Americans have played baseball nearly since the founding of the nation. The game has survived civil wars and World Wars, labor struggles between owners and players, the civil rights movement and social unrest. Its history is abound with contradictions, a reflection of the changing American culture that the sport has evolved within. It is frequently viewed as a pastoral game, but it is played professionally in the middle of urban America. It is seen as a game among equals, but it has excluded as many Americans as it has included. And it is believed a conservative game, but often helps lead national no=s and values.
This research examines the sport of baseball, from its beginnings to its current status in American life. The first section of this essay will discuss the origins of baseball and its evolution into a professional sport. The issue of racial separatism and the role of baseball in helping break down the barriers of race will be analyzed next. A third section will discuss the institutional structure of professional baseball, including the labor disputes and controversies over the power of the baseball commissioner. Finally, the current nature.of the game will be scrutinized, followed by a conclusion of the future of the sport.
Baseball is officially recognized as having its origins one summer afternoon in 1839, at Cooperstown, on the shore of Otsego Lake in upper-state New York. This is the official finding of a commission headed by General A.G. Mills that had been appointed to settle the controversy of baseball's origins.
The dispute arose in the early 1900s as two different schools of thought debate the origins of baseball. One school, represented by A.G. Spalding, a fine pitcher in his day and founder of the famous sporting goods business, argued that baseball is strictly an American sport begun on American soil. Opposing Spalding was a school represented by Henry Chadwick, baseball's first professiona...