/bays"bawl'/, n.
1. a game of ball between two nine-player teams played usually for nine innings on a field that has as a focal point a diamond-shaped infield with a home plate and three other bases, 90 ft. (27 m) apart, forming a circuit that must be completed by a base runner in order to score, the central offensive action entailing hitting of a pitched ball with a wooden or metal bat and running of the bases, the winner being the team scoring the most runs.
2. the ball used in this game, being a sphere approximately 3 in. (7 cm) in diameter with a twine-covered center of cork covered by stitched horsehide.
3. Cards. a variety of five-card or seven-card stud poker in which nines and threes are wild and in which threes and fours dealt face up gain the player either penalties or privileges.
[1795-1805; BASE1 + BALL1]

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Game played with a bat and ball between two teams of nine players (or 10, if a designated hitter bats and runs for the pitcher).

Baseball is played on a large field that has four bases laid out in a square, positioned like a diamond, whose outlines mark the course a runner must take to score. Teams alternate positions as batters and fielders, exchanging places when three members of the batting team are put out. Batters try to hit a pitched ball out of reach of the fielding team and run a complete circuit around the bases for a run. Every runner who crosses the plate earns one point; thus, if a player hits to second and the player after him hits a home run, two players cross the plate and two runs are scored. The team that scores the most runs in nine innings (times at bat) wins the game. If a game is tied, extra innings are played until the tie is broken. Baseball is traditionally considered the national pastime of the U.S. It was once thought to have been invented in 1839 by Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, N.Y., but it is more likely that baseball developed from an 18th-century English game called rounders that was modified by Alexander Cartwright. The first professional association was formed in 1871; in 1876 it became the National League. A rival American League was founded in 1900, and since 1903 (except for 1904 and 1994) the winning teams of each league have played a postseason championship known as the World Series. The Baseball Hall of Fame is located in Cooperstown. Professional baseball leagues also exist in a number of other countries. In Latin America such leagues exist in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, and these four leagues meet in the Caribbean Series each February. Other professional baseball leagues are in Asia. Japan has two leagues, the Central and the Pacific, which face off in the Japan Series every November, and South Korea and Taiwan also have baseball leagues.

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▪ 2009


North America.

Major League Baseball.
      In an unusual conclusion to Major League Baseball's (MLB's) 2008 season, the Philadelphia Phillies beat the visiting Tampa Bay Rays 4–3 before 45,940 spectators in Citizens Bank Park on October 29 to win the best-of-seven World Series by four games to one. The fifth game of the Series began on October 27 in Philadelphia, but it was halted by rain in the middle of the sixth inning with the score tied 2–2. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig declared that the game would be suspended—the first such ruling in Series history—and be completed when the weather permitted. After the game was postponed again the next evening, play was resumed in the bottom of the sixth inning, and the Phillies scored to take a 3–2 lead. Rocco Baldelli hit a home run for Tampa Bay in the seventh, but in the bottom of that inning, Pedro Feliz singled home the eventual winning run as the Phillies claimed their first championship since 1980 and the second in franchise history. Pitcher J.C. Romero earned the victory for Philadelphia, and reliever Brad Lidge recorded the save, his 48th in as many relief appearances during the season. Cole Hamels, who won the opening game and pitched six innings on the original date, was voted the Series' Most Valuable Player (MVP).

      The Series opened on October 22 in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., where the Phillies defeated the Rays 3–2 on a two-run first-inning home run by Chase Utley and the pitching of Hamels, a 24-year-old left-hander who yielded just five hits over seven innings. In game two on October 23, the Rays scored twice in the first inning and went on to win 4–2. James Shields pitched 52/3 innings for the Rays and earned the victory with a save by rookie David Price as the Phillies left 11 men on base.

      When the Series moved to Philadelphia on October 25, the Phillies won game three 5–4 on a bases-loaded infield single by Carlos Ruiz in the ninth inning. The Phillies hit three home runs, but Tampa rallied to a 4–4 tie in the eighth inning of a game that was delayed by rain and did not finish until 1:47 AM local time. The Phillies routed the Rays 10–2 in game four on October 26. Joe Blanton, the winning pitcher, hit the first home run of his career and the first by a pitcher in a World Series since Ken Holtzman of the Oakland A's in 1974.

      The Phillies registered their first National League (NL) pennant since 1993 by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to one in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series (NLCS). The Phillies clinched by beating the Dodgers 5–1 in Los Angeles on October 15 behind Hamels, who was voted MVP of the NLCS. A home run by Manny Ramirez (Ramirez, Manny ) accounted for the lone Los Angeles run in game five. The Phillies advanced to the NLCS by defeating the Milwaukee Brewers three games to one in the NL Division Series (NLDS); the Dodgers swept the Chicago Cubs in three games in the other NLDS.

      The Rays won the American League (AL) pennant by defeating the defending champion Boston Red Sox four games to three in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series (ALCS). The Rays clinched with a 3–1 victory in St. Petersburg on October 19. After yielding a first-inning home run to Dustin Pedroia, Matt Garza pitched seven innings, yielding only one other hit. Four pitchers followed him, with Price earning the save. Garza was voted ALCS MVP with a 2–0 record, having also won game three. The Rays scored on a fourth-inning double by AL Rookie of the Year Evan Longoria, who hit home runs in a record four consecutive ALCS games, and Baldelli's run-scoring single in the fifth. In the AL Division Series, the Rays defeated the Chicago White Sox three games to one, and the Red Sox downed the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim three games to one.

Regular Season.
      The Angels (100–62) achieved the best record in either league and won the AL West division by 21 games. The Rays (97–65) won the AL East by two games over Boston (95–67), which secured the wild-card berth with the best record of any second-place team. The White Sox won the AL Central by defeating the Minnesota Twins 1–0 in a play-off game to break a regular-season tie for first place. Both teams had records of 88–74 before that extra game, which was played in Chicago on September 30.

      Philadelphia (92–70) captured the NL East by three games over the New York Mets. The Dodgers (84–78) won the NL West by two games over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Cubs (97–64) took the NL Central by 71/2 games over the Brewers, whose 90–72 record secured the NL wild-card berth.

Individual Accomplishments.
      Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves won the NL batting title with a .364 average, and Philadelphia's Ryan Howard led the league with 48 home runs and 146 runs batted in (RBIs), but Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals—with 37 home runs, 116 RBIs, and a .357 average—was named the NL regular-season MVP. Pedroia—with a .326 average and a league-leading 54 doubles—was voted AL MVP. Minnesota's Joe Mauer led the AL with a .328 average; Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers scored 37 home runs; and Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers topped the AL with 130 RBIs. Arizona pitcher Brandon Webb registered the most victories, 22, but lost to Tim Lincecum (18–5) of the San Francisco Giants in the NL Cy Young balloting. AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee of the Cleveland Indians led the AL with 22 victories. Relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez of the Angels amassed 62 saves, surpassing the record held by Bobby Thigpen, who had 57 for the White Sox in 1990. Geovany Soto of the Cubs was the first catcher to be named NL Rookie of the Year since the Dodgers' Mike Piazza in 1993.

      On June 9 Ken Griffey, Jr., then with the Cincinnati Reds (later traded to the White Sox), became the sixth batter in history to record his 600th home run. Ramirez, playing with the Red Sox before he was traded to the Dodgers, became the 24th player to reach the 500 mark. Jon Lester of the Red Sox pitched a 7–0 no-hitter against the Kansas City Royals on May 19. Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs pitched a 5–0 no-hitter on September 14 against Houston in Milwaukee. The game, originally scheduled to be played in Texas, had been moved to a neutral site because of Hurricane Ike. The Dodgers on June 28 defeated the Angels 1–0, despite having failed to get a hit. Angels starting pitcher Jered Weaver and reliever Jose Arredondo were not credited with an official no-hitter because the Dodgers, who were the home team and scored an unearned run in the fifth inning, did not have to bat in the bottom of the ninth.

      The American League beat the National League 4–3 in 15 innings in the annual All-Star Game, held on July 15 at Yankee Stadium, in that venerable ballpark's last season. The game consumed 4 hours 50 minutes, the longest All-Star Game by time in history, and extended the AL's unbeaten streak to 12. J.D. Drew of the Red Sox hit a two-run game-tying home run in the seventh inning and was voted MVP.

Little League World Series.
      A team from Waipahu, Hawaii, defeated one from Matamoros, Mex., 12–3 to capture the Little League World Series on August 24 at Williamsport, Pa. Tanner Tokunaga hit two home runs, and Iolana Akau hit one for Hawaii, which became the fourth consecutive representative from the U.S. to win the title. Hawaii scored in each of the six innings in which it batted, the first time since 1974 that such a feat had been accomplished. Hawaii scored twice on passed balls and once on a bases-loaded walk against Mexico, which committed three errors. Hawaii advanced to the championship game by rallying to defeat Lake Charles, La., and Mexico qualified by beating Tokyo.

Robert Verdi

Latin America
      The 2008 Caribbean Series was held in Santiago, Dom.Rep., on February 2–7. Because the Puerto Rican Winter League canceled its 2007–08 season because of financial problems, the Dominican Republic was represented by two teams in the series, the Cibao Eagles (Águilas Cibaeñas) and the Licey Tigers (Tigres). Licey won the series title with a 5–1 record, while Cibao finished second with a 3–3 mark. The Aragua Tigers (Tigres) from Venezuela and the Obregón Yaquis, representing Mexico, each finished with a 2–4 record.

      In Cuba, Santiago de Cuba swept Pinar del Rio four games to none to win the 47th Serie Nacional (National Series) championship. Santiago had defeated Las Tunas three games to none in the quarterfinals and Villa Clara four games to two in the semifinals to advance. It was Santiago's second consecutive title. Havana Province featured the series' top two pitchers; right-hander Jonder Martínez went 13–2, with a league-leading 1.55 earned run average, while left-hander Yulieski González was 15–0—the best record in the history of the Serie Nacional—with a 2.25 earned run average.

      The Mexico City Red Devils (Diablos Rojos) beat the Monterrey Sultanes four games to one to win the Mexican League championship series. It was the Red Devils' 15th league title and their first since 2003.

      At the Olympic Games in Beijing, South Korea defeated the Cuban national team 3–2 in the championship game to capture the gold medal. The U.S. bested Japan 8–4 to win the bronze.

Milton Jamail

      The Seibu Lions defeated the Yomiuri Giants four games to three to win the 2008 Japan Series under rookie manager Hisanobu Watanabe. The Lions came back from a three-games-to-two series deficit for their first championship in four years and 13th overall. In game seven Hiroshi Hirao hit a go-ahead single to cap a two-run eighth-inning rally, and four relievers combined for seven perfect innings, leading the Lions to a 3–2 victory. Seibu right-hander Takayuki Kishi was named the Series' Most Valuable Player after pitching a complete-game shutout in game four and 52/3 scoreless innings in relief in game six. In the Pacific League (PL) Climax Series play-offs for a Japan Series berth, the Nippon Ham Fighters, who finished third in the regular season, eliminated the second-place Orix Buffaloes two games to none in the first stage only to lose to the Lions four games to two in the second stage. The Giants made the biggest comeback in Central League history after falling behind the eventual second-place Hanshin Tigers by as many as 13 games. They beat the 2007 Japan Series champion Chunichi Dragons in the Climax Series' second stage. Rakuten Eagles right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma won the Sawamura Award for the most outstanding pitcher after leading the PL with 21 wins, a 1.87 earned run average, and an .840 winning percentage.

      Legendary home-run king Sadaharu Oh, who retired in 1980 with 868 career homers, ended his managing career. Buffaloes slugger Kazuhiro Kiyohara, fifth on the all-time home-run list with 525, retired at the end of the season.

Hiroki Noda

▪ 2008


North America.

Major League Baseball.
      Propelled by tight division races and the pursuit of landmark achievements by several players, Major League Baseball in 2007 established a new attendance record for the fourth consecutive season. Despite weather problems during the early portion of the schedule in April, a total of 79.5 million spectators attended games, an increase of 4.5% over the previous mark of 76 million in 2006. Eight franchises established all-time highs, and 23 of 30 teams registered increases.

      Allegations of steroid use dominated the news after the end of the season. In November Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants was indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly having lied to a federal grand jury in 2003 about his use of steroids. A month later Bonds and seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens were among the more than 80 current and former players identified in George Mitchell's long-awaited report to the baseball commissioner on the illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport. The repercussions of the Mitchell Report were expected to be felt in 2008.

World Series.
 The American League (AL) Boston Red Sox earned their seventh World Series championship and second in four years by sweeping the National League (NL) Colorado Rockies four games to none in the best-of-seven World Series. The Red Sox clinched with a 4–3 triumph in Denver on October 28. Jon Lester registered the victory, and Mike Lowell, who hit a home run, was voted Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the series that ended the late-season surge by Colorado, which had won 21 of 22 games entering the series. (The Red Sox also swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series.) In game one, played in Boston on October 24, the Red Sox routed Colorado 13–1, behind a 17-hit attack and the pitching of Josh Beckett, who recorded nine strikeouts in seven innings. Dustin Pedroia, later voted AL Rookie of the Year, led off the game with a home run for the Red Sox, who erupted for seven runs in the fifth inning. The Red Sox won game two, held the next evening, by 2–1; Curt Schilling registered the victory after Lowell's double broke a 1–1 tie in the fifth inning. In game three, on October 27, the first World Series game ever played in Denver, the Red Sox won 10–5 behind Daisuke Matsuzaka (Matsuzaka, Daisuke ), a star pitcher from Japan who also contributed a two-run single. Jacoby Ellsbury had 4 of Boston's 15 hits in the game.

      The Red Sox won their 12th pennant by defeating the Cleveland Indians four games to three in the American League Championship Series (ALCS). The Red Sox clinched the title on October 21 by routing the Indians 11–2 in Boston. The Red Sox trailed three games to one in the best-of-seven series but rallied to win the last three games while outscoring the Indians 30 runs to 5. The Red Sox were just the 10th team in history to rebound from such a deficit, the most recent being the 2004 Red Sox, who trailed the New York Yankees three games to none. Beckett, who won the first and fifth games against the Indians, was voted ALCS MVP. In the AL best-of-five Division Series, the Red Sox eliminated the Los Angeles Angels in three straight games, and the Indians defeated the Yankees three games to one.

      In the best-of-seven NL Championship Series, the upstart Rockies secured their first pennant by winning four consecutive games over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Rockies clinched it on October 15 by beating the Diamondbacks 6–4 at home. Matt Holliday, who slammed a three-run home run during a six-run fourth inning, was voted MVP of the series. The Rockies, an expansion team in 1993, thus earned their first trip to the World Series. In the NL Division Series, the Rockies nailed a three-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Diamondbacks swept the Chicago Cubs.

Regular Season.
      Arizona won the NL West with a 90–72 record. When the Rockies and the San Diego Padres finished with identical marks of 89–73, a tiebreaker was required to determine the league's wild-card team. Colorado won 9–8 in 13 innings to advance to the four-team play-off as the wild card (the second-place team with the best record). The Rockies won 14 of their last 15 games to secure a postseason berth. The Cubs (85–77) won the NL Central by two games over the Milwaukee Brewers. The Phillies (89–73) won the NL East on the final day of the regular season by one game over the New York Mets, who squandered a seven-game lead with 17 games to go.

      The Indians took the AL Central by eight games over the Detroit Tigers. The Red Sox shared the best record (96–66) in baseball with the Indians and won the AL East by two games over the Yankees, who earned wild-card honours. The Angels won the AL West by six games over the Seattle Mariners.

Individual Accomplishments.
      Bonds broke baseball's most hallowed record when he hit his 756th home run on August 7 against Mike Bacsik of the Washington Nationals. The home run, off a 3–2 pitch in the fifth inning at San Francisco's AT&T Park, allowed Bonds to pass Hank Aaron, who broke Babe Ruth's mark of 714 home runs in 1974 and retired two years later with 755. Three days before he surpassed Aaron, Bonds hit his record-tying 755th home run in San Diego against Clay Hensley.

      Magglio Ordonez of the Tigers won the AL batting title with a .363 average; Holliday won the NL title with .340. Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees collected the most home runs (54) and runs batted in (RBIs; 156) in the AL, earning the regular-season MVP honours. In the NL, Prince Fielder of Milwaukee led the league with 50 home runs, and Holliday led with 137 RBIs, but both lost out in the MVP balloting to Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Milwaukee's Ryan Braun was narrowly voted NL Rookie of the Year over Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Beckett topped AL pitchers with 20 victories; however, C.C. Sabathia, with an impressive ratio of 209 strikeouts to only 39 walks, won the AL Cy Young. The NL Cy Young went to Jake Peavy of San Diego, whose 19 wins were the most in the league. Jose Valverde led all major league pitchers with 47 saves.

      Sammy Sosa of the Texas Rangers became the fifth player in history to amass 600 home runs; Frank Thomas of the Toronto Blue Jays, Jim Thome of the Chicago White Sox, and Rodriguez each reached the 500 plateau. (Rodriguez, at 32, was the youngest player in history to achieve that milestone.) Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros registered his 3,000th hit. Tom Glavine of the Mets became the 23rd pitcher in history to reach 300 victories, and San Diego's Trevor Hoffman earned his 500th save, a record for relief pitchers.

      Mark Buehrle of the White Sox, Justin Verlander of Detroit, and Clay Buchholz of Boston pitched no-hitters, with Buchholz achieving the milestone in only his second major league start. Brandon Webb of Arizona threw 42 consecutive scoreless innings. Bobby Jenks of the White Sox retired 41 consecutive batters, tying a major league record. San Diego's Greg Maddux became the first pitcher to win at least 10 games in 20 consecutive seasons, surpassing Cy Young's record. In other notable achievements, Tulowitzki turned an unassisted triple play against the Atlanta Braves. The Red Sox tied a record with four consecutive home runs—by Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Lowell, and Jason Varitek—in a triumph over the Yankees. The Rangers, in beating the Baltimore Orioles 30–3, became the first team in 110 years to score 30 runs.

      The American League defeated the National League 5–4 in the annual All-Star Game, played in San Francisco on July 10. The victory, which ensured the AL's World Series representative (Boston) home-field advantage, was the 10th in a row for the league. Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki, who was credited with the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star Game history, was voted the game's MVP.

Little League World Series.
      A team from Warner Robins, Ga., defeated Tokyo 3–2 to win the Little League World Series on August 26 in Williamsport, Pa. Dalton Carriker, age 12, hit the game-winning home run, and Kendall Scott struck out 10 batters for Georgia, which rallied from a 2–0 deficit to become the third consecutive team from the U.S. to claim the title. Columbus, Ga., won in 2006.

Robert Verdi

Latin America
      Baseball's 2007 Caribbean Series was held in Carolina, P.R., on February 2–7. The Cibao Eagles (Águilas Cibaeñas), representing the Dominican Republic, won the title with a 5–1 record. The Carolina Giants (Gigantes) from Puerto Rico finished with 4–2 record. The Aragua Tigers (Tigres) from Venezuela were 2–4, while the Hermosillo Orange Growers (Naranjeros), representing Mexico, finished last with a 1–5 mark. In late August it was announced that the Puerto Rican Winter League had canceled its 2007–08 season because of financial problems.

      In Cuba, Santiago de Cuba defeated perennial rival and defending champion Industriales four games to two to win the 46th Serie Nacional (National Series) championship. Santiago had defeated Camagüey three games to one in the quarterfinals and Villa Clara four games to three in the semifinals to advance. Las Tunas outfielder Osmani Urrutia hit .371 to win his sixth batting title in seven seasons.

      At the Pan American Games, held in Rio de Janiero, Cuba defeated the U.S. 3–1 in the championship game to win its 10th consecutive title. Mexico and Nicaragua finished in a tie for third after their bronze-medal game was canceled owing to rain.

      The Monterrey Sultanes defeated the Yucatán Lions (Leones) four games to three to win the Mexican League championship series. It was Monterrey's ninth Mexican League title but its first since 1996. Former major league pitcher José Lima, playing with Saltillo, tied for the league lead in wins with 13 and was the leader in innings pitched with 160.

Milton Jamail

 The Chunichi Dragons beat the Nippon Ham Fighters four games to one to win their first Japan Series championship in 53 years. Right-handed starting pitcher Daisuke Yamai and closer Hitoki Iwase combined on a perfect game in Chunichi's 1–0 win in game five. Chunichi third baseman Norihiro Nakamura was named the series Most Valuable Player after having hit .444 with four runs batted in (RBIs).

      In the regular season Chunichi finished second in the Central League (CL), but in the postseason the Dragons beat the third-place Hanshin Tigers two games to none and then defeated the first-place Yomiuri Giants in a three-game sweep to reach the Japan Series. Yakult Swallows outfielder Norichika Aoki led the CL with a .346 batting average. His teammate Seth Greisinger was the top pitcher, with a 16–8 record. Kyuji Fujikawa of Hanshin took a Japanese record-tying 46 saves.

      In the Pacific League (PL), Nippon Ham ended the regular season in first place and advanced to the Japan Series with a three-games-to-two victory over the second-place Chiba Lotte Marines, who had beaten the third-place Softbank Hawks two games to one earlier in the play-offs. Nippon Ham's Yu Darvish won the Sawamura Award as the best starting pitcher of the year; he had a league-leading 210 strikeouts and threw 12 complete games out of his 26 starts. Hideaki Wakui of the Seibu Lions won the most games, 17, while left-handed pitcher Yoshihisa Naruse of the Marines had a league-best 1.817 earned run average. Rakuten Eagles slugger Takeshi Yamasaki led the league with 43 home runs and 108 RBIs.

      On November 13 Hall of Fame pitcher Kazuhisa Inao died in a Fukuoka hospital at age 70. Inao, who played 14 seasons (1956–69) with the Nishitetsu (later Seibu) Lions, retired with a 276–137 record, a career 1.98 earned run average, three consecutive Japan Series championships (1956–58), and two PL MVP titles (1957, 1958).

Hiroki Noda

▪ 2007


North America.

Major League Baseball.
      For the third consecutive season, Major League Baseball broke an attendance record in 2006. A total of 76,043,902 tickets were sold, with the New York Yankees breaking the four million barrier while seven other franchises exceeded three million. The season closed with the seventh different World Series champion in as many years and a new collective-bargaining agreement between the owners and the players' union. The five-year contract ensured labour peace in a sport that had endured eight work stoppages between 1972 and 1995, including cancellation of the 1994 World Series. A luxury tax was to be imposed on teams with payrolls of more than $148 million in 2007, and the minimum salary would be increased to $380,000.

World Series.
 The St. Louis Cardinals struggled during the latter stages of the regular season but came back to stun the Detroit Tigers four games to one and capture the 10th World Series title in the franchise's history. The Cardinals clinched with a 4–2 victory in St. Louis on October 27. Jeff Weaver, a former Tiger, pitched eight innings for the Cardinals and allowed one earned run on four hits with nine strikeouts, while David Eckstein drove in two runs. Eckstein, hitless in his first nine series at bats, finished with eight hits in 22 at bats and was voted Most Valuable Player (MVP). The Cardinals, who capitalized on a number of Detroit misplays, won their first World Series since 1982, despite a regular season record of 83–78, the poorest for any champion in baseball history.

      In game one, played in Detroit's Comerica Park on October 21, the Cardinals defeated the Tigers 7–2 behind home runs by Scott Rolen and Albert Pujols. (See Biographies.) In the first World Series opening game ever started by two rookie pitchers, Anthony Reyes gained the victory, while American League (AL) Rookie of the Year Justin Verlander was charged with the loss. The next night the Tigers drew even in the series with a 3–1 victory behind Kenny Rogers, who pitched eight scoreless innings to extend his postseason streak to 23 consecutive innings without yielding a run. The Cardinals loaded the bases in the ninth inning, when they scored their only run. In game three in St. Louis on October 24, Chris Carpenter pitched eight shutout innings to propel the Cardinals to a 5–0 victory. After a one-day postponement because of rain, the Cardinals won game four at home on October 26 by a score of 5–4. Eckstein had four hits for the Cardinals, who trailed 3–0 at one point but rallied on his tie-breaking double in the eighth.

      The Yankees achieved the best record in the AL with a mark of 97 victories and 65 defeats, enough to win the AL East division by 10 games over the Toronto Blue Jays. The Minnesota Twins (96–66) won the AL Central by one game over the Tigers. The Twins were in first place only once all season—on the final day. The Tigers, however, earned the wild-card berth for having the best record of any second-place team in the league. The Oakland A's claimed the AL West by four games over the Los Angeles Angels. In the first round of the play-offs, the Tigers beat the favoured Yankees, winning their best-of-five division series three games to one, while Oakland swept Minnesota three games to none. In the best-of-seven American League Championship Series, the Tigers swept Oakland to reap their first pennant since 1984. The Tigers clinched the ALCS in game four when Magglio Ordóñez hit a three-run home run in the ninth inning to provide a 6–3 victory.

      The New York Mets (97–65) eased to the National League (NL) East title by 12 games, ending a string of 14 consecutive division titles by the Atlanta Braves. The Cardinals won the NL Central by 11/2 games over the Houston Astros. In the NL West the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers each finished 88–74, but the Padres gained the division crown because they won the season series against the Dodgers, who were awarded the wild-card spot. In the National League Division Series, the Mets eliminated the Dodgers in three games, while the Cardinals defeated the Padres three games to one. The Cardinals topped the Mets to win the best-of-seven National League Championship Series four games to three. In the seventh game in New York, Yadier Molina hit a two-run tie-breaking home run for St. Louis in the top of the ninth inning, and the Cardinals withstood a bases-loaded threat by the Mets in the bottom of the inning to register their 17th NL pennant and their 2nd in three years.

Individual Accomplishments.
      Joe Mauer of Minnesota won the AL batting title with a .347 average. He was the first catcher to take a batting title since Ernie Lombardi of the Boston Braves in 1942. Freddy Sánchez of the Pittsburgh Pirates claimed the NL batting title with a mark of .344. Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies led the NL with 58 home runs and 149 runs batted in and was named the NL MVP. David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox led the AL with 54 home runs and 137 runs batted in. He finished third in the AL MVP race, however, behind Derek Jeter of the Yankees and Minnesota's Justin Morneau, who was named AL MVP after a breakout season that included 34 home runs and 130 runs batted in. Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners led the major leagues in hits with 224. Jose Reyes of the Mets led the major leagues with 64 stolen bases.

      For the first time in modern major league history, no pitchers won 20 games in a full season. Minnesota's Johan Santana and Chien-Ming Wang of the Yankees each recorded 19 victories, the most in the AL. Santana, who also led the major leagues with 245 strikeouts and a 2.77 earned run average, secured a unanimous vote for the AL Cy Young Award. Six pitchers won 16 games in the NL, including Cy Young winner Brandon Webb of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Francisco Rodríguez of the Angels led the major leagues with 47 saves.

      On May 28 Barry Bonds hit his 715th career home run, surpassing the mark of Babe Ruth and moving him into second place on the all-time list, behind Hank Aaron, who amassed 755. On September 6 rookie Aníbal Sánchez threw a no-hitter for the Florida Marlins, beating the Diamondbacks 2–0 in his 13th career start. Sánchez, a 22-year-old right-hander from Venezuela, struck out six and walked four. The no-hitter was the first in the major leagues since Arizona's Randy Johnson authored a perfect game against Atlanta on May 18, 2004. The drought between no-hitters was, by one measure, the longest in baseball history. Trevor Hoffman of the Padres pitched a perfect ninth inning against Pittsburgh on September 24 for his 479th career save, surpassing the record for relief pitchers held by Lee Smith. Jim Thome of the Chicago White Sox was voted Comeback Player of the Year in the AL; Nomar Garciaparra of the Dodgers achieved the NL honour. Former catcher Joe Girardi, in his first year at the helm of the Marlins, was named the AL Manager of the Year. Girardi had already been dismissed as the Florida manager at the end of the regular season. Detroit's Jim Leyland was voted the AL Manager of the Year.

      The AL triumphed 3–2 in the annual All-Star Game, held in Pittsburgh on July 11. With two out in the top of the ninth inning, Michael Young of the Texas Rangers hit a two-run triple on an 0–2 pitch to provide the AL its ninth consecutive victory over the NL, which had last won the All-Star Game in 1996 (the 2002 contest ended in a 7–7 tie). Young was voted MVP in the game.

      On October 11 Cory Lidle, a 34-year-old pitcher for the Yankees, was killed when his private plane crashed into a Manhattan high-rise building.

Little League World Series.
      A team from Columbus, Ga., defeated a team from Kawaguchi City, Japan, 2–1 on August 28 to win the Little League World Series at South Williamsport, Pa. Cody Walker hit a two-run home run, and Kyle Carter struck out 11 for Columbus. The victory was the second in a row for the United States, which had not achieved consecutive Little League World Series titles since 1992–93.

Robert Verdi

Latin America.
      On March 20, 2006, Japan overpowered Cuba 10–6 to win the first World Baseball Classic. (See Sidebar (Baseball's World Classic ).) Cuba defeated the Dominican Republic in the semifinals to advance to the title game.

 The 2006 Caribbean Series was held February 2–7 in the Venezuelan cities of Maracay and Valencia. The Caracas Lions (Leones) went 6–0 to give Venezuela that country's first series title since 1989. The entry from the Dominican Republic, the Licey Tigers (Tigres), and the Carolina Giants (Gigantes) from Puerto Rico tied for second place with 4–2 records. The Mazatlán Deer (Venados), representing Mexico, finished last with a 2–4 record.

      In Cuba, Industriales overcame Santiago four games to two to win the 45th Serie Nacional (National Series) championship. Industriales had defeated Isla de la Juventud three games to two in the quarterfinals and Sancti Spiritus four games to three in the semifinals to advance. Isla de la Juventud infielder Michel Enríquez won the batting title with a .447 average.

      The United States beat Cuba in the Olympic qualifying tournament held in Havana in August and September, but as the top two finishers, both were guaranteed spots in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The third- and fourth-place teams, Mexico and Canada, would have another opportunity to qualify at a tournament to be held in Taiwan in 2007.

      The Yucatán Lions (Leones) defeated the Monterrey Sultanes four games to one to win the Mexican League championship series. It was the third league title for the Lions but their first since 1984.

Milton Jamail

      The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters beat the Chunichi Dragons four games to one to win the 2006 Japan Series, the team's first championship since 1962, when the franchise was known as the Toei Flyers. Atsunori Inaba was named the series' Most Valuable Player (MVP) after batting .353, with two home runs and seven runs batted in. Trey Hillman became the second foreign manager to lead a Pacific League (PL) team to a title victory. (Bobby Valentine achieved the feat with the Chiba Lotte Marines in 2005.) Nippon Ham and the Central League (CL) champion Chunichi split the first two games in the Dragons' Nagoya Dome, but Hillman's team swept the next three home games.

      Fighters first baseman Michihiro Ogasawara, with 32 home runs and 100 runs batted in, was named PL MVP. Seibu Lions first baseman Alex Cabrera also drove in 100 runs. Fukuoka Softbank Hawks outfielder Nobuhiko Matsunaka had a league-best .324 batting average, while his teammate pitcher Kazumi Saito posted 18 wins, a 1.75 earned run average, and 205 strikeouts. Nippon Ham Micheal Nakamura set a PL record with 39 saves.

      Chunichi players dominated the CL: first baseman Tyrone Woods hit 47 home runs and 144 runs batted in; pitcher Kenshin Kawakami won 17 games with 194 strikeouts; and outfielder Kosuke Fukudome's .351 batting average earned him the CL MVP title. Hiroshima Carp Hiroki Kuroda had a league-best 1.85 earned run average.

      Fans of both leagues celebrated when the Japanese national team won the inaugural World Baseball Classic. Japan defeated Cuba 10–6 in the final, held on March 20 in San Diego. Lions pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka was named the tournament's MVP. (See Sidebar (Baseball's World Classic ).)

Hiroki Noda

▪ 2006


North America.
      Despite adverse publicity stemming from a U.S. congressional probe on allegations of substance abuse by players (past and present), Major League Baseball continued to thrive during the 2005 season. An all-time attendance mark of 74,915,268 (up from 73,022,969 in 2004) was established; a sixth different champion in as many seasons was crowned; and the sport returned to Washington, D.C., when the Montreal Expos (formed in 1969) relocated and became the Washington Nationals. The former Washington Senators franchise left in 1972 to become the Texas Rangers.

World Series.
 The Chicago White Sox defeated the Houston Astros 1–0 in Houston on October 26 to complete a four-game sweep in the best-of-seven 2005 World Series. The White Sox thus achieved the franchise's first championship since 1917. The franchise had not appeared in a World Series since 1959. A two-out single in the eighth inning by Jermaine Dye accounted for the only run in the final game as Freddy Garcia pitched seven innings and was credited with the victory. Dye, who batted .438 for the series, was voted World Series Most Valuable Player (MVP). The Series culminated a surge by the White Sox, which won 11 of 12 postseason games. Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen (Guillen, Ozzie ) (see Biographies) earned much of the credit and the American League (AL) Manager of the Year honours.

      In game one, in Chicago on October 22, the White Sox defeated the Astros 5–3. Joe Crede hit a fourth-inning home run to break a 3–3 tie. José Contreras was credited with the victory, after a strong effort by the White Sox relief pitchers. The Sox won game two in Chicago 7–6 on a ninth-inning home run by Scott Podsednik, who had not hit any home runs during the regular season. Paul Konerko hit a grand-slam home run for the White Sox, the 18th in World Series history. When the Series moved to Houston on October 25, the White Sox prevailed to win game three 7–5 in 14 innings. This tied the record set in the 1916 Boston versus Brooklyn Series for the most innings in a World Series game and set a record of 5 hours and 41 minutes as the longest game in Series history. Geoff Blum, a utility player, broke a 5–5 tie with a home run in the top of the 14th inning.

      The White Sox secured the team's first pennant in 46 years by defeating the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim four games to one in the American League Championship Series (ALCS). After the Sox lost the opener at home 3–2, they recorded four consecutive victories, with all four starting pitchers—Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, Garcia, and Contreras—pitching complete games. The White Sox advanced to the ALCS by eliminating the defending world champion Boston Red Sox three games to none in the best-of-five AL Division Series. The Angels won their ALDS matchup with the New York Yankees three games to two.

      Houston, which at one point during the regular season was 15 games under .500, achieved the first National League (NL) pennant in the franchise's 44-year history by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals four games to two. Roy Oswalt won the clinching game 5–1 and was MVP of the NLCS. The Astros eliminated the Atlanta Braves three games to one in the NL Division Series (NLDS). In the clincher the Astros prevailed 7–6 in 18 innings, the longest game in postseason history, when Chris Burke hit the game-winning home run. The Cardinals swept the San Diego Padres three games to none in the NLDS. Reggie Sanders of the Cardinals set an NLDS record with 10 runs batted in.

