We’re about a month into the baseball season now, and if you’re anything like me you’re looking forward to hanging out outside, grilling, and rooting for your team. But outside of your love for the game, how much do you really know about the game of baseball?
I went into this thinking a knew a good bit, but I must say some of these facts are almost too crazy to believe. Here are some VERY interesting facts about baseball –
- The first World Series was played between Pittsburgh and Boston in 1903 and was a nine-game series. Boston won the series 5-3.
- The unofficial anthem of American baseball, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” is traditionally sung during the middle of the 7th inning. It was written in 1908 by Jack Norworth and Albert von Tilzer, both of whom had never been to a baseball game.
- The life span of a major league baseball is 5–7 pitches. During a typical game, approximately 70 balls are used.
- When Jimmy Pearsall hit his 100th home run in 1963, he ran the bases in the correct order but facing backward to celebrate.
- Babe Ruth’s top salary was $80,000 (in 1930 and 1931). Adjusted for inflation, that’s the equivalent of a little more than $1.1 million today.
- While baseball initially started in the U.S., it has spread worldwide. Today more than 100 countries are part of the International Baseball Federation. Japan has the largest pro baseball league outside the U.S.
- The New York Yankees have won 27 World Series titles, which is more than any other team.
- Baseball’s L.A. Dodgers, originally founded in Brooklyn, are named after the legendary skill that that local residents showed at “dodging” the city’s trolley streetcar system.
- Fourteen players have hit four home runs in one game.
- The first known reference to the word “baseball” was in a 1744 publication by children’s publisher John Newberry called A Little Pretty Pocket-Book.
- The National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum is located in Cooperstown, N.Y. It was created in 1935 to celebrate baseball’s 100th anniversary.
- A “can of corn” is an easy fly ball. The term comes from when old-time grocers used their aprons to catch cans knocked from a high shelf.
- The oldest baseball park still in use is Fenway Park, the home field of the Boston Red Sox, which debuted in 1912.
- During World War II, the U.S. military designed a grenade to be the size and weight of a baseball, since “any young American man should be able to properly throw it.”
- Pitcher Jim Abbott was born without a right hand and had a 10-season baseball career, including throwing a no-hitter for the New York Yankees vs. Cleveland in 1993.
- Visiting teams wear (at least mostly) gray uniforms so fans can easily distinguish between the visiting team and the home team. The tradition dates back to the late 1800s when travelling teams did not have time to launder their uniforms and, consequently, wore gray to hide the dirt.
- The team with the most players in the Hall of Fame is the San Francisco Giants, who have 24 Hall of Famers.
- While baseball games today last about 3 hours, the fastest game ever played in major league history lasted just 51 minutes on September 28, 1919. The New York Giants defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 6-1 at the Polo Grounds.
- The record for the least amount of people at a baseball game was set in 2011 when the Florida Marlins played the Cincinnati Reds. Due to Hurricane Irene, just 347 people attended the game.
- The most valuable baseball card ever is the 1909 Honus Wagner T206 baseball card, worth about $2.8 million.
- Baseball bats in the minor and major leagues are made from wood. However, metal bats are used at the college level.
- A player increases his chance of hitting a home run if he hits the baseball at the bat’s “sweet spot.” This spot is an area between 5 and 7 inches from the barrel end of the bat. When a player hits the sweet spot, there is less vibration, and the bat makes a satisfying “crack” sound.
- To achieve the crosshatched diamond pattern on a baseball field, rollers on a mower push the grass slightly forward, similar to running a vacuum back and forth on a plush carpet. Blades bent away from the viewer capture more light and appear paler. Grass blades that are bent toward the viewer look darker.
For these facts and more, check out these sources: