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...)
John Joseph McGraw (April 7, 1873–February 25, 1934), nicknamed "Little Napoleon" and "Muggsy", was a Major League Baseball player and manager. His total of 2840 victories as a manager ranks overall second behind only that of Connie Mack; he still holds the National League record with 2669 wins in that circuit.
George Edward Waddell
(October 13, 1876 – April 1, 1914) was an American left-handed pitcher
in Major League Baseball
. In his thirteen-year career he played for the Louisville Colonels
(1897, 1899), Pittsburgh Pirates
(1900–01) and Chicago Orphans
(1901) in the National League
, and the Philadelphia Athletics
(1902–07) and St. Louis Browns
(1908–10) in the American League
. Waddell earned the nickname "Rube"
because he was a big, fresh kid. The term was commonly used to refer to hayseeds or farmboys. Waddell led the Major Leagues
in strikeouts for six consecutive years.
Waddell was odd and unpredictable, including a bad habit of leaving the dugout in the middle of games to follow passing fire trucks to fires, and performed as an alligator wrestler in the offseason. He was also easily distracted by opposing team fans who used to hold up puppies and shiny objects which seem to put Waddell in a trance on the mound. He was an alcoholic for much of his adult life, reportedly spending the entirety of his first signing bonus on a drinking binge (Sporting News called him "the sousepaw"). Waddell's eccentric behavior led to constant battles with his managers and scuffles with bad-tempered teammates; complaints from his teammates forced his trade from Philadelphia to St. Louis in early 1908, despite his importance to the team and his continued success.
Major League Baseball
(MLB) honors its best relief pitcher
monthly with the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Month Award
and annually with the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Year Award
. The awards were initially part of a sponsorship agreement between MLB and package delivery company DHL Express
from 2005 to 2010. They are usually presented to a closer
, though all relief pitchers are eligible.
From its inception in 2005 through 2008, the annual award was voted online by fans from a group of 10 finalists chosen by an MLB panel. The panel took sole responsibility to select the annual winner starting in 2009. The winner of the monthly award is decided on by a four-man panel, which originally consisted of Dennis Eckersley, Jerome Holtzman, Rick Sutcliffe and Bob Watson.
New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has won the award more than any other American League pitcher; he received the annual award in 2005, 2006, and 2009, and was named the monthly winner in April 2008 and July 2009. Trevor Hoffman has won four times in the National League; he won the monthly award in May 2005, September 2006, May 2007, and May 2009. Joe Nathan (July 2006, July 2008, and June 2009) and Rafael Soriano (May 2010, July 2010, and August 2010) have won the monthly award three times. Other pitchers who have won multiple times include Jonathan Papelbon (April 2006 and the 2007 annual award), Brad Lidge (July 2005 and the 2008 annual award), Heath Bell (April 2009 and the 2010 annual award), and Francisco Rodríguez (August 2006 and June 2008). J. J. Putz of the Arizona Diamondbacks is the most recent monthly winner for his performance in September 2011.