History of Baseball

Alexander Cartwright

Seen here in the 2015 Futures Games, Ozhaino Albies is one of the Top 10 to make Baseball America's Top Braves Prospects list.
Seen here in the 2015 Futures Games, Ozhaino Albies is one of the Top 10 to make Baseball America's Top Braves Prospects list. Mark Cunningham | Getty Images Sport

Americans began playing baseball on informal teams, using local rules, in the early 1800s. By the 1860s, the sport, unrivaled in popularity, was being described as America's "national pastime."

Alexander Cartwright

Alexander Cartwright (1820-1892) of New York invented the modern baseball field in 1845. Alexander Cartwright and the members of his New York Knickerbocker Base Ball Club devised the first rules and regulations that were accepted for the modern game of baseball.


Baseball was based on the English game of rounders. Rounders become popular in the United States in the early 19th century, where the game was called "town ball", "base", or "baseball". Alexander Cartwright formalized the modern rules of baseball. Yes, others were making their own versions of the game at the time, however, the Knickerbockers style of the game was the one that became the most popular.

History of Baseball - Knickerbockers

The first recorded baseball game was held in 1846 when Alexander Cartwright's Knickerbockers lost to the New York Baseball Club. The game was held at the Elysian Fields, in Hoboken, New Jersey.

In 1858, the National Association of Base Ball Players, the first organized baseball league was formed.

History of Baseball Trivia

  • 1845: Alexander Cartwright published a set of baseball rules for the Knickerbocker Club of New York, and his rules were widely adopted.
  • 1869: The Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first openly-salaried team and are thus considered the first professional team.
  • 1871: The first professional baseball league, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, was established.
  • 1876: The first major league, the National League, was formed.
  • 1878: Frederick Winthrop Thayer of Massachusetts (captain of the Harvard University Baseball Club) received a patent for a baseball catcher's mask on February 12.
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Your Citation
Bellis, Mary. "History of Baseball." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, thoughtco.com/history-of-baseball-1991332. Bellis, Mary. (2020, August 25). History of Baseball. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-baseball-1991332 Bellis, Mary. "History of Baseball." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-baseball-1991332 (accessed September 19, 2021).