The History of Baseball

Baseball is a sport deeply entrenched in history. It is a history book, the Book of Baseball, if you will. And from this book, I would bet that most baseball fans have heard a story or two, which sparked their interest in the great past time of America.

Remember when:

Babe Ruth called his home run?
A shot was heard around the world?
Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single season home run record?
Willie Mays made an impossible catch?
Hank Aaron surpassed the Great Bambino for most home runs all time?
Carlton Fisk willed a ball to stay fair?
Kirk Gibson made one swing count when he was needed most?
Barry Bonds became a god and then fell?The Red Sox came back from three-down?

All of these stories and many, many more, are what make up the essence and tradition of baseball. These stories are what keep people reading the Book of Baseball. And then there are the characters of baseball – the players – who, at times, became just as human as us, the readers of the Book of Baseball

Remember when:

Lou Gehrig made a whole nation put life into perspective?
Players, of all talent levels, put down their bats and went to fight during World War II?
Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier dividing baseball?
Roberto Clemente died while carrying supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua?
Hank Aaron overcame racism?
A world series brought a nation together after 9/11?
An F-bomb spoken by Big Papi, empowered a hurting city?

We have the plot and the action and the characters, but what are these hallowed words written in and on? Without paper to make pages and leather to bind the book, there is no Book of Baseball. The physical book is the stadium. And the stadium is composed of the city and community in which it resides. But what is the history of the baseball community? How often do you, the casual baseball fan, think about and delve deep into the history of the area surrounding the baseball park? Why was the ball park built there? Are the people who reside in the areas nearest to the stadium fans like you? Why do the areas seem so downtrodden around baseball stadiums?

When writing a history, one must consider where that history came from and how it developed, and at whose expense. We as a “fandom,” in order to create a history of baseball, must realize what the stories are written on and how they are held together. The Book of Baseball is written in and for a community. But is everyone in that community included? A book needs its pages and bindings, just as baseball needs the communities immediately surrounding the stadium.

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