Around 1845, Alexander Cartwright published the first known list of rules to meet the demands of the already popular sport. Baseball is thought to have evolved from cricket, rounder, and town ball, though the game's exact origins are uncertain. Today's rules of baseball have evolved from that initial Cartwright set, and actually are pretty much the same despite some minor alterations. Baseball is popular in the Americas and East Asia. In Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Panama, and some other countries, baseball is the most popular sport to any extent, making Baseball an International Sport.
Although the game of baseball has existed since the 1840s, the first professional team was formed in 1869 by Harry Wright. He organized the Cincinnati Red Stockings and took them on a 57-game national tour, during which they were unbeaten. The National Association of Professional Baseball Players, following Wright's accomplishment, decided in 1871 to chartered nine teams in eight cities as the first professional league. In the 1870s a number of competing leagues formed, including the National League which became the predominant association in later years.
With any good American story of achievement, financial hardships, gambling-related scandals, and franchise upheavals plagued the leagues. In 1890, a players' revolt resulted in a short-lived Players Association and deteriorated the stability of the National League. A rival league, the Western Association, changed its name to the American League in 1900 and located clubs in several Eastern cities. Then, in 1903 the champions of the American league and National league played for the first time in what was to become known as the World Series.
Both leagues fought off the challenge of the Federal League in 1914-15, but the game of baseball was threatened when the 1919 Chicago White Sox schemed to lose the World Series. Club owners then appointed Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis as the first baseball commissioner (1920-44) and placed on him the responsibility of resolving the crisis. Landis banned eight members of the "Black Sox" for life (despite their acquittal in a court of law), helping to lift suspicion from the professional game and renew American Baseball's popularity and stability.
Baseball's start was complete, and with the ending of World War II, the golden years of player (Babe Ruth & Hank Aaron) and club (New York Yankees) worship solidified the games credibility and fan base. Despite labor contract disputes and scandals, Baseball is still America's favorite pastime.
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