Baseball is the center of the universe without its position in the universe the earth would tilt of its axis and we would all parish in a huge ball of flame. Did you know that baseball is over one hundred years old. The first game of baseball was played in the Elysian Fields, in Hoboken, New Jersey. Since then baseball had came along way to make itself a huge spectator sport. Baseball has been apart of everyone lives, weather you played as a child or went to see a game with your family, or just watched a game on tv , baseball was always there. In this speech I will explain to you a brief history of baseball and how it became are nations pastime and also a source of entertainment for many years. I obtained information for this speech in the book, The Baseball Almanac also from the online baseball archives at www.baseball1.com. Their are 3 main topics I will discuss during this speech. First of which is how baseball came to be in the early days. Second the rapid growth of the game in the 20th century in America. Last I will talk about the late years of baseball with strikes and labor battles within the league.
First the early days of baseball, Unlike basketball and football, interest in baseball were not sweeping the globe. Throughout the 19th century small towns formed teams, and baseball clubs were formed in large cities. In 1845 Alexander Cartwright a team owner himself, put in a list of rules by which teams can play and remarkably we still use those rules today. The first recorded game was played by Cartwrights Knickerbockers against a New York club in the Elysian Fields I spoke of early in the speech. Eleven years later owners came together to form the National Association of Base Ball Players. In the next year of play the game supported itself by charging admission for fans to watch the game. Baseball next turning point would be intertwined with the turmoil of the Civil War. The war hurt many teams and the number of clubs dropped. But the war also helped spread the game around to different states which helped the games come back after the war.
Now that we have looked at early baseball. Lets turn to the huge growth of the game in the 20th century. A major step in the game in 1903 when the American and National baseball leagues joined. From their baseball accelerated up hill. In 1905 the world series was implemented and the 2 best teams from each league would play for the title. Also that year the take me out to the ball game that we all know became popular. By 1915 players were getting nice salaries and could quit their other jobs and focus on baseball full time. The 20s and 30s were marked the golden years of baseball big names like Babe Ruth and Ted Williams lured more people to the sport. By this time in America everyone had a favorite baseball team. This made the game a huge source of entertainment back before television. From the 40s and on baseball only changed for the better it had pushed itself through a depression and 3 wars by the 60s and still managed to captivate a huge audience.
Now let us move to the modern era of baseball and the problems with labor battles and strikes. In 1965 Baseball players were growing tired of cut wages they hired a man by the name if Marvin Miller a veteran labor organizer to help them change things. This lead to the first bargain agreement in 1968 between players and owners. It was a modest improvement but most of all it gave players leverage to negotiate with owners for there salaries instead of the traditional take it or leave the players were use to. By 1975 there had been more than 50 lawsuits to owners from players who felt they were cheated on salaries or trades. It gave the owners the feeling that they weren’t in charge anymore had to players would have some say in the business side of baseball. In 1975 the season had been delayed 13 games when players went on strike for the right to be a free agent when their contract was up. Owners relented but finally gave into the players conditions. This was nothing compared to the 1994 season when all of baseball shut down due to a strike. The world series was canceled for the first time 92 years and baseballs commissioner was forced to resign. Problems between unions and owners and contract terms led to the cancel of the season. Many view the strike as huge waste of time since no real modification were put into effect. But finally after 234 days and more than 1 billion dollar in loses and no settlement baseball was back in business.
In conclusion my purpose has been to inform you of a brief history of the early days of baseball, how the game accelerated in the 20th century and lastly the labor battles and strikes of the modern era. On that I hope everyone has better understand about what baseball is and how it came to be.