popular in America, Japan and Latin America.
Although it is looked upon as America’s
national game, it is actually a variation of
first rules of the modern game were drawn up in
1845. A year later the first game under these
rules resulted in a win for the New York Nine
over the sport’s first organized club, the
New York Knickerbockers.
are two leagues in America, and after their
season of 162 matches against team in their own
league, the best take part in play-offs before
the two winners from each league meet in the
best of seven World Series, which dominates the
sporting interest of the entire American
bases are placed at the angles of a 90-foot
square, more often referred to as ‘the
diamond’, home plate, and in anti-clock
wise order, first, second and third base.
foul lines provide the boundaries of fair
territory, which encompasses the
ball is tapered and made of solid wood, no more
than 42 inches long, and no more than 2.75
inches round at its widest end. The ball, made
from a mixture of cork and rubber as its centre,
and hard stitched leather on the outside, is
about 9 to 9.5 inches in circumference, weighing
just over 5 ounces.
batter wears a protective helmet. The players
wear tight trousers to protect their legs when
sliding on the earth, as well as socks and
studded shoes. The shirt and the rest of each
team’s outfit must be in a uniform colour.
The pitcher may wear a leather glove. A catcher,
directly behind the batter, may wear a
headguard, leather glove and chest guard, as
well as kneepads. Other fielders may wear a
team is made up of nine players and a number of
home side fields first and games are decided on
who scores the most runs in nine innings. A home
run is made every time the better runs the
complete circuit of all four bases or by hitting
the ball over the boundary line for a home run,
without having to run round the bases.
batter must always run when he hits the ball
into fair territory, thus giving the fielders a
chance to catch him out. He can be caught out or
he can be ‘stumped’ because a
fielder touched him or the base he was running
to with the ball.
RECORDS SET IN THE
Although he died in 1948, Babe Ruth is
still regarded as the greatest name in American
baseball. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1895,
he started his career with the Boston Red Sox as
a pitcher, winning 80 games between 1915 and
1919. A year later he was transferred to the
famed New York Yankees, and switched from
pitcher to batter. He hit over 50 home runs in a
season four times and set numerous records.
later years Nolan Ryan, a Texan- born in 1947,
he set all sorts of records as a pitcher. He was
the first pitcher to achieve 4000
‘strikeouts’ (that is, causing the
batter to be out) in 1985 and four years later
this became 5000. He has appeared for several
teams, starting with the New York Mets and
ending with the Texas Rangers. He is still
playing in his mid-forties.
the most unusual events in baseball history took
place when a player for the New York Dodgers
caught fire at a critical moment in the game.
The cause was a still lighted cigar which he
thought he had put out before tucking it away in
member of the New York Dodgers team managed to
break his leg without moving his position in the
outfield. A high-flying ball came in his
direction, so he started streaking after it, or
so he thought, realizing too late that his foot
was stuck in a hole and he’d just
fractured his leg.
Matsutaro Shoriki, the Japanese politician
and media magnet who founded Japan’s first
commercial TV channel and brought colour TV to
Japan, was almost killed in 1935 by a
sword-thrust in the back from a militant member
of the War God Society. His offence – he
had ‘defiled’ the Emperor
Meiji’s memorial stadium by staging a
Japan v. US baseball match