The first traces of baseball in the United States dates back to the 18th century when amateurs would get together to play a game with equipment that is similar to that used in today’s baseball. For example, many players would use sticks as their bats. During the 1860s the game became so popular that casual baseball clubs started to pop up around the country. One of the first recognized official mentions of the game of baseball was in the late 1700s when a city ordinance in Massachusetts banned it from being played near their town hall building.
The New York Knickerbockers
The first baseball team to play under an official set of rules was the New York Knickerbockers. At the time, the team was referred to as a club designed to provide entertainment for middle and upper class residents in the New York City area.
The club remained an amateur one throughout its lifespan, but the club paved the way for professional teams to form as time went on. In fact, the club is responsible for laying out what was then called the “Knickerbocker Rules”.
The Beginnings of Baseball Rules
Many of the “Knickerbocker Rules” were adopted into the professional game of baseball as professional teams were formed and started to play against each other. Some of the most notable initial baseball rules made by the now famous baseball club include:
•Teams of Nine People
•Game of Nine Innings
•No “Throwing” the Ball to Tag Runners (They must be tagged by tough instead)
•Bases Should Be 90-Feet Apart
However, these rules didn’t seem to help the Knickerbockers when they played their first competitive game against another club in Hoboken New York! A club called the New York Nine won the game against the Knickerbockers with a score of 23-1.
In 1857, a handful of New York area baseball clubs got together and incorporated the National Association of Baseball Players which was the first official organization to govern the professional game of baseball and to implement the Championship process.