Few sports cherish their history like baseball. The ardent fans of the American pastime seem to have been born with some knowledge of the game’s extensive history, which is undeniable evidence of baseball’s popularity over the past century and a half. As Major League Baseball prepares for another exciting season, here are some unique moments in the history of America’s hobby.
Jackie Robinson Breaks the Color Bar (1947): Jackie Robinson forever changed the landscape of American professional sports when he started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15. In doing so, Robinson broke the color barrier, becoming the first African American to play in an MLB game. The end of segregation within professional baseball was such an important moment that MLB continues to celebrate it and honor Robinson every April 15.
Babe Ruth sold to New York Yankees (1920): In a trade that some baseball fans insist would resonate in the twenty-first century, Harry Frazee sold cash-poor Boston Red Sox owner George Hermann “Babe” Ruth to the New York Yankees for $125,000. Now largely remembered for his on-field prowess, Ruth was also a dominant player during his days with the Red Sox, winning 20 games in both 1916 and 1917. The sale of Ruth is still considered the worst deal in professional baseball. History and may have contributed to the prolonged drought of the World Championships in Boston, which lasted from 1918 until 2004.
Joe Dimaggio’s streak began (1941): Although the match would end in a 13-1 defeat of Yankees player Joe DiMaggio and his teammates, DiMaggio’s first half song on May 15 marked the beginning of one of the greatest achievements in MLB history. That song was DiMaggio’s first single in what would become a 56-game hit streak. It was a record at the time and still is today.
Tommy John Under the Knife (1974): Although it didn’t happen on the field, Tommy John’s then-revolutionary surgery would be one of the most impactful events in the game, changing baseball forever. John, who was a player for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1974, was 13-3 years old when he was forced to leave a game against the Montreal Fair with an elbow injury. Doctors soon discovered that John had a torn ulnar collateral ligament, a potentially devastating consequence for John, as the injury had already ended the lives of countless shooters before him. However, John eventually gave the go-ahead for Dr. Frank Joby to perform a revolutionary operation on his arm. Although his recovery was long and slow, John eventually found his way up the hill, reaching the late ’80s and ending his career with 288 victories. Tommy John surgery is routinely performed today and shooters usually return to the pile within 12 to 15 months of surgeries.
The Cubs Won the World Championship (2016): In an effort to win their first World Championship title since 1908, the Chicago Cubs haven’t made it easy on themselves. or their fans. In winning the decisive seventh game 8-7 in 10 rounds, the Cubs became just the sixth team in MLB history to return from a 3-1 deficit in a series to win the World Series Best of Seven. The Game 7 win ended the longest dry spell in North American professional sports history.