      The White Sox won a league-high 99 games to claim the AL Central title by six games over the Cleveland Indians. The Yankees won their eighth consecutive AL East division title with a record of 95–67. The Red Sox had the same record but lost the season series to the Yankees and thus became the league's wild-card play-off entry. The Angels won the AL West by seven games over the Oakland Athletics. The Braves won the NL East by two games over the Philadelphia Phillies for their 14th consecutive division championship. The Cardinals registered 100 victories, the most in either league, to win the NL Central by 11 games over Houston, which qualified as the wild card. The Padres, despite a record of 82–80, won the NL West by five games.

Drug Investigation.
      On March 17 several baseball figures—including commissioner Bud Selig and Players Association director Donald Fehr—were called to Washington to participate in a congressional hearing on baseball's policy regarding performance-enhancing drugs, specifically steroids. The congressional panel questioned Selig, Fehr, and players about the effectiveness of baseball's existing penalties, under which a player who tested positive for the first time had been subject to a suspension of 10 days, for the second time 30 days, for the third time 60 days, and for the fourth time one year. In November, facing congressional pressure, the union agreed to significantly stricter measures. Beginning in 2006, a first-time offense would result in a 50-game suspension, a second-time offense would mean a 100-game suspension, and there would be a lifetime suspension for a third-time offender, with the right of appeal for reinstatement after two years. There was also a provision to institute the testing of players for use of amphetamines. The Baltimore Orioles' Rafael Palmeiro, one of the active players who testified during the hearing that he had never used steroids, was suspended in July for 10 days after a failed drug test. He was the highest-profile player of the nine who were suspended during the 2005 season.

Individual Accomplishments.
      Bartolo Colon, who led the AL with 21 victories for the Angels, was voted winner of the Cy Young Award. Cy Young honours in the NL went to Chris Carpenter, who won 21 games for St. Louis. The Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, who led the AL with 48 home runs, was named the league's regular-season MVP; Albert Pujols of St. Louis was MVP in the NL. Michael Young of the Texas Rangers won the AL batting title with an average of .331. Derrek Lee of the Chicago Cubs took NL batting honours with a .335 average. Andruw Jones of the Braves hit 51 home runs to lead the NL. Boston's David Ortiz amassed 148 runs batted in to lead the AL; Jones had 128 to top the NL. Dontrelle Willis of the Florida Marlins set the NL pace with 22 victories. Chone Figgins of the Angels led both leagues in stolen bases with 62. Chad Cordero of the Nationals led relief pitchers in both leagues with 47 saves. Palmeiro reached 3,000 career hits during the season and thus joined Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Eddie Murray as the only players to have amassed 3,000 hits and 500 or more home runs. Atlanta's Bobby Cox was named NL Manager of the Year for the second consecutive season. Ken Griffey, Jr., of the Cincinnati Reds was voted NL Comeback Player of the Year, while Jason Giambi of the Yankees received that honour in the AL.

      The American League defeated the National League 7–5 in the annual All-Star Game, played in Detroit on July 12. The victory, the ninth straight for the AL, ensured that the league's World Series representative, which turned out to be the White Sox, would have home-field advantage in the Series. Baltimore's Miguel Tejada, who hit a home run and drove in two runs, was voted the game MVP.

Little League World Series.
      A team from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, rallied to defeat the defending champion Pabao Little League of Willemstad, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, 7–6 and win the Little League World Series on August 28 in Williamsport, Pa. Hawaii scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the title game. In the seventh inning Michael Memea hit the second game-ending home run in Little League World Series championship game history and thereby prevented Curaçao from becoming the first repeat champion since Long Beach, Calif., won in 1992 and 1993.

Robert Verdi

Latin America
      The 2005 Caribbean Series was held in Mazatlán, Mex., on February 1–6. The Mazatlán Deer (Venados), representing Mexico, won the title with a 5–1 record. The Aragua Tigers (Tigres) from Venezuela and the entry from the Dominican Republic, the Cibao Eagles (Águilas Cibaeñas), tied for second place with 3–3 records. The Mayagüez Indians (Indios) of Puerto Rico were in last place with a 1–5 record.

      In Cuba, Santiago de Cuba defeated Havana four games to two to win the 44th Serie Nacional (National Series) championship. Santiago had defeated Granma three games to none in the quarterfinals and Villa Clara four games to none in the semifinals to advance. Las Tunas outfielder Osmani Urrutia hit .385 to win his fifth consecutive batting title.

      During the year it was announced that baseball would be cut from the Olympic Games beginning in 2012. Since the official recognition of baseball as an Olympic sport, Cuba had won three of the four gold medals (1992, 1996, and 2004), while the U.S. had captured the title in 2000.

      Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Players Association announced that the inaugural World Baseball Classic would be held in March 2006. The 16-team event—in which MLB players were eligible to participate—would include teams from Canada, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and the U.S. The World Baseball Classic would be played again in 2009 and every four years thereafter.

      The Angelopolis Tigers defeated the Saltillo Sarape Makers (Saraperos) four games to two to win the Mexican League championship series. It was the ninth league title for the Tigers, who had captured their first league title in 1955.

Milton Jamail

      The Chiba Lotte Marines swept the Hanshin Tigers in four games in the 2005 Japan Series for their first Japanese baseball title since 1974, when they were known as the Lotte Orions. Bobby Valentine became the first foreign manager to win the series. The Marines dominated the first three games with scores of 10–1, 10–0, and 10–1. In game four they edged the Tigers 3–2 as South Korean slugger Lee Seung Yeop blasted a two-run home run and added a run-scoring double, while the Tigers' rally fell short. Marines third baseman Toshiaki Imae was named the series Most Valuable Player (MVP) after going 10-for-15 with four runs batted in (RBIs). The 22-year-old Imae also set a series record when he made eight consecutive hits in his first eight at bats.

      The Marines finished the regular season 41/2 games behind the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in the Pacific League (PL). The Marines reached the Japan Series by beating the league's third-place Seibu Lions in the first stage of the play-offs and the Hawks in the second stage. The Tigers cruised to their second Central League (CL) title in three years.

      In the regular season Hawks first baseman Nobuhiko Matsunaka led the PL with 46 home runs and 121 RBIs and became the first player in Japanese baseball to drive in at least 120 runs for three consecutive seasons, but in the MVP balloting he lost out to his teammate pitcher Toshiya Sugiuchi. Tigers outfielder Tomoaki Kanemoto was the CL regular-season MVP.

Hiroki Noda

▪ 2005


North America.
      In 2004 Major League Baseball established a single-season attendance record of 73,022,969 spectators, surpassing the previous record set in 2000 and marking an 8.1% increase over the 2003 total. Seven teams broke franchise records, including the New York Yankees, who led both leagues with 3,775,292. Nine teams drew more than three million spectators.

World Series.
      The Boston Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals four games to none to capture their first World Series since 1918. The Red Sox clinched the best-of-seven series at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo., on October 27 by beating the Cardinals 3–0 behind Derek Lowe, who pitched seven shutout innings. Johnny Damon hit a first-inning home run, and Trot Nixon batted in two runs in the third inning for the Red Sox, who never trailed in the World Series while extending their postseason winning streak to eight games. Manny Ramirez, Boston's power-hitting outfielder, was voted the World Series Most Valuable Player (MVP). The Cardinals, who won the National League (NL) pennant with a potent offense, batted only .190 for the World Series and scored just three runs in the last three games. The Red Sox became the third consecutive wild-card team to win a World Series. Boston gained the wild-card berth after posting the best record of any second-place team in the American League (AL).

      In the World Series opener at Boston's Fenway Park on October 23, the Red Sox outslugged the Cardinals 11–9. After the Cardinals rallied from a five-run deficit, Boston's Mark Bellhorn broke a 9–9 tie with a two-run home run in the eighth inning. In game two on October 24, the Red Sox again vanquished the visiting Cardinals 6–2 as Curt Schilling, despite an ankle injury, pitched six innings. (See Biographies (Schilling, Curt ).) Jason Varitek, Orlando Cabrera, and Bellhorn each batted in two runs for the Red Sox. In game three at St. Louis on October 26, Pedro Martinez yielded just three hits over seven innings, and Ramirez hit a first-inning home run off Jeff Suppan, the losing pitcher, to propel the Red Sox to a 4–1 triumph and a three-games-to-none lead.

      Boston routed the Yankees 10–3 in game seven of the dramatic American League Championship Series (ALCS) to win the pennant in historic fashion. The Red Sox lost the first three games of the best-of-seven series, then became the first team in postseason annals to win the next four. Damon led the Red Sox to their climactic romp in game seven at Yankee Stadium by hitting two home runs, one with the bases loaded. In the first game of the ALCS, the Yankees defeated Boston 10–7. The Yankees forged an 8–0 lead behind Mike Mussina, then held on as relief pitcher Mariano Rivera recorded the save. The Yankees won game two 3–1 as Jon Lieber outdueled Martinez and Rivera recorded another save. The Yankees then went to Boston and won their third straight by a rout of 19–8 behind 22 hits, 5 by Hideki Matsui. The Red Sox, however, won game four 6–4 in 12 innings on a two-run home run by David Ortiz, who was named MVP of the ALCS. In game five a single by Ortiz in the 14th inning provided the Red Sox a 5–4 conquest. The game lasted 5 hours 49 minutes—the longest in postseason history. The Red Sox then won their third in a row to tie the series, three victories each, by defeating the Yankees 4–2 behind the strong pitching of the ailing Schilling and a three-run home run from Bellhorn. The Yankees had advanced to the ALCS by winning their best-of-five Division Series three games to one over the Minnesota Twins, while the Red Sox had swept the Anaheim Angels three games to none.

      In the National League Championship Series (NLCS), St. Louis beat the Houston Astros 5–2 in the seventh game to win the NL pennant four games to three. Scott Rolen broke a 2–2 tie in the sixth inning with a two-run home run off Roger Clemens. The Cardinals scored six runs in the sixth inning to defeat the Astros 10–7 in game one. In game two Albert Pujols and Rolen hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning to break a tie and provide the Cardinals with a 6–4 victory. The Astros recorded their first victory of the series when Clemens pitched seven innings in game three toward a 5–2 triumph. The Astros then tied the series at two games apiece by rallying to defeat the Cardinals 6–5 on a tie-breaking home run by Carlos Beltran. It was the fifth consecutive postseason game in which Beltran had hit a home run, a major league record. The Astros won the fifth game 3–0 on a three-run home run by Jeff Kent in the ninth inning. The Cardinals tied the series at three victories each when they defeated the Astros 6–4 in game six on a two-run home run by Jim Edmonds in the 12th inning. Pujols was named MVP of the NLCS. The Cardinals had reached the NLCS by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in their best-of-five Division Series three games to one. In the other NL Division Series, the Astros, the NL wild-card team, won their first postseason series by beating the Atlanta Braves three games to two.

Individual Accomplishments.
       Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners won his second AL batting title with a .372 average while accumulating 262 hits to break the major league record of 257 established by George Sisler in 1920. Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants won the NL batting title with a .362 average and captured a record seventh MVP award. Bonds also hit 45 home runs to increase his career total to 703, third on the all-time list, behind Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714). Anaheim's Vladimir Guerrero, playing in his first season in the AL, won the other MVP award. Ken Griffey of the Cincinnati Reds reached the 500-home-run plateau. Adrian Beltre of the Dodgers led both leagues with 48 home runs; Boston's Ramirez set the AL pace with 43. Miguel Tejada of the Baltimore Orioles led the AL in runs batted in with 150. The NL leader was the Colorado Rockies' Vinny Castilla with 131. Scott Podsednik of the Milwaukee Brewers topped both leagues in stolen bases with 70.

      Schilling led AL pitchers in victories with 21; Johan Santana of Minnesota, who won the AL Cy Young Award, had 20. In the NL, Houston's Roy Oswalt led with 20, and his teammate Clemens registered 18 wins to capture a record seventh Cy Young. Rivera of the Yankees led the major league in saves with 53. Two relief pitchers in the NL recorded 47 each, Jason Isringhausen of St. Louis and Armando Benitez of the Florida Marlins. The Dodgers' Eric Gagne saw his record consecutive-save streak end at 84. Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who led both leagues with 290 strikeouts, recorded the 17th perfect game in major league history, becoming at age 40 the oldest pitcher to have thrown a perfect game and just the fifth pitcher to have thrown a no-hitter in both leagues. Another veteran, Greg Maddux of the Chicago Cubs, became the 22nd pitcher to have won 300 games when he defeated the Giants on August 7. Bobby Crosby of the Oakland Athletics was voted AL Rookie of the Year, and Jason Bay of the Pittsburgh Pirates took the NL honour. Bobby Cox of Atlanta and Buck Showalter of the Texas Rangers were named the NL and AL Manager of the Year, respectively.

      In the annual All-Star Game, at Minute Maid Park in Houston, the AL scored six runs in the first inning and beat the National League 9–4. After the regular season, Major League Baseball announced plans to move the Montreal Expos to the District of Columbia under their new name the Washington Nationals, effective for the 2005 season.

Little League World Series.
      Pabao Little League of Willemstad, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, defeated Conejo Valley of Thousand Oaks, Calif., 5–2 to win the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. Carlos Pineda struck out 11 batters and Jurickson Profar hit a two-run homer to secure the first Little League title for Curaçao and the first for a Caribbean team.

Robert Verdi

Latin America
      The 2004 Caribbean Series was held in Santo Domingo, Dom.Rep., on February 1–6. The Licey Tigers (Tigres), representing the Dominican Republic, won the title with a 5–1 record. The Culiacán Tomato Growers (Tomateros), representing Mexico, finished second with a 4–2 record. The Venezuelan entry, Aragua Tigers (Tigres), had a 3–3 mark, while the Ponce Lions (Leones), from Puerto Rico, were 0–6.

      In Cuba Industriales defeated Villa Clara four games to none to win the 43rd Serie Nacional (National Series) championship. Industriales defeated Sancti Spiritus in the quarterfinals and Pinar del Río in the semifinals to advance. Las Tunas outfielder Osmani Urrutia hit .469 to win his fourth consecutive batting title.

      The Campeche Pirates (Piratas) defeated the Saltillo Sarape Makers (Saraperos) four games to one to win the Mexican League championship series. It was the Pirates' second league title; their first was in 1983. Campeche pitcher Francisco Campos posted a 12–2 record and won the pitching Triple Crown; he led the league during the regular season in earned run average (1.47) and strikeouts (99) and tied for most wins.

      At the Olympic Games in Athens, the Cuba national team defeated Australia 6–2 in the championship game to win the gold medal. Cuba had previously won gold medals in the 1992 and 1996 games before losing in the final to the United States in 2000 in Sydney, Australia. The U.S. did not send a team to Athens, having lost in a qualifying tournament.

Milton Jamail

      The Seibu Lions defeated the Chunichi Dragons four games to three in the 2004 Japan Series, winning their first title since 1992. The Pacific League (PL) champion Lions were led by pitcher Takashi Ishii, who picked up two wins over 13 scoreless innings and was named series Most Valuable Player (MVP). In September Japanese baseball players staged the first strike in the game's 70-year history after their talks with team owners failed to reach an agreement on the realignment of ball clubs. Twelve weekend games were canceled after owners approved the merger of the PL's financially troubled Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes and Orix BlueWave. The owners, however, averted a possible second strike as they chose to admit a new team for the next season. Between the two Internet service providers that applied, Rakuten, Inc., was selected over Livedoor, Co., to run a new team in Sendai, in northern Japan.

      Fukuoka Daiei Hawks infielder Nobuhiko Matsunaka became the first Triple Crown winner in 18 years as he led the PL with a .358 batting average, 44 home runs, and 120 runs batted in. Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters infielder Fernando Seguignol matched Matsunaka, who was named PL MVP, with 44 homers. Buffaloes pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma and Lions pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka led the PL with 15 wins and a 2.90 earned run average, respectively. In the Central League (CL), Dragons pitcher Kenshin Kawakami was named MVP with a league-best 17 wins. Yokohama BayStars infielder Tyrone Woods and Yomiuri Giants outfielder Tuffy Rhodes shared the home-run title with 45. Hiroshima Carp infielder Shigenobu Shima led the CL with a .337 batting average.

Hiroki Noda

▪ 2004


North America.
      Despite a slow start, in part because of inclement weather, the 2003 Major League Baseball season gained momentum during the midsummer months as interleague games in June and a dramatic All-Star Game in July cultivated interest. The second half of the regular season and the play-offs featured a number of story lines that contributed to what some deemed the most appealing postseason in many years. Although overall attendance was flat, especially in the spring, television ratings for marquee events in October indicated a significant upsurge in interest throughout the U.S. and Canada.

World Series.
      The Florida Marlins defeated the New York Yankees four games to two for their second World Series conquest. The Marlins, a 1993 expansion team, clinched the 2003 championship by beating the Yankees 2–0 in Yankee Stadium on October 25. The triumph completed an unlikely tale for the Marlins, a wild-card entry in the postseason by virtue of having achieved the best record of any second-place team in the National League (NL). (When the Marlins won the title in 1997, they also did so after having secured a wild-card berth.) The Marlins started the 2003 regular season with a 16–22 record, at which point manager Jeff Torborg was dismissed. Jack McKeon, age 72, was lured out of retirement to replace him. The team dipped to 19–29 before it embarked on its startling turnaround.

      In the World Series opener at Yankee Stadium on October 18, the Marlins defeated the Yankees 3–2. Brad Penny, who pitched 51/3 innings, was credited with the victory after the Florida bullpen yielded just two hits during the remainder of the game. The Yankees responded on October 19 to win 6–1 as Hideki Matsui hit a three-run home run in the first inning and Andy Pettitte pitched 82/3 innings for the Yankees.

      With the series tied at one game apiece, the teams moved to Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Fla., for game three on October 21. Matsui's single in the eighth inning broke a 1–1 tie, and Bernie Williams hit a three-run home run in the ninth to bring the Yankees a 6–1 triumph. Williams's home run was the 19th of his career in the postseason, a major league record. The Marlins, however, defeated the Yankees 4–3 in 12 innings on October 22. The Marlins scored three runs in the first inning off 41-year-old star pitcher Roger Clemens, who announced that he was considering retirement. The Yankees tied the game 3–3 in the ninth inning on a two-run pinch-hit triple by Ruben Sierra. That score held until Florida's Alex Gonzalez hit a home run in the 12th inning.

      The Marlins won game five 6–4 on October 23 to assume a three games to two lead. That set up game six, in which Josh Beckett, a 23-year-old right-hander who had been the losing pitcher in game three, pitched a complete game, yielding five hits and striking out nine. He was voted the World Series Most Valuable Player (MVP).

      The Yankees claimed their 39th American League (AL) pennant by defeating their longtime rivals the Boston Red Sox four games to three in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series (ALCS). In the decisive seventh game, the Yankees, who trailed by three runs as late as the eighth inning, triumphed 6–5 in 11 innings on Aaron Boone's tie-breaking home run. Mariano Rivera of the Yankees was voted MVP of the ALCS. Game three, at Boston's Fenway Park, was marred by an on-field altercation in which 72-year-old Yankee coach Don Zimmer charged Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez, who threw Zimmer to the ground. The Yankees had advanced to the ALCS by winning their best-of-five Division Series three games to one over the Minnesota Twins. The Red Sox, the AL wild-card team, had lost the first two games of their Division Series before rallying to eliminate the Oakland A's three games to two.

      In the National League Championship Series (NLCS) the Marlins won their second pennant, and the Chicago Cubs, after leading the NLCS three games to one, failed to claim what would have been their first pennant since 1945. The Marlins opened the series by winning game one in Chicago 9–8 in 11 innings but then lost the next three. Beckett struck out 11 and shut out the Cubs 4–0 in game five, after which the Marlins won two games in Chicago. In game six Cubs starting pitcher Mark Prior went into the eighth inning with a 3–0 shutout, but, after a controversial play that many considered fan interference, the Marlins rallied with eight runs in the inning to win 8–3. The Marlins completed a remarkable comeback by beating the Cubs 9–6 in game seven to win the series four games to three. Ivan Rodriguez of Florida was voted the MVP of the NLCS. The Marlins also had rallied to defeat the San Francisco Giants in their best-of-five NL Division Series three games to one. In the other NL Division Series, the Cubs had upset the Atlanta Braves three games to two to win their first postseason series since 1908, their last world-championship season.

Individual Accomplishments.
      Bill Mueller of the Red Sox won the AL batting title with a .326 average, beating teammate Manny Ramirez, who batted .325. Mueller, a switch hitter, also became the first player in major league history to hit grand slam home runs from both sides of the plate in the same game when he accomplished the feat against Texas. In the NL, Albert Pujols (.359) of the St. Louis Cardinals barely surpassed Todd Helton (.358) of the Colorado Rockies on the final day of the regular season. Before their averages were rounded off, they were separated by only .00022. Jim Thome of the Philadelphia Phillies led the NL in home runs with 47, the same total as that posted by AL MVP Alex Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers. (See Biographies (Rodriguez, Alex )). Preston Wilson of Colorado led the NL in runs batted in with 141; Carlos Delgado of the Toronto Blue Jays set the AL pace with 145. Florida's Juan Pierre collected 65 stolen bases, the most in either league.

      Atlanta pitcher Russ Ortiz (21–7) led the NL in victories. Eric Gagne of the Los Angeles Dodgers amassed 55 saves, two short of the major league record, in as many opportunities, and captured the NL Cy Young Award. Toronto's Roy Halliday (22–7), who led the AL in victories, was the other Cy Young winner. Keith Foulke of the A's led the AL in saves with 43. Boston's Martinez achieved the lowest earned run average in either league, 2.22. Kerry Wood of the Cubs led both leagues in strikeouts with 266.

      On April 4 Sammy Sosa of the Cubs became the 18th player to reach the 500-home-run level; the Rangers' Rafael Palmeiro joined him on the list in May. Later in the season, however, Sosa was ejected from a game when his broken bat was found to contain cork; he was suspended for seven games. Barry Bonds of the Giants hit 45 home runs—increasing his career total to 658, fourth on the all-time list, behind Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), and Willie Mays (660)—and won a record sixth MVP award. Clemens, who had pitched for three different teams—Boston, Toronto, and the Yankees—recorded his 300th victory and his 4,000th strikeout. McKeon and the Kansas City Royals' Tony Peña were named the NL and AL Manager of the Year, respectively. Shortstop Angel Berroa of the Royals was voted AL Rookie of the Year, while Dontrelle Willis of Florida took the NL honour.

      In the annual All-Star Game, at U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox, Hank Blalock of Texas hit a two-run pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning to give the AL a 7–6 victory over the NL. By virtue of the triumph, the AL secured home-field advantage in the World Series. It was the first time that the All-Star Game had been used to determine home-field advantage; previously, the leagues had alternated home-field advantage each season.

Little League World Series.
      Musashi-Fuchu Little League of Tokyo defeated a team from East Boynton Beach, Fla., 10–1 to win the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., on August 24. Yuutaro Tanaka struck out 14 batters, and Hokuto Nakahara hit a grand slam home run as Tokyo broke open a scoreless championship game with eight runs in the fourth inning. It was the third time in five years that a Japanese team had won the Little League World Series; East Boynton Beach was the eighth team from Florida to have advanced to the Little League World Series final without claiming the championship.

Robert Verdi

Latin America.
      The 2003 Caribbean Series was held in Carolina, P.R., on February 2–8. The Cibao Eagles (Águilas Cibaeñas), representing the Dominican Republic, defeated the Mayagüez Indians (Indios) of Puerto Rico in a play-off game to win the title. The Dominicans had a 6–1 record, while Mayagüez was 5–2. A second Puerto Rican team, the Caguas Creoles (Criollos) was 2–4, and the Mexican entry, Los Mochis Sugarcane Growers (Cañeros), was 0–6. Puerto Rico had two teams in the series because civil unrest in Venezuela had caused the league there to suspend play midway through the season. This resulted in there being no league champion to send to the series.

      In Cuba Industriales defeated Villa Clara four games to none to win the 42nd Serie Nacional (National Series) championship. Industriales, which set a record with 66 wins during the Serie Nacional, defeated Havana in the quarterfinals and Pinar del Río in the semifinals to advance. Las Tunas outfielder Osmani Urrutia hit .421 to win his third consecutive Serie Nacional batting title.

      The Cuban national team defeated the United States 3–1 in the title game at the Pan American Games, held in the Dominican Republic in August. It was Cuba's ninth consecutive Pan American gold medal in baseball. Mexico finished in third place.

      The Mexico City Red Devils (Diablos Rojas) defeated the Angelopolis Tigers four games to one to win the Mexican League championship series. It was the Red Devils' second consecutive league title and 14th overall.

Milton Jamail

      The Fukuoka Daiei Hawks won the 2003 Japan Series by defeating the Hanshin Tigers four games to three. The Pacific League (PL) champion Hawks came back after being down three games to two and clinched their first series title since 1999. Daiei starting pitcher Toshiya Sugiuchi, who won games two and six, was named series Most Valuable Player (MVP). Daiei catcher Kenji Jojima tied the series record with four home runs.

      Jojima was named the PL's regular-season MVP. He had 34 homers, a .330 batting average, and 119 runs batted in (RBIs), second in the league after his teammate Nobuhiko Matsunaka. Hawks pitcher Kazumi Saito led the league in three categories with 20 wins (20–3), a 2.83 earned run average (ERA), and a winning percentage of .870, while pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada was named PL Rookie of the Year. Tuffy Rhodes of the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes won his second home run title with 51.

      In the Central League (CL), the Tigers, Japan's perennial baseball underdogs, dominated with an impressive 87–51 record and won their first pennant since 1985. Hanshin players also led the league in individual records—left-handed pitcher Kei Igawa, with 20 wins and a 2.80 ERA, was named CL MVP; Makoto Imaoka had a .340 batting average; and Norihiro Akahoshi achieved 61 stolen bases. Tyrone Woods of the Yokohama Bay Stars and Alex Ramirez of the Yakult Swallows led the CL with 40 home runs each. Tigers manager Senichi Hoshino resigned after the Japan Series for health reasons. Yomiuri Giants skipper Tatsunori Hara stepped down to take responsibility for his team's poor performance.

Hiroki Noda

▪ 2003


North America.
      Although the 2002 season proceeded without interruption after management and labour agreed on a new contract late in the summer, Major League Baseball was affected by the threat of another job action and the proposal by Commissioner Bud Selig (see Biographies (Selig, Bud )) to cut two franchises. As a result, overall attendance dropped 6.1% from the previous year, the biggest decrease since the season after the last strike ended in 1995. The average game attendance in 2002 was 28,168, the lowest since 1996 and down from 30,013 in 2001.

World Series.
      The Anaheim Angels won the World Series by defeating the San Francisco Giants four games to three in a series that featured a record for total runs, 85, and home runs, 21. The Angels, who finished 41 games out of first place in 2001, won game seven at Edison Field in Anaheim, Calif., on October 27 by a score of 4–1. Angels outfielder Garret Anderson hit a three-run double off Giants pitcher Livan Hernandez, and John Lackey earned the victory for Anaheim in a series that featured two wildcard (second-place) teams. Troy Glaus of the Angels was voted World Series Most Valuable Player (MVP).

      In the series opener on October 19 in Anaheim, Giants slugger Barry Bonds hit a home run in his first-ever World Series and led his team to a 4–3 victory over Anaheim. Reggie Sanders and J.T. Snow also hit home runs for the Giants, while Glaus homered twice for the Angels. Pitcher Jason Schmidt recorded the victory, with 31/3 innings of hitless relief by the Giants' bullpen.

      In game two the following night, Anaheim rebounded to win 11–10. Tim Salmon hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to break a 9–9 tie, and the Angels then withstood another Bonds home run in the ninth. The Angels had jumped to a 5–0 lead in the first but then had fallen behind 9–7 in the highest-scoring World Series game since Florida beat Cleveland 14–11 in 1997. Francisco Rodriguez, a 20-year-old pitching sensation from Venezuela, recorded his fifth postseason victory, tying a mark established by Arizona's Randy Johnson in 2001.

      When the series moved to Pac Bell Park in San Francisco on October 22, the Angels routed Giants starter Hernandez and romped to a 10–4 conquest. Hernandez incurred his first postseason defeat ever as the Angels accumulated 16 hits. Bonds hit another home run for the Giants.

      In game four on October 23, David Bell singled in the winning run in the eighth inning to provide the Giants a 4–3 victory. The Angels took a 3–0 lead after three innings, but San Francisco tied the game in the fifth inning and then scored an unearned run in the eighth.

      In game five on October 24, the Giants clobbered the Angels 16–4 to move within one victory of the championship. Jeff Kent hit two home runs and the Giants amassed 16 hits off four pitchers, including the starter—and loser—Jarrod Washburn.

      When the series returned to Anaheim on October 26, the Giants seemed poised to clinch the title when they jumped to a 5–0 lead with the help of Bonds's fourth home run and a two-run homer by Shawon Dunston. Scott Spiezio, however, hit a three-run homer for Anaheim in the seventh inning, and Glaus's two-run double in the eighth culminated the rally that brought the Angels a stunning 6–5 triumph in game six.

      Adam Kennedy hit three home runs in game five of the best-of-seven American League Championship Series to lead the Angels to a 13–5 rout of the Minnesota Twins. The victory clinched the ALCS for the Angels four games to one and propelled them to their first World Series, in the 42nd year of the franchise. Kennedy became only the fifth player in major league history to hit three home runs in a postseason game. The Angels, who had been frustrated on several occasions in their pursuit of a pennant, exploded for 10 runs in the seventh inning before a raucous home crowd of 44,835. Minnesota had won the first game of the series at home but then lost game two in Minneapolis. When the series moved to Anaheim, the Angels won games three, four, and five. Kennedy was voted MVP of the ALCS.

      In the National League Championship Series, the Giants vanquished the St. Louis Cardinals four games to one. The clinching victory was by a score of 2–1 in San Francisco. The Cardinals took a 1–0 lead in game five, but the Giants tied the score in the bottom of the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly by Bonds and then won in the bottom of the ninth on a run-scoring single by Kenny Lofton. The Giants had won the first two games of the series in St. Louis. The Cardinals prevailed in game three at San Francisco despite a three-run home run by Bonds, but the Giants came back to win game four 4–3.

      Despite a deep and experienced pitching staff, the New York Yankees were defeated by the Angels three games to one in the American League best-of-five Division Series. The Yankees rallied to win the opener at home 8–5, but Anaheim took the second game at Yankee Stadium by a score of 8–6. In game three in Anaheim, the Angels pounded the Yankees 9–6. Then the Angels clinched their first victory in a play-off series since the team's inception by scoring eight runs in the fifth inning to eliminate New York.

      Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks, who won the 2001 World Series against the Yankees, were also beaten in the best-of-five National League Division Series by the St. Louis Cardinals three games to none. In doing so, the Cardinals survived the formidable duo of Johnson and Curt Schilling, generally considered the best two starting pitchers on any major league rotation. Facing Johnson in the opener at Phoenix, the Cardinals rolled to a 12–2 conquest. Then, against Schilling in game two, the Cardinals prevailed. St. Louis completed its sweep at home by winning 6–3.

      The Twins advanced by downing the favoured Oakland A's three games to two in the other American League Division Series. Minnesota came from a 5–1 deficit in game one to take a 7–5 decision and then lost game two at Oakland 9–1. Oakland won game three in Minneapolis 6–3 but lost game four by a score of 11–2. In the deciding contest at Oakland, the Twins scored three runs in the ninth and then withstood a three-run outburst by the A's to win 5–4.

      The Giants took a similar path, winning game one of their National League Division Series at Atlanta. San Francisco lost game two in Atlanta and game three at home before registering an 8–3 triumph in game four. In the decisive game five in Atlanta, Bonds smacked a fourth-inning home run that proved to be the winning run in a 3–1 victory.

Individual Accomplishments.
      Bonds enjoyed a banner season, winning the National League (NL) batting title with a .370 average, hitting 46 home runs, and taking home a record fifth MVP award. The 38-year-old slugger smashed his 600th career home run on August 9 and thereby became only the fourth player in major league history, and the first in 31 years, to reach that mark. Only Hank Aaron (755 home runs), Babe Ruth (714), and Willie Mays (660) ranked ahead of Bonds in this category. Bonds also walked a record 198 times—68 on intentional passes—and thus recorded an on-base average of .582, bettering the mark of .553 established by Ted Williams in 1941. Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs led the NL in home runs with 49. Arizona's outstanding pitching tandem led the league in victories—Johnson was 24–5 and Schilling 23–7.

      Atlanta's John Smoltz led in saves with 55. Manny Ramirez of the Boston Red Sox led the American League (AL) in batting average with .349. Alex Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers had the most home runs in the AL, 57, and most runs batted in, 142. The top starting pitchers were Barry Zito of Oakland (23–5), Derek Lowe of Boston (21–8) and Pedro Martinez, also of the Red Sox (20–4). Lowe also pitched a no-hitter against Tampa Bay. In a game against the Chicago White Sox, Mike Cameron of the Seattle Mariners hit four home runs in one game, only the 13th player in history to do so. Shawn Green of the Los Angeles Dodgers, in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers, became the 14th player to mark that achievement. He also doubled and singled for 19 total bases, breaking the major league record of 18 established by Joe Adcock of the Milwaukee Braves in 1954. Luis Castillo of the Florida Marlins authored a consecutive-game hitting streak of 35, the longest since Paul Molitor's 39 with the Brewers in 1987.

      Commissioner Bud Selig declared the 73rd All-Star Game a 7–7 tie after 11 innings because both the NL and AL teams had run out of pitchers.

Collective Bargaining Agreement.
      Under the threat of another work stoppage, management and labour settled on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) on August 30, the same date that the Major League Players Association had established as a strike deadline. The settlement came early in the morning, only hours before an afternoon game scheduled for Wrigley Field in Chicago stood to be the first cancellation. The four-year deal, which extended through Dec. 19, 2006, was hailed by Selig and union chief Donald Fehr as a breakthrough in a contentious relationship that had existed between ownership and the players since 1972. During that time, baseball had endured eight job actions, the most damaging of which resulted in cancellation of the 1994 World Series. Under terms of the new deal, in 2003 teams with payrolls over $117 million would be subject to a luxury tax; in 2004 the cutoff figure would be $120.5 million, and so on up to $136.5 million in 2006. The tax rate would start at 17.5% and could grow to as much as 40%.

