Major League Baseball Trivia

Worldwide, sports celebrities like Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Lebron James and the like, would lead a lot of people to think that basketball is the premiere sport in the US. Well, that is an incorrect impression. Baseball is the number one sport in the US, and Major League Baseball (MLB) is considered to be American professional baseball's highest level of play.

The MLB is actually a joint organizational structure that has operated both the American League and the national League since 1903. It is composed of thirty teams. All thirty teams are from the US except for one from Canada.

The American League and the national League have the same rules and regulations except for one. The former uses the Designated Hitter Rule while the latter does not. The American League has 14 teams while the national League has 16 teams. Each league has 3 divisions, namely, East, West and Central.

Interleague games seldom happen except for certain designated times of the year. In the year 2000, the two leagues were disbanded as separate entities with their functions and rights consolidated.

Being in the baseball business for more than a century already, it is all but expected that many interesting facts surround Major League Baseball. Here is a sample of some of the more noteworthy events.

The period from 1900 to 1919 was called the "dead-ball era" for two reasons. First, because of the low scoring games at the time. The pitchers then, such as Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson and other greats pitched very well. So well, in fact, that very few players managed to score.

The second reason is the high cost of the baseballs. The price of three dollars per ball was a big sum at that time. In fact, those 3 dollars in 1900 is equal to 65 dollars today.

Because of this, the same baseball was used over and over again, even after it already lasted an entire game. These balls were already dark and muddy, grass ingrained into them, lumpy and misshapen, but were still used for the succeeding games. This fact must have contributed to the low scoring games as well, since the balls were not in great shape.

Nowadays, good pitching is a commodity. This is because players can easily reach 4 to 50 home runs in a season. This is in great contrast to the dead-ball era. Thus came the "phantom pitch" called the gyroball. This type of pitch was called such because although it is quite effective, very few can do it, like college player Joey Niezer and Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Another interesting bit of trivia regarding baseball is the first team to wear a baseball uniform, the New York Knickerbockers. It happened on April 4, 1849 and the uniforms they wore were made of white flannel shirts, blue wool pants and straw hats. By 1900, all teams in the Major League wore uniforms.

In 2005, following the steroid scandal in baseball wherein there were allegations of the MLB top players using illegal, performance enhancing drugs, stricter policies regarding steroid use were implemented. The policy suspends players for 10 games for first time offenders, 30 games for second time offenders, 60 games for third, one full year for fourth time offenders and a penalty depending on the Commissioner's discretion for the fifth time offender.

By 2005, of the 750 players of the MLB, 204 are Americans, 91 are from the Dominican Republic, 46 from Venezuela and 34 from Puerto Rico. They make up 25% of all players.
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