Although the United States can be credited with developing several popular sports that were adopted internationally, it is baseball that Americans have traditionally recognized as the “national pastime.” Baseball’s early history was interwoven with and reflective of major social and cultural cleavages, but the sport also proved to possess great unifying power, as the experience of playing, watching, and talking about baseball became one of the nation’s great common denominators. Additionally, we have baseball to thank (or point fingers at) for the continued status of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” as one of the best-known songs among Americans.
Baseball Encyclopedia Articles
Babe Ruth, American professional baseball player. Largely because of his home-run hitting between 1919 and 1935, Ruth became, and perhaps remains to this day, America’s most celebrated athlete. Part of the aura surrounding Ruth arose from his modest origins. Though the legend that he was an orphan...
Johnny Bench, American professional baseball player who, in 17 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds of the National League, established himself as one of the game’s finest catchers. He won 10 consecutive Gold Glove Awards (1968–77) and had an exceptional throwing arm. Bench was a master at blocking...
Ichiro Suzuki, Japanese baseball player who amassed the most total hits across all professional baseball leagues in the history of the sport. He was notably also the first non-pitcher to shift from Japanese professional baseball to the American major leagues. Suzuki played baseball from an early...
Mike Trout, American baseball centre fielder who was one of the sport’s best all-around players of the early 21st century. Trout was a baseball star at Millville (New Jersey) High School, and his already-apparent skills prompted the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to choose him as the 25th overall...
Jackie Robinson, the first Black baseball player to play in the American major leagues during the 20th century. On April 15, 1947, Robinson broke the decades-old “colour line” of Major League Baseball when he appeared on the field for the National League Brooklyn Dodgers. He played as an infielder...
Lou Gehrig, one of the most durable players in American professional baseball and one of its great hitters. From June 1, 1925, to May 2, 1939, Gehrig, playing first base for the New York Yankees, appeared in 2,130 consecutive games, a record that stood until it was broken on September 6, 1995, by...
Roger Maris, professional baseball player whose one-season total of 61 home runs (1961) was the highest recorded in the major leagues until 1998. As this feat was accomplished in a 162-game schedule, baseball commissioner Ford C. Frick decreed that Maris had not broken Babe Ruth’s record of 60 home...
Ernie Banks, American professional baseball player, regarded as one of the finest power hitters in the history of the game. Banks starred for the Chicago Cubs from 1953 to 1971. An 11-time All-Star, Banks was named the National League’s (NL) Most Valuable Player for two consecutive seasons...
Mickey Mantle, professional American League baseball player for the New York Yankees (1951–68), who was a powerful switch-hitter (right- and left-handed) and who hit 536 home runs. He helped the Yankees win seven World Series (1951–53, 1956, 1958, 1961–62). Mantle began playing baseball as a Little...
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