Why Is It So Important to Know the History of Baseball?
The history of baseball has many different origins. Baseball historians and those involved in the game have argued now for over 150 years about the origin of baseball. The answer has sometimes depended upon politics and other times on what makes a better story. It is fitting, however, that the controversy even still raises questions for the sport. As Dorothy Seymour Mills writes in her book, Chasing Baseball: Our Obsession with Its History, Number, People and Places, only in baseball is everything sought to be counted, quantified, verified and documented. Baseball is the only sport to have continuously developed new ways of documenting a player’s abilities. Unsatisfied with these novel means of ranking player abilities, baseball is the only sport to feel the need to compare the skills of today’s Major Leaguers against superstar players from half a century ago. Baseball reaches back to its history more than any other sport. In other words, knowing the history of the various controversies regarding the game’s beginnings is part and parcel of being a baseball lover. Without understanding that the sport’s very beginnings were mired in controversy, you can’t fully understand a recent controversy, or a current one, or how a manager’s argument with an umpire on a call is part of the game’s history. [Read more…]