1: My Tour On How Baseball Changed the United States
2: New York businessman would gather to play baseball with rules very similar to what they are now | Elysian Fields, New Jersey Said to have been created in the 1840's | The New York Knickerbockers are seen as the first team to be formed, and had the first recorded game on June 19th, 1846 | THE BEGINNING
3: Even though Elysian Fields was not constructed with the intention of having fans observe the game, they often stood around the field to watch the game. These spectators watched for no cost, little did they know that they would be the first of billions of fans, and once people began to notice the possibility of making money, they took advantage. | On my trip across America, Elysian Fields in New Jersey would be the first place I would travel to. This is where baseball first began on its long journey to becoming what it is today.
4: In 1858 the National Association of Base Ball Players was created, and became the first organized baseball organization. | THE FORMATION OF THE NABBP
5: When the NABBP was formed, they quickly realized that they could start charging fans money to watch the games. In the 1860's during the war, many Union soldiers often played pick up games. Throughout the war they spread the sport south across the country, and when the war ended, the growth was astounding. With over a hundred teams competing, travel was necessary, and to travel the teams needed money. This money often came either from the owner of the team, or from sponsors of the teams. Once sponsors began to appear, winning became important because nobody wants to sponsor a loosing team.
6: In the early years of baseball, players simply played for enjoyment; however, some of them were receiving money secretly. In 1868, the NABBP allowed professionalism, which allowed for players to be payed. In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first fully professional team, consisting of the best players in the country, and won all 65 of their games. | RISE OF PROFESSIONALISM
7: Since teams could now consider themselves professionals, they could start paying their players. Like the Cincinnati Red Stocking, other teams soon began to realize that they had no chance of winning any games, or even maintain a team, without paying good players to play for them. The players, quickly realizing that they could make money from playing for certain teams, began to leave their amateur teams to join professional ones. In 1871 the National Association was formed, and consisted of 9 teams, and by 1875 there were 13 teams. With the rise of professionalism came a change in spectators though. Noticing that they could make money off bets, gamblers took and interest in the sport. Since most teams were owned by players, fans became suspicious of the players selling out to make extra money off the gamblers. After 1875, the National Association was replaced by the National League, which made it so teams had to be run and owned by businessmen, as well as setting ticket prices, and player contracts, and schedules.
8: During the times of growth, teams began to construct their own parks which included seating for fans around the field. | WOODEN BALLPARKS
9: The wooden ballparks constructed in the late 1800's into the 1900's were not constructed to last for decades. Many people believed that baseball was going to lose interest, and the sport would die down, back to what it had been in the mid 1800's. This was not the case though. The sport outlasted all of the wooden parks, many of which perished in fires including the Polo Grounds III, and both American League, and National League Park. The newly constructed baseball fields featured even more seating for fans, and were predominantly constructed of metal, earning them the title, "Jewelbox" ballparks.
10: Around this time, baseball cards also began to gain attention. Though they were produced in the mid 1800's, it was predominantly for advertising, whereas in the early 1900's, tobacco companies used them to promote sales | In 1901, a rival league was created, the American League. The American league was very similar to what it is today in that they used a designated hitter, rather than the pitcher. | In 1903 the first world series took place to see who was better, the National League, or the American League. None other than the Boston Red Sox, beat the Pittsburgh Pirates.
11: Two more sites I would to visit are the sites of the first World Series, Hunting Avenue in Boston, and Exposition Park in Pittsburgh.
12: In the early 1900's, parks like this were becoming more and more common. Around this time, baseball was launched into a whole new level of popularity. | Soon after the first World Series, the fan base began to increase dramatically. Wooden ball parks started to give way to new parks, made mainly of metal. These new parks featured many more seats for spectators, and often were constructed in cities. For these reasons they earned the name "Jewel box" ballparks. | THE EVOLUTION ERA
13: The construction of these new ballparks during the Progressive Era, contributed to what is known as the, City Beautiful Movement. The movement sought to improve the appearance of urban environments around the time of World War I in hopes of bringing peace to the cities, and promote social harmony.
14: Fenway Park, and Wrigley Field are the only two jewel box ballparks remaining. When Fenway was built, it came at the cost of about $650,000 in 1912, which is around $15,000,000 today. When Wrigley Field was built, it cost only about $250,000 in 1914, which today is about $5,300,000.
15: Honus Wagner's 1909-1911 baseball card, T206, is regarded as the most expensive and rarest card. In 2007 it was sold for $2.8 MILLION. | Cigarette companies like this one used colorful images of baseball players to advertise and gain attention.
