When the phrase “America’s National Pastime” is heard, most people find themselves thinking about the classic ball and bat sport of baseball.
What many people don’t know, however, is that baseball dates back in American history books all the way to before the 1860s.
Based on the Infoplease staff who wrote an article titled “Baseball in America: A History,” baseball originated in the pre-Civil War era. At that time it was referred to as rounders, which was extremely similar to the sport today’s world knows and loves, however, it had little to no scoring and very little skills were required to play.
According to an article titled “Baseball history, American history and you” by the National Baseball Hall of Fame, it wasn’t until the Civil War that scoring and more skills would be added into the sport. The first to play the new and improved game were Civil War soldiers, who used the game as a diversion from the everyday hardships of war.
The sport became popularized across the nation after the war when soldiers took the game home to their families and friends. The National Baseball Hall of Fame said the game “became a great unifier in the years that followed the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history.”
The Infoplease staff explained that in 1871, the first professional baseball league was created. It wasn’t long after that the majority of large cities in the United States had their own professional baseball teams.
In the 1920s, baseball found its stride when Babe Ruth led the New York Yankees to multiple World Series wins. His home runs would attract crowds from far and wide and popularize the sport in America even more.
Claire Boughton can be contacted