years and was the early beginnings of the major leagues. Contracts could be enforced by the clubs that prevented players from straying to other clubs. Clubs also had to play all scheduled games even after they were out of the championship. During this time, clubs made an agreement that denied non-white players the right to play professional baseball which remained in effect until 1947.

Many leagues formed throughout the following years and disbanded shortly after. The American League and National Leagues prevailed through the struggle. Their competitive offers to players created huge bidding wars that caused baseball contracts to be broken all over the country. These two leagues along with the national association signed an agreement that established dominance over major league baseball and created the World Series. The agreement prevent independents from buying out dominate players in the major league. Bidding wars were largely eliminated. Eventually many of the independent leagues joined the NA to prevent pilfering, gambling, and other issues. Check out Leo-wells-on-sports.com to read more about baseball and view his discussions on current baseball events.

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