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Five Critical Moments in Baseball History

Posted on 11. May, 2015 by in MLB

Baseball is enjoyed the world over, but it was invented in the United States – and in many ways, the history of this uniquely American sport parallels the history of the nation itself. The following are five significant moments in the history of baseball that also helped to reflect and shape the development of the United States.

1. The First World Series Is Played, 1903

The first official contest between a team from the new American League and one from the established National League was actually a voluntary match-up between the two individual clubs. Still, it established the legitimacy of both leagues and led to the formalization of the annual series as the culminating event of each baseball season, increasing fans’ investment in their teams’ success.

2. Babe Ruth Calls His World Series Home Run Shot, 1932

By the time he played for the Yankees in the 1932 World Series, Babe Ruth had been a professional baseball player for nearly 20 years. He helped to usher in the era of the American sports hero when he pointed out toward the right field bleachers as he came up to bat, accurately predicting the trajectory of the home run that followed.

3. Jackie Robinson Becomes the First Black National League Player, 1947

In the 1940s, as the United States was in the process of bouncing back from World War II, the phrase “Civil Rights Movement” had not even been coined yet when Jackie Robinson first broke the color barrier and joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. In spite of death threats and racial slurs from fans and other players, he persevered and blazed a trail for other players of color who followed.

4. The Giants Stage the Greatest Comeback in Baseball History, 1951

Americans love to root for an underdog. As the 1951 season drew to a close, Brooklyn led the New York Giants by 13 ½ games in the race for the National League Pennant. After coming back to the tune of 37 wins in 44 games, the Giants were down by two when Bobby Thomson hit a 3-run homer to take the game.

5. McGuire/Sosa Home Run Race, 1998

After the 1994 players’ strike shut down the season without a World Series, many Americans became disillusioned with the sport. The race to break the world home run record in 1998 brought redemption, reestablishing baseball as “America’s Pastime.”

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