This has been a tough springtime, but no matter how difficult it’s been, some traditions never change. Even though baseball looks different this year, it’s still baseball season and that’s something to celebrate!
Baseball is a fundamentally American sport. It was first mentioned in 1791, so it truly is a sport almost as old as our country. For much of the 1800s, baseball and cricket were the competing sports across the country, but by the turn of the century baseball was a professional sport, and the first World Series was played in 1903. It was during this time that baseball stadiums started becoming bigger and bigger, and some are even still around today (such as Wrigley Field in Chicago, and Fenway Park in Boston). In the 1920s baseball expanded even more, with Babe Ruth ushering in the Golden Age of Baseball and the opening of the Hall of Fame in 1933.
By World War II baseball was so fully ingrained into American culture that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was asked to weigh in on keeping baseball going throughout the war. He gave them the green light, but it was during this time that baseball expanded to include women’s leagues to keep morale up during the war (there’s no crying in baseball!)
Finally, after World War II the “color line” was broken in large part due to Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, who believed that segregation needed to stop nationwide. On April 15, 1947 shortstop Jackie Robinson made his debut for the Dodgers, and opening the door for more players to make it into the major league.
Opening day of baseball is more than a reason to get out your bat and your ball. It’s a reflection of United States History—starting with localized teams in the 19th century becoming professional, building and growing at the turn of the 20th century, and finally achieving racial desegregation after World War II. So grab your baseball mitt, head to your local baseball field, have a hot dog, and play ball!
Celebrate Opening Day of Baseball with these exciting resources!