Significant Events within Major League Baseball (compiled by Brittney Renton Feb 18, 2011)

  • The Beginning of Baseball

    The Beginning of Baseball
    One summer afternoon in 1839, at Coppertown, on the shore of Otsego Lake in upper New York, the boys of the Otsego Academy were playing a game of town ball against Green's Select School. The rules of town ball were so loose that every hit was fair, and boys sometimes ran headlong into one another.
    That day, a resourceful young Otsego player named Abner Doubleday sat down and, on that spot, drew up the rules for a brand new game, and called it baseball.
  • The Creation of the National League

    The Creation of the National League
    In 1876, club owners decided to form a league that gave power to the club owners and formally organized the game of baseball into a profitable business. Players would be contractually obliged to play for only one team. The basis for baseball as a business was created.
  • Formation of the American League

    Formation of the American League
    In 1893, businessman and baseball enthusiast Ban Johnson creates the Western League as a minor league for the National League. In 1901, Johnson changes the leagues name for the Western to the American League and officially announces its intent to operate as a major league.
  • First World Series Played

    First World Series Played
    With the American League proving its legitimacy as a professional baseball league and rival to the incumbant National League, the two leagues organize a series between the two league champions. The Pittsburgh Pirates met the Boston Americans in 1903, with Boston prevailing 5 games to 3 to win the series, making the Boston Americans of the American League the first world series champions.
  • First World Series Boycott

    First World Series Boycott
    One year after the original World Series was played, the growing animosity between the two Major Leagues, the American and National League, came to a spearhead when the National League champtions the New York Giants refused to play. Giants manager John McGraw did not want to play because he did see the American League as a true major league. The world series would be played every year after this until 1994.
  • The End of the Dead Ball Era

    The End of the Dead Ball Era
    In a controversial move, Major League Baseball decides to have all of its baseball made by a machine instead of hand sewn by human. The result is baseball that were would much tighter, creating a much livlier ball that travelled much faster and further. These new baseballs pave the way for the home run, and its first home run king, Babe Ruth.
  • The Black Sox Scandal

    The Black Sox Scandal
    During the 1919 World Series, 8 players of the Chicago White Sox were payed by petty underworld figures to intentionall throw the world series. Revelations of this came to public knowledge resulting in the lifetime ban from baseball of all players included, most notably 'Shoeless' Joe Jackson. The 1919 Black Sox scandal remains to this day one of the most notable scandals in sporting history. Eight Men Out Movie Trailer on the Black Sox Scandal:
  • The Curse of the Bambino

    The Curse of the Bambino
    Flamboyant Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sells his star outfielder George Herman 'Babe' Ruth to the New York Yankees for $100,000 in order to finance a production on Broadway. Babe Ruth goes on to become one of the greatest players of all time while the Red Sox fail to win a World Series until the curse was broken nearly 100 years later.
  • The Formation of the Negro League

    The Formation of the Negro League
    As per an agreement between the owners of both the American and National League, Black baseball players were not allowed to player in either Major League. In 1923 the black players formed the National Negro League and barnstormed around the United States proving that black players were as talented and world class as their white counterparts.
  • Lou Gherig Begins His Consecutive Games Played Streak

    Lou Gherig Begins His Consecutive Games Played Streak
    On June 2nd, 1925 a young New York Yankee first baseman Lou Gherig replaced slumping first baseman Wally Pipp. Gherig would go on to play 2,130 consecutive games earing the nickname the Iron Horse of baseball and would lead one of the most successful careers in baseball history.
  • Babe Ruth's Famous Called Shot

    Babe Ruth's Famous Called Shot
    During the World Series in 1932 between the New York Yankees and the Chicago Cubs, Yankee outfielder Babe Ruth points to the right field bleachers and proceeds to hit a home run. Babe Ruth's called shot goes on to be one of the most famous moments in World Series history.
  • The First Night Game

    The First Night Game
    The first night game is played between the Cincinnati Reds vs the Philadelphia Phillies. Owners of the clubs saw a great possibility to increase attendance to games by holding them at night when people were not at work. Though there was some hesistation to accept night games initially, it quickly became the norm and baseball grew greatly in popularity because of it.
  • Two Great Records in One Great Summer

    Two Great Records in One Great Summer
    In the Summer of 1941, fan favourite Joe DiMaggio of the NY Yankees gets a basehit in 56 consecutive games, a record that remains unbroken to this day. During the same Summer, hated Boston Red Sox player Ted Williams has a batting average of .406 on the season, the last player to bat over .400. DiMaggio earns MLB MVP for the year while many believe Ted Williams' feat deserved the honours.
  • Jackie Robinson Breaks the Colour Barrier

    Jackie Robinson Breaks the Colour Barrier
    In not only one of the greatest moments in baseball history, but American history, young black player Jackie Robinson becomes the first black Major League player, playing with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson received many death threats and racial slurs from fans, opponents and teammate alike, but perservered and paved the way for a whole generation of non-white baseball players, making baseball a truly American game.
  • The Shot Heard Around the World

    The Shot Heard Around the World
    On August 11th the Brooklyn held a 13 1/2 game lead of the New York Giants for the National League Pennant. The Giants went on to win 37 of their last 44 games forcing a playoff with the Dodgers for the pennant. With the Giants losing in the bottom of the 9th inning, outfielder Bobby Thomson hits a game winning home run to clinch the pennant for the Giants, completing the greatest comeback in baseball history.
  • Baseball's Expansion to the West Coast

