A number of legends tell the story of baseball and its origin in the United States. No other sport has received the same notoriety as baseball, and it has even been dubbed the country's "national pastime." Most historians agree that baseball was based loosely on a British game called rounders. One of the most beloved aspects of baseball is the fact that virtually anyone can play the game without much skill or practice.
At its inception, baseball was purely an amateur game between two groups of men. Gradually, as the sport gained popularity, more teams were created and more matches occurred. Eventually, the sport became organized with official rules and leagues. With the onset of the Civil War, the country was forced to focus on the turmoil that enveloped the nation, but interest renewed in the sport after the war ended. The initial professional baseball league was organized in 1871. The 20th century saw a huge surge of interest in baseball, with many large cities adopting a professional baseball team. The modern era of baseball has seen some negative events, including labor disputes, rule changes, and player suspensions. However, the love of America's pastime remains strong.
Many stories credit Abner Doubleday with the invention of the game of baseball, but Doubleday, an Army general, was not a sports enthusiast. However, this myth has endured to the present day along with the sport itself. The first World Series occurred in 1903, though you couldn't see baseball on TV until 1939: Before then, you had to go to the ballpark to watch a game. While you're there, you might catch a foul ball, and if you do, examine it carefully and you'll notice that it has 108 double stitches. In fact, all certified Major League Baseballs have 108 stitches, and they're all done by hand.