For most sports fans there is nothing like opening day and a baseball field. In recent years I have over heard several people say Baseball is not the National Pastime or National Game any longer. When I query these people the typical response is Football is our new National pastime/game. Frank Deford (Nov 7, 2012) a writer for Sports Illustrated said, "Baseball is what we used to be. Football is what we have become." I refuse to believe this based on my knowledge of both games. In this paper we will exam the facts and I would submit to you that Baseball is still the National Pastime/Game and it cannot be disputed.
Baseball was first introduced into the American culture, by English immigrants in the early 18th century, and its popularity slow grew. It wasn’t until the Civil War the popularity of the game spread, and both Union and Confederate soldiers played baseball during lulls in the fighting. After Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, soldiers from both the Army of Northern Virginia (Confederate) and the Army of the Potomac (Union) played baseball. (Schackelford Jul 4, 2009) This was the beginning of the American people love of Baseball began. It was also the first mention of baseball being the national game. During the bloodiest war in our countries history Baseball was there to help the two sides heal. It was another fourteen years till 1879 when Football would be invented.
This game of a stick and ball has captivated the United States during good and bad times. In either time most of us today can remember stories of players from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. These are legendary figures in the sport of baseball that have are celebrated as hero’s and in scandal, in today conversation Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Lou Gehrig, and Abner Doubleday, are as familiar as Cal Ripken, or Derek Jeter. I am more than a casual sports fan and If challenged a football fanatic could not name players of equal legendary status from the same time period. It was Walter Camp that invented the game of football and most would struggle to find that answer. Most Football fans could easily recall players from the Superbowl era which began in 1966 and there might be a few that could recall a player such as Jim Thrope from the 1920’s who was also an accomplished Olympian. These iconic men of sport left there impact on the game and the people that celebrated it. However, Baseball icon are celebrated today for their contributions good or bad to the game of Baseball.
In the 1942-1945, the United States was involved in conflict again, this time World War II. This created a dilemma for Baseball which was at its height in popularity, young ball players were drafted and sent off to war forcing Major League Baseball teams to seek alternative means of entertainment. During this period professional ownership got involved creating Little League Baseball, Pony League baseball, and the...