How Baseball Has Changed Over The Years

May 25, 2011
America’s pastime started out as an amateur sport with an unorganized set of rules. It has become more and more complex as time went on. By the time the first league, which was the National League, was started in 1876, the rules had already started to change. In the first 15 years of existence, the league brought the rules about ball construction, stats, the size of the batter box and materials used for bases. It was also a time for deciding the ages of the team players. These were the early years of the construction of the rules and games.

In the next chapter of existence, baseball had become populated with stars (such as Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, and Babe Ruth) and it grew in popularity. New players that would shatter the previous records would reel in fans. The thrill of viewing those great feats was high in demand. The need to distinguish players became more important and baseball rules changed with it. In 1917, earned run statistics were established and started being recorded. This was the first of many changes in baseball that focused on the pitching strategy.
The biggest way that baseball changed over the years, by far, is the erasing of the color line that split baseball into the Major League and the Negro League. This occurrence was like a magnet that attracted fans of all races. It wasn’t always like that though. White fans couldn’t accept black players on the same team with other white players. Boycotts and riots were held as a consequence. Later, the ethnicity of the league was even more diversified with the introduction of Latino players.
When Jackie Robinson first became a team member on a major league team known as the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1947, it not only marked a beginning of a new age for the sport but for the country as well. The changes that came from fans celebrating players of all races contributed to the desegregation changes that finally came 20 years later in the country.

Other ways that baseball has changed is that more T.V. games started airing and before you knew it, night games became very popular. The first T.V. game aired on May 17th, 1939 between Princeton and Colombia. Most people wouldn’t be able to view baseball games during the day whether you were at school or at work. Also, free agency was fought for and introduced in the 1970s which brought up player contracts and ended a time when teams had a player’s rights for their career unless they chose a different road. Now, the player would receive letters from teams asking for their attendance as a player and would offer a contract with however many years offering however much money. The money in the system has only risen and with it the building of new stadiums. The new stadiums replaced all but two original ballparks and the number of teams has roughly doubled form 16 to 30. The walls of the fields were brought in so that the batters would be able to hit more homeruns thus making the game more entertaining to the fans.

Another big change in baseball was the bat size and weight. There was usually one weight. If customization was needed, it was costly. Now, you can go to any athletics store and choose from a variety of bats of varying prices.
The core of the game has thankfully remained untouched. There are still 9 players on the field at a time, you still have to cross the plate to get a run, and the batter still has three strikes and four balls before they either strike out or walk.
Many players argue that the era that was before it was more difficult and more authentic and all of them may be right. But even as it switched and changed, it has remained the American Pastime.





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