I always think it’s a little odd that baseball is known as America’s favorite “pastime,” because that makes it sound as though it is extinct. I get it though. I mean, kids are so consumed with video games these days; does anyone still collect baseball cards?
I loved going to Dodger games as a kid, but I honestly didn’t know much about the game except that you have to hit the ball and run…oh and that Dodger dogs are the best. I even went to a few baseball games in high school to support my friends, but still, other than cheering for them, I was mostly concerned with how much ground beneath the bleachers I could cover with sunflower seed shells. One of my nearest and dearest friends, is a Cardinal Farmhand, so every now and then I learn something new about our favorite pastime. For example, when helping my buddy Vance with his charity, Gloves 4 Troops, I learned that a lefty glove goes on the right hand, not the left hand, and vice versa. The first time someone asked me what position Vance plays, I had to look it up online and I saw the letters SS—don’t ask me why, but the first things that came to my mind were Nazis and Soviet Soldiers. Thank goodness that’s not what SS stands for. Of course, I quickly realized it must stand for shortstop, but I still had no clue what that meant. After telling this story to a group of friends recently, one of them decided to give me a whole history on shortstops, but I still have no clue what a shortstop does.
On the bright side, my embarrassing lack of knowledge about baseball always seems to provide great comedy for my friends. And I always tell them, it’s okay—as long as we’re laughing, we’re living longer…even if it’s at my own expense ha.
Anyways, I thought I’d post some fun facts about baseball, because anything that is honored with the title “America’s Favorite Pastime,” deserves a little love here, too :D.
10 Fun Facts About America's Favorite Pastime
1) The National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum is in Cooperstown, New York. It was established in 1936 to celebrate baseball’s 100th anniversary.
2) Baseballs are hand stitched with two straight needles, 108 stitches each.
3) The origins of baseball is not entirely clear, however modern day baseball is credited to a man named Alexander Cartwright, aka “the father of baseball.” He is thought to be the first person to draw a diagram of a diamond shaped baseball field, and the rules of the game come from the Knickerbocker Rules, which he and a committee from his club, the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club, developed.
4) Robert Redford attended the University of Colorado on a baseball scholarship.
5) Fenway Park opened in 1912, and is the oldest baseball stadium still in use.
6) The Louisville Slugger, the leading baseball bat in the game, began in the hands of a 17 year-old boy named John A. “Bud” Hillerich, who made a new bat for a major league player, Pete Browning, after Pete broke his during a game. Pete was so impressed, that he told his teammates, and the rest is baseball history. (I’ve been to the factory/museum in Louisville, and it’s really neat. The largest baseball bat in the world stands outside and it is LARGE! Inside, you can get customized Louisville Sluggers.)
7) In 1934, Babe Ruth paid a fan $20 to return the baseball he hit for his 700th career homerun. I wonder what that ball would go for now…
8) Another Babe Ruth fun fact, only because it’s so weird—did you know that Babe Ruth put a cabbage leaf under his hat during every game, changing it out for a new one every two innings? Some people have weird superstitions, but to each their own!
9) The then Brooklyn Dodgers ended racial segregation in baseball, when the team started Jackie Robinson on 1st base. Now the L.A. Dodgers, I’m proud to call them my home team :).
10) Gloves 4 Troops is a charity started by my dear friend Vance Albitz, sending love and support to our troops in Afghanistan through America’s favorite pastime :). Vance is off to spring training this week, but Gloves 4 Troops will pick back up next off-season. For more info, go to: www.gloves4troops.com.
BIG LOVE & HUGS