December 6, 2013
Get It Now!Hardball Times Annual is now available. It's got 300 pages of articles, commentary and even a crossword puzzle. You can buy the Annual at Amazon, for your Kindle or on our own page (which helps us the most financially). However you buy it, enjoy!
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THT's latest e-bookThird Base: The Crossroads is THT's new e-book, available for $3.99 from the Kindle store. The good news is that anyone can read a Kindle book, even on a PC. So enjoy the best from THT in a new format.
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Friday, March 15, 2013
50,000 days ago, a new era of baseball began—the National League era.
That was April 22, 1876. General George Custer was still alive, Reconstruction was still going on in the south, and America had just 37 states.
And on that day, the Philadelphia Athletics hosted a Boston club later to be known as the Braves. The visiting Bostonians won, 6-5, giving them a record of 1-0, good for first place in the fledgling league.
The National League had been formed out of the ashes of the National Association. The NA was a professional league—all its teams got paid to play—but was barely a professional league. It had no set schedules and not even a set number of games to play. Teams came and went during the season. In fact, the winner wasn’t the team with the best overall winning percentage, but the team with the most wins.
The NA kept expanding with more teams and more games played each year, but it was always an awkward beast. In its final year of 1875, 13 teams participated. Two teams played in over 80 games, but most appeared in less than 50.
There was a desire for something better, something more organized, and that was the NL. The NL wasn’t perfectly organized at first. It took a year or two until a set schedule determined before Opening Day emerged. But it was something more impressive than the NA. In 1876, there were eight NL teams, and each lasted all year long. They didn’t play the same number of games, but it was a lot more consistent than the NA, with all clubs appearing in at least 57 and no more than 70 games.
Clearly, the NL had a nice future. Here we are 137 years later and it’s still with us. Discussing all the changes that have occurred since then would take too long. What is worth noting is that it has been around 50,000 days as of today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary.” Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim through things.
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