Portal:Baseball
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Portal:Baseball

The Baseball Portal

Baseball (crop).jpg

Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams that take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball which a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat. The objective of the offensive team (batting team) is to hit the ball into the field of play, allowing its players to run the bases, having them advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called "runs". The objective of the defensive team (fielding team) is to prevent batters from becoming runners, and to prevent runners' advance around the bases. A run is scored when a runner legally advances around the bases in order and touches home plate (the place where the player started as a batter). The team that scores the most runs by the end of the game is the winner.

The first objective of the batting team is to have a player reach first base safely. A player on the batting team who reaches first base without being called "out" can attempt to advance to subsequent bases as a runner, either immediately or during teammates' turns batting. The fielding team tries to prevent runs by getting batters or runners "out", which forces them out of the field of play. Both the pitcher and fielders have methods of getting the batting team's players out. The opposing teams switch back and forth between batting and fielding; the batting team's turn to bat is over once the fielding team records three outs. One turn batting for each team constitutes an inning. A game is usually composed of nine innings, and the team with the greater number of runs at the end of the game wins. If scores are tied at the end of nine innings, extra innings are usually played. Baseball has no game clock, although most games end in the ninth inning.

Baseball evolved from older bat-and-ball games already being played in England by the mid-18th century. This game was brought by immigrants to North America, where the modern version developed. By the late 19th century, baseball was widely recognized as the national sport of the United States. Baseball is popular in North America and parts of Central and South America, the Caribbean, as well as East and Southeast Asia, particularly in Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.

In the United States and Canada, professional Major League Baseball (MLB) teams are divided into the National League (NL) and American League (AL), each with three divisions: East, West, and Central. The MLB champion is determined by playoffs that culminate in the World Series. The top level of play is similarly split in Japan between the Central and Pacific Leagues and in Cuba between the West League and East League. The World Baseball Classic, organized by the World Baseball Softball Confederation, is the major international competition of the sport and attracts the top national teams from around the world. (Full article...)

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The T206 Honus Wagner baseball card
The T206 Honus Wagner baseball card depicts Pittsburgh Pirates' Honus Wagner, a dead-ball era baseball player who is widely considered to be one of the best players of all time. The card was designed and issued by the American Tobacco Company (ATC) from 1909 to 1911 as part of its T206 series. Wagner refused to allow production of his baseball card to continue, either because he did not want children to buy cigarette packs to get his card, or because he wanted more compensation from the ATC. The ATC ended production of the Wagner card and a total of only 50 to 200 cards were ever distributed to the public. In 1933, the card was first listed at a price value of US$50 in Jefferson Burdick's The American Card Catalog, making it the most expensive baseball card in the world at the time. The most famous T206 Honus Wagner is the "Gretzky T206 Honus Wagner" card. The card has a controversial past, as some speculate that it was once altered, based on the card's odd texture and shape. The Gretzky T206 Wagner was first sold by Alan Ray to a baseball memorabilia collector named Bill Mastro, who sold the card two years later to Jim Copeland for nearly four times the price he had originally paid. Copeland's sizable transaction revitalized interest in the sports memorabilia collection market. In 1991, Copeland sold the card to ice hockey figures Wayne Gretzky and Bruce McNall for $451,000. Gretzky resold the card four years later to Wal-Mart and Treat Entertainment for $500,000, for use as the top prize in a promotional contest. The next year, a Florida postal worker won the card and auctioned it at Christie's for $640,000 to collector Michael Gidwitz. In 2000, the card was sold in an auction on eBay to Brian Seigel for $1.27 million. In February 2007, Seigel sold the card to an anonymous collector for $2.35 million. Less than six months later, the card was sold to a California collector for $2.8 million. These transactions have made the Wagner card the most valuable baseball card in history. A number of other T206 Wagners, both legitimate and fake, have surfaced in recent years. Some of the real cards have fetched hundreds of thousands of dollars in auctions. One particular T206 Honus Wagner owned by John Cobb and Ray Edwards has attracted media controversy over its authenticity, despite many leading hobby experts regarding it to be a fake.

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Robinson with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954

Jack Roosevelt Robinson (January 31, 1919 - October 24, 1972) was an American professional baseball player who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when he started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. When the Dodgers signed Robinson, it heralded the end of racial segregation in professional baseball that had relegated black players to the Negro leagues since the 1880s. Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

During his 10-year MLB career, Robinson won the inaugural Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, was an All-Star for six consecutive seasons from 1949 through 1954, and won the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949--the first black player so honored. Robinson played in six World Series and contributed to the Dodgers' 1955 World Series championship. (Full article...)

Quotes

The designated hitter rule is like letting someone else take Wilt Chamberlain's free throws.
-- Rick Wise, St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher, on the American League's 1973 implementation of a rule permitting another player to bat in place of a pitcher


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Johan Santana, 2008 and 2009 starter
The New York Mets are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Flushing, Queens, in New York City, New York. They play in the National League East division. The New York Mets have used 19 different Opening Day starting pitchers in their 48 seasons. The 19 starters have a combined Opening Day record of 25 wins, 11 losses (25–11) and 12 no decisions. Tom Seaver holds the Mets' record for most Opening Day starts with 11, and has an Opening Day record of 6–0. He also has the most starts in Shea Stadium, the Mets' home ballpark from 1964 through 2008. Dwight Gooden holds the Mets' record for most Opening Day wins with seven Opening Day wins against one Opening Day loss. Al Jackson and Roger Craig share the worst winning percentage as the Opening Day starting pitcher with a record of 0–2. From 1968 through 1983, Mets' Opening Day starting pitchers went 16 consecutive years without a loss. During this period, Tom Seaver won six starts with five no decisions, Craig Swan won two starts, and Jerry Koosman, Pat Zachry and Randy Jones won one start apiece. Furthermore, in the 31-year period from 1968 through 1998, Mets' Opening Day starting pitchers only lost two games. During that period, they won 19 games with 10 no decisions. The only losses during this period were by Mike Torrez in 1984 and by Dwight Gooden in 1990. Overall, Mets Opening Day starting pitchers have a record of 0–1 at the Polo Grounds and a 13–5 record with four no decisions at Shea Stadium. In addition, although the Mets were nominally the home team in 2000, the game was played in Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. Mike Hampton started the game in Tokyo and lost, making the Mets' Opening Day starting pitchers' combined home record 13–7, and their away record 12–4. The Mets went on to play in the World Series in 1969, 1973, 1986 and 2000, and won the 1969 and 1986 World Series championship games. Tom Seaver (1969 and 1973), Dwight Gooden (1986) and Mike Hampton (2000) were the Opening Day starting pitchers when the Mets played in the World Series, and they had a combined Opening Day record of 2–1.

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