      The agreement also provided for increased revenue sharing, a system whereby the most profitable franchises would contribute money to a pool designated for less-profitable teams. The union also agreed to testing for illegal steroids beginning in 2003. The CBA was seen as a victory for the owners, although the powerful union did delay by at least four years Selig's professed intent to eliminate 2 of the 30 teams—presumed to be the Minnesota Twins and Montreal Expos—because of their financial difficulties.

Little League World Series.
      Louisville, Ky., won the Little League World Series by defeating a team from Sendai, Japan, by a score of 1–0 before 41,000 spectators at Howard J. Lamade Stadium in Williamsport, Pa., on August 25. The star for Louisville was Aaron Alvey, who not only accounted for the only run with a first-inning home run but pitched a brilliant game, allowing just three hits and striking out 11. Alvey recorded 44 strikeouts in three starts and one inning of relief, breaking a tournament record. He also extended his string to 21 consecutive scoreless innings, another tournament record. Louisville became the first team ever from Kentucky to win the Little League World Series. Louisville also became the first American team to win the title since 1998, when Toms River, N.J., defeated Kashima, Japan.

Robert Verdi

Latin America.
      The 2002 Caribbean Series was held in Caracas, Venez., on February 2–8. The Culiacán Tomato Growers (Tomateros), representing Mexico, compiled a 5–1 record to win the title. The Dominican Republic, represented by the Cibao Eagles (Águilas Cibaeñas), handed Mexico its only defeat and came in second with a 3–3 record. Venezuela (Magallanes Navigators [Navegantes]) and Puerto Rico (Bayamon Cowboys [Vaqueros]) tied for third place with 2–4 marks.

      In Cuba Holguín defeated Sancti Spiritus four games to three to win the 41st Serie Nacional (National Series) championship. It was Holguín's first Cuban league title. Holguín had defeated Camagüey in the quarterfinals and Villa Clara in the semifinals to advance. Three-time defending champion Santiago de Cuba was eliminated by Villa Clara in the quarterfinals. The victory for Holguín capped off a dream season—it had won its four-team division with a 55–35 record after having finished in last place only a year earlier.

      Five players who had been the core of the Cuban national team for 15 years were not on the 2002 squad. After the Serie Nacional, third baseman Omar Linares, first baseman Orestes Kindelan, second baseman Antonio Pacheco, shortstop German Mesa, and outfielder Luis Ulacia were allowed to go to Japan. Linares was going to play for the Chunichi Dragons in the Japanese Central League, while the others were to play for and coach amateur teams.

      The Mexico City Red Devils defeated the Mexico Tigers (who had recently moved from Mexico City to Puebla) four games to three to win the Mexican League championship series. It was the Red Devils' 13th league title.

Milton Jamail

      The Yomiuri Giants won the 2002 Japan Series by completing a four-game sweep over the Seibu Lions. The Giants claimed their 20th Japan Series title, the most in Japanese baseball history, and their first since 2000. Tomohiro Nioka, who belted a decisive grand slam in game three and had three hits in each of the first three games, was named series Most Valuable Player (MVP).

      Hideki (“Godzilla”) Matsui, Yomiuri's cleanup hitter, just missed winning the triple crown during the 140-game regular season. Matsui, the Central League MVP, led the league with 50 home runs and 107 runs batted in, but his .334 batting average was second to Kosuke Fukudome of the Chunichi Dragons, who had a .343 average. Matsui became a free agent and announced shortly after the Japan Series his intention to play in the North American major leagues. Yomiuri hurler Koji Uehara, with a 17–5 record, won his second Sawamura Award as the best starting pitcher of the year.

      Seibu cleanup batter Alex Cabrera, formerly of the Arizona Diamondbacks, was named the MVP of the Pacific League as he tied Japan's single-season record of 55 home runs, set by Japanese baseball legend Sadaharu Oh in 1964 and tied by Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes slugger Karl (“Tuffy”) Rhodes in 2001. Cabrera, along with his teammates, Kazuo Matsui (with a .332 batting average and 36 home runs) and closer Kiyoshi Toyoda (38 saves and a 0.78 earned run average), led the Lions to dominate opponents with a regular-season record of 90–49.

Hiroki Noda

▪ 2002

      The eventful 2001 major league baseball season, delayed one week by the terrorist attacks on September 11, extended into November for the first time in history and featured a new home-run record by the San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds (see Biographies (Bonds, Barry )) and a new World Series champion—the National League (NL) Arizona Diamondbacks, who ended the three-year reign of the American League (AL) New York Yankees in a dramatic seven-game series.

      Bonds hit 73 home runs to shatter the mark of the St. Louis Cardinals' Mark McGwire, who hit 70 in 1998. At the same time, however, major league offensive totals decreased. Runs per game fell from 10.28 in 2000 to 9.55 in 2001, and only 12 players hit 40 or more home runs, 4 fewer than the previous season. Despite the debut of new stadiums in Milwaukee, Wis., and Pittsburgh, Pa., overall attendance was up only slightly, to an average of just over 30,000 per game.

World Series.
      The Diamondbacks scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning of game seven at home to defeat the Yankees 3–2 and win the World Series four games to three. By doing so, the Arizona team, which debuted in 1998, staged the quickest trip to a title of any franchise in major league history. The previous mark of five years to a championship was established by the Florida Marlins in 1997.

      In the Series opener in Phoenix on October 27, the Diamondbacks routed the Yankees 9–1 before a record home crowd of 49,646. Curt Schilling, the team's star right-handed pitcher, worked seven strong innings for Arizona, while the Diamondbacks collected five runs off New York starter Mike Mussina in three innings. Craig Counsell and Luis Gonzalez hit home runs for the Diamondbacks.

      In game two pitcher Randy Johnson, the left-handed ace for Arizona, authored a 4–0 shutout, yielding just three hits and striking out 11 in a complete-game performance. The Diamondbacks held a slim 1–0 lead into the seventh inning when Matt Williams clubbed a three-run home run off the Yankees' starter and loser, Andy Pettitte.

      On October 30 the Series moved to Yankee Stadium, where Pres. George W. Bush tossed out the first pitch before an emotional crowd of 55,820 and Mariano Rivera threw the last pitch in a 2–1 game-three victory for the Yankees. New York's Roger Clemens pitched seven innings, by which time the Yankees had broken a 1–1 tie on a single by Scott Brosius. Earlier, Jorge Posada had homered for the Yankees against Arizona's Brian Anderson.

      The Diamondbacks were one out away from winning game four in Yankee Stadium on October 31 when Tino Martinez clubbed a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. In the bottom of the 10th, Derek Jeter hit a home run to provide the Yankees a dramatic 4–3 triumph that tied the Series at two games each. Both home runs came against Arizona's star relief pitcher, Byung-Hyun Kim, who came on in the eighth inning trying to protect a 3–1 lead for Schilling.

      The Yankees accomplished another remarkable comeback in game five at Yankee Stadium the next night, which was the first time a World Series game ever had been played in November. Home runs by Steve Finley and Rod Barajas off Mussina staked Arizona to a 2–0 lead in the fifth inning. The Yankees, for the second consecutive night, were down by two runs with two outs in the ninth inning when Brosius hit a game-tying two-run home run off Kim. By the time the defending champions achieved a 3–2 triumph in 12 innings, it was, in fact, early the next morning. Few fans had departed, however, when Alfonso Soriano slashed a single to right field to score the winning run from second base and provide the Yankees a three-games-to-two lead.

      When the Diamondbacks returned home for game six before a record Bank One Ballpark crowd of 49,707, they demolished the Yankees 15–2 to square the Series at three games each. The Diamondbacks knocked out Pettitte in two-plus innings and mounted a 12–0 margin by the third for Johnson, who cruised to his second Series victory with a seven-inning stint. The Diamondbacks' 22 hits broke a single-game Series record of 20, and the 13-run margin of victory was the second largest in Series history.

      To win the final game on November 4, the Diamondbacks had to mount a rally against Rivera, one of the most accomplished relief pitchers in history. Arizona had fallen behind by 2–1 on an eighth-inning home run by Soriano. Tony Womack doubled-in one run to forge a 2–2 tie, and then Gonzalez hit a bases-loaded bloop single to score the winning run for the Diamondbacks. Johnson was credited with the victory, his third of the Series, by pitching 11/3innings of relief one night after he had hurled the Diamondbacks to victory in game six. In game seven he finished for Schilling, who had made his third start of the series. Johnson and Schilling shared Most Valuable Player (MVP) honours for the Series.

      The Diamondbacks won the NL pennant by defeating the Atlanta Braves four games to one. Arizona clinched the pennant in Atlanta's Turner Field on October 21 by winning 3–2 on a two-run pinch home run by Erubiel Durazo and strong pitching by Johnson, who worked seven innings before giving way to Kim. Counsell was voted MVP of the National League Championship Series.

      The Yankees claimed their 38th pennant one night later by routing the Seattle Mariners 12–3 at home to win the American League Championship Series (ALCS) four games to one. Paul O'Neill, Bernie Williams, and Martinez hit home runs for the Yankees, and Pettitte pitched 61/3 innings to register his second victory of the ALCS, for which he was named series MVP.

      The Diamondbacks won the first round of the NL play-offs, defeating the Cardinals three games to two, while the Braves advanced by sweeping the Houston Astros. In the AL the Yankees defeated the Oakland Athletics (A's) three games to two, despite losing the first two games at home, the first time a team had won a best-of-five series in that fashion. After losing game three 17–2, the Mariners had to win the last two games of their series against the Cleveland Indians to prevail three games to two.

      The Mariners posted a regular-season record of 116–46 to win the AL West division by 14 games over the A's, who had the second best record in the major leagues (102–60) and qualified as the AL wild-card team. The 116 victories by Seattle tied the 1906 Chicago Cubs for the most ever. The Yankees romped in the AL East by 131/2 games, and Cleveland won the AL Central by six games.

      The Diamondbacks won the NL West division with a mark of 92–70, two games better than the Giants. The Braves won an unprecedented 10th consecutive division title by finishing first in the NL East. The Astros and Cardinals tied for first in the NL Central at 93–69. The Astros were crowned champions by virtue of winning the season series against the Cardinals, who earned a wild-card berth.

Individual Accomplishments.
      Ichiro Suzuki, a 28-year-old rookie from Japan, won the AL batting title for the Mariners by amassing 242 hits for a .350 average. Seattle's Bret Boone led the league with 141 runs batted in, and Alex Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers hit the most home runs, 52. Mark Mulder of Oakland led AL pitchers with 21 victories, though two others won 20 games, Seattle's Jamie Moyer and Clemens. Clemens won 16-straight decisions at one point, tying an AL record. Rivera of the Yankees led relief pitchers with 50 saves.

      Larry Walker of the Colorado Rockies led the NL with a .350 batting average. Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs batted in 160 runs and 64 home runs in his fourth straight season of 50 or more homers. Schilling and Matt Morris of the Cardinals each posted 22 victories; Johnson had 21; and Chicago's Jon Lieber had 20. Robb Nen of the Giants led NL relief pitchers with 45 saves. In an achievement that rivaled Bonds's, Rickey Henderson of San Diego broke Ty Cobb's all-time runs record by scoring his 2,246th; he finished the season with 2,248.

      In postseason honours Suzuki was voted MVP and Rookie of the Year in the AL, a feat accomplished by only one other player—Fred Lynn of the Boston Red Sox in 1975. Albert Pujols of St. Louis was the NL Rookie of the Year. Bonds earned MVP honours in the NL for a record fourth time. Clemens won a record sixth Cy Young Award in the AL; Johnson earned his third straight NL Cy Young Award. Lou Piniella of Seattle and Larry Bowa of the Philadelphia Phillies were voted Manager of the Year in the AL and NL, respectively. Cal Ripken, Jr., of the Baltimore Orioles, Tony Gwynn of the Padres, and McGwire, each a decorated veteran, retired after the 2001 season.

Little League World Series.
      The Tokyo-Kitasuna team scored two runs in the sixth and final inning to beat Apopka, Fla., 2–1 on August 26 in South Williamsport, Pa., and win the Little League World Series title. Nobuhisa Baba delivered the winning hit as Japan won its fifth Little League championship. Tokyo-Kitasuna had advanced by beating Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, 2–1; Apopka had advanced by whipping the Bronx, N.Y., team 8–2 for the U.S. championship. Earlier in the tournament, Florida had been victimized by a perfect game thrown by Danny Almonte of the Bronx, the first in the Little League World Series since 1957. After the conclusion of the tournament, it was discovered that Almonte was 14, an infraction of the Little League rules requiring players to turn 13 no earlier than August 1 in the season they are competing. Little League Baseball declared that the Bronx team had to forfeit all victories for the season as well as the team's third-place finish in the World Series. Rolando Paulino, the team's founder, and Felipe de Jesus Almonte, father of the pitcher, were banned for life from any further involvement in Little League.

Bob Verdi

Latin America.
      The 2001 Caribbean Series was held in Culiacán, Mex., on February 2–8. The Cibao Eagles (Aguilas Cibaeñas), representing the Dominican Republic, compiled a 4–2 record and won their third title. Mexico (Hermosillo Orangegrowers [Naranjeros]) and Venezuela (Lara Cardinals [Cardenales]) tied for second with 3–3 marks, while Puerto Rico (Caguas Creoles [Criollos]) was last with a 2–4 record.

      Santiago de Cuba won its third consecutive Cuban championship. It defeated Granma in the quarterfinals, beat Camagüey in the semifinal round, and took four out of five games from Pinar del Río in the finals to win the title. Maels Rodríguez, a pitcher from the Sancti Spiritus team, set the Cuban all-time single-season record for strikeouts with 263. In addition to leading the league in strikeouts, Rodríguez also had the best earned run average (1.77) and was tied for the most victories (15).

      Nelson Barrera, player-manager with Oaxaca, broke the Mexican League all-time home-run record held by Hector Espino when he hit his 454th homer. Barrera, aged 43, had played 25 years in the league. The Mexico City Tigers defeated the Mexico City Red Devils four games to two in the league's championship series. It was the Tigers' eighth—and second consecutive—league title.

      During March, Major League Baseball sponsored exhibition games between big league teams in Valencia, Venez., and three Mexican cities (Culiacán, Hermosillo, and Mexico City) as part of its “Month of the Americas.” The event was capped off by a regular-season opening series featuring the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers in San Juan, P.R.

Milton Jamail

      The Yakult Swallows beat the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes four games to one in the 2001 Japan Series. The Swallows claimed their fifth Japan Series title and their fourth in nine years. Swallows catcher Atsuya Furuta was named series Most Valuable Player (MVP) after having hit .500 with seven hits and one home run. He also finished second in the Central League's (CL's) 140-game regular season with a batting average of .324, behind the Yomiuri Giants' Hideki Matsui, who had a .333 average. The Swallows finished the regular season with 76 wins, one more than the defending champion Giants, who came close late in the season before suffering four straight losses at the very end. The Swallows' Roberto Petagine, leading the league with 39 home runs and 127 runs batted in, was named CL regular-season MVP. Left-handed starting pitcher Shugo Fujii and closer Shingo Takatsu led the league with 14 wins and 37 saves, respectively, for the team.

      In the Pacific League (PL) the Buffaloes won their first crown since 1989 after having finished last in 1999 and 2000. The hard-hitting team ended the regular season two and a half games ahead of the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks. Buffaloes outfielder Karl (“Tuffy”) Rhodes, who was named the PL's MVP, blasted 55 home runs to tie the all-time single-season Japanese record set by home-run king Sadaharu Oh in 1964. The biggest news for Japanese baseball in 2001 was Shigeo Nagashima's retirement as Giants manager. Nagashima had been extremely popular both as a player and as a manager.

Hiroki Noda

▪ 2001

      With the opening of new ballparks in Detroit, San Francisco, and Houston, Texas, in 2000 major league baseball established a single-season attendance record of 72,748,970, surpassing the previous record set in 1998. The season opened March 29 in Tokyo, with the Chicago Cubs defeating the New York Mets 5–3 at the Tokyo Dome; the Mets retaliated with a 5–1 victory the next day. The two-game series marked the first time regular-season competition had been staged outside North America.

World Series.
      The American League (AL) New York Yankees earned their third consecutive championship and their fourth in five years by defeating the National League (NL) Mets 4–2 at Shea Stadium, the Mets' home field, in game five of the World Series on October 26. The Yankees thus captured the best-four-of-seven series 4–1. It was the first New York intracity “Subway Series” since 1956, when the Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers four games to three. Twice before, the Yankee franchise had won at least three consecutive World Series (1936–39, 1949–53). The only other team to have done so was the Oakland A's in 1972–74.

      In game one of the World Series at Yankee Stadium on October 21, the Yankees defeated the Mets 4–3 in 12 innings. The game lasted 4 hours 51 minutes, the longest in World Series history. With the victory the Yankees also broke the existing mark of 12 consecutive World Series triumphs established by the Yankees in 1927–32. José Vizcaino ended game one by lashing a first-pitch, bases-loaded, two-out single off Turk Wendell before a crowd of 55,913. Mike Stanton, the third Yankee reliever after starter Andy Pettitte, pitched two scoreless innings and received credit for the win. Wendell, the fifth Met reliever after starter Al Leiter, was the loser.

      In game two at Yankee Stadium on October 22, the Yankees amassed a 6–0 lead and survived a five-run uprising by the Mets in the top of the ninth inning against Jeff Nelson and Mariano Rivera, the Yankees' ace relief pitcher. Roger Clemens, who struck out nine and allowed only two hits through eight innings, earned the 6–5 victory for the Yankees before 56,059 fans. Mike Hampton was the losing pitcher. Clemens was involved in a controversial incident in the top of the first inning when Mike Piazza, the Mets' star catcher, who had been hit in the head by a Clemens pitch during a regular-season game, broke his bat while swinging at a pitch. The ball trickled foul, but the barrel end of the bat sailed toward the mound. Clemens grabbed it and threw it in the direction of Piazza, who was running toward first base. Piazza took steps toward Clemens, and players from both dugouts emptied onto the field. No one was officially ejected, but Clemens later was fined $50,000 for his conduct.

      On October 24 the Series moved to Shea Stadium before a crowd of 55,299, and the Mets responded with a 4–2 conquest. Orlando Hernández of the Yankees pitched well, striking out 12 in 71/3 innings, but he incurred his first postseason loss ever after eight career victories. John Franco, the third of four Mets relievers, was credited with the win.

      The Yankees responded in game four with a 3–2 victory on October 25 to seize a 3–1 lead in the series. The Yankees' hot-hitting shortstop, Derek Jeter, opened the game with a first-pitch home run off Bobby J. Jones. The Yankees scored single runs in the second and third innings, then held on as four relief pitchers for starter Denny Neagle yielded just two hits in the last 41/3 innings. Nelson, the third of five Yankee pitchers, received the victory.

      The Yankees clinched their 26th World Series championship by scoring two runs in the top of the ninth inning of game five to break a 2–2 tie. With two out, Jorge Posada walked and Scott Brosius singled. Luis Sojo singled through the middle against Leiter, scoring Posada. When the throw toward home plate from centre fielder Jay Payton hit Posada and careened into foul territory, Brosius scored on the error. Stanton, in relief of starter Pettitte, was credited with his second victory of the series, while Rivera worked a scoreless ninth for his second save. The Yankees registered early runs on home runs by Bernie Williams and Jeter, who batted .409 for five games with two home runs and six runs batted in and was selected Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the series.

      The Yankees had won their 37th pennant on October 17 by defeating the Seattle Mariners 9–7 at Yankee Stadium to capture the American League Championship Series (ALCS) four games to two. The Yankees, down 4–0 in the fourth inning of game six, exploded for six runs in the seventh inning. The rally was highlighted by David Justice's three-run home run in support of Hernández, the winning pitcher. Justice, who had been acquired by the Yankees from the Cleveland Indians during the season, was voted MVP of the ALCS.

      The Mariners opened the best-of-seven series by defeating the Yankees 2–0 in New York on October 10. The Yankees tied the series at home on October 11 by routing the Mariners 7–1. The Yankees were losing 1–0 entering their half of the eighth inning when they scored their first runs of the series. In game three at Seattle, Pettitte pitched the Yankees to an 8–2 triumph. Clemens then took the mound for New York in game four and silenced the Mariners 5–0 with a one-hit complete game featuring 15 strikeouts. Al Martin's seventh-inning double was the only Seattle hit. The Mariners won game five at Seattle 6–2 on a five-run fifth inning keyed by home runs from John Olerud and Edgar Martínez.

      The Mets captured the NL pennant on October 16 with a 7–0 rout of the St. Louis Cardinals at Shea Stadium to claim the National League Championship Series (NLCS) four games to one. The Mets staged three-run rallies in the first and fourth innings to support Hampton, who worked a complete-game three-hit performance for the Mets, striking out eight. Hampton, a left-hander acquired from the Houston Astros before the season, recorded two victories in the NLCS and was voted its MVP.

      In the opener of the NLCS at St. Louis on October 11, Hampton pitched seven shutout innings for the Mets, who scored twice in the first inning and romped 6–2. In game two at St. Louis, Payton singled in the winning run in the ninth inning to provide the Mets with a 6–5 victory. Rick Ankiel, a rookie left-hander who had thrown five wild pitches in one inning during the Cardinals' division series against the Atlanta Braves, threw two more against the Mets. The Cardinals, however, trounced the Mets in game three at New York 8–2. They collected 14 hits toward their first victory in the series, but the Mets gained a 3–1 lead in the series the next day by beating the Cardinals 10–6.

      In the NL division series, the Cardinals, who finished first in the Central division with a 95–67 record, swept the Braves (95–67), who were East division champions by scores of 7–5, 10–4, and 7–1 and were in the play-offs for the ninth consecutive year. The San Francisco Giants (97–65), champions of the West, were eliminated in four games by the Mets (94–68), who posted the best record of any second-place team and thus earned a wild-card berth in the play-offs. After the Giants won the opener 5–1, the Mets won the next three games 5–4, 3–2, and 4–0, the last on a one-hitter by Jones.

      The Yankees (87–74) lost 15 of their last 18 games in the regular season and won the AL East division by only 21/2 games over the Boston Red Sox. In the division series the Yankees were extended to five games by Oakland (91–70), winners of the West division. The A's won the first game 5–3, lost the next two by 4–0 and 4–2, then routed the Yankees 11–1. In the deciding game the Yankees scored six runs in the first inning and held on to win 7–5. Seattle (91–71), which claimed the AL wild-card entry just a half game behind the A's, swept the Central division champion Chicago White Sox (95–67) in three games, 7–4, 5–2, and 2–1.

Individual Accomplishments.
      With Mark McGwire of the Cardinals injured for much of the season, it was left to Sammy Sosa of the Cubs to continue the home-run barrage. He did not disappoint, hitting 50 to lead the major leagues and join McGwire and Babe Ruth as the only players to reach that plateau in three straight seasons. Troy Glaus of the Anaheim Angels led the AL with 47.

      Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies led the NL in batting average (.372) and runs batted in (147). Nomar Garciaparra of the Red Sox led the AL with a .372 average, and Martinez of the Mariners set the pace in runs batted in with 145. Tom Glavine led the NL pitching with 21 victories; Tim Hudson of Oakland and David Wells of Toronto each had 20 wins in the AL, where Boston's Pedro Martínez was otherwise dominant, posting 18 victories, a 1.74 earned run average, and 284 strikeouts. Randy Johnson of the NL Arizona Diamondbacks led both leagues in strikeouts with 347.

      No pitcher threw a no-hitter during the regular season, and no managers were dismissed, although several were let go at season's end. Brent Mayne, a catcher for Colorado, became the first position player in 32 years to win a game. He came in to pitch the 12th inning of a game against the Braves on August 22, yielded no runs, and received credit for the victory when the Rockies scored in the bottom of the 12th to beat Atlanta 7–6.

Little League World Series.
      Maracaibo, Venez., won the Little League World Series by defeating Bellaire, Texas, 3–2 in Williamsport, Pa., on August 26. Maracaibo jumped to a 2–0 lead in the first inning behind Rubén Mavarez, who pitched a four-hitter and struck out six as Venezuela won its second championship in six years.

Robert Verdi

Latin America.
      The 2000 Caribbean Series was held in the Dominican Republic on February 2–7. The Santurce Crabbers (Los Cangrejeros), representing Puerto Rico, were undefeated with a 6–0 record. The runner-up Eagles (Aguilas Cibaeñas), the Dominican entry, were 4–2, while Mexico (Navojoa Mayos) and Venezuela (Zulia Eagles) tied for last place with 1–5 records.

      Santiago de Cuba won its second consecutive Cuban championship. It set a new regular-season record by winning 62 of 90 games and then went undefeated in the 11 play-off games, triumphing over Camagüey, Granma, and Pinar del Río. The Cuban national team, however, which had won gold medals in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games, had to settle for a silver medal after losing the title match to the United States 4–0 at the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia.

      The Mexico City Tigers defeated the Mexico City Red Devils four games to one in the championship series of the Mexican League. It was the Tigers' seventh league title.

      Cuban third baseman Tony Pérez, whose batting helped lead the Cincinnati Reds to four National League pennants in the 1970s, became the seventh Latin American player (and the second Cuban after Martin Dihigo) to be selected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. A team from Maracaibo, Venez., won the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., with a 3–2 victory over a team from Bellaire, Texas.

Milton Jamail

      The Yomiuri Giants of the Central League (CL) beat the defending champion Fukuoka Daiei Hawks of the Pacific League (PL) four games to two in the 2000 Japan Series. The Giants claimed their 19th Japan Series title and their first since 1994. The 2000 series drew special attention because the teams were managed by two Japanese baseball legends, Shigeo Nagashima for the Giants and Sadaharu Oh for the Hawks. In 1965–73 Nagashima and Oh, batting third and fourth, had led the Giants to nine consecutive championship titles.

      Giants slugger Hideki Matsui was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for both the Japan Series and the CL's 135-game regular season. Matsui won two of the CL's hitting titles with 42 home runs and 108 runs batted in. The Giants also got a boost from three left-handed starting pitchers, Kimiyasu Kudo (12–5), Darrell May (12–7), and Hisanori Takahashi (9–6), all of whom had joined the team in 2000. Tatsuhiko Kinjo of the Yokohama BayStars, who had the league's best batting average, .346, was named the CL Rookie of the Year.

      In the PL, Nobuhiko Matsunaka of the Hawks—with a batting average of .312, 33 home runs, and 106 runs batted in—was named league MVP for his solid performance. Ichiro Suzuki (see Biographies (Suzuki, Ichiro )) of the Orix BlueWave won his seventh PL batting title with a .387 average. Suzuki later signed a contract to play in the U.S., joining Kazuhiro Sasaki, the American League's 2000 Rookie of the Year, on the Seattle Mariners' roster.

Hiroki Noda

▪ 2000

      Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals and Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs, the two sluggers who shattered major league baseball's existing home-run records in 1998, staged a reprise in 1999, with 65 and 63 home runs, respectively. Offense overall throughout both the National League (NL) and the American League (AL) increased substantially; the total home-run output of 5,528 broke the previous year's mark of 5,064, and total runs were up by 6%. As a by-product, the average length of games rose six minutes to 2 hours 53 minutes. Major league attendance dropped slightly by 93,109 to 70,279,112, the first decrease since 1995.

World Series.
      The New York Yankees solidified their position as baseball's most successful franchise and swept the Atlanta Braves in four games to repeat as World Series champions. The Yankees, who had won the 1998 World Series in a four-game sweep of the San Diego Padres, opened the 1999 series by defeating the Braves 4–1 before 51,342 spectators in Atlanta, Ga., on October 23. Chipper Jones, later named the NL's Most Valuable Player (MVP), hit a home run in the fourth inning to provide the only hit Atlanta managed through seven innings against Cuban-born right-hander Orlando Hernández (seeBiographies (Hernandez, Orlando )), who struck out 10 batters. In the top of the eighth, the Yankees scored four runs. Three New York relievers preserved the lead, ending with Mariano Rivera, who recorded the save.

      In game two the Yankees rolled to a 7–2 triumph before 51,226 onlookers in Atlanta. The Braves struggled against New York's starter, David Cone, who hurled scoreless one-hit ball through seven innings. The Yankees jumped to a 3–0 first-inning advantage against Kevin Millwood, Atlanta's most consistent starter throughout the regular season. The Braves averted a shutout by scoring twice in the ninth.

      Back in Yankee Stadium on October 26, New York rewarded the crowd of 56,794 with a 6–5 victory in 10 innings. The Braves amassed a 5–1 lead against Andy Pettitte through four innings, but the Yankees rallied against Tom Glavine, Atlanta's veteran left-hander, and two of his successors. Chad Curtis homered in the fifth inning, and Tino Martinez homered in the seventh to narrow Atlanta's lead to 5–3. New York came back in the eighth as Joe Girardi singled and Chuck Knoblauch homered to create a 5–5 tie. Then Curtis led off the 10th with a home run off Mike Remlinger for the victory. Rivera, who pitched two innings of scoreless relief, recorded the win. He was one of three pitchers who followed Pettitte and permitted just four Atlanta hits and no runs in the last 61/3 innings.

      On October 27 the Yankees completed the sweep and won their 25th championship of the 20th century by beating the Braves 4–1 at Yankee Stadium. New York scored three runs in the third inning off Atlanta's John Smoltz on a two-run single by Martinez and a run-scoring single by Jorge Posada. After the Braves scored in the eighth inning, Jim Leyritz homered for the Yankees in the bottom of the inning before 56,752 partisans. Right-hander Roger Clemens, acquired by New York during the off-season, allowed just four Atlanta hits through 7 2/3 innings before turning the ball over to the Yankees' mighty bullpen, anchored by Rivera, who registered his second save of the series and was voted MVP.

      The Yankees advanced to the World Series by defeating the Boston Red Sox 4 games to 1 in the American League Championship Series (ALCS). In the opener at New York, after being down 3–0, the Yankees rallied and won it 4–3 on Bernie Williams's leadoff home run in the 10th. The next day the Yankees again prevailed, this time by 3–2. Game three at Boston's Fenway Park was a much-awaited pitching matchup between Pedro Martínez of the Red Sox and Clemens, formerly of Boston. The drama never unfolded, however, as Clemens was knocked out in the third inning, Martínez struck out 12 batters in seven innings, and the Red Sox romped 13–1. The Yankees rolled to a 9–2 triumph in game four and then clinched their 36th AL pennant back in Fenway Park with a 6–1 conquest supported by the strong pitching of Hernández, who worked seven innings and was voted MVP for the ALCS.

      The Braves won their fifth pennant in nine years by capturing the National League Championship Series (NLCS) 4 games to 2 over the New York Mets. In game one at Atlanta, Greg Maddux pitched seven strong innings and battery mate Eddie Perez hit a home run to afford the Braves a 4–2 victory. The next day Perez homered again, as did Brian Jordan, and the Braves won 4–3. The series then moved to New York, where Glavine, with relief help from Remlinger and John Rocker in the last two innings, used a first-inning unearned run to vanquish the Mets 1–0. The Mets beat the Braves 3–2 in game four, and in game five they outlasted the Braves 4–3 in a 15-inning marathon that lasted 5 hours 46 minutes, the longest game in postseason history. The Mets, three outs from elimination, tied it in the ninth inning 3–3. In the bottom of the 15th, with the bases loaded, Robin Ventura hit an apparent grand-slam home run, but Mets teammates spilled onto the field to congratulate him, and Ventura never made it past first base. He was awarded a single, and the Mets won 4–3. The Braves won the series at home in game six by outlasting the Mets 10–9 in 11 innings. After being tied in the 8th inning and again in the 10th, the Braves finally prevailed when New York's Kenny Rogers walked Andruw Jones with the bases loaded. Perez was voted MVP of the NLCS.

      The Yankees opened the play-offs by silencing the powerful Texas Rangers in the AL division series. The Yankees won 8–0 and 3–1 at home, then completed a three-game sweep on the road by beating the Rangers 3–0. The Red Sox reached the ALCS by staging a gallant comeback against the Cleveland Indians, who won the first two games of their division series 3–2 and 11–1. The Red Sox then stormed to win the next three, scoring 44 runs in the process. In the NL division series, the Braves lost the opener at home 6–1 to the Houston Astros but won the next three games to advance. In the other NL division series, the Mets split their first two games in Phoenix. On returning home the Mets beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 9–2 and 4–3 to advance to the NLCS.

Regular Season.
      The Yankees posted the best record in the AL, 98–64, and won the East division by four games over the Red Sox, who earned the wild-card berth by seven games over the second-place team in the West, the Oakland A's. Cleveland, 97–65, finished 211/2 games ahead of the Chicago White Sox in the Central Division, and Texas, 95–67, was eight games better than Oakland in the West.

      The Braves led baseball with a 103–59 mark, good enough for a 61/2-game margin over the Mets in the National League East. Houston, 97–65, claimed the Central by 11/2 games over Cincinnati, and Arizona, 100–62, was 14 games ahead of the San Francisco Giants.

      The Mets and the Cincinnati Reds finished the regular 162-game schedule with identical records of 96–66 and thus played a one-game play-off for the right to be the NL wild-card team. The Mets won the extra game 5–0 in Cincinnati, Ohio, on October 4, one day after the regular season concluded.

Individual Accomplishments.
      Although Sosa, with 63 homers, became the first player to hit 60 home runs in two consecutive seasons, McGwire hit 65, including the 500th of his career, and led the NL with 147 runs batted in. Larry Walker of the Colorado Rockies won the NL batting title with an average of .379. Astros pitchers Mike Hampton (22) and Jose Lima (21) led the league in victories, but Randy Johnson of Arizona, who struck out 364 batters, was honoured with the NL Cy Young Award.

      Ken Griffey, Jr., of the Seattle Mariners paced the AL in home runs with 48, and Manny Ramírez of the Cleveland Indians amassed the most runs batted in, 165. Pedro Martínez of Boston, the AL Cy Young Award winner, posted the season's best pitching mark, 23–4. Martínez also had the most first-place votes (eight) for AL MVP, but he was upset by Texas Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who had only seven first-place votes but more total points (252–239) when the ballots were counted.

      Cone of the Yankees pitched the 16th perfect game in major league history, beating the Montreal Expos 6–0. Jose Jimenez of the Cardinals pitched a no-hitter against Arizona 1–0, and Eric Milton of the Minnesota Twins pitched a no-hitter against the Anaheim Angels 6–0.