16: The "Dead ball era" was a time from 1900-1920 when batting averages , and runs scored per game were at an all time low. This was caused by the use of parks featuring outfield walls as deep as 635 feet,(fenways deepest point is 420 ft) as well as pitchers' ability to use spitballs. Ed Walsh was well known for popularizing the spitball. | The end of this era came about when baseball had been reformed by both rules, and Babe Ruth. New rules prohibited the use of the spitball, and pushed the use of switching out old baseballs for new ones. Babe Ruth put out batting numbers that had been un-heard of. He hit more homeruns in one season than most teams of the dead ball era combined. | THE "DEAD BALL ERA"
17: THE EFFECTS OF "THE GREAT BAMBINO" | Babe Ruth is inarguably responsible for launching baseball into the midst of the "Roaring Twenties". He provided his fans with a whole new game, one that included much more action than the sport previously had. Ruth became one of the most known athletes the country has ever known. He was so popular that, during WW II, Japanese soldiers would charge yelling, "To hell with Babe Ruth". Babe Ruth represented the true American, rag's to rich's, dream. He built his empire up higher than any other athlete had, yet his head still remained on the ground.
18: THE FIRST TELEVISED GAME | The first Major League game to be televised was on August 26th, 1939. The game featured a double header in which Brooklyn Dodgers, and the Cincinnati Reds competed at Ebbets Field.
19: Though televisions were not a common household item yet, stations began to televise sporting events. Contrary to what many people would assume, the number of fans attending the games continued to increase. | The site of Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York, would be another mark on my tour of America. Ebbets Field was the first of many to host a televised game. It was also the home field of Jackie Robinson.
20: INTEGRATING IN THE FOURTIES | Once America had entered into the 1940's, baseball was hit with a new challenge. Our country had entered the second world war, and many ballplayers, like Ted Williams, left to serve the country. With so many gaps in rosters, teams began to turn to other resources, like the Negro league. The Negro Leagues, though never as large as the Major League, consisted of all black players. Many of these players had statistics that contended with the best of the majors, but would be unable to compete with their white counter-parts because of their race. The so-called, minorities, continued to prove their equality in America by fighting honorably on the battlefield, and began to prove themselves on the baseball field. Stars like Joe DiMaggio were victims of abuse from fans because they weren't the white ball players that the majority of fans wanted to see, but after fighting in the war, DiMaggio was regarded with much more respect. Once superstar athletes like Satchel Paige appeared, they could no longer be pushed aside by the Majors. On April 18th, 1946, Dodgers owner Branch Rickey, shattered the color barrier with the signing of Jackie Robinson. Despite unimaginable amounts of racism throughout the season, Robinson managed to help his team win the pennant, and won himself the honor of National League Rookie of the Year.
21: Another stop on my tour across America, would be Brooklyn, New York to see the Pee-wee Reese and Jackie Robinson Statue. This statue represents the friendly bond between the two, despite severe racial borders. Pee-wee Reese taught the nation a lesson by standing up against millions of people including his own fans, and teammates.
22: THE STELLAR SIXTIES | The sixties were another great generation of change for baseball. With help from the increased number of television viewers, baseball's audience was growing drastically. Before the sixties, most teams had been based in the north east. As new teams from other parts of the country tried to get into the Majors, they were shot down, either because they didn't have the money needed to support the league, or they didn't receive the talent they required. Fearing that they would lose their dominance of the sport, the owners of the leagues allowed more teams to join the ranks boosting it from 16 teams to 24 by the end of the 1960's. With more teams in the league, there were more players, and to go with it more for fans to watch. There also was a new breed of ballparks in the making, which functioned as multi-purpose parks. Also in the sixties, players began to notice that despite wild increases in the money baseball was receiving, their salaries remained low. This caused them to organize their union to get more money. The union managed to gain leverage over the owners, and weaken the, "take it or leave it" attitude many owners had towards players.
23: The RFK Memorial Stadium was originally named the D.C. Stadium in 1961 when it was constructed. In January of 1969 the stadium was renamed to commemorate Kennedy, who had played a key role in the integration of the Washington Redskins.Parks like the RFK Memorial Stadium were designed for multiple sport uses including football, and soccer. Despite having a good idea, these stadiums were not well designed for baseball. Many seats faced towards the center of the stadium for football games, rather than the traditional home plate for baseball.
24: POWER TO THE PLAYERS! | Since the 60's, baseball has continued to evolve into what it is today. One of the largest changes has been the formation of free agents. This was fantastic for players because it granted them the freedom to move to higher paying teams, thereby boosting the salaries of players.
