Baseball Memorabilia

By Rachel Hoffman
   Baseball is considered the national sport of the United States. Its history reaches back over a hundred years. Almost anything associated with the game’s past and present has been, is, and will be collected. People collect baseball memorabilia even without much knowledge of its history or fully realizing the game’s popularity.
   Most Americans have watched or played baseball and know how it is played. Each profession team has its own ballpark or stadium. All across America, schools have supported baseball teams. American cities and towns sponsor little leagues. Children on their own organize friends and play baseball in playgrounds and in empty lots when the weather will permit. Boys playing baseball is a sure sign that springtime has arrived. Baseball bats, balls, gloves, hats, and shirts fill Americans with nostalgia.
   Games similar to baseball were played before Abner Doubleday, a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point, but he is generally credited as the inventor of baseball. He laid out a diamond-shaped field with four bases at Cooperstown, New York, in 1839, and the National Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame were later founded in Cooperstown. The Little League was founded in 1939 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, for boys 9 through 12.
   During the American Civil War, baseball was played in many army camps. In both World War I and World War II, American soldiers introduced baseball to the peoples in the countries where they were stationed. Baseball collectibles have an international following.
   The National League and the American League are the two major leagues. At the end of the season the pennant winners of these leagues play the World Series. On day one of every season, the president of the United States traditionally took part in the game by throwing out the ball to begin the first big game in Washington, D.C. (Another important baseball event is the All-Star Games.)
   Baseball also has had an important role in advertising. The baseball cards issued as advertising premiums for bubble gum and other products are today prized collectibles. Vintage sports equipments, cigar boxes, drinking mugs, souvenir pins, clothing, postcards, photographs, bric-a-brac, artwork, posters, schedules and programs, among other items associated with the baseball, command a higher price every year. Baseball memorabilia is much sought after by sports fans and collectors.
   Baseball Trivia: The Colorado Rockies won their first National League championship in 2007. In the World Series, the American League champion Boston Red Sox beat them in four games.
   Photos: On Opening Day of the 1961 season, President John F. Kennedy throws out the first ball, Dorothy Kamenshek, Women’s Baseball Pioneer and Professional League’s First Big Star, Babe Ruth

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