      Veteran players Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres and Wade Boggs of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays each joined the 3,000-hit club.

      In the 70th All-Star Game at Boston's Fenway Park, the American League defeated the National League 4–1.

All-Century Team.
      As part of its millennium celebration, major league baseball conducted fan balloting to honor the All-Century Team. Twenty-five players were selected via the voting process; five others were added to bring the roster to 30; and the living members of the elite squad were sent to Atlanta for a ceremony before game two of the World Series. Among those present was Pete Rose, who had been banned from baseball in 1989 for gambling. He received a thunderous ovation. The leading vote getter was the former Yankee first baseman Lou Gehrig, who was cited on 1,207,992 ballots. Second was his Yankee teammate Babe Ruth, with 1,158,044 votes.

      The 25 players chosen were catchers Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra; first basemen Gehrig and McGwire; second basemen Jackie Robinson and Rogers Hornsby; shortstops Cal Ripken, Jr., and Ernie Banks; third basemen Mike Schmidt and Brooks Robinson; outfielders Ruth, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Ty Cobb, Griffey, and Rose; and pitchers Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax, Cy Young, Clemens, Bob Gibson, and Walter Johnson. The five players added to the All-Century Team by a panel of experts were shortstop Honus Wagner, outfielder Stan Musial, and pitchers Warren Spahn, Christy Mathewson, and Lefty Grove.

Little League World Series.
      A team from Osaka, Japan, defeated Phenix City, Ala., 5–0 on August 28 to win the Little League World Series at Williamsport, Pa. Kazuki Sumiyama pitched a two-hitter for Osaka, the first Japanese team to win the Little League World Series in 23 years.

Robert Verdi

Latin America
      The 1999 Caribbean Series was held in San Juan, P.R., February 2–8. The Licey Tigers, representing the Dominican Republic, defeated the Puerto Rican entry, the Mayagüez Indians, in a play-off game after both teams were tied with 4–2 records. It was the third consecutive championship for the Dominican Republic. Mexico (Mexicali) and Venezuela (Lara) tied for last place, both at 2–4.

      Cuba defeated the United States 5–1 in the championship game at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Man., in August, but both teams qualified for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. The Mexico City Red Devils gained the championship of the Mexican League by winning four of six games from archrival Mexico City Tigers. It was the Red Devils' 12th league title.

      St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Fernando Tatis, from the Dominican Republic, hit two bases-loaded home runs in the same inning in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 23. Tatis was the first player in the history of major league baseball to accomplish this feat. His fellow Dominican, Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa, also established a new mark when he became the first player to hit 60 or more home runs in two consecutive years. Sosa finished the season with 63.

      Puerto Rican Orlando Cepeda became the sixth Latin American player to be selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The others were Roberto Clemente (Puerto Rico), Juan Marichal (Dominican Republic), Martin Dihigo (Cuba), Luis Aparicio (Venezuela), and Rod Carew (Panama).

Milton Jamail

      The Fukuoka Daiei Hawks of the Pacific League (PL) defeated the Chunichi Dragons of the Central League (CL) four games to one in the 1999 best-of-seven Japan Series. The team had last won the championship series title in 1964, as the Nankai Hawks. Hawks manager Sadaharu Oh, the world's home-run record holder (868), celebrated with the city of Fukuoka, which had awaited the crown for decades.

      Daiei's solid pitching staff was led by Kimiyasu Kudo, ace pitcher and the PL's regular-season Most Valuable Player, with the league's best earned run average (ERA) of 2.38 and the most strikeouts (196). Setup man Takayuki Shinohara (14–1) and closer Rodney Pedraza pitched in most of the ball club's winning games.

      In the regular season, rookie pitchers took centre stage, with Koji Uehara of the Yomiuri Giants leading the CL with 20 wins, an ERA of 2.09, and 179 strikeouts and Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Seibu Lions leading the PL with 16 wins. Uehara won 15 straight games, and teenage sensation Matsuzaka pitched one of the fastest balls in Japanese baseball history at his debut.

      Bobby Rose of the Yokohama BayStars set a CL record of 192 hits in one season and won the batting title with an average of .369, while his 153 runs batted in were the second best in CL history. With a batting average of .343, Ichiro Suzuki of the Orix BlueWave became the PL's leading hitter for the sixth straight year.

Hiroki Noda

▪ 1999

      Energized by an unprecedented home-run barrage featuring sluggers Mark McGwire (McGwire, Mark David ) and Sammy Sosa (Sosa, Sammy ) (see BIOGRAPHIES), in 1998 major league baseball produced a season that was hailed as the "greatest ever" by some experts. With two expansion franchises—the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays—attracting more than 6.1 million spectators, National League (NL) and American League (AL) teams combined for a record paid attendance in excess of 70 million fans.

World Series.
      The New York Yankees, baseball's most storied franchise, won their second World Series in three years and their 24th in 35 attempts by sweeping the San Diego Padres four games to none in the best-of-seven series. The Yankees kicked off the World Series in dramatic fashion, beating the Padres 9-6 at Yankee Stadium in the opener on October 17. The Padres built a 5-2 lead behind their best pitcher, Kevin Brown, but the Yankees roared back with seven runs in the seventh inning. Chuck Knoblauch stroked a three-run home run to create a 5-5 tie before Tino Martinez ripped a grand slam off Mark Langston to enliven the crowd of 56,712. The next night the Yankees eased to a 9-3 triumph behind pitcher Orlando Hernández, whose brother Livan starred in 1997 for the world champion Florida Marlins. Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada each hit a two-run homer before 56,692 spectators. In two games the Yankees had collected 18 runs and 25 hits.

      The Padres returned home for game three on October 20, but their fortunes did not change. The Yankees won 5-4, rallying from a 3-0 deficit. Scott Brosius hit two home runs, including a three-run blast in the eighth inning, to propel New York to victory before 64,667 fans. The Yankees completed their sweep one night later in San Diego, beating the Padres 3-0 behind the strong pitching of starter Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, who closed for his third save of the series. The Yankees scored a single run in the sixth inning and two in the eighth against Brown before 65,427—the largest baseball crowd in Padres history.

      The Yankees thus earned their first World Series sweep since 1950. Brosius, who batted only .203 for the Oakland A's in 1997 before being acquired in a trade, was voted Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the series. Combined with their regular-season record, the Yankees amassed 125 victories—the most of any team in history—and lost only 50.

      The Yankees advanced to the World Series with relative ease. The AL East Division champions won three straight games in the best-of-five series over the Texas Rangers, who finished first in the West. In the other AL Division series, the Cleveland Indians of the Central Division defeated the Boston Red Sox in four games. The Red Sox qualified for the play-offs as a wild-card team (the best of the second-place teams in the league).

      The Yankees beat the Indians 7-2 in the AL Championship Series opener at Yankee Stadium on October 6 but lost consecutive games to the Indians by 4-1 in New York and 6-1 in Cleveland. The Yankees drew even the next day, however, with a 4-0 conquest behind the strong pitching of Hernández. The Yankees won again 5-3 in Cleveland a day later, then clinched the pennant by vanquishing the Indians 9-5 in New York on October 13.

      The Padres, who finished first in the NL West, began their postseason by defeating the Houston Astros, leaders in the Central Division, 2-1. Brown struck out a postseason record 16 batters in six innings. Houston won the next game at home 5-4 but lost by 2-1 and 6-1 in San Diego and was eliminated in four games. In the other NL Division series, the Atlanta Braves swept the wild-card entry, the Chicago Cubs, in three games.

      The underdog Padres then stunned the Braves by winning the first three games of the NL Championship Series—by 3-2 and 3-0 in Atlanta and by 4-1 in San Diego. The Braves rallied to beat the Padres by 8-3 and 7-6, but upon returning to Atlanta, the Padres used five different pitchers to eliminate the Braves 5-0 on October 14.

Regular Season.
      Without question, the highlight of the regular season was the home-run chase waged by McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals and Sosa of the Cubs. McGwire clubbed 70 home runs and Sosa 66. Thus, they both shattered the previous mark of Yankee Roger Maris, who hit 61 in 1961, and thereby broke the standard of 60 established by Yankee Babe Ruth in 1927. Although Maris's record had lasted longer than Ruth's, baseball insiders thought 1998 might be a landmark season. The quality of pitching was deemed to have been thinned by the addition of the two new teams, increasing the major leagues to 30 franchises. In addition, while splitting his 1997 season between Oakland and St. Louis, McGwire had served warning by hitting 58 home runs. Sosa, conversely, had never amassed more than 40 in any single season.

      McGwire hit his first home run of the 1998 season in the Cardinals' opening game on March 31. Sosa waited until his fourth game to initiate his quest. After that, both men went off on their own, often hitting homers minutes apart, even while playing in different time zones. McGwire had a 27-13 advantage through May, but Sosa surged in June with 20, the most home runs by any major leaguer in any month. By August 31, tied at 55, both players were well ahead of Maris's pace and only one shy of the NL home-run record of 56 established by Chicago's Hack Wilson in 1930.

      McGwire tied Maris on September 7 by hitting number 61 in St. Louis against Mike Morgan of the Cubs. The next night McGwire lined his shortest home run of the season—measured at 104 m (341 ft)—off Cub Steve Trachsel to reach the magical number 62. The game was interrupted for 11 minutes by spontaneous celebrations. McGwire entered the stands to share the moment with Maris's widow and family; Sosa jogged in from right field to hug the new home-run king.

      On September 13 Sosa passed Maris by hitting his 61st and 62nd against the Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago's Wrigley Field. McGwire tied Sosa at 66 on September 25, but in each of his last two home games, McGwire hit two home runs, the 70th coming on September 27 against Carl Pavano of the Montreal Expos with two out in the seventh inning. Throughout the odyssey McGwire and Sosa developed a long-distance friendship, and each credited the other for the double assault on baseball's most honoured achievement.

      When Maris hit his 61st home run, it occurred in the last game of a 162-game schedule. Because Ruth had hit 60 in a 154-game schedule, Ford Frick, then the commissioner of baseball, required that Maris's accomplishment be accompanied by an appropriate explanation. The "asterisk" was subsequently removed. No such qualifiers were required for McGwire, who hit his 62nd homer in the Cardinals' 145th game, or Sosa, who reached 62 in his 150th game.

      At the conclusion of the 162-game regular season, two teams vying for the National League wild-card spot were tied with identical records—the Cubs of the Central Division and the San Francisco Giants from the West. Thus, a one-game play-off was staged at Wrigley Field on September 28, and the Cubs won 5-3 to advance to their series against Atlanta.

      Kerry Wood, a pitcher for the Cubs, tied the single-game record by striking out 20 Astros in a one-hit victory on May 6. In his next start Wood struck out 13 Diamondbacks, establishing a record for most strikeouts in consecutive games and earning him NL rookie of the year honours. Oakland outfielder Ben Grieve was named AL rookie of the year.

      On May 17 David Wells of the Yankees pitched only the 15th perfect game in major league history. Cal Ripken, Jr., who broke Lou Gehrig's mark for most consecutive games played (2,130), voluntarily ended his streak on September 20 when he sat out after playing his 2,632nd game in a row.

      Bernie Williams of the Yankees won the AL batting title with a .339 average. Ken Griffey, Jr., of the Seattle Mariners led the league in home runs with 56, and Juan Gonzalez of Texas led with 157 runs batted in. Gonzalez was later voted league MVP. Three pitchers won 20 games—Roger Clemens of the Toronto Blue Jays, who captured a record fifth AL Cy Young award, David Cone of the Yankees, and Rick Helling of Texas. Rickey Henderson of Oakland stole the most bases (66), and Boston's Tom Gordon recorded the most saves (46). With the output of Griffey and Greg Vaughn of San Diego, four players reached the 50-home-run mark for the first time in history. The Yankees' inspiring Joe Torre was named AL manager of the year.

      Larry Walker of the Colorado Rockies won the NL batting title with a .363 average. McGwire's 70 homers led the league, while Sosa, his season-long rival, paced the league in runs batted in (158) and was voted the league's MVP. Atlanta's Tom Glavine, who won his second NL Cy Young award, was the league's only 20-game winner. Tony Womack of the Pittsburgh Pirates had the most stolen bases (58), and Trevor Hoffman of San Diego the most saves (53). Larry Dierker of the Astros, was voted the NL's top manager.

      Barry Bonds of the Giants became the first player ever to hit 400 career home runs and steal 400 bases. Dennis Eckersley of the Red Sox made his 1,071st pitching appearance, surpassing Hoyt Wilhelm's record.

      The Yankees, with 114 regular-season victories, broke the American League record of 111 established by Cleveland in 1954 but fell short of the Cubs' major league mark of 116. By virtue of their dominance, the Yankees won the AL East by 22 games over the Red Sox. Atlanta posted the best record in the NL, 106-56. The Marlins, who had won the World Series in 1997, dispersed many of their best players for financial reasons and sagged to a record of 54-108, the poorest in either league.

Little League World Series.
      Toms River, N.J., defeated Kashima, Japan, by a score of 12-9 to win the Little League World Series on August 29 in Williamsport, Pa. The championship was the first for a team from the U.S. since Long Beach, Calif., claimed the title in 1993.


Latin America.
      The 1998 Caribbean Series was held in Puerto La Cruz, Venez., February 3-8. The Northern Eagles (Águilas del Cibao), representing the Dominican Republic, went undefeated with a 6-0 record to win their second consecutive championship. Puerto Rico's entry, the Mayagüez Indians, finished second with a 4-2 record, and Mexico (Mazatlán) and Venezuela (Lara) tied for last place, both at 1-5.

      Cuba posted a 9-0 record, including a 7-1 win over South Korea in the gold medal game to win the International Baseball Association's world championship in Italy in early August. Two weeks later the Cuban national team went undefeated in eight games, including a 13-3 win over Nicaragua, to win another gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Maracaibo, Venez.

      The Oaxaca Warriors defeated the Monclova Steelers four games to none in the championship series of the Mexican League. It was the first title for Oaxaca, which was only in its third year of operation.

      In major league baseball Atlanta Braves pitcher Dennis Martinez, from Nicaragua, posted his 245th win, surpassing the previous record of 243 for a pitcher from Latin America held by Juan Marichal from the Dominican Republic. Sammy Sosa (see BIOGRAPHIES (Sosa, Sammy )), Chicago Cubs outfielder from the Dominican Republic, hit 66 home runs during the 1998 season, topping the previous record of 47 for most homers by a player born in Latin America, which was held by George Bell (Dominican Republic), Andres Galarraga (Venezuela), and Juan Gonzalez (Puerto Rico).


      The Yokohama BayStars of the Central League defeated the Seibu Lions of the Pacific League four games to two in the 1998 postseason best-of-seven Japan Series. It was the second time the BayStars, formerly the Taiyo Whales of Kawasaki and the only organization in Japanese baseball without the owning company's name in the team name, had advanced to the championship series. The last time was in 1960, when the Whales swept the series four games to none against the Daimai Orions of Tokyo.

      Yokohama's manager, Hiroshi Gondo, who as a pitcher in the 1960s won 35 games and most of the pitching titles in his rookie year, won the championship in only his first year as manager. Gondo had revolutionized Japanese baseball in the 1970s when he introduced the notion of relief pitching. The BayStars of 1998 were close to the ideal for Gondo, with five solid starters, six long relievers, and a formidable short reliever, Kazuhiro Sasaki, whose record of 1 win, 1 loss, 45 saves, and an earned run average of 0.64 eventually earned him the vote as the Central League's Most Valuable Player.

      All the season batting titles were won by left-handed batters: Hideki Matsui of the Yomiuri Giants, with 34 home runs and 100 runs batted in, and the Takanori Suzuki of the BayStars, with a batting average of .337, in the Central League; Nigel Wilson (33 home runs and 124 runs batted in) of the Nippon Ham Fighters and Ichiro Suzuki (batting average .358) of the Orix BlueWave in the Pacific League. Especially noteworthy was Suzuki, who at the age of 24 had been the league's leading hitter for five straight years.


▪ 1998

      Major league baseball, though still scarred by a damaging strike in 1994, enjoyed signs of revival in 1997. Paid attendance for the season exceeded 63 million spectators, an increase of about 3.5 million over the previous year. National League and American League teams also played a limited schedule of interleague games, a historic development that cultivated renewed interest, particularly in regions that had franchises in both leagues, such as New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles-Anaheim, and San Francisco-Oakland.

World Series.
      The Florida Marlins, who joined the National League in 1993, won the World Series by defeating the Cleveland Indians four games to three in the best-of-seven series. The Marlins thus achieved a championship in their fifth season of existence. The 1969 New York Mets, who won the World Series in their eighth season, had established the previous mark for upward mobility by an expansion team.

      The Marlins did not have an easy time of it, however, before vanquishing Cleveland 3-2 in 11 innings for the clinching victory on October 27. The Marlins trailed 2-1 entering the bottom of the ninth before a raucous crowd of 67,204 at their Pro Player Stadium. Craig Counsell hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Moises Alou with the tying run. Then in the bottom of the 11th, Florida shortstop Edgar Renteria lined a two-out, bases-loaded single to centre off Charles Nagy to score Counsell with the winning run.

      The Marlins had opened the series at home on October 18 by beating Cleveland 7-4. Alou hit a three-run home run off Orel Hershiser in the fourth inning, and Livan Hernández, the Marlins' rookie right-hander, pitched 5 2/ 3 innings toward the victory. The Indians drew even the next night by defeating the Marlins 6-1 behind Chad Ogea, who pitched 6 2/ 3 innings. Bip Roberts had a two-run single for Cleveland in the fifth, and Sandy Alomar, Jr., belted a two-run homer in the sixth.

      On October 21 the series shifted to Cleveland's Jacobs Field, where the weather was frigid and the quality of play mediocre. The Marlins rallied for seven runs in the ninth inning to outlast the Indians 14-11 in a 4-hour 12-minute marathon marred by 17 walks and 6 errors, 3 of which were committed by Cleveland during the ninth inning. It was the second highest scoring game in series history, falling short only of the 29 runs produced in game four of the 1993 series between Philadelphia and Toronto. The Indians led 7-3 after five innings, but their relief pitchers surrendered nine runs in three innings. Gary Sheffield batted in five runs for Florida.

      In game four at Cleveland on October 22, the Indians tied the series 2-2 by routing the Marlins 10-3. The game-time temperature was 2° C (35° F), but the blustery conditions did not bother Jaret Wright, the Indians' rookie, who pitched six effective innings. Alomar batted in three runs, Manny Ramírez belted a two-run homer, and Matt Williams hit a home run and two singles.

      The Marlins responded in game five on October 23 by beating the Indians 8-7 at Cleveland, where the weather had improved slightly. Before another sellout crowd, the Marlins rallied for four runs in the sixth inning to gain a 6-4 lead. They then survived a three-run Cleveland outburst in the ninth to take a 3-2 lead in the series. Hernández, who worked eight innings, again outpitched Hershiser, the veteran who had enjoyed remarkable success in previous postseason assignments. Alou collected three hits, including a home run, and batted in four runs.

      On October 25, with an audience of 67,498 poised to celebrate a title back in South Florida, the Indians quieted the mood by defeating the Marlins 4-1. Ogea shocked the crowd by delivering a two-run single in the second inning. He also doubled in the fifth and scored a third run as the Indians beat Kevin Brown, Florida's ace pitcher who also lost game two.

      The Marlins completed their unlikely journey to the top one night later, in the first game seven played since the 1991 World Series. Hernández, who had defected from Cuba, was voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the series for his two victories, despite his 5.27 earned run average. The crestfallen Indians, three outs from securing their first World Series crown since 1948, lost baseball's marquee event for the second time in three seasons, having fallen to the Atlanta Braves in six games in 1995.

      The success story of the Marlins was even more extraordinary in that they earned a World Series title without finishing in first place in their division. The Marlins were a wild card entry, having achieved the best record of any second-place team in the National League.

      The Marlins, from the East Division, first opposed the San Francisco Giants, who won the West. The Marlins swept the best-of-five series, winning 2-1 and 7-6 at home and then 6-2 in San Francisco. Meanwhile, the Braves, champions of the East, swept the Houston Astros, who had finished first in the Central Division.

      In the best-of-seven National League Championship Series, the Marlins scored five unearned runs off Greg Maddux, the Braves' most decorated pitcher, to register a 5-3 victory in the opener at Atlanta on October 7. The Braves, behind Tom Glavine's pitching and home runs by Chipper Jones and Ryan Klesko, downed Florida the next day 7-1.

      The Marlins went home to win game three 5-2 on October 10, then lost 4-0 the next night on a complete-game four-hitter by Atlanta's Denny Neagle. In game five on October 12, though the Braves loaded the bases in the first inning, Hernández struck out the side. He then completed the game by striking out 15 Braves in a tense 2-1 victory over Maddux, and Florida assumed a 3-2 lead in the series.

      Glavine, an estimable postseason performer, started for the Braves in game six at Atlanta on October 14, but he was rocked for four runs in the first inning, and the Marlins won 7-4 behind Brown to clinch the series over the defending league champion Braves. The outcome was considered an upset, although the Marlins had beaten Atlanta in 8 of 12 regular-season games.

      The Indians, who were decided underdogs when they began the postseason, squandered a 5-0 first-inning lead before losing the opener of their division series to the Yankees 8-6 at New York on September 30. On October 2 the Indians won 7-5, but they were routed 6-1 in Cleveland on October 4. The Indians won the next two games 3-2 and 4-3 on October 5 and 6, respectively to eliminate the defending world champion Yankees. Wright was the winning pitcher in games two and five of the series.

      The Indians thus advanced to the American League Championship Series (ALCS) against the Baltimore Orioles, who eliminated the Seattle Mariners three games to one in the other division play-offs. In game one of the ALCS at Baltimore on October 8, the Orioles beat Cleveland 3-0. The Indians then won three in a row—by 5-4 at Baltimore and 2-1 and 8-7 at home. The Orioles then won 4-2 in Cleveland but lost to the Indians 1-0 in 11 innings at Baltimore on October 15. Tony Fernández hit the game-winning home run to earn the Indians an American League pennant.

Regular Season.
      The Braves, led by their excellent starting pitchers, won 101 of 162 games and finished nine games ahead of the Marlins, who were 92-70. San Francisco, which received scant mention from the experts as a contender, was the surprise winner of the National League West, two games better than the Los Angeles Dodgers. Houston was the only team to play above .500 in the Central Division as the Astros outdistanced the Pittsburgh Pirates by five games.

      The Orioles crafted the best record in the American League with 98 victories, two more than the Yankees, who finished second in the East and gained a wild-card play-off berth. The Indians struggled for much of the summer but still posted an 86-75 record to win the Central Division by six games over the Chicago White Sox. Seattle wound up with a 90-72 record and won the West by six games over the Anaheim Angels.

Individual Accomplishments.
      Home runs were an ongoing theme all season. Mark McGwire, who was traded from the Oakland A's to the St. Louis Cardinals, hit a total of 58 home runs, and Ken Griffey, Jr., the American League's MVP, hit 56 for the Mariners. Both fell short of the major league record established by Roger Maris, who hit 61 homers for the Yankees in 1961. Only Babe Ruth and Maris had hit more home runs than had McGwire in one season.

      Frank Thomas of the White Sox won the American League batting title with a .347 average, while Tony Gwynn ) (Gwynn, Tony ) batted .372 for the San Diego Padres to earn his eighth National League title. Colorado Rockies slugger Larry Walker was close behind Gwynn, with a .366 average, and became the first native Canadian player to be named MVP. Roger Clemens, acquired from the Boston Red Sox as a free agent, won the American League Cy Young Award with 21 victories for the Toronto Blue Jays. Seattle's Randy Johnson won 20. Neagle, of the star-studded Atlanta staff, was the only National League pitcher to win 20 games, but he lost in the Cy Young voting to Pedro Martínez of the Montreal Expos, who fanned 305 batters and posted the best earned run average, 1.90 per nine innings. Randy Myers of the Orioles led both leagues in saves by relief pitchers with 45, and Curt Schilling of the Philadelphia Phillies led in strikeouts with 319. The Phillies' Scott Rolen and Nomar Garciaparra of the Red Sox were both voted unanimously Rookie of the Year in the National League and American League, respectively. Dusty Baker of the Giants was selected National League Manager of the Year. Davey Johnson unexpectedly resigned from the Orioles just hours before being named American League Manager of the Year.

Other Developments.
      On June 12 the Giants beat the Texas Rangers 4-3 at Arlington, Texas, in the first regular-season interleague game in major league history. The American League beat the National League 3-1 at Cleveland in the 69th All-Star Game on July 8. Paul Beeston, former president and chief executive officer of the Blue Jays, was named president and chief operating officer for major league baseball. Bud Selig remained interim commissioner.

      After the World Series the long-awaited phase one of league realignment was announced, but the changes were less severe than had been feared. In order to better accommodate the new expansion teams, the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the American League East, only the Detroit Tigers and the Milwaukee Brewers were transferred. The Tigers remained in the American League, switching from the East Division to the Central, and, in a surprisingly well-received decision, the Brewers moved from the American League Central to the National League Central.


Latin America.
      The 1997 Caribbean Series was held in Hermosillo, Mex., February 4-9. After losing its first two games, the Northern Eagles (Águilas del Cibao), representing the Dominican Republic, rebounded to win the championship with a 4-2 record. Mexico's Culiacán Tomato Growers (the 1996 winners) and the Magallanes Navigators of Venezuela tied for second place with 3-3 records. Puerto Rico's champions, the Mayagüez Indians, finished last at 2-4.

      Cuba lost the gold medal game to Japan 11-2 in the Intercontinental Cup Tournament held in Barcelona, Spain, in August. The loss ended Cuba's 10-year unbeaten streak in international baseball competition.

      The Mexico City Tigers defeated the Mexico City Red Devils four games to one in the championship series of the Mexican League. It was the Red Devils' third consecutive appearance (and third loss) in the finals; the Monterrey Sultans defeated them in 1995 and 1996.

      In major league baseball Francisco Córdova and Ricardo Rincón, both from the Mexican state of Veracruz, combined to pitch a no-hit game on July 12 as the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Houston Astros 3-0 in 10 innings. It was the first combined extra-inning no-hit game in U.S. baseball history. Córdova pitched nine innings and was relieved by Rincón, who worked the 10th inning and officially won the game.

      A team from Guadalupe, Mex., a suburb of Monterrey, captured the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., in August with a come-from-behind 5-4 win over a team from Mission Viejo, Calif. The victory came 40 years to the day after Mexico won its first Little League crown.


      The Yakult Swallows of the Central League, which had won two Japan Series in the previous four seasons, defeated the Seibu Lions of the Pacific League four games to one in the 1997 postseason championship series. After a one-game-to-one tie in the two games played at the Lions' stadium in Tokorozawa, the Swallows swept the three-game series at Tokyo's Jingu Stadium, their home ballpark. Swallows skipper Katsuya Nomura had won the league championship four times in the last six years and the Japan Series three times in his eight years as Yakult manager.

      A key element in the 1997 season was baserunning. Both champions had the most stolen bases in their respective leagues. The Lions, which as a team had stolen 200 bases, including 62 by league leader Kazuo Matsui, had 83 more stolen bases than the runner-up Chiba Lotte Marines. The Swallows, with 123 stolen bases, were followed by the runner-up Hiroshima Toyo Carp with 117. The Swallows and the Lions also led their respective leagues in most other offense categories, including base hits, doubles, triples, and runs batted in, but not in home runs. Makoto Kosaka, rookie shortstop for the Marines, had 56 stolen bases, the best record for a rookie player, and was voted Rookie of the Year in the Pacific League.

      Yutaka Ohno, a left-handed starter for the Carp, won the best earned-run-average title in the Central League with an ERA of 2.85. At age 42, he was the oldest player ever to have won a title in Japanese baseball. Ichiro Suzuki of the defending champion Orix BlueWave, with 185 hits and a batting average of .345, was the leading hitter in the Pacific League for the fourth straight year.


▪ 1997

      In 1996 major league baseball produced its first full season since 1993. In 1994 a players' strike had occurred in mid-August, and failed negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement had caused cancellation of the World Series. In 1995 there was still no contract, and the regular schedule was cut to 144 games after a court order effected a belated start. On Nov. 26, 1996, the major league owners voted 26-4 to ratify a collective bargaining agreement. Soon afterward the union ratified the agreement, which provided, among other things, for limited interleague play in 1997 and 1998.

World Series.
      With a stirring comeback, the New York Yankees won their 23rd World Series, the most of any franchise in either league, by defeating the Atlanta Braves four games to two in the best-of-seven series. The title was the Yankees' first since 1978, and it did not come easily.

      In the opener, delayed one day by rain, the defending champion Braves routed the Yankees 12-1 at New York on October 20. The Braves' attack was paced by Andruw Jones, a 19-year-old rookie from the Caribbean island of Curaçao. When Jones hit a two-run homer in the second inning, he became the youngest player to have done so in World Series history. In the next inning, Jones hit a three-run homer, more than enough support for John Smoltz, who pitched six innings in Atlanta's triumph.

      In the second game at Yankee Stadium October 21, Greg Maddux pitched eight brilliant innings for the Braves, who eased to a 4-0 conquest. Fred McGriff batted in three runs for the defending champions, who assumed a seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead in the series.

      On October 22 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, however, veteran David Cone pitched six strong innings for the Yankees, who prevailed 5-2. New York broke open a tight game on a two-run home run by Bernie Williams in the eighth inning. Cone's effort was particularly noteworthy because he had missed much of the regular season with an aneurysm in his right arm.

      On October 23 the resilient Yankees shocked the Braves and their fans by rallying for an 8-6 triumph in 10 innings to tie the series 2-2. The Braves had surged to a 6-0 lead by the fifth inning, but the Yankees halved the deficit in the sixth. Then in the eighth, Jim Leyritz hit a three-run homer for a 6-6 deadlock.

      In the 10th inning Manager Bobby Cox issued orders to load the bases by having Williams walked intentionally. The strategy backfired when pitcher Steve Avery then walked Wade Boggs to force in a run. The Yankees scored again and then fended off the Braves in the bottom of the inning to secure a landmark victory in the longest World Series game ever, 4 hours and 17 minutes.

      In game five on October 24, the Yankees still faced the formidable task of beating Smoltz, who led both leagues in victories. New York's Andy Pettitte, however, with whom Atlanta had had no problems in the opener, stifled the Braves through 8 1/3 innings. He was succeeded by John Wetteland, who recorded the final two outs in a tense 1-0 New York victory. The only Yankee run was scored in the fourth inning, with the help of a two-base error by Marquis Grissom, the Braves' normally dependable centre fielder.

      Before an emotional crowd of 56,375 at Yankee Stadium on October 26, the Yankees earned their crown by beating the Braves 3-2. The Yankees scored three runs in the third inning off Maddux, winner of four consecutive Cy Young Awards and considered among the greatest pitchers ever. Jimmy Key earned the victory, but he needed relief from four pitchers, including Wetteland, who saved all four Yankee triumphs and thus was voted Most Valuable Player of the series.

      The Yankees batted only .216 as a team in the series, but they played with a resourcefulness and efficiency that typified their season under Joe Torre, their first-year manager. Although there was precedent for a team winning a World Series after losing its first two home games, no previous team had lost its first two home games and then swept the next four.

      The Yankees on October 1 began their postseason quest also by losing their first home game—6-2 in a best-of-five division series to the Texas Rangers. But the Yankees rallied to win the second game 5-4 in 12 innings and then took two straight in Arlington, Texas, by scores of 3-2 and 6-4. The Baltimore Orioles, meanwhile, advanced by defeating the defending American League champion Cleveland Indians in their division series three games to one.

      In the opener of the American League Championship Series against Baltimore, the Yankees came back to win 5-4 in 11 innings. They were helped by a controversial ruling from Rich Garcia, the right-field umpire, on a fly ball by Derek Jeter. The ball appeared to be within the confines of Yankee Stadium, but a 12-year-old fan reached over the barrier to catch the ball, and Garcia called it a home run.

      The angry and shaken Orioles won the following day 5-3. When the series moved to Baltimore, however, the Yankees swept the Orioles by scores of 5-2, 8-4, and 6-4 to claim their first pennant since 1981. The Yankees thus won all of the eight postseason games that they played away from home.

      The Braves had to stage a comeback of their own after sweeping the Los Angeles Dodgers in the division series by 2-1, 3-2, and 5-2. Atlanta's next foe was the St. Louis Cardinals, who advanced by sweeping the San Diego Padres. After beating the Cardinals at Atlanta 4-2 in the opener of the National League Championship Series on October 9, the Braves lost the next three by scores of 8-3, 3-2, and 4-3.

      The Braves then asserted themselves, however; they routed the Cardinals 14-0 in game five at St. Louis, returned home to tie the series with a 3-1 decision, and amassed six runs in the first inning of the seventh game before vanquishing St. Louis 15-0 for their fourth National League pennant in five seasons.

Regular Season.
      The Yankees had built a 12-game lead in the American League East by late July, only to see it dwindle to 2 1/2 over the hard-charging Orioles. The Yankees prevailed with a 92-70 record, four games better than Baltimore, who earned the wild-card berth by posting the best record of any of the three second-place teams in the American League.

      The Indians, with a 99-62 record, won the American League Central by 14 1/2 games over the Chicago White Sox. Texas won the American League West by 4 1/2 games over the Seattle Mariners.

      The Braves, with a record of 96-66, won the National League East by eight games over the Montreal Expos. St. Louis took the National League Central by six games over the Houston Astros. The San Diego Padres swept the last three games from Los Angeles during the regular season to win the National League West by one game over the Dodgers, who earned the wild-card spot.

Individual Accomplishments.
      Alex Rodriguez of Seattle led all major leaguers with a .358 batting average. Tony Gwynn of San Diego paced National League hitters with a .353 mark.

      Mark McGwire of the Oakland A's clubbed 52 home runs to lead the American League. Andres Galarraga of the Colorado Rockies led the National League with 47. Galarraga also batted in 150 runs to set the pace in that category over Cleveland's Albert Belle, who had 148. Lance Johnson of the New York Mets had the most hits, 227, and Kenny Lofton of the Indians stole the most bases, 75.

      During a season of robust hitting, Smoltz was clearly the best pitcher. He posted a 24-8 record, though Kevin Brown of the Florida Marlins managed the lowest earned run average, 1.89 per nine innings. Pettitte led the American League with 21 victories. Jeff Brantley of the Cincinnati Reds and Todd Worrell of the Dodgers tied for the most saves, 44.

