2. According to the 1887 Spalding's Guide, the World Series was originally so-named in the hope that other nations such as "Australia and Great Britain" would soon play and "become rivals." So far, no interest.
3. There are 108 double stitches on a baseball. They are sewn by hand, using 88 inches of waxed red thread.
4. Rawlings' Costa Rica factory, with its 450 employees, is the sole producer of major league baseballs. The balls are hand-made by workers paid around $55 a week.
5. In 2007, the average salary for a Major League baseball player was $2,824,751.
6. The average cost for a family of 4 to go to Fenway Park is $320.71. It’s the most expensive park in Major League baseball. The national average is $191.75.
7. In 2007 there were more than 2.3 million players in Little League Baseball worldwide, including 400,000 girls registered in Girl's Softball.
8. Three deaths have been associated with professional baseball. In 1920 Ray Chapman was struck in the temple by a pitch from Yankees submarine-style pitcher Carl Mays on a pitch that narrowly missed the strike zone. In 1996, umpire John McSherry suffered a heart attack on opening day, seven pitches into the game. And in 2007, Tulsa Drillers Coach Mike Coolbaugh was hit and killed by a foul ball off the bat of Tino Sanchez.
9. In 2008, Ivonne Hernandez, a Yankees fan, mowed down several Sox fans in the parking lot of Slade's Food & Spirits in Nashua, New Hampshire, after an argument over team loyalties inside the bar, killing 29-year-old Matthew Beaudoin and injuring his friend, 21-year-old Maria Hughes.
10. Walt Whitman once said to Horace Traubel: "[Baseball is] America's game: has the snap, go fling, of the American atmosphere — 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."
11. Jacques Barzun, in his book God's Country and Mine, says: "Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball." He goes on to describe it as the best group game ever invented, and a game uniquely suited to the twentieth-century:
That baseball fitly expresses the powers of the nation's mind and body is a merit separate from the glory of being the most active, agile, varied, articulate, and brainy of all group games. It is of and for our century. Tennis belongs to the individualistic past--a hero, or at most a pair of friends or lovers, against the world. The idea of baseball is a team, an outfit, a section, a gang, a union, a cell, a commando squad--in short, a twentieth century setup of opposite numbers.12. Although the "Star-Spangled Banner" was performed at opening day ceremonies in Philadelphia as early as 1897, and the playing of the National Anthem during the seventh-inning stretch of the 1918 World Series was significant, the tradition of performing it before every baseball game didn't take hold until World War II.
13. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Major League Baseball directed teams to play ''God Bless America'' before the bottom of the seventh inning at every game. Baseball scaled back the next season, telling teams they needed to play the song only on Sundays and holidays. Only the Yankees continue to play ''God Bless America'' at every home game.
14. This hand-painted statue, "Jesus is my Coach"...
...is available from CatholicShopper.com for just $21.95. (Apparently, many customers have requested these Jesus Sport Statues depicting children other than Caucasian. If and when they become available, CatholicShopper.com assures its customers it will carry them.)
15. The first official baseball uniform, adopted in 1849 by the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York City, was a simple outfit consisting of a white flannel shirt, blue wool pants and a straw hat.
16. Stirrups debuted in 1868 when the Cincinnati Red Stockings decided to don knickers and expose their colored socks. According to The New York Times' Bats blog,
The stirrup came about to provide players a measure of safety as well as comfort in the days before colorfast dyes. In those days a player who got spiked by an opponent could get blood poisoning if the dye were to run into the cut. As a result players wore white socks under their colored stockings, which are still today called “sanitary socks”.17. Harriet Archer explains why baseball is the sexiest sport (it sure ain't the uniforms):
Unlike football, hockey or boxing, baseball says nothing about the primal, untamed, innate beastliness of man.... Baseball shows, instead, that men are as capable of control as they are of creating chaos. For baseball players are required to sublimate the sort of primitive desires encouraged in other male athletes -- aggression, rage, dominance -- in favor of something approaching grace.18. The first known women's baseball team played at Vassar College in 1866.
19. The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was founded by Philip K. Wrigley in 1943. The era of international competition in women's baseball began with the 2001 Women's World Series in Toronto.
20. In May 2005, Lazaro Collazo, baseball coach at a prestigious South Florida private school (and formerly a winning assistant coach at the Univeristy of Miami) resigned after students said he used his genitalia as an object lesson. According to the police report, after his team lost to a rival, Collazo dropped his pants, took out his penis, pointed at it and his testicles, and asked his young players if they "had a set of these or were they equipped with a vagina."
21. Insane Japanese baseball trick here.
22. Billy Bean is one of only two ex-MLB players who have come out of the closet.
23. The other one, Glenn Burke, is also credited with inventing the high-five.
24. In 1993, little league baseball officials in Hayward, California banned heckling by fans and players, after two post-game fights, one of which resulted in the death of a spectator, who was struck in the head with a baseball bat by a player who had become enraged when fans began heckling his team mates at the end of the game. According to the St. Petersburg Times,
The catcher swung a bat at a player from an opposing team, but the player ducked and [the spectator] was hit and later died. The catcher tried to run, but a player from the other team threw a rock that hit him in the head.25. The Top Ten baseball heckles, according to Baseball Heckle Depot, are:
10. I'm gonna break your cane and shoot your dog!
9. How can you eat with those hands?
8. I thought only horses slept standing up!
7. You couldn't pitch a tent!
6. You couldn't throw a party!
5. Take off your coat, you're inside!
4. You've got less hits than an Amish website!
3. You couldn't save anything at WalMart!
2. I've seen better arms on a snake!
1. How's your Japanese?