25: THE DECLINE OF BASEBALL | After the implementation of free agency, baseball's popularity stopped climbing so quickly. Since the 70's players have continuously demonstrated the ways of natural Americans by arguing, filing lawsuits, and going on strike in order to get what they want. This detracts from the game, and as a result many people have begun to switch their interest to sports that are more about playing and less public complaining. Baseball was the sport that demonstrated the American ideals of unity, and amusement. The new generations see baseball in a different light then those who were able to see how the best played the game, how Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, and Hank Aaron played. Today much of what viewers see is clouded by men who use playing enhancements such as steroids in hopes of achieving the success the aforementioned had achieved.
26: BASEBALL TODAY | Today, when we watch baseball we see many players who are trying to return baseball to what it once was. Many teams have honored those who have achieved success and played the sport like it was meant to be played. With the retiring of numbers of members of teams, both players and fans can remember those who contributed to baseball being "America's Pastime". The National Baseball Hall of Fame is in Cooperstown, New York, and will also be featured in my tour. Here, you can see all of those who have greatly affected baseball, and everything relating too the nations pastime.
27: New Yankee Stadium features seats for over 50,000 people at the cost of $1.5 Billion | Media ridiculing baseball's steroid useage | Obama throwing first pitch at a game | JFK throwing first pitch at a game
28: TOUR LIST 1. Elysian Fields, Hoboken, New Jersey 2. South End Grounds, Boston, Massachusetts 3. Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 4. Exposition Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 5. Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts 6. Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois 7. Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, New York 8. Robinson-Reese Statue, Brooklyn, New York 9. National Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, New York 10. Red Sox vs Yankee's at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York to see true baseball rivalry
30: Front Cover: http://strongphotography.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/baseball-photo1.jpg Pages 2 & 3: http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/182541/elysian-fields-baseball-game_1_.jpeg http://whatispy.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/4411-Elysian-Fields.jpg Pages 4 & 5: http://www.baseballgamesfans.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Baltimore_Orioles.jpg Pages 6 & 7: http://bss.sfsu.edu/tygiel/hist490/19thcprofessional/19thcphotos/reds/reds1869%5B1%5D.gif Page 8 & 9: http://www.ballparks.com/baseball/american/huntin01.jpg http://wapedia.mobi/thumb/127f503/en/fixed/470/338/Polo_Grounds_Fire.jpg?format=jpg Page 10 & 11: http://www.mlbfanatics.com/images/interleague-logo.gif http://www.legendaryauctions.com/LotImages/71/112873ai_lg.jpeg http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2007/0716/travel_huntington_avenue_800.jpg http://www.projectballpark.org/history/al/pics/hunt1.jpg http://t2buck.com/images/exposition300.jpg Page 12 & 13: http://www.baseballforum.com/photopost/data/500/1940_FORBES_FIELD.jpg http://kathika.com/wp-content/uploads/fenway-park-werkunz1366-ll.jpg http://rmparchive.com/images/hosting/600Border/LC2182-600Border.jpg Page 14 & 15: http://cache2.allpostersimages.com/p/LRG/20/2005/O5U6D00Z/posters/smith-mike-wrigley-field-chicago-illinois.jpg http://pbmo.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/honuswagnercard.jpg http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9810/images/baseball_3.jpg
31: Page 16 & 17: http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/slides/photos/000/773/566/800px-Ed_Walsh_portrait_1911_display_image.jpg?1299530854 http://baberuthfacts.com/images/babe-ruth.jpg http://www.lapl.org/virgal/extra/images/00034790.jpg Page 18 & 19: http://image.cdnl3.xosnetwork.com/pics22/400/FF/FFGWXWHDRHJUYSP.20090515203652.jpg http://www.photosofoldamerica.com/webart/large/278.JPG http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/hash/88/50/8850beb4dfa7beb1db3e9cf894629c97.jpg Page 20 & 21: http://mitchellarchives.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/jackie-robinson-photo.jpg http://captnsblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/jackiepeewee.jpg http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/1965-baseball-season2.jpg http://cache.thephoenix.com/secure/uploadedImages/The_Phoenix/Arts/Books/TJI_Ted-Williams.jpg Page 22 & 23: http://rpmedia.ask.com/ts?u=/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0c/RFK_Stadium_aerial_photo%2C_1988.JPEG/200px-RFK_Stadium_aerial_photo%2C_1988.JPEG Page 24 & 25: http://media.gallup.com/POLL/Releases/pr060404biii.gif Page 26 & 27: http://totakethetrain.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/opening_day_jfk.jpg http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3598/3458435226_4f34df5953.jpg http://thepublicinterest.freedomblogging.com/files/2009/07/obama-baseball.jpg http://www.insidesocal.com/tomhoffarth/bizarro-baseball-without-steroids.jpg