There are two significant events that go hand in hand during the last week of March and the first week of April: Spring and MLB Opening Day.
Historians say the game of baseball was invented by Abner Doubleday in 1869. The first recognized game took place between the Cleveland Forest Cities and Ft. Wayne Kekiongas on May 4, 1871. BTW, Fort Wayne won by a score of 2-0. Attendance: 200.
This is the first time since 1968 where all 30 teams in the MLB played on Opening Day. In the late 1800s, the National League opened with 8 teams: Boston Red Stockings (now the Atlanta Braves), Chicago White Stockings (now the Chicago Cubs), Cincinnati Red Stockings, Hartford Dark Blues, Louisville Grays, Mutual of New York, Philadelphia Athletics and the St. Louis Brown Stockings.
Opening Day is an American tradition, a national pastime. Hard-core baseball fans take the day off work, sport their favorite team’s uniform, dust off the barbeque, crack open their favorite beverage, and overindulge themselves in a ballpark sustenance. My favorites: hot dog with mustard, peanuts, and an ice cold cola.
Baseball has evolved since the first pitch in 1871 and has seen its share of changes. Here are a few to note.
1872: Pitchers were allowed to snap their wrists which brought about the curveball. However, pitchers were still required to pitch underhand. They also regulated the weight and dimensions of the baseball.
1873: the ball is also declared dead and all base runners can advance if a player catches the ball in his hat.
1874: The Batter’s Box is introduced. Additionally, Umpires, players and official scorers are banned from gambling on the game.
Rule changes for the 2023 season: A pitch clock and larger bases, just to name a few.
MLB salaries have also changed since the 1880s. Pay: February 15, 1870, through February 14, 1871, players averaged $125 per month. The highest salary in 2023: $40 million a year (Aaron Judge).
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