    Baseball's Expansion to the West Coast
    After the 1957 season, two of the most storied franchises in Baseball history, the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers, relocated to the West Coast, becoming the San Francisco Giants and the LA Dodgers. This put Major League Baseball on both coasts of the United States and help make baseball America's most popular and successful sport.
  • 61*

    In one of the most exciting summer's of baseball, New York Yankee outfielders Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle were in a race to break Babe Ruth's single season home run record of 60. On the last game of the season, Roger Maris hit his 61st home run, becoming the single season home run champion. Maris was not well liked amongst fans and media, prompting them but an asterisk beside his total because the season was 8 games longer than when Ruth played.
  • The Beginning of Free Agency

    The Beginning of Free Agency
    In 1969, St. Louis Cardinal outfielder Curt Flood refuses a trade to the Phillies, starting a long legal battle against baseball's reserve clause. After a long legal battle, it was determined by the supreme court that professional players were not pieces of property that could be traded by their owners against their wishes and modern day free agency begins.
  • Lowering the Mound

    Lowering the Mound
    After the 1969 season, in which St. Louis Cardinal pitcher Bob Gibson produced a dominating 1.12 ERA for the year, Major League Baseball decides to lower the mound by 5 inches and shrink the strike zone in order to make offense abundant. These are the last major rule changes to the game.
  • American League Introduces the Designated Hitter

    For the 1973 season the American League enacts the Designated Hitter (DH) rule allowing a player to hit for the pitcher. The National League does not follow suit and the DH rule remains the largest difference between the leagues to this day.
  • He's Sittin On 714

    He's Sittin On 714
    On April 8th, 1974 Atlanta Braves Right Fielder Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth's career home run record of 714. Hank Aaron, a black player, received many death threats warning him to retire before he broke the record, proving racism was still prevalant in the United States. Aaron went on the 755 home runs in his career.
  • All Time Hits Leader

    All Time Hits Leader
    On Sept. 11, 1985, Pete Rose breaks Ty Cobb's all time hits record, finishing his career with 4,256 hits. Rose and Cobb are the only two players to ever break the 4000 hit plateau. Rose wouldn't later be disgraced and banned from baseball for betting on his team when he was coaching, ruining what had been a hall of fame career.
  • Buckner Boots the Ball

    Buckner Boots the Ball
    During the 1986 World Series against the New York Mets, Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner makes an error on a easy ground ball, allowing the Mets to comeback and win the series, extending the famous Curse of the Bambino. Video Clip:
  • World Series Comes North of the Border

    World Series Comes North of the Border
    For the first time in World Series history, a non-american team, Canada's Toronto Blue Jays win the championship. They would repeat the year after, but the World Series has not returned to a Canadian team since.
  • 1994 Player's Strike

    Due to a labour disagreement between the owners and the players union, the players went out on strike during the 94' season, wiping out the World Series for the first time since 1904. The players strike would prove to be very damaging to baseball as a sport in the United States and it would be until the Summer of 98' and the home run chase to win some of its fans back.
  • The New Iron Horse

    The New Iron Horse
    Towards the end of the season in 1995, Baltimore Oriole shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. did what many believed to be impossible, he broke Lou Gherig's record for consecutive games played. Ripken Jr. ended up playing in 2632 consecutive games, all for the Baltimore Orioles, cementing his legacy as not only one of the greatest players, but greatest personalities to play the game.
  • McGwire and Sosa Home Run Race

    McGwire and Sosa Home Run Race
    During the Summer of 98', the sport of baseball was in a slump, never fully recovering from the player's strike of 94'. They needed a spark to get the fans interested again, and a spark they got in the form of one of the most memorable home run races between Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa and Cardinals 1st baseman Mark McGwire. McGwire won the race, breaking Maris' record of 61 home runs, finsihing the year with 70.
  • Baseball Goes Global

    Baseball Goes Global
    With many of the games superstars coming from all over the world, including Japanese born Ichiro Suzuki, MLB decides to have its opening game played in Tokyo, Japan. This signifies the MLB's growing trend towards being a truly global game.
  • Bonds Becomes New Home Run King

    Bonds Becomes New Home Run King
    San Franciso Giants slugger Barry Bonds breaks Mark McGwire's single season home run record hitting 73 over the course of the 2001 season. Bonds would end up breaking Hank Aaron's career home run mark as well, finishing with 762 total. Bond's and McGwire's record would soon be tainted with allegations of steriod use begin to arise.
  • The Steriod Era

    The Steriod Era
    With the BALCO steriod scandal becoming very popular in the media, the amount of players that were using steriods became apparent and the legitimacy of baseball was called into question. With many of the games former stars now appearing in the Supreme Court to testify about their steriod use, baseball is in one of its most dire times.
  • The Curse is Broken

    The Curse is Broken
    For the first time since Babe Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees in 1920, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, breaking the Curse of the Bambino. Entering the playoffs as a wild card team, Boston managed to come back from a 3 game to 1 deficit in the ALCS and beat the Yankees to advance to the World Series where they beat the St. Louis Cardinals in 4 straight games.
  • Moving On After the Steriod Era

    Going into the future, MLB has become much more strict with its steroid testing after the revelations about Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and many of the games great stars of the 1990's. Baseball has returned to being a pitcher catcher sport, like the way it was for the 150 years leading up to the home run explosion of the 1990's. Although with unfairly large contracts for the games superstars and only a few teams with the money to sign them, baseball's parity problems are just beginning
  • References

    1) The Nine Innings of Baseball by Daniel Okrent.
    2) - School programs offered through the Baseball Hall of Fame.