      Paul Molitor of the Minnesota Twins became the 21st player in baseball history to reach the 3,000-hit plateau. Eddie Murray became just the third player to collect 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, helping his Baltimore Orioles break the major league record for most home runs by a team in one season.

      Smoltz was voted the Cy Young Award winner as outstanding pitcher in the National League, and Pat Hentgen of the Toronto Blue Jays earned the corresponding honour in the American League. Juan Gonzalez of Texas was named Most Valuable Player in the American League, and San Diego's Ken Caminiti won the award in the National League. Rookies of the Year were Jeter in the American League and Todd Hollandsworth of Los Angeles in the National. The award for Manager of the Year in the American League was shared by Torre and Johnny Oates of Texas, and Bruce Bochy of San Diego won the honour in the National.

      In November club president Tony Tavares announced that the California Angels were now named the Anaheim Angels. The team had played in a stadium in Anaheim for 30 years. (ROBERT WILLIAM VERDI)

Latin America.
      The 1996 Caribbean Series was held in Santo Domingo, Dom. Rep., February 3-8. Culiacan, representing Mexico, defeated a heavily favoured Dominican team, which included many major league stars. Mexico finished with a record of 5-1, while Puerto Rico (Arecibo) was 4-2, the Dominican Republic (Aguilas) was 2-4, and Venezuela (Magallanes) was 1-5. Culiacan, with no big-name players, was one of the most surprising champions in series history. The 1997 Caribbean Series was scheduled to be held in Hermosillo in the Mexican state of Sonora.

      Cuba was undefeated at the 1996 Olympic Games, defeating Japan 13-9 for the gold medal. Cuban third baseman Omar Linares hit three home runs in the championship game. Nicaragua lost the game for third place to the United States 10-3.

      During the summer the Monterrey Sultans finished the regular season with a 82-33 record, the best winning percentage in league history, and defeated the Mexico City Red Devils four games to one to win their second consecutive Mexican League championship. In August the San Diego Padres won two of three games from the New York Mets in Monterrey. The games, played there because of the Republican national convention in San Diego, were the first regular-season major league contests outside the U.S. and Canada. The series was seen as a first step toward the possibility of eventually expanding major league baseball to Mexico. (MILTON JAMAIL)

      The Orix BlueWave of the Pacific League defeated the Yomiuri Giants of the Central League four games to one in the 1996 Japan Series and thus became the champions of Japanese baseball. This was the first time that the BlueWave, formerly the Hankyu Braves based in Nishinomiya, had won the Japan Series since the club moved to its new franchise in Kobe in 1988. After the BlueWave won the first two games against the Giants at their home field in Tokyo, they took the third and fifth games in Kobe. For BlueWave manager Akira Ogi, it was the first series victory in three attempts.

      The 1996 Japanese season was marked by a changing of the guard, symbolized by the fact that the most valuable players of both leagues, chosen by votes of sports writers, were 22-year-old batters: Ichiro Suzuki of the BlueWave and Hideki Matsui, a Giant. Suzuki had the league's highest batting average for the third year in a row. Matsui hit 38 home runs and batted in 99 runs for the Central League champions.

      Another new development during the year was that, apparently because of the two successful seasons of Hideo Nomo as a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, many players, mostly pitchers, were beginning to consider careers in the United States. For them, postseason exhibition games against the major league all-stars, which began on November 1, were opportunities to test and show off their abilities. (TOSHIHIKO SUZUKI)

▪ 1996

      Despite the absence of a collective bargaining agreement between the team owners and the players, major league baseball was played in 1995, though the season was shortened. The schedule was reduced from the usual 162 games to 144. There was an extra round of play-offs during the postseason, as established in the 1994 realignment of the divisions.

World Series.
      The Atlanta Braves, who had been on the verge of a championship during the last few years, finally won the World Series by defeating the Cleveland Indians four games to two in the best-of-seven series. The Braves clinched their first title in 30 years, since moving from Milwaukee, Wis., by beating the Indians 1-0 before 51,875 fans in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in the final game on October 28. David Justice provided the Braves' run with a sixth-inning home run off Cleveland relief pitcher Jim Poole. Atlanta left-hander Tom Glavine, the pitcher with the most victories in baseball for the last five seasons, pitched masterfully. He allowed just one single—to Tony Pena in the sixth inning—to the hard-hitting Indians over eight innings before Mark Wohlers closed the triumph with a perfect ninth inning.

      Glavine was voted Most Valuable Player for the series. He was the veteran of the vaunted Atlanta pitching staff, which restricted the Indians to a .179 batting average through six games, well below their regular season .291 average, which led the major leagues.

      Greg Maddux (see BIOGRAPHIES (Maddux, Gregory Alan )), the number one starter in the Braves' strong rotation, opened the series with a 3-2 triumph at Atlanta, Ga., on October 21. He surrendered unearned runs in the first and the ninth innings but permitted only two hits in his complete-game performance. The Braves scored their winning run in a two-run seventh inning on a squeeze bunt by Rafael Belliard. Orel Hershiser, who began the inning by walking the first two batters, was the losing pitcher.

      The next night the Braves won 4-3 on a two-run homer by catcher Javier López. Glavine yielded a two-run homer to Cleveland's Eddie Murray in the second inning but worked six innings and received credit for the victory.

      The series then moved to Cleveland's new Jacobs Field, where an emotional crowd of 43,584 fans cheered the Indians to a 7-6 conquest in 11 innings on October 24. The Indians jumped to a 4-1 lead against John Smoltz, but the Braves went ahead 6-5 before the Indians tied it 6-6 in the eighth inning and won the four-hour nine-minute marathon on Murray's single off Alejandro Pena in the 11th. Cleveland's ace relief pitcher, José Mesa, was the winner.

      The Braves, however, assumed a commanding 3-1 lead in games the next night by downing the Indians in Cleveland 5-2. Left hander Steve Avery, the winning pitcher, restricted the Indians to three hits over six innings, while the Braves mounted a three-run rally in the seventh. Ken Hill was the losing pitcher.

      The Braves then sent their ace Maddux to the mound on October 26, but the Indians averted elimination. Albert Belle stroked a two-run homer in the first inning, and Hershiser pitched eight excellent innings toward a 5-4 triumph. The winning margin was a long home run by Cleveland third baseman Jim Thome off Atlanta reliever Brad Clontz in the eighth.

      The Braves, needing only one victory to clinch, secured it upon returning home to end their recent string of frustrations. They had lost the World Series to the Minnesota Twins in 1991 and the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and then were upset by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1993 National League Championship Series.

      With the 1995 season, a new play-off format was instituted whereby a wild-card team with the best second-place record in each league joined the six division-winning teams.

      The Colorado Rockies, in only their third year, earned wild-card honours in the National League. But they drew the powerful Braves in the best-of-five division series and were eliminated in four games.

      The New York Yankees achieved the wild-card berth in the American League. They won the first two games at home in their best-of-five division series against the upstart Seattle Mariners, but the Mariners swept three games at home to advance in dramatic fashion.

      After defeating Colorado, the Braves claimed their third National League pennant since 1991 by sweeping the Cincinnati Reds four games to none in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series. The Reds had swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the division series. The Braves stunned the Reds with two extra-inning victories in Cincinnati and then went home to win twice, by scores of 5-2 and 6-0.

      The Indians swept the Boston Red Sox in the division series. They then lost the opener of the American League Championship Series in Seattle and also lost their first home game to fall behind 2-1 in the series. But they won the next three games—by scores of 7-0, 3-2, and 4-0—to seize their first pennant since 1954.

      After the Mariners and California Angels tied for first place in the American League West division, they had a one-game play-off, won by the Mariners. The Angels, who had led the division for most of the summer, also lost out on a wild-card spot, because the Yankees posted a better second-place record in the American League East.

Regular Season.
      The Braves cruised to a first-place finish in the National League East with a 90-54 record, 21 games better than Philadelphia and the New York Mets. Cincinnati won the Central division by nine games over the Houston Astros, and Los Angeles captured the West division by one game over Colorado.

      Cleveland posted the best record in either league, winning 100 of 144 games and romping to a first-place finish in the American League Central by 30 games over the Kansas City Royals. Boston outdistanced New York by seven games in the East, while the Mariners, who appeared hopelessly out of contention in August, caught up with the slumping Angels.

      Despite the new play-off format, interest in baseball was down throughout the major leagues. Overall attendance dropped about 20% after the strife of the previous season, when play was halted in mid-August because of a player strike.

Individual Accomplishments.
      The highlight of the season occurred on September 6 in Baltimore, Md., where Orioles' shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr. (see BIOGRAPHIES (Ripken, Cal, Jr. )), played his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking the 56-year-old record of New York Yankee Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig. Ripken's streak spanned more than 13 seasons, and he celebrated the historic evening by hitting a fourth-inning home run in a 4-2 victory over California.

      Despite the abbreviated schedule, Belle of the Indians became the 12th player ever to hit 50 home runs in a season. He also tied Boston's Mo Vaughn for the American League lead in runs batted in with 126. Edgar Martínez of Seattle won the batting championship with an average of .356, and teammate Randy Johnson led pitchers with a 2.48 earned-run average (ERA) and struck out 294 batters, the most in either league. Baltimore's Mike Mussina won 19 games, one more than Johnson and David Cone of the Yankees. Mesa of Cleveland led relief pitchers with 46 saves.

      In the National League, Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres won the batting title with an average of .368. Dante Bichette of Colorado hit the most home runs, 40, and batted in the most runs, 128. Maddux crafted a brilliant ERA of 1.63 while compiling a 19-2 record. Randy Myers of the Chicago Cubs had the most saves, 38. Ramón Martínez of the Dodgers pitched the only no-hitter, a 7-0 victory over the Florida Marlins.

      Cincinnati shortstop Barry Larkin was named the National League's Most Valuable Player, and first baseman Vaughn won the honour in the American League. The Cy Young Awards for best pitcher went to Maddux for a record fourth consecutive year in the National League and Johnson in the American. Los Angeles pitcher Hideo Nomo was the National League's Rookie of the Year, and Minnesota outfielder Marty Cordova won in the American. Managers of the Year were Don Baylor of Colorado in the National League and Lou Piniella of Seattle in the American.

Other Developments.
      The National League beat the American League 3-2 in the annual All-Star Game at Arlington, Texas, on July 11. Jeff Conine of Florida hit a pinch home run in the eighth inning and was named Most Valuable Player. Dodger rookie star Nomo started the game for the National League, marking the first time a Japanese-born player had ever appeared in an All-Star Game.

      In January former Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt was the only player elected to the Hall of Fame. Mickey Mantle, the former New York Yankee star, died in August of liver cancer. (See OBITUARIES (Mantle, Mickey ).) Sparky Anderson, who had managed the Detroit Tigers for 17 seasons, resigned at the end of the year.

Management-Labour Situation.
      With the impasse still existing after a winter of restless and occasionally acrimonious negotiations, owners opened spring training camps in mid-February to replacement players. Regular players were also welcome, but the union proved strong. Exhibition games began without the major leaguers but were not warmly received by fans.

      On March 26 the National Labor Relations Board, which had been investigating unfair labour practices, authorized its general counsel to seek a preliminary injunction against owners for the purpose of restoring 1994 work rules. On March 31, U.S. District Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor issued the injunction in New York City, at which time the union announced it would end its strike.

      The owners' request for a stay of the injunction was denied, and shortly thereafter interim commissioner Bud Selig declared that regular players should report to spring training camps on April 2. The start of the regular season was delayed until April 25, when the Dodgers beat the Marlins at Miami's Joe Robbie Stadium.


Latin America.
      The 1995 Caribbean Series was held in San Juan, P.R., on February 4-9. The tournament, in which winners of the four major winter tournaments in Latin America compete against one another, was played in a round-robin format, with every team playing each rival twice. The host team, the San Juan Senators, swept the series easily with six straight victories before an enthusiastic home crowd. In the final game the Senators defeated the Sugar Growers from Este, of the Dominican Republic, by 9-3.

      The Sugar Growers took second place with four wins and two defeats. Mexico's Orange Growers of Hermosillo and Venezuela's Caracas Lions, with identical records of one win and five losses, were relegated to last place.

      Mexico's economic crisis affected Mexican League baseball, played during the summer. The season was shortened from 132 to 116 games by eliminating contests between teams from the southern and northern divisions during the regular season. Eventually the Monterrey Sultans won the northern division by virtue of a good performance during the play-offs; they had finished far behind the Reynosa Broncos during the regular season. The Sultans then easily defeated the Mexico City Red Devils, the champions of the southern zone, in four straight games during the best-of-seven championship series.


      The Yakult Swallows of the Central League, based in Tokyo, defeated the Pacific League's Orix Blue Wave of Kobe four games to one in the 1995 Japan Series. The Swallow pitchers gave up only 10 earned runs in the five games and had a combined ERA of 1.76, while the ERA for the Blue Wave pitching corps was 3.28. After the Swallows won the first game, the next three went into extra innings, and each was decided by a home run: in game two, by Swallow first baseman Thomas O'Malley; in game three, by Swallow shortstop Takahiro Ikeyama; and in game four, by Blue Wave first baseman Doug Jennings. The Swallows won the fifth game 3-1. O'Malley, who hit .529—including two home runs—was voted the Most Valuable Player of the series.

      The Swallows, a preseason underdog, got off to a good start and by the end of April were in first place, where they remained for the rest of the season. O'Malley, with a batting average of .302, 31 home runs, and 87 runs batted in, was voted the Most Valuable Player of the Central League. Hiroshima Carp pitcher Yasuyuki Yamauchi won 14 games against 10 losses and got the Rookie of the Year award.

      The Blue Wave floundered during April and May but in June overtook the then league-leading defending champions Seibu Lions and led for the rest of the season. Ichiro Suzuki, an outfielder for the Blue Wave who led the league in stolen bases (49) and in four batting categories—batting average (.342), runs batted in (80), hits (179), and on-base percentage (.432)—was named the Most Valuable Player of the year in the Pacific League. Pitcher Masafumi Hirai of the Blue Wave, with a 15-5 record and 27 saves, was voted the Rookie of the Year. (TOSHIHIKO SUZUKI)

▪ 1995


Regular Season.
      Until the Major League Baseball Players Association began its strike after the games of Aug. 11, 1994, baseball fans were enjoying an entertaining season that featured extraordinary individual performances and tight division races under a new system. Before the 1994 season, owners and players agreed to a revised alignment—the 14 teams in each league, the American and National, were placed in three divisions instead of two: the East, Central, and West. Thus, at the conclusion of the 162-game schedule on October 2, each league would produce three division champions. Also, there would be one wild-card team from each league to qualify for the postseason play-offs. That team would be the second-place team with the best record.

      In previous seasons only four teams had participated in postseason competition—the American League East winner versus the American League West winner and the National League East winner versus the National League West winner—for the right to advance to the World Series. The new format would have doubled the number of teams eligible for postseason play. The premise was that by producing more champions baseball would create more interest during the latter stages of the regular season.

      In the American League Central another lively race existed. The Chicago White Sox, at 67-46, were only one game ahead of the Cleveland Indians. In the American League East the New York Yankees were well ahead of the Baltimore Orioles, but the Orioles were still very much in contention for a wild-card berth. The Indians and Rangers opened new ballparks in April, to rave reviews.

      In the National League the surprising Montreal Expos had posted the best record overall at 74-40, good enough for a six-game advantage over the highly favoured Atlanta Braves in the East. The Cincinnati Reds were only half a game ahead of the Houston Astros in the Central. In the West the Los Angeles Dodgers, though only two games above .500 at 58-56, were 3 1/2 games ahead of the San Francisco Giants.

Individual Performances.
      Offense clearly dominated the abbreviated 1994 season. Matt Williams, third baseman for San Francisco, had 43 home runs through 115 games and was on a pace to challenge the single-season record of Roger Maris, who hit 61 home runs for the 1961 New York Yankees. Seattle's Ken Griffey, Jr., had collected 38 home runs through 112 games.

      In the National League Houston first baseman Jeff Bagwell was making a serious bid to seize the Triple Crown—best batting average, most home runs, and most runs batted in. In the American League Frank Thomas of Chicago and Albert Belle of Cleveland were doing the same. Not since Carl Yastrzemski with the Boston Red Sox in 1967 had a player won the Triple Crown. Tony Gwynn, an outfielder for the San Diego Padres, had compiled a batting average of .394, the best mark since Ted Williams registered .406 with Boston in 1941.

      Despite all the offense, however, a few pitchers had standout seasons. Kenny Rogers of Texas tossed a perfect game, while Atlanta's Kent Mercker and Scott Erickson of the Minnesota Twins threw no-hitters. Greg Maddux of the Braves, winner of the previous two National League Cy Young Awards for best pitcher, had crafted a splendid 1.56 earned run average per nine innings.

      Thomas was voted the American League's Most Valuable Player, and Bagwell won the prize for the National League. Cy Young Awards for best pitcher went to David Cone of Kansas City in the American League and Maddux for the third straight year in the National. Rookies of the Year were Bob Hamelin of Kansas City in the American and the Dodgers' Raul Mondesi in the National, and the top managers were the Yankees' Buck Showalter in the American and Felipe Alou of Montreal in the National.

Other Events.
      Ryne Sandberg, star second baseman for the Chicago Cubs, shocked the baseball world by retiring in June at the age of 34 because, he said, he had lost his desire to play. There were three inductees into the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, N.Y.—Steve Carlton, a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies; Phil Rizzuto, shortstop for the Yankees; and Leo Durocher, who had managed several teams.

Little League.
      Venezuela defeated Northridge, Calif., 4-3 to win the Little League World Series at Williamsport, Pa., on August 27. Venezuela, the first Latin-American team to earn the title since 1958, ended a two-year reign by U.S. teams as Little League World Series champions.


Latin America.
      The Licey Tigers from the Dominican Republic dominated the 24th Caribbean Series, played February 2-9 in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela. The Tigers won six straight games to gain the top championship of Latin-American baseball.

      The San Juan Senators from Puerto Rico took second place. They were defeated twice by the Licey Tigers but beat their other two rivals. The Venezuelan team, the Magallanes Navigators, failed to capitalize on the advantage of playing at home and took third place. The Hermosillo Orange Growers from Mexico dropped six games in a row to finish last.

      The controversy about allowing Cuba to compete in the Caribbean Series continued in 1994. Cuban teams had not been allowed to participate in the tournament because they were not formally professional, but it was widely acknowledged that their amateur teams would be able to compete successfully in the series. Cuba, in fact, continued to dominate world amateur baseball. In the 32nd world championship of amateur baseball, played in Nicaragua, the Cuban national team scored a series of easy wins and took the pennant, as it had done consistently for years, with a clear victory of 13-1 over Nicaragua in the final game. South Korea finished third and Japan fourth.

      In the summer the Mexico City Red Devils won the AAA Mexican League pennant when they defeated the Monterrey Sultans in the seven-game final series. The Red Devils came from behind in the series and also in the final game to take their 11th Mexican championship.


      The Yomiuri Giants of Tokyo, champions of the Central League, defeated Tokorozawa's Seibu Lions of the Pacific League four games to two in the best-of-seven Japan Series. It was the Giants' first all-Japan title since 1989 and their 18th overall. The Lions, who had played in the fall classic 10 times in the past 12 years and won 8, including 3 against the Giants, got off to a good start and won the opener 11-0. For the remainder of the series, however, the Giants' pitchers dominated. They threw three complete games—one by Masumi Kuwata and two by Hiromi Makihara, who during the regular season completed a perfect game against the Hiroshima Carp. Makihara was voted the Most Valuable Player of the Series.

      Before the 130th and final game of the season against the Chunichi Dragons in Nagoya, the Giants were tied with the Dragons. The Giants won the final game 6-3 to gain their first league championship in four years. Kuwata, a right-hander who won 14 games and struck out 185 batters, was voted the Most Valuable Player of the Central League. The Rookie of the Year award went to Osaka's Hanshin Tiger hurler Keiichi Yabu, who won nine games.

      Going into September the Pacific League competition was a four-way race between the Lions, Osaka's Kintetsu Buffaloes, Kobe's Orix Blue Wave, and Fukuoka's Daiei Hawks. The Lions then left the others behind, however, and finished the season 7 1/2 games ahead of the Buffaloes and Blue Wave. The league's Most Valuable Player was Ichiro Suzuki, a 20-year-old outfielder for the Blue Wave, who became the first player in Japanese baseball history to collect more than 200 hits (210) and had a league-record batting average of .385. Hidekazu Watanabe, who won eight games for the Hawks, was the league's Rookie of the Year.

      Sadaharu Oh, the Giants' great home-run hitter (868 in 22 years), was elected to the Japanese Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. He was joined by Wally Yonamine of the Giants, the first American so honoured.


▪ 1994

      Major league baseball added two expansion teams for the 1993 season, and an attendance record was broken for the seventh time in nine years. With the new Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins creating interest, and also tight division races, more than 70 million customers paid to watch regular-season games.

World Series.
      The Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series for the second consecutive year, thereby becoming the first repeat champions since the 1977-78 New York Yankees. The Blue Jays beat the Philadelphia Phillies four games to two, the last victory occurring at Toronto's SkyDome. The triumph thus enabled the Blue Jays to clinch the title for the first time ever in Canada. They had won their 1992 crown in Atlanta, Ga.

      The Blue Jays won the opening game 8-5 at Toronto on October 16. The Phillies jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first inning against Juan Guzman, Toronto's ace pitcher, but Philadelphia starter Curt Schilling was no problem for the hard-hitting Blue Jays. They scored three runs in the seventh inning on a run-scoring double by Devon White and another double by Roberto Alomar for two runs. Al Leitner, who relieved Guzman, was credited with the victory.

      In the second game at Toronto the next night, however, the Phillies scored five runs in the third inning against Toronto veteran Dave Stewart and held on to win 6-4. Jim Eisenreich's three-run home run was the big hit for the Phillies. Terry Mulholland started and pitched 5 2/3 innings toward the victory.

      The series moved to Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium on October 19, and the Blue Jays scored three runs in the first inning against Danny Jackson and cruised to a 10-3 conquest. Alomar, Toronto's brilliant second baseman, had four hits, and Paul Molitor (see BIOGRAPHIES (Molitor, Paul )) had three, including a home run. Pat Hentgen was the winning pitcher.

      The next evening the Blue Jays and Phillies engaged in the wildest World Series game ever. The Phillies twice mounted a five-run lead only to have the Blue Jays explode for six runs in the eighth and gain a 15-14 decision that gave them a 3-1 lead in games. Many records were broken in the marathon, including length of the game; at 4 hours 14 minutes, it was the longest in World Series history. The teams combined for 31 hits, the pivotal one being a two-run triple by White in the eighth inning to bring in the tying and winning runs. Duane Ward of Toronto retired the last four Philadelphia batters for the save.

      To avert elimination in the best-of-seven series, the Phillies needed a strong pitching performance on October 21. Schilling was up to the assignment. While Philadelphia's other tired arms were resting, he hurled a five-hit, complete-game 2-0 triumph.

      The series returned to Toronto on October 23 for the sixth game, and the Blue Jays forged a 5-1 lead against Mulholland after five innings. Stewart, a free agent acquired from Oakland, was regarded as one of the best clutch pitchers in baseball. However, he was knocked out in the seventh inning when the Phillies scored five times, three on a home run by Len Dykstra. The Phillies, trying to force a seventh and deciding game, held their 6-5 lead entering the bottom of the ninth inning. Philadelphia reliever Mitch Williams, however, quickly unraveled. He walked Rickey Henderson, Toronto's leadoff batter, on four pitches. With one out, Molitor singled. Joe Carter, the Blue Jays' cleanup hitter and slugging right fielder, then drilled Williams' 2-2 pitch over the left-field wall for a dramatic three-run homer to give the Blue Jays an 8-6 conquest and their championship. Ward was credited with the victory.

      Molitor, an off-season free-agent acquisition from the Milwaukee Brewers, was voted Most Valuable Player for the World Series. He batted .500 for six games, with 12 hits in 24 at bats including 2 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 home runs.

Championship Series.
      The Blue Jays won their second consecutive American League pennant by defeating the Chicago White Sox four games to two in the championship series. The Phillies upset the highly favoured Atlanta Braves four games to two to secure their first National League pennant since 1983.

      The Blue Jays opened the American League series in Chicago's new Comiskey Park on October 5 with a 7-3 triumph behind Guzman. Molitor had 4 of Toronto's 17 hits, 13 of which came against White Sox ace Jack McDowell. The next afternoon Stewart raised his career play-off record to 7-0 with a 3-1 victory.

      The White Sox, however, rebounded with two straight victories in Toronto on October 8 and 9. Chicago's Wilson Alvarez worked a complete-game 6-1 victory in the third game. In game four Lance Johnson batted in four runs and Frank Thomas hit a mammoth home run off Todd Stottlemyre to propel the White Sox to a 7-4 triumph. The Blue Jays beat McDowell again, 5-3 on October 10, behind Guzman's pitching and three hits by Alomar. The Blue Jays then eliminated the White Sox at Chicago on October 12 by winning 6-3 as Stewart recorded another victory. Stewart was named the Most Valuable Player for the series.

      The Phillies began their postseason by beating the Braves 4-3 in 10 innings at Philadelphia on October 6. Kim Batiste, whose ninth-inning error helped Atlanta tie the game, won it with a run-scoring single. The Braves swamped Philadelphia 14-3 the next day behind four home runs and strong pitching by Greg Maddux and then pounded out a 9-4 victory on October 9 in Atlanta with Tom Glavine as the winning pitcher.

      On October 10, Jackson lifted the Phillies to a 2-1 victory with 7 2/3 innings of excellent pitching. The Phillies scored twice in the fourth inning off Atlanta's John Smoltz. The next day the Phillies gained a 3-0 lead behind Schilling only to have it vanish on a stirring three-run rally by the Braves in the ninth. Then in the top of the 10th, Dykstra smashed a solo home run and the Phillies held on for a 4-3 decision. On October 13 in Philadelphia, Mickey Morandini's two-run triple and Dave Hollins' two-run homer supported Mulholland's efforts in the Phillies' 6-3 clincher. Schilling was named Most Valuable Player of the series.

Regular Season.
      The National League West staged one of the best races in baseball history. The Braves trailed the San Francisco Giants by 9 1/2 games as late as August 7 and then charged to first place. Entering the last day of the regular season, however, the teams were tied. The Braves won their third consecutive division title by beating Colorado at home, while the Giants were defeated by the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles. The Braves finished with a brilliant mark of 104-58, only one game better than the Giants.

      John Olerud of the Blue Jays, after hovering near the .400 level for part of the summer, ended the season with a .363 batting average to lead the American League. Teammates Molitor (.332) and Alomar (.326) followed him. Andres Galarraga of Colorado, like Olerud, was at .400 in early July, and Galarraga then won the National League batting title with a .370 average. Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres finished second at .358.

      Juan Gonzales of the Texas Rangers led the American League with 46 home runs, one more than Ken Griffey, Jr., of the Seattle Mariners. Barry Bonds, who signed with the Giants as a free agent from the Pittsburgh Pirates, led the National League with 46 home runs.

      McDowell had 22 victories, the most in the American League. John Burkett of San Francisco and Glavine led the National League with 22 victories each. Toronto's Ward and Jeff Montgomery of the Kansas City Royals paced the American League's relief pitchers with 45 saves each. Randy Myers of the Chicago Cubs led the National League with 53.

      Chicago captured three of the four postseason awards in the American League, with Thomas as Most Valuable Player, Gene Lamont as Manager of the Year, and McDowell as winner of the Cy Young Award for best pitcher. The league's Rookie of the Year was Tim Salmon of California. For the National League, Bonds was voted Most Valuable Player, Dusty Baker of San Francisco was Manager of the Year, Maddux won the Cy Young Award, and Mike Piazza of Los Angeles was Rookie of the Year.

      The Rockies and Marlins both avoided last place in their first season. Colorado won 67 games and finished sixth in the National League West while establishing a league single-season attendance record with 4,483,350.

      The American League won its sixth consecutive All-Star Game, beating the National League 9-3 in Baltimore on July 13. Kirby Puckett of the Minnesota Twins was named Most Valuable Player of the game. New York Yankee Jim Abbott, who was born without a right hand, pitched a no-hitter on September 4. George Brett of Kansas City and Nolan Ryan of Texas, both of whom appeared destined for baseball's Hall of Fame, retired.

Other Developments.
      Pending approval of the players, major league owners devised a realignment plan to be implemented starting with the 1994 season. Each league of two divisions would be rearranged to include three divisions each with an extra round of postseason play-offs featuring the six division winners plus the second-place team in either league with the best record.


Latin America.
      Puerto Rico's Crab Pickers, from the town of Santurce, won the 23rd Caribbean Series in February in Mazatlán, Mexico. This was the first time Santurce had taken Latin America's top baseball prize. Another Puerto Rican team, the Mayagüez Indians, had won in 1992.

      The Crab Pickers did not have an easy time in the series. After the regular six-game round-robin, they were tied for first place with the Dominican Republic's Cibao Eagles. Each team had four victories and two defeats. The tie-breaking game was tense through the fifth inning, when the score was 5-5. A two-run homer in the sixth inning, however, put the Puerto Ricans on top, and two additional runs in the bottom of the eighth clinched the game and the title for Puerto Rico. Mexico's Mexicali Eagles finished third in the series, and Venezuela's Zulia Eagles were last.

      In the summer the Tabasco Olmecs took the AAA Mexican League after beating the Owls of the Two Laredos (Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and Laredo, Texas) four games to one in the championship series. The Owls had gone down to defeat in the final series in 1992 as well.

      As expected, Cuba took the gold medal in the Caribbean and Central American Games, held in the summer in Puerto Rico. The Cuban national team easily beat Mexico in the final game 11-1.


      The Seibu Lions of the Pacific League and Yakult Swallows of the Central League met in the Japan Series for the second year in a row, and the Swallows defeated the defending champions, who had won the postseason contest six times in the last seven years, four games to three. Swallow hurler Kenjiro Kawasaki, winner of the fourth and seventh games, was voted the Most Valuable Player of the series.

      In the first two games, played at Seibu Stadium in Tokorozawa, the Swallows' prowess in batting dominated. In the opener they collected 12 hits, including a three-run homer by Jack Howell, for an 8-5 victory. In the second game the Swallows knocked out Lion pitcher Kuo Tai-yuan with eight hits and four runs in the first three innings and eventually won the game 5-2.

      In the third game, played at Tokyo's Jingu Stadium, the Lions' pitching excelled in a 7-2 victory, while the Swallows won the fourth 1-0. The Lions took the next two games 7-2 and 4-2 to tie the series at three. In the seventh and final game, Swallow cleanup man Katsumi Hirosawa hit a three-run home run in the top of the first inning, but Lion cleanup hitter Kazuhiro Kiyohara followed with a two-run homer to make the score 3-2. Then Kenjiro Kawasaki and short reliever Shingo Takatsu did their job and kept the opponents scoreless for the rest of the game, while the Swallows scored one more run in the eighth.

      In the Central League, Swallow catcher Atsuya Furuta, who hit .308, was voted the Most Valuable Player. The league's Rookie of the Year award went to Swallow hurler Tomohito Ito, whose record was seven wins against two losses. The Pacific League's Most Valuable Player was Lion left-handed pitcher Kimiyasu Kudo, who won 15 games against 3 losses. Lion pitcher Kendo Sugiyama, who pitched in 54 games and won 7, lost 2, and earned 5 saves, was voted the Rookie of the Year in the Pacific League.


* * *

      pocket-billiards game, named for the similarity in its scoring system to the American game played with bat and ball, in which players attempt to score runs by pocketing 21 consecutively numbered object balls, the number of runs scored corresponding to the total of the numbers on the balls pocketed. Players are allowed nine innings, in each of which they play until they foul or fail to score. After the first (break) shot, players must call both the ball and the pocket aimed for before each shot. If a player sinks all the balls on the table before nine innings are completed, the balls are racked and that player's turn continues. Fouls and penalties in billiard baseball are, for the most part, the same as for pocket billiards.

 game played with a bat, a ball, and gloves between two teams of nine players each on a field with four white bases laid out in a diamond (i.e., a square oriented so that its diagonal line is vertical). Teams alternate positions as batters (offense) and fielders (defense), exchanging places when three members of the batting team are “put out.” As batters, players try to hit the ball out of the reach of the fielding team and make a complete circuit around the bases for a “run.” The team that scores the most runs in nine innings (times at bat) wins the game.

A national pastime
 The United States is credited with developing several popular sports, including some (such as baseball, gridiron football, and basketball) that have large fan bases and, to varying degrees, have been adopted internationally. But baseball, despite the spread of the game throughout the globe and the growing influence of Asian and Latin American leagues and players, is the sport that Americans still recognize as their “national pastime.” The game has long been woven into the fabric of American life and identity. “It's our game,” exclaimed the poet Walt Whitman (Whitman, Walt) more than a century ago, “that's the chief fact in connection with it: America's game.” He went on to explain that baseballhas the snap, go, fling of the American atmosphere—it belongs as much to our institutions, fits into them as significantly, as our constitutions, laws: is just as important in the sum total of our historic life. It is the place where memory gathers.

      Perhaps Whitman exaggerated baseball's importance to and its congruency with life in the United States, but few would argue the contrary, that baseball has been merely a simple or an occasional diversion.

 It was nationalistic sentiment that helped to make baseball “America's game.” In the quest to obtain greater cultural autonomy, Americans yearned for a sport they could claim as exclusively their own. Just as the English had cricket and the Germans their turnvereins (gymnastic clubs), a sporting newspaper declared as early as 1857 that Americans should have a “game that could be termed a ‘Native American Sport.' ” A powerful confirmation of baseball as the sport to fill that need came in 1907 when a special commission appointed by A.G. Spalding (Spalding, A.G.), a sporting goods magnate who had formerly been a star pitcher and an executive with a baseball team, reported that baseball owed absolutely nothing to England and the children's game of rounders. Instead, the commission claimed that, to the best of its knowledge (a knowledge based on flimsy research and self-serving logic), baseball had been invented by Abner Doubleday (Doubleday, Abner) at Cooperstown, New York, in 1839. This origin myth was perpetuated for decades.

      In a country comprising a multiplicity of ethnic and religious groups, one without a monarchy, an aristocracy, or a long and mythic past, the experience of playing, watching, and talking about baseball games became one of the nation's great common denominators. It provided, in the perceptive words of British novelist Virginia Woolf (Woolf, Virginia), “a centre, a meeting place for the divers activities of a people whom a vast continent isolates [and] whom no tradition controls.” No matter where one lived, the “hit-and-run,” the “double play,” and the “sacrifice bunt” were carried out the same way. The unifying power of baseball in the United States was evident in the Depression-ravaged 1930s, when a group of Cooperstown's businessmen along with officials from the major leagues established the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (Baseball Hall of Fame). The Hall of Fame became a quasi-religious shrine for many Americans, and, since its founding, millions of fans have made “pilgrimages” to Cooperstown, where they have observed the “relics”—old bats, balls, and uniforms—of bygone heroes.

      Baseball also reshaped the nation's calendar. With the rise of industrialization, the standardized clock time of the office or factory robbed people of the earlier experience of time in its rich associations with the daylight hours, the natural rhythms of the seasons, and the traditional church calendar. Yet, for Americans, the opening of the baseball training season signaled the arrival of spring, regular-season play meant summer, and the World Series marked the arrival of fall. In the winter, baseball fans participated in “hot stove leagues,” reminiscing about past games and greats and speculating about what the next season had to offer.

      The World Series, inaugurated in 1903 and pitting the champions of the American and National Leagues in a postseason playoff, quickly took its place alongside the Fourth of July and Christmas as one of the most popular annual rites. The series was, said Everybody's Magazine in 1911, “the very quintessence and consummation of the Most Perfect Thing in America.” Each fall it absorbed the entire nation.

      Baseball terms and phrases, such as “He threw me a curve,” “Her presentation covered all the bases,” and “He's really out in left field,” soon became part of the national vocabulary. So entrenched is baseball in the ordinary conversation of Americans that during the administration of President George Bush (Bush, George), a baseball player during his years at Yale University, the foreign press struggled to translate the president's routine use of baseball metaphors. As early as the 1850s, baseball images began to appear in periodicals, and, in the 20th century, popular illustrator Norman Rockwell (Rockwell, Norman) often used baseball as the subject for his The Saturday Evening Post covers. "Casey at the Bat" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" remain among the best-known poems and songs, respectively, among Americans. Novelists and filmmakers frequently have turned to baseball motifs. After the mid-20th century, at the very time baseball at the grassroots level had begun a perceptible descent, baseball fiction proliferated. American colleges and universities even began to offer courses on baseball literature, and baseball films likewise proliferated. In 1994 the Public Broadcasting System released Ken Burns's (Burns, Ken) nostalgic Baseball, arguably the most monumental historical television documentary ever made.

      While baseball possessed enormous integrative powers, the game's history also has been interwoven with and reflective of major social and cultural cleavages. Until the first decades of the 20th century, middle-class Evangelical Protestants viewed the sport with profound suspicion. They associated baseball, or at least the professional version of the game, with ne'er-do-wells, immigrants, the working class, drinking, gambling, and general rowdiness. Conversely, these very qualities provided a foothold for the upward ascent of ethnic groups from the nation's ghettos. Usually encountering less discrimination in baseball (as well as in other venues of commercial entertainment) than they did in the more “respectable” occupations, in the 19th century Irish and German Americans were so conspicuous in professional baseball that some observers wondered if they had a special capacity for playing the game.

 For a brief time in the 1880s, before racial segregation (segregation, racial) became the norm in the United States, black players competed with whites in professional baseball. After that period, however, blacks had to carve out a separate world of baseball. Dozens of black teams faced local semiprofessional teams while barnstorming throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Despite playing a high quality of baseball, the players frequently engaged in various forms of clowning that perpetuated prevailing stereotypes of blacks to appeal to spectators. From the 1920s until the '50s, separate black professional leagues—the Negro leagues—existed as well, but in 1947 Jackie Robinson (Robinson, Jackie) crossed the long-standing colour bar in major league baseball. Because baseball was the national game, its racial integration was of enormous symbolic importance in the United States; indeed, it preceded the U.S. Supreme Court's decision ending racial segregation in the schools (in 1954 in Board of Education of Topeka (Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka)) and helped to usher in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s. Moreover, in the 1980s and '90s a huge influx of Hispanics into professional baseball reflected the country's changing ethnic composition.

      Baseball likewise contributed to the shaping of American conceptions of gender roles. Although women were playing baseball as early as the 1860s, their involvement in the sport was confined for the most part to the role of spectator. To counter the game's reputation for rowdiness, baseball promoters took pains to encourage women to attend. “The presence of an assemblage of ladies purifies the moral atmosphere of a baseball gathering,” reported the Baseball Chronicle, “repressing as it does, all the out-burst of intemperate language which the excitement of a contest so frequently induces.” When women played on barnstorming teams in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century, the press routinely referred to them as “Amazons,” “freaks,” or “frauds.” In 1943, during World War II, when it was feared that professional baseball might be forced to close down, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League made its debut. After having provided more than 600 women an opportunity to play baseball and to entertain several million fans, the league folded in 1954.

 But, even if unable to heal conflicts arising from fundamental social divisions, baseball exhibited an extraordinary capacity for fostering ties. In the 1850s, young artisans and clerks, frequently displaced in the city and finding their way of life changing rapidly in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, conceived of themselves as members of what was known as the “base ball fraternity.” Like the volunteer fire departments and militia units of the day, they donned special uniforms, developed their own rituals, and, in playing baseball, shared powerful common experiences. Playing and watching baseball contests also strengthened occupational, ethnic, and racial identities. Butchers, typesetters, draymen, bricklayers, and even clergymen organized baseball clubs. So did Irish Americans, German Americans, and African Americans.

      Professional baseball nourished and deepened urban identities. “If we are ahead of the big city [New York] in nothing else,” crowed the Brooklyn Eagle as early as 1862, “we can beat her in baseball.” Fans invested their emotions in their professional representative nines. “A deep gloom settled over the city,” reported a Chicago newspaper in 1875 after the local White Stockings had been defeated by the St. Louis (Missouri) Brown Stockings. “Friends refused to recognize friends, lovers became estranged, and business was suspended.” Even in the late 20th century, in an age more given to cynicism, the successes and failures of professional teams continued to evoke strong feelings among local residents. For example, during the 1990s, after having experienced urban decay and demoralization in the previous two decades, Cleveland experienced a great civic revival fueled in part by the success of the Indians baseball team.

  The significance of specific baseball teams and individual players extended beyond the localities that they represented. The New York Yankees, who in the first half of the 20th century were the quintessential representatives of the big city, of the East, of urban America with its sophistication, and of ethnic and religious heterogeneity, became synonymous with supernal success, while the St. Louis Cardinals emerged as the quintessential champions of the Midwest, of small towns and the farms, of rural America with its simplicity, rusticity, and old-stock Protestant homogeneity. In the 1920s Babe Ruth (Ruth, Babe) became the diamond's colossal demigod. To those toiling on assembly lines or sitting at their desks in corporate bureaucracies, Ruth embodied America's continuing faith in upward social mobility. His mighty home runs furnished vivid proof that men remained masters of their own destinies and that they could still rise from mean, vulgar beginnings to fame and fortune. For African Americans, black stars such as Satchel Paige (Paige, Satchel) and Josh Gibson (Gibson, Josh) furnished equally compelling models of individual inspiration and success.

      Baseball parks became important local civic monuments and repositories of collective memories. The first parks had been jerry-built, flimsy wooden structures, but between 1909 and 1923 some 15 major league clubs constructed new, more permanent parks of steel and concrete. These edifices were akin to the great public buildings, skyscrapers, and railway terminals of the day; local residents proudly pointed to them as evidence of their city's size and its achievements.

      Seeing them as retreats from the noise, dirt, and squalor of the industrial city, the owners gave the first parks pastoral names—Ebbets Field, Sportsman's Park, and the Polo Grounds—but, with the construction of symmetrical, multisports facilities in the 1960s and '70s, urban and futuristic names such as Astrodome and Kingdome predominated. In a new park-building era in the 1990s, designers sought to recapture the ambience of earlier times by designing “retro parks,” a term that was something of an oxymoron in that, while the new parks offered the fan the intimacy of the old-time parks, they simultaneously provided modern conveniences such as escalators, climate-controlled lounges, high-tech audiovisual systems, Disneyesque play areas for children, and space for numerous retail outlets. The increasing corporate influence on the game was reflected in park names such as Network Associates Stadium and Bank One Ballpark.

      After about the mid-20th century, baseball's claim to being America's game rested on more precarious foundations than in the past. The sport faced potent competition, not only from other professional sports (especially gridiron football) but even more from a massive conversion of Americans from public to private, at-home diversions. Attendance as a percentage of population fell at all levels of baseball, the minor leagues became a shell of their former selves, and hundreds of semipro and amateur teams folded. In the 1990s, player strikes, free agency, disparities in competition, and the rising cost of attending games added to the woes of major league baseball. Yet, baseball continued to exhibit a remarkable resiliency; attendance at professional games improved, and attendance at minor league games was close to World War II records by the end of the century. As the 21st century opened, baseball still faced serious problems, but the sport was gaining in popularity around the world, and a strong case could still be made for baseball holding a special place in the hearts and minds of the American people.

Benjamin G. Rader


      The term base-ball can be dated to 1744, in John Newbery's children's book A Little Pretty Pocket-Book. The book has a brief poem and an illustration depicting a game called base-ball. Interestingly, the bases in the illustration are marked by posts instead of the bags and flat home plate now so familiar in the game. The book was extremely popular in England and was reprinted in North America in 1762 (New York) and 1787 (Massachusetts).

      Many other early references to bat-and-ball games involving bases are known: “playing at base” at the American army camp at Valley Forge in 1778; the forbidding of students to “play with balls and sticks” on the common of Princeton College (Princeton University) in 1787; a note in the memoirs of Thurlow Weed, an upstate New York newspaper editor and politician, of a baseball club organized about 1825; a newspaper report that the Rochester (New York) Baseball Club had about 50 members at practice in the 1820s; and a reminiscence of the elder Oliver Wendell Holmes (Holmes, Oliver Wendell) concerning his Harvard days in the late 1820s, stating that he played a good deal of ball at college.

      The Boy's Own Book (1828), a frequently reprinted book on English sports played by boys of the time, included in its second edition a chapter on the game of rounders. As described there, rounders had many resemblances to the modern game of baseball: it was played on a diamond-shaped infield with a base at each corner, the fourth being that at which the batter originally stood and to which he had to advance to score a run. When a batter hit a pitched ball through or over the infield, he could run. A ball hit elsewhere was foul, and he could not run. Three missed strikes at the ball meant the batter was out. A batted ball caught on the fly put the batter out. One notable difference from baseball was that, in rounders, when a ball hit on the ground was fielded, the fielder put the runner out by hitting him with the thrown ball; the same was true with a runner caught off base. Illustrations show flat stones used as bases and a second catcher behind the first, perhaps to catch foul balls. The descent of baseball from rounders seems indisputably clear-cut. The first American account of rounders was in The Book of Sports (1834) by Robin Carver, who credits The Boy's Own Book as his source but calls the game base, or goal, ball.

Early years
 In 1845, according to baseball legend, Alexander J. Cartwright (Cartwright, Alexander Joy), an amateur player in New York City, organized the New York Knickerbocker Base Ball Club, which formulated a set of rules for baseball, many of which still remain. The rules were much like those for rounders, but with a significant change in that the runner was put out not by being hit with the thrown ball but by being tagged with it. This change no doubt led to the substitution of a harder ball, which made possible a larger-scale game.

 The adoption of these rules by the Knickerbockers and other amateur club teams in the New York City area led to an increased popularity of the game. The old game with the soft ball continued to be popular in and around Boston; a Philadelphia club that had played the old game since 1833 did not adopt the Knickerbocker or New York version of the game until 1860. Until the American Civil War (1861–65), the two versions of the game were called the Massachusetts game (using the soft ball) and the New York game (using the hard ball). During the Civil War, soldiers from New York and New Jersey taught their game to others, and after the war the New York game became predominant.

      In 1854 a revision of the rules prescribed the weight and size of the ball (baseball), along with the dimensions of the infield, specifications that have not been significantly altered since that time. The National Association of Base Ball Players was organized in 1857, comprising clubs from New York City and vicinity. In 1859 Washington, D.C., organized a club, and in the next year clubs were formed in Lowell, Massachusetts; Allegheny, Pennsylvania; and Hartford, Connecticut. The game continued to spread after the Civil War—to Maine, Kentucky, and Oregon. Baseball was on its way to becoming the national pastime. It was widely played outside the cities, but the big-city clubs were the dominant force. In 1865 a convention was called to confirm the rules and the amateur status of baseball and brought together 91 amateur teams from such cities as St. Louis; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Louisville, Kentucky; Washington, D.C.; Boston; and Philadelphia.

Professional baseball
 Two important developments in the history of baseball occurred in the post-Civil War period: the spread of the sport to Latin America and Asia (discussed later) and the professionalization of the sport in the United States. The early baseball clubs such as the New York Knickerbockers were clubs in the true sense of the word: members paid dues, the emphasis was on fraternity and socializing, and baseball games were played largely among members. But the growth of baseball's popularity soon attracted commercial interest. In 1862 William Cammeyer of Brooklyn constructed an enclosed baseball field with stands and charged admission to games. Following the Civil War, this practice quickly spread, and clubs soon learned that games with rival clubs and tournaments drew larger crowds and brought prestige to the winners. The interclub games attracted the interest and influence of gamblers. With a new emphasis on external competition, clubs felt pressure to field quality teams. Players began to specialize in playing a single position, and field time was given over to a club's top players so they could practice. Professionalism began to appear about 1865–66 as some teams hired skilled players on a per game basis. Players either were paid for playing or were compensated with jobs that required little or no actual work. Amateurs resented these practices and the gambling and bribery that often accompanied them, but the larger public was enthralled by the intense competition and the rivalries that developed. The first publicly announced all-professional team, the Cincinnati (Ohio) Red Stockings, was organized in 1869; it toured that year, playing from New York City to San Francisco and winning some 56 games and tying 1. The team's success, especially against the hallowed clubs of New York, resulted in national notoriety and proved the superior skill of professional players. The desire of many other cities and teams to win such acclaim guaranteed the professionalization of the game, though many players remained nominally in the amateur National Association of Base Ball Players until the amateurs withdrew in 1871. Thereafter professional teams largely controlled the development of the sport.

      The National Association of Professional Base Ball Players was formed in 1871. The founding teams were the Philadelphia Athletics; the Chicago White Stockings (who would also play as the Chicago Colts and the Chicago Orphans before becoming the Cubs—the American League Chicago White Sox were not formed until 1900); the Brooklyn (New York) Eckfords; the Cleveland (Ohio) Forest Citys; the Forest Citys of Rockford, Illinois; the Haymakers of Troy, New York; the Kekiongas of Fort Wayne, Indiana; the Olympics of Washington, D.C.; and the Mutuals of New York City. The league disbanded in 1876 with the founding of the rival National League of Professional Baseball Clubs (National League). The change from a players' association to one of clubs was particularly significant. The teams making up the new league represented Philadelphia, Hartford (Connecticut), Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville (Kentucky), St. Louis, and New York City. When William Hulbert, president of the league (1877–82), expelled four players for dishonesty, the reputation of baseball as an institution was significantly enhanced.

League formation
      In 1881 the American Association was formed with teams from cities that were not members of the National League and teams that had been expelled from the league (such as Cincinnati, which was disciplined in 1880 for playing games on Sunday and allowing liquor on the grounds). In 1890, after the National League tried to limit salaries (a $2,000 maximum for pitchers), the players formed the Players' League, but it quickly failed. The American Association unsuccessfully challenged the National League and late in 1891 merged with it in a 12-team league that constituted a monopoly, an arrangement that prevailed through 1899. By 1900 the National League had shrunk to eight teams—Boston (the team that would eventually become the Braves), Brooklyn (soon to be the Dodgers (Los Angeles Dodgers)), Chicago (soon to be the Cubs), Cincinnati (the Reds, who had returned to the league in 1890), New York City (the Giants), Philadelphia (the Phillies), Pittsburgh (the Pirates), and St. Louis (the Cardinals)—and it remained so constituted until 1953, when the Boston Braves (Atlanta Braves) moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

 The Western League, organized in 1893, had Midwestern members. When in 1900 Charles Comiskey (Comiskey, Charles) moved his St. Paul (Minnesota) team to Chicago as the White Sox (Chicago White Sox) and the Grand Rapids (Michigan) team was shifted to Cleveland as the Indians, the National League agreed to the moves. However, when permission was asked to put teams in Baltimore (Maryland) and Washington, D.C., the National League balked, and the “baseball war” was on. The Western League, renamed the American League and officially elevated to major league status in 1901, transferred teams from Indianapolis (Indiana), Kansas City (Missouri), Minneapolis, and Buffalo (New York) to Baltimore (the first of two American League teams to be called the Baltimore Orioles), Washington, D.C. (the Senators), Philadelphia (the Athletics), and Boston (the Red Stockings). American League teams also were established in Detroit, Michigan (the Tigers), and Milwaukee (the first of two teams to be named the Milwaukee Brewers), the latter club moving to St. Louis as the Browns in 1902. When the Baltimore club moved to New York City in 1903 to become the Highlanders (after 1912, the Yankees), the league took the form it was to keep until 1954, when the St. Louis Browns became the Baltimore Orioles.

 During the “war,” the American League wooed away many of the National League's star players. In 1903 the leagues agreed to prohibit single ownership of two clubs in the same city and the shifting of franchises from one city to another by either league without permission of the other. They also established rules for transferring players from one league to the other and for moving minor league players into the major leagues. The peace of 1903 resulted in the first World Series, which, after a hiatus in 1904 (the New York Giants refused to play, believing the opposition unworthy), was held each year thereafter, the winner being the team to win four games out of seven (five out of nine from 1919 to 1921). In the period following the “war,” the two leagues enjoyed a long period of growth. The “inside game” dominated the next two decades. It was a style of play that emphasized pitching, speed, and batsmanship. Bunting was very common, and doubles and triples were more heralded than home runs (which during this era were almost exclusively of the inside-the-park variety). Two managers were credited as the masters of the inside game and brought success to their respective teams: John J. McGraw (McGraw, John), manager of the National League New York Giants (1902–32), and Connie Mack (Mack, Connie), manager of the American League Philadelphia Athletics (1901–50).

Survival and growth
 Baseball suffered a major scandal—subsequently called the Black Sox Scandal—when eight members of the Chicago White Sox were accused of accepting bribes from known gamblers to “throw” the 1919 World Series. Although Charles Comiskey, owner of the White Sox, suspended the players for the 1921 season, they were found not guilty because of insufficient evidence. Presuming a need to restore baseball's honour, however, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis (Landis, Kenesaw Mountain) banned the eight accused players from baseball for life after he was named baseball's first commissioner, supplanting the three-man National Commission that had been created in 1903.

      During the 1920s, generally known as a golden age of sports in the United States, the premier hero was Babe Ruth (Ruth, Babe). A New York Yankee outfielder affectionately known as the “Sultan of Swat,” Ruth was a large man with an even larger personality, and his reinvention of the home run (the sort that traveled over the outfield wall) into a mythic feat enthralled the nation. His performance not only assured the success of his team but spurred a tactical change in baseball. The inside game, with its bunts and sacrifices, gave way to the era of free swinging at the plate. The resulting explosion of offense brought fans to the ballparks in droves. Even the Great Depression of the 1930s did little to abate the rise in popularity and financial success of the game except at the minor league and Negro league levels. The commercial growth of the game was aided by several recent innovations. The first All-Star Game, an exhibition game pitting the best players in the National League against the best of the American League, was played at Comiskey Park in Chicago in 1933. During the 1920s club owners also cautiously embraced radio broadcasting of games. The first major league game broadcast took place in Pittsburgh in 1921, but during that decade only the Chicago Cubs allowed broadcasts of all their games. Many owners feared radio would dissuade fans from attending the games in person, especially during the Great Depression. However, the opposite proved to be true; radio created new fans and brought more of them to the ballpark. Night baseball, which had already been used by barnstorming and minor league teams, began in the major leagues at Cincinnati in 1935. Initially caution and tradition slowed the interest in night baseball, but the obvious commercial benefits of playing when fans were not at work eventually won out. Delayed by World War II, night baseball became almost universal by the 1960s, with all teams but the Cubs scheduling about half of their home games at night. (The Cubs acceded to night baseball at home only in 1988.) The first nighttime World Series game was played in 1971.

 From 1942 until the end of World War II, baseball operated under the “green light” order of Commissioner Landis (Landis, Kenesaw Mountain), approved by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Roosevelt, Franklin D.). Soon after the Pearl Harbor attack, Landis asked Roosevelt if he felt that baseball should “close down for the duration of the war.” Roosevelt, a lifelong baseball fan, replied in a letter dated January 15, 1942, that he felt baseball was valuable to the nation and should continue throughout the war. Once Landis received this letter giving baseball the go-ahead, organized baseball threw itself behind the American war effort, billing itself as “the national nerve tonic” for workers in wartime factories. Attendance at baseball games was still off slightly. Further, many players went into the armed services—most notably Ted Williams (Williams, Ted), the last man in organized baseball to have a season batting average of more than .400 (.406 in 1941)—and the quality of play suffered somewhat.

The postwar period
 The years following the conclusion of World War II were marked by rising attendance, the growth of the minor leagues, and in 1947 the racial integration of the game (for more on the integration of baseball, see Blacks in baseball, below). This period also was marked by new efforts by players to obtain better pay and conditions of employment. A portent of things to come was the formation in 1946 of the American Baseball Guild. Although the guild failed in appeals to national and state labour relations boards, its very existence led to reforms before the 1947 season: a minimum major league salary of $5,000, no salary cuts during a season for a major league player moved to the minors, weekly spring-training expense money of $25, a 25 percent limit on annual salary cuts, and establishment of a players' pension fund.

      Landis's successor as commissioner, Albert B. (“Happy”) Chandler (Chandler, Happy) (1945–51), assured the soundness of the pension fund in 1950 by signing a six-year contract for broadcasting World Series and All-Star games; the television portion alone amounted to $1 million a year, with a large proportion earmarked for the pension fund. Radio and television rights for regular-season games remained with each club. Later commissioners included Ford C. Frick (Frick, Ford) (1951–65), William D. Eckert (1965–69), Bowie Kuhn (1969–84), Peter Ueberroth (1984–89), A. Bartlett Giamatti (1989), Fay Vincent (1989–92), and Allan H. (“Bud”) Selig.

Movement and expansion
      The postwar boom was short-lived, however. America was going through tremendous changes. Millions were moving out of the cities and to the suburbs, and population centres in the South and West were growing. Americans had more time and money to enjoy themselves, which they did through vacationing and outdoor recreation. Moreover, the rapid growth of television preoccupied the country. Baseball was slow to adapt. Major league clubs were located only as far west as St. Louis and no farther south than Washington, D.C. Many of the ballparks had fallen into disrepair, were outdated, and were inconvenient for surburbanites driving in for a game. Despite exciting play on the field, attendance began to wane. The added revenue from radio and television broadcast rights could not offset the losses at the gate. The 1950s saw the first franchise changes since 1903. In 1953 the Braves (Atlanta Braves), always overshadowed in New England by the Red Sox, moved from Boston to Milwaukee (in 1966 the franchise moved again, to Atlanta, Georgia), where they were offered a new stadium. The next year the St. Louis Browns, themselves overshadowed by the Cardinals, moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles. In 1955 the Philadelphia Athletics franchise was moved to Kansas City, Missouri (and in 1968 to Oakland, California). The impact of these moves was slight compared with the move of the Dodgers (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Giants from New York City to California (the Dodgers to Los Angeles and the Giants to San Francisco) in 1958. Frustrated in his attempts to win city support for a new stadium, Dodger owner Walter O'Malley (O'Malley, Walter) jumped at an offer to relocate the team to Los Angeles, which was then the third largest city in the country. O'Malley persuaded the Giants to move to San Francisco in order to maintain their rivalry and ease the travel burden on National League teams.

      Despite the betrayal felt by fans in Brooklyn and Manhattan, the moves were a successful business decision for the clubs. The decade of franchise movement was followed by several rounds of expansion that lasted into the 1990s. Expansion began in 1961 when the Washington (D.C.) Senators were moved to Minneapolis–St. Paul and renamed the Twins (Minnesota Twins), and a new franchise was granted to Washington (also named the Senators); however, it lasted only until 1971, when it was transferred to Dallas–Fort Worth and renamed the Texas Rangers. Another American League franchise was awarded to Los Angeles (later moved to Anaheim as the California Angels, now known as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) in 1961, and in 1962 the National League also expanded to 10 teams with new franchises in New York City (the Mets (New York Mets)) and Houston, Texas (the Colt .45s; after 1964, the Astros). The 154-game season had been expanded in the American League to 162 in 1961; the National League followed suit in 1962.

      Along with this first round of expansion came an era of superb pitching that dominated the league for a generation. The earned run averages for pitchers during this era averaged 3.30, and the major league batting average fell as low as .238 in 1968. Several changes in the game were believed to account for the resurgence of pitching; the strike zone was expanded in 1963; managers explored more strategic uses of the relief pitchers; and new glove technology improved defensive play. At the same time, a new generation of large multipurpose stadiums (stadium) came into use. These stadiums typically used artificial turf that was harder and faster than natural grass. As a result, new emphasis was placed on speed in the field and on the base paths. Fearing that the dominance of pitching was hurting fan interest in the game, the major league tried to improve hitting by lowering the mound and narrowing the strike zone in 1969. In hopes of further increasing offensive play, the American League introduced the designated hitter in 1973. The changes did increase offensive output, but pitching still dominated through much of the 1970s.

      In 1969 new franchises were awarded to Montreal (the Expos, the first major league franchise outside the United States) and San Diego, California (the Padres), bringing the National League to 12 teams. In the American League in 1969, new franchises in Kansas City, Missouri (the Royals), and Seattle, Washington (the Pilots), brought that league to 12 teams, and both leagues were divided into Eastern and Western divisions.

      Playoffs between division winners determined the league pennant winners, who then played in the World Series, which was extended into late October. California, which had had no major league baseball prior to 1958, had five teams by 1969. Of the new franchises, only Seattle failed outright and was moved to Milwaukee, where it became the Brewers (Milwaukee Brewers) (moved to the National League in a 1998 reorganization). A franchise was again granted to Seattle (the Mariners) and to Toronto (the Blue Jays), bringing the number of American League teams to 14 in 1977. In 1993 the National League also was brought to 14 with the addition of teams in Denver (the Colorado Rockies) and Miami (the Florida Marlins). In 1998 the Arizona Diamondbacks (located in Phoenix) joined the National League, and the Tampa Bay (Florida) Devil Rays (now known as the Tampa Bay Rays) began play in the American League.

      In 1994 both leagues were reconfigured into East, Central, and West divisions. The playoff format was changed to include an additional round and a wild card (the team with the best record among the non-division-winning teams in each league).

      An explosion of offense occurred in the mid-1980s and after. In particular, home runs increased dramatically, reaching record-breaking numbers from 1985 to 1987 and again in the late 1990s. The reasons for the change from dominant pitching to hitting were not entirely clear. Many claimed the ball had been engineered to fly farther; others claimed that continual expansion had diluted the quality of pitching. The improved off-season conditioning (that now often included weight lifting) made players stronger and quicker with their bats. The 1990s also saw another generation of new ballparks, many of which featured small dimensions that were more to the liking of power hitters.

      During the later half of the 20th century, expansion was perceived by baseball executives as both a source of added revenue for clubs (large entry fees were charged to new franchises) as well as a means of generating new interest in the game. In 2001, however, concerns over economically underperforming clubs prompted owners to announce plans to contract two teams. The plan was put on hold after the player's union pursued legal action to prevent the move. The collective bargaining agreement of 2002 allowed for contraction to be considered in 2007.

The minor leagues
      The minor leagues formed an association in 1901 to deal with the problems resulting from the lack of agreement on contract ownership, salaries, territoriality, and other issues. The current structure was created when the major leagues reached their agreement in 1903, and the minor leagues became a training ground for prospective major league players and a refuge for older players.

 In 1919 Branch Rickey (Rickey, Branch), then manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, devised what came to be known as the “farm system”; as the price of established players increased, the Cardinals began “growing” their own, signing hundreds of high-school boys. Other major league clubs followed suit, developing their own farm clubs that were tied into the minors. In 1949 the minor leagues were tremendously popular: 448 teams in the United States, Canada, Cuba, and Mexico played in 59 leagues with an aggregate attendance of some 39 million, about twice that of the 16 major league clubs. The minor leagues at that time were divided into six classifications, graded according to the level of playing skills: AAA (triple A), AA (double A), A (single A), B, C, and D.

      Attendance eroded soon thereafter when the major leagues began broadcasting and televising their games into minor league attendance areas. By the early 1980s, after the American and National leagues had annexed 10 choice minor league territories, the number of minor league teams had been greatly reduced, and only 17 leagues remained. Attendance had dropped, and the minor league clubs generally looked to the major league parent clubs for heavy subsidization. The purpose of the minor leagues had evolved from mainly providing local entertainment to developing major league talent.

      This situation improved in the early 1990s. As ticket prices for major league games escalated, attendance at less expensive minor league games rose apace. Further, development of new stadiums and renovation of existing facilities created more interest in minor league baseball. By 2001 attendance at minor league games had reached more than 38.8 million. The minors had 15 leagues with 176 teams falling into one of five classifications—AAA, AA, A (full season), A (short season), and Rookie. The minor league franchises successfully concentrated on drawing families to their parks with both games and promotional entertainment.

Labour issues
      From the beginning of organized (organized labour) professional baseball, the owners had controlled the game, players, managers, and umpires. The players had begun to organize as early as 1885, when a group of New York Giants formed the National Brotherhood of Base Ball Players, a benevolent and protective association. Under the leadership of John Montgomery Ward, who had a law degree and was a player for the Giants, the Brotherhood grew rapidly as a secret organization. It went public in 1886 to challenge the adoption of a $2,000 salary ceiling by the National League. Rebuffed in attempts to negotiate with league owners, the Brotherhood in 1890 formed the short-lived Players League.

      During the National League–American League war of 1900–03, the Protective Association of Professional Baseball Players got National League players to switch to the other league, but with the peace treaty the association died. In 1912 came the Baseball Players' Fraternity, which included most professional players. It was organized after the suspension of Ty Cobb for punching a fan. Later a threatened strike was settled the day before it was to begin.

Rise of the players
      After a 1953 Supreme Court (Supreme Court of the United States) decision reaffirmed a 1922 decision stating that baseball was not a business that was subject to antitrust (antitrust law) rules, baseball felt assured that its legal and economic foundation was firm. This foundation is primarily based on the Reserve Rule, or Reserve Clause, an agreement among major league teams, dating from 1879, whereby the rights of each team to the services of its players are observed by other teams; i.e., a team could designate a certain number of players who were not to be offered jobs by other teams. The original number of 5 such players was increased to 11 in 1883 and ultimately included a whole team roster.

      The recourse the court failed to provide was in substance achieved by the Major League Baseball Players Association—founded in 1953 but largely ineffectual until 1966, when it hired as executive director Marvin Miller, a former labour-union official who also had been active in government in labour-management relations. A skillful negotiator, he secured players' rights and benefits contractually and established grievance procedures with recourse to impartial arbitration. In 1968 the minimum salary was doubled to $10,000, and first-class travel and meal allowances were established in 1970. A threatened players' boycott of spring training was averted in 1969 by a compromise assuring a $20,000 median salary.

      In 1970 a new suit was brought in federal court contesting the Reserve Clause. The suit was supported by the players' association, which hired as counsel Arthur Goldberg (Goldberg, Arthur J.), a former U.S. Supreme Court justice. The plaintiff was Curt Flood (Flood, Curt), star outfielder of the St. Louis Cardinals, and the defendants were the commissioner, the two major league presidents, and the major league clubs. Flood claimed that, in trading him to the Philadelphia Phillies without his knowledge or approval, the Cardinals had violated the antitrust laws. He refused to report to the Phillies and sat out the season. The court found against Flood, who appealed, and in 1972 the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the 1922 and 1953 decisions exempting baseball from the antitrust laws, but it called on Congress to correct through legislation any inequities. Meanwhile, Flood had signed for the 1971 season with Washington on the understanding that he would not be sold or traded without his permission. He quit in midseason, however.

      In 1972 baseball had its first general strike, lasting 13 days and causing the cancellation of 86 regular-season games and delaying the divisional playoffs and World Series by 10 days. The players asked for and ultimately got an addition to the pension fund. Another players' strike was averted in 1973, when an agreement was reached that provided compulsory impartial arbitration of salary negotiations and established a rule that allowed a player with 10 years of service in the major leagues and the last 5 years with the same club to refuse to be traded without his consent.

      These were unprecedented victories for the players, but their greatest triumph came prior to the 1976 season. Pitchers Andy Messersmith of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dave McNally of the Montreal Expos played the entire 1975 season without signing a contract; their contracts had expired but were automatically renewed by their clubs. Miller had been waiting for such a test case. The players' union filed a grievance on behalf of McNall and Messersmith, contending that a player's contract could not be renewed in perpetuity, a custom first established in 1879. Arbitrator Peter Seitz found for the players. This decision substantively demolished the Reserve Rule.

      Stunned, the owners appealed but without success. Negotiations followed, however, and the union agreed to a modification of the Reserve Rule: players with six or more years of major league service could become free agents when their contracts expired and would be eligible to make their own deals. The ruling allowed eligible players who refused to sign their 1976 contracts to choose free agency in 1977.

      Twenty-four players took immediate advantage of this new opportunity and went on the open market. Frantic bidding by the clubs followed. Bill Campbell, a relief pitcher with the Minnesota Twins, was the first free agent to make a new connection. He signed a four-year, $1 million contract with the Boston Red Sox, which annually paid him more than 10 times his 1976 salary. The free agency procedure was the principal issue when the players struck for 50 days at the height of the 1981 season (June 12–July 31), forcing the cancellation of 714 games. Once again the players won. In the settlement it was agreed that clubs losing players to free agency would not receive direct compensation from the free agents' new teams. The union contended that such compensation would impede movement, forcing the signing club, in effect, to pay twice: a huge sum to the player and further compensation to the player's former employer. Under certain conditions relating to the quality of the player, however, the team that lost the free agent could draft a player from among those assigned to a compensation pool by their teams, and it could select an amateur draft choice from the signing team.

      After another brief shutdown (August 6–7, 1985) centring on salary arbitration, the owners agreed to increase the minimum salary from $40,000 to $60,000, but the number of major league seasons a player had to serve before qualifying for arbitration was raised from two to three. Fan interest continued to rise, and major league attendance records were broken six times in the 1985–91 seasons. The major source of revenue, however, was television. The combined revenue from network television in 1984 was $90 million; one network purchased the rights to televise games in the 1990–93 seasons for $1.1 billion.

      In 1994 the owners, unhappy with escalating payrolls and wary of declining television revenues and the growing financial gap between large- and small-market clubs, proposed a new collective bargaining agreement that included a salary cap (a limit on a team's payroll), elimination of salary arbitration, and a revised free agency plan. The proposal was a dramatic shift from the previous contract and was promptly rejected by the players' union. The negotiations that followed were inconclusive, and on August 12 the players went on strike, shutting down all major league play for the remainder of the season. When the owners unilaterally imposed the salary cap in December 1994, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) threatened legal action, and the cap was withdrawn. The owners again acted unilaterally in February 1995, eliminating salary arbitration, free agent bidding, and anticollusion provisions. Again the NLRB responded, seeking an injunction that would force ownership to operate under the old contract until a new agreement could be reached with the union. A U.S. district court granted the injunction on March 31, 1995, and the players' union quickly announced that the strike was over. The owners accepted the players' offer to return without a new agreement and to continue negotiations.

      The 1994–95 strike lasted 234 days, erased 921 games (669 from the 1994 season, 252 from the 1995 season), forced the first cancellation of the World Series since 1904, disrupted the economies of cities and states, and disappointed millions of fans—all without reaching a resolution. As a result, there was an unprecedented decline in attendance during the 1995 season.

      Attendance improved by 2000, but player compensation had soared; the average salary paid to a player had risen dramatically. (But while the average player salary increased sharply, the median player salary had not, meaning that the salaries paid to superstars of the game increased at a much greater rate than those of ordinary players. The average salary was about $41,000 in 1974, $289,000 in 1983, nearly $590,000 in 1990, and nearly $2,000,000 in 2000. Median salaries were not compiled in the 1970s, but the 1983 median salary was $207,000, in 1990 it was $350,000, and in 2000 it was $700,000.)

Blacks in baseball
      During baseball's infancy, a colour barrier was put up by the first formal organization of baseball clubs, the National Association of Base Ball Players, which decreed in 1867 that clubs "which may be composed of one or more coloured persons" should not be permitted to compete with its teams of gentlemen amateurs. When the first professional league was formed four years later, it had no written rule barring black players, but it was tacitly understood that they were not welcome.

      The colour line was not consistently enforced, though, during the early years of professionalism. At least 60 black players performed in the minor leagues during the late 19th century—mostly in all-black clubs. In 1884 two African Americans played in a recognized major league, the American Association. They were Moses Fleetwood (“Fleet”) Walker, a catcher for the Association's Toledo team, and his brother Welday, an outfielder who appeared in six games for Toledo.

      The number of black players in professional leagues peaked in 1887 when Fleet Walker, second baseman Bud Fowler, pitcher George Stovey, pitcher Robert Higgins, and Frank Grant, a second baseman who was probably the best black player of the 19th century, were on rosters of clubs in the International League, one rung below the majors. At least 15 other black players were in lesser professional leagues. Although they suffered harassment and discrimination off the field, they were grudgingly accepted by most of their teammates and opponents.

      A League of Colored Base Ball Clubs, organized in 1887 in cities of the Northeast and border states, was recognized as a legitimate minor league under organized baseball's National Agreement and raised hopes of sending black players to big league teams. The league's first games, however, attracted small crowds, and it collapsed after only one week. While no rule in organized baseball ever stated that black players were banned, a so-called “gentlemen's agreement” to exclude blacks eventually prevailed.

      There were other disturbing signs of exclusion for black players in 1887. The Syracuse (New York) Stars of the International League suffered a mutiny when pitcher Douglas (“Dug”) Crothers refused to sit for a team portrait with his black teammate Robert Higgins. In Newark, New Jersey, black pitcher Stovey was kept out of an exhibition game with the major league Chicago White Stockings at the insistence of Cap Anson (Anson, Cap), Chicago's manager and one of the most famous players of baseball's early days. And the St. Louis Browns (Baltimore Orioles), American Association champions, refused to play an exhibition game against the all-black Cuban Giants. The night before the scheduled game, eight members of the Browns handed a message to the team's owner that read: "[We] do not agree to play against Negroes tomorrow. We will cheerfully play against white people at any time."

      In midseason that year the International League's board of directors told its secretary to approve no more contracts for black players, although it did not oust the league's five blacks. The Ohio State League also wrestled inconclusively with the colour question. It was becoming clear that the colour bar was gradually being raised. Black players were in the minor leagues for the next few years, but their numbers declined steadily. The last black players in the recognized minor leagues during 19th century were the Acme Colored Giants, who represented Celoron, New York, in the Iron and Oil Leagues in 1898.

      As the 20th century dawned, separation of the races was becoming the rule, especially in the South. The U.S. Supreme Court had written segregation into national law in 1895 in Plessy v. Ferguson, which approved separate schools for black and white children. In the South (South, the), state laws and local ordinances placed limits on the use of public facilities by African Americans and forbade athletic competition between blacks and whites. In the North (North, the), African Americans were not usually segregated by law, but local custom dictated second-class citizenship for them.

      Nevertheless, the idea of black players in the major and minor leagues was not yet unthinkable. In 1901 John J. McGraw (McGraw, John), manager of the Baltimore Orioles in the new American League, tried to sign a black second baseman named Charlie Grant by saying that he was a Native American named Tokohama, a member of the Cherokee tribe. The effort failed when rivals correctly identified Grant instead as a member of the Chicago Columbia Giants, a black team. Five years later there was an aborted attempt to bring African American William Clarence Matthews, Harvard University's shortstop from 1902 to 1905, into the National League.

      Increasingly, black players who wanted to play professionally had to join all-black teams. (Several swarthy players in the big leagues were widely assumed to be black, although they claimed to be white Latin Americans. No admitted black men played in the white leagues at the time.) Ninety percent of the country's African American citizens lived in the South, but migration to Northern states was increasing. With the growing base of potential fans in the North, top-quality black teams appeared in the Northeast and Midwest. Among them were the Genuine Cuban Giants and Cuban X Giants of New York City (both made up of African Americans despite their names), the Cuban Stars and Havana Stars (both with real Cubans), the Lincoln Giants of New York City, the Philadelphia Giants, the Bacharach Giants of Atlantic City (New Jersey), the Homestead (Pennsylvania) Grays, the Hilldale Club of Philadelphia, and the Norfolk (Virginia) Red Stockings. In the Midwest the leaders were the Chicago American Giants, the Columbia Giants, Leland Giants, and Union Giants of Chicago, the Kansas City (Missouri) Monarchs, and the Indianapolis ABCs. Especially noteworthy was the All Nations team, composed of African Americans, whites, a Japanese, a Hawaiian, an American Indian, and several Latin Americans. On its roster at various times before World War I were two of the greatest black pitchers, John Donaldson and Jose Mendez.

      These teams vied for the mythical "colored championship of the world" and also played white semipro and college teams. Salaries were modest. Journeymen players earned $40 to $75 a month, while a star might command more than $100. Some Chicago teams played in the city's semipro league on weekends, occasionally competing against big leaguers from the Cubs and White Sox who played under assumed names. During the week they played white clubs in nearby towns.

 Major league teams often played black teams during spring training trips to Cuba and sometimes had postseason games against black clubs in the United States. In 1909, for example, the Chicago Cubs won three close games in a series with the Leland Giants. In 1915, eastern black teams won four of eight games against big league teams, including a five-hit shutout of the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies by Smokey Joe Williams (Williams, Smokey Joe) of the Lincoln Giants. In the late 1920s Commissioner Landis (Landis, Kenesaw Mountain) forbade big league clubs from competing in toto in the off-season. Partisans of black baseball believed it was because black teams often beat the major leaguers.

      In the Midwest a few teams barnstormed all season long. The Kansas City (Kansas) Giants, for example, were on the road all summer, traveling mostly by railroad. Their opponents were white semipro teams throughout the Midwestern states and southern Canada. Although a black face was a novelty in the small towns, the players remembered that by and large they had little trouble finding food and lodging in the rural areas.

 Formed in 1920 and 1921, respectively, the Negro National League and the Negro Eastern League played in New York City, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City (Missouri), Detroit, and other cities that had absorbed a large influx of African Americans from the South during and after World War I. In the 1920s a Negro World Series was begun and was held annually until the Negro leagues failed in the 1930s. A second Negro National League was founded late in that decade, and the Negro American League, formed in 1936, ultimately had Eastern and Western divisions that in 1952 played a Negro East-West game. Among the most famous players in the various Negro leagues were Josh Gibson (Gibson, Josh) (who was credited with hitting 89 home runs in one season), Satchel Paige (Paige, Satchel), Bill Yancey, John Henry Lloyd (Lloyd, John Henry), Andrew (“Rube”) Foster, and James Thomas (“Cool Papa”) Bell (Bell, Cool Papa). After World War II, attendance at Negro league games declined as outstanding players were lost to formerly all-white teams. (For more in-depth information on this topic, see Negro leagues.)

Robert W. Peterson Ed.

 Several major league teams either discussed or attempted the racial integration of professional baseball in the 1940s. The interest in integration in the 1940s was sparked by several factors—the increasing economic and political influence of urban blacks, the success of black ballplayers in exhibition games with major leaguers, and especially the participation of African Americans in World War II. The hypocrisy of fighting fascism abroad while tolerating segregation at home was difficult to ignore. During the war, protest signs outside Yankee Stadium read, “If we are able to stop bullets, why not balls?” A major obstacle to integration was removed in 1944 with the death of Commissioner Landis. Though he had made several public declarations that there was no colour barrier in baseball, during his tenure Landis prevented any attempts at signing black players. (He blocked, for example, Bill Veeck (Veeck, Bill)'s purchase of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1943 after learning that Veeck planned to stock his team with Negro league All-Stars.) On the other hand, Landis's successor, Happy Chandler (Chandler, Happy), was openly supportive of bringing integration to the sport.

  In 1947 Jackie Robinson (Robinson, Jackie) became the first black player in the modern major leagues. His arrival was the result of careful planning by Brooklyn Dodgers (Los Angeles Dodgers) President Branch Rickey (Rickey, Branch), who began researching the idea of signing a black player and scouting for the right individual when he joined the Dodgers in 1942. In a meeting with Robinson in 1945, Rickey badgered the player for several hours about the abuse and hostility he would receive from players and fans and warned him that he must not retaliate. Robinson agreed and spent the 1946 season with the Dodgers minor league franchise in Montreal in preparation for playing in the big leagues. His first season with Brooklyn was marred by all the hostility that Rickey had predicted (even from a handful of teammates), but it also was marked by Robinson's determined play, which eventually won over fans and opponents, as well as helping the Dodgers win the National League pennant and earning him the Rookie of the Year award. Robinson, who was named Most Valuable Player in the National League after his third year, was followed into the major leagues immediately by Larry Doby (Doby, Larry) and in 1948 by Paige (Paige, Satchel). Both played for the American League Cleveland Indians, who won the World Series in 1948. Despite the successes of Robinson, Doby, and Paige, full integration of the major leagues came about slowly and was not completed until 1959 when Elijah Green joined the Boston Red Sox.

 The impact of black players on the field was significant. They brought over from the Negro leagues an aggressive style of play that combined power hitting with daring on the base paths. Black players soon established themselves as major league stars. In the 1950s and '60s players such as outfielders Willie Mays (Mays, Willie) and Hank Aaron (Aaron, Hank) (who set the all-time career home-run record) and pitcher Bob Gibson (Gibson, Bob) posted statistics that ranked them among the best ever to play the game. Later Reggie Jackson (Jackson, Reggie), Ozzie Smith, and Barry Bonds (Bonds, Barry) were definitive players of their respective eras. In 1962 Robinson became the first black player inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame (Baseball Hall of Fame). In the 1970s, membership in the Hall was opened to the bygone stars of the Negro leagues.

      By that time acceptance of black players was commonplace. However, inclusion of minorities in coaching and administrative positions was virtually nonexistent. In 1961 Gene Baker became the first African American to manage a minor league team, and in the mid-1960s there were only two African American coaches in the major leagues. In 1975 the Cleveland Indians made Frank Robinson (Robinson, Frank) the first black field manager in major league history. However, opportunities for minorities in managerial positions were rare, and their representation in leadership positions remains an issue.

Jerome Holtzman Ed.

Women in baseball
      Women have played organized baseball since the 1860s. Students at the all-female Vassar College formed baseball teams as early as 1866. In 1875 three men organized a women's baseball club in Springfield, Illinois, divided it into two teams, the Blondes and the Brunettes, and charged admission to see them play. In the early 20th century, barnstorming teams known as “Bloomer Girls” were formed in various parts of the United States and took on amateur and semiprofessional teams that included both men and women.

      In its early stages, women's involvement in professional baseball was largely an attempt to profit from the novelty of female players. An Ohio woman, Alta Weiss, pitched for the otherwise all-male semiprofessional Vermilion Independents in 1907. Jackie Mitchell became the first female professional baseball player when she signed a contract with the minor league Chattanooga Lookouts in 1931. Mitchell pitched in an exhibition game against the New York Yankees and struck out their two star players, Babe Ruth (Ruth, Babe) and Lou Gehrig (Gehrig, Lou). Organized baseball formally banned women from signing professional contracts with men's teams in 1952, and the prohibition is still in effect.

      When World War II made the suspension of major league baseball a possibility, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) was founded with four teams—the Rockford (Illinois) Peaches, the Racine Belles and the Kenosha Comets (both of Wisconsin), and the South Bend (Indiana) Blue Sox. The AAGPBL drew large crowds because of its players' athletic abilities. The league management, however, was concerned that the players appear feminine to the fans, and rules encouraging the wearing of lipstick and long hair and banning the wearing of trousers off the field were promulgated. On the field, the women initially played fast-pitch softball (which features a larger ball and underhand pitching), but by 1948 overhand pitching was introduced, and eventually the only difference of note between men's baseball and AAGPBL baseball was the size of the diamond, which in the AAGPBL had a shorter distance between bases. During its 11-year existence (1943–54), the league received a great deal of national attention, but by the 1950s the televising of major league baseball led to dwindling interest in the women's teams, and the league folded. These female players were eventually recognized with an exhibit at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1988. In 1992 the feature film A League of Their Own dramatized the story of the AAGPBL.

      Beginning in 1994, the Colorado Silver Bullets, sponsored by a brewing company and managed by Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro, competed against men's teams for four years. Between 1997 and 2000 Ila Borders, a left-handed pitcher, played for two men's teams in the independent Northern League. While women have participated in professional baseball for more than a century, their impact on the game has been limited.

Milton Jamail

Amateur baseball
      After the divorce of amateur baseball in the United States from its professional counterpart in 1871, the amateur game continued to thrive on vacant lots in towns and cities and on pastures in the countryside. Becoming popular internationally, amateur baseball traveled to Latin America and Asia. Further, play by U.S. military teams helped make baseball a minor sport in The Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, England, Spain, Australia, and Tunisia. Amateur teams worldwide are represented by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), which was formed by American Leslie Mann in 1938. The organization, headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, has hosted a Baseball World Cup since 1938.

 As would be expected, baseball is one of the more important amateur sports in the United States. The first national amateur baseball program was the American Legion Junior League, founded in 1926 and later called the American Legion Baseball League, with an upper age limit of 19 years for players. The American Amateur Baseball Congress (founded 1935) conducts programs for youths age 8 to 19 and adults in seven divisions. By the late 1990s Little League (founded 1939), originally for boys 8 to 12 years old, had about 2,500,000 players in its baseball program and 400,000 in its softball program in 102 countries. Little League has added leagues for children as young as age 5 (Tee Ball, in which the ball is batted from a stationary pedestal) and for youths as old as age 18 (Big League). In 1974 girls were admitted into Little League play; boys and girls play together in the baseball program, but the softball program is divided by gender. Other programs for young players include the Babe Ruth League (1952) and PONY (Protect Our Nation's Youth) Baseball, Inc. (1951).

      American collegiate baseball is governed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). By 2000 more than 850 colleges fielded baseball teams under the NCAA. From 1947 the organization has conducted the College World Series, held since 1950 in Omaha, Nebraska.

      Perhaps the pinnacle of amateur baseball is the Olympics (Olympic Games). Baseball was played at the 1904 Olympic Games and had either exhibition or demonstration status at a number of Games after that, but it was designated a full medal sport beginning with the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Spain. Professional players became eligible to participate in Olympic baseball at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

Jerome Holtzman Ed.

Baseball abroad
Baseball in Latin America
      Baseball was first played in the United States in the 1840s but soon after became an international sport. The game was introduced in Cuba in 1864 when students returned home from the United States with a bat and ball. Baseball took hold and in fact became part of the Cuban identity in the independence struggle against Spain in the last quarter of the 19th century. Cubans helped spread the game throughout the Caribbean region. Two Cuban brothers brought baseball to the Dominican Republic in the 1880s, and Cubans, along with local nationals who had studied in the United States, introduced baseball to Venezuela in 1895 and to Puerto Rico in 1897.

      Cuban refugees from the independence struggle, along with railroad workers and U.S. merchant marines, introduced baseball to various regions of Mexico between 1877 and the 1890s. Today baseball remains the most important sport in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela and is among the most popular sports in Puerto Rico. Football (soccer) remains the dominant sport in Mexico but is challenged by baseball in certain regions of the country; baseball is also an important sport in Central America. In the final decades of the 20th century, players from Latin American countries and Puerto Rico became an increasingly dominant force in major league baseball in the United States. See also Sidebar: Latin Americans in Major League Baseball.

      Professional leagues currently exist in the Dominican Republic , Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. Games are played between October and January, with the winners of the four leagues meeting in the Caribbean Series each February. In Mexico there is also a summer league affiliated with Minor League Baseball (the governing body of minor league baseball in the United States) that has been given Triple A status. In both the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, summer rookie leagues are affiliated with Minor League Baseball.

      Professional baseball leagues existed in Cuba (see also Cuban League) from 1878 until 1961, when the Cuban government abolished the professional game. With all the Cuban talent now at the amateur level, the Cubans began to dominate international amateur competition, winning the first gold medals given in baseball at the Olympic Games in Barcelona (1992) and Atlanta (1996).

Baseball in Asia and the Pacific
 Baseball was introduced in Japan in the 1870s. It quickly gained popularity and by the end of the century had become a national sport. Today the annual Koshien tournament in Ōsaka, featuring the country's top high-school teams, is nationally televised and can draw more than 50,000 fans.

 A professional league was organized in 1936, and the two current leagues, the Central and the Pacific, began to operate in 1950 (see also Japanese baseball leagues). The champions of the two leagues meet each October in the Japan Series, the equivalent of the World Series in the United States. The most famous Japanese professional player is Oh Sadaharu, who hit 868 home runs while playing for the Yomiuri Giants between 1959 and 1980. (Hank Aaron, the leading home-run hitter in U.S. major league baseball, had a career total of 755.)

      While the Japanese leagues have long imported players from the United States, only recently have Japanese players begun to play in the major leagues in the United States. In 1995 pitcher Hideo Nomo (Nomo Hideo) became the first Japanese citizen to join a U.S. major league team, after pitching professionally in the Japanese major leagues. Nomo won National League Rookie of the Year honours for his performance with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995, became a hero in Japan, and drew the attention of the American public to the quality of Japanese baseball. Ichiro Suzuki (Suzuki, Ichiro), as an outfielder with the Seattle Mariners at the turn of the 21st century, was another player who impressed American baseball fans.

      Baseball is also an important sport in Korea, where there is a professional league, the Korea Baseball Organization, that has fielded an eight-team circuit since 1982. Taiwan, which has produced several Little League world champion teams, has two professional leagues, the Chinese Professional Baseball League, a four-team league that started in 1990, and the Taiwan Major League, a four-team league that began operations in 1997. Australia has an eight-team professional league, the International Baseball Association Australia, which started in 1989.

European baseball
      Although professional sports in Europe are dominated by football (soccer), Italy has a 9-team professional baseball league and The Netherlands (Netherlands, The) a 10-team circuit. Both Italy and The Netherlands qualified to compete in baseball at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

International competition
  Baseball debuted as an Olympic (Olympic Games) sport at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Spain, and in the late 1990s the International Baseball Federation permitted professionals to play in international competitions. But because the Olympic Summer Games take place during the Major League Baseball season, the Olympic tournament failed to attract the top players in the sport. In 2005 the International Olympic Committee voted to drop the sport from the Summer program following the 2008 Olympics. That same year the International Baseball Federation sanctioned the World Baseball Classic, an international competition between national teams consisting of professional and amateur players. The inaugural World Baseball Classic was held in March 2006. It featured 16 teams from all parts of the globe and was won by Japan. The second World Baseball Classic was scheduled for 2009.

Milton Jamail Ed.

Analyzing baseball
      To a degree unequaled by any other American team sport, baseball is a game of records and statistics. No other sport provides fans with so much numerical depth and breadth. Apart from the box score (introduced in 1845) that newspapers publish to provide statistical summaries of specific games, in the 1870s annual guides began furnishing year-end tabulations of batting, fielding, and pitching exploits. Hefty encyclopaedias of baseball contain detailed records of the performances of thousands of players and team seasons, and a vast array of special statistics are offered on the Internet.

The scorecard
      The statistical record of a baseball game begins with the scorecard filled out by an official scorer, an employee of Major League Baseball who sits in the press box during a game and keeps track of the game's activities. The official scorer rules on each play, deciding, for example, whether a pitch that gets away from the catcher is a wild pitch (a pitch so off target that the catcher had no chance to catch it) or a passed ball (a pitch that should have been handled by the catcher). Members of the media and fans often choose to keep score of the game also. Official scorers and media professionals use detailed forms to record every pitch. Fans, who typically buy a simple scorecard at the game, record the action in a much simpler fashion. The method of keeping official score is described in detail in the game's rulebook, but for amateurs keeping score can be an idiosyncratic practice.

      A basic scorecard, such as those sold at baseball parks, includes two charts, one for each team. A chart consists of the innings, marked along the top of the scorecard, and the batting order along the vertical axis. In between are boxes representing the potential at bats of each player in the lineup. Underneath each chart there is a small box used to record pitching statistics. All defensive players are assigned a number for score keeping; the methods of keeping score vary from fan to fan, but the numbers assigned to each position are the same everywhere. The pitcher is 1; the catcher is 2; first, second, and third basemen are numbered 3, 4, and 5, respectively; the shortstop is 6; and the left, centre, and right fielders are numbered 7, 8, and 9, respectively. With these numbers, plays such as a groundball to the shortstop who fields the ball and throws to first base for an out would be recorded as 6-3. There are also abbreviations, such as SB for stolen base and E for error, that are found on almost every scorecard. Software programs that allow fans to keep score on personal digital assistants (PDAs) are now available.

      The information in a scorecard is easily translated into a box score, which serves as a statistical summary of a game and is a staple of baseball news reporting.

Records and statistics
      Baseball records have long provided benchmarks of individual achievements. No individual accomplishment possesses more drama for fans than the tally of home runs. Babe Ruth (Ruth, Babe)'s single-season record for home runs (60 in 1927) stood for 33 seasons until it was broken by Roger Maris (Maris, Roger) (with 61 home runs in 1961). (It should be noted that, although Josh Gibson (Gibson, Josh) is credited with hitting 89 home runs in one season, Negro league records, which were sketchily kept, are not included in Major League Baseball statistics.) In 1998 both Mark McGwire (McGwire, Mark) (with 70) and Sammy Sosa (Sosa, Sammy) (with 66) easily crashed through the 60-home-run barrier established by Ruth and Maris. In 2001 Barry Bonds (Bonds, Barry) broke McGwire's record with 73 home runs for the season. The record for home runs over a player's career is 762, set by Bonds, who eclipsed the mark of 755 set by Hank Aaron (Aaron, Hank) (though, again, it is believed that Gibson hit more). Ruth had long held that record as well, with a career home-run total of 714, until Aaron passed him in 1974.

  For several decades, many of the records established by Ty Cobb (Cobb, Ty), who played from 1905 through 1928, remained unbroken. While no one has successfully challenged Cobb's lifetime batting average of .367 or his 12 batting championships, Pete Rose (Rose, Pete) toppled Cobb's lifetime mark of 4,189 hits in 1985 and finished his career with 4,256 hits. Cobb's single-season (20th-century) stolen-base record of 96, set in 1915, fell to Maury Wills (Wills, Maury) (with 104 in 1962), then Lou Brock (Brock, Lou) (with 118 in 1974), and finally Rickey Henderson (Henderson, Rickey) (with 130 in 1982). Henderson also holds the record for career steals with 1,406. While Joe DiMaggio (DiMaggio, Joe)'s consecutive hitting streak of 56 games in 1941 remained intact through the 20th century, on September 6, 1995, Cal Ripken, Jr. (Ripken, Cal, Jr.), broke Lou Gehrig (Gehrig, Lou)'s record of 2,130 consecutive games played. Ripken finished his streak in 1998 with 2,632 games.

 Late in the 20th century, pitching records came under assault as well. While Cy Young (Young, Cy) outpaced his modern counterparts in career wins with 511, pitchers since the mid-20th century have far surpassed earlier hurlers in career strikeouts, led by Nolan Ryan (Ryan, Nolan), who retired in 1993 with 5,714. No one, however, has equaled the record of Grover Cleveland Alexander (Alexander, Grover Cleveland), who is the only four-time winner of the Triple Crown of pitching (that is, leading the league in wins, strikeouts, and the lowest earned run average, or ERA). Alexander won the Triple Crown in 1915, 1916, 1917, and 1920.

      In addition to individual marks, baseball fans carefully monitor record-shattering team performances. Great dynasties, teams that dominated play from year to year, have characterized much of major league baseball history. Beneficiaries of larger potential revenues because of their location, most of the dynasties have been from the country's largest metropolitan areas. Hence, New York teams appeared in 52 of 103 World Series (through the year 2007). In particular, since 1921 the New York Yankees have towered over baseball: through the 2007 season the Yankees captured 39 American League pennants, and from 1996 through 2000 they had a 46–15 postseason (divisional playoffs and World Series) record, more postseason wins than all their competitors combined.

      By measuring the changes in the delicate balance between offense and defense, statistics also reveal much of baseball's history on the playing field. Lengthening the pitching distance to 60 feet 6 inches (18.4 metres) in 1893 initially touched off an offensive barrage. But increasing the size of the plate in 1900, counting the first two foul balls as strikes (adopted by the National League in 1901 and American League in 1903), the increased use of the spitball (in which moisture is applied to the surface of a ball to affect its flight), the appearance of a cadre of bigger and stronger pitchers, and conservative managerial styles (called “scientific” or “inside” baseball) all contributed to a sharp fall in total runs and hits. The hitting drought continued until the 1920s; then the outlawing of the spitball, the use of more balls per game, and the free swinging of Ruth produced a new offensive onslaught. Some also attributed this explosion of hitting to the introduction of what they believed to be a livelier ball, despite denials from major league authorities and the balls' manufacturers. Offense continued to dominate the game until 1963, when baseball officials sought to speed up games by increasing the size of the strike zone called by the umpires. Lowering the pitching mound and reducing the size of the strike zone in 1969, along with the advent of the designated hitter rule (replacing the pitcher in the batting order with a better-hitting player) in the American League in 1973, all served to partially reverse the decline in offensive productivity.

Benjamin G. Rader  The 1990s witnessed a new hitting revolution, with a proliferation of home runs at its centre. Even in Ruth's heyday, homers were something of a rarity, coming at a rate of only 1 for each 91 at bats. Indeed, before 1994 a player hit 50 or more home runs in a season just 18 times; from 1995 to 2002 there were 15 50-homer seasons. By 1999 the sluggers were averaging 1 homer for each 30 at bats. In 1998 not only did McGwire (McGwire, Mark) and Sosa (Sosa, Sammy) completely alter the game's historic frame of reference for home runs in a single season, but in the very next season they again hit more than 60 homers (65 by McGwire; 63 by Sosa). Just two years later the record was shattered by Bonds.

      Initially it was believed that this outburst of power was the result of lighter bats, a new style of hitting, an arguably more resilient ball, and weakened pitching in the wake of the expansion of the number of teams in the league. The slugging explosion was also attributed to the increased muscularity of hitters, though the matter of how hitters had gone about becoming stronger became increasingly controversial. In the mid-1990s, rumours circulated of the spreading use of steroids, which increase muscle mass (see sports: Human performance and the use of drugs (sports)). In 1991 it had become illegal to possess or sell anabolic steroids (anabolic steroid) in the United States without a valid prescription; however, the major leagues had no formal policy on steroid use until 2002, when Ken Caminiti admitted to having used steroids while winning the 1996 Most Valuable Player award.

 In 2003 it was alleged that a number of players, including Bonds, had obtained an illegal steroidal cream from the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO). Bonds testified before a grand jury that he had never knowingly taken steroids, but accusations of steroid use dogged his pursuit of Aaron's career home run record, and in 2007 he was indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice regarding his testimony. Bonds, however, was far from the only player whose accomplishments were called into question by the issue of performance-enhancing drugs. In March 2005 the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform conducted hearings on steroid use in baseball. Among the players to testify were McGwire, Sosa, Frank Thomas, and Rafael Palmeiro (who testified, “I have never used steroids. Period”—though he later received a 10-day suspension for steroid use under the major leagues' new zero-tolerance policy). In March 2006, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig named former U.S. senator George J. Mitchell to head up an independent inquiry into steroid use in baseball. Mitchell's report was released in December 2007, and it mentioned 86 current and former players—including such stars as Bonds, Roger Clemens (Clemens, Roger), Miguel Tejada, and Andy Pettitte—who were alleged to have possessed or used either steroids or human growth hormone (HGH) in the previous decade. Mitchell noted that everyone in baseball—players and management alike—shared responsibility for the “steroids era” and the effect it had on baseball's reputation with the public. In the aftermath of these developments, baseball records and statistics since the 1990s have become the topic of much debate.

Benjamin G. Rader Ed.

 The issuing of annual and career awards is a very serious undertaking in baseball and is done with as much fan scrutiny as any statistical analysis of the sport. Major League Baseball presents several special achievement awards each season. The Most Valuable Player (MVP) is selected in both the American League and the National League. The MVP was first given in 1922; since 1931 the players have been chosen by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). There are also MVP awards for the League Championship Series, the World Series, and the All-Star Game.

      For the All-Star Game, which is played annually during baseball's midseason, the starting players from each league are selected by fan ballots. The remaining members of the squad are picked by the two All-Star managers, who are named because their teams appeared in the previous World Series.

      The Cy Young Award honours the best pitcher in the National and American leagues. It was first awarded in 1956 to the outstanding pitcher in baseball, but in 1966 the baseball commissioner decided that each league would have its own Cy Young Award. Winners are selected by a vote of the BBWAA.

      Begun in 1947, the Rookie of the Year award is given to the best new player in each league. A rookie is defined as a player who meets at least one of the following three criteria: fewer than 130 at bats, fewer than 50 innings pitched, or fewer than 45 days on a major league roster in the previous season. The BBWAA also select these winners.

      The Gold Glove is awarded to the best defensive player at each of the nine positions (three outfielders are selected, but no consideration is given as to whether those players covered right, centre, or left field) in both the American League and the National League. The awards were first given in 1957. Players are selected by the managers and coaches of the major league teams, who are not permitted to vote for players from their own team.

      The highest honour for a major league baseball player is induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, New York. The first selections were made in 1936 (the Hall actually opened in 1939), and inductees to the hall now include players, Negro league players, managers, baseball executives, and umpires.

Jerome Holtzman Ed.

Fantasy baseball
      The term fantasy baseball was introduced to describe the Internet-based virtual baseball game. But it also can be loosely construed to mean a number of games that permit the fan to play either a virtual game or a virtual season of baseball. In all these fantasy games, the fans pose as both general manager and field manager of their team, building a roster through a draft and trades and making lineups in pursuit of the greatest statistical production. Game players use the batting averages, home runs, and other statistics posted by actual baseball players to determine the outcome of the fantasy games.

      One of the earlier precursors of Internet-based fantasy baseball was a board game, introduced in 1951 by entrepreneur Dick Seitz, known as APBA (American Professional Baseball Association). A similar game called Strat-o-matic first appeared in the 1960s. Having purchased the APBA or Strat-o-matic board game, players annually ordered cards that listed the statistical data for the ballplayers from the prior season. A combination of data given on these cards and the rolling of dice determined the outcome of the player's “at-bat” or turn. In the 1990s computerized versions of these games permitted the statistics for a season from any baseball league in the world to be programmed in, as well as those from past major league seasons. The cult status that APBA and Strat-o-matic garnered carried over to rotisserie baseball.

      Rotisserie baseball was invented in 1980 by author Dan Okrent and a group of baseball-minded friends who regularly met at the Manhattan restaurant Le Rotisserie Francais. They formed the core of the first rotisserie league. Unlike APBA, which is based upon a prior season's performance, rotisserie baseball and its later Internet-based fantasy variants are played during the course of the regular baseball season. Rotisserie baseball season begins with a player draft (sometimes done as an auction), with each team in the league selecting 23–27 players (with set quotas at each position) from major league rosters. The statistics that these players accumulate over the course of a season determine the winner of the rotisserie league. The statistics typically used in this game are batting average, home runs, runs scored, runs batted in, wins (pitching), saves, earned run average, and walks plus hits per innings pitched. As the season progresses, team managers can drop underperforming or injured players and acquire new ones.

      What is now popularly called fantasy baseball developed from the rotisserie game and takes advantage of the capabilities of the Internet to share data with a dispersed group of people. Online fantasy baseball provides statistical management for small rotisserie leagues and also offers large-scale leagues in which multiple teams may own the same player.

      The popularity of fantasy baseball spawned a new industry of statistical services and publications that analyzed players from a fantasy perspective and offered team management strategies. By the late 1980s, American gridiron football also had a fantasy version, and by the turn of the 21st century, nearly all team sports and many individual games had fantasy equivalents, most of which were played on the Internet. Fantasy games are now a global pastime—wherever Internet access is available.

Play of the game
 Baseball is a contest between two teams of 9 or (if a designated hitter is allowed to take the pitcher's turn at bat) 10 players each. The field of play is divided into the infield and the outfield. Within the infield is a square area called the diamond, which has four white bases, one on each corner. The bases are 90 feet (27.4 metres) apart.

      The teams alternate between being fielders (playing defense) and batters (playing offense). The nine fielders take up assigned positions in the playing field; one fielder, called the pitcher, stands on a mound in the centre of the diamond and faces the base designated as home plate, where a batter, holding a formed stick (a bat), waits for him to throw a hard leather-covered ball. The goal of the batter is to hit the ball out of the reach of the fielders and eventually (most often with the help of hits by subsequent batters) to run from base to base counterclockwise completely around the diamond, thus scoring a run. If a batter fails to advance in an appropriate manner (discussed later) to at least the first base, he is out; after three outs, the teams switch roles. When both teams have batted, an inning is completed. After nine innings, the team with the most runs wins the game. If there is a tie, extra innings are played.

Field of play and equipment
      In major league playing fields, the distance to the fence from home plate along the foul lines (marking the official limits of the playing field) must be 250 feet (76.2 metres) or more. For fields built after 1958, however, the distance along the foul lines should be at least 320 feet (98 metres), and the distance from home plate on a line through second base to the centre-field fence should be at least 400 feet (121.9 metres). The distance to the stands or fence behind home plate should be at least 60 feet (18.3 metres) but may taper off along the foul lines in the outfield. Coaches' boxes are in foul territory behind first and third base. On-deck circles, where the next batter up in the lineup waits for his turn at bat, are near the team benches.

      The playing field is traditionally covered with grass, except for the pitcher's circle, or mound, the base paths, the adjacent infield from first to third base, and the home plate area. The use of an artificial turf, first known as astroturf, was commonplace in the 1970s and '80s, and it is still used in some stadiums. Artificial turf fields are typically covered entirely by the turf, except for dirt areas around the pitcher's plate, home plate, and the bases. Because of the hardness of the artificial turf surface, play on such fields is very fast and balls bounce much higher than on natural grass. New types of artificial turf introduced in the late 1990s offered a softer, more grasslike experience and incorporated the dirt infield found on natural grass fields.

      Canvas bags filled with soft material and attached to metal stakes driven into the ground mark first, second, and third base. Home plate is a flat, pentagonal, white slab of rubber embedded flush in the ground.

The ball and bat
      The ball has a cork-and-rubber core, around which yarn is tightly wrapped; the cover consists of two snugly fitted pieces of white leather sewn together. The circumference is 9 to 9.25 inches (23 to 23.5 cm) and the weight between 5 and 5.25 ounces (142 and 149 grams). The bat is a smooth rounded stick of solid or laminated wood, not longer than 42 inches (107 cm) or thicker at the barrel end than 2.75 inches (7 cm), tapering to the handle end. (Usually, however, in major league baseball, players prefer a bat no longer than 35 inches [89 cm] that weighs about 30 ounces [850 grams] or less.) There is no weight restriction on the bat, but no metal or other reinforcement can be used in construction of the bat. (Amateur players, however, are permitted to use aluminum bats.) The handle may have tape and adhesive material, such as pine tar, applied to it to improve the grip (but such substances may not be applied more than 18 inches [46 cm] from the tip of the handle in major league play).

      Baseball was originally played bare-handed. Beginning in 1860, catchers, who attempt to catch every pitch not hit, became the first to adopt gloves. First basemen, who take many throws for putouts from the infielders, soon followed, and finally all players adopted gloves. All gloves are constructed of leather with some padding. The catcher's glove, or mitt, presents a solid face except for a cleft between the thumb and index finger and is thickly padded except at the centre, where the pitched ball is caught. The glove cannot exceed 38 inches (96.5 cm) in circumference and 15.5 inches (39.4 cm) from top to bottom. The first baseman's glove is thinner and more flexible, a solid expanse of leather for the four fingers with a webbing connecting the thumb and index finger. All other players' gloves are finger gloves with leather straps connecting the thumb and index finger. Form-fitting batting gloves, designed to improve the grip, are now worn by most batters.

Protective gear
      The catcher wears a helmet, a barred mask with a hanging throat guard, a padded chest protector, and lightweight guards covering the knees, shins, and ankles. The umpire behind home plate wears a similar chest protector and mask. At bat players wear a lightweight plastic batting helmet that flares down over the ears to protect the temples. Groin protection is also worn by male players.

      Umpires control the game. One behind home plate calls balls and strikes on the batter, determines whether a batter has been hit by a pitch or has interfered with the catcher (or vice versa), and calls runners safe or out at home plate. He and the other three umpires, stationed near first, second, and third base, may call hit balls foul (beyond the foul lines) or fair (or within the foul lines); the other three call runners safe or out at the first three bases. Any umpire may call an illegal pitching motion known as a balk. An umpire may ask for help from his fellow umpires if he was out of position to see a play, and the first- or third-base umpire may be appealed to concerning whether a batter has taken a full swing for a strike call or instead checked his swing.

Principles of play
      The objective of the offense is to score runs by hitting fair balls out of the reach of the defense. Each team strives to advance its players around the bases to score as many runs as possible before the third out ends its half of the inning at bat.

The batting order
      At the start of each game, managers from both teams submit a batting order to the umpire. The order lists the name and defensive position of each player in the game and the order in which they will hit. The order may not be changed during the course of the game. If a reserve player enters the game, he must take the spot in the batting order of the player he replaced. The first batter up for each side in the first inning is the first man in the batting order (known as the leadoff man). In succeeding innings, the first batter up is the man in the order who follows the last batter (with a complete at bat) from the previous inning. The leadoff man is typically a player who is fast afoot, makes frequent contact with the ball, and reaches base consistently. The second spot usually goes to a batter who seldom strikes out and has good bat skills (e.g., bunting, making contact with pitches, and driving the ball toward the right side of the field to advance a runner). The third batter is usually the best all-around hitter on the team, combing batting power and skill. Many of the greatest hitters of all time have been number three in their team's batting order—Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente (Clemente, Roberto), and Barry Bonds. Numbers four (known as the “cleanup” man) and five are the power hitters who are expected to consistently hit the ball into the outfield, allowing runners on base to score. The remaining positions in the batting order scale downward to players who, though not prolific hitters, are valued for their defensive contribution. Number nine is almost invariably the pitcher—except in the American League, where since 1973 the pitcher does not bat. The pitcher was replaced in the batting order by a designated hitter (the DH), usually batting in one of the more likely run-producing positions. In interleague games the players follow the custom of the home ballpark, using a DH in American League parks and no DH in National League stadiums.

Getting on base
 For a player to score a run in baseball, he must first get on base. There are seven ways in which a batter may reach base. The most common and productive way of doing so is by the hit. A hit is recorded when a batter successfully strikes the ball so that it cannot be caught—either before touching the ground in fair territory or soon enough after touching ground to be thrown to first or any other base before the batter or any other runner gets there. There are four kinds of hits: the single, which allows the batter to reach first base; the double, in which the batter reaches second; the triple, which sees the runner reach third base; and the home run, a hit that enables the batter to circle all the bases and score a run. A fair ball that flies over the outfield fence is an automatic home run (permitting the batter to leisurely “trot” around the bases. Hits also are described by the way the ball travels across the field. Driven balls are generally categorized as flies or fly balls (balls hit high into the air), ground balls (balls hit at a downward angle into the ground), and line drives (a ball that is close to and parallel to the ground). Another way the batter can reach base is through an error. An error occurs when a mistake by the fielder allows the batter to reach base on a play that would normally result in an out. The judgment of whether a play is a hit or an error is made by the official scorer. The final way in which a player may strike the ball in fair territory and reach base is by fielder's choice. This occurs when a fielder chooses to make a play on another base runner, allowing the batter to reach base safely.

      There are several ways of reaching base without the batter making contact with bat and ball. The most common of these is the base on balls, also called a walk. Whenever the batter does not swing at a pitched ball and the ball does not cross the plate inside the strike zone (see below Defense: The putout (baseball)), the umpire calls the pitch a ball. If four balls are thus called in a turn at bat, the batter is awarded a base on balls and walks to first base. The batter also can reach first base if a pitched ball at which he does not swing strikes any part of his person. Additionally the batter can reach first base if the catcher interferes with him by making contact with any part of his body or with the swing of his bat as the pitched ball is on its way to home plate. The umpire makes all hit-by-pitch and interference calls.

      The seventh method of reaching base is the dropped third strike. If, with two men out or with first base unoccupied regardless of how many are out, the batter swings and misses the ball for his third strike or the umpire calls the third strike and if the catcher does not catch the pitched ball before it touches the ground, the batter is entitled to run for first just as if he had hit the ball in fair territory. The catcher must then get the ball and throw it to first ahead of the batter in order to put him out. If such a pitched ball rebounds off the catcher out into the infield, the pitcher or any infielder may make the pickup and throw to first, just as if it were an infield grounder.

Advancing base runners and scoring
      Once a batter reaches base, the focus of the offense shifts to advancing the runner around the bases to score a run. A base runner who is at second or third base is said to be in scoring position, meaning that a base hit will likely score that runner. There are several tactics that a team might use to move runners into scoring position. Runners can advance with the benefit of a hit, walk, or batter hit by pitch or on an error by a fielder. A batter also can move the runner by hitting to the right side of the infield (forcing the defense to play in a direction opposite that of the runner) or by “sacrificing.” A sacrifice occurs when the batter bunts the ball—that is, tries to tap it lightly with the bat to make it roll slowly along the ground in fair territory between the catcher and pitcher—so that one or more runners may be able to proceed to their next base while the ball is being fielded. The batter attempting a sacrifice expects to be thrown out at first base. Similar to a sacrifice, the squeeze play uses the bunt to score a runner from third base. The runner also may advance on a fly ball or line drive that is caught for an out. The runner may “tag up” (reestablish contact with the base) and, the moment the ball is caught, dash to the next base. The runner should be confident that the catch has put the fielder in a position where throwing him out will be difficult. When such a fly ball or line drive out allows a runner to score, it is called a sacrifice fly. Sacrifice plays and sacrifice flys can occur only with less than two outs.

      One of the most exciting plays in baseball is the stolen base. A base runner may advance at his own risk on the bases at any time the ball is in play by stealing a base. To steal a base, a batter will take a “lead”—that is, advance a few steps off the base and toward the next base while the pitcher still holds the ball. When the pitcher begins his throw toward home plate, the runner breaks toward the next base. At this point the runner matches his speed against the strength and accuracy of the catcher's arm. As the runner nears the base, he goes into a slide (usually headfirst) in order to avoid a possible tag and to stop his forward momentum at the base. The base is stolen if the runner successfully makes it to the next base without being tagged out. Runners most often attempt to steal second base and third base. Stealing home is a rarity. A runner cannot steal first base. A stolen base attempt can be nullified if the batter fouls off the pitch, reaches base, or makes the final out of the inning.

      The use of a substitute as an offensive tactic most commonly involves sending in a pinch hitter—that is, taking a hitter out of the lineup and substituting another player whose likelihood for driving the ball for a hit or a fly to the deep outfield is greater. Such a pinch hitter must be a player not already in the lineup or in the batting order at any previous time in the game. Except where there is a designated hitter, the pinch hitter most often substitutes for the usually weak-hitting pitcher. Pinch runners, players (usually with good base-stealing ability) who replace batters who have successfully reached base, also are used. Once a player is replaced, he cannot return to the game.

      To meet the offensive force of the team at bat, the rules provide the fielding team with ways of making outs. A putout removes the player from offensive play until his next turn at bat. The batting team's inning continues until three putouts are made; then it goes into the field and the opponent comes to bat.

Defensive positions
      Since the formation of professional teams and leagues, defensive positions have remained the same. There must be a pitcher and catcher, and their positions on the field are clearly designated. The remaining seven fielders may position themselves as they please, though a basic arrangement of defenders has become universal.

 The three outfielders are positioned so as to best be able to catch or field balls that are batted over or through the infield. The three outfield positions are left fielder, centre fielder, and right fielder. Outfielders must be able to judge the trajectory of flies and have enough speed to run to the point where the ball will come down. Batted or thrown balls that pass beyond the infielders along the ground must be run down and picked up by the outfielders. Outfielders adjust their positions in response to each batter's hitting tendencies. Strong throwing arms are essential, as is accuracy in throwing the ball to the right point in the infield. Right fielders typically have the strongest and most accurate throwing arms among outfielders. The centre fielder is chosen for his speed and expert judgment of fly balls. The centre fielder not only stations himself at a strategic point for each batter but often directs the playing positions of his outfield teammates. Almost invariably the most skillful defensive outfielders in baseball history, such as Tris Speaker (Speaker, Tris), Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, and Ken Griffey, Jr. (Griffey, Ken, Jr.), have been centre fielders.

 The infielders form the inner ring of defense. They sometimes catch line drives on the fly, but mainly they pick up ground balls that roll toward the outfield or shoot swiftly across the grass on one or more bounces. When a batted ball strikes the ground, the play becomes a race between the batter running to first and an infielder trying to gain control of the ball and throw it. Like the outfielders, the four infielders shift position to guard against each batter's individual strengths. They have the additional responsibility of guarding the bases when occupied. When a ball is batted along the ground, only one infielder is called upon to gain control of it, but at least one other almost always covers a base to take the throw. Depending on the situation, sometimes two bases must be covered for a possible throw, sometimes all four. On a ball hit into the outfield, an infielder may need to position himself to receive a throw from an outfielder.

 Each position has its special fielding requirements. Usually positioned to the left of second base, shortstop is the most difficult and demanding of the defensive positions, requiring outstanding agility, range, and a strong throwing arm. The throw from the shortstop to first base is the infield's longest and most difficult. The second baseman, who is typically positioned to the right of second base, does not require an exceptionally strong arm, but he does need as much range and agility as the shortstop. Together the shortstop and second baseman form the keystone of the defense, as both cover second base, take most of the throws from the outfield, and handle the majority of ground balls. Many of the game's greatest fielding players have been shortstops and second basemen, among them Honus Wagner (Wagner, Honus), Pee Wee Reese (Reese, Pee Wee), Dave Concepción, Ozzie Smith, and Omar Vizquel at shortstop and Nap Lajoie (Lajoie, Nap), Charlie Gehringer, Bill Mazeroski, Joe Morgan (Morgan, Joe), and Roberto Alomar at second base.

      The third baseman, playing to the right of third base and nearer the batter than the shortstop or second baseman, is not called on to cover as much ground, but his reflexes must be exceptional. The long throw across the infield requires a strong and accurate arm. First basemen are typically physically large in order to provide a big target for throws to first base. The first baseman's fielding of grounders is made easier by his position near the base toward which the batter is running. First basemen are often left-handed, an advantage in throwing from their position, and are generally among the most powerful hitters in the lineup.

The battery
 The pitcher and catcher together are known as the battery or as batterymen. As a fielder, the pitcher may function as an emergency first baseman, and he fields bunts or other infield grounders hit his way. The ability of the pitcher to quickly transition from his pitching motion to a fielding stance can greatly improve his team's overall defense.

      The “good hands” essential to every player are especially important for the catcher. Throughout the game he must catch the pitched balls not hit by the batter and sometimes catch pitches that strike the ground near the plate. The catcher also needs good agility behind the plate. He may need to move his body quickly to knock down an off-target pitch, chase a catchable foul ball, or pounce on a bunt. The catcher's throwing arm is a valuable element in his team's defense. Base runners are cautious of straying too far from their bases when the catcher has a quick and strong arm. Not surprisingly, a strong throwing arm has been the hallmark of baseball's greatest catchers, including Mickey Cochrane, Bill Dickey (Dickey, Bill), Yogi Berra (Berra, Yogi), Johnny Bench (Bench, Johnny), and Iván Rodriguez.

      Important as is his fielding, the catcher functions even more crucially as the counselor of the pitcher, as well as of the rest of the team. As the only player in the defensive lineup who has the whole game in front of him at all times, the catcher is best placed to advise teammates when necessary.

      The defense must collect outs to prevent the offense from scoring. There are a variety of ways in which the defense may “put out” or “force out” offensive players. A player also may be called out by an umpire for interfering with a defensive play.

The putout
      Most putouts are made by (1) striking out the batter, (2) catching a ball on the fly, (3) throwing the batter out, or (4) tagging out a base runner.

      The batter is allowed two strikes; a third strike results in an out, commonly called a strikeout. A strike occurs when a batter swings at a pitch and misses, when the batter does not swing at a pitched ball that passes through the strike zone, or when the ball is hit foul. A ball hit foul can count as only the first or second strike with one exception—a ball bunted foul can be called strike three. Umpires signal strikes and putouts with an emphatic movement of the right arm. The strike zone is a prescribed area in front of the batter and over home plate. Its upper limit is in line with the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower limit is in line with the bottom of the knees. The strike zone is thus an imaginary rectangular box 17 inches (43.2 cm) wide, with the length of its vertical sides dependent on the height of the batter. The perception of where the strike zone begins and ends may vary from umpire to umpire, leading to frustrated fans and irate batters, pitchers, catchers, and managers. Anyone who disputes an umpire's call of a ball or strike may be thrown out of the game.

      A batter is put out if a fielder catches a batted ball before it touches the ground, whether it is a fair ball or foul. A foul tip, a pitched ball that the batter merely flicks slightly with his bat, however, counts only as a strike even if it is caught and held by the catcher, and it does not count as a putout unless it occurs on the third strike.

      A member of the batting team is thrown, or forced, out if he bats a ball that touches the ground before being caught (usually by an infielder or the pitcher) and that is then thrown for the putout to the first baseman, who touches first base before the batter reaches the base.

      A member of the offensive team is tagged out if, when running the bases and not in contact with a base, he is touched by the ball held by a member of the fielding team.

The force play
      Only one runner may occupy a base at any given moment. It is therefore possible for a runner to be thrown out at second base, third base, or even home plate without being tagged. The batter is entitled to try to reach first base safely the instant he hits a fair ball that strikes the ground. If a teammate is on first when the ball is hit, that base runner is no longer entitled to first base and must run to second. If runners are on first and second or on all three bases, they are all forced to run when the batter hits a fair ball that strikes the ground. Any base runner forced to run can be put out, or retired, by a fielder having the ball who can touch the next base before the runner reaches it.

      This method of retiring base runners is called the force play. With first base occupied and the ball driven along the ground to the pitcher or an infielder, the ball often can be thrown first to second base for a force out of the man from first base, then relayed to the first baseman to retire the batter—two outs on one play, a double play. Although double plays can be initiated by force outs at home or third base, the second-to-first double play is the most common form.

      A runner also can be thrown out without being tagged if he has left his base before a fly ball is caught. With the catching of the fly, the runner must return to the base he just left (known as tagging up) before being eligible to advance. If the player catching the fly throws the ball to that base before the runner returns and tags up, the runner is retired. On the other hand, after the catch the runner may attempt to reach the next base, where a tag is required to put him out.

      The infield fly rule protects base runners from the deception of an infielder who may allow an infield fly ball to drop, thus setting up an easy force play. The rule applies only if both first and second are occupied by runners and there are fewer than two out. The batter is automatically out when the rule is invoked.

 Until a batter hits the ball, the game is a duel between the pitcher (and catcher) and the batter, which is repeated with each at bat. Each batter that a pitcher strikes out or forces to hit a pop-up (pop fly, an easily caught fly) or easily fielded grounder is a gain for the defense, preventing runs and bringing the team closer to its turn at bat and a chance to score.

      Until about 1870, the pitcher was merely a player assigned to put the ball in play by pitching it to the batter to hit. One man generally did nearly all the pitching for a club all season, only occasionally relieved by a “change” pitcher. This change pitcher was usually an outfielder, and the two would often merely exchange fielding positions without leaving the game. With the start of league baseball in the 1870s, the pitcher became more important in defensive play. His use of speed and location in delivering the pitch became a deciding element in competition.

      Of the 25 players on a major league club's normal active roster, usually 11 to 12 are pitchers. The manager usually designates 5 of the 12 as starting pitchers, or the rotation starters. They take their turn every four or five days, resting in between. The remainder of the staff constitute the bullpen squad or the relief pitchers. When the manager or pitching coach detects signs of weakening on the part of the pitcher in the game, these bullpen pitchers begin warming up by throwing practice pitches. Since the early 1950s, relief pitching has grown in importance and become more specialized. Typically, one relief pitcher is designated as the “closer.” Closers are usually used only when a team has a lead late in the game and have the job of “saving” the victory for the team by collecting the remaining outs.

The pitching repertoire
 Pitching demands more exact coordination of mental and muscular faculties and more continuous physical exertion than any other position in the game. On each pitch the pitcher is aiming at the strike zone, or a small part of it, 60 feet 6 inches (18.4 metres) away from the rubber on which his foot pivots in the act of pitching the ball. Pitchers use changes of speed, control (the ability to pitch to specific points in the strike zone), and different grips that affect the flight of the pitch in order to confound batters. The fastball is the basis of pitching skill. Good fastball pitchers are capable of throwing the ball 100 miles (160 km) per hour, but simply being fast is not enough to guarantee success. A fastball should not fly flat but have some movement in order to get past a good hitter. An effective pitcher can throw the fastball high or low in the strike zone as well as in on the batter or away from him. Fastball pitchers of note include Walter Johnson (Johnson, Walter), Satchel Paige, Bob Feller (Feller, Bob), Nolan Ryan, and Roger Clemens. An important pitch related to the fastball is the change-up, which is a deliberately slower pitch that can sneak past a batter expecting a fastball.

      The fundamental, or regulation, curve is a swerving pitch that breaks away from the straight line, to the left (the catcher's right) if thrown by a right-handed pitcher, to the right if by a left-hander. Some pitchers also employ a curving ball that breaks in the opposite way from the regulation curve, a pitch known variously as the fadeaway (the curve thrown by Christy Mathewson (Mathewson, Christy)), the screwball (thrown by Carl Hubbell (Hubbell, Carl)), or some other name applied by the pitcher himself. In both curves and reverse curves, the ball reaches the batter at a slower rate of speed than the fastball, and the deception is almost as much a result of the slower ball's falling away from the bat as of its swerving from a straight trajectory.

      A comparatively new pitch, called the slider, was introduced in the 1920s by George Blaeholder, who otherwise had an undistinguished major league career. The slider is a cross between the fastball and the curve and involves the best features of both. It is thrown with the speed and the pitching motion of the fastball, but, instead of the wide sweep of the conventional curve, it has a short and mostly lateral break; in effect, it slides away from the hitter.

      Relatively few pitchers use the knuckleball, which lacks axial rotation, making it subject to air currents. The ball is wobbly as it approaches the batter and so is harder to hit solidly than a spinning ball. The knuckleball, however, is difficult to catch, and often it is missed by the catcher (a passed ball). The knuckler is thrown with an easy, almost lobbing motion, and, because of the minimal arm strain, knuckleball pitchers may have remarkable longevity.

      In the 1970s relief pitcher Bruce Sutter introduced the split-fingered fastball, which broke downward at the plate in a motion often compared, with some exaggeration, to a ball rolling off a table.

      In the early days of organized baseball, artificial aids were allowed that enabled the pitcher to throw what was called a spitball. Simple saliva, saliva produced by chewing tobacco or sucking on slippery elm, or sweat was applied to the ball. The ball thus treated dropped sharply at the plate. The pitch was outlawed in 1920, though pitchers then using it were allowed the pitch until they retired. Since then pitchers have from time to time been suspected of using it. Similar effects have been sought by those who illegally scar the surface of the ball with a sharp object such as a belt buckle or tack or with an abrasive tool such as a file or emery board.

      Some batters, for their part, have looked for illegal advantage by drilling a hole down the barrel of a bat and filling it with cork or rubber balls; although this procedure lightens the bat, its effect on bat speed and “liveliness” is questionable.

Pitching with men on base
      When an offensive player reaches base, a pitcher must change tactics in order to prevent the runner from scoring. The pitcher will alter his stance on the mound from the “windup,” a stance that begins with the pitcher facing home plate, to the “stretch,” a stance that begins with a left-handed pitcher facing first base or a right-handed pitcher facing third base. Pitching from the stretch allows for a shorter motion that gets the ball to the catcher more quickly and allows the base runner less time to steal a base. When a pitcher believes a runner is likely to attempt a steal, he will try to shorten the runner's lead or even “pick off” the runner (catch him off base) by making throws over to the runner's base. The pitcher attempting to pick off a runner must be careful not to commit a “balk.” A balk occurs when (1) the pitcher, in pitching the ball to the batter, does not have his pivoting foot in contact with the pitching plate, (2) the pitcher does not hold the ball in both hands in front of him at chest level before starting his delivery or, once started, does not continue his motion, or (3) the pitcher starts to make a throw to first base when a runner is occupying that base but does not go through with the throw. When a balk is called by the umpire, all runners on base advance one base each.

      Occasionally a pitcher will deliberately put a batter on base in order to improve the team's chances of getting outs. The pitcher will issue an intentional walk, four pitches intentionally thrown well outside the strike zone and away from the batter, for several possible tactical reasons: (1) to avoid a batter that is deemed particularly dangerous, (2) to set up a double play opportunity if first base is open with runners on base and less than two outs, or (3) to set up a force play.

      Substitutions may be made at any point in the game when time has been called by the umpire. A player taken out of the lineup cannot return in the same game. Without making any substitution, the manager may at any time in the game shift his players from one fielding position to another. He may shift all nine positions in fielding, but he cannot change a player from one place to another in the batting order. Defensive substitutions are common in the late innings of a game when a team is protecting a lead. A fleet-footed outfielder, for example, will replace a slower player who is more valued for his hitting. The most frequent defensive substitution, however, is that of one pitcher for another.

Jerome Holtzman Gilbert P. Laue Ed.

Baseball and the arts
      Both Alfred H. Spink's The National Game (1910) and A.G. Spalding (Spalding, A.G.)'s America's National Game (1911), generally regarded as the first attempts at writing a standard history of baseball, cite "Casey at the Bat" as the best baseball poem ever written. Spalding goes so far as to proclaim that “Love has its sonnets galore; War its epics in heroic verse; Tragedy its sombre story in measured line; and Base Ball has ‘Casey at the Bat'.” Ernest L. Thayer's poem, first published in the San Francisco Examiner on June 3, 1888, gained its initial popularity through the stage performances of comic actor DeWolf Hopper, who recited the poem more than 10,000 times in hundreds of American cities and towns. "Casey at the Bat" became baseball's most popular piece of literature, celebrated in opera, paintings, sculpture, and film and imitated, extended, and even parodied by writers ranging from journalist Grantland Rice (in the 1906 piece "Casey's Revenge" ) to novelist Robert Coover (in his 1971 postmodern parody told from the pitcher's perspective, "McDuff on the Mound" ). Not much more than doggerel, "Casey at the Bat" owes its enduring popularity to baseball's nostalgic appeal as America's national pastime, a game of fathers playing catch with sons and heroic deeds acted out on a magical field of dreams, though sometimes when the hero, like the Mighty Casey, fails, it also reminds fans of the lost innocence and failed dreams of youth.

      This sentimental tradition has its roots in the dime novel and series book, popular in the early 20th century. Using pseudonyms, Gilbert Patten (writing as Burt L. Standish), Edward Stratemeyer (Stratemeyer, Edward) (as Lester Chadwick), and Harvey Shackleford (as Hal Standish) created all-American baseball heroes like Frank Merriwell, Baseball Joe, and Fred Fearnot to inspire and delight their readers. This tradition reached its height of popularity in the 1940s with the adolescent novels of John R. Tunis that featured the Brooklyn Dodgers.

      The most notable exception to this sentimentalism in the first half of the 20th century was Ring Lardner (Lardner, Ring)'s You Know Me Al, a collection of stories featuring the character Jack Keefe that first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post and was later published in book form in 1916. By shifting the baseball yarn from the exploits of the Great American Hero to the idiocies of Keefe, the Great American Fool, Lardner gave American literature one of its most original characters. Yet, even with the success of Lardner's stories and those written by James Thurber (“You Could Look It Up,” published in My World—and Welcome To It, 1942) and Damon Runyon (“Baseball Hattie,” published in Take It Easy, 1938), baseball literature remained for the most part at the adolescent level until the early 1950s.

      With the publication of Bernard Malamud's The Natural in 1952 and Mark Harris's The Southpaw a year later, baseball fiction, especially the baseball novel, began a more serious tradition. The Natural, with its heavy use of symbol and myth, anticipated the metafiction, parody, and magic realism of Robert Coover's The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. (1968), Philip Roth's The Great American Novel (1973), and W. P. Kinsella's Shoeless Joe (1982). The Southpaw, the first of four books in a series of baseball novels by Mark Harris that includes the popular Bang the Drum Slowly (1956), began a more realistic tradition, continued in fiction ranging from Eliot Asinof's Man on Spikes (1955; see also Asinof's article in Encyclopædia Britannica on Shoeless Joe Jackson (Jackson, Shoeless Joe)) to Eric Rolfe Greenberg's The Celebrant (1983), one of several historical novels to feature the 1919 Black Sox scandal.

      Baseball also has spawned a wealth of notable nonfiction literary works. Roger Kahn's Boys of Summer (1972) recaptures the splendid 1952 season of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Former pitcher Jim Bouton's Ball Four: My Life and Hard Times Throwing the Knuckleball in the Big Leagues (1970) is a funny and honest recounting of the daily life of a major league ballplayer. And Roger Angell (Angell, Roger) wrote elegantly about baseball for The New Yorker; many of the best essays are collected in The Summer Game (1972).

      The visual arts also cloaked baseball in romance and nostalgia. The earliest baseball paintings, by 19th-century artists Thomas Eakins and William Morris Hunt, and the popular prints of Currier and Ives celebrate baseball as a pastoral and leisurely game. Artists from the 20th century, with the exception of Ashcan realist George Bellows, rarely dabbled with baseball, but the game's heroes and its traditions attracted popular painters and illustrators such as Andy Warhol, LeRoy Neiman, Lance Richbourg, and Norman Rockwell (Rockwell, Norman). Rockwell's paintings 100th Year of Baseball (1939) and Game Called Because of Rain (also known as Bottom of the Sixth; 1949), first printed on covers of The Saturday Evening Post, now hang in the art gallery of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

      Baseball movies also have contributed significantly to the game's emotional appeal. Ever since Thomas Edison released The Ball Game in 1898, motion pictures have romanticized baseball in melodramas, comedies, and biographies. Yet, even with Hollywood's tendency to sentimentalize the game, there have been several memorable baseball films, beginning with The Pride of the Yankees (1942) featuring Academy Award nominee Gary Cooper (Cooper, Gary)'s athletically awkward performance as Lou Gehrig (Gehrig, Lou). In the late 1940s and the '50s, Hollywood produced a rash of baseball biographies, including The Babe Ruth Story (1948), The Stratton Story (1949; featuring James Stewart (Stewart, James) as Chicago White Sox pitcher Monty Stratton, who rebuilt a minor league pitching career after having a leg amputated), and The Jackie Robinson Story (1950; with Robinson (Robinson, Jackie) playing himself). Somewhat of an anomaly for the time is the biography of outfielder Jimmy Piersall, Fear Strikes Out (1957), which is an unsentimental account of Piersall's struggle with mental illness. More in keeping with the period are entertaining comedies and musicals such as It Happens Every Spring (1949), Angels in the Outfield (1951), and Damn Yankees (1958), based on the Broadway adaptation of Douglass Wallop's novel The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant (1954).

      In the 1970s, baseball filmmakers began their own serious or adult tradition with Bang the Drum Slowly (1973). They also produced entertaining films such as the profanity-laced Little League comedy The Bad News Bears (1976), which spawned two badly made sequels and numerous spinoffs of youth-league underdog sports teams learning that the love of the game is more important than winning. The 1980s and '90s saw accomplished films such as The Natural (1984); the ribald Bull Durham (1988); Eight Men Out (1988), based on Eliot Asinof's book on the Black Sox scandal; Field of Dreams (1989), the adaptation of Kinsella's Shoeless Joe; and A League of Their Own (1992), the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Two notable documentary films appeared in the 1990s: When It Was a Game (1991) is an intimate portrait of ballplayers and fans from the 1930s through the 1950s, and Ken Burns's (Burns, Ken) Baseball (1994) is a rich cultural history of the sport in the United States.

      Yet, even with this more serious turn in film, baseball remains America's sentimental favourite, a game still capable of evoking the innocent delight and wonder expressed in Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer's "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," a 1908 ditty that became baseball's national anthem. For artists, the ballpark has often been an escape from the real world, an idyllic place where fans don't care if they “never get back.” But the game itself, because of its limitless dimensions and its appeal to our dreams of youth, also has inspired artists to see baseball as the perfect expression of the American Dream. That inspiration has generated works of art that have transmuted the game from a pastoral diversion into a spring ritual and a cultural icon of a nation's character and aspirations.

Richard Frank Peterson

World Series results
       World Series TableWorld Series results are provided in the table.

Japan Series results
       Japan Series TableJapan Series results are provided in the table.

Caribbean Series champions
       Caribbean Series (modern) Caribbean Series (modern)Winners of the Caribbean Series are provided in the table.

Additional Reading
Historical works include Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig, The Image of Their Greatness: An Illustrated History of Baseball from 1900 to the Present, updated ed. (1984); and Lawrence S. Ritter (comp.), The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It, new ed. (1984). For a history of black players and the Negro leagues, see Robert Peterson, Only the Ball Was White (1970, reprinted 1984), and Peterson's article for Encyclopædia Britannica on the Negro leagues. David Quentin Voigt, Baseball, an Illustrated History (1987), includes such topics as black baseball and intercollegiate sports.The Official Baseball Guide, containing records and a narrative review of the previous season, and the Official Baseball Register, giving the career record of each major league player of the previous season, are published annually by The Sporting News. The standard reference work covering the records of professional players since 1871 is Joseph L. Reichler (ed.), The Baseball Encyclopedia, 7th rev. ed. (1988). Organization and play of the game itself is the basis of Joe Brinkman and Charlie Euchner, The Umpire's Handbook, rev. ed. (1987). Bill James and John Dewan, Bill James Presents the Great American Baseball Stat Book, ed. by Geoff Beckman et al. (1987), is a massive collection of the game's statistics.Information on baseball played outside the United States may be found in Robert Whiting, You Gotta Have Wa (1990), and The Chrysanthemum and the Bat: Baseball Samurai Style (1976); Peter Bjarkman, Baseball with a Latin Beat (1994); Marcos Bretón and José Villegas, Away Games (1999); Alan M. Klein, Sugarball: The American Game, the Dominican Dream (1991); Samuel A. Regalado, Viva Baseball (1998); Rob Ruck, The Tropic of Baseball: Baseball in the Dominican Republic (1991); and Michael M. Oleksak and Mary Adams Oleksak, Béisbol: Latin Americans and the Grand Old Game (1991).Jerome Holtzman Milton Jamail Ed.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

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