Baseball is a game. There are teams and players. Scores and stats. Winners and losers.
We have numbers to track everything on defense... and even more on offense.
Want to know how many hits your team's shortstop has on Thursdays in the state of Texas this year? You can find it.
Curious how many home runs your favorite player has hit against pitchers that are older than you? There's a stat for that.
But baseball is more than just a game. More than just a box score. More than numbers.
The date was May 19, 2009, and the Kansas City Royals were getting ready to turn in another long summer of poor hitting, laughable base running, and Keystone Kops defense.
My wife and I were at the ballpark with our young son and daughter, who were understandably more concerned with the new outfield "experience" than the action on the field. Grandma and grandpa were there. So were aunts and uncles and a cousin.
Baseball is in my family's blood.
The game followed the same script we've gotten used to over the last 20 years here in the city of fountains. The boys in blue found themselves down 5-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth. No signs of life.
My son, 6, was getting tired. It was past his bed time.
In the annals of major league statistics you will find nothing spectacular about Mike Jacobs, Mark Teahen, David DeJesus and Willie Bloomquist. In fact, less than two years later none were still with the team.
But with one out Jacobs deposited a home run over the right-center field wall, and the crowd halted its slow march to the exits.
Then when Teahen crushed the next pitch, we were all in full "LET'S GO ROY-ALS!" mode before the ball even landed in the opposing team's bullpen.
We were still behind, but you could feel it coming. My daughter was on my shoulders, chanting with the giant scoreboard. I looked at my son, and he was mesmerized. I smiled.
After a walk put the tying run on base, DeJesus brought it home with a triple into the gap. The stadium was so loud, I couldn't hear myself think!
When Bloomquist delivered the inevitable game-winning sacrifice fly, my family went bananas. We were high-fiving total strangers!
My daughter was squealing like a typical 7-year-old, caught up in the excitement of the crowd. But as I saw my brother-in-law give my son a giant bear hug, there was something on his 6-year-old face that wasn't there before.
It was in his blood now.
And that, my friends, is baseball.
You can find enough statistics on the game to keep you busy for a lifetime. And don't get me wrong. I love them all.
But the Royals produced more than just 65 wins and a Cy Young winner in that dreadful summer of 2009.
They made my son a baseball fan.
Roger Maris was more than 61*. Jackie Robinson was more than #42. And 2,632 doesn't tell the entire story of Cal Ripken, Jr.
The vault is more than just an encyclopedia of baseball history.
This is where our national pastime's fantastic legacy, stories and yes, even some numbers, truly come alive!
Take a journey through the history of your favorite team, from their stadiums down to their minor leagues.
Revisit some of the greatest World Series moments ever, and see where your favorite Fall Classic lands in the Vault's all-time rankings.
Laugh at the hilarious things players have said over the years.
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History of Baseball
So how did this "stick and ball" game come to be a cornerstone of American culture? An obsession passed down from grandfathers to grandkids for generations?
So who came up with this incredible game that causes normal adults to do very abnormal things...like run a race dressed up as a hot dog or wear a giant piece of foam on their finger?
Dramatic moments and dynamic players. Dominant pitching performances and defensive gems. Here in the Vault you can relive your favorite World Series moments that have made the Fall Classic just that. Classic.
This is a look back at the history of the "Midsummer Classic," the players that have left their unforgettable marks, and how it continues to display the talents of the game's stars today.
League Baseball Teams
The number of major league teams has increased from sixteen to thirty since the cornerstone National Agreement was signed in 1903. Franchises have been created, moved, sold and even renamed over the years. You may know them now, but do you know where they came from?
Ballparks have housed some of the greatest teams and moments in the history of sports. Take a tour of the fields and stadiums that teams throughout history have called home.
Baseball quotes are as much a part of the game as the records, the rules, or the stories. Many have even worked their way into our everyday lives! The players who dirtied their uniforms between the foul lines have had a lot to say about the national pastime over the years. This is the game in their own words.
Remember when baseball video games were cool even with player names like "Paste" or "Star" and umpires that sounded like dying squirrels? Revisit your favorites through the years, or come back to check out our upcoming rankings of the best of all time.
and Halls of Fame
Whether they are a shrine to one of baseball's immortals or an intimate look into an overlooked story from history, these museums and halls of fame share with us the timeless and diverse heritage that is America's pastime.
The creativity and diversity of the many websites dedicated to our national pastime give testimony to the passion and dedication of the game's fans.
Logos have provided baseball teams the opportunity to create legendary identities over the years. From the iconic "NY" of the Yankees to the red socks of Boston, most of these symbols are easily recognized by baseball fans everywhere.