Curriculum Resources
History in the Headlines
Baseball's Rise in Popularity in the 1900s

Baseball traces its origins to the mid-19th century and has long been known colloquially as America's "national pastime." The phrase was coined in 1856 by the New York Mercury newspaper to describe the sport emerging in the city's boroughs. Alexander Cartwright of the New York Knickerbockers is widely credited with introducing baseball's modern features, including foul lines, the three-strike rule, and the baseball diamond. Beginning in 1845, Cartwright and the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York City played the first formalized games on Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey.

However, the sport did not gain a national foothold until the turn of the century: the major leagues as we know them today began competing for talent in 1900, and the first World Series championship followed a few years later in 1903. Baseball's popularity...

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