Portal:Baseball

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Baseball (crop).jpg
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The goal is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot square, or diamond. Players on one team (the batting team) take turns hitting against the pitcher of the other team (the fielding team), which tries to stop them from scoring runs by getting hitters out in any of several ways. A player on the batting team can stop at any of the bases and later advance via a teammate's hit or other means. The teams switch between batting and fielding whenever the fielding team records three outs. One turn at bat for each team constitutes an inning; nine innings make up a professional game. The team with the most runs at the end of the game wins.

Evolving from older bat-and-ball games, an early form of baseball was being played in England by the mid-eighteenth century. This game and the related rounders were brought by British and Irish immigrants to North America, where the modern version of baseball developed. By the late nineteenth century, baseball was widely recognized as the national sport of the United States. Baseball on the professional, amateur, and youth levels is now popular in North America, parts of Central and South America and the Caribbean, and parts of East Asia. The game is sometimes referred to as hardball, in contrast to the derivative game of softball.

In North America, professional Major League Baseball (MLB) teams are divided into the National League (NL) and American League (AL). Each league has three divisions: East, West, and Central. Every year, the champion of Major League Baseball is determined by playoffs that culminate in the World Series. Five teams make the playoffs from each league: the three regular season division winners, plus two wild card teams. Baseball is the leading team sport in both Japan and Cuba, and the top level of play is similarly split between two leagues: Japan's Central League and Pacific League; Cuba's West League and East League. In the National and Central leagues, the pitcher is required to bat, per the traditional rules. In the American, Pacific, and both Cuban leagues, there is a tenth player, a designated hitter, who bats for the pitcher. Each top-level team has a farm system of one or more minor league teams. These teams allow younger players to develop as they gain on-field experience against opponents with similar levels of skill. (more...)

Selected article

Joe West 2011.jpg
Joseph Henry West (born October 31, 1952), nicknamed "Cowboy Joe", is an American professional baseball umpire in Major League Baseball (MLB). A native of Greenville, South Carolina, West attended Rose High School and played football at East Carolina University (ECU) and Elon College. West entered the National League (NL) as an umpire in 1976; he joined the NL staff full-time in 1978. As a young umpire, West worked Nolan Ryan's fifth career no-hitter, was on the field for Willie McCovey's 500th home run, and was involved in a 1983 shoving incident with manager Joe Torre.

A few years later, West was the home plate umpire during the 1988 playoff game in which pitcher Jay Howell was ejected for having pine tar on his glove. In 1990, he threw pitcher Dennis Cook to the ground while attempting to break up a fight. West resigned during the 1999 Major League Umpires Association mass resignation, but was rehired in 2002. Since then, he has umpired throughout MLB. In a 2004 playoff game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, West's crew made a controversial decision that necessitated police presence to calm the crowd. He served as crew chief for the 2005 World Series.

In 2010, West attracted media attention after he publicly complained about the slow pace of a game between the Red Sox and Yankees. He also worked the game that year in which Albert Pujols hit his 400th career home run. West has worked several no-hitters, including a 2012 perfect game by Félix Hernández. As of 2012, West has the longest tenure of any MLB umpire. West has appeared in five World Series, two All-Star Games, seven League Championship Series (LCS) and five League Division Series (LDS).

West is president of the World Umpires Association (WUA). As the organization's president, West helped negotiate the largest umpiring contract in baseball history. He works with a sporting goods company to design and patent umpiring equipment endorsed by MLB. West is also a singer and songwriter, and has released two country music albums. He had a small acting role in the comedy film The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! and a cameo appearance in the television crime drama The Oldest Rookie. He plays golf on the Celebrity Players Tour.

Selected picture

Babe Ruth2.jpg
Credit: Irwin, La Broad, & Pudlin.

George Herman Ruth, Jr. (February 6, 1895 – August 16, 1948), also popularly known as "Babe", "The Bambino", and "The Sultan of Swat", was an American Major League baseball player from 19141935. Ruth originally broke into the Major Leagues with the Boston Red Sox as a starting pitcher, but after he was sold to the New York Yankees in 1919, he converted to Right Field and subsequently became one of the league's most prolific hitters. Ruth was a mainstay in the Yankees' lineup that won 7 pennants and 4 World Series titles during his tenure with the team. After a short stint with the Boston Braves in 1935, Ruth retired. In 1936, Ruth became one of the first five players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Selected biography

Walter Francis O'Malley (October 9, 1903 – August 9, 1979) was an American sports executive who owned the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers team in Major League Baseball from 1950 to 1979 and who was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He served as Brooklyn Dodger chief legal counsel when Jackie Robinson broke the racial color barrier in 1947. In 1958, as owner of the Dodgers, he brought major league baseball to the West Coast, moving the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles and coordinating the move of the New York Giants to San Francisco at a time when there were no teams west of Missouri. For this, he was long vilified by Brooklyn Dodger fans.

O'Malley was mentioned several times in Danny Kaye's 1962 song tribute, "The D-O-D-G-E-R-S Song (Oh, Really? No, O'Malley!)", which spins a tale of a fantasy game between the Dodgers and the Giants. At one point, the umpire's call goes against the home team:

Down in the dugout, Alston glowers
Up in the booth, Vin Scully frowns;
Out in the stands, O'Malley grins...
Attendance 50,000!
So ....what does O'Malley do? CHARGE!!

On March 17, 1970, Walter turned over the presidency of the team to his son Peter, remaining as Chairman until his death in 1979. Peter O'Malley held the position until 1998 when the team was sold to Rupert Murdoch. The team remained successful on the field under Peter and won the World Series in both 1981 and 1988. They remained successful at the box office as well: by the end of the 1980s, they had not only became the first franchise to draw three million fans, but also they had done it more times than all other franchises combined.

Quotes

"The only way to make money as a manager is to win in one place, get fired and hired somewhere else."


Selected list

Plaque in the entrance of the Hall of Fame
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an American museum and hall of fame that is the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, the display of baseball-related artifacts and exhibits, and the honoring of persons who have excelled in playing, managing, and serving the sport. Elections commenced in 1936 for the selection of worthy individuals to be honored by induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame, though the first induction ceremonies were not held until the Hall opened in 1939. As of July 2009, a total of 292 individuals have been selected, including 231 players, 19 managers, 8 umpires, and 31 pioneers and executives. Each is listed along with his primary position; that is, the position or role in which the player made his greatest contribution to baseball, according to the Hall of Fame.

According to the current rules, players must have at least 10 years of major league experience and be retired for at least 5 years to be inducted. Players meeting these qualifications must pass through a screening committee, and are then voted on by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA). Each writer may vote for up to 10 players; to be admitted into the Hall of Fame, a player must be approved by 75% of those casting ballots. Players receiving less than 5% approval are removed from future BBWAA ballots. The current rules, most recently revised in July 2007, allow that all players whose careers began in 1943 or later who have not been approved by the BBWAA election process within 20 years of their retirement may be considered by the Veterans Committee in every odd-numbered year, and that umpires, managers, pioneers, and executives may be considered by that committee in even-numbered years. Under the 2007 revised rules, players whose careers began in 1942 or earlier are considered every five years by a special panel selected by the Hall of Fame. Over the years, exceptions have been made to the guidelines in place at the time: Roberto Clemente was elected shortly after his death in 1972; Lou Gehrig was elected in 1939 following his diagnosis with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; and Addie Joss was elected in 1978 although he completed only nine seasons before his death.

Between 1971 and 1977, nine players from the Negro Leagues were inducted by a special Negro Leagues Committee, which was given the task of identifying worthy players who played in the Negro Leagues prior to the breaking of baseball's color line. Since 1977, players from the Negro Leagues have been considered by the Veterans Committee, and nine more individuals have been approved by that body. In 2005, the Hall announced the formation of a Committee on African-American Baseball, which held a 2006 election for eligible figures from the Negro Leagues and earlier 19th-century teams; Seventeen additional Negro League figures were chosen in that election, including executive Effa Manley, the first woman